Research Objectives

Distributed Ledger Technology & Consensus protocols:

  • Implement a provably secure permission-less blockchain, based on a consensus protocol that is not immensely wasteful of energy (no Proof of Work). It would likely be a variant of existing Proof of Stake protocols but which takes special care in addressing blockchain network security, provably resilient (acceptable limitations) to various attack vectors (Stake grinding attack, long range attack, double spending , DDoS etc). Certain protocols like Delegated Proof of Stake are a no-no owing to centralization/ delegate mafia.
  • Blockchain (data) to be objectively verifiable by a new node (right from the genesis block), and should try and avoid weak-subjectivity limitations and half solutions like core-dev team endorsed checkpoints.
  • Explore blockchain pruning to reduce the linear growth of blocks (download & verify) over time.
  • Determine Time complexity of the consensus algorithms etc. P2P network resilience/latency/block generation time.
  • Settlement layer, abstraction from computation layer.
  • Determine ideal transaction auditing method, UTXO vs Account balance after considering all the different aspects.
  • Finalize on the optimal distributed ledger data structure, i.e. Block-chain vs Directed Acyclic Graphs vs Block-mesh.
  • Mitigate ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ scenarios: Economic incentives, network security and consensus protocol.
  • Trustworthy generation of public random numbers – non-corruptible public randomness e.g. slow timed hash function for Epoch randomness.
  • Scalability solutions like sharing or side-chains.
  • Distributed applications and Smart contracts.
  • Exploring DBFT technologies (e.g. leader selection mode) with a realistic assumption of large number of network nodes in a permission-less network where identities are not established prior and employing overlay networks for Byzantine Fault Tolerance consensus desiring finality property. Mathematically determine scaling , efficiency and security limitations. List down the various threat models and mathematically prove the security capabilities.
  • Assume a real world network and account for a minority of adversarial nodes, and intermittent and spotty network connectivity / latencies. Assume a high churn of network nodes (possibly new) appearing on-line and going dark and random intervals.
  • Explore suitability of incorporating of the below:
    • coin tossing algorithms.
    • Verifiable secret sharing.
    • Public key cryptography
    • Random oracle models
  • Hierarchical Deterministic keys for wallets to support user pseudo anonymity.
  • Quantum resistance cryptography exploration, feasibility of rolling out own crypto and risks.
  • Human readable aliases for addresses.
  • Explore zero knowledge (interactive proof systems) for framing consensus protocol or offering fungibility value add.
  • Explore / employ:
    • Probabilistically checkable proof.
    • Unique games conjecture.
    • Markov perfect equilibrium.
  • Discourse of applicability of Austrian economics w.r.t, decentralized crypto currency policies like coin emission strategies, role of transaction fees, network security incentives, mining pools , rent seeking.

Self Sovereign Identity:

Trusted digital identity that preserves individual privacy. Superior to state issued licenses/cards/credentials. Does not suffer from centralized control as evident in domain based identities. Users have autonomy over their Identity. Users can create, sign and verify claims. Users can selectively disclose information and also purge their identity.
The fourth (& likely ultimate) generation in the evolution of digital identity as depicted below

Centralized identity –> Federated identity –> User-centric identity–> Self-sovereign identity

Digital identity applies to individuals & institutions (oracles) alike. The institutions can be value intermediaries like Govt institutions or corporations. An entity could simultaneously posses multiple digital identities and use each in different scenarios. Entities can establish and maintain reputation through the digital identities. Authentication and Authorization based on digital identities. Digital assets to be linked to digital identities. Digital assets (data) will be appraised/endorsed by oracles (signing using pvt. key)