The irony of decentralization

At the heart of decentralized systems today is a demoralizing irony. Vast resources---intellect, equipment, and energy---go into avoiding centralized control and creating "trustless" systems like Bitcoin. But hapless users then defeat the whole purpose of these systems by handing over their private keys to centralized entities like Coinbase. Or worse still, they lose their keys, sending approximately $14+ billion in cryptocurrency to date into the celestial dustbin.

Would it be nice if there were a truly decentralized system that could do the impossible? I.e.,

Make key management easier for ordinary users.
Manage secret keys for transparent objects without secret state, like smart contracts.
Operate seamlessly when nodes come and go.

Have you heard about CHURP?

You guessed it, CHURP achieves all the above goals. CHURP allows the set of nodes to change at regular intervals very efficiently---incurring atleast 1000x less communication cost than state-of-the-art systems for large committees (size > 65). What's more, CHURP is secure under a strong mobile adversarial model! Read more about it in the ePrint version. Find a short presentation here (ppt/pdf).

How to use CHURP?

CHURP is open-source! If you’re a developer and would like to give it a try, visit the CHURP code repository. We welcome your comments.


Sai Krishna Deepak Maram

Deepak Maram is a second-year PhD student at Cornell Tech. His research interest spans systems security, blockchains, cryptography and their intersection.

Fan Zhang

Fan Zhang is a fifth-year PhD student at Cornell Tech. His research interest spans trusted hardware, cryptocurrencies and their intersection.

Lun Wang

Lun Wang is a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley.

Andrew Low

Andrew Low is a student at the University of California, Berkeley.

Yupeng Zhang

Yupeng Zhang is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. Starting fall 2019, he will join Texas A&M University as an assistant professor.

Ari Juels

Ari Juels is a Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech in NYC and a Co-Director of IC3. He was previously Chief Scientist of RSA, The Security Division of EMC.

Dawn Song

Dawn Song is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, and a Co-Director of IC3.