Protocol Labs Research

The purpose of CryptoLab is to develop and apply new cryptographic tools to secure computation and communication systems. Much of the past and current work includes designing, proving, and improving the building blocks enabling Filecoin, a decentralized storage network.

Though the group was founded to drive the creation of Filecoin, it seeks to facilitate the development and incorporation of cryptographic tools to increase security and privacy of communication, and engender new capabilities.

Cryptolab’s current focuses are:

  • Filecoin protocol improvements: The transaction layer of the Filecoin protocol, including endeavours across the various parts that come together to make up Filecoin, and that include mining, repair, security, and storage.
  • Blockchain infrastructure: We plan to improve the state of the art of generic blockchain constructions.
  • Cryptographic primitives: Filecoin relies on the performance and security of cryptographic primitives. Our endeavours include Proof of Replication (PoRep), Proof of SpaceTime (PoST), SEALSTACK, SNARKs, and VDFs.

Much of CryptoLab’s work is exhibited in the Filecoin Research website and GitHub repo.

Related talks

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Vector commitment techniques and applications to verifiable decentralized storage
Theory and Practice of Blockchains 2020 / 2020.07.01
Matteo Campanelli, Dario Fiore, Nicola Greco , Luca Nizzardo , Dimitris Kolonelos
Expected consensus
ConsensusDay 1 / 2019.02.02 / Stanford, CA, USA
PoReps: Proof of space on real data
Lab Day 2018 / 2018.10.23 / San Francisco, CA, USA
Good SNARKs are here needed
Zcon0 / 2018.06.28 / Montréal, Canada
VDFs and Filecoin
VDF Day / 2018.02.03 / Stanford, CA, USA

Related publications

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2020.11.17 / Report
Subversion-resilient Enhanced Privacy ID
Anonymous attestation for secure hardware platforms leverages tailored group signature schemes and assumes the hardware to be trusted. Yet, there is an ever increasing concern on the trustworthiness of hardware components and embedded systems.
Antonio Faonio, Dario Fiore, Luca Nizzardo , Claudio Soriente
2020.4.8 / Conference paper
MonZa: Fast maliciously secure two party computation on Z_{2^k}
In this paper we present a new 2-party protocol for secure computation over rings of the form Z2k. As many recent efficient MPC protocols supporting dishonest majority, our protocol consists of a heavier (input-independent) pre-processing phase and a very efficient online stage.
IACR International Conference on Practice and Theory of Public-Key Cryptography (PKC) / 2020.05.04 / Edinburgh, Scotland
Dario Catalano, Mario Di Raimondo, Dario Fiore, Irene Giacomelli
2020.3.3 / Conference paper
SoK: Tools for game theoretic models of security for cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies have garnered much attention in recent years, both from the academic community and industry. One interesting aspect of cryptocurrencies is their explicit consideration of incentives at the protocol level, which has motivated a large body of work, yet many open problems still exist and current systems rarely deal with incentive related problems well.
Cryptoeconomic Systems / 2020.03.07 / Cambridge, MA, USA
Sarah Azouvi , Alexander Hicks
2020.2.17 / Report
Vector commitment techniques and applications to verifiable decentralized storage
Vector commitments with subvector openings (SVC) [Lai-Malavolta and Boneh-Bunz-Fisch, CRYPTO'19] allow one to open a committed vector at a set of positions with an opening of size independent of both the vector’s length and the number of opened positions.
Theory and Practice of Blockchains 2020 / 2020.07.01
Matteo Campanelli, Dario Fiore, Nicola Greco , Dimitris Kolonelos, Luca Nizzardo
2020.1.15 / Conference paper
Single secret leader election
In a Single Secret Leader Election (SSLE), a group of participants aim to randomly choose exactly one leader from the group with the restriction that the identity of the leader will be known to the chosen leader and nobody else.
ACM Advances in Financial Technologies 2020 / 2020.10.21
Dan Boneh, Saba Eskandarian, Lucjan Hanzlik, Nicola Greco
2019.11.20 / Report
Exploring connections between active learning and model extraction
Machine learning is being increasingly used by individuals, research institutions, and corporations. This has resulted in the surge of Machine Learning-as-a-Service (MLaaS) - cloud services that provide (a) tools and resources to learn the model, and (b) a user-friendly query interface to access the model.
Varun Chandrasekaran, Kamalika Chaudhuri, Irene Giacomelli , Somesh Jha, Songbai Yan
2019.8.24 / Conference paper
PLONK: Permutations over Lagrange-bases for oecumenical noninteractive arguments of knowledge
zk-SNARK constructions that utilize an updatable universal structured reference string remove one of the main obstacles in deploying zk-SNARKs[GKM + ]. The important work of Maller et al. [MBKM19] presented Sonic-the first potentially practical zk-SNARK with fully succinct verification for general arithmetic circuits with such an SRS.
Stanford Blockchain Conference / 2020.02.19 / Stanford, CA, USA
Ariel Gabizon , Zachary J Williamson, Oana Ciobotaru
2019.5.29 / Report
AuroraLight: Improved prover efficiency and SRS size in a Sonic-like system
Using ideas from the recent Aurora zk-STARK of Ben-Sasson et al. [BCR + 19], we present a zk-SNARK with a universal and updatable SRS similar to the recent construction of Maller et al.
2018.10.15 / Report
Scaling proof-of-replication for Filecoin mining
A proof-of-replication (PoRep) is a proof system that a server can use to demonstrate to a network in a publicly verifiable way that it is dedicating unique resources to storing one or more replicas of a data file.
2018.7.14 / Report
PoReps: Proofs of space on useful data
A proof-of-replication (PoRep) is an interactive proof system in which a prover defends a publicly verifiable claim that it is dedicating unique resources to storing one or more retrievable replicas of a data file.
2017.8.31 / Thesis
Decentralized infrastructure for file storage
How might we incentivize a peer-to-peer network to store users’ files? The purpose of this research is to combine ideas from existing peer-to-peer file sharing systems, blockchain technology and Proofs-of-Storage to create an incentivized decentralized storage network, where every participant can earn a reward for storing and serving files or pay the network to store or retrieve their own.
2017.7.27 / Report
Power fault tolerance
Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) accounts for faults as the number of faulty nodes and is thus cumbersome to apply to many modern decentralized systems. We introduce the Power Fault Tolerance (PFT) model, which reframes BFT in terms of participants’ influence over the outcome of a protocol, instead of the number of nodes.
Protocol Labs
2017.7.27 / Report
Proof of replication
We introduce Proof-of-Replication (PoRep), a new kind of Proof-of-Storage, that can be used to prove that some data D has been replicated to its own uniquely dedicated physical storage. Enforcing unique physical copies enables a verifier to check that a prover is not deduplicating multiple copies of D into the same storage space.
2017.7.19 / Report
Filecoin: A decentralized storage network
The internet is in the middle of a revolution: centralized proprietary services are being replaced with decentralized open ones; trusted parties replaced with verifiable computation; brittle location addresses replaced with resilient content addresses; inefficient monolithic services replaced with peer-to-peer algo-rithmic markets.
Protocol Labs
2014.7.15 / Report
Filecoin: A cryptocurrency operated file storage network
Filecoin is a distributed electronic currency similar to Bitcoin. Unlike Bitcoin’s computation-only proof-of-work, Filecoin’s proof-of-work function includes a proof-of-retrievability component, which requires nodes to prove they store a particular file. The Filecoin network forms an entirely distributed file storage system, whose nodes are incentivized to store as much of the entire network’s data as they can.
Protocol Labs

Related posts

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2020.12.2 / News, Team
Anca Nitulescu joins Protocol Labs Research
Anca Nitulescu is joining CryptoLab as a Research Scientist. After obtaining their PhD in cryptography at ENS Paris, they worked as a Postdoctoral Scholar at Aarhus University and as Chief Cryptographer at Cosmian before coming to Protocol Labs.
2020.11.23 / Blog
A Research Perspective on Filecoin, Part Two
In Part One, we traced the intellectual and technological history of modern implementations of distributed ledger technology. Now let’s take a stroll through the technological landscape around the time of Filecoin’s release:
2020.11.16 / Blog
A Research Perspective on Filecoin
The Filecoin network is launching in the middle of a revolution in internet architecture, where vulnerable centralized services dependent on trusted parties are being replaced with resilient decentralized solutions based on verifiable computation, and internet services are being relocated from inefficient central monoliths to the far reaches of the network by peer-to-peer markets.
2020.5.22 / News
Rosario Gennaro named 2020 IACR Fellow
In May, Rosario Gennaro was named a 2020 Fellow of the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR). IACR established its Fellows Program in 2002 to recognize oustanding members for significant technical and professional contributions to cryptology and related fields.
2020.2.18 / News, Team
Sarah Azouvi joins Protocol Labs Research
Sarah joins us from the Information Security Group at University College London, where she did research on consensus and worked towards her forthcoming PhD in Computer Science. During her studies, she collaborated with Protocol Labs and was also an intern at Calibra.
2020.1.27 / News, Team
Luca Nizzardo’s thesis wins UPM Extraordinary Award
Source: IMDEA Software Institute. Posted here with permission. Luca Nizzardo was a PhD student of the IMDEA Software Institute and his thesis “Cryptographic Techniques for the Security of Cloud and Blockchain Systems” defended in 2018 was directed by Associate Professor Dario Fiore.