Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2016/370

Malleability of the blockchainís entropy

Cecile Pierrot and Benjamin Wesolowski

Abstract: Trustworthy generation of public random numbers is necessary for the security of many cryptographic applications. It was suggested to use the inherent unpredictability of blockchains as a source of public randomness. Entropy from the Bitcoin blockchain in particular has been used in lotteries and has been suggested for a number of other applications ranging from smart contracts to election auditing. In this Arcticle, we analyse this idea and show how an adversary could manipulate these random numbers, even with limited computational power and financial budget.

Category / Keywords: Random number generation, Blockchain, Random Beacon, Bitcoin, Dyck language.

Date: received 11 Apr 2016

Contact author: Cecile Pierrot at lip6 fr; benjamin wesolowski@epfl ch

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Version: 20160414:200349 (All versions of this report)

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