Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2020/1511

Balancing Privacy and Accountability in Blockchain Identity Management

Ivan Damgård and Chaya Ganesh and Hamidreza Khoshakhlagh and Claudio Orlandi and Luisa Siniscalchi

Abstract: The lack of privacy in the first generation of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. is a well known problem in cryptocurrency research. To overcome this problem, several new cryptocurrencies were designed to guarantee transaction privacy and anonymity for their users (examples include ZCash, Monero, etc.). However, the anonymity provided by such systems appears to be fundamentally problematic in current business and legislation settings: banks and other financial institutions must follow rules such as "Know your customer" (KYC), "Anti Money Laundering" (AML), etc. It is also well known that the (alleged or real) anonymity guarantees provided by cryptocurrencies have attracted ill-intentioned individual to this space, who look at cryptocurrencies as a way of facilitating illegal activities (tax-evasion, ransom-ware, trading of illegal substances, etc.).

The fact that current cryptocurrencies do not comply with such regulations can in part explain why traditional financial institutions have so far been very sceptical of the ongoing cryptocurrency and Blockchain revolution.

In this paper, we propose a novel design principle for identity management in Blockchains. The goal of our design is to maintain privacy, while still allowing compliance with current regulations and preventing exploitations of Blockchain technology for purposes which are incompatible with the social good.

Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / Blockchain, Cryptographic Protocols

Original Publication (with major differences): CT-RSA Conference

Date: received 2 Dec 2020, last revised 12 Mar 2021

Contact author: ivan at cs au dk,chaya@iisc ac in,hamidreza@cs au dk,orlandi@cs au dk,lsiniscalchi@cs au dk

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20210312:124654 (All versions of this report)

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