Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2020/1613

Lockable Signatures for Blockchains: Scriptless Scripts for All Signatures

Sri Aravinda Krishnan Thyagarajan and Giulio Malavolta

Abstract: Payment Channel Networks (PCNs) have given a huge boost to the scalability of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies: Beyond improving the transaction rate, PCNs enabled cheap cross-currency payments and atomic swaps. However, current PCNs proposals either heavily rely on special scripting features of the underlying blockchain (e.g. Hash Time Lock Contracts) or are tailored to a handful of digital signature schemes, such as Schnorr or ECDSA signatures. This leaves us in an unsatisfactory situation where many currencies that are being actively developed and use different signature schemes cannot enjoy the benefits of a PCN.

In this work, we investigate whether we can construct PCNs assuming the minimal ability of a blockchain to verify a digital signature, for any signature scheme. In answering this question in the affirmative, we introduce the notion of lockable signatures, which constitutes the cornerstone of our PCN protocols. Our approach is generic and the PCN protocol is compatible with any digital signature scheme, thus inheriting all favorable properties of the underlying scheme that are not offered by Schnorr/ECDSA (e.g.\ aggregatable signatures or post-quantum security).

While the usage of generic cryptographic machinery makes our generic protocol impractical, we view it as an important feasibility result as it may serve as the basis for constructing optimized protocols for specific signature schemes. To substantiate this claim, we design a highly efficient PCN protocol for the special case of Boneh-Lynn-Shacham (BLS) signatures. BLS signatures enjoy many unique features that make it a viable candidate for a blockchain, e.g. short, unique, and aggregatable signatures. Yet, prior to our work, no PCN was known to be compatible with it (without requiring an advanced scripting language). The cost of our PCN is dominated by a handful of calls to the BLS algorithms. Our concrete evaluation of these basic operations shows that users with commodity hardware can process payments with minimal overhead.

Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / Payment Channel Networks, Scriptless Scripts, BLS, Digital signatures

Date: received 29 Dec 2020, last revised 29 Dec 2020

Contact author: thyagarajan at cs fau de

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Note: To Appear at IEEE Security and Privacy 2021

Version: 20201229:202813 (All versions of this report)

Short URL: ia.cr/2020/1613


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