Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2022/310

Dispute-free Scalable Open Vote Network using zk-SNARKs

Muhammad ElSheikh and Amr M. Youssef

Abstract: The Open Vote Network is a self-tallying decentralized e-voting protocol suitable for boardroom elections. Currently, it has two Ethereum-based implementations: the first, by McCorry et al., has a scalability issue since all the computations are performed on-chain. The second implementation, by Seifelnasr et al., solves this issue partially by assigning a part of the heavy computations to an off-chain untrusted administrator in a verifiable manner. As a side effect, this second implementation became not dispute-free; there is a need for a tally dispute phase where an observer interrupts the protocol when the administrator cheats, i.e., announces a wrong tally result. In this work, we propose a new smart contract design to tackle the problems in the previous implementations by (i) preforming all the heavy computations off-chain hence achieving higher scalability, and (ii) utilizing zero-knowledge Succinct Non-interactive Argument of Knowledge (zk-SNARK) to verify the correctness of the off-chain computations, hence maintaining the dispute-free property. To demonstrate the effectiveness of our design, we develop prototype implementations on Ethereum and conduct multiple experiments for different implementation options that show a trade-off between the zk-SNARK proof generation time and the smart contract gas cost, including an implementation in which the smart contract consumes a constant amount of gas independent of the number of voters.

Category / Keywords: applications / Open Vote Network, E-voting, Blockchain, zk-SNARK, Smart contracts, Ethereum

Original Publication (with minor differences): Financial Cryptography and Data Security 2022 (FC 2022) workshops, WTSC'22

Date: received 5 Mar 2022

Contact author: m_elshei at encs concordia ca

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20220307:125011 (All versions of this report)

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