Paper 2022/985

Privacy when Everyone is Watching: An SOK on Anonymity on the Blockchain

Roy Rinberg, Columbia University
Nilaksh Agarwal, Columbia University

Blockchain technologies rely on a public ledger, where typically all transactions are pseudoanonymous and fully traceable. This poses a major flaw in its large scale adoption of cryptocurrencies, the primary application of blockchain technologies, as most individuals do not want to disclose their finances to the pub- lic. Motivated by the explosive growth in private-Blockchain research, this Statement-of-Knowledge (SOK) explores the ways to obtain privacy in this public ledger ecosystem. The authors first look at the underly- ing technology underling all zero-knowledge applications on the blockchain: zk-SNARKs (zero-knowledge Succinct Non-interactive ARguments of Knowledge). We then explore the two largest privacy coins as of today, ZCash and Monero, as well as TornadoCash, a popular Ethereum Tumbler solution. Finally, we look at the opposing incentives behind privacy solutions and de-anonymization techniques, and the future of privacy on the blockchain.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Blockchain zk-SNARK Cryptocurrencies
Contact author(s)
roy rinberg @ columbia edu
agarwal nilaksh @ gmail com
2022-08-03: approved
2022-08-02: received
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      author = {Roy Rinberg and Nilaksh Agarwal},
      title = {Privacy when Everyone is Watching: An SOK on Anonymity on the Blockchain},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2022/985},
      year = {2022},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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