Paper 2023/1454

Scalable Off-Chain Auctions

Mohsen Minaei, Visa Research
Duc V. Le, Visa Research
Ranjit Kumaresan, Visa Research
Andrew Beams, Visa Research
Pedro Moreno-Sanchez, IMDEA Software, Visa Research
Yibin Yang, Georgia Institute of Technology
Srinivasan Raghuraman, Visa Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Panagiotis Chatzigiannis, Visa Research
Mahdi Zamani, Visa Research

Blockchain auction plays an important role in the price discovery of digital assets (e.g. NFTs). However, despite their importance, implementing auctions directly on blockchains such as Ethereum incurs scalability issues. In particular, the on-chain transactions scale poorly with the number of bidders, leading to network congestion, increased transaction fees, and slower transaction confirmation time. This lack of scalability significantly hampers the ability of the system to handle large-scale, high-speed auctions that are common in today's economy. In this work, we build a protocol where an auctioneer can conduct sealed bid auctions that run entirely off-chain when parties behave honestly, and in the event that $k$ bidders deviate (e.g., do not open their sealed bid) from an $n$-party auction protocol, then the on-chain complexity is only $O(k \log n)$. This improves over existing solutions that require $O(n)$ on-chain complexity, even if a single bidder deviates from the protocol. In the event of a malicious auctioneer, our protocol still guarantees that the auction will successfully terminate. We implement our protocol and show that it offers significant efficiency improvements compared to existing on-chain solutions. Our use of zkSnark to achieve scalability also ensures that the on-chain contract and other participants do not acquire any information about the bidders' identities and their respective bids, except for the winner and the winning bid amount.

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Publication info
AuctionBlockchain ApplicationsOff-chain AuctionLayer 2
Contact author(s)
mominaei @ visa com
levduc112 @ gmail com
rakumare @ visa com
pedro moreno @ imdea org
srraghur @ visa com
pchatzig @ visa com
2023-09-24: approved
2023-09-22: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Mohsen Minaei and Duc V. Le and Ranjit Kumaresan and Andrew Beams and Pedro Moreno-Sanchez and Yibin Yang and Srinivasan Raghuraman and Panagiotis Chatzigiannis and Mahdi Zamani},
      title = {Scalable Off-Chain Auctions},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2023/1454},
      year = {2023},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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