Fwd: Christian Cachin on Nov 14 -- How to Prevent Frontrunning in DeFi

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Alan Karp

Nov 8, 2023, 7:49:46 PM11/8/23
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This talk sounds like one some of you will find interesting.

Alan Karp

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Aditi Partap <adit...@stanford.edu>
Date: Wed, Nov 8, 2023 at 4:47 PM
Subject: Christian Cachin on Nov 14 -- How to Prevent Frontrunning in DeFi
To: security...@lists.stanford.edu <security...@lists.stanford.edu>

            How to Prevent Frontrunning in DeFi

                      Christian Cachin

                 Tuesday, November 14, 2023

                       Talk at 4:00pm

                      Gates 104 & Zoom (https://stanford.zoom.us/j/92732897040?pwd=Q29JOFVFSy9kWXVDR3dIVWlGektFdz09)

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Blockchain consensus protocols put miners and validators in charge of

ordering transactions into blocks.  Validators control not only which

transactions appear in a block, but also the relative order of

transactions within.  Such influence on the order constitutes a major

vulnerability for corresponding decentralized finance (DeFi) networks.

It allows, for example, that validators maximize their own profit at the

cost of innocent users, through so-called MEV attacks.

This presentation will dive into the front-running problem and explain

several defense methods that are currently being explored in theory and


1) Protecting the causal order among all transactions through

encryption, in the sense that transactions are encrypted by clients and

the validators agree on a sequence of encrypted transactions.

2) Receive-order fairness aims at ensuring that transactions that were

first received by "many" validators appear before transactions received

by "few".  If the number of malicious validators is small, their power

to control the order and exploit frontrunning can be bounded.

3) Eliminating frontrunning through randomized ordering.  This protocol

randomly permutes the transactions that appear in a block.  The crux

lies in ensuring that the randomness used for the scrambling cannot be

biased by the malicious validator that creates the block.

This talk is based on joint work with Orestis Alpos, Ignacio Amores

Sesar, Jovana Micic, Nathalie Steinhauer, Michelle Yeo, and Luca



Christian Cachin is a professor of computer science at the University of

Bern, where he has been leading the Cryptology and Data Security

Research Group since 2019.  Prior to that he worked for IBM Research -

Zurich during more than 20 years.  He has held visiting positions at MIT

and at EPFL and has taught at several universities during his career in

industrial research.  He graduated with a Ph.D.  in Computer Science

from ETH Zurich in 1997.  He is an IACR Fellow, ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow,

recipient of multiple IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards, and

has also served as the President of the International Association for

Cryptologic Research (IACR) from 2014-2019.

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