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Ari Juels, a Professor at Cornell Tech (Jacobs Institute) and former Chief Scientist of RSA, joins us to discuss his work two of his blockchain-related research topics: Authenticated Data Feeds for Smart Contracts and criminal smart contracts.

One of the shortcomings of decentralized smart contracts is their inability to retrieve information from the outside world. Smart contracts can’t make API calls to websites and data feeds, but rely on oracles to feed real-world information to the chain. This potentially requires a high trust in the oracle operators. Authenticated data feeds promise to solve the problem by relying on Intel’s novel SGX hardware.

We also talked about how criminals could use smart contracts to more efficiently conduct crimes such as incentivizing the theft of private keys or even soliciting real-world crimes such as murder.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Ari’s background in cryptography and cryptocurrencies
  • The pain points with oracles as we describe them today
  • The idea behind Authenticated Data Feeds
  • The hardware and software architecture of the Authenticated Data Feed model and how hardware isolation works
  • How Authenticated Data Feeds could be used to create criminal smart contracts
  • The differents ways in which criminals could use Authenticated Data Feeds to release bounties for crimes such as private key theft or even murder
  • Countermeasures to fight criminal smart contracts
  • The Initiative For Cryptocurrencies & Contracts (IC3) and its raison d’être

Episode links:

This episode was hosted by Brian Fabian Crain & Sébastien Couture, and is availble on YouTube, SoundCloud, and our website.