Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) for Blockchain Applications

Ari Juels

Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) are a powerful security tool and their functionality in principle subsumes that of a gamut of cryptographic primitives. Ari Juels (Cornell) discusses the use of TEEs in blockchain infrastructure, focusing on block-building, one of the first specific applications where hardware-based TEEs are taking hold. He presents Protected Order-Flow (PROF), a means of enforcing “fair” ordering of user transactions. PROF leverages TEEs and economic incentives to achieve an overlay that is compatible with current block-building approaches. Ari also discusses the Sting Framework (SF), an approach to addressing security concerns in TEEs, and privacy-preserving systems more generally. SF enables users to prove the existence of data leakage in affected systems. An SF proof can serve as a publicly verifiable red flag and / or as a means to claim a bug bounty directly from a smart contract. Ari describes how SF can be applied to PROF and other TEE-based block-building approaches. Joint work with Aditya Asgoankar, Kushal Babel, Sylvain Bellemare, Nerla Jean-Louis, Yunqi Li, Mahimna Kelkar, Andrew Miller, and Carolina Ortega Perez

About the speaker

Ari is the Weill Family Foundation and Joan and Sanford I. Weill Professor in the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and the Technion and a Computer Science faculty member at Cornell University. He is a Co-Director of the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts (IC3). He is also Chief Scientist at Chainlink Labs.

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