Ekiden: A platform for confidentiality-preserving, trustworthy, and performant smart contracts

Raymond Cheng, Fan Zhang, Jernej Kos, Warren He, Nicholas Hynes, Noah Johnson, Ari Juels, Andrew Miller, Dawn Song

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Smart contracts are applications that execute on blockchains. Today they manage billions of dollars in value and motivate visionary plans for pervasive blockchain deployment. While smart contracts inherit the availability and other security assurances of blockchains, however, they are impeded by blockchains' lack of confidentiality and poor performance. We present Ekiden, a system that addresses these critical gaps by combining blockchains with Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs). Ekiden leverages a novel architecture that separates consensus from execution, enabling efficient TEE-backed confidentiality-preserving smart-contracts and high scalability. Our prototype (with Tendermint as the consensus layer) achieves example performance of 600x more throughput and 400x less latency at 1000x less cost than the Ethereum mainnet. Another contribution of this paper is that we systematically identify and treat the pitfalls arising from harmonizing TEEs and blockchains. Treated separately, both TEEs and blockchains provide powerful guarantees, but hybridized, though, they engender new attacks. For example, in naïve designs, privacy in TEE-backed contracts can be jeopardized by forgery of blocks, a seemingly unrelated attack vector. We believe the insights learned from Ekiden will prove to be of broad importance in hybridized TEE-blockchain systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 4th IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EURO S and P 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages185-200
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781728111476
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event4th IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EURO S and P 2019 - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: Jun 17 2019Jun 19 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings - 4th IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EURO S and P 2019

Conference

Conference4th IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EURO S and P 2019
CountrySweden
CityStockholm
Period6/17/196/19/19

Keywords

  • blockchain
  • confidentiality preserving smart contracts
  • smart contracts
  • trusted hardware

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Ekiden: A platform for confidentiality-preserving, trustworthy, and performant smart contracts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Cheng, R., Zhang, F., Kos, J., He, W., Hynes, N., Johnson, N., Juels, A., Miller, A., & Song, D. (2019). Ekiden: A platform for confidentiality-preserving, trustworthy, and performant smart contracts. In Proceedings - 4th IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EURO S and P 2019 (pp. 185-200). [8806762] (Proceedings - 4th IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EURO S and P 2019). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/EuroSP.2019.00023