Synchronous, with a Chance of Partition Tolerance 📺
Murphy, Murky, Mopey, Moody, and Morose decide to write a paper together over the Internet and submit it to the prestigious CRYPTO’19 conference that has the most amazing PC. They encounter a few problems. First, not everyone is online every day: some are lazy and go skiing on Mondays; others cannot use git correctly and they are completely unaware that they are losing messages. Second, a small subset of the co-authors may be secretly plotting to disrupt the project (e.g., because they are writing a competing paper in stealth).Suppose that each day, sufficiently many honest co-authors are online (and use git correctly); moreover, suppose that messages checked into git on Monday can be correctly received by honest and online co-authors on Tuesday or any future day. Can the honest co-authors successfully finish the paper in a small number of days such that they make the CRYPTO deadline; and perhaps importantly, can all the honest co-authors, including even those who are lazy and those who sometimes use git incorrectly, agree on the final theorem?
Game Theoretic Notions of Fairness in Multi-party Coin Toss
Coin toss has been extensively studied in the cryptography literature, and the well-accepted notion of fairness (henceforth called strong fairness) requires that a corrupt coalition cannot cause non-negligible bias. It is well-understood that two-party coin toss is impossible if one of the parties can prematurely abort; further, this impossibility generalizes to multiple parties with a corrupt majority (even if the adversary is computationally bounded and fail-stop only).Interestingly, the original proposal of (two-party) coin toss protocols by Blum in fact considered a weaker notion of fairness: imagine that the (randomized) transcript of the coin toss protocol defines a winner among the two parties. Now Blum’s notion requires that a corrupt party cannot bias the outcome in its favor (but self-sacrificing bias is allowed). Blum showed that this weak notion is indeed attainable for two parties assuming the existence of one-way functions.In this paper, we ask a very natural question which, surprisingly, has been overlooked by the cryptography literature: can we achieve Blum’s weak fairness notion in multi-party coin toss? What is particularly interesting is whether this relaxation allows us to circumvent the corrupt majority impossibility that pertains to strong fairness. Even more surprisingly, in answering this question, we realize that it is not even understood how to define weak fairness for multi-party coin toss. We propose several natural notions drawing inspirations from game theory, all of which equate to Blum’s notion for the special case of two parties. We show, however, that for multiple parties, these notions vary in strength and lead to different feasibility and infeasibility results.