IOHK | Paper

Library > Non-Interactive Proofs of Proof-of-Work

Non-Interactive Proofs of Proof-of-Work

February/2020, Financial Cryptography 2020


Open consensus protocols based on proof-of-work (PoW) mining are at the core of cryptocurrencies such Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as many others. In this work, we construct a new primitive called Non-Interactive-Proofs-of-Proof-of-Work (NIPoPoWs) that can be adapted into existing PoW-based cryptocurrencies to improve their performance and extend their functionality. Unlike a traditional blockchain client which must verify the entire linearly-growing chain of PoWs, clients based on NIPoPoWs require resources only logarithmic in the length of the blockchain. NIPoPoWs are thus succinct proofs and require only a single message between the prover and the verifier of the transaction.

With our construction we are able to prove a broad array of useful predicates in the context of cross PoW-based blockchain transfers of assets, including predicates about facts buried deep within a blockchain which is necessary for the basic application of accepting payments. We provide empirical validation for NIPoPoWs through an implementation and benchmark study, in the context of two new applications: First, we consider a multi-client blockchain that supports all proof-of-work currencies rather than just one, with up to 90% reduction in bandwidth. Second, we discuss a “cross-chain ICO” application that spans multiple independent blockchains. Using our experimental data, we provide concrete parameters for our scheme.