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Conclave: A Collective Stake Pool Protocol

October/2021, ESORICS 2021


Proof-of-Stake (PoS) distributed ledgers are the most common alternative to Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) paradigm, replacing the hardware dependency with stake, i.e., assets that a party controls. Similar to PoW’s mining pools, PoS’s stake pools, i.e., collaborative entities comprising of multiple stakeholders, allow a party to earn rewards more regularly, compared to participating on an individual basis. However, stake pools tend to increase centralization, since they are typically managed by a single party that acts on behalf of the pool’s members. In this work we propose Conclave, a formal design of a Collective Stake Pool, i.e., a decentralized pool with no single point of authority. We formalize Conclave as an ideal functionality and implement it as a distributed protocol, based on standard cryptographic primitives. Among Conclave’s building blocks is a weighted threshold signature scheme (WTSS); to that end, we define a WTSS ideal functionality — which might be of independent interest — and propose two constructions based on threshold ECDSA, which enable (1) fast trustless setup and (2) identifiable aborts.