June 23, 2021


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Tri-op redactable blockchains with block modification, removal, and insertion, by Mohammad Sadeq Dousti and Alptekin Küpçü

In distributed computations and cryptography, it is desirable to record events on a public ledger, such that later alterations are computationally infeasible. An implementation of this idea is called blockchain, which is a distributed protocol that allows the creation of an immutable ledger. While such an idea is very appealing, the ledger may be contaminated with incorrect, illegal, or even dangerous data, and everyone running the blockchain protocol has no option but to store and propagate the unwanted data. The ledger is bloated over time, and it is not possible to remove redundant information. Finally, missing data cannot be inserted later. Redactable blockchains were invented to allow the ledger to be mutated in a controlled manner. To date, redactable blockchains support at most two types of redactions: block modification and removal. The next logical step is to support block insertions. However, we show that this seemingly innocuous enhancement renders all previous constructs insecure. We put forward a model for blockchains supporting all three redaction operations, and construct a blockchain that is provably secure under this formal definition.