On the Similarities between Blockchains and Merkle-Damgård Hash Functions

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    Blockchain as a new technology has created a great amount of hype and hope for different applications. There is a promise of a better, decentralised trust based on strict guarantees from cryptography. However, there is a great similarity in the structure of blockchains and classical iterated hash functions of the Merkle-Damgård (M-D) type. As the structure of M-D type hash functions has been extensively studied and many different structural weaknesses have been exposed, it is plausible to think that blockchains also share these structural problems. In this paper, we present the most relevant problems of M-D type hash functions and their relation to blockchains. We also examine how these might affect currently established blockchains. Our results can help in avoiding some problems in the design of new blockchain systems and also provide some (theoretical) limits on the trustworthiness of current blockchains.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings - 2018 IEEE 18th International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability, and Security Companion, QRS-C 2018
    PublisherIEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
    Pages129-134
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5386-7839-8
    ISBN (Print)978-1-5386-7840-4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2018
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible
    Event18th IEEE International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability, and Security Companion, QRS-C 2018 - Lisbon, Portugal
    Duration: 16 Jul 201820 Jul 2018

    Conference

    Conference18th IEEE International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability, and Security Companion, QRS-C 2018
    CountryPortugal
    CityLisbon
    Period16/07/1820/07/18

    Keywords

    • Blockchain
    • Consensus mechanism
    • Iterated hash functions

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    Cite this

    Halunen, K., Vallivaara, V., & Karinsalo, A. (2018). On the Similarities between Blockchains and Merkle-Damgård Hash Functions. In Proceedings - 2018 IEEE 18th International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability, and Security Companion, QRS-C 2018 (pp. 129-134). [8431963] IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. https://doi.org/10.1109/QRS-C.2018.00035