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A fair protocol for signing contracts

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4 Author(s)

Two parties, A and B, want to sign a contract C over a communication network. To do so, they must simultaneously exchange their commitments to C. Since simultaneous exchange is usually impossible in practice, protocols are needed to approximate simultaneity by exchanging partial commitments in piece-by-piece manner. During such a protocol, one party or another may have a slight advantage; a fair protocol keeps this advantage within acceptable limits. A new protocol is proposed. It is fair in the sense that, at any stage in its execution, the conditional probability that one party cannot commit both parties to the contract given that the other party can, is close to zero. This is true even if A and B have vastly different computing powers and is proved under very weak cryptographic assumptions.<>

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Information Theory, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 1 )