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An atomicity-generating protocol for anonymous currencies

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1 Author(s)
Camp, L.J. ; Sch. of Gov., Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA, USA

Atomicity is necessary for reliable electronic commerce transactions. Anonymity is also an issue of great importance not only to designers of commerce systems, but also to those concerned with the societal effects of information technologies, providing atomicity and anonymity is not trivial. Reliable systems, which provide highly atomic transactions, offer limited anonymity. Many anonymous systems (Rivest and Shamir, 1996) do not offer anonymous reliable transactions (Yee, 1994). Three basic approaches have been used: secure hardware for trusted record-keeping (Brands, 1993), storage of identity information with trustees for conditional anonymity (Low et al., 1993) or by providing dispute resolution only with the removal of anonymity (Chaum, 1988). In this work, the problem of anonymous atomic transactions for a generic token currency is solved using distributed trust and with the assumption that any single party may be corrupt. Defined is a transaction to include the provision of information goods or a contract to deliver specified goods, allowing for the highest degree of atomicity. The cryptographic strength of the atomicity guarantee can be made to the user's specification on a per transaction basis. The atomicity-generating protocol includes provision for dispute resolution and anonymous refunds. Also illustrated, is that any electronic token currency can be made reliable with the addition of this atomicity-generating protocol

Published in:

Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:27 ,  Issue: 3 )

Date of Publication:

Mar 2001

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