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Review Summary: Tools for Game Theoretic Models of Security for Cryptocurrencies

Published onMar 02, 2020
Review Summary: Tools for Game Theoretic Models of Security for Cryptocurrencies

Review Summary
SoK: Tools for Game Theoretic Models of Security for Cryptocurrencies. [PDF]
Sarah Azouvi (University College London, Protocol Labs), Alexander Hicks (University College London)
(‡ accepted for both conference and journal)

Paper summaries from the reviewers:
“The authors introduce a collection of work applying game theory to cryptographic protocols, distributed systems, and cryptocurrency. They show how existing models in each field are being adapted to introduce traditional components of game theory (e.g. actors and incentives), and discuss numerous other works applying these adaptations. They identify several places where improvements could be made to existing work, and propose some new lines of research. In conclusion, the authors suggest that rather than continuing to simply cross-pollinating old models, a new field of theory may be necessary to incorporate incentive analysis at each step of protocol design.”

“The paper gives an overview of papers that deal with the intersection of cryptograpy, game theory and distributed systems. They introduce some tools used for analysis of game theory, such as mechanism design, Nash equilibrium, Bayesian Nash equilibrium. The paper highlights the differences between security analysis approaches in the cryptography versus game theory and overviews some papers dealing with the intersection of theses two fields. They overview papers dealing with problems from the distributed systems fields containing game theoretical problems. Then they overview blockchain papers dealing with analysis of the incentive scheme and incentive based attacks, they explain the game theory analysis in each of them. Finally they conclude that in the blockchain literature, there isn't a general game theoretic framework to compare and evaluate blockchains.”

Comments on the strength of the paper:
“As an survey, the paper reviews selected work from other authors. The authors have carefully curated a list of well-known papers from the covered fields. The paper is entirely dedicated to analysis of related work. It succinctly explains dozens of papers and concepts.”

“Thorough literary survey of game theory analysis tools in distributed systems and blockchain papers. This work can be a great start for anyone looking to analyze the players' behavior in a distributed or permissionless system.”

“Broad survey of models that address cryptography, security, and distributed systems questions from the perspective of game theory. The paper lists the existing literature first according to the links between cryptography and game theory, then for links between distributed protocols and game theory. Furthermore the recent work that takes up such models specifically for blockchains is reviewed.”

“As the topic moves from game theory and academic systems to cryptocurrency, formalized models are presented alongside empirical analyses and proposed engineering systems. Their conclusions are treated equivalently, which creates some confusion between analysis of idealized and instantiated cryptocurrency systems. Additionally, more discussion was warranted.”

“Title seems too complex, since there is not so much "systematization" occurring and I could not find many proper "tools". Rather a comprehensive overview of the many approaches taken in past works.”

“For getting a higher-level insight, I wish the authors would have unified the presentation of cryptographic multiparty protocols and Byzantine consensus protocols in one. Reason is simply that the latter can be understood formally as special cases of the former, just without confidentiality constraints.”

Note from the Chairs: Based on reviewer feedback, it seems that the paper is successful as a survey, even if not qualifying as an Systematization of Knowledge in a strict sense.


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