[talks] Muneeb Ali will present his FPO on Friday, May 19, 2017 at 1:30pm in CS 105.

Nicki Gotsis ngotsis at CS.Princeton.EDU
Fri May 12 11:23:24 EDT 2017

Muneeb Ali will present his FPO on Friday, May 19, 2017 at 1:30pm in CS 105. 

The members of his committee are: Andrea LaPaugh (adviser); Readers: Mike Freedman and Arvind Narayanan; Nonreaders: Jennifer Rexford and Brian Kernighan 

All are welcome to attend. The talk title and abstract follow below. 

Trust-to-Trust Design of a New Internet 

The internet’s original design, guided by the end-to-end design principle, pushed all 
application-specific logic and complexity to the edges of the network and kept the core 
of the network focused on the simple task of delivering data. The original end-to-end 
principle, however, did not explicitly account for trust and security. There are several 
central points of trust and failure on the traditional internet. These include root servers for 
the Domain Name System (DNS) and public-key infrastructure like Certificate Authorities 
(CAs) that publish security certificates. Further, the success of cloud hosted services in the 
last decade means that most user data is stored on remote servers and end-users need to 
trust these remote servers for correct execution of their applications. 
In this thesis, we present a new internet architecture that explicitly follows the trust-totrust 
design principle, i.e., end-users don’t need to trust the core of the network for anything, 
and end-users can use applications and services in a fully decentralized way. We make the 
observation that cryptocurrency blockchains, like Bitcoin, can be used to bootstrap trust 
for new nodes joining a network. We identify the various limitations, like high latency 
and limited bandwidth, of contemporary blockchains and discuss how our architecture can 
scale by moving most operations outside of the blockchain layer. 
We detail our experience of running a large production system on top of a cryptocurrency 
blockchain and how that experience guided our design. We present the implementation 
of a new decentralized internet, called Blockstack, that takes the trust-to-trust architecture 
from a theoretical concept to a production system. Deploying new systems by modifying 
production blockchains is hard because it requires coordination and agreement from 
several parties. We introduce virtualchains, a virtual blockchain constructed by processing 
data from underlying blockchains, to enable the seamless introduction of new functionality 
on top of blockchains without requiring any consensus-breaking changes. Blockstack is 
already powering several fully decentralized applications, like OpenBazaar; it’s released as 
open-source software and, to date, more than 70,000 domains have been registered on it. 
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