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  • Author: Andy Rupp x
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Black-Box Accumulation: Collecting Incentives in a Privacy-Preserving Way


We formalize and construct black-box accumulation (BBA), a useful building block for numerous important user-centric protocols including loyalty systems, refund systems, and incentive systems (as, e.g., employed in participatory sensing and vehicle-to-grid scenarios). A core requirement all these systems share is a mechanism to let users collect and sum up values (call it incentives, bonus points, reputation points, etc.) issued by some other parties in a privacy-preserving way such that curious operators may not be able to link the different transactions of a user. At the same time, a group of malicious users may not be able to cheat the system by pretending to have collected a higher amount than what was actually issued to them.

As a first contribution, we fully formalize the core functionality and properties of this important building block. Furthermore, we present a generic and non-interactive construction of a BBA system based on homomorphic commitments, digital signatures, and non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs of knowledge. For our construction, we formally prove security and privacy properties. Finally, we propose a concrete instantiation of our construction using Groth-Sahai commitments and proofs as well as the optimal structure-preserving signature scheme of Abe et al. and analyze its efficiency.

Open access
Black-Box Wallets: Fast Anonymous Two-Way Payments for Constrained Devices


Black-box accumulation (BBA) is a building block which enables a privacy-preserving implementation of point collection and redemption, a functionality required in a variety of user-centric applications including loyalty programs, incentive systems, and mobile payments. By definition, BBA+ schemes (Hartung et al. CCS ‘17) offer strong privacy and security guarantees, such as unlinkability of transactions and correctness of the balance flows of all (even malicious) users. Unfortunately, the instantiation of BBA+ presented at CCS ‘17 is, on modern smartphones, just fast enough for comfortable use. It is too slow for wearables, let alone smart-cards. Moreover, it lacks a crucial property: For the sake of efficiency, the user’s balance is presented in the clear when points are deducted. This may allow to track owners by just observing revealed balances, even though privacy is otherwise guaranteed. The authors intentionally forgo the use of costly range proofs, which would remedy this problem.

We present an instantiation of BBA+ with some extensions following a different technical approach which significantly improves efficiency. To this end, we get rid of pairing groups, rely on different zero-knowledge and fast range proofs, along with a slightly modified version of Baldimtsi-Lysyanskaya blind signatures (CCS ‘13). Our prototype implementation with range proofs (for 16 bit balances) outperforms BBA+ without range proofs by a factor of 2.5. Moreover, we give estimates showing that smart-card implementations are within reach.

Open access