- Decentralized Order Books
Through research collaboration with the AMF - Autorite des Marches Financiers , the organization responsible for financial regulation in the Canadian province of Quebec, we identified a strong interest in blockchain and distributed ledger technologies and a desire to understand the consequences they might have for changing the regulatory landscape of financial markets in Quebec and abroad. Also, with the high trading volume of digital assets, the need for a highly secure exchange and trading system is crucial. Accordingly, I am currently working on this project to understand the landscape of options for designing a distributed order book for exchanging digital assets that is run over an open network of computers without anyone in charge. A decentralized order book offers participants a fully automated system for trading digital assets (already on the blockchain in some form) with transparent order execution rules (that are enforced by the consensus of the network) and straight-through processing without an additional clearing/settlement process.
Stablecoins are a sudden phenomenon in the rapidly growing world of cryptocurrencies. Extreme volatility in Bitcoin and other well-known cryptocurrencies has hampered transactions, increased speculation, and hindered mature lending/credit market from forming. Therefore, governments, companies, and financial institutions have shown interests in cryptocurrencies designed to have lower volatility than Bitcoin or Ether, also known as stablecoins, and now we can find quite a few of of them in circulation. Although huge number of blog posts and research paper were published on this topic In 2018, which is known as year of the stablecoins, there is a lack of understanding the core stability mechanism and methodologies. The reason behind is that the majority of these research works focus on enumerating the intricate details of how a particular "brand" of stablecoins works today-details that could change tomorrow. In this project, we provide a thorough understanding of stablecoins and fundamental stability mechanisms, which is the results of a comprehensive survey we performed in early 2019. As opposed to the other research works on this topic, we are very selective in the concepts from finance we bring into the survey and explain each from first principles, while attempting to minimize or eliminate jargon. In addition, we represent the taxonomy we use to classify stablecoins in the way it has not been done before.
- Front-running Attacks on Blockchains
The emergence of blockchain technologies has introduced important risks and issues surrounding crypto-asset tradings for regulatory agencies, one such major issue is front-running. Front-running is a course of action where an entity benefits from prior access to privileged market information about upcoming transactions and trades. This issue existed in financial instrument markets since the 1970s and now it has found its way to crypto exchange by emerging use-cases of the blockchain technology. In this research project, we conducted extensive research on the front-running attacks across the traditional exchanges as well as the top 25 most active decentral applications (DApps) deployed on Ethereum blockchain. By performing substantial analysis on various types of front-running attacks, we proposed a set of key mitigations that can be applied to prevent and detect such attacks. The significance of the study is demonstrated by the fact that it was funded by Quebec's financial regulator; Autorite des marches financiers (AMF). The outcomes of this research are significantly useful for AMF (and other regulatory agencies) towards a more effective regulation of the financial markets. This research project was published and presented in 018 Workshop on Trusted Smart Contracts (WTSC), co-located with Financial Cryptography and Data Security Conference.
- Decentralizing Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and Naming Systems Usig Ethereum
Through my extensive research on the Internet security model, I discovered that majority of the Internet exploitations are results of how certificate authorities (CAs) function. CAs are trusted businesses (eg., GoDaddy) that manage and issue security certificates that are used for securing web communications. Too much trust is being placed on CAs to ensure security of the web has led these entities to introduce single point-of-failures in the entire Internet- if a CA gets hacked or acts maliciously, the security of the entire web will be threatened. To address this issue, I used the blockchain technology to simplify and secure the web trust model. In this innovative research project, which was partially sponsored by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, I designed and implemented a novel decentralized public key infrastructure and naming system on the Ethereum blockchain. This system enables Internet users to communicate securely without relying on any trusted third parties (e.g., CAs).