GCASR 2018‎ > ‎


Elaine Shi

Associate Professor, Cornell
Packard Fellow, Sloan Fellow
Co-director, Initiative for Cryptocurrency and Contracts (IC3)

Title: Thunder Token: A Fast and High Throughput Blockchain

Abstract: In this talk, I will describe the core consensus protocol behind Thunder Token. Thunder is a fast and high throughput blockchain that supports EVM smart contracts. Right now, major blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum have all reached throughput bottleneck which drives up transaction fees. Since Cryptokitties, Ethereum transaction fees have been as high as millions of USD per day. Thunder Tokens will allow the existing DApp demand (most of which use EVM) to readily migrate with little to no modification. Thunder Token is enabled by a new paradigm in large-scale consensus. Our consensus protocol combines 1) a slow chain, which can be any standard blockchain such as Ethereum or a proof-of-stake blockchain, and 2) a fast path where a committee of stakeholders and a special party called an accelerator perform voting. Almost all the time, transactions are confirmed on the fast path instantly without waiting for the slowchain to grow. When the fast path fails, there is a provably secure mechanism to fall back to the slowchain and from there one can bootstrap the fast path. The accelerator’s only job is to speed up transaction confirmation, and even a malicious accelerator cannot harm security or decentralization. Joint work with Rafael Pass.

Bio: Elaine Shi is an Associate Professor at Cornell University and a co-founder of IC3. She is a co-inventor of Thunder's core consensus protocol. Elaine was a co-author of the first peer-reviewed publication on Bitcoin, and the first peer-reviewed publication on smart contracts. She is also the first to teach smart contract programming. Elaine has won numerous awards for her research, such as the Packard Fellowship, the Sloan Fellowship, and numerous other best paper awards.