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The GNU Taler system : practical and provably secure electronic payments

Florian Dold 1, 2
2 TAMIS - Threat Analysis and Mitigation for Information Security
Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique , IRISA-D4 - LANGAGE ET GÉNIE LOGICIEL
Abstract : We describe the design and implementation of GNU Taler, an electronic payment system based on an extension of Chaumian online e-cash with efficient change. In addition to anonymity for customers, it provides the novel notion of income transparency, which guarantees that merchants can reliably receive a payment from an untrusted payer only when their income from the payment is visible to tax authorities. Income transparency is achieved by the introduction of a refresh protocol, which gives anonymous change for a partially spent coin without introducing a tax evasion loophole. In addition to income transparency, the refresh protocol can be used to implement Camenisch-style atomic swaps, and to preserve anonymity in the presence of protocol aborts and crash faults with data loss by participants. Furthermore, we show the provable security of our income-transparent anonymous e-cash, which, in addition to the usual anonymity and unforgeability proper- ties of e-cash, also formally models conservation of funds and income transparency. Our implementation of GNU Taler is usable by non-expert users and integrates with the modern Web architecture. Our payment platform addresses a range of practical issues, such as tipping customers, providing refunds, integrating with banks and know-your-customer (KYC) checks, as well as Web platform security and reliability requirements. On a single machine, we achieve transaction rates that rival those of global, commercial credit card processors. We increase the robustness of the exchange—the component that keeps bank money in escrow in exchange for e-cash—by adding an auditor component, which verifies the correct operation of the system and allows to detect a compromise or misbehavior of the exchange early. Just like bank accounts have reason to exist besides bank notes, e-cash only serves as part of a whole payment system stack. Distributed ledgers have recently gained immense popularity as potential replacement for parts of the traditional financial industry. While cryptocurrencies based on proof-of-work such as Bitcoin have yet to scale to be useful as a replacement for established payment systems, other more efficient systems based on Blockchains with more classical consensus algorithms might still have promising applications in the financial industry. We design, implement and analyze the performance of Byzantine Set Union Consensus (BSC), a Byzantine consensus protocol that agrees on a (super-)set of elements at once, instead of sequentially agreeing on the individual elements of a set. While BSC is interesting in itself, it can also be used as a building block for permissioned Blockchains, where—just like in Nakamoto-style consensus—whole blocks of transactions are agreed upon at once, increasing the transaction rate.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 3:07:11 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, May 22, 2021 - 3:40:09 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-02138082, version 1


Florian Dold. The GNU Taler system : practical and provably secure electronic payments. Cryptography and Security [cs.CR]. Université Rennes 1, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019REN1S008⟩. ⟨tel-02138082⟩



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