Smart contracts, a feature of “Bitcoin 2.0” technologies such as Ethereum, could empower criminals with sophisticated trustless collaboration means, the prestigious MIT Technology Review reports.
Cornell University professors Ari Juels and Elaine Shi, with University of Maryland researcher Ahmed Kosba, present several cyber-crime scenarios enabled by smart contracts in the recently published paper “The Ring of Gyges: Using Smart Contracts for Crime.”
The Ring of Gyges is a mythical magical ring mentioned in Plato’s Republic which grants its owner the power to become invisible at will. Of course, criminals wearing the invisibility ring would commit all sorts of crimes beyond the reach of law enforcement.
Shi joined the Computer Science Department at Cornell University in August 2015. Shi was recently awarded a large National Science Foundation (NSF) research grant for cyber-security research, Bitcoin Magazine reported in July. Shi, formerly at the University of Maryland and the Maryland Cybersecurity Center, researches cryptocurrencies and “smart contracts” – computer programs that can automatically execute the terms of a contract.