Mercurial Commitments with Applications to Zero-Knowledge Sets
Speaker: Leonid Reyzin , Boston University
Date: March 3 2006
Time: 10:30AM to 12:00AM
Location: 32-G449, Patil/Kiva, Stata Center, 32 Vassar St.
Contact: Be Blackburn, 3-6098, firstname.lastname@example.org
We introduce a new flavor of commitment schemes, which we call mercurial commitments. Informally, mercurial commitments allow for soft decommitments, which, on the one hand, are not binding, but, on the other hand, cannot conflict with true decommitments.
We then demonstrate that a particular instantiation of mercurial commitments has been implicitly used by Micali, Rabin and Kilian [MRK] for the first ever construction of zero-knowledge sets. (A zero-knowledge set scheme allows a Prover to (1) commit to a set S in a way that reveals nothing about S; and (2) prove to a Verifier, in zero knowledge, statements of the form "x in S" and "x not in S.") The rather complicated construction of [MRK] becomes easy to understand when viewed as a more general construction with mercurial commitments as an underlying building block.
By providing mercurial commitments based on various assumptions, we obtain several new zero-knowledge set constructions.
This is joint work with Melissa Chase (Brown), Alex Healy (Harvard), Anna Lysyanskaya (Brown) and Tal Malkin (Columbia).
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