Arbitrum: Scalable, private smart contracts


Harry Kalodner, Steven Goldfeder, Xiaoqi Chen, S. Matthew Weinberg, and Edward W. Felten, Princeton University


We present Arbitrum, a cryptocurrency system that supports smart contracts without the limitations of scalability and privacy of systems previous systems such as Ethereum. Arbitrum, like Ethereum, allows parties to create smart contracts by using code to specify the behavior of a virtual machine (VM) that implements the contract's functionality. Arbitrum uses mechanism design to incentivize parties to agree off-chain on what a VM would do, so that the Arbitrum miners need only verify digital signatures to confirm that parties have agreed on a VM's behavior. In the event that the parties cannot reach unanimous agreement off-chain, Arbitrum still allows honest parties to advance the VM state on-chain. If a party tries to lie about a VM's behavior, the verifier (or miners) will identify and penalize the dishonest party by using a highly-efficient challenge-based protocol that exploits features of the Arbitrum virtual machine architecture. Moving the verification of VMs' behavior off-chain in this way provides dramatic improvements in scalability and privacy. We describe Arbitrum's protocol and virtual machine architecture, and we present a working prototype implementation.

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@inproceedings {217511,
author = {Harry Kalodner and Steven Goldfeder and Xiaoqi Chen and S. Matthew Weinberg and Edward W. Felten},
title = {Arbitrum: Scalable, private smart contracts},
booktitle = {27th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 18)},
year = {2018},
isbn = {978-1-939133-04-5},
address = {Baltimore, MD},
pages = {1353--1370},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug,

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