Glimpse: On-Demand PoW Light Client with Constant-Size Storage for DeFi


Giulia Scaffino, TU Wien and Christian Doppler Laboratory Blockchain Technologies for the Internet of Things; Lukas Aumayr and Zeta Avarikioti, TU Wien; Matteo Maffei, TU Wien and Christian Doppler Laboratory Blockchain Technologies for the Internet of Things


Cross-chain communication is instrumental in unleashing the full potential of blockchain technologies, as it allows users and developers to exploit the unique design features and the profit opportunities of different existing blockchains. The majority of interoperability solutions are provided by centralized exchanges and bridge protocols based on a trusted majority, both introducing undesirable trust assumptions compared to native blockchain assets. Hence, increasing attention has been given to decentralized solutions: Light and super-light clients paved the way for chain relays, which allow verifying on a blockchain the state of another blockchain by respectively verifying and storing a linear and logarithmic amount of data. Unfortunately, relays turn out to be inefficient in terms of computational costs, storage, or compatibility.

We introduce Glimpse, an on-demand bridge that leverages a novel on-demand light client construction with only constant on-chain storage, cost, and computational overhead. Glimpse is expressive, enabling a plethora of DeFi and offchain applications such as lending, pegs, proofs of oracle attestations, and betting hubs. Glimpse also remains compatible with blockchains featuring a limited scripting language such as the Liquid Network (a pegged sidechain of Bitcoin), for which we present a concrete instantiation. We prove Glimpse security in the Universal Composability (UC) framework and further conduct an economic analysis. We evaluate the cost of Glimpse for Bitcoin-like chains: verifying a simple transaction has at most 700 bytes of on-chain overhead, resulting in a one-time fee of $3, only twice as much as a standard Bitcoin transaction.

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@inproceedings {291313,
author = {Giulia Scaffino and Lukas Aumayr and Zeta Avarikioti and Matteo Maffei},
title = {Glimpse: {On-Demand} {PoW} Light Client with {Constant-Size} Storage for {DeFi}},
booktitle = {32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-37-3},
address = {Anaheim, CA},
pages = {733--750},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug