Timed Commitments

Authors: D. Boneh and M. Naor

We introduce and construct timed commitment schemes, an extension to the standard notion of commitments in which a potential forced opening phase permits the receiver to recover (with effort) the committed value without the help of the committer. An important application of our timed-commitment scheme is contract signing: two mutually suspicious parties wish to exchange signatures on a contract. We show a two-party protocol that allows them to exchange RSA or Rabin signatures. The protocol is strongly fair: if one party quits the protocol early, then the two parties must invest comparable amounts of time to retrieve the signatures. This statement holds even if one party has many more machines than the other. Other applications, including honesty preserving auctions and collective coin-flipping, are discussed.

In proceedings of Crypto '2000, Santa Barbara, LNCS 1880, Springer Verlag, pp. 236--254, 2000

Full paper: PostScript         [first posted 10/2000 ]