Arbitrum: Scalable smart contacts

Steven Goldfeder


Arbitrum is a cryptocurrency system that supports smart contracts without the limitations of scalability and privacy of systems like Ethereum. Like Ethereum, Arbitrum allows parties to create smart contracts by using code to specify the behavior of a "virtual trusted party." Arbitrum uses mechanism design to incentivize parties to agree off-chain on what a smart contract would do, so that the Arbitrum miners need only verify digital signatures to confirm that parties have agreed on a contract's behavior. If a party tries to lie about a VM's behavior, the verifier (or miners) will impose a substantial financial penalty on the liar, after efficiently identifying who is lying by using a challenge-based protocol that exploits features of the Arbitrum virtual machine architecture. Moving the verification of contracts' behavior off-chain in this way provides dramatic improvements in scalability and privacy. We describe Arbitrum's protocol and virtual machine architecture, and present a working prototype implementation.

This is joint work with Harry Kalodner, Xiaoqi Chen, S. Matthew Weinberg, and Edward W. Felten.


Steven Goldfeder is a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University, advised by Arvind Narayanan. He is a member of the Security & Privacy Research Group, a CITP Graduate Student Fellow, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. His research interests include cryptography, security, and privacy, especially decentralized digital currencies. He is a co-author of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies (Princeton University Press, 2016).

Time and Place

Tuesday, April 10, 4:15pm
Gates 463A