Minimal message complexity of asynchronous multi-party contract signing

Sjouke Mauw*, Saša Radomirović, Mohammad Torabi Dashti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

22 Citations (Scopus)


Multi-party contract signing protocols specify how a number of signers can cooperate in achieving a fully signed contract, even in the presence of dishonest signers. This problem has been studied in different settings, yielding solutions of varying complexity. Here we assume the presence of a trusted third party that will be contacted only in case of a conflict, asynchronous communication, and a total ordering of the protocol steps. Our goal is to develop a lower bound on the number of messages in such a protocol. Using the notion of abort chaining, a specific type of attack on fairness of signing protocols, we derive the lower bound α 2 + 1, with α > 2 being the number of signers involved. We obtain the lower bound by relating the problem of developing fair signing protocols to the open combinatorial problem of finding shortest permutation sequences. This relation also indicates a way to construct signing protocols which are shorter than state-of-the-art protocols. We illustrate our approach by presenting the shortest three-party fair contract signing protocol.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2009 22nd IEEE Computer Security Foundations Symposium
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780769537122
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2009
Event22nd IEEE Computer Security Foundations Symposium 2009 - Port Jefferson, NY, United States
Duration: 8 Jul 200910 Jul 2009

Publication series

NameIEEE Computer Security Foundations Symposium
ISSN (Print)1940-1434


Conference22nd IEEE Computer Security Foundations Symposium 2009
Abbreviated titleCSF 2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPort Jefferson, NY

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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