MoneyMorph: Censorship Resistant Rendezvous using Permissionless Cryptocurrencies

Authors: Mohsen Minaei (Purdue University), Pedro Moreno-Sanchez (TU Wien), Aniket Kate (Purdue University)

Volume: 2020
Issue: 3
Pages: 404–424

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Abstract: Cryptocurrencies play a major role in the global financial ecosystem. Their presence across different geopolitical corridors, including in repressive regimes, has been one of their striking features. In this work, we leverage this feature for bootstrapping Censorship Resistant communication. We conceptualize the notion of stego-bootstrapping scheme and its security in terms of rareness and security against chosencovertext attacks. We present MoneyMorph, a provably secure stego-bootstrapping scheme using cryptocurrencies. MoneyMorph allows a censored user to interact with a decoder entity outside the censored region, through blockchain transactions as rendezvous, to obtain bootstrapping information such as a censorshipresistant proxy and its public key. Unlike the usual bootstrapping approaches (e.g., emailing) with heuristic security, if any, MoneyMorph employs public-key steganography over blockchain transactions to ensure provable cryptographic security. We design rendezvous over Bitcoin, Zcash, Monero, and Ethereum, and analyze their effectiveness in terms of available bandwidth and transaction cost. With its highly cryptographic structure, we show that Zcash provides 1148 byte bandwidth per transaction costing less than 0.01 USD as fee.

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