Coinbase’s Applied Researcher, Yehuda Lindell, has won the prestigious “Test-of-Time” award for 2022 from the International Association of Cryptologic Research (IACR). The “Test-of-Time” award recognizes papers published 15 years ago that have had a lasting impact on the field of cryptography. Yehuda’s pioneering work was published a year before another important paper you may be familiar with: “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.

His 2007 paper, “An Efficient Protocol for Secure Two-Party Computation in the Presence of Malicious Adversaries,” was the first to outline a two-party multi-party computation (MPC) protocol that was efficient enough to be implemented. In layman’s terms, secure two-party computation allows two “people” to solve a problem while keeping critical information private. For example, it solves the classic millionaires’ problem by allowing two people to understand who has more money without revealing their respective net worths. Yehuda’s work laid the foundation for future practical constructions.

Why cryptography is critical

Beyond their shared etymology related to something “hidden” or “secret”, cryptocurrency and cryptography are very intertwined. Cryptography’s mathematical and technological innovations underpin the entire crypto industry. The Bitcoin white paper makes this clear by introducing a cryptographic protocol in place of a trusted third party to validate transactions. This shift makes decentralization possible by “allowing any two willing parties to transact directly.”

Cryptography is…

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