Sikoba Research

Applied research in cryptography, blockchain and distributed systems

Check our latest publication from 15/03/2021:
An Introduction to Asynchronous Binary Byzantine Consenus


itugen will be a blockchain platform exclusively dedicated to e-voting. Using the most recent advances in zero-knowledge protocols as well as quantum-resistant cryptography, itugen will provide maximum transparency and ease of use, while ensuring voter privacy, voter confidentiality, secrecy of ongoing voting and protection against double votes. It is also designed to be massively scalable.

Given the current world-wide political disaffection, we believe that tools like itugen can also be helpful to foster new ways of democratic participation in new political processes - what might be called democracy 2.0.

A special feature of itugen is compatibility with existing blockchains. Its interfaces allow such blockchains to run all or part of their governance on itugen. It will interface with Ethereum, which will make it possible to organise votes of Ethereum ERC20 tokenholders with minimal effort.

isekai makes zero-knowledge proofs accessible to mainstream programmers:

- isekai supports 3 ZKP libraries and 5 proof systems: libsnark (Groth16 and BCTV14a), dalek (Bulletproofs) and libiop (Aurora and Ligero).

- isekai is also the first tool allowing programmers to take existing C or C++ code and generally require only slight modifications to make it compatible with isekai. This is because isekai supports many features of regular programming languages, without using a domain specific language.

Isekai is written using the Crystal programming language and takes LLVM bitcode (LLVM IR) as its input. For more details and installation instructions, visit the isekai github repo:

We released isekai 1.0 on 8 November 2019. This article focuses on the current status and supported language features. Read more...

This post discusses potential applications of isekai to various blockchains. Read more...

We have done a benchmark, comparing 5 proof schemes using identical arithmetic circuits. Read more...


Initially created as a separate legal entity, "Sikoba Research" is now a project of Sikoba Ltd, which is developing a peer-to-peer IOU platform based on blockchain technology.

The purpose of Sikoba Research is to conduct fundamental and applied research in the areas of cryptography, blockchain and distributed systems, and to develop open source software in these areas.  

Consultancy Services

We can help you determine whether ZK proof techniques can be applied to your use case, given the current state of research and existing software implementations. If yes, we help evaluate suitable approaches and work with you to set up a complete end-to-end proof system.

Based on our extensive experience, we can also help you create blockchain applications from scratch. 

Research Topics

Verifiable Computing and Privacy-Preserving Smart Contracts - We are developing a framework that allows to delegate execution of smart contracts away from the blockchain while keeping proof-of-correct execution on-chain, thereby preserving the fundamental principles of decentralised ledger technology.

Consensus Protocols - We are working on methods to optimise and speed up consensus protocols for consortium blockchains, in particular one-step consensus and self-pruning networks. We are also developing an approach for non-deterministic state machine replication.

Token Economics - As the blockchain hype is receding, we need new approaches to how tokens are used on smart contract platforms. We are exploring models in which transaction prices are naturally linked to costs of cloud computing and cloud storage.

Blockchain Governance
- In order to avoid forks, governance in distributed systems must focus on building a wide consensus among all stakeholders. Our research focuses on consensus models suitable for blockchains.

Partner with Us

Partnership Opportunities

We are looking to partner with researchers and dev teams who work on ZK proof systems, with the aim of integrating such systems with isekai.

On the software side, we are looking to cooperate with talented developers who are interested in topics such as programming language design and parsing, cryptography and distributed systems. Our language of choice is Crystal.

Until the end of 2019, Fantom Foundation supported Sikoba's Research efforts in the areas of trustless computing, consensus algorithms and token economics.

ZKLux - Luxembourg Zero Knowledge Days

On 26-27 June 2019 we hosted ZKLux#1, Luxembourg's first conference specifically dedicated to zero knowledge proofs. If you are interested to speak at a future ZKLux#2 conference, or to participate as a sponsor or partner, please get in touch with us!


This is an introduction to consensus in asynchronous environments. It provides some historical background, shows how common coins can be implemented using threshold cryptography and introduces basic consensus mechanics. A recent protocol by Tyler Crain is then explained in detail, and it is also shown under which conditions the Adversary would be able to break the protocol. This paper also shows that Crain's protocol can be easily adapted to the weakly Byzantine setting, where only a subset of faulty nodes are Byzantine.

Compiling programs for integration with multiple ZKP systems - Guillaume Drevon - Feb 2020  
Generating a zero-knowledge proof of the execution of a software program is a task that has been solved in theory many years ago, but in practice many hurdles remain to be overcome. In this paper, we explore the results of our work trying to solve this problem in the most generic way, using the isekai verifiable computation framework. In addition to the issues we have faced, we also show some optimizations that we found along the way and demonstrate how we used our project to benchmark several zero-knowledge proofs systems.

Itugen: Transparent and Anonymous voting without Tallying Authorities - Drevon, Iovino, Kampa - Dec 2019 
We propose itugen, a new verifiable e-voting system that enjoys very strong security guarantees. Our scheme strictly divides ballot allocation from voting, and the voting system ensures both privacy and verifiability. Authorities are trusted only to guarantee the validity and independence of the ballots but cannot break the privacy of any individual voter or subvert the result of the election even if they collude.

Benchmarking Zero-Knowledge Proofs with isekai - Drevon, Kampa - Dec 2019
We present the results of a benchmarking exercise for five ZK proof systems sup-
ported by the isekai verifiable computation framework. Because identical arithmetical
circuits are used, a direct comparison becomes possible. Results are provided for three
types of computations: dynamic memory access, array sorting and sha256 hashing.

Overview of open source libraries for Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) - Oussama Amine - Sep 2019
This report focuses on currently available libraries for F/HE. It describes their building blocks, how these blocks contribute to the implementation of the F/HE schemes in question and the external libraries on which they depend."

By spawning multiple Single-Sender consensus processes, and introducing the concept of proof to prevent premature timeout messages from Byzantine nodes, we achieve efficient consensus that is very fast under favourable circumstances.

Constitution of the Fantom Network and Governance of the Fantom Network - Alex Kampa, with Andre Cronje, Michael Kong, Quan Nguyen and George Samman - Aug 2019
Fantom is designed to be a high-performance public blockchain. The Governance document presents the principles, bodies and rules on which the governance of the Fantom blockchain will be based,  in application of the general aims and principles set out in the Constitution.
This paper introduces Least-Resistance Consensus (LRC), a cardinal voting system which focuses entirely on measuring resistance rather than acceptance.

Zero knowledge for computations with RAM - Dmitry Khovratovich - Jul 2019
This paper provides a complete model for dynamic memory and code access used in TinyRAM.
The model can be viewed as modelling the internal logic of a RISC CPU with extra logic that
verifies the consistency of memory and code retrievals.

Bulletproofs - Dmitry Khovratovich - May 2019
We provide the first succinct and complete description of the Bulletproofs zero-knowledge proof system, as well as instructions how to create such proofs using public libraries.

J-R1CS, a JSON Lines format for R1CS - Guillaume Drevon - Apr 2019
R1CS (rank-1 constraint systems) define a set of bi-linear equations which serve as constraints suitable for ZK proofs. This paper presents J-R1CS, a simple and lightweight JSON Lines format dedicated to R1CS. It was proposed at the 2nd ZKProof workshop as a community standard (presentation in pdf)

One-Step Consensus in Weakly Byzantine Environments - Aleksander Kampa - revised and expanded version - Mar 2019
Under some conditions, binary asynchronous Byzantine consensus can be reached in a single communication step. This paper show how these conditions can be relaxed when only a subset of faulty nodes is Byzantine.

Verifiable Databases - Dmitry Khovratovich - Dec 2018
An overview of current approaches for verifiable database interactions. When only queries are involved, the solutions only need to prove authenticity. With updates, computations integrity must be proven.

State of the Art in Verifiable Computation - Dmitry Khovratovich - Dec 2018
This paper presents a detailed overview of current approaches used: Interactive Proofs, Homomorphic public-key cryptosystems, Discrete logarithm problem, MPC derivative and Incrementally Verifiable Computation. The properties of existing implementations are discussed and their performances compared based on available benchmarks.

Exploring Pairing-Based Cryptography - Stéphane Vincent - Dec 2018
One of the key cryptographic primitives behind various constructions, including privacy-preserving authentication, short signature schemes, and zero-knowledge proofs is the bilinear mapping technique that uses pairings over elliptic curves. Initially used in cryptography to break the discrete logarithm problem in a group of points of some elliptic curves, pairings are now considered to be one of the most suitable mathematical tools to design secure and efficient cryptographic protocols. 

A Primer on NIZK Proofs for Secure Computation - Stéphane Vincent  - Dec 2018
Non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs (NIZKPs) are an essential element for providing security, confidentiality and privacy on public smart contract platforms. After introducing the necessary background on circuit representation, a description of a C-to-arithmetic-circuit compiler is provided. Finally, two NIZP systems based on different cryptographic assumptions are presented.


"Sikoba Research" is a project of Sikoba Ltd. For more information visit: