Gas Ticketing: Ethereum Block’s Backend Pass

One of the challenges facing Ethereum today is privacy. Managing numerous addresses and maintaining the necessary level of privacy for secure financial transactions has become increasingly challenging. Ethereum researcher Toni Wahrstätter has proposed Gas Ticketing, which consists of a Python CLI and a coordinator/ticketing system written in Go. It provides funding for accounts with no funds in a privacy-protecting manner using blind signatures.

Some privacy issues can be attributed to the fact that an EOA needs a minimum amount of ETH to pay for gas costs before taking action on the Ethereum network. With the introduction of EIP-1559 and the enforcement of base fees, zero gas transactions become impossible. However, we can circumvent this by having a (minimally trusted) external party, namely a coordinator, handle the funding problem of zero-fund EOAs by purchasing and redeeming “gas tickets.” At the same time, we are able to effectively disconnect the user’s sensitive account (purchasing tickets) from their zero-fund account (redeeming tickets), providing more privacy.

How it works: 1) The user generates random/arbitrary data and blinds it. 2) The user sends it together with some ETH to the coordinator. 3) The coordinator confirms receipt and signs the blinded data. 4) The coordinator returns the signed blinded data. 5) The user decrypts the signed blinded data and obtains the coordinator’s signature. 6) The user submits the signature, un-funded address, and blinded ticket to the coordinator using their zero-fund account. 7) The coordinator verifies the signature and funds the provided address with the ticket’s value.

The coordinator has never seen the unblinded data before signing, but is faced with their valid signature, which the user extracts from the returned signed blinded data. Only by decrypting the returned signed blinded data can the signature be retrieved. Seeing the signature, the coordinator can be confident that the user is entitled to some account funds to exchange for a ticket, without knowing which specific ticket is being exchanged.


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