Large-scale peer-to-peer systems always face the risks of DoS from faulty or malicious nodes. In Bitcoin systems, one of the most concerning examples is the channel jamming class of attacks against the Lightning network. Common Internet mitigation solutions (X.509 public key infrastructure, permissioned whitelist, etc.) should be discarded as they ultimately rely on persistent identities and a centralized authority to assert them, which is not aligned with Bitcoin’s trust-minimized nature.
We propose Stake Certificates to mitigate channel jamming. Certificates are UTXO ownership proofs that can be leveraged to obtain routing credit balance towards lightning routing nodes, effectively binding a channel liquidity usage to the ownership of scarce UTXOs. These Certificates should be zero-knowledge proofs, to prevent identification of a specific UTXO and thus preserve the financial privacy of their users.
We believe Certificate-based protocols would solve many Sybil challenges in the wider Bitcoin ecosystem. Furthermore, Certificates could serve as a building block for verifiable proof-of-reserve protocols, enhancing public confidence in custodial entities.
We are currently evaluating the economic effectiveness of our proposed mitigations and assessing different cryptosystems to build Stakes Certificates.