Sri Aravinda Krishnan Thyagarajan, Adithya Bhat, Bernardo Magri, Daniel Tschudi and Aniket Kate
Proceedings of the 25th Financial Cryptography and Data Security Conference, 2021 (to appear)
Publication year: 2020

Although blockchains aim for immutability as their core feature, several instances have exposed the harms with perfect immutability. The permanence of illicit content inserted in Bitcoin poses a challenge to law enforcement agencies like Interpol, and millions of dollars are lost in buggy smart contracts in Ethereum. A line of research then spawned on Redactable blockchains with the aim of solving the problem of redacting illicit contents from both permissioned and permissionless blockchains. However, all the existing proposals follow the build-new-chain approach for redactions, and cannot be integrated with existing systems like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
We present Reparo, a generic protocol that acts as a publicly verifiable layer on top of any blockchain to perform repairs, ranging from fixing buggy contracts to removing illicit contents from the chain. Reparo facilitates additional functionalities for blockchains while maintaining the same provable security guarantee; thus, Reparo can be integrated with existing blockchains and start performing repairs on the pre-existent data. Any system user may propose a repair and a deliberation process ensues resulting in a decision that complies with the repair policy of the chain and is publicly verifiable.
Our Reparo layer can be easily tailored to different consensus requirements, does not require heavy cryptographic machinery and can, therefore, be efficiently instantiated in any permission-ed or -less setting. We demonstrate it by giving efficient instantiations of Reparo on top of Ethereum (with PoS and PoW), Bitcoin, and Cardano. Moreover, we evaluate Reparo with Ethereum mainnet and show that the cost of fixing several prominent smart contract bugs is almost negligible. For instance, the cost of repairing the prominent Parity Multisig wallet bug with Reparo is as low as 0.000000018% of the Ethers that can be retrieved after the fix.

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