Fan Zhang

Assistant Professor

About Me

I work on computer security and applied cryptograhpy. My research aims to solve security problems in real-world decentralized systems. In particular, I’m interested in designing novel solutions leveraging decentralized consensus (aka blockchains), cryptography, game theory, and even trusted execution environments (TEEs). I received my Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University, advised by Prof. Ari Juels. I received my bachelor’s degree from Tsinghua University. In my separate capacity, I’m a faculty advisor at Chainlink Labs. I’m also affilicated with Center for Distributed Confidential Computing (CDCC) and Center for Algorithms, Data, and Market Design at Yale.

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To learn more, you can check out my research page and publications.


  • 📣 Excited to share some early results on ZK Rollup prover market fee mechanisms with this position paper on Prooφ (proo-fee). A prover market is where ZK provers sell proof capacity, and users pay to get transactions proven (potentially coordinated by sequencers). EIP-1559 is a nice TFM for L1, but it does not work here because generating ZK proofs is expensive ($$$) today, while EIP-1559 burns most of the revenues. Challenges arise when we try to design something that covers the prover’s heterogeneous cost and has nice properties like those of EIP-1559, and Prooφ is a solution that satisfies desired properties under certain conditions. (Mar 2024)
  • 🎉 Sprints: Intermittent Blockchain PoW Mining is accepted to USENIX Security'24. (Mar 2024)
  • 🎉 The Locality of Memory Checking with Weijie Wang, Yujie Lu, and Charalampos Papamanthou is online! (To appear in CCS'23) (Sep 2023)
  • 🎙️ Sprints: Intermittent Blockchain PoW Mining will be presented at SBC'23. (Jul 2023)
  • 📣 Breaking the Chains of Rationality: Understanding the Limitations to and Obtaining Order Policy Enforcement with Sarisht Wadhwa, Luca Zanolini, Francesco D’Amato, Aditya Asgaonkar, and Kartik Nayak is online! (Jun 2023)
  • 📣 Sprints: Intermittent Blockchain PoW Mining with Michael Mirkin, Lulu Zhou, Ittay Eyal is online. (May 2023)
  • 🎉 MISO: Legacy-compatible Privacy-preserving Single Sign-on using Trusted Execution Environments has been accepted to EurpS&P 2023. (May 2023)
  • 🎉 Received Yale Roberts Innovation Fund Award. (Feb 2023)
Older ones...
  • He-HTLC: Revisiting Incentives in HTLC is accepted to NDSS 2023. Congrats to Sarisht and Jannis! (Oct 2022)
  • zkBridge: Trustless Cross-chain Bridges Made Practical is accepted to CCS 2022. (Aug 2022)
  • We wrote a blog post on incentive attacks in HTLCs and our solution He-HTLC. (Aug 2022)
  • Received an NSF Frontier grant for the Center for Distributed Confidential Computing. This is a multi-institution effort, involving faculty from IU (Lead), CMU, Duke, OSU, Penn State, Purdue, Spelman, UIUC and Yale. Yale News. (Aug 2022)
  • Received three grants from Ethereum Foundation. (Jul 2022)
  • Manuscript on He-HTLC is online. We revisited bribery attacks in HTLCs (hash-time locked contracts), presented a new family of them (reverse bribery), and proposed a solution. (May 2022)
  • Our work on empirical analysis of EIP-1559 is presented at ETHconomics @ Devconnect 2022. Recording available here. (Apr 2022)
  • Our paper on empirical analysis of EIP-1559 is accepted in CCS 2022. (Mar 2022)
  • I will join the TPC of Oakland'23. (Mar 2022)
  • I will join the TPC of CCS'22 and DeFi'22. (Dec 2021)
  • I will join the TPC of PET 2022 and AFT 2021. (May 2021)
  • I joined the TPC of PET 2021 and CCS 2021. (Nov 2020)
  • I presented DECO at CCS'20. (Nov 2020)
  • I presented CanDID at the annual convention of Chinese Institute of Engineers - Greater New York Chapter. (Oct 2020)
  • I presented CanDID at Empire Hacking (organized by Trail of Bits). (Oct 2020)
  • I presented DECO at W3C Credential Community Group (CCG). (Oct 2020)
  • I joined the TPC of Financial Crypto 2021 and DeFi'21 workshop. (Oct 2020)
  • CanDID paper is accepted to IEEE S&P 2021! (Sep 2020)
  • DECO acquisition by ChainLink is announced! (Aug 2020)
  • CanDID, our latest work on Decentralized Identity (DID) is available online. (Jul 2020)
  • DECO accepted to CCS 2020! (Mar 2020)
  • Real World Crypto (RWC) video on DECO is now available online. (Jan 2020)
  • I visited ETH Zurich and presented “Connecting Blockchains to the Real World”. (Oct 2019)
  • I presented Paralysis Proofs at ACM AFT 2019 at Zurich, Switzerland. (Oct 2019)
  • I visited IBM Waston Center and presented DECO (Decenetralized Oracles)." (Sep 2019)
  • Two papers (CHURP, Tesseract) are accepted to ACM CCS'19! See you all in London! (Sep 2019)
  • “Paralysis Proofs: Secure Access-Structure Updates for Cryptocurrencies and More” is accepted to ACM AFT'19! (Aug 2019)
  • “Ekiden: A Platform for Confidentiality-Preserving, Trustworthy, and Performant Smart Contract Execution” is accepted to EuroS&P'19! (Apr 2019)
  • Town Crier is acquired by ChainLink! (Nov 2018)
  • I’m awarded the IBM PhD Fellowship Award for 2018-2020. (Mar 2018)
  • I presented Paralysis Proof at the 5th Bitcoin workshop @ Financial Crypto 2018 in Curacao. (Mar 2018)
  • Solidus: Confidential Distributed Ledger Transactions via PVORM is accepted to CCS'17. (Aug 2017)
  • I was invited to present Town Crier at Silicon Valley Ethereum Meetup. (Aug 2017)
  • I presented REM at USENIX Security 2017, Vancouver, Canada. (Aug 2017)
  • Intern at Intel Labs this summer. (Jul 2017)
  • Town Crier is officially live! (May 2017)
  • REM: Resource-Efficient Mining for Blockchains paper is accepted to USENIX Security'17. Available here. (May 2017)
  • Sealed-Glass Proofs: Using Transparent Enclaves to Prove and Sell Knowledge is accepted to EuroS&P ‘17. (Oct 2016)
  • Town Crier: An Authenticated Data Feed for Smart Contracts is accepted to ACM CCS'16. (Jul 2016)
  • Stealing Machine Learning Models via Prediction APIs is accepted to USENIX Security'16. (May 2016)