Fan Zhang

Assistant Professor

About Me

I work on computer security and applied cryptography. My research solves security problems in real-world decentralized systems. In particular, I’m interested in designing novel solutions leveraging Internet-scale 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. I’m also affiliated with Center for Distributed Confidential Computing (CDCC) and Center for Algorithms, Data, and Market Design at Yale (CADMY). In my separate capacity, I’m a faculty advisor at Chainlink Labs.

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


  • πŸŽ‰ Received Sui Academic Research Award. (Jun 2024)
  • πŸ“£ Excited to finally release this paper on measuring the decentralization of Ethereum’s builder market. In terms of market share, the market is highly centralized. However, we ask two questions: first, why does the builder market centralize, given that it is permissionless and anyone can join? Second, does the centralization affect the efficacy of MEV-Boost auctions? We answered these two questions using a large-scale auction dataset we curated since 2022. Read more here. (May 2024)
  • πŸŽ‰ “Data Independent Order Policy Enforcement: Limitations and Solutions” has been accepted to CCS 2024. TLDR: it proposes an AMM design that prevents sandwich attacks with a clever (credit to co authors) incentive design " (Apr 2024)
  • πŸ“£ Excited to share some early results on ZK Rollup prover market fee mechanisms with this position paper on ProoΟ† (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 ProoΟ† is a solution that satisfies desired properties under certain conditions. (Mar 2024)
  • πŸŽ‰ “Sprints: Intermittent Blockchain PoW Mining” is accepted to USENIX Security'24. (Mar 2024)
  • πŸŽ‰ “The Locality of Memory Checking” with Weijie Wang, Yujie Lu, and Charalampos Papamanthou is online! (To appear in CCS'23) (Sep 2023)
  • πŸŽ™οΈ “Sprints: Intermittent Blockchain PoW Mining” will be presented at SBC'23. (Jul 2023)
  • πŸ“£ “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)
  • πŸ“£ “Sprints: Intermittent Blockchain PoW Mining” with Michael Mirkin, Lulu Zhou, Ittay Eyal is online. (May 2023)
  • πŸŽ‰ “MISO: Legacy-compatible Privacy-preserving Single Sign-on using Trusted Execution Environments” has been accepted to EurpS&P 2023. (May 2023)
  • πŸŽ‰ 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)