AFT 2022
Conference paper

Atomic cross-chain exchanges of shared assets

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A core enabler for blockchain or DLT interoperability is the ability to atomically exchange assets held by mutually untrusting owners on different ledgers. This atomic swap problem has been well-studied, with the Hash Time Locked Contract (HTLC) emerging as a canonical solution. HTLC ensures atomicity of exchange, albeit with caveats for node failure and timeliness of claims. But a bigger limitation of HTLC is that it only applies to a model consisting of two adversarial parties having sole ownership of a single asset in each ledger. Realistic extensions of the model in which assets may be jointly owned by multiple parties, all of whose consents are required for exchanges, or where multiple assets must be exchanged for one, are susceptible to collusion attacks and hence cannot be handled by HTLC. In this paper, we generalize the model of asset exchanges across DLT networks and present a taxonomy of use cases, describe the threat model, and propose MPHTLC, an augmented HTLC protocol for atomic multi-owner-and-asset exchanges. We analyze the correctness, safety, and application scope of MPHTLC. As proof-of-concept, we show how MPHTLC primitives can be implemented in networks built on Hyperledger Fabric and Corda, and how MPHTLC can be implemented in the Hyperledger Labs Weaver framework by augmenting its existing HTLC protocol.