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The Design and Implementation of a Secure Auction Service
May 1996 (vol. 22 no. 5)
pp. 302-312

Abstract—We present the design and implementation of a distributed service for performing sealed-bid auctions. This service provides an interface by which clients, or "bidders," can issue secret bids to the service for an advertised auction. Once the bidding period has ended, the auction service opens the bids, determines the winning bid, and provides the winning bidder with a ticket for claiming the item bid upon. Using novel cryptographic techniques, the service is constructed to provide strong protection for both the auction house and correct bidders, despite the malicious behavior of any number of bidders and fewer than one-third of the servers comprising the auction service. Specifically, it is guaranteed that 1) bids of correct bidders are not revealed until after the bidding period has ended, 2) the auction house collects payment for the winning bid, 3) losing bidders forfeit no money, and 4) only the winning bidder can collect the item bid upon. We also discuss techniques to enable anonymous bidding.

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Index Terms:
Distributed systems, security, Byzantine failures, electronic commerce, sealed-bid auctions, verifiable signature sharing.
Citation:
Matthew K. Franklin, Michael K. Reiter, "The Design and Implementation of a Secure Auction Service," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 302-312, May 1996, doi:10.1109/32.502223
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