Preserving transparency and accountability in optimistic fair exchange of digital signatures
Optimistic fair exchange (OFE) protocols are useful tools for two participants to fairly exchange items with the aid of a third party who is only involved if needed. A widely accepted requirement is that the third party's involvement in the exchange must be transparent, to protect privacy and avoid bad publicity. At the same time, a dishonest third party would compromise the fairness of the exchange and the third party thus must be responsible for its behaviors. This is achieved in OFE protocols with another property called accountability. It is unfortunate that the accountability has never been formally studied in OFE since its introduction ten years ago. In this paper, we fill these gaps by giving the first complete definition of accountability in OFE where one of the exchanged items is a digital signature and a generic (also the first) design of OFE where transparency and accountability coexist.