Delivery: This course is not tele-lectured.
Prerequisites: Security and Cryptography (IN4191).
Capacity: From academic year 2020-2021 onwards, there won't be a cap on the number of participating students any longer.
Motivation: Blockchain and distributed ledger technology have the potential to disruptively change and further automate the way we do (financial) transactions, supply-chain flows, and even governance. This course will teach you the relevant concepts surrounding blockchain technology and provide you with hands-on experience. At the same time, this course will also help to cut through the hype and understand when the application of blockchain technology does and doesn’t make sense.
Synopsis: The course will start with a high-paced series of lectures on relevant topics surrounding blockchain technology in the first four weeks. In addition, teams of 3-5 students will work on technical blockchain projects to further deepen their knowledge and gain hands-on experience. Students can choose from a pool of project ideas or propose their own. Note that these projects will be of a technical nature and require programming and software engineering skills.
Learning outcomes: The student will be able to:
- describe and explain blockchain technology
- relate it to existing technology
- reason about which real-world problems are and which are not suitable to apply it to.
- design and engineer complex blockchain-based solutions.
Lecturers: Dr Maarten Everts (UT)
Examination: Written exam (50%) and project (50%).
Contents: Blockchain overview and building blocks (refresher applied cryptography building blocks, authenticated data structures, Bitcoin and Ethereum basics, attacks); Consensus protocols (refresher Byzantine Fault Tolerance, permissionless consensus, proof-of-work, proof-of-stake, incentives & game theory, permissioned protocols, Corda, Hyperledger); Smart Contracts
(Bitcoin scripts, Ethereum model, distributed autonomous organizations, Tezos, special purpose vs. general purpose languages/VMs, Hyperledger Chaincode, formal verification of smart contracts); Confidentiality, privacy, and anonymity
(Pseudonymity, anonymity, coin mixers, Zcash + zk-SNARKS, Monero); Governance (Soft and hard forks, interoperability); Ecosystems, applications, and society (cryptocurrency ecosystem, dark markets, DAO, trust, societal impact).
Core text: Various papers from the literature.