This seminar introduces students to the latest research trends in the field of blockchains. The seminar covers the basics of blockchain technology, including motivation for decentralized currency, establishing trust between multiple parties using consensus algorithms, and smart contracts as a means to establish decentralized computation. It also covers security issues arising in blockchains and smart contracts as well as automated techniques for detecting vulnerabilities using programming language techniques.

The objectives of this seminar are twofold:

  • learning about the blockchain platform, a prominent technology receiving a lot of attention in computer science and economy and
  • learning to convey and present complex and technical concepts in simple terms, and in particular identifying the core idea underlying the technicalities.

The seminar is carried out as a set of presentatins (2 each lecture) chosen from a set of available papers (available below). The grade is determined as a function of the presentation, handling questions and answers, and participation.


Introduction to the seminar (topics, objectives, structure) Prof. Dr. Martin Vechev PDF
Mar 16 Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System Hang Tong PDF Dana
Mar 16 Hijacking Bitcoin: Routing Attacks on Cryptocurrencies Pascal Blöchlinger PDF Petar
Mar 23 Zerocash: Decentralized Anonymous Payments from Bitcoin Giuseppe Russo PDF Dana
Mar 23 Ouroboros: A Provably Secure Proof-of-Stake Blockchain Protocol Sabina Fischlin PDF Dana
Apr 13 Solidus: Confidential Distributed Ledger Transactions via PVORM David Lanzenberger PDFPetar
Apr 20 On the Security and Performance of Proof of Work Blockchains Ali Uzpak PDF Petar
Apr 20 Concurrency and Privacy with Payment-Channel Networks Alejandro Garcia Castaneda PDF Dana
Apr 27 ZEUS: Analyzing Safety of Smart Contracts Philippe Yann Schlattner PDF Petar
Apr 27 OmniLedger: A Secure, Scale-Out, Decentralized Ledger via Sharding Felix Laufenberg PDF Petar
May 4 FruitChains: A Fair Blockchain Manuel Grossmann PDF Dimitar
May 4 A Concurrent Perspective on Smart Contracts Flavius-Andrei Isac PDF Andrei
May 11 Teechain: Scalable Blockchain Payments using Trusted Execution Environments Tobias Krebs PDF Sinisa
May 11 Hyperledger Fabric: A Distributed Operating System for Permissioned Blockchains Pirmin Schmid PDF Sinisa
May 18 Eclipse Attacks on Bitcoin’s Peer-to-Peer Network Aleksandar Vorkapic PDF Kari
May 18 Smartpool: Practical Decentralized Pooled Mining Angela Rellstab PDF Dana
May 25 REM: Resource-Efficient Mining for Blockchains Noah Delius PDF Andrei
June 1 Algorand: Scaling Byzantine Agreements for Cryptocurrencies Din Tamari PDF Petar
June 1 A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains George Alexandre Roque PDF Kari