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 presentations (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.


Sep 18 Introduction to the seminar Dr. Petar Tsankov PDF
Oct 2 Platform Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system Piero Guicciardi Gagandeep
Oct 2 Platform Ethereum: A secure decentralized generalised transaction ledger Christina Puthenkalam Gagandeep
Oct 9 Protocols The honey badger of BFT protocols Fanlin Wang Beni
Oct 9 Protocols Bitcoin-NG: A scalable blockchain protocol Raphael Eikenberg Beni
Oct 16 Attack teEther: Gnawing at Ethereum to automatically exploit smart contracts Luca Dolfi Jingxuan
Oct 16 Fuzzing Learning to fuzz from symbolic execution with application to smart contracts Anna Schmidt-Rohr Jingxuan
Oct 23 Attack The art of the scam: Demystifying honeypots in Ethereum smart contracts Philippe Panhaleux Jingxuan
Oct 23 Attack The anatomy of a cryptocurrency pump-and-dump scheme Philip Douw Jingxuan
Oct 30 Dynamic analysis Online detection of effectively callback free objects with applications to smart contracts Gagandeep
Oct 30 Verification VerX: Safety verification of smart contracts Kenan Besic Petar
Nov 6 Attack Osiris: Hunting for integer bugs in Ethereum smart contracts Rudolf Loretan Gagandeep
Nov 6 Verification VeriSmart: A highly precise safety verifier for Ethereum smart contracts Lorenz Gorse Petar
Nov 13 Networks Hijacking Bitcoin: Routing attacks on cryptocurrencies Andrea Ziani Pesho
Nov 13 Networks SABRE: Protecting Bitcoin against routing attacks David Diserens Pesho
Nov 20 Static analysis MadMax: surviving out-of-gas conditions in Ethereum smart contracts Ioannis Sachinoglou Petar
Nov 20 Static analysis Securify: Practical security analysis of smart contracts George Mtui Petar
Nov 27 Privacy Zerocash: Decentralized anonymous payments from Bitcoin Alì El Wahsh Beni
Nov 27 Privacy An empirical analysis of traceability in the Monero blockchain Abdolahad Noori Zehmakan Beni
Dec 4 Privacy Arbitrum: Scalable, private smart contracts Meghana M Reddy Sam
Dec 4 Privacy Specifying and enforcing data privacy in smart contracts Sam
Dec 11 Reverse engineering Erays: Reverse engineering Ethereum's opaque smart contracts Filippo Graziano Pesho
Dec 11 Reverse engineering Gigahorse: Thorough, declarative decompilation of smart contracts Pesho
Dec 18 Languages BitML: A calculus for Bitcoin smart contracts Sam
Dec 18 Languages Safer smart contract programming with Scilla Sam