Blocks and Chains Introduction to Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies, and Their Consensus Mechanisms



Blocks and Chains

Aljosha Judmayer, Nicholas Stifter, Katharina Krombholz, Edgar Weippl

ISBN: 9781627057165 | PDF ISBN: 9781627057134
Copyright © 2017 | 124 Pages | Publication Date: June, 2017



The new field of cryptographic currencies and consensus ledgers, commonly referred to as blockchains, is receiving increasing interest from various different communities. These communities are very diverse and amongst others include: technical enthusiasts, activist groups, researchers from various disciplines, start ups, large enterprises, public authorities, banks, financial regulators, business men, investors, and also criminals. The scientific community adapted relatively slowly to this emerging and fast-moving field of cryptographic currencies and consensus ledgers.
This was one reason that, for quite a while, the only resources available have been the Bitcoin source code, blog and forum posts, mailing lists, and other online publications. Also the original Bitcoin paper which initiated the hype was published online without any prior peer review. Following the original publication spirit of the Bitcoin paper, a lot of innovation in this field has repeatedly come from the community itself in the form of online publications and online conversations instead of established peer-reviewed scientific publishing. On the one side, this spirit of fast free software development, combined with the business aspects of cryptographic currencies, as well as the interests of today’s time-to-market focused industry, produced a flood of publications, whitepapers, and prototypes. On the other side, this has led to deficits in systematization and a gap between practice and the theoretical understanding of this new field.
This book aims to further close this gap and presents a well-structured overview of this broad field from a technical viewpoint. The archetype for modern cryptographic currencies and consensus ledgers is Bitcoin and its underlying Nakamoto consensus. Therefore we describe the inner workings of this protocol in great detail and discuss its relations to other derived systems.

About the Author(s)

Aljosha Judmayer, SBA Research
Aljosha Judmayer received a master’s degree in Software Engineering and Internet Computing at the TU Wien. He has five plus years experience in penetration testing as an IT security consultant. At the moment, he is working as an IT security researcher at SBA Research, where he is also working toward his Ph.D. degree on applications of cryptographic currencies and resilience aspects of distributed systems. His research interests include cryptographic currency technologies as well as network and systems security.

Nicholas Stifter, SBA Research
Nicholas Stifter received a master’s degree in Computer Science Management and a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from Vienna University of Technology. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. on security and maintainability aspects of blockchain technologies and smart contracts, and his research interests include Nakamoto consensus, distributed agreement protocols, and computing education for distributed systems topics.

Katharina Krombholz, SBA Research
Katharina Krombholz is a post-doctoral security researcher at SBA Research in Vienna, Austria, and a university lecturer for digital forensics at the Vienna University of Technology and the FH Campus Vienna University of Applied Sciences. She completed her Ph.D. in 2016 with distinction. Her research focuses on usable security, privacy, and digital forensics.

Edgar Weippl, SBA Research
Edgar Weippl is Research Director of SBA Research and associate professor at TU Wien. After graduating with a Ph.D. from the TU Wien, Edgar worked in a research startup for two years. He then spent one year teaching as an Assistant Professor at Beloit College, WI. From 2002 to 2004, while with the software vendor ISIS Papyrus, he worked as a consultant in New York, NY, and Albany, NY, and in Frankfurt, Germany. In 2004 he joined the TU Wien and founded the research center SBA Research together with A Min Tjoa and Markus Klemen. Edgar is a member of the editorial board of Computers & Security (COSE), organizes the ARES conference, and is General Chair of SACMAT 2015, PC Chair of Esorics 2015, and General Chair of ACM CCS 2016.

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