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Cryptocurrencies (Half Module Compuer Science)

Instructors: Georg Fuchsbauer and Krzysztof Pietrzak


Digital currencies (aka cryptocurrencies) exist only in the digital realm, and their security must be ensured using cryptographic techniques. After an introduction to the relevant cryptographic concepts (including hash functions, digital signature schemes and zero-knowledge proofs) we'll first discuss classical "centralized" cryptocurrencies including eCash. The bulk of the course will be about recent decentralized cryptocurrencies, most notably Bitcoin.


If you attend the course, please register so we can update you on short term changes. IST students can do so via IQ, externals please use this form.

Time and Location

Lectures (2x 75 min with a 15min break) are Friday 13:00-15:45 pm (starting Fri. 27 November) in Seminar Room Mondi 1, IST Austria Central Building, 1st floor.

Recitation 16:00-16.45 (There usually won't be homework. The recitation will only take place if necssary).



Final grade

The grade will be based on an exam (probably oral).

Schedule (tentative, subject to change)

Date Topic Notes Assignments
Friday, 27 November, 2015 Crypto basics: hash functions, definitions
Friday, 4 December, 2015 Crypto basics: encryption, signatures; Chaum's e-cash
Friday, 11 December, 2015 No class due to IST student retreat
Friday, 18 December, 2015 Sigma protocols, Brands' e-cash / An introduction to Bitcoin Brands' eCash Watch the first three lectures of the Princeton Coursera Cryptocurrency course.
Friday, 8 January, 2015 Using the blockchain for more than just a currency; Smart contracts, Ethereum, etc.
Friday, 15 January, 2015 Beyond Proofs of Work: Proofs of Space (Spacemint) and Proofs of Stake The Proofs of Space and the Spacemint papers. Dziembowski's slides (Spacemint starts at slide 179)
Friday, 22 January, 2015 Attacks (including selfish mining attacks)