Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Web Trust
08 May 2018 | Benjamin Krumnow
by R. Butz and B. Krumnow
Starting in the early 1990s, cryptographers tried to develop ways in order to realise the concept of “money” in electronic form. David Chaum developed one of the first electronic currencies called ecash, which aimed to keep its users anonymous [1, 2]. The anonymity was achieved with blind signatures. These allowed users to obtain an untraceable digital currency from a bank and spend it. In later versions, it was even possible to allow offline transactions without double-spending. However, with Chaum being too greedy ecash was forgotten soon. After other brief experiments with digital money, pure forwarding services such as PayPal prevailed over electronic currencies.
Applying the concept of the Blockchain to other areas, makes a transition towards a more centralised Web within the next few years a more feasible proposition.
We kept these things in mind, when designing our workshop. It addresses not only technical fundamentals but also the application of blockchain in practice. The current design is sperated into 3 parts. The first part of the course makes participants familiar with basic concepts and can be done at home. It encompasses an exercise, which consists of a fun-based hacking challenge with the aim build on basic hash functions. Followed by some basic reading materials and questions about asymmetric cryptography and cryptographic hash functions. Within the classroom environment students clarify questions together with the lecturers and dive into the concept of Bitcoin and blockchains. In additon, students learn which opportunities the technologies hold and what it means to web trust then they work on real life problems and attempt to address them with bitcoin or ethereum. All the results are presented in a poster session at the final on-site session, which rounds up the discussions from the workshop.
- Untraceable Electronic Cash – David Chaum and Amos Fiat and Moni Naor, Advances in Cryptology – CRYPTO ’88, 8th Annual International Cryptology, Conference, Santa Barbara, California, USA, August 21-25, 1988, Proceedings, 319-327, 1988
- Chaum, David. “Blind signatures for untraceable payments.” In Advances in cryptology, pp. 199-203. Springer, Boston, MA, 1983.
- Nakamoto, Satoshi. “Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system.” (2008).
- Bitcoin USD price – Coindesk, https://www.coindesk.com/price/, last seen 7th May 2018