Workshop on Bitcoin – Introduction to Cryptocurrencies

June 6-7, 2016

Cryptographic currencies have gained huge attention in recent times, mainly due to the popularity of Bitcoin. The importance of these cryptocurrencies goes beyond their direct application, and blockchain is now considered an important independent technology. In this workshop, we will study Bitcoin and cryptographic currencies in general. The workshop will cover the basics of bitcoin and its advanced features, the technology at the core of Bitcoin and its weaknesses, and other alternative cryptocurrencies.

The workshop is open to all participants, including academia and industry.

Speaker: Stefan Dziembowski, University of Warsaw, Poland

Where: Warms Garden, Kfar Hamaccabiah Events & Conference Center, Ramat-Gan

Registration: Participation is free, but registration is required.

Click here to view photo gallery

Click here to view photo gallery


Monday, June 6

09:00-09:30     Welcome and refreshments

09:30-10:30     Lecture 1: Introduction

10:30-10:45     Short coffee break

10:45-11:45     Lecture 1 (cont.): Introduction

11:45-12:15     Coffee break

12:15-13:15     Lecture 2: Mining pools and attacks

13:15-14:30     Lunch

14:30-15:30     Lecture 2 (cont.): Mining pools and attacks

15:30-15:45     Short coffee break

15:45-16:45     Lecture 3: Smart contracts and applications

Tuesday, June 7

09:30-10:30     Lecture 3 (cont.): Smart contracts and applications

10:30-10:45     Short coffee break

10:45-11:45     Lecture 4: Alternative cryptocurrencies

11:45-12:15     Coffee break

12:15-13:15     Lecture 4 (cont.): Alternative cryptocurrencies

13:15               Lunch and farewell


Detailed Description

Cryptographic currencies (also dubbed cryptocurrencies) are a fascinating recent concept whose popularity has exploded in the last 4-5 years. The most prominent of them is Bitcoin, introduced in 2008 by an anonymous developer using a pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto”. These currencies quickly gained attention among the general public, and their economic importance is rapidly growing. The current capitalization of Bitcoin is over 6 billion USD, and the average number of transactions per day is well above 100,000 USD. The security of Bitcoin is based on an assumption that a large fraction of computing power in the system is controlled by the honest parties.

In this workshop, we will study Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. The workshop will consist of 8 hours of lectures, divided into three parts. The goal of the first part (Lectures 1 and 2) is to provide a research-oriented introduction to Bitcoin. We will start with a description of Bitcoin and its main design principles. We will then talk about the mechanics of the mining pools. Finally, we will discuss some of the weaknesses of Bitcoin, including the so-called selfish mining attack, and show some ideas for dealing with them.

In the second part (Lecture 3) we will provide an introduction to the so-called Bitcoin smart contracts, and give some examples of their applications, including the micropayment systems, and multiparty lotteries.

In the last part (Lecture 4) we will present some alternative cryptographic currencies, including those that are used in real life (e.g. Litecoin), and those that are currently only academic proposals (e.g. Spacemint, and Permacoin).

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