Foundations of Cryptocurrencies

Course Outline

Cryptocurrencies is one of the current topics which is of immense interest to the research communities. Direct application of cryptographic principles and mechanisms makes it even more interesting for us cryptographers. This course would serve the purpose of introducing the student to the fundamental principles of cryptocurrencies. Here is the overview of topics covered (tentative):

  • introduction to cryptography and cryptocurrencies
  • distributed systems, system and failure models, distributed algorithms
  • reliable broadcast
  • logical time and causal broadcast
  • consensus and total order broadcast
  • Byzantine agreement
  • Bitcoin protocols
  • Nakamoto consensus
  • Bitcoin mining
  • Ripple and Payment networks
  • Redactable blockchain

Learning objective

The students will learn to

  • understand current protocols behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin
  • analyse their properties and assess their weaknesses
  • assess the properties of new cryptocurrencies from the literature

General Information

  • First lecture: 27 April, 2017
  • Instructor: Prof. Dr. Dominique Schröder, Prof. Dr. Felix Freiling
  • Lecture: Thursday 16.15 – 17.45, room 0.68
  • Tutorial: Friday 10.15 – 11.45, room 02.133-113
  • ECTS credits: 5
  • Language: English
  • Office hours: 
  • StudOn


  • A regular and successful participation is expected.
  • New Exercise sheets will be uploaded to StudOn every Wednesday morning from the second week of lectures on.
  • Solutions to the actual exercise sheets have to be uploaded to StudOn until Wednesday 10.00 am.