SecAppDev 2022 Lecture Details

Cryptocurrencies and blockchains

Bart Preneel
Monday June 13, 14:00 - 15:30
Short description

This lecture offers a perspective on the building blocks and concepts of blockchain technologies. It will go beyond the hype and look at the underlying technologies and their strengths and weaknesses.


This lecture offers a perspective on the building blocks and concepts of blockchain technologies. We will explain the background of distributed consensus, timestamping and secure logging. Next, we will discuss the fast rise of cryptocurrencies based on proof of work, with Bitcoin as most prominent example. In about a decade, a white paper of nine pages has resulted in massive capital investments, a global ecosystem with a huge market capitalization. Next, we explain how several variants attempt to improve the complex tradeoffs between public verifiability, robustness, privacy and performance.

Key takeaway

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay. Blockchain can bring innovation through novel ecosystems and cool cryptography.

Content level


Target audience

Anyone who wants to understand the technologies and facts that lie behind the blockchain hype.



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Bart Preneel

Bart Preneel

Full professor, COSIC, KU Leuven

Prof. Bart Preneel is a full professor at the KU Leuven. He heads the imec-COSIC research group, which has 80 members. His main research interests are cryptography, information security and privacy. He received the RSA Award for Excellence in the Field of Mathematics (2014), the IFIP TC11 Kristian Beckman award (2015) and the ESORICS Outstanding Research Award (2017). He frequently consults for industry and governments about security and privacy technologies.

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