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Security and Privacy in Blockchain-based Systems

The project "Security and Privacy in Blockchain-based Systems" is funded by the ECDF and investigates the security and privacy guarantees provided by decentralized blockchain networks as used by many cryptocurrencies today.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum promise to establish themselves as decentralized alternatives to financial infrastructures that so far have been reliant on centralized trust models. These decentralized blockchain networks are built around the foundational principles introduced with Bitcoin’s consensus protocol, in which a peer-to-peer network manages a globally distributed ledger of transactions—the blockchain. While this new and rather unorthodox approach to achieve Byzantine agreement in open and decentralized networks offers a number of promising properties and features, it suffers from very limited throughput scalability. As distributed systems under the pressure to scale are often at risk of neglecting other essential qualities, improving scalability while considering resilience and decentralization poses a fundamental challenge for the research on open blockchain networks today.

This project therefore studies blockchain scalability from a computer networking perspective and to this end focuses on the two main approaches towards blockchain scalability: on-chain and off-chain scaling. In particular, we research the interdependency of the peer-to-peer networking and the consensus layers of blockchain networks such as Bitcoin. Moreover, we study the security and privacy aspects of payment channel networks (PCNs) in general and of Bitcoin's Lightning Network in particular.

Contact

Elias Rohrer
Distributed Security Infrastructures
Technische Universität Berlin
Einsteinufer 17, 10587 Berlin

Publications

Elias Rohrer and Florian Tschorsch (2021). Blockchain Layer Zero: Characterizing the Bitcoin Network Through Measurements, Models, and Simulations. LCN '21: Proceedings of the 46th IEEE International Conference on Local Computer Networks

Link to publication

Kimberly Lange and Elias Rohrer and Florian Tschorsch (2021). On the Impact of Attachment Strategies for Payment Channel Networks. ICBC '21: Proceedings of the third International Conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Link to publication

Elias Rohrer and Florian Tschorsch (2020). Counting Down Thunder: Timing Attacks on Privacy in Payment Channel Networks. AFT '20: Proceedings of the second ACM conference on Advances in Financial Technologies

Link to publication

Elias Rohrer and Steffen Heidel and Florian Tschorsch (2020). Enabling Reference Verifiability for the World Wide Web with Webchain. ACM Transactions on Internet Technology

Link to original publication

Elias Rohrer and Florian Tschorsch (2019). Kadcast: A Structured Approach to Broadcast in Blockchain Networks. AFT '19: Proceedings of the first ACM conference on Advances in Financial Technologies

Link to original publication

Elias Rohrer and Julian Malliaris and Florian Tschorsch (2019). Discharged Payment Channels: Quantifying the Lightning Network's Resilience to Topology-Based Attacks. S&B '19: Proceedings of IEEE Security & Privacy on the Blockchain

Link to publication

Elias Rohrer and Steffen Heidel and Florian Tschorsch (2018). Webchain: Verifiable Citations and References for the World Wide Web. BLOCKCHAIN '18: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Blockchain

Link to publication

Elias Rohrer and Jann-Frederik Laß and Florian Tschorsch (2017). Towards a Concurrent and Distributed Route Selection for Payment Channel Networks. CBT '17: Proceedings of the International Workshop on Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology

Link to publication

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