CS 251: Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies

Course syllabus and readings

Fall 2018

Every lecture is accompanied by readings that support and expand on what was covered in the lecture. In the listings below we use NBFMG to refer to the course textbook Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: A Comprehensive Introduction by Narayanan, Bonneau, Felten, Miller and Goldfeder (referred to as NBFMG below).

 
Lecture 1:
9/24/18
(DB)
Intro to cryptography & crypto currencies
Reading:
  • NBFMG Chapter 1

Part 1: Bitcoin
 
Lecture 2:
9/26/18
(DM)
Nakamoto consensus
Reading:
 
Lecture 3:
10/ 1/18
(DB)
Bitcoin's protocols
Reading:
 
Lecture 4:
10/ 3/18
(DB)
Bitcoin applications & security
Reading:
 
Lecture 5:
10/ 8/18
(DB)
Bitcoin mining mechanics
Reading:
 
Lecture 6:
10/10/18
(DM)
Bitcoin mining strategy & attacks
Reading:
 
Lecture 7:
10/15/18
(DB)
Bitcoin community, economics & politics
Reading:

Part 2: Extensions and altcoins
 
Lecture 8:
10/17/18
(DM)
Alternative approaches to mining & consensus
Reading:
 
Lecture 9:
10/22/18
(DB)
Anonymity, traceability & mixing
Reading:
 
Lecture 10:
10/24/18
(DB)
Privacy-enhanching & zero-knowledge cryptocurrencies
Reading:
 
Lecture 11:
10/29/18
(DB)
Overview of altcoins
Reading:
 
Lecture 12:
10/31/18
(DB)
Overview of Ethereum
Reading:
 
Lecture 13:
11/ 5/18
(DB)
Programming smart contracts on Ethereum
Reading:
 
Lecture 14:
11/ 7/18
(DM)
Case study: Ethereum & the DAO
Reading:
 
Lecture 15:
11/12/18
(inv)
Sidechains   (Pieter Wuille and Greg Maxwell)   [pdf]
Reading:
 
Lecture 16:
11/14/18
(BB)
Off-chain payment channels and the lightning network
Reading:
 
Holiday:   
11/19/18
Thanksgiving
 
Holiday:   
11/21/18
Thanksgiving

Part 3: Cryptocurrencies & the real world
 
Lecture 17:
11/26/18
(inv)
Legal aspects of virtual currency   (Ben Lawsky)
Reading:
 
Lecture 18:
11/28/18
(DB)
Advanced Topics I: Post-quantum crypto, seg wit & aggregate signatures
Reading:
 
Lecture 19:
12/ 3/18
(DM)
Advanced Topics II: Smart property, data feeds, and public randomness
Reading:
 
Lecture 20:
12/ 5/18
(inv)
Applications of cryptocurrencies and blockchains in traditional finance   (Adam Ludwin)
Reading: