Introduction to Blockchain Technologies

Monday April 8th, 14.00-19.00


In this workshop we give an overview of blockchain technology with a focus on the research done at Aarhus university. There will also be contributions from some of the blockchain companies in the Aarhus area.


14:00 – 14:15  Welcome: What is a Blockchain, Technically Speaking  Jesper Buus Nielsen

Abstract: In this talk we give a brief overview of the anatomy of a modern blockchain, from the peer-to-peer layer, over the consensus layer to the smart contract layer. The focus is on the foundational technology.

14:15 – 14:40   Proof of Stake Blockchain – Daniel Tschudi, Concordium Blockchain Research Center, Aarhus University

Abstract: In this talk we cover the distributed consensus problem and discuss how modern proof-of-stake blockchains work. PoS blockchains were developed to be more energy efficient and more secure than proof-of-work designs as used by for instance bitcoin.

14:40 – 15:05  Meet the zkSnark – Chaya Ganesh, Concordium Blockchain Research Center, Aarhus University

Abstract: zkSnark, or Zero-Knowledge Short Non-interactive Arguments of Knowledge are tools which allows to give very short proofs . zkSnarks are finding widespread application in modern blockchains. In this talk we give an idea how zkSnarks are build and how they are used in blockchains.

15:05 – 15:30  Concrete Blockchain Applications – Jonas Lindstrøm, Alexandra Institute

Abstract: Blockchain has been applied by many companies and institutions in the last couple of years. However, it is a bit unclear how successful many of these implementations has been. In this talk we look at some concrete examples of prototype implementations based on blockchain and discuss what was gained from using blockchain as well as the obstacles and hurdles it introduced.

15:30 – 15:55 Coffee Break

15:55 – 16:20 The Concordium ID Layer – Ivan Damgård, Concordium Blockchain Research Center, Aarhus University

Abstract: At Aarhus University we are part of developing some of the science going into building the Concordium Blockchain Network. In this talk we describe the system which allows parties to be identified yet anonymous on the network. This systems is developed to let blockchains adher to legislation such as KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti money laundry).

16:20 – 16:45 Overview of smart contract languages and formal verification – Bas Spitters, Aarhus University & Concordium Aps

Abstract: I will give an overview of smart contract languages, i.e. programming languages for the blockchain, and the use of formal verification by interactive theorem proving. This is the highest level of software quality. The hugely expensive bugs in the blockchain space show that such a level of software quality is needed.

16:45 – 17:10 Towards safer smart contract languages – Danil Annenkov, Aarhus University

Abstract: I am going to give an overview of how smart contract languages for blockchains have evolved. We will discuss the underlying evaluation model for some of the languages highlighting problems and possible solutions. We will also touch upon how formal semantics can guide the process of designing safer smart contract languages.

17:10 – 17:35 Securing wallets using Threshold Cryptography – Jakob Illeborg Pagter, Sepior Aps

Abstract: In this talk we will discuss security requirements for wallets, and using bitcoin as a use case show how a high-level of security can be achieved using Threshold Cryptography (TC). In particular a TC-based wallet offers the upside of MultSig without the downside, and further this provides a blockchain agnostic approach to securing wallets.

17:35 – 18:00 How not to lose $300million – Jakob Botsch Nielsen, Aarhus University

Abstract: The history of blockchains is riddled with hacks. In this talk I will focus on Ethereum and present some of the concrete contracts that were vulnerable with the technical details of how they were hacked. Concretely we will look at TheDAO and Parity hacks, which combined resulted in the loss and theft of more than $300 million of Ethereum, and resulted in the ethereum hard fork.

18:00 – 18:25 From cryptographic proofs to verified code of consensus – Søren Eller Thomsen, Aarhus University

Abstract: I will discuss modular design principles for formal verification of a blockchain consensus protocol. Then I will discuss the guarantees that can be achieved by formal verification, what guarantees have already been achieved for different protocols and which challenges remain for state-of-the-art verification of distributed systems.

18.30–19.30: Closing Reception

Jesper Buus Nielsen, Professor, Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University
Bas Spitters, Associated Professor, Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University

Audience / Target Group
Anyone with an interest in blockhain technology and with a basic background in CS or software engineering.


Max 35 participants

Time and place
Monday at 14.00 at room Nygaard 184, Finlandsgade 21, Katrinebjerg, Aarhus N.

Workshops:  Full list of workshops

Digital Innovation Conference: Conference program

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