Take the free MIT Open Course taught by DCI's Neha Narula and Tadge Dryja "MAS.S62: Cryptocurrency Engineering and Design"

Course Description

Bitcoin and other cryptographic currencies have gained attention over the years as the systems continue to evolve.  This course looks at the design of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and how they function in practice, focusing on cryptography, game theory, and network architecture.  Future developments in smart contracts and privacy will be covered as well.  Programming assignments in the course will give practical experience interacting with these currencies, so some programming experience is required. Course taught by Tadge Dryja and Neha Narula.

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'Examining Facebook’s Proposed Cryptocurrency and Its Impact on Consumers, Investors, and the American Financial System' - Final Testimony by DCI's Gary Gensler

DCI Senior Advisor Gary Gensler’s Final Testimony on ‘Examining Facebook’s Proposed Cryptocurrency and Its Impact on Consumers, Investors, and the American Financial System’. Presented during the ‘Financial Services Committee’ at the United States House of Representatives on July 17, 2019.

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Utreexo: A dynamic hash-based accumulator optimized for the Bitcoin UTXO set

by Thaddeus Dryja (MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative)

AbstractIn the Bitcoin consensus network, all nodes come to agreement on the set of Unspent Transaction Outputs (The “UTXO” set). The size of this shared state is a scalability constraint for the network, as the size of the set expands as more users join the system, increasing resource requirements of all nodes. Decoupling the network’s state size from the storage requirements of individual machines would reduce hardware requirements of validating nodes. We introduce a hash based accumulator to locally represent the UTXO set, which is logarithmic in the size of the full set. Nodes attach and propagate inclusion proofs to the inputs of transactions, which along with the accumulator state, give all the information needed to validate a transaction. While the size of the inclusion proofs results in an increase in network traffic, these proofs can be discarded after verification, and aggregation methods can reduce their size to a manageable level of overhead. In our simulations of downloading Bitcoin’s blockchain up to early 2019 with 500MB of RAM allocated for caching, the proofs only add approximately 25% to the amount otherwise downloaded.

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DCI's Neha Narula Interviewed by Anderson Cooper on '60 Minutes' - 'Bitcoin's Wild Ride'

“Ten years ago, a mysterious computer programmer invented a new type of money that wasn't backed by any government or kept in any bank. There were no coins or bills, just long strings of letters and numbers stored inside a network of computers that anybody could be a part of by downloading some free software over the Internet. Today that computerized currency, bitcoin, is well-known, though little understood, and bitcoin's popularity has inspired the creation of thousands of other types of digital money, known as "cryptocurrency." Over the last decade, you could have made a five million percent profit by investing in cryptocurrency. Or you could have lost everything. It has been a wild ride, and few people have experienced the highs and lows…” Cooper. A (2019, May 19) Bitcoin’s Wild Ride.

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Podcast: DCI's Neha Narula interviewed by Hari Sreenivasan for CNN's Amanpour

“Republican Senator Mitt Romney and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy join Christiane Amanpour from Washington D.C. to discuss their bipartisan trip to the Middle East and the growing tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Bill Weld, the only Republican challenging President Trump in the 2020 election talks about why he decided to run. Our Hari Sreenivasan talks to Neha Narula, the Director of the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, about the future of cryptocurrencies.” Amanpour Podcast

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Cryptanalysis of Curl-P and Other Attacks on the IOTA Cryptocurrency

By Ethan Heilman (Boston Uni), Neha Narula (MIT Media Lab), Garrett Tanzer (Harvard), James Lovejoy (MIT Media Lab), Michael Colavita (Harvard), Madars Virza (MIT Media Lab), and Tadge Dryja (MIT Media Lab)

We present attacks on the cryptography formerly used in the IOTA blockchain, including under certain conditions the ability to forge signatures. We developed practical attacks on IOTA’s cryptographic hash function Curl-P-27, allowing us to quickly generate short colliding messages. These collisions work even for messages of the same length. Exploiting these weaknesses in Curl-P-27, we broke the EU-CMA security of the former IOTA Signature Scheme (ISS). Finally, we show that in a chosen-message setting we could forge signatures and multi-signatures of valid spending transactions (called bundles in IOTA).

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Blockchain and the Value of Operational Transparency for Supply Chain Finance

by Jiri Chod (BU), Nikolaos Trikakis (MIT), Gerry Tsoukalas (Upenn Wharton), Henry Aspegren (MIT), and Mark Weber (MIT). Nominated for an award in the Journal of Management Science. Sept 15th, 2018

In this paper, we develop a new theory that shows signaling a firm's fundamental quality (e.g., its operational capabilities) to lenders through inventory transactions to be more efficient --- it leads to less costly operational distortions --- than signaling through loan requests, and we characterize how the efficiency gains depend on firm operational characteristics such as operating costs, market size, inventory salvage value and failure probability.

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Knowledge @ Wharton's 'How a New Technology Can Disrupt the Global Supply Chain'

An interdisciplinary team from MIT, Wharton and Boston College has created a new blockchain-based system that has the potential to disrupt the global supply chain. Called ‘b_verify,’ the system is designed to help small and medium-size enterprises — especially those in developing nations — get financing from lenders at potentially better terms while mitigating warehouse deposit fraud. The system brings greater transparency to a key part of the supply chain, which can have a big impact on global trade financing. Bverify introduces a series of blockchain technology innovations tailored to facilitate supply chain finance and operations management.

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MIT Technology Review and MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative Announce 2019 Business of Blockchain Conference on May 2

TodayMIT Technology Review announced the third annual Business of Blockchain event, which will take place on May 2, 2019 at the MIT Media Lab. The event is held in collaboration with the Digital Currency Initiative, an MIT Media Lab research group focusing on cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology, and brings together industry leaders and pioneers in this emerging field to examine the technology, ethics, and impact of blockchains.

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