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Blockchains - Protocols and Techniques for Distributed Trust


Cachin C.

Course director


This course introduces the technology and protocols behind blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and distributed ledgers, ranging from traditional Byzantine-fault-tolerant consensus in consortium blockchains to censorship-resistant consensus in permissionless cryptocurrencies.



  • Consensus, traditional consensus protocols
  • Symmetric cryptography, hash functions, hash chains, and Merkle trees
  • Nakamoto consensus
  • Bitcoin, UTXO model, scripts
  • Ethereum, smart contracts
  • Atomic swaps
  • Byzantine-resilient (BFT) consensus
  • Hyperledger Fabric
  • Tokens, ERC-20, and ICOs
  • Proof-of-stake consensus
  • Governance, meta-consensus, hard forks, and protocol-level consensus
  • Public-key cryptography, discrete logarithms, Diffie-Hellman, ElGamal encryption, Pedersen commitments
  • Zero-knowledge proofs, statements using discrete logarithms, proofs for equality, range proofs
  • Confidential transactions




This course is not offered in the academic year 2019/20