InfoSec Seminar: Centrally Banked Cryptocurrencies

Speaker: Dr Sarah Meiklejohn

Date/Time: 10-Sep-2015, 15:00 UTC

Venue: Birbeck B30




Current cryptocurrencies, starting with Bitcoin, build a decentralized blockchain-based transaction ledger, maintained through proofs-of-work that also serve to generate a monetary supply.  Such decentralization has benefits, such as independence from national political control, but also significant limitations in terms of computational costs and scalability.  We introduce RSCoin, a cryptocurrency framework in which central banks maintain complete control over the monetary supply, but rely on a distributed set of authorities, or mintettes, to prevent double-spending.  While monetary policy is centralized, RSCoin still provides strong transparency and auditability guarantees.  We demonstrate, both theoretically and experimentally, the benefits of a modest degree of centralization, such as the elimination of wasteful hashing and a scalable system for avoiding double-spending attacks. (Joint work with George Danezis.)


Sarah Meiklejohn is a Lecturer in the Departments of Computer Science and Security and Crime Science at University College London.  She has broad research interests in computer security and cryptography, and has worked on topics such as anonymity and criminal abuses in virtual currencies, anonymous credentials, and understanding the interface between cryptographic primitives and their mathematical underpinnings.  Previously, Sarah received a PhD from University of California, San Diego in May 2014 under the guidance of Mihir Bellare and Stefan Savage, as well as an Sc.B. in Mathematics in 2008 and an Sc.M. in Computer Science in 2009, both from Brown University.

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