Updated at: Apr 16, 2019
Please find below the proposed topics for the group work session:
1. Extending data storage space and computational capacity of blockchain
Description: Blockchain provides unique software properties, like data immutability, transparency, and integrity. But the data storage space and computational capacity of blockchain are limited due to the fully replicated data on all the nodes within the blockchain network. From the perspective of a broader system using blockchain as a software component, can we use off-chain components to "extend" blockchain data storage and computational capacity? One common practice is to keep the big data off-chain, and stores only the hash of the data on-chain. Are there any other patterns? How to select an off-chain component (Cloud-based? P2P data storage? Trusted Execution Environment? ) to better align with blockchain infrastructure and its fundamental properties? The aim of this project is to propose architectural guidance for the developers to select appropriate off-chain components and design the interaction between the off-chain component and blockchain to better fulfil the requirements.
2. Blockchain Interoperability
Description: Current solutions for designing and building decentralized blockchain applications lack interoperability. Consequently, blockchains and existing technologies do not integrate well into a unified framework. This integration is necessary to work around some of the blockchains constraints, such as scalability of transactions and ergonomics. The goal is to explain the problem of lack of interoperability of blockchains and to explore possible solutions to improve the Interoperability of blockchains.
3. Blockchains and their impact on governance and regulations
Description: Blockchains have the potential to change the structure of services, such as accounting, notary and legal aspects of a business. The problem of bridging real and virtual worlds (the oracle problem), as well as bringing laws of contract and property into digital harmony, remain major obstacles for smart contract design and implementation within domestic jurisdictions and internationally. The goal is to analyse and explain the disruptive potential of blockchains regarding governance and regulatory aspects, as well as to study how can blockchains, and specifically smart contracts, cope with domestic jurisdictions aspects
4. Privacy by design for blockchain applications
Description: One of the most important features of a blockchain is that it is immutable. This characteristic, however, poses a significant threat to individual privacy if sensitive personal information should ever be stored on a blockchain. It is thus extremely important for blockchain applications to consider privacy during design. The goal is to identify the current state of the art related to privacy by design in blockchain applications and to propose feasible approaches to ensure that privacy standards can be met.
5. Security risk management with off-chain info injection via oracles
Description: Blockchain applications may need information from the off-chain world (inbound), and require actions to be taken that affect the off-chain world (outbound). This on-/off-chain communication channel is conveyed by oracles. The goal is to investigate the issues that oracles can introduce from a security perspective, and propose prospective solutions, also taking inspiration from [XPZ+16].
6. Data management risks with the blockchain
Description: Data can be stored with the aid of blockchain architectures that let them be sequenced and signed in a tamper-proof manner. The applications are manifold, to the aid of traceability, forensics, provenance, to mention but a few. The objective is to consider existing approaches to blockchain-based data management and to design prospective solutions that mitigate the risks of data leaks and privacy concerns.
7. Economic models and rational arguments for blockchains
Description: Many blockchain systems are inherently linked to direct economic incentives that its participants get through a cryptocurrency. Several models have been developed and appeared in the literature to explain these phenomena. Provide an overview of this complex area, by categorizing blockchains according to their incentive structure.
8. The business value of blockchain-based applications
Description: Most current blockchain enterprise projects still have the goal to test feasibility in accordance with respective use cases. This is why blockchain solutions get implemented in test environments without assessing its business value for the organization. The goal is to identify blockchain-related challenges and opportunities and to estimate interrelated drivers for costs and revenues.
9. The creation of an immutable smart contract
Description: By storing smart contracts on a blockchain, they unfold their true power enabling untrusted parties to agree on its conditions. Nevertheless, smart contracts get written by human hands that can be prone to error or with malicious intent. The goal is to develop ideas on how smart contracts of different platforms could be secured against these kinds of influences.
10. Security risk management in the blockchain-based applications
Description: Nowadays blockchain has become an emerging technology to develop distributed and collaborative information systems. There exist several platforms (e.g., Ethereum, Hyperledger, etc.), which provide means to implement these applications. However, building blockchain-based applications also brings new challenges. The goal is to explain security risks and suggest the countermeasures to mitigate these risks in the blockchain-based applications (created using various blockchain platforms).
11. Post-quantum threat to existing blockchains
Description: Many existing blockchains use cryptography that isn't or may not be secure against quantum computers. The goal is to explore which widespread blockchains are vulnerable against what kinds of attacks (especially, what damage is possible, could the attacks be performed unnoticed, etc.), and whether/which countermeasures are possible.
12. How Blockchain Can Be Utilized to Resolve the SDGs
Description: The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were formulated by the United Nations with an overarching goal to solve these global challenges by 2030. While we’ve fallen short of this goal to date, the birth of new exponential technology--blockchain in particular--has offered novel, innovative, and effective approaches to solving these pressing global challenges. By presenting blockchain solutions aimed at creating new forms of digital identity, banking the unbanked, offering greater transparency and value retention along the supply chain, mobilizing resources and like-minded individuals around challenges and solutions through distributed, borderless, and permissionless ecosystems, and more, this course will allow students to fundamentally explore how blockchain technology can be leveraged to create impact at scale as we usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
12. The Tokenization of Assets
Description: In an increasingly digitized future, distributed ledger technology offers new ways to represent, value, and exchange assets, further bridging the physical and digital world. This course will explore the process of tokenizing assets and the broader implications of a tokenized economy. Topics covered will include programmable scarcity, fractional ownership, the role of oracles in determining proof of ownership, and new advances in the field to facilitate these types of exchanges.
Description: Stablecoins, security tokens, utility tokens, and Proof of Work/Proof of Stake consensus models all represent new means by which networks accrue value at the protocol layer. Additionally, these different systems have profound economic implications as they become the preferred methods to raise funds and monetize digital goods and services. This course will take a deep dive into this nascent field of tokenomics, where students will learn how to value these new token-based networks and consider how this shift will affect the broader economic landscape for years to come.
14. Securely Scaling Blockchains
Students will learn about the challenges around blockchain scalability in its current state and propose alternative solutions as we enter the next evolution of blockchain development. Cutting-edge research around Sidechains, various “Layer 2” solutions, Proof of Stake (POS) systems, and entirely new protocol models will be analyzed in depth as we ultimately work towards redefining scalability at the structural level while maintaining the integrity and security of the network.