Computer Science Seminar, Marc Liberatore (UMass): 'BitCoin: WTF is it, and is it really anonymous?'

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
4:15 PM - 5:30 PM (ET)
ESC 638
Event Type
Janet Burge,, x2413

Abstract: In this talk, we'll (re-)develop the BitCoin protocol step-by-step. We'll start with a simple centralized service for digital cash, and end up with a sketch of the distributed consensus system that we all love -- or love to hate. We will briefly survey the state of BitCoin and related systems, with a focus on how much privacy they really provide to their users. Then, we'll present the problem of mixing BitCoin to increase user privacy. We will see that centralized mix systems based on protocols like CoinJoin have the same problems found in centralized proxies for general communications, and more besides. We'll show that the Sybil attack is one such problem -- a critical one -- and present Xim, our distributed approach to Sybil-resistant matchmaking.(While this talk will be technical, you won't need a deep knowledge of cryptography or protocols to follow it. My goal is for undergraduate liberal arts majors with some math or computer science background to be comfortable in following along and in asking questions as they come up.)Marc Liberatore is a research scientist and occasional lecturer in the School of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the associate director of the Center for Forensics at UMass. Prior to his current appointment, he was a Mellon Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University. His research interests include network, cellular, and filesystem forensics, anonymous communication systems, and peer-to-peer architectures.

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