Heinz Nixdorf Research Group for Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts
Modern blockchain-based cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum bring to light novel security and privacy challenges. In these systems, real money is immediately at stake what makes all applications built on top of such cryptocurrencies attractive targets for attackers. At the same time, the workings of these cryptocurrencies rely on the full transparency of all user actions, which raises the question of user privacy.
We are interested in improving the security and privacy of such cryptocurrency systems in a principled manner. To this end, we study the foundations of these systems and their applications (e.g., of smart contracts and off-chain protocols) and use methods from programming languages, formal verification, and applied cryptography to characterize desirable security and privacy notions and analyze the security of existing systems and applications. Further, we aim at developing new, secure, and privacy-preserving solutions to the most pressing challenges of modern cryptocurrencies, such as the increasing scalability issues or the devastating state of smart contract security that frequently causes losses of several millions of dollars.
We thank the Heinz Nixdorf Foundation for funding this research group over a period of 5 years.