Blockchain Technology and Smart Contracts
by Kostas (Konstantinos) Chalkias, Cryptographer & Blockchain Engineer, Facebook
Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 17:00
Host: Evangelos Markatos, Computer Science Department, University of Crete
On Oct 31st 2008, a pseudo-anonymous author known as Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper entitled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Since then, the decentralization concept has gained in popularity and novel applications that were not previously possible have emerged. In this talk we will cover the basic design principles, algorithms and differences between some of the most popular blockchain networks including Bitcoin, Ethereum, zCash, Corda and Diem. The goal is to transfer the knowledge of skills required by a computer scientist or cryptographer to work or do research in blockchain projects, but also enlist some interesting business applications where smart contracts are applied in practice today, including cryptocurrencies, blockchain-based games, fair lottery schemes, transparent copyrights, timestamping, decentralized land registry, e-voting and many more. Finally, we will present and analyze some common interview questions one might encounter when applying for blockchain roles.
Kostas holds a PhD in identity-based encryption from University of Macedonia, and he is now based in California, working as a cryptographer at Novi/Facebook, focusing on privacy-preserving protocols and contributing to the Diem (formerly Libra) blockchain crypto API. Before joining Facebook, he was the lead cryptographer at R3 in London, one of the biggest fintech consortia, mainly dealing with secure smart contracts for finance. Prior to that, he was the CTO of two security and machine learning startups (Erybo and Safemarket), where he built a platform for fair and secure national exams and quizzes using time-lapse cryptography. His fields of expertise include zero knowledge proofs, elliptic curve encryption, secure enclaves, graphical passwords, and post-quantum cryptography. Kostas has also filed 6 security related patents, while he has implemented and found critical bugs in a number of international standards and smart contracts, such as optimizations and attacks on the EdDSA signature scheme and various blockchain protocols including cryptocurrency atomic swaps, decentralized lotteries and blockchain games.