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BITCOIN
Introduction, Technical Aspects,

and Ongoing Developments
Bernhard Haslhofer, AIT
Aljosha Judmayer, SBA Research
Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA)
2015-04-30
About us - Bernhard Haslhofer
• Data Scientist @ Austrian Institute of
Technology
• “Extracting knowledge from data”
• Machine learning, network analytics,

data/text mining
• Previously
• Researcher @ Cornell University, NY, USA
• PhD. / Univ. Ass @ University of Vienna
• Economics / Computer Science @
Technical University of Vienna
+43 664 88390692
bernhard.haslhofer@ait.ac.at
2
About us - Aljosha Judmayer
• PhD @ TU Vienna
• “Resilience aspects of
distributed systems”
• Researcher @ SBA Research
GmbH
• Previously
• IT Security Consultant
+43 660 460 888 9
ajudmayer@sba-research.org
PGP ID: E687AADD
PGP FP: 4016 59DB D4E0 A908 FCDF
7BFB A40D 40AC E687 AADD
3
Agenda
• Introduction to Bitcoin
• Technical Aspects
• Ongoing developments
• Questions and Discussion
4
Agenda
• Introduction to Bitcoin
• Technical Aspects
• Ongoing developments
• Questions and Discussion
5
What are Bitcoins?
6
A virtual currency
• Money that is only exchanged electronically
• Functions:
• Measure of value
• Medium of exchange
• Store of value
• Currency code: XBT
• Currency symbol: B⃦
• Exchange rate to other currencies (USD, EUR, …)
7
• Difference to other currency systems:
• no trusted parties
• no pre-assumed identities
• Also known as “cryptocurrency”
A virtual currency
8
A decentralized, P2P
technology
• “Decentralized” = no need to trust third party
• “Peer-to-Peer (P2P)” = no central authority
• collective transaction management (block chain)
• collective money issuance (mining)
9
A community effort
• … driven by
• enthusiasts
• entrepreneurs
• developers
10
Who invented Bitcoin?
11
David Chaum (1983)
• Conceived eCash
• Anonymous electronic money
Source: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Chaum
12
Wei Dei (1998)
• Describes idea of distributed crypto-currency
• B-money: all transactions are publicly
(anonymously) broadcasted.
“Satoshi Nakamoto” (2009)
• Published article on mailing list
• Designed and implemented original
Bitcoin software (until mid 2010)
• Created “genesis block” with
message “EThe Times 03/Jan/2009
Chancellor on brink of second bailout
for banks”
?
Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System
Satoshi Nakamoto
satoshin@gmx.com
www.bitcoin.org
Abstract. A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online
payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a
financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main
benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending.
We propose a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network.
The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of
hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing
the proof-of-work. The longest chain not only serves as proof of the sequence of
events witnessed, but proof that it came from the largest pool of CPU power. As
long as a majority of CPU power is controlled by nodes that are not cooperating to
14
How do I pay with
Bitcoins?
15
Via web applications
16
Via mobile devices
Source: https://www.bitkassa.nl/
Business Owner Customer
Source: http://www.wired.com/2014/07/blockchain-back/17
Using a “fat” client
18
Using plastic cards
19
Where can I pay with
Bitcoins?
20
21
22
How do I acquire
Bitcoins?
23
Earn bitcoins
• By completing tasks on Websites (e.g.,
CoinWorker, BitVisitor)
• By receiving salaries (e.g., Internet Archive)
• By receiving donations
24
Buy Bitcoins via Exchange
25
Buy Bitcoins via Exchange
EUR
EUR
EUR
XBT
XBT
27
Other Exchanges
Buy Bitcoins via Voucher
Source: https://www.bitcoinbon.at
29
Buy Bitcoins at ATM
Source: https://coinfinity.co/bitcoin-kaufen/
30
Mine Bitcoins
• “Mining” refers to the process of
• adding transaction records to Bitcoin’s public ledger (block
chain) of past transactions
• creating new Bitcoins
• Resource intensive computation (energy costs)
• Miners receive
• transaction fees
• newly created coins
31
Mine Bitcoins
Source: http://99bitcoins.com/20-insane-bitcoin-mining-rigs/#prettyPhoto
How does the overall
Bitcoin market look like?
33
34
35
36
37
38
What are Altcoins?
39
40
Source: http://cryptocoincharts.info/coins/graphicalComparison 41
DEMO
42
The Big Picture
P2P Network
Broadcast
Transaction
Blockchain 43
The Big Picture
P2P Network
Blockchain
Miners
Collect pending
Transactions
44
The Big Picture
P2P Network
Blockchain
Miners
Find a block
45
The Big Picture
P2P Network
Blockchain
Miners
Broadcast new
block
46
P2P Network
Synchronize
Blocks
Blockchain
Receive
Confirmations
The Big Picture
47
P2P Network
Synchronize
Blocks
Blockchain
Receive
Confirmations
The Big Picture
48
Agenda
• Introduction to Bitcoin
• Technical Aspects
• Ongoing developments
• Questions and Discussion
49
Blockchain
Transactions
H
ash
Asymmetric

Encryption
Mining
….
50
Agenda
• Introduction to Bitcoin
• Technical Aspects
• Ongoing developments
• Questions and Discussion
51
BITCRIME
• Bitcoin’s history also has association with crime
• Silk Road (Feb. 2011 - Oct. 2013)
• Bots are placed for mining purposes
• Bitcoin-based Ponzi schemes (US federal court)
• CryptoLocker (2014) -> encrypt file, demand ransom to
release decryption key
• Theft
• Collapsed exchanges (e.g., Mt. Gox liquidated in 2014)
52
BITCRIME
• Bilateral (AT/DE) research project (KIRAS)
• Prevention and prosecution of organized crime in
virtual currencies
• Interdisciplinary team (policy makers, law
enforcement, data scientists, security researchers)
• https://www.bitcrime.de/
53
Technical Part
• Blockchain analytics tool
• find details about addresses, transactions
• merge addresses into entities
• search for graph patterns
• direct/indirect flow of bitcoins between addresses
• money laundering patterns
54
55
Technical Part
• (Dark) Web Crawler
• find bitcoin addresses in the (dark) web
• extract additional contextual information
• integrate with Blockchain analytics tool
56
Alternative Applications for
Bitcoin (A2Bit)
• FFG Bridge Early Stage
• Reuse concept of block chains and proof-of-* for alternative
• applications beyond currency
• Generalising the Bitcoin protocol for trustworthy distributed key-
value stores
• work based on approaches taken in Namecoin
• possible applications: public key exchange, identity management
• Platform, time-stamping service, digital rights management, twitter
clone, alternative domain name system, ...
57
Other recent
developments
58
MIT Digital Currency Initiative
• Goal: create a safe, stable and secure digital currency
• Conduct research (security, stability, scalability)
• Test concepts that have high social standards
• Evidence-based research to support existing and future policy and standards
Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/20040/mit-media-lab-announces-launch-mit-digital-currency-initiative-headed-former-white-house-senior-adviser/59
Digital currencies:
response to the call for information
Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/414040/
digital_currencies_response_to_call_for_information_final_changes.pdf
–Bonneau et al. (2015)
“Bitcoin is a rare case where practice seems to
be ahead of theory. We consider that a
tremendous opportunity for the research
community to tackle the many open questions
about Bitcoin which we have laid out.”
61
References
• Nakamoto, S. (2011). Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer
Electronic Cash System. Available at: https://
bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
• Bonneau, J. et al. (2015). Research Perspectives
and Challenges for Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies
62

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Bitcoin - Introduction, Technical Aspects and Ongoing Developments

  • 1. BITCOIN Introduction, Technical Aspects,
 and Ongoing Developments Bernhard Haslhofer, AIT Aljosha Judmayer, SBA Research Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) 2015-04-30
  • 2. About us - Bernhard Haslhofer • Data Scientist @ Austrian Institute of Technology • “Extracting knowledge from data” • Machine learning, network analytics,
 data/text mining • Previously • Researcher @ Cornell University, NY, USA • PhD. / Univ. Ass @ University of Vienna • Economics / Computer Science @ Technical University of Vienna +43 664 88390692 bernhard.haslhofer@ait.ac.at 2
  • 3. About us - Aljosha Judmayer • PhD @ TU Vienna • “Resilience aspects of distributed systems” • Researcher @ SBA Research GmbH • Previously • IT Security Consultant +43 660 460 888 9 ajudmayer@sba-research.org PGP ID: E687AADD PGP FP: 4016 59DB D4E0 A908 FCDF 7BFB A40D 40AC E687 AADD 3
  • 4. Agenda • Introduction to Bitcoin • Technical Aspects • Ongoing developments • Questions and Discussion 4
  • 5. Agenda • Introduction to Bitcoin • Technical Aspects • Ongoing developments • Questions and Discussion 5
  • 7. A virtual currency • Money that is only exchanged electronically • Functions: • Measure of value • Medium of exchange • Store of value • Currency code: XBT • Currency symbol: B⃦ • Exchange rate to other currencies (USD, EUR, …) 7
  • 8. • Difference to other currency systems: • no trusted parties • no pre-assumed identities • Also known as “cryptocurrency” A virtual currency 8
  • 9. A decentralized, P2P technology • “Decentralized” = no need to trust third party • “Peer-to-Peer (P2P)” = no central authority • collective transaction management (block chain) • collective money issuance (mining) 9
  • 10. A community effort • … driven by • enthusiasts • entrepreneurs • developers 10
  • 12. David Chaum (1983) • Conceived eCash • Anonymous electronic money Source: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Chaum 12
  • 13. Wei Dei (1998) • Describes idea of distributed crypto-currency • B-money: all transactions are publicly (anonymously) broadcasted.
  • 14. “Satoshi Nakamoto” (2009) • Published article on mailing list • Designed and implemented original Bitcoin software (until mid 2010) • Created “genesis block” with message “EThe Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” ? Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System Satoshi Nakamoto satoshin@gmx.com www.bitcoin.org Abstract. A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending. We propose a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network. The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work. The longest chain not only serves as proof of the sequence of events witnessed, but proof that it came from the largest pool of CPU power. As long as a majority of CPU power is controlled by nodes that are not cooperating to 14
  • 15. How do I pay with Bitcoins? 15
  • 17. Via mobile devices Source: https://www.bitkassa.nl/ Business Owner Customer Source: http://www.wired.com/2014/07/blockchain-back/17
  • 18. Using a “fat” client 18
  • 20. Where can I pay with Bitcoins? 20
  • 21. 21
  • 22. 22
  • 23. How do I acquire Bitcoins? 23
  • 24. Earn bitcoins • By completing tasks on Websites (e.g., CoinWorker, BitVisitor) • By receiving salaries (e.g., Internet Archive) • By receiving donations 24
  • 25. Buy Bitcoins via Exchange 25
  • 26. Buy Bitcoins via Exchange
  • 29. Buy Bitcoins via Voucher Source: https://www.bitcoinbon.at 29
  • 30. Buy Bitcoins at ATM Source: https://coinfinity.co/bitcoin-kaufen/ 30
  • 31. Mine Bitcoins • “Mining” refers to the process of • adding transaction records to Bitcoin’s public ledger (block chain) of past transactions • creating new Bitcoins • Resource intensive computation (energy costs) • Miners receive • transaction fees • newly created coins 31
  • 33. How does the overall Bitcoin market look like? 33
  • 34. 34
  • 35. 35
  • 36. 36
  • 37. 37
  • 38. 38
  • 40. 40
  • 43. The Big Picture P2P Network Broadcast Transaction Blockchain 43
  • 44. The Big Picture P2P Network Blockchain Miners Collect pending Transactions 44
  • 45. The Big Picture P2P Network Blockchain Miners Find a block 45
  • 46. The Big Picture P2P Network Blockchain Miners Broadcast new block 46
  • 49. Agenda • Introduction to Bitcoin • Technical Aspects • Ongoing developments • Questions and Discussion 49
  • 51. Agenda • Introduction to Bitcoin • Technical Aspects • Ongoing developments • Questions and Discussion 51
  • 52. BITCRIME • Bitcoin’s history also has association with crime • Silk Road (Feb. 2011 - Oct. 2013) • Bots are placed for mining purposes • Bitcoin-based Ponzi schemes (US federal court) • CryptoLocker (2014) -> encrypt file, demand ransom to release decryption key • Theft • Collapsed exchanges (e.g., Mt. Gox liquidated in 2014) 52
  • 53. BITCRIME • Bilateral (AT/DE) research project (KIRAS) • Prevention and prosecution of organized crime in virtual currencies • Interdisciplinary team (policy makers, law enforcement, data scientists, security researchers) • https://www.bitcrime.de/ 53
  • 54. Technical Part • Blockchain analytics tool • find details about addresses, transactions • merge addresses into entities • search for graph patterns • direct/indirect flow of bitcoins between addresses • money laundering patterns 54
  • 55. 55
  • 56. Technical Part • (Dark) Web Crawler • find bitcoin addresses in the (dark) web • extract additional contextual information • integrate with Blockchain analytics tool 56
  • 57. Alternative Applications for Bitcoin (A2Bit) • FFG Bridge Early Stage • Reuse concept of block chains and proof-of-* for alternative • applications beyond currency • Generalising the Bitcoin protocol for trustworthy distributed key- value stores • work based on approaches taken in Namecoin • possible applications: public key exchange, identity management • Platform, time-stamping service, digital rights management, twitter clone, alternative domain name system, ... 57
  • 59. MIT Digital Currency Initiative • Goal: create a safe, stable and secure digital currency • Conduct research (security, stability, scalability) • Test concepts that have high social standards • Evidence-based research to support existing and future policy and standards Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/20040/mit-media-lab-announces-launch-mit-digital-currency-initiative-headed-former-white-house-senior-adviser/59
  • 60. Digital currencies: response to the call for information Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/414040/ digital_currencies_response_to_call_for_information_final_changes.pdf
  • 61. –Bonneau et al. (2015) “Bitcoin is a rare case where practice seems to be ahead of theory. We consider that a tremendous opportunity for the research community to tackle the many open questions about Bitcoin which we have laid out.” 61
  • 62. References • Nakamoto, S. (2011). Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Available at: https:// bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf • Bonneau, J. et al. (2015). Research Perspectives and Challenges for Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies 62