Martín Ugarte (University of Chile)
In the last six years, Bitcoin has obtained a good deal of attention, reaching in May 2019 a market capitalization of more than one hundred and fifty billion (US) dollars and a daily trading volume of hundreds of millions of dollars. Although Bitcoin is considered mostly as a financial asset, the protocol published in 2008 by the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto goes far beyond: it achieves consensus in an open, decentralized and trust-less network. In this tutorial, we will discuss in detail how this consensus is achieved, from the underlying cryptography to the specifics of the protocol and the concept of proof of work. We will also discuss the incentives of the different actors in the Bitcoin network, and how these incentives complement the underlying cryptography to allegedly enforce the security of the digital currency.
Martín Ugarte is a researcher at the Millennium Institute for Foundational Research on Data, hosted at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. After obtaining his Ph.D. from that same university, he worked for three years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Free University of Brussels (ULB), in Belgium. His current research interests include query answering over dynamic datasets and information extraction, among other aspects of data management, areas for which he has recently published on the main database conferences and journals. Martín is also an advocate of Cryptocurrencies and has given several tutorials and invited talks on different universities and institutions on the foundational aspects of Cryptocurrencies and their applications to Smart Contracts. Recently, he has also joined a project for studying the security of cryptocurrencies via mechanism design.