Blockchains have become popular platforms for trading assets. They are best-known for their two main representatives, Bitcoin and Ethereum, with the recent addition of anonymous payment (ZCash or Monero). Blockchains are operated by tens of thousands of clients, akin to peer-to-peer networks. It is unknown, however, how these networks form and coordinate precisely. As a response, we have built the Blockchain Observatory to monitor these networks. We are now also in the position to carry out experiments to understand blockchains better.
Several projects are available within this theme, depending on the research question you choose to answer. You can, for example, work with the numerous data sets that we already have obtained with our observatory and focus on network formation, cohesion, and geographic distribution. You can also choose to implement new tools for experimentation to derive novel measurements and results yourself, in order to test whether the guarantees that blockchains make actually hold - or if they break.
If you are interested in this project, you should have a strong background in data analysis (e.g. SQL, Pandas/R, Jupyter) and networks (TCP/IP). Security skills are helpful. And you should be naturally curious and passionate about your work!
Keywords: blockchain, experiment, coding, security
Advisor(s): Ralph Holz
Suitable for: Honours SSP/TSP