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Bitcoin: A Technical Perspective

  • Speaker: Dr Martín Ugarte, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  • Date: Tuesday, 24 October 2017 from 17:00 to 18:00
  • Location: Room 151

In the last five years Bitcoin has gained a good deal of attention, reaching in October 2017 a market capitalization of almost a hundred billion (US) dollars and a daily trading 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 a decentralized and trust-less network. In this seminar we will discuss in detail how this consensus is achieved, from the underlying cryptography to the specifics of the protocol and the so-called blockchain data structure. We will also discuss the incentives of the different actors in the Bitcoin network, and how these incentives complement the underlying cryptography to enforce the security of the digital currency.

Speaker's short bio.

Martin Ugarte is a postdoctoral researcher at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium. He holds a PhD from the Ponthical Catholic University of Chile on the topic of logic and query languages for the Semantic Web. His current research interests include query languages and query answering over dynamic datasets, information extraction and other aspects of data management. Martin has recently published papers in top international venues, including the 25th World Wide Web Conference (WWW2016), the 35th Principles of Database Systems symposium series (PODS 2016) and the 2017 annual ACM SIGMOD Conference. During his PhD he worked for the Center for Semantic Web Research (, and currently forms part of SPICES, a Brussels-funded project on the topic of complex event processing.