DeCenter Seminar | Blockchain does not operate in a vacuum: an Internet perspective

October 11, 2023 4:30 pm

Friend Center, 113 (Convocation Room)

Speaker: Maria Apostokaki, Princeton University

While public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum are celebrated for their security, and decentralized nature, they’re built on the insecure and best-effort structures of the Internet. In this talk, we dive into the often overlooked issues arising from the Internet layer, uncovering how centralization and certain assumptions can make blockchains vulnerable. Bad actors can exploit these weak spots, to hinder blockchain functionality, compromise security and user privacy. Beyond these challenges, we’ll also spotlight the growing centralization concerns and their implications. But it’s not all cautionary tales! We’ll share deployable solutions and strategies to fortify blockchains against these threats.

A reception will follow the talk.

Maria Apostolaki, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, joined the Princeton faculty in August 2022 after a one-year postdoctoral position at Carnegie Mellon University. She earned her Ph.D. from ETH Zurich in 2021. Her research draws from networking, security, blockchain, and machine learning. Overall, her goal is to design and build networked systems that are secure, reliable and performant. She was named a Rising Star in Computer Networking and Communications by N2Women. She is a recipient of the Google Research Scholar Award recognizing her work on improving network monitoring.