Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers

2021 Blockchain course taught by Prof. Alexander Lipton.

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About Prof. Alexander Lipton: 

 

Prof. Alexander Lipton is Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Sila, Co-Founder of Distilled Analytics, Partner at Numeraire Financial, Connection Science Fellow at MIT, and Visiting Professor of Financial Engineering at EPFL. He is a Board Member of Zilliqa, and sits on Advisory Boards of numerous FinTech Companies worldwide.

In 2016 heleft Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he served for ten years in various senior managerial roles including Quantitative Solutions Executive and Co-Head of the Global Quantitative Group. Earlier, he held senior managerial positions at Citadel Investment Group, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and Bankers Trust. In parallel, Alex held academic appointments at NYU, Oxford, Imperial College, and the University of Illinois. Previously, Alex was a Full Professor at the University of Illinois and a Consultant at Los Alamos.

In 2000 Alex was awarded the first ever Quant of the Year Award. He published eight books, including, most recently, “Financial Engineering - Selected Works of Alexander Lipton”, and more than a hundred scientific papers.

Dates:

Lesson 1: Tuesday April  20  16:30-18:00   

Lesson 2: Tuesday April 27  16:30-18:00  

Lesson 3: Tuesday May 4     16:30-18:00   

Lesson 4: Tuesday May 11   16:30-18:00

Lesson 5: Tuesday May 18   16:30-18:00

Lesson 6: Tuesday May 25   16:30-18:00

Lesson 7: Tuesday June 1   16:30-18:00

 

The course is online.

Blockchains and distributed ledgers. By Prof. Alexander Lipton, MIT, one of the world’s leading professional in the field of blockchain. The course is aimed for Financial Professionals, Regulators, Fintech Start-up entrepreneurs and their management team, students from business, computer sciences, engineering and law disciplines.

Prof. Alexander Lipton is the Founder and CEO of Stronghold Labs, Co-Founder of Distilled Analytics, Partner at Numeraire Financial, Connection Science Fellow at MIT, and Visiting Professor of Financial Engineering at EPFL. He is an Advisory Board Member at several FinTech Companies. In 2016 he left Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he served for ten years in various senior managerial roles including Quantitative Solutions Executive and Co-Head of the Global Quantitative Group. Earlier, he held senior managerial positions at Citadel Investment Group, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and Bankers Trust. In parallel, Alex held several prestigious academic appointments at NYU, Oxford University, Imperial College, and the University of Illinois. Before switching to finance, Alex was a Full Professor of Mathematics at the University of Illinois. In 2000 Alex was awarded the first ever Quant of the Year Award by Risk Magazine. Alex published seven books and more than a hundred scientific papers. His next book “Financial Engineering - Selected Works of Alexander Lipton” is to appear shortly.

About the course:

This course provides an introduction to distributed ledger technology, blockchains and cryptocurrencies, and their potential applications in finance and banking. We cover the basics of cryptography and its applications to cryptocurrencies; examples to centralized cryptocurrencies; foundations of modern decentralized cryptocurrencies; Byzantine fault tolerant consensus; mechanics of Bitcoin platform including storage, mining, wallets, etc.; alternative platforms, including Ethereum; smart contracts; potential applications of decentralized ledgers in finance and their pros and cons.

By the end of the course, the participants will be able to:

  • Use basic cryptographic concepts including private/public keys, signatures, hash functions, Merkle trees;
  • Distinguish pros and cons of centralized versus decentralized databases;
  • Demonstrate several historical examples of electronic money;
  • Quantify alternative approaches to Byzantine fault-tolerant consensus including proof of work, proof of stake, etc.;
  • Characterize the basic setup of Bitcoin, including storage, mining, and payments;
  • Argue the limits of privacy with distributed ledgers and possible solutions, such as channeling, coin-joining, confidential transactions and zero-knowledge proofs;
  • Analyze some of the potential applications of distributed ledger technology to finance and banking;
  • Elaborate inherent scalability limits of distributed ledgers and potential solutions with channeling, horizontal scaling and second-layer, off-chain transactions;
  • Assess / Evaluate differences and commonalities among different cryptocurrencies
  • Implement basic smart contracts

Course Topics

  1. Overview of blockchain technology
  2. Hashes
  3. Transactions
  4. Blocks and blockchain
  5. Consensus building
  6. Mining and incentivizing blockchain
  7. Security and safeguards
  8. Bitcoin
  9. Blockchain applications
  10. Final Project