Michael Sproul

Blockchain Tech at UNSW

Written by Michael Sproul on May 29, 2018.

This evening I had the pleasure of giving a guest lecture about blockchains for Ihor Kuz’s distributed systems course at UNSW (COMP9243).

I’ve maintained a hobbyist’s interest in blockchain research since I left MaidSafe at the end of last year, so I enjoyed the opportunity to gather my thoughts and write them down. I hope that I haven’t made any gross or negligent errors!

The topics I covered were:

  • Bitcoin, and the basics of how blockchains work
  • How Proof of Work consensus functions, at a high level, and why it is an environmental disaster!
  • How blockchain protocols get upgraded via soft forks and hard forks
  • How Ethereum extends Bitcoin with support for smart contracts
  • How Proof of Stake aims to replace Proof of Work, mostly from the perspective of Vitalik’s and Vlad’s Casper protocols

You can download my slides (and remix them if you’d like) right here:

Tagged: blockchain, distributed, ethereum, bitcoin