CSE590Q: Database Seminar - Winter 2018

Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies & Databases

Tuesday, 2:30 - 3:30 PM

CSE 305, Paul G. Allen Center


In this seminar, we will deep dive into blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, and discuss the new challenges and opportunities it brings to Computer Science system research. Topics to be discussed include the following but are not limited to: system performance & scalability of blockchain transactions, security & system verification of cryptocurrency and blockchain, smart contract, co-design of blockchain and data management systems, architectural support of cryptocurrency, etc. It is organized as a weekly paper reading and discussion session. We also host invited speakers from Microsoft Research, Uber, and Allen school to discuss their views on some of these topics.

Tentative Schedule

Week Date Topic Speaker Reading/Resources
0 Jan 4 New games, new markets: the science of cryptocurrencies and incentives
*Unusual Timing: Thursday, 3:30 PM at EEB-105*
Arvind Narayanan
Princeton University
1 Jan 9 Preliminaries
Introduction to Bitcoin/Cryptocurrencies
Shumo Chu
University of Washington
[P1] [B1 Chapter 1] [Slides] [Video]
2 Jan 16 Introduction to Blockchain
Mechanics of Bitcoins
Guna Prasaad
University of Washington
[B1 Chapters 2, 3] [P1] [Slides] [Video]
3 Jan 23 Smart Contract: Language and Execution Shana Hutchison
University of Washington
[Slides] [Video]
4 Jan 30 Alternative Consensus Protocols for Blockchains Cong Yan
University of Washington
[P16] [P17] [P18] [Slides] [Video]
5 Feb 6 Advances in Scaling Blockchains Sophia Wang
6 Feb 13 Architectural Support Michael Taylor
University of Washington
7 Feb 20 Programming Abstractions of Blockchains Shaz Qadeer
Microsoft Research
9 Mar 6 Blockchains and Databases Arvind Arasu
Microsoft Research


Please email us if you have any questions or you want to participate but are not an Allen School member.


  1. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies, Arvind Narayanan, Joseph Bonneau, Edward W. Felten, Andrew Miller, Steven Goldfeder, Jeremy Clark
  2. Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World, Alex Tapscott and Don Tapscott
  3. Mastering Blockchain, Imran Bashir
  4. Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open Blockchain, Andreas M. Antonopoulos



  1. Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, Satoshi Nakamoto
  2. Blockchains: How they work and why they'll change the world, Morgen E. Peck, IEEE Spectrum
  3. Design of a secure timestamping service with minimal trust requirement, Henri Massias, Xavier Serret-Avila, and Jean-Jacques Quisquater
  4. SoK: Research Perspectives and Challenges for Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies,J. Bonneau, A. Miller, J. Clark, A. Narayanan, J. A. Kroll, E. W. Felten, IEEE S&P, 2015.
  5. Untangling Blockchain: A Data Processing View of Blockchain Systems, Tien Tuan Anh Dinh, Rui Liu, Meihui Zhang, Gang Chen, Beng Chin Ooi, Ji Wang, arXiv 2017


  1. On Scaling Decentralized Blockchains (A Position Paper), K. Croman, C. Decker, I. Eyal, A.E. Gencer, A. Juels, A. Kosba, A. Miller, P. Saxena, E. Shi, E. G. Sirer, D. Song, and R. Wattenhofer.
  2. Bitcoin-NG: A Scalable Blockchain Protocol, I. Eyal, A. E. Gencer, E. G. Sirer and R. V. Renesse, NSDI, 2016.
  3. Algorand: Scaling Byzantine Agreements for Cryptocurrencies, Yossi Gilad, Rotem Hemo, Silvio Micali, Georgios Vlachos, Nickolai Zeldovich, SOSP 2017.
  4. BLOCKBENCH: A Framework for Analyzing Private Blockchains, Tien Tuan Anh Dinh, Ji Wang, Gang Chen, Rui Liu, Beng Chin Ooi, Kian-Lee Tan, SIGMOD 2017.
  5. Performance Analysis of Private Blockchain Platforms in Varying Workloads, Suporn Pongnumkul, Chaiyaphum Siripanpornchana, Suttipong Thajchayapong, ICCN 2017.
  6. BigchainDB: a scalable blockchain database

Smart Contracts

  1. The Solidity Language for Smart Contract
  2. Ethereum Development Tutorial
  3. Guide to Ethereum Virtual Machine
  4. An empirical analysis of smart contracts: platforms, applications, and design patterns, Massimo Bartoletti and Livio Pompianu
  5. The Bitcoin Lightning Network: Scalable Off-Chain Instant Payments, Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja


  1. Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance, Miguel Castro and Barbara Liskov
  2. Casper the Friendly Finality Gadget, Vitalik Buterin and Virgil Griffith
  3. A Byzantine Fault-Tolerant Ordering Service for the Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain Platform, João Sousa, Alysson Bessani, and Marko Vukolić

Architectural Support

  1. The Evolution of Bitcoin Hardware, Michael Taylor


  1. [Colloquia Talk] New games, new markets: the science of cryptocurrencies and incentives by Arvind Narayanan, Princeton University
  2. [Colloquia Talk] New Era in Distributed Computing with Blockchains and Databases by C. Mohan, IBM Research [Video] [Resources]
  3. [VLDB 2017] Tutorial on Blockchains and Databases by C. Mohan, IBM Research

Miscellaneous Resources

  1. Live Bitcoin Blockchain
  2. IC3: The Initiative for CryptoCurrencies & Contracts
  3. Ethereum Enterprise Alliance
  4. Blockchain at Berkeley
  5. Satoshi Nakamoto Institute
  6. Coursera course on Bitcoins and Crytocurrencies
  7. Hyperledger fabric v0.6.0.
  8. Hyperledger fabric v1.0.0-rc1
  9. Paybis - Learn about cryptocurrency