Investigation of Blockchain Network Security

Blockchain technology eliminates the need for a trusted central authority, and instead relies upon consensus mechanisms to ensure the security of the network. In this investigation, we explore authentication methods common to most blockchain networks, then explore the two most popular consensus mechanisms: Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS).

Extract by Jack Kelly, Michelle Lauer, Ryan Printster, and Stephanie Zhang

As the value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have risen dramatically over the past few years, public interest in investigating use cases of blockchain technology has increased as well. Blockchain technology eliminates the need for a trusted central authority, and instead relies upon consensus mechanisms to ensure the security of the network. In this investigation, we explore authentication methods common to most blockchain networks, then explore the two most popular consensus mechanisms: Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS).

Another technology that is steadily on the rise is quantum computing, particularly with companies like Google and IBM investing significant resources in development. The authentication and consensus portions of blockchain networks rely upon the computational infeasibility of inverting certain functions, so quantum computers have the potential to cause significant disruption in this space. We will discuss some of the security vulnerabilities that quantum computing would introduce to blockchain networks, how they impact PoW- and PoS-based networks differently, and potential solutions to these problems.

Complete Paper

Investigation of Blockchain Network Security

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Laboratory – Investigation of Blockchain Network Security

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