CINA Distinguished Speaker Series 2019: Understanding the Privacy Level of Cryptocurrencies with Foteini Baldimtsi
May 21 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
The Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis Center (CINA) Distinguished Speaker Series invites leading experts from fields related to the disruption of criminal activities across the physical and cyber spaces. Join us one Tuesday each month to learn from and interact with these thought leaders.
Join us on Tuesday, May 21st to learn about popular cryptocurrencies and mixing services such as Bitcoin and Tumblebit, the state-of-the-art Bitcoin mixing protocol. Dr. Foteini Baldimtsi will focus on these cryptographic tools and the idea of accountability, discussing how users could preserve their anonymity as long as they play by the rules.
Foteini Baldimtsi is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at George Mason University. She received her Ph.D. from Brown University in May 2014 and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Boston University and University of Athens. Her research interests are in the areas of cryptography, security and data privacy. She focuses on designing provably secure cryptographic schemes for a variety of applications such as privacy-preserving identity management, secure electronic payments, and private and scalable blockchain transactions. She is a recipient of an IBM faculty award and her research is supported by NSF, NSA, and the Zcash Foundation.
One reason for Bitcoin’s initial popularity was the perception of anonymity. Today, however, the sheen of anonymity has all but worn off, dulled by a stream of academic papers and a blockchain surveillance industry that have demonstrated weaknesses in Bitcoin’s (and similar cryptocurrencies) anonymity properties. As a result, a new market of anonymity-enhancing services has emerged spanning from mixing-services (tumblers) to stand alone anonymous cryptocurrencies.
This talk will discuss the anonymity level of various popular cryptocurrencies and mixing services focusing on Tumblebit, the state-of-the-art Bitcoin mixing protocol. Baldimtsi will present the cryptographic tools (like zero-knowledge proofs) that are typically used in such systems and will discuss the idea of accountability: allowing users to preserve their anonymity as long as they do not misbehave.