• Authenticating Transactions and Distributing Data to Peers
    • During this initial week we will start by looking at how the blockchain data are shared among nodes in the peer-to-peer network over the internet and how the interconnectivity of the nodes is managed.
  • Determining the Canonical Version of a Blockchain
    • We will continue to look more closely at how nodes add blocks to the data structure with the goal of maintaining a consistent transaction history. We’ll also see that multiple histories can sometimes arise due to a variety of factors ranging from benign, but unpredictable, node outages to intentional malfeasance. This requires that the system have a means of collectively determining which single history is the correct one. We’ll explore two approaches to achieve this: the longest chain criterion and the heaviest chain criterion and practice applying the principles that we have learned in this week’s assignment.
  • Blockchain Limitations
    • The blockchain is not a perfect system and indeed has its limitations. We will explore some of the constraints of the blockchain and address the issues that cause such limitations.
  • Organizational Applications of Blockchain
    • We will finish the course by exploring other opportunities for using a blockchain approach to decentralize what have been heretofore centralized industries in which individual entities have controlled or consolidated information. We will develop ideas for applying a blockchain approach to industries other than cryptofinance.