Shortcutting the Bitcoin verification process for your smartphone


Event details

Date 01.11.2018 10:15  
Speaker Pierre-Louis Roman, University of Rennes, France
Category Conferences - Seminars
Blockchains have a storage scalability issue: their size is unbounded and their growth endless. The size of the Bitcoin blockchain increased from 125 GiB in August 2017 to 175 GiB in August 2018, taking a record 50 GiB in just a year. To fully benefit from the security model of Bitcoin, a bootstrapping node has to download and verify the entirety of the 175 GiB. Low-resource devices such as smartphones can choose the less costly model of partial block verification where only 40 MiB of block headers must be downloaded and verified. However, such a drastic decrease in resource consumption comes with a security drawback: these nodes only verify the difficulty of blocks without verifying their correctness.
In this talk, I will present Dietcoin and its diet nodes that can verify the correctness of blocks without having to pay the onerous price of a full chain download and verification. Diet nodes can build upon the trust they have in a block to verify the next one and are thus able to verify entire subchains. Blocks can be verified for a few additional MiB of bandwidth on top of the base 40 MiB needed for block headers. I will then present the evaluation scheme of Dietcoin where historical data from the Bitcoin blockchain is replayed to a diet node running on a smartphone. This scheme can be adapted to other Bitcoin improvement proposals to test their claims on a real dataset in a realistic environment powered by the de facto standard bitcoin library.
Pierre-Louis Roman is a soon-to-graduate PhD student at the University of Rennes. He works on decentralized systems and more specifically on blockchains, epidemic protocols and weak consistency models. He is a self-proclaimed authority on banana-splits and enjoys having a concise bio.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free
  • This event is internal


  • Prof. Bryan Ford


  • Prof. Bryan Ford

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