"From an Electronic Cash System to DeFi - A journey through cryptocurrencies evolution and their security issues "

Prof. DI PIETRO Roberto -
Digital Security

Date: -
Location: Eurecom

Abstract: Cryptocurrencies, despite their recent success, are not a recent innovation, and their future is everything but secured. In this talk, we will first survey some of the foundational aspects of crypto, starting from their first attempts and the reasons for their failure. We will later move to the first few successful implementations of electronic cash systems, and discuss the first attacks (spread over several logical layers and with different levels of complexity) they have been subject to. We will also explore the more recent evolution of cryptocurrencies (parachains) and, again, the security issues and attacks this new model has been subject to. We will conclude with a highlight on recent research results that indicate what could be the next source of (in)-security for cryptocurrencies. Short Bio: Roberto Di Pietro (Fellow, IEEE; Distinguished Scientist, ACM; Member Academia Europaea) is a Full Professor in Computer Science with the KAUST-CEMSE, KSA. Previously, he was Professor in Cybersecurity and founder of the CRI-Lab at HBKU-CSE, Doha-Qatar. He also served as Global Head for Security Research for Nokia Bell Labs. He has been working in the cybersecurity field for more than 25 years, leading technology-oriented and research-focused teams in the private sector, government, and academia (MoD, United Nations HQ, EUROJUST, IAEA, and WIPO). Besides being involved in M&A of startups—and having founded one (exited)—he is a board member of a few research institutions. In 2011–2012, he was the recipient of a Chair of Excellence from the University Carlos III, Madrid. In 2020, he was the recipient of the Jean-Claude Laprie Award for significantly influencing the theory and practice of Dependable Computing. In 2022 he was awarded the Individual Innovation Award from HBKU. His education accounts for an M.S. in Computer Science ('94) and an M.S. in informatics ('03), a Post-MS Specialization Diploma in Operations Research and Strategic Decisions ('03), and a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science ('04).