I am fortunate to work with my Ph.D. students on the following topics:
Blockchain technology is still in its infancy. Despite many different proposals, the main goals of high throughput, scalability, decentralization and privacy protections have not yet been achieved. To achieve these goals, a thorough understanding of what blockchain technology can perform is first required. Therefore, a comprehensive analysis to compare and study their drawbacks and benefits still needs to be developed.
My goal is to build a framework to understand the tension points and tradeoffs so that I can then design a better blockchain. In this scope, I will not only study Proof of Work blockchains but also capture and compare other types of blockchain networks. The framework will provide a methodology to objectively choose the optimal blockchain with respect to security, privacy, and performance for a given application. Furthermore, I expect to innovate regarding different types of blockchains, and my research will allow for positioning these innovations in the space of possible blockchain designs.
Smart contract applications have yet to prove to be ubiquitous and generally useful in real-world applications. The most significant obstacle to their mainstream adoption is likely their connection to the real world. Secure and integrity protected blockchain data feeds would allow smart contracts to provide competitive alternatives to traditional industry services. Example applications range from insurances, dispute mediation to gambling and autonomous organisations. Existing work such as Town Crier (See F. Zhang, E. Cecchetti, K. Croman, A. Juels and E. Shi, An Authenticated Data Feed for Smart Contracts, CCS 2016) and Oraclize (http://www.oraclize.it) already provide interesting solutions which need further refinement.