A new Trail of Bits research report examines unintended centralities in distributed ledgers – “Blockchains can help push the boundaries of current technology in useful ways. However, to make good risk decisions involving exciting and innovative technologies, people need demonstrable facts that are arrived at through reproducible methods and open data. We believe the risks inherent in blockchains and cryptocurrencies have been poorly described and are often ignored—or even mocked—by those seeking to cash in on this decade’s gold rush. In response to recent market turmoil and plummeting prices, proponents of cryptocurrency point to the technology’s fundamentals as sound. Are they?
- Are Blockchains Decentralized? Unintended Centralities in Distributed Ledgers – Read the report
- Listen to our podcast about this report
- Follow along on Twitter
Over the past year, Trail of Bits was engaged by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to examine the fundamental properties of blockchains and the cybersecurity risks associated with them. DARPA wanted to understand those security assumptions and determine to what degree blockchains are actually decentralized. To answer DARPA’s question, Trail of Bits researchers performed analyses and meta-analyses of prior academic work and of real-world findings that had never before been aggregated, updating prior research with new data in some cases. They also did novel work, building new tools and pursuing original research. The resulting report is a 30-thousand-foot view of what’s currently known about blockchain technology. Whether these findings affect financial markets is out of the scope of the report: our work at Trail of Bits is entirely about understanding and mitigating security risk…”