Science Café Cleveland presents:



Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains:
What are they, and how are they connected?


May 13, 2019



Vincenzo Liberatore, PhD

Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Case Western Reserve University



Currencies depend on people's faith in them. Most traditional currencies are backed by their respective governments; cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, however, are not. And while they have experienced a meteoric rise in public awareness, there has been no corresponding increase in understanding of how cryptocurrencies can be trusted as a means of exchange, especially since there is no tangible object involved. This is where blockchain—another term that has also been much in the news—enters the picture.

Blockchain is the name given to the technology that powers cryptocurrencies. The core of a blockchain is an algorithm for multiple networked computers to reach consensus. For example, the Bitcoin blockchain enables the participants to unanimously agree that a Bitcoin was transferred from one party to another. The most attractive features of the consensus algorithm are that it is fault-tolerant, secure, and resilient to the presence of malevolent actors. This means that, even if you do not know the person on the other end of a transaction, you can be confident that the transaction is secure and permanent. Blockchain in fact describes many different types of consensus algorithms and attendant technology, often with radically different characteristics and applications that extend well beyond its original use with cryptocurrencies.

In his talk, Professor Liberatore will review the fundamental algorithms that underpin blockchain, their differences, and their applications. He will also explore the implications of the widespread adoption of blockchain, and its possible future developments.


Professor Liberatore has recommended the following links for further exploration of the topic:

Basic introduction to blockchain

"Blockchain explained... in under 100 words"

Application of blockchain in diverse fields

Blockchain applied in higher education


If the discussion topic for this month's Science Café gets your gears turning, and you're interested in continuing your quest for information, click here for just a small sample of what's available at the Cleveland Public Library on the subject and/or related topics.




The Music Box Supper Club - Concert Hall

1148 Main Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44113



May 13, 2019

Doors will be open 5:30–9:00 pm (last call at 8:45pm). Presentation and discussion is from 7:00–8:00pm. The Concert Hall will also host a limited menu before and during the event, not to mention a full bar! (Click here to view menu). Come early, get a good seat, grab a bite and a beverage, and enjoy the discussion!



Sponsored by Case Western Reserve University chapter of Sigma Xi, WCPN ideastream, and the Music Box Supper Club.