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Analyzing the Real-World Security of the Algorand Blockchain -
Within cryptography and distributed computing, a Byzantine consensus problem is a theoretical problem in which a set of devices must agree on a joint output, even if some fraction of those devices might be faulty. A solution to this problem takes the form of a [consensus] protocol, i.e., a set of instructions carried out by non-faulty devices. 

In the time since the formulation of the Byzantine consensus problem (circa 1980), design techniques for consensus protocols have evolved dramatically. So dramatically, in fact, that many of our classical analytical tools no longer work! This gap between old-school theory and new-school practice might merely be an interesting theoretical puzzle, if not for the fact that cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin and Ethereum) are using these new school techniques to secure a current collective market cap of 2 trillion dollars [1]. This talk will present an overview of our experience analyzing the Algorand blockchain protocol. In particular, I will highlight several of the challenges involved in analyzing a "new school" consensus algorithm as it exists in the real world.

[1] "Cryptocurrency Prices, Market Cap and Charts." Forbes Digital Assets, https://www.forbes.com/digital-assets/crypto-prices/ . Accessed 15 February 2024.

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