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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Computer Science

COMP4137: BLOCKCHAIN AND CRYPTOCURRENCIES

Type Open Level 4 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap None. Location Durham

Prerequisites

  • COMP3491 Codes and Cryptography OR COMP3657 Security Engineering OR (MATH3401 Cryptography And Codes III AND COMP1051 Computational Thinking)

Corequisites

  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None

Aims

  • To introduce students to an advanced topic in Computer Science that is finding application in modern technology.
  • To give students knowledge and understanding of the theoretical basis, security and history of cryptocurrencies.

Content

  • Secure hash functions and digital signatures.
  • Simple blockchains.
  • Decentralisation of blockchains.
  • Bitcoin transaction and block details.
  • Bitcoin mining.
  • Anonymity in cryptocurrencies.
  • Ethereum and smart contracts.
  • Recent developments in blockchains and cryptocurrencies.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • an understanding of the cryptographic protocols underlying blockchain security
  • knowledge of the key features and differences between a number of cryptocurrencies
  • the structure and use of smart contracts in a blockchain
  • an understanding of some recent developments in cryptocurrencies and blockchains
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • an ability to create and maintain a simple blockchain
  • an ability to interact with and transact in a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin programmatically
  • an ability to develop and deploy a smart-contract on a blockchain such as Ethereum
Key Skills:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • an ability to apply logical reasoning to practical scenarios
  • an ability to analyse complex protocols
  • an ability to read and understand technical papers

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures enable the students to learn new material relevant to blockchains and cryptocurrencies as well as their applications.
  • Practical classes enable the students to put into practice learning from lectures and strengthen their understanding through application.
  • Formative and summative assessments assess the application of methods and techniques.
  • Examination assesses an understanding of core concepts of blockchains and cryptocurrencies.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
lectures 20 2 per week 1 hour 20
preparation and reading 80
total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Assignment 100% No
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Example exercises are given during the course.


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University



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