Carnegie Mellon University

Risk and Regulatory Services Innovation Center

Sponsored by PwC at Heinz College

Exploring Privacy and Security Risks in Blockchain Ecosystems

Principal Investigator: Nicolas Christin, Associate Research Professor, CMU School of Computer Science and Engineering and Public Policy

PwC Sponsor: Grant Waterfall, Partner, Global Cybersecurity and Privacy Assurance Leader  

Blockchain technology, which creates a linear, time-stamped, publicly distributed ledger of all transactions within a system, has the potential to facilitate many transactions — for instance, by potentially replacing time-consuming notary operations in asset transfer, or providing an immutable source of transactional or contract data. But despite this potential, there are sizable cybersecurity, privacy and service risks and concerns associated with blockchain adoption. This project proposes to explore the adoption landscape beyond its current usage in Bitcoin crypto-currency (i.e., possible applications that have received seed funding or are being proposed), and the specific privacy, cybersecurity and availability challenges and risks associated with public and private blockchain.