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Title: An introduction to cryptocurrencies

Interest in Bitcoin (the world's first widespread cryptographic currency) raised rapidly in 2013, as the price of a single bitcoin went from approximately 50 to 5000kr over a period of few months. However, while the media has provided an extended coverage of Bitcoin as an economical and political phenomenon, little has been said about the way it works.

In this talk, I will try to strip Bitcoin down to the abstract, high level protocol in an attempt to make its functioning accessible to a general audience of computer scientists.

As governments are still discussing the legal status of cryptographic currencies, it is unclear what the future of Bitcoin will be. However it is my personal opinion that (some kind of) distributed cryptographic currencies will play a significant role in our future. Therefore one of the goals of this lecture is to stimulate new joint research at the department by pointing out some of the (non-cryptographic) challenges in the design of peer-to-peer currencies.