Episode 1

Researcher Uli Gallersdörfer on Blockchains, Bitcoin, Environmental Impact and Design Choices

Published on: 15th July, 2021

Not many innovations have the power to shape the world on a massive scale like the internet. However, after the great financial crisis of 2007/08, one exactly such innovation came along. The blockchain. In 2008 a whitepaper named "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System" was mailed out to a cryptographic mailing list and only shortly after the bitcoin network went live. Today twelve years after the first block the technology is widely known. Yet, barely anyone actually understands it. Not so Uli Gallersdoerfer.

He is a researcher at the Technical University Munich, who finished his Masterthesis in 2016 about Blockchains and continued his research as a PhD student. He now stands as one of the most regarded Blockchain researchers, regularly holding lectures about bitcoin, why it is so safe and answering questions about the energy dilemma revolving around bitcoin itself. However, before we answer those questions we need to know what a Blockchain actually is.


00:52 How does the bitcoin blockchain work

06:18 Main issue in decentralized networks

08:32 What is a miner's job in a blockchain

11:59 What happens if two blocks occur at the same time

14:46 What is proof of stake

18:03 Evaluating the climate impact of proof of work algorithms

25:45 What are smart contracts

30:30 The usability problem

35:37 Pursuing a PhD vs. joining industry

40:07 Finding a use case for blockchain-technology

43:55 Bitcoin's lightning network and design decisions

51:36 How to explore research questions

Links mentioned:

Ulis LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/uli-gallersdoerfer/

Ulis Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=7J1AmygAAAAJ&hl=de

Lecture Notes: https://github.com/sebischair/bbse

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Music by Nathaniel Drew x Tom Fox:



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About the Podcast

Deep Tech Stories
A podcast making deep tech accessible by highlighting creators and pulling their tech from the lab into the real world.
What do you need to start a nuclear power start-up? How do you build a company from cutting-edge research? And how do you convince Venture Capitalists to support your quantum computing company?
Deep tech companies are based on significant scientific or engineering challenges, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, nuclear fission and every other crazy thing you can and cannot yet imagine.

My name is Philipp. Currently, I am a PhD student in theoretical physics and in Deep Tech Stories, I explore the tech and stories behind exciting start-up founders and researchers in the deep tech space.

You can find more on deeptechstories.io

About your host

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Philipp Stürmer

Doing a PhD in theoretical physics, he is still interested in the practical overlap of research, engineering and start-ups that changes the world.