Emin Gün Sirer

Emin Gün Sirer | The Blockchain Scientist

Emin Gün Sirer

Cornell University professor Emin Gün Sirer is one of the well-known academics in the Bitcoin community. His interest areas include operating systems, peer-to-peer systems, and networking. It’s, therefore, no surprise that he finds himself sharing thoughts and analyzing cryptocurrencies as well as projects and issues in the cryptosphere from time to time. 

Between 1989 and 2000, Emin earned a B.S.E computer science degree from Princeton University and a PhD in the same program from the University of Washington.

Apart from his work as a professor, Emin is the co-director of IC3 which stands for Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts. Behind this institution are faculty members of Cornell and a few other universities. It aims to help turn cryptocurrency related innovations into real-world applications.

Some Of His Views On Important Cryptocurrency Related Issues

About a month before the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) on the Ethereum network was hacked, Emin GünSirer, in a paper, expressed concerns about certain vulnerabilities that could be exploited. A total of nine issues were raised in this paper. A bias in the voting system of the DAO was one of the issues touched on. The paper also went on to propose possible solutions to the problems identified. As you probably know, the DAO disaster was resolved with a hardfork that led to a split in the Ethereum protocol.

Emin did not foresee the 2016 Bitfinex hack, but came out with ways in which the hack and similar ones could be avoided in the future. His solution was the use of “vaults” to safely keep Bitcoins and protect them from theft. With the proposed Bitcoin vault abstraction, long-term holders get more options to use in securing their valuable coins. Holders would then be able to reclaim coins from hackers within 24 hours, using recovery keys. Stolen Bitcoins could also be rendered useless to hackers by using this method.

On the scaling debate, the professor is of the view that block size increase was the answer. He opined this in a presentation he made at the recently organized Satoshi  Vision Conference. He, however, added that following the initial block size increase, it was not feasible to continuously increase it as a solution.

He went on to talk about Bitcoin NG, a project he is working on. The Bitcoin NG project is one of the projects coming out of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts. The project is an attempt to come out with a next-generation blockchain that would solve the scaling problem.

Contributions to Development of Cryptocurrencies

Emin Gün Sirer has not only contributed with words. The Turkish- American professor was part of a team that came out with the Karma system in 2003. The Karma cryptocurrency was decentralized and used the proof of work mechanism. This was a first.

He was also involved with the creation of the Falcon relay network for Bitcoin. This innovation came out with a way of speeding up the process of transmitting blocks over the Bitcoin network. Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer nature makes it censorship resistant but also slow. Miners on the network also tend to join their resources and mine in pools to offset some of the disadvantages of the slow nature of the network. Hence, by speeding up the process of transmitting blocks over the network, Falcon also makes the network more decentralized.

Some in the cryptocurrency space often call out Emin for spreading fear uncertainty and doubt (FUD) with some of his comments. However, in a community where most people religiously cheer their favorite projects and see no wrong with them, it is good to have people willing to point out any problems they notice. Also, with his contributions to the development of cryptocurrencies, Emin Gün Sirer has shown that he has got skin in the game.