More security for decentralised blockchains

TU Professor Sebastian Faust's cryptography project receives ERC grant funding


The European Research Council (ERC) is providing around two million euros of funding for a project at the Technical University of Darmstadt that aims to improve decentralised blockchain technologies. The project “CRYPTOLAYER – Cryptography for Second Layer Blockchain Protocols” by Computer Science professor Sebastian Faust is being supported with a renowned ERC Consolidator Grant for a term of five years. This will further strengthen TU Darmstadt's activities in cryptography and IT security research.

Professor Sebastian Faust heads the Group of Applied Cryptography at the Department of Computer Science.

The aim of the “CRYPTOLAYER” project is to make decentralised blockchain technologies usable for a wide range of applications. These technologies present a new method to perform computations without trusting a central platform provider. For example, they can process payment transactions in a distributed fashion powered by a large number of computers. While this approach results in a very high level of security, it has many disadvantages for mass application. In particular, blockchain computation are currently very expensive, publicly visible and applications cannot communicate with outside world.

This is where the TU Darmstadt’s research project comes in. “With the help of the 'CRYPTOLAYER' project, a second protocol layer will run on top of the blockchain”, Faust explains. This allows computations to be carried out quickly and at minimal cost. Additionally, a second step is to ensure the confidentiality of transaction data through the use of cryptographic protocols. This creates the prerequisite for running a multitude of applications via decentralised platforms. “In addition to the digitalisation of financial products with the help of cryptocurrencies, applications in classic cloud computing, for example, can also benefit from this”, describes the scientist.

Sebastian Faust has been Professor at the Technical University of Darmstadt since 2017 and heads the Applied Cryptography Group. His research is funded in part by the Collaborative Research Centre ”Crossing“ – Cryptography-based Security Solutions as a Basis for Trust in Today's and Future IT Systems” at TU Darmstadt, which is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG).


The ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded by the European Research Council to researchers from all disciplines for a period of seven to twelve years after their doctorate. In this way, the European Union promotes promising research: the Consolidator Grant is aimed at researchers who already have an excellent track record and now need support for their groundbreaking research projects to achieve scientific consolidation.