PhD dissertation ideas

Hi, I stand before committing to a topic of my Ph.D. dissertation. I’m interested in everything encompassing blockchains: p2p, applied cryptography, cryptocurrencies, Defi, zkSNARKs, programming languages, distributed systems, game theory, etc. Although I have more experience in software engineering, computer science and theory have become extremely appealing to me. I like thinking, designing, and formalizing, as well as hacking. My first supervisor suggests me to work on government/i-voting/notarising/ontology, the second one on information-centric networking. But, as I’ve listed above, these are not the topics that fascinate me the most. Fortunately, my supervisors give me free rein in choosing my dissertation topic.

I know that they are far more experienced scientists, but I’m also aware that they have their own interests, not necessarily aligned with mine. I don’t mind helping them with their research, but I want my dissertation to fascinate me.

Projects/papers I like:

  • Ethereum: a secure decentralised generalised transaction ledger
  • DIZK: A Distributed Zero Knowledge Proof System
  • ZEXE: Enabling Decentralized Private Computation
  • LEO: A Programming Language for Formally Verified, Zero-Knowledge Applications
  • IPFS - Content Addressed, Versioned, P2P File System

What I love about these projects is that they align perfectly with my interests and are a perfect mix of both theory and practice, science and engineering.

Also, I like everything from cs251 Stanford course.

You should be aware that I’m not an expert in cryptography; therefore, I won’t be able to e.g. improve on zkSNARKs. My current work was rather in applications of blockchain, not the technology itself. But I would like to change my direction.

I’m asking you to correct my (possibly biased) beliefs and suggest some topics that would align with my and (if possible) my supervisors’ interests.

There r hundreds of topics as u said, MEV or any front running &Extracted Value in general there is Consensus Extracted Value also with a lot of resources, EIP-1559 (although has been studied a lot, I think maybe a master thesis where survey & deep thorough study is a major part; ie not very promising for a PhD level results I think)

  • The move to Eth2 is rich with a variety of topics, if u explore all u’ll probably find something that suits u to conduct research in.
    -However, and since ur supervisors seem to prefer government oriented topics, I may suggest a competitive study of cryptocurrencies in governmental applications with an Ethereum model. This is not like a title exactly; I mean u study El-Selvador appliement to Bitcoin, Ethiopia NFT for students learning ( Cardano won, but Ethereum had a proposal)
    Then u suggest ur Ethereum comparative models for both, and maybe present both cases if Eth1 or Eth2?
    -I’ve been also thinking of making NFTs for a digital copy of countries historical treasures, whether for each country as an added value & digital Archiving of whatever might decay or get distracted with time.
    -Could be something global thru Uniseco for example; however I think this is application level, unless u can think of issues Cryptographic or what so ever inside it to suffice for a PhD fulifillment