Author ORCID Identifier



Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair

Matthew Valenti

Committee Co-Chair

Roy Nutter

Committee Member

Roy Nutter

Committee Member

Ramana Reddy


Blockchain technology was invented in the Bitcoin whitepaper released in 2008. Since then, several decentralized cryptocurrencies and applications have become mainstream. There has been an immense amount of engineering effort put into developing blockchain networks. Relatively few projects backed by blockchain technology have succeeded and maintained a large community of developers, users, and customers, while many popular projects with billions of dollars in funding and market capitalizations have turned out to be complete scams.

This thesis discusses the technological innovations introduced in the Bitcoin whitepaper and the following work of the last fifteen years that has enabled blockchain technology. A complete implementation of a blockchain network and cryptocurrency based on first principles is presented in order to illustrate the design and technical choices that have to be made while implementing a blockchain.

To understand the incentives that drive the adoption of blockchain technology, two successful blockchain projects, Crypto Kitties, which is a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) project based on the ERC-721 specification and Helium, are analysed as case studies. These case studies first examine how these projects leveraged blockchain technology from a technical standpoint, followed by a discussion of the incentives that were built into the projects, which allowed millions of users to participate in these networks and create value.

The economic incentives created by Crypto-assets which are a combination of cryptocurrency and tokens, are explored. The purpose of this thesis is to provide an informational overview of the incentives and technical choices driving the development and adoption of blockchain technology.