Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies

Welcome to the course Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies. To really understand what is special about Bitcoin, we need to understand how it works at a technical level. We’ll address the important questions about Bitcoin, such as:

  • How does Bitcoin work?
  • What makes Bitcoin different?
  • How secure are your Bitcoins?
  • How anonymous are Bitcoin users?
  • What determines the price of Bitcoins?
  • Can cryptocurrencies be regulated?
  • What might the future hold?

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies
After this course, you’ll know everything you need to be able to separate fact from fiction when reading claims about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. So you’ll have the conceptual foundations you need to engineer secure software that interacts with the Bitcoin network.

Lessons List

Introduction to Crypto and Cryptocurrencies

We will learn about cryptographic building blocks ("primitives") and their security. Then we will work through how these primitives can be used to construct simple cryptocurrencies.

How Bitcoin Achieves Decentralization

We will learn Bitcoin's consensus mechanism and reason about its security. So we will appreciate how security comes from a combination of technical methods and clever incentive engineering.

Mechanics of Bitcoin

We will learn how the individual components of the Bitcoin protocol make the whole system tick. So we will see transactions, script, blocks, and the peer-to-peer network.

How to Store and Use Bitcoins

We will learn how Bitcoins works in practice. So we will see different ways of storing Bitcoin keys, security measures, and various types of services that allow you to trade and transact with bitcoins.

Bitcoin Mining

We already know that Bitcoin relies crucially on mining. But who are the miners? How did they get into this? How do they operate? What's the business model like for miners? What impact do they have on the environment?

Bitcoin and Anonymity

Is Bitcoin anonymous? What does that statement even mean? Can we define it rigorously? We'll learn about the various ways to improve Bitcoin's anonymity and privacy. Then we will see Bitcoin's role in Silk Road and other hidden marketplaces.

Community, Politics, and Regulation

We'll look at all the ways the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology touches the real world. We'll discuss the community, politics within Bitcoin. Then we will see the way that Bitcoin interacts with politics, and law enforcement and regulation issues.

Alternative Mining Puzzles

Not everyone is happy about how Bitcoin mining works: its energy consumption and the fact that it requires specialized hardware are major sticking points. So in these lessons we'll look at how mining can be re-designed in alternative cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin as a Platform

One of the most exciting things about Bitcoin technology is its potential to support applications other than currency. So we'll study several of these and the properties of Bitcoin that makes this possible.

Altcoins and the Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

Nowadays hundreds of altcoins, or alternative cryptocurrencies, exists, either to fix Bitcoin's perceived flaws or to pursue different goals and properties. We'll look at everything that goes into an altcoin. Then we will see how they interact with Bitcoin.

Bibliography

Narayanan, Arvind, et al. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technologies. Princeton University Pres, 2016.
Nakamoto, Satoshi. Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system. 2008.
Bitcoin mining
Bitcoin exchanges failure rates
New York's BitLicense proposal

Useful websites

Blockcharts.com
Blockchain.info

News

Segwit2x and Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Fork in November 2017 - 27/10/2017
Microsoft: hypothesis of Government Blockchain Use - 19/10/2017
How to Follow Ethereum's Hard Fork - 16/10/2017
Blockchain to Fight Food Poisoning by Walmart, Kroger and Nestle - 22/08/2017
Bitcoin's battle against Segwit2x - 22/08/2017
Bitcoin cash rises above 500 dollars - 18/08/2017
Canadian media producers plans to use blockchain to track copyrights - 08/08/2017
Airline company started using Ethereum blockchain to sell tickets - 08/08/2017
Blockchain to Trace Meat Through Supply Chain - 08/08/2017
Hong Kong Exchange plans blockchain-based share market - 07/08/2017
Russia's banks are planning to use Blockchain technologies - 07/08/2017
Bitcoin Cash: a new cryptocurrency is born - 07/08/2017
Bitcoin cash fork (BCC) - 28/07/2017
Bitcoin Segwit activation on 1st August 2017 - 28/07/2017