Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency Technologies
Arvind Narayanan, Joseph Bonneau, Edward Felten, Andrew Miller, Steven Goldfeder with a preface by Jeremy Clark
Draft — Feb 9, 2016
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For the latest draft and supplementary materials including programming assignments, see our Coursera course .
The official version of this book will be published by Princeton University Press in 2016.
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Introduction to the book
There’s a lot of excitement about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Optimists claim that Bitcoin will fundamentally alter payments, economics, and even politics around the world. Pessimists claim Bitcoin is inherently broken and will suffer an inevitable and spectacular collapse.
Underlying these differing views is significant confusion about what Bitcoin is and how it works. We wrote this book to help cut through the hype and get to the core of what makes Bitcoin unique.
To really understand what is special about Bitcoin, we need to understand how it works at a technical level. Bitcoin truly is a new technology and we can only get so far by explaining it through simple analogies to past technologies.
We’ll assume that you have a basic understanding of computer science — how computers work, data structures and algorithms, and