DW: You’re one of the authors of a new book on “Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies” and you call it a “comprehensive introduction.” It’s almost as if Bitcoin is going legal now – institutionalized by formal research. This currency that we know of as a kind of subculture, one that was created in some mystery, is it now coming of age?
Andrew Miller: That’s one way to put it. A lot of the important technologies and underlying ideas embodied in Bitcoin are absolutely, fundamentally important. Channeling something my co-author Arvind Narayanan says, you know, “Why should researchers care about Bitcoin?” and his answer is, “We’re going to be teaching things that are lessons from Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in computer science in 20 years from now.” That’s from applying cryptography in ways we haven’t seen before to the prevalence of reliable databases, there’s a bunch of core ideas that are absolutely fundamental. And they can perhaps transcend the particular usage and communities around Bitcoin from the beginning and up to now.
There must be at least 100 cryptocurrencies – aside from digital or virtual currencies – and they share some of the technology, such as the “blockchain.” But they’re still relatively uncommon as a