Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies

by Jack Sparrow
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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 some programming experience. If you’re an undergraduate or
graduate student of computer science, a software developer, an entrepreneur, or a technology
hobbyist, this textbook is for you.
In this book we’ll address the important questions about Bitcoin. How does Bitcoin work? What
makes it different? How secure are your bitcoins? How anonymous are Bitcoin users? What
applications can we build using Bitcoin as a platform? Can cryptocurrencies be regulated? If we were
designing a new cryptocurrency today, what would we change? What might the future hold?

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