Getting Started

Our recommended starting point for anyone in this industry is to read the document that started it all: The Bitcoin Whitepaper. Find the Intro and Conclusion below. To get more into the weeds, check out the whitepaper for yourself!

Abstract. A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending. We propose a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network. The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work. The longest chain not only serves as proof of the sequence of events witnessed, but proof that it came from the largest pool of CPU power. As long as a majority of CPU power is controlled by nodes that are not cooperating to attack the network, they’ll generate the longest chain and outpace attackers. The network itself requires minimal structure. Messages are broadcast on a best effort basis, and nodes can leave and rejoin the network at will, accepting the longest proof-of-work chain as proof of what happened while they were gone.”

Conclusion. We have proposed a system for electronic transactions without relying on trust. We started with the usual framework of coins made from digital signatures, which provides strong control of ownership, but is incomplete without a way to prevent double-spending. To solve this, we proposed a peer-to-peer network using proof-of-work to record a public history of transactions that quickly becomes computationally impractical for an attacker to change if honest nodes control a majority of CPU power. The network is robust in its unstructured simplicity. Nodes work all at once with little coordination. They do not need to be identified, since messages are not routed to any particular place and only need to be delivered on a best effort basis. Nodes can leave and rejoin the network at will, accepting the proof-of-work chain as proof of what happened while they were gone. They vote with their CPU power, expressing their acceptance of valid blocks by working on extending them and rejecting invalid blocks by refusing to work on them. Any needed rules and incentives can be enforced with this consensus mechanism.”


For some more reading on Bitcoin specifically, check out this report by Wilmington Trust:

For a broader take on Bitcoin and overall market trends, check out this lecture by Tom Lee of Fund Strat:


Blockchain has become a pretty hot topic and buzzword. Is blockchain the same as Bitcoin? Is blockchain anything more than a cool database? Is it going to solve all the world’s problems? We’ll let you decide, but here are some recommended readings:

Blockchain Under the Hood by ThoughtWorks(technical):

Blockchain Simplified by Steemit (non-technical):

More Visual? Here is a video by Simply Explained:

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