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Download : Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies
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? Each chapter has a series of homework questions to help you understand these questions at a deeper level. In addition, there is a series of programming assignments in which you’ll implement various components of Bitcoin in simplified models. If you’re an auditory learner, most of the material of this book is also available as a series of video lectures. You can find all these on our Coursera course. You should also supplement your learning with information you can find online including the Bitcoin wiki, forums, and research papers, and by interacting with your peers and the Bitcoin community. After reading this book, you’ll know everything you need to be able to separate fact from fiction when reading claims about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. You’ll have the conceptual foundations you need to engineer secure software that interacts with the Bitcoin network. And you’ll be able to integrate ideas from Bitcoin into your own projects.
About the authors
Arvind Narayanan is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Princeton. Narayanan leads the Princeton Web Transparency and Accountability project that aims to uncover how companies are collecting and using our personal information. He also leads a research group studying the security, anonymity, and stability of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. His doctoral research showed that data anonymization is broken in fundamental ways, for which he jointly received the 2008 Privacy Enhancing Technologies Award.
Joseph Bonneau is a Technology Fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Postdoctoral Researcher at Stanford. In addition to researching Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies he has worked on passwords and web authentication, secure messaging tools, and HTTPS for secure web browsing. Earlier he was as a Postdoctoral Fellow at CITP, Princeton and he has previously worked at Google, Yahoo, and Cryptography Research Inc. He received a PhD from the University of Cambridge and an MS from Stanford.
Edward Felten is a Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton, and the founding Director of the Center for Information Technology Policy. In 2011-12 he served as the first Chief Technologist at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. His research interests include computer security and privacy, and technology law and policy. He has published more than 100 papers in the research literature, and two books. His research on topics such as Internet security, privacy, copyright and copy protection, and electronic voting has been covered extensively in the popular press.
Andrew Miller is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and previously received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. He has studied cryptocurrencies since 2011, and has authored scholarly papers on a wide range of original research, including new proof-of-work puzzle constructions, programming languages for block chain data structures, and peer-to-peer network measurement and simulation techniques. He is an Associate Director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3) at Cornell and an advisor to the Zcash project.
Steven Goldfeder is a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University, advised by Arvind Narayanan. He is a member of the Security & Privacy Research Group, a CITP Graduate Student Fellow, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. His research interests include cryptography, security, and privacy, especially decentralized digital currencies. His current work involves increasing the security of Bitcoin wallets.
Jeremy Clark is is an Assistant Professor at the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering in Montreal. He received his PhD from the University of Waterloo in 2011, where he applied cryptography to designing and deploying verifiable voting systems, including Scantegrity — the first use of an end-to-end verifiable system in a public sector election. He became interested in Bitcoin in 2010 and published one of the first academic papers in the area. Beyond research, he has worked with several municipalities on voting technology and testified to the Canadian Senate on Bitcoin.