Bitcoin, Blockchain, Crypto Resource List
Compiled by Thomas H. Greco, Jr. Revised September 6, 2018
The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking by Saifedean Ammous.
I’ve not yet read this book, but it appears to be a major contribution to understanding the nature of Bitcoin and its ilk, and the implications for the future of money, banking, government and society.Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, in his forward to the book, says, “Bitcoin has no owner, no authority that can decide on its fate. It is owned by the crowd, its users. And it now has a track record of several years, enough for it to be an animal in its own right. Its mere existence is an insurance policy that will remind governments that the last object the establishment could control, namely, the currency, is no longer their monopoly. This gives us, the crowd, an insurance policy against an Orwellian future.”
Why Everyone Missed the Most Mind-Blowing Feature of Cryptocurrency by Daniel Jeffries.
The Five Keys to Cryptocurrency Evolution by Daniel Jeffries.
“The strength of crypto is its immense versatility and with just a few genetic mutations crypto will change the face of money and power forever.”
I recently received a message from Simon Saval, Co-Founder of Upfolio, informing me of their collection of “Crypto Guides.” He says. “We just launched six detailed, hand-illustrated guides for Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and Ethereum.” I’ve only skimmed the site but it seems like a useful resource.
Why Blockchain is Hard by Jimmy Song
“…what a blockchain is and more importantly, what it’s not.”
The main thing distinguishing a blockchain from a normal database is that there are specific rules about how to put data into the database. That is, it cannot conflict with some other data that’s already in the database (consistent), it’s append-only (immutable), and the data itself is locked to an owner (ownable), it’s replicable and available. Finally, everyone agrees on what the state of the things in the database are (canonical) without a central party (decentralized).
It is this last point that really is the holy grail of blockchain. Decentralization is very attractive because it implies there is no single point of failure. That is, no single authority will be able to take away your asset or change “history” to suit their needs. This immutable audit trail where you don’t have to trust anyone is the benefit that everyone that’s playing with this technology is looking for. This benefit, however, come at a great cost.
The costs of maintaining a blockchain are orders of magnitude higher and the cost needs to be justified by utility. Most applications looking for some of the properties stated earlier like consistency and reliability can get such things for a whole lot cheaper utilizing integrity checks, receipts and backups.
The overhead of transmission, verification and storage is enormous as every single copy of the database must pay them instead of those costs being paid just once in a traditional, centralized database.
Alternatives to Blockchain by Jimmy Song
“In this article, I’m going to present some alternatives that use aspects of blockchain technology that do a lot of what “blockchain” advocates claim, but do it a lot cheaper.”
I have heard a lot of pitches regarding “blockchain technology”. Most are aimed at a particular industry where there are blame assignment problems. They typically start with a setup of a problem in some industry, followed by how blockchain can somehow solve said problem. Many times, the problem is one of data integrity. That is, parties to a particular transaction or group of transactions disagree as to how accurate the data is in some way and that results in conflict. Usually one party feels cheated and if things get bad enough, there’s a lawsuit that contains a very expensive audit.
The promise of blockchain in these pitches is that the conflict can be taken away with a blockchain. That is, by having some objective, common database where parties can check for the truth, the participants in that industry can avoid all the expensive problems. This is indeed a real problem and easily finding out who’s to blame when something goes wrong is desirable.
What’s missed is that a “blockchain” in this context is really an expensive way to store auditable data. Auditable data does not need to be decentralized. In fact, putting auditable data on the blockchain can be a bad idea as that compromises privacy. Parties that are not a part of the transaction (competitors, journalists, etc.) all get to examine that data in a blockchain. This is a tradeoff of privacy for an expensive and slow but auditable and redundant storage.
What’s much more appropriate for a use-case like this is public key cryptography. Instead of storing the same data in many places which is expensive and slow, you can issue receipts. A receipt that’s signed by the parties involved, plus some sort of third-party auditor is a much cheaper and faster way to add data integrity than an entire blockchain mechanism ultimately meant for coordination.
Receipts have been around for thousands of years and for good reason. They provide a record of what happened in a way that prevents each party from changing things around later. Adding public key cryptography and computing power should make data integrity and real-time auditing much easier. An architecture where every party keeps its own database of signed receipts is a cheaper and faster alternative to a blockchain.
The Secret of BITCOIN – 2017 BBC Documentary
Evolution of Bitcoin
The Best Documentary Ever – The Bitcoin Phenomenon
Susan Athey: The Economics of Bitcoin & Virtual Currency
WTF is The Blockchain?
What is Blockchain Technology?
2018’s Challenge: What Are Crypto Assets Really Worth?
Jan 7, 2018 at 23:10 UTC | Updated Jan 19, 2018 at 12:18 UTC
The Evolution of Cryptocurrency
The Bitcoin Foundation
Andreas Antonopoulos – Great speech on Blockchain vs. Bitcoin in front of Consultants, 10/2016
Blockchain vs. Bullshit – Thoughts on the Future of Money, https://youtu.be/SMEOKDVXlUo
In this keynote presentation IT expert Andreas Antonopoulos, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJWCJCWOxBYSi5DhCieLOLQ, argues that the blockchain and related encryption technology is “massively disruptive” but there has also been a plenty of hype and lot of bullshit being peddled to venture capitalists, uneducated investors, and buyers of ICOs (initial coin offerings). “There’s a lot of Ponzi schemes, there’s a lot of pyramid schemes, there’s a lot of empty promises. There’s also a lot of business as usual disguised as innovation, disguised as disruptive technology.”
DIGITAL GOLD by Nathaniel Popper. This is an informative book that reads like a novel. Highly recommended.
Central Banks Consider Bitcoin’s Technology, if Not Bitcoin By NATHANIEL POPPER OCT. 11, 2016
For the central banks, the promise of the technology is that it would allow them to track every pound or renminbi on every step of its travels through the financial system in real time — something that is impossible now. The goal would be to make the financial system more transparent, fast, efficient and secure.
If the central banks succeed, it would be one of the greatest unexpected twists in new technology: An invention aimed at dethroning central banks and making it harder for money to be tracked instead ends up empowering those central banks and making money more easily traceable.
A Bitcoin Believer’s Crisis of Faith
By NATHANIEL POPPER JAN. 14, 2016
Hearn: “Bitcoin has gone from being a transparent and open community to one that is dominated by rampant censorship and attacks on bitcoiners by other bitcoiners.”
The dispute — which grew out of a question about the number of transactions the Bitcoin network can handle — may sound like something of interest only to the most die-hard techies. But it has exposed fundamental differences about the basic aims of the Bitcoin project, and how online communities should be governed. The two camps have broadly painted each other as, on one side, populists who are focused on expanding Bitcoin’s commercial potential and, on the other side, elitists who are more concerned with protecting its status as a radical challenger to existing currencies.
The impassioned blog post he was working on last week was an announcement that he was leaving Bitcoin behind entirely: “Bitcoin has gone from being a transparent and open community to one that is dominated by rampant censorship and attacks on bitcoiners by other bitcoiners.”
The problem was that, early on, Satoshi established a limit on the number of transactions that could be processed by the network every 10 minutes. The cap was meant to ensure that the computers supporting the network, and processing the transactions, would not be overwhelmed by an enormous quantity of data. But Satoshi had suggested that the limit should be temporary, and as the number of transactions coursing through the network inched closer to the cap, delays started to occur and transactions were not going through.
When Mr. Hearn began pushing for changes to the core Bitcoin software to allow for larger blocks of transaction data, he faced immediate resistance. Gregory Maxwell, a largely self-taught programmer who had worked on Wikipedia and the Mozilla web browser, both open-source projects, said that larger blocks of transaction data would be harder for ordinary computers to process. The result, Mr. Maxwell warned, would be to hand control over the network to big companies that could afford powerful computers.
For Mr. Maxwell, slower transactions seemed to be a secondary issue to protecting Bitcoin from centralized sources of authority.
Blockchain May Not Be as Secure as We Thought
While it all sounds good in theory, there is some bad news: a team of computing experts from the National University of Singapore and University College London published a study that details a surprising number of security flaws in smart contracts.…
Their analysis tool flagged 34,200 contracts. It even found the flaw in the Parity blockchain app that rendered $169 million worth of ether inaccessible to owners back in July 2017. The team then manually analyzed 3,759 contracts and found they could exploit vulnerabilities in 3,686 of them.
Determining that roughly 3.4 percent of smart contracts could be vulnerable to attackers is huge.
The real value of bitcoin and crypto currency technology – The Blockchain explained
Published on Oct 14, 2014
Bitcoin in five minutes: Blockchain technology will drastically change our lives.
In the coming years, the technology behind crypto currencies such as Bitcoin will inevitably and radically change the role of traditional trusted parties such as banks, accountants, notaries, and governments. The animated video about Bitcoin that was released today on http://bitcoinproperly.org is the first to specifically address the technology behind Bitcoin: the Blockchain. Within five minutes, it is explained how the essential functions of the “trusted third party” can be automatized through the Blockchain as well as what the implications of this are.
From Bitcoin hype to Blockchain revolution: an internet of trust.
With the arrival of crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, everyone around the world can trade with each other without any involvement from traditional third parties such as banks, notaries, accountants, and governments. Trade is a fundamental pillar of our economy and society, and traditional trusted parties play a crucial role in this.
The technology behind Bitcoin making all this possible – the Blockchain – ensures that the essential functions of the “trusted third party’, are fully automatized through the internet. This way, these functions are as freely available, accessible, and programmable as the internet itself.
The animated video, available in both Dutch and English, explains how this works, also mentioning practical applications. The implications are clear: in the coming years, the role of the traditional trusted parties will inevitably and drastically change, strongly impacting our daily lives.
The creators of this animated video invite its viewers to think about and discuss the fundamental and radical innovations made possible by crypto currencies.
Rutger van Zuidam ecommerce entrepreneur and founder of IntoBitcoin.com: “The Netherlands have all the assets to become Europe’s Silicon Valley of financial technology. It is possible for the Netherlands to position itself favourably in comparison to the US and UK, who are currently still ahead. The technology behind crypto currencies like Bitcoin plays an essential role in leveraging these opportunities. We hope that the animated video about the technology behind crypto currencies will positively affect this development.”
Lykle de Vries: ”Bitcoin is not the new money for internet, but it is the new internet for money, value and ownership in all forms. Crypto currencies like Bitcoin are the next step in the emancipation of all world citizens, and can help create a new dynamic for democracy, society and economy.”
About the creators
The animated video is a non-profit initiative by designers Patrick Loonstra (www.patrickloonstra.nl) and Sebas van den Brink (sebasvandenbrink.nl) and entrepreneurs Lykle de Vries (ThesisOne.com) and Rutger van Zuidam (Senanga.net, IntoBitcoin.com).
Blockchain Demystified | Daniel Gasteiger | TEDxLausanne
The blockchain is a public, distributed database, continually synchronized and updated.
Published on Apr 25, 2016
A short story on how this new technology is shaping and moving beyond the bitcoin hype. In this talk, Daniel will attempt to reveal the principle behind Blockchain, its potential to defy current systems and why Blockchain is probably the biggest technological invention since the PC in the 1970s and the Internet in the 1990s.
Daniel Gasteiger is an entrepreneur based in Zurich, co-founder of nexussquared. Daniel carries a driving passion to support and further develop the Swiss blockchain ecosystem. He embodies more than 20 years of experience in financial services – starting out as an FX trader at Credit Suisse, he then joined UBS in a variety of roles including until recently, managing the Chairman’s office as a Managing Director. In his recent co-authored whitepaper, “Act Now or Follow Later”, he achieves a remarkable ‘call to action’ by describing why Switzerland must seize the Fintech challenge.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
How I Explained Smart Contracts to My 10 Year Old by Pavel Baines
Why the latest bitcoin hack should make you worried about your money Angelo Young
Yes, bitcoin and virtual currency exchanges are changing the world — by showing how vulnerable we are to cybertheft.