What we're about
Happy to announce Wake Tech has approved the course!
Wednesday nights 6-8pm starting Oct 3rd 2018
Register here: https://www.waketech.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/take-classes-for-fun/wellness?course=CSP-4000HM2
I've been asked by Wake Tech Community College to propose an "Introduction to bitcoin and cryptocurrency" course that will likely get going in August. Before that happens, I thought I'd use this meetup to help others with their questions and also to help me shape my class material around common hangups. The outline of my proposed course is below. For each meetup we can pick and choose from those topics, or feel free to suggest others.
As for my background, I completed PhD in complex systems and worked in climate physics for several years. I became deeply interested in Bitcoin in 2012 and it has consumed most of my interest since then. I was a founding investor in Ethereum in 2014. I recently developed http://visualblockchain.org to to help folks visualize how the blockchain works.
At each meetup, I'm thinking I will give a 5-10 minute presentation at the start, and then let the conversation go wherever... or maybe break off into small groups if that makes more sense. I've reserved the conference room (10 people or so) at the Starbucks on Lake Boone Trail on Mondays nights at 6pm, so I'll schedule it then for now.
Hope to see you there!
Proposed course outline:
Week 1 - What is money? An overview of why money arises in a society and the forms it has taken in the past. Topics: history of money, desirable properties of money, our money today, fractional reserve banking, Keynesian vs. Austrian economics, inflationary vs. deflationary forms of money, centralized vs. decentralized forms of money.
Week 2 - The Invention of Bitcoin. A summary of the build up, release, and aftermath of Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention. Topics: the cypherpunk movement, the open source community, technologies that led up to Bitcoin such as hash-cash and e-gold, the anonymity and accusations of the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, early collaborations and message board activity of Satoshi, overview of the Bitcoin white paper.
Week 3 – Cryptography. The fundamental principles of computer science and mathematics necessary to understand how Bitcoin works. Topics: the P = NP problem in mathematics, randomness and pseudo-randomness, one-way functions, hash functions, elliptic curves, proof-of-work.
Week 4 - Bitcoin Addresses. How Bitcoin addresses are created and used. Topics: the difference between public and private keys, how to generate a private key from randomness, the one way function between private and public keys, the final structure of a Bitcoin address, how to generate multiple private/public key pairs from a single seed.
Week 5 – Bitcoin Transactions. How Bitcoin is transferred from one address to another. Topics: Anatomy of a transaction, transaction types, inputs and outputs, digitally signing a transaction with a private key, broadcasting the signed transaction to the network, transaction fees.
Week 6 – Blockchain and Mining. What is the Blockchain and how does mining work. Topics: the goal of decentralization, the memory pool of new transactions, collecting transactions into a block, hashing the block and random numbers in attempt to solve the proof of work puzzle (mining), difficulty of the puzzle, difficulty re-targeting, mining reward, propagation of the successfully mined block to the rest of the network, the deflationary mining reward curve.
Week 7 – Wallet and Security. What are the current providers of wallet software and best practices for using them. Topics: online vs offline wallets, hot vs cold storage of private keys, passphrases and seed words used to initialize wallets, popular wallet service providers, best practices for using wallets and protecting private keys.
Week 8 – Exchanges and Government Regulation. How are US dollars and other currencies traded in exchange for Bitcoin and how is this regulated. Topics: How cryptocurrency exchanges work, online vs in-person exchange, popular online sites, cases of fraudulent exchanges, decentralized exchanges, best practices when using exchanges, overview of the current regulatory environment, statements on crypto currencies released by the IRS.
Article - “Bitcoin – A peer-to-peer electronic cash system” by Satoshi Nakamoto. Available at https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
Book – “Mastering Bitcoin” by Andreas Antonopoulos. Usually available online by searching “mastering bitcoin pdf”
Book – “The Bitcoin Standard” by Saifedean Ammous. Available at https://www.amazon.com/Bitcoin-Standard-Decentralized-Alternative-Central/dp/1119473861