Bitcoin part 5: More Cryptography

Let’s see if we can get this train of thought back on the rails.

A previous installment introduced one-way functions and trapdoor one-way functions. Make sure you have internalized that because this will build on it.

One-way functions have many uses, and I want to discuss a few, starting with a simple example. Suppose you […]

Bitcoin part 4: Number Theory

First, the bad news: This will be the longest and most mathematical installment in the series. The good news: You can skip it entirely and not miss anything, because this is almost entirely unrelated to Bitcoin. But I feel like writing about it.

This is a detour from the detour. I want to walk through […]

Bitcoin part 3: Cryptography

First, the good news: Bitcoin does not actually rely on very much cryptography. There are literally decades of cryptological research, including “digital cash” research, that Bitcoin simply ignores because it can. The bad news: I do not see how to understand Bitcoin without some understanding of cryptography. So this is where this whole series might […]

Bitcoin part 2: Coins

(Warning: I have had a couple glasses of wine.)

(Related video)

To my knowledge, there are only two kinds of money: token-based and ledger-based.

Scenario #1. You go to Starbucks, hand them a $10 bill, and they give you a latte. (I did say “Starbucks”.) That’s token-based money, with the bill functioning as the token. […]

Bitcoin part 1: Bits

As the past week’s events have shown, all of your “money in the bank” is really just “an IOU from the bank”. Of course, this has always been true, but now everyone on the planet knows it. So this seems an opportune time to write the Bitcoin introduction I have been contemplating.

All introductions to […]