What is Blockchain?
A Brief Introduction
Blockchain is a distributed ledger that provides proof of ownership and allows for the efficient, secure exchange of ownership. It is called blockchain because transactions are grouped together in blocks. Each block is cryptographically linked to the previous block. A public blockchain is transparent and distributed and anyone can put it on their computer. It requires no trust. However, you cannot change any entry in the blockchain. It is immutable.
There are two main purposes:
First, blockchain technology can provide irrefutable proof of ownership. Think of getting into a car, providing a thumbprint, a blockchain is checked and you are verified as the owner of the car, … and the car starts.
Potential applications: intellectual property.
Second, blockchain technology allows for the efficient exchange of ownership. For example, it takes weeks to close a land transaction because lawyers need to be employed to do a title search - they need to establish that the person you are buying from actually owns the property. With blockchain technology, every realtor’s office and every lawyer’s office would have a ledger where they could verify ownership - and see any liens on the property.
Potential applications: tickets (entertainment events, transportation, etc.), the replacement of paper currency, trading of financial securities, and a way to make barter feasible.
Resources We've Collected To Help You Learn About Blockchain
Resources for Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
The following links included selected resources for further learning, research, news, etc.
For Bitcoin related information, a far more comprehensive resource database can be found at https://lopp.net/bitcoin.html prepared by Jameson Lopp
Prepared by The Duke Blockchain Lab, Fall 2017
“How the blockchain is changing money and business | Don Tapscott” [18:49 | Sep 2016]
TED talk, “What is the blockchain? If you don't know, you should; if you do, chances are you still need some clarification on how it actually works. Don m 90o.on is here to help, demystifying this world-changing, trust-building technology which, he says, represents nothing less than the second generation of the internet and k the potential to transform money, business, government and society.”
“Introduction to Bitcoin" [37:16 | Sept 2016]
Andreas Antonopoulos introductory video to Bitcoin. He is a prominent figure in the community. 0wn is a very comprehensive entry-level introduction to Bitcoin.
“What is Bitcoin? (v2)” | [1:36 | Apr 2014]
Short intro to Bitcoin
Coindesk’s information portal providing reading about common topics such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, mining, blockchains, and more
“The real value of bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology” [6:15 | Oct 2014]
Not Bitcoin’s official website, but an central location for all Bitcoin related info. Check out the resource page.
“A beginner’s guide to Ethereum” [5 min read | Feb 2017]
Fantastic introduction to Ethereum published on the Coinbase Blog. Also provides links to further reading.
“Ethereum is the Forefront of Digital Currency” [11 min read | May 2016]
Co-founder of Coinbase (and Duke Grad!) Fred Ehrsam gives thorough analysis of Ethereum in comparison to Bitcoin and other digital currencies
Coindesk article published in between the DAO attack and the hard fork that explains the attack and discusses possible solutions and their implications
Provides data and charts for hundreds of cryptocurrencies including market capitalization and price movement
“Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” [9 pages | Oct 2008]
The original white paper published by Satoshi Nakamoto.
Ethereum “White Paper”
Joseph Bonneau, Andrew Miller, et al. Highly recommended reading to get a broad technical understanding of the issues faced by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies)
Note that the two separate subreddits formed as a result regulation/censorship and philosophical differences regarding Bitcoin’s future in the original /r/Bitcoin
DUKE RESOURCES (Duke NetID Required)
Cam Harvey’s Lectures (Professor of Finance at the Fuqua School of Business)
Cam's Introductory Blockchain Talk:
Cam's Lectures For FINANCE898: Innovation and Cryptoventures:
House Course, “Blockchain and Innovation” Lectures (Duke netID required)
Lecture Slides, ask permission from email@example.com for use
9/11- Cam Harvey and “The Blockchain Identity”
9/18- Bitcoin: Past, Present, and Future
10/2- Private vs Public Blockchains
10/16- Blockchain and Financial Applications
10/23- Non-financial Blockchain Applications
10/30- Politics of Cryptocurrencies
11/13- BTC vs BCH
11/20- JAMESON LOPP; Forks, scaling, and Bitcoin Game Theory
Readings + Papers
Videos To Cam Harvey's Lectures (Duke NetID Needed)
Cam's Introductory Blockchain Talk:
Cam's Lectures For FINANCE898: Innovation and Cryptoventures