Essential Cryptocurrency Reading & Bitcoin Whitepapers
Bitcoins is a topic that continues to gather momentum one day after another. The developments surrounding the topic are great and are in the right direction. Every other day, there is something about bitcoins to look up and learn. It is a journey you cannot afford to remain behind in. No matter how passive or active you become, you should have access to the right information. As the old saying goes: without information there is no transformation.
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The Blockchain Technology
For many people, this technology is equal to speaking in tongues. Developers and innovators are spending sleepless nights trying to improve on Bitcoin’s blockchain. Entrepreneurs and investors are also curious and anxious, and so are governments. No matter your position in this cycle, this is a place to keep watching as developments will continue. To this end, accessing a white paper is a great way to inform yourself on this need-to-know area. Luckily, today there are tens of bitcoin whitepapers, which would go a long way in giving clarity and insight.
Satoshi Nakamoto White Paper
To ease your understanding, there is no better place to start than with Satoshi Nakamoto. Way back in November 2008, he foresaw the need for setting the pace. Satoshi proceeded to publish the founding paper on the theories and concepts of bitcoin. He named this document Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer electronic cash system. Academic in nature, the paper was first published on the Cryptography Mailing List. By all means, you can refer to this publication as the first bitcoin constitution. It entails the dos and don'ts that govern the operational rules of the system. This is a real eye-opener and a good read, all offered from the founder's perspective.
Abstract (Main Focus)
The main focus of Bitcoin whitepaper, as stated in the abstract, is to prevent double-spending in an only peer-to-peer variation of electronic cash by using a continued chain of hash-based proof of work.
The introduction has two parts, the first of which states that a reputable third party is essential to work out electronic payments which is going to increase costs of transactions. There is also criticism about the fact that the traditional transactions don’t enable irreversible transactions.
The second part is more or less similar to the abstract section.
This has an illustration of transaction with an electronic coin. It explains a transaction between three people, how a payment can pass among them, how the person can verify the payment in the third stage to check, if they are not getting non-existent money by getting a proof (in the form of a piece of information) from the person from whom they receive the money (the person at the 2nd stage of payment).
This is a chain of pairs (of hash, timestamp) that is extensively published. Every hash is computed from:
- The previous hash
- A block of items
Proof of Work
Here the author has cautioned about the potential danger in the bitcoin transaction process. It explains how an attacker may “modify” an existing block chain, though they are not actually inserting malicious pieces in an existing block.<
Though this section is mostly a repeat of the previous section, it introduces some new insights about nodes.
In all, there are 12 sections in the Bitcoin Whitepaper that explain the whole bitcoin concept. In short, if you want to understand bitcoins, you need to study these white papers thoroughly.
The Mini Bitcoin White Paper
This white paper is a product of the Satoshi Counter Company. The company's choice of name is a deliberate tribute to the brain behind bitcoin. Satoshi Counter both sells and buys bitcoins. Furthermore, the company plays an active role in promoting the use of bitcoins through sensitization. To make their company’s dream a reality, they came up with the mini bitcoin white paper. This paper is available to the public at no cost. Whichever way you like it, you can download and print a copy for yourself or for others. This way, your family, friends or relatives can access this information and make the appropriate decisions.
Because it is free, it is a paper you can always leave at the reception in schools or your
work places. Other copies can be available in libraries or just in your home.
A Next Generation Smart Contract & Decentralized Application Platform
This is a write up by Vitalik Buterin, who is the creator of Ethereum. His paper seems to improve on the original by Satoshi Nakamoto. He appears to be taking decentralized applications and computer science to the next level.
Other Bitcoin White Papers to consider
You can almost never have a lack of white papers to read or to make available to someone you care for. These include:
- Ethereum: A Secure Decentralized Generalized Transaction Ledger - by Gavin Wood
- Enabling: Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains - by Blockstream Team
- Permacoin: Repurposing Bitcoin Work for Data Preservation - by Miller, Juels, Katz, Parno, and Shi
- The General Theory of Decentralized Applications, DApps - by David Johnston
- An Architecture for the Internet of Money - by Meher Roy
- A Note on Cryptocurrency Stabilisation; Seigniorage Shares - by Robert Sams
- Ripple - by Ripple Labs
- Mastercoin - by Mastercoin
- The Second Wave of Blockchain Innovation - by Joel Dietz
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