Bitcoins, Blockchains, and Cryptocurrencies Oh My!

The Introduction

We’re just half way into the first month of 2018 and if you follow tech in any way (even if you don’t) you’ve probably heard about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This is mainly due to their values exploding near the end of 2017 and all of the hype and confusion that generated.

This graph, showing the value of Bitcoin shows why there was so much hype:

Yahoo! Finance

As you see the price of a Bitcoin went from $5,917.16 USD November 6th, 2017 to $19,230.77 USD just over a month later on December 11th, 2017. Which works out to a 225% rate of return on your investment. That’s enough to get a lot of people talking and investing.

Of course for Bitcoin this really isn’t anything that new, back when it first hit $1,000 USD, I remember a similar (albeit smaller) level of hype. This time it feels different, maybe it’s the sheer number of “alt-coins” that have arisen, or perhaps it was the rise of the ICO’s (Initial Coin Offerings), but there seems to be more substance now, more legitimacy to what is happening. Or perhaps it’s just taken this next round of hype for me to look at it long enough to believe that there is some legitimacy. To be fair, like sharks to a feeding frenzy, all of this hype and money has attracted scam artists intent on making a quick buck from buzzwords and empty promises, so take my claims of substance with a more than a grain of salt for now.

The Reasons

From Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper

So why am I writing this blog post? Basically it’s because I don’t know anything about Bitcoin, the blockchain, trusted contracts, trusted contracts, nothing. But I want to learn. (That’s not totally true I have read Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper.)

What I’m going to try to do over the next few weeks or months is to try to enter the cryptocurrency world, both from a monetary perspective and also from a technical perspective, all the while documenting my journey here.

For a variety of reasons what I want to do is give myself a project that will do the following:

  1. Get me writing again
  2. Learn something new and current

While at the same time learning more about:

  1. Bitcoin
  2. The blockchain (as a protocol, why do some very smart people think that this is the future of computing?)
  3. Trusted contracts
  4. Proof of work
  5. Ethereum, Ethereum tokens, and DAPPS (Decentralized Apps that run on the Ethereum protocol
  6. All the things I don’t even know yet

As well as basic things like:

  1. How to setup a bitcoin wallet
  2. How to mine a cryptocurrency
  3. How to trade cryptocurrencies.

I’m not yet sure how far I’ll go, or how technical the articles will be, but I’m excited to take another stab at blogging and learning again.

Till next time.