Bitcoin is an interesting new cryptocurrency – a technology that allows anonymous but fully secure and fully decentralized “cash” transactions. If you have been paying attention either in the finance technology industry or the startup funding scene, you’ll know that Bitcoin is getting a lot of hype, and even some of the most conservative technology companies – i.e. banks – have started research efforts related to Bitcoin to ensure that they’re not caught napping if Bitcoin disrupts their industry.
But, there is a far bigger picture here that is important to understand. The core technology underlying Bitcoin is the Blockchain. This is essentially a protocol/algorithm that allows untrusted third-parties to exchange information with each other in a fully secure, fully decentralized way without the fear of repudiation. This has a potential to disrupt many industries and change how we do business in lots of domains – from domain name servers to Government.
In this talk, I will give an overview of what is Bitcoin, how it works, what is the blockchain, what is the fundamental problem is solves, and what are some potential disruptive applications of the blockchain. Specifically, I will be touching on the following aspects:
– The cryptographic algorithms underlying the blockchain, that allow it to be secure and reliable in spite of not requiring any central authority
– The distributed consensus algorithm that allows arbitrary untrusted servers on the internet to agree on the current state of the system
– The Bitcoin transaction language that allows it to be used in creative ways for interesting and complex transactions and contracts
There are no real pre-requisites for this talk; it should be accessible to anyone with a general familiarity with the technology industry and the internet.