In September 2015, Princeton University, an American a private Ivy League research university, launched an online course on Bitcoin and the Blockchain technology. About 30,000 students signed up to do the course.
In the heel of that success, some of the lecturers involved in the project have now written a textbook that covers most of the technical aspects of the Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies is detailed with anything from cryptographic hash functions to mining puzzles.
The book will be published at a later date by the Princeton University Press. In the meantime, those interested have been requested to read the draft and give feedback, which will go into improving the copy that is finally published.
In an introductory blog post, Arvind Narayanan, a co-author, who is also an assistant professor of computer science at Princeton, has indicated that the textbook is written in a conversational style, which makes it more readable despite the fact that it’s technical in nature.
“If you’re looking to truly understand how Bitcoin works at a technical level and have a basic familiarity with computer science and programming, this book is for you,” he has also added.
Arvind Narayanan was also one of the lecturers in the Princeton’s online Bitcoin course. As a matter of fact, a closer look at the textbook one cannot miss noting that its content is the refined form of the lectures from the online course, which is still accessible on Coursera.org, a platform that offers courses from many other universities on numerous subjects.
Needless to say, the book is set to add to the debate currently taking place around the globe about the future of the Blockchain technology. In the meantime, it will make access to the knowledge and skills needed in order to innovate more solutions that are enabled by the technology easy.
More importantly, however, and according to the authors, it is designed to help clear much of the confusion that is currently surrounding Bitcoin and the Blockchain technology.
“There’s a lot of excitement about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Optimists claim that Bitcoin will fundamentally alter payments, economics, and even politics around the world. Pessimists claim Bitcoin is inherently broken and will suffer an inevitable and spectacular collapse.” reads parts of the book’s introduction, “Underlying these differing views is significant confusion about what Bitcoin is and how it works. We wrote this book to help cut through the hype and get to the core of what makes Bitcoin unique.”
Being a technology and industry that is in its early days, there are still not many Bitcoin books in the bookstores, especially ones that are well detailed and documented with its working. In addition, most of those that have been published are either about Bitcoin business, for example, Digital Gold: The Untold Story of Bitcoin by the New York Times technology and business reporter, Nathaniel Popper or regulatory environments, example Law Of Bitcoin by Stuart Huegner (Editor).
Among the few that are technical, and thus, will be competing with the Princeton University one for readers, is Andreas M. Antonopoulos’ Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies.
With that stated, a book that has undergone peer review and is published under the authority of a prestigious University of Princeton’s level will be another milestone in the Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, particularly in the time when more and more mainstream financial institutions and technology companies are building their versions of the blockchain.