This book is mostly intended for coders. If you can use a programming language, this book will teach you how cryptographic currencies work, how to use them, and how to develop software that works with them. The first few chapters are also suitable as an in-depth introduction to bitcoin for noncoders’those trying to understand the inner workings of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
I first stumbled upon bitcoin in mid-2011. My immediate reaction was more or less ‘Pfft! Nerd money!’ and I ignored it for another six months, failing to grasp its importance. This is a reaction that I have seen repeated among many of the smartest people I know, which gives me some consolation. The second time I came across bitcoin, in a mailing list discussion, I decided to read the white paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto, to study the authoritative source and see what it was all about.
I still remember the moment I finished reading those nine pages, when I realized that bitcoin was not simply a digital currency, but a network of trust that could also provide the basis for so much more than just currencies. The realization that ‘this isn’t money, it’s a decentralized trust network,’ started me on a four-month journey to devour every scrap of information about bitcoin I could find. I became obsessed and enthralled, spending 12 or more hours each day glued to a screen, reading, writing, coding, and learning as much as I could. I emerged from this state of fugue, more than 20 pounds lighter from lack of consistent meals, determined to dedicate myself to working on bitcoin.
Two years later, after creating a number of small startups to explore various bitcoin-related services and products, I decided that it was time to write my first book. Bitcoin was the topic that had driven me into a frenzy of creativity and consumed my thoughts; it was the most exciting technology I had encountered since the Internet. It was now time to share my passion about this amazing technology with a broader audience.