Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies 1st Edition
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From the Publisher
The Extended Bitcoin Network
Different types of nodes on the extended bitcoin network
- Reference Client
- Full Block Chain Node
- Solo Miner
- Lightweight (SPV) wallet
- Pool Protocol Servers
- Mining Nodes
- Lightweight (SPV) Stratum wallet
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 indepth introduction to bitcoin for noncoders—those trying to understand the inner workings of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
- A broad introduction to bitcoin—ideal for non-tech users, investors, and business executives.
- Technical foundations of bitcoin and cryptographic currencies for developers, engineers, and software and systems architects.
- Details of the bitcoin decentralized network, peer-to-peer architecture, transaction lifecycle, and security principles.
- Offshoots of the bitcoin and blockchain inventions, including alternative chains, currencies, and applications.
- User stories, elegant analogies, examples, and code snippets illustrating key technical concepts.
"Mastering Bitcoin is the best technical reference available on bitcoin today. And bitcoin is likely to be seen in retrospect as the most important technology of this decade. As such, this book is an absolute must-have for any developer, especially those interested in building applications with the bitcoin protocol. Highly recommended." - Balaji S. Srinivasan (@balajis), General Partner Andreessen Horowitz
"Bitcoin and blockchain technologies are becoming fundamental building blocks for the next generation internet. Silicon Valley's best and brightest are working on it. Andreas' book will help you join the software revolution in the world of finance." - Naval Ravikant, cofounder, AngelList
"The invention of the Bitcoin Blockchain represents an entirely new platform to build upon, one that will enable an ecosystem as wide and diverse as the Internet itself. As one of the preeminent thought leaders, Andreas M. Antonopoulos is the perfect choice to write this book." - Roger Ver, Bitcoin Entrepreneur & Investor
AT&T Tech Channel offers a video review of "Mastering Bitcoin"
About the Author
Andreas literally grew up with the Internet, starting his first company, an early BBS and proto-ISP, as a teenager in his home in Greece. He earned degrees in Computer Science, Data Communications and Distributed Systems from University College London (UCL), recently ranked in the world's top 10 universities. After moving to the US Andreas co-founded and managed a successful technology research company, and in that role advised Fortune 500 company executives on networking, security, data centers and cloud computing. More than 200 of his articles on security, cloud computing and data centers have been published.
In 1990, Andreas started teaching on various IT topics in private, professional and academic environments. Andreas honed his speaking skills in front of audiences ranging in size from five executives in a boardroom to thousands of people in large conferences. With more than four hundred speaking engagements under his belt he is considered a world-class and charismatic public speaker and teacher. In 2014, he was appointed as a teaching fellow with the University of Nicosia, the first university in the world to offer a Masters Degree in Digital Currency. In this role, he helped to developed the curriculum and co-taught the course.
As a bitcoin entrepreneur, Andreas has founded a number of bitcoin businesses and launched several community open-source projects. He serves as an advisor to several crypto-currency companies. He is a widely published author of articles and blog posts on bitcoin, is a permanent host on the popular Let's Talk Bitcoin Podcast, and a frequent speaker at conferences worldwide.
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Paperback : 298 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1449374042
- ISBN-13 : 978-1449374044
- Dimensions : 7 x 0.68 x 9.19 inches
- Publisher : O'Reilly Media; 1st edition (December 23, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #253,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Otherwise, very well researched and clearly written.
This is not a book focused on the econokic, societal, or business implications. Rather, it seems best suited for a technologist seeking a level 200 technical introduction. You won't be,an expert without hands on exposure. You will be able to be technically articulate in Bircoin/Blockchain.
Top reviews from other countries
I am neither. I am an IT Pro with an interest in technology, how it might change society and an interest in improving the way we carry out financial transactions. Electronic payment, and more broadly the exchange of value, has never been a technology problem but has always been about vested interests such as Government, banks, technology companies, and payment processors. Disruptive technology often (but not always) clears the logjam and is absorbed into the mainstream.
So I come to Bitcoin needing an understanding of the network, how it works and what are the benefits of using it. For me the code in the book is not something I am personally going to dive into but seeing some of the code does help explain to me what a transaction is, how it processed on the blockchain and the challenges of the programmers involved.
The non-technical reader should avoid this book except for the first chapter that uses real-world examples of Bitcoin use. Programmers who want to learn to develop applications should read it. IT Pros that want a broad understanding of the technology will find about 50% useful.
This would be 5 stars if I was a programmer but I am not so the code was a little above me.
One final comment is that I ordered this book on a Kindle and a printed version for a friend. My only disappointment is that you can't pay by Bitcoin on Amazon....
The book is very new and up to date; the publication date is December 2014.
It examines the various tools and libraries available for developing Bitcoin software, before diving into the concepts. It explains the maths of elliptic curve cryptography, the various hashing and encoding algorithms such as SHA256, Base58 encoding, etc. It explains the various kinds of wallet implementations, including HD and SPV. As you'd expect, it spends a long time on transactions, covering inputs, outputs, fees, scripts, etc.
There is quite a detailed explanation of SPV nodes, covering the implementations of Bloom filters and Merkle trees. The structure of the blockchain itself is covered in depth, showing block structure and header fields in detail. Mining is covered in detail. Towards the end there's a chapter on alternative currencies and blockchains. There is an Appendix listing all the Script opcodes.
After reading most of this book, I was able to make RPC calls to the bitcoind, create transactions, extract scripts from them and insert modified scripts before submitting them to the network.
Bitcoin (and similar digital cryptocurrencies) have to solve a number of problems: security of the contents of your 'wallet', trust between buyer and seller, the integrity of the currency itself. Any robust solution is plainly going to be both complex and counterintuitive.
Bitcoin's key architectural innovation is the blockchain: a list of every transaction which has ever occurred. Transactions - as they occur - are broadcast across the peer-to-peer network, validated by each node, assembled (for a fee) by 'bitcoin miners' into a new block which is then rebroadcast (there's a kind of race to finish a new one), the new block being finally stacked by each full node onto its local copy of the ever-growing blockchain. The protocol provides mechanisms to ensure global consistency as divergences (forks) are quickly damped out.
Transactions are protected (signed) by private keys (permitting you to spend your own coins) and public keys - used to construct bitcoin addresses (like bank account numbers) to which payments are addressed, and also serving to validate signatures.
There are endless overviews of bitcoin which hand wave about how it works. You will never understand bitcoin that way, because the reason it works is in the detail. Andreas M. Antonopoulos's book contains that detail and is accessible if you already know about public key cryptography, cryptographic hashing and digital signatures.
The book itself is focused on developers - plenty of code examples - and is weaker on the overall architecture and those essential usage models. However, if you read it alongside Satoshi Nakamoto's original paper and the Wikipedia article on bitcoin, then you will get there -- and be both amazed and impressed.