- Paperback: 298 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (December 20, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1449374042
- ISBN-13: 978-1449374044
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Customer Reviews: 173 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies 1st Edition
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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 international reviews
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.
All the basic is covered, but the more you read everything is getting more advanced. Author makes good job of conveying material in clear manner.
I am waiting for new version as I will definitely buy it. Also, I written down Andreas M. Antonopoulos name and I will buy more of his books if he ever write any.
Other stuff I have read on blockchain/bit coin was just speculative waffle, this gets right down to what matters if you want to do software development with bitcoin.