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Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies

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4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,498 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Want to join the technological revolution that's taking the world of finance by storm? Mastering Bitcoin is your guide through the seemingly complex world of bitcoin, providing the requisite knowledge to help you participate in the internet of money. Whether you're building the next killer app, investing in a startup, or simply curious about the technology, this practical ...more
Paperback, 298 pages
Published December 27th 2014 by O'Reilly Media (first published July 1st 2014)
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4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,498 ratings  ·  137 reviews


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Brian
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think this is the only book of it's type that really helps you dive down into the technical details of Bitcoin. It's showing it's age a little, but the fundamentals haven't changed all that much. I've been holding BTC for years, but I finally feel like I "understand" it. Thanks for writing this book!
Juvoni
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, physical
As a technologist and investor in Bitcoin, coming from a value investing background, I felt uncomfortable getting lucky investing in Bitcoin based on speculation as it was hard to wrap my mind around the utility and potential of Bitcoin.
Reading Mastering Bitcoin has significantly improved my understanding of the Protocol where I finally feel like I’m starting to get it. The book goes over the technicals of how Bitcoin works from keys, addresses, wallets & transactions, the scripting languag
...more
Eugene
Aug 20, 2018 added it
Shelves: 2018, a-to-read-next
History of bitcoin and a very detailed description of bitcoin and blockchain functionality accompanied with source code snippets to see how it is coded in real life applications. Good introduction into blockchgain for techie people.
Shannon Appelcline
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
An excellent overview of Bitcoin that simultaneously presents the big picture in a very readable way while also providing very specific details of how the protocol works, complete with examples. Technical writing, as it should be.
Dalan Mendonca
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great peek into the technical aspects of bitcoin/the blockchain. Having read more high level descriptions, I was always curious about the implementation details. This book provides quite a satisfactory introduction to this universe.
Athan Tolis
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read Cryptocurrency by Paul Vigna and Michael Casey and I loved it. I was so mesmerized that I immediately sat down and wrote an eight page stream-of-consciousness account of what it left me thinking Bitcoin was. And in doing so I realized that I did not have a full grasp of the detail. Worse still, I also realized that when it comes to cryptocurrency the devil truly is in the detail.

My friends all said “buy some and you’ll soon understand better”

I’m a loser, so I read another book instead. Th
...more
Cody Django
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good overview. I was already quite familiar with the architecture of the Bitcoin system but still picked up quite a few new concepts, terms, and mental models. Especially interesting to me were the sections on transaction structure, standard transaction types, merkle trees, bloom filters, the proof-of-work algorithm in the mining process and hierarchical deterministic wallets. Andreas writes clearly (most of the time) and with a readable cadence. That said, pretty much all the info is availabl ...more
Jeremy Zhang
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wanted to read a book detailing the opportunities and landscape of the industry. But this book delves deep into the technical implementations of Bitcoin. Wasn't exactly what I was looking for.
Nikki
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
First couple chapters are a nice, basic description of Bitcoin protocol, how it works. The rest is technical. Clear.
Tadas Talaikis
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one

Side note. Andreas is too much in love with bitcoin and there were so much hype in the area that everyone forgot 1) this technology is free to access and improve for anyone, and 2) that Bitcoin economic concepts are amateurish and as a consequence - creating procyclical behavior. Way better and useful in practice things for me currently are smart contracts, DApps and private blockchains. And bitcoin... bitcoin is dead here, too slow to move to the next (censorship resistant, like Andreas
...more
Ryan West
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a great technical overview of the inner workings of Bitcoin. It gave a good introduction for any intelligent audience, but then dived into all of the technical details. I had to pause to look up some concepts at times, but adding more detail would have made the book too long. This book did not fully cover the economic or business implications of Bitcoin, and was instead intended for developers.
Gergely Szabo
Andreas is definitely my favorite person in the cryptocurrency world. He makes this deep and complex topic fairly accessible to laymen. The basics of cryptography are explained, however I still recommend reading some introductory material in the field before starting. I will definitely refer back to the book as It includes the hottest topics in the field, like the Lightning Network.
Simon Eskildsen
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Wanted to understand more about the underlying tech. Decent walk-through at a technical level, but found myself somewhat puzzled by how the author went through some explanations.
Hayal şensoy
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished recently but I have a quite strong feeling to read it again...
Matthias
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: programming
Finally the kind of comprehensive treatment on blockchains I was looking for. Incredibly dense with information, might have to reread it in parts. Some glaring structural and pacing issues (I didn't really need to know all the bloody details of multisig wallets before even knowing how blocks are assembled)
Rohit
Dec 25, 2017 added it
This book has a lot of technical stuff most of which went way over my head. Still, I learned a lot from this book.
Sebastian Gebski
Hardly a review (no rating), because what I've read is just an alpha (raw & unedited) version of this book, but it already looks quite promising:
* there's quite a reasonable description of what bitcoin is and how do you cope with it (in functional terms)
* everything has its example
* there's a brief (but reasonably sufficient) description of bitcoin tooling

What do I miss for now?
1.) Mathematical model is completely put aside - treated like magic noone would understand
2.) Book clearly is missi
...more
Boyan
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best (technical) books I have read recently! It provides a lot of information about cryptocurrencies and bitcoin in particular. I like the balance between technical and non-technical information in the book. Plus, the technical one is described in an interesting way (this is often a big challenge). It gave me a good in-depth knowledge about bitcoin.
Jamesob
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As good a technical manual as anyone could ask for. The contents of this book are a treat for those curious and with a little bit of background in computer science. Cryptography, bloom filters, peer-to-peer networks, decentralized trust -- it just doesn't get much better than this.

Antonopoulos is a skilled tutor and, for having picked up English as a second (or third) language, does a commendable job of making things that are conceptually murky quite clear. The prose is to the point but not with
...more
Anton Kaliaev
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
For those who are interested in blockchain development:

- you will acquire basic terminology (mempool, proof-of-work, proof-of-stake, ...)
- you will learn the basics: elliptic curve cryptography (ECC)
- you will find answers to such questions as:
a) why it takes ~10 minutes to generate a block?
b) who sets the target complexity for the new block?

Feel free to skip some chapters, which are no interest to you (e.g. "using a wallet app")

My overall recommendation: read it
Robert Baron
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best book for technical people

If you are like grandma that does not understand technical words you may want to try something else. The thing is that bitcoin is hard to understand at the beginning and also at the end ;) this book has cleared my mind with many things I didn't understand. Awesome book very clear to explain such a difficult topic in depth
Tuhina Singh
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's a very good overview of Bitcoin technology for a beginner. Has the right mix of high level concept and technical details. At the end of the book the reader has a full grasp of how blockchain for Bitcoin works. Recommended for novices wanting to get hands dirty with nitty gritty of it all.
Marty Jones
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great introduction to Bitcoin. The first two chapters are accessible to all - beyond that, you'll need at least a little bit of a technical background.
Ben Rothke
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not often that a promising technology and hype coalesce. Most recently, that occurred with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency; while still relatively new, it has created a new global economy. In the second edition of Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open Blockchain, author Andreas Antonopoulos creates a first-class Bitcoin reference. It provides the reader with a comprehensive understanding of what Bitcoin is, how it works, and how to use it.

Antonopoulos provides the rea
...more
Mike Maurer
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, business
This is an excellent launch point into all things Bitcoin. Well written and with numerous technical pointers, it is meant for non-technical and technical alike.

The author never makes the topic of Bitcoin and blockchain dull or boring. He uses clear explanations of transactions to impart how the whole system works. And why it works so well.

At the same time, there is code. The code helps in digging into the blockchain and exploring it directly. Also how to construct a wallet and interact with the
...more
Michael Bailey
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From when I first learned about the existence of bitcoin, I've had a vague understanding of generally how it works, but I had never taken the time to actually dig deep. This book is a fantastic deep dive into the nitty details of bitcoin, going as far as explaining the byte layout of transactions and blocks. As such, this is not a book for a casual reader or someone without significant software engineering knowledge.

The book is very well organized such that the material builds on itself in a ver
...more
Charlie
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read for a technical user looking to learn more about Blockchain and Bitcoin specifically. Covers pretty much every buzzword you hear out there right now on a technical level. Like what's a wallet? How do transactions work? Proof-of-Work/Mining Pools, Multisig, Lightening Network and more all covered in this book. The only thing it didn't seem to touch on was atomic swaps with other cryptos. With that said, even without atomic swaps, there's more then enough technical detail in this bo ...more
Igor Stojanov
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
After reading this book I am almost convinced that Andreas was part of the team that invented Bitcoin. He has such an in-depth knowledge of all aspects that I think its hard to just acquire by curiosity alone. On Page 219 he calculates a SHA256 hash of "I am Satoshi Nakamoto". To me, this reads as an inside joke.

This is a good technical book describing the inner workings of bitcoin protocol. It explains how public keys are generated from private keys using Elliptic curve multiplication, explain
...more
Neal Wright
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best technical books I've ever read and one of the most fascinating books in general that I've read as well. Andreas Antonopolous is a truly visionary thinker with a gift for explaining the complex simply. This book is written for computer scientists, and as a programmer, it was a true joy to read. It explained so expertly every facet of Bitcoin and gave excellent code examples for many of the chapters that were easy to get running.

Bitcoin is a fascinating and ingenious invent
...more
Xanan
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A competent author turns Bitcoin inside out explaining each and every aspect with clarity and accuracy.
All the chapters are very readable and the author is very good at presenting enough material to let the reader follow along, while postponing further details for later.

Basic knowledge of computer and network operations, JSON, as well as essential cryptography is good to have.
A few code samples throughout the book use C++ and python Bitcoin libraries but they are really irrelevant to understandi
...more
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Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a technologist and serial entrepreneur who has become one of the most well-known and well-respected figures in bitcoin. He is the author of two books: “Mastering Bitcoin”, published by O’Reilly Media and considered the best technical guide to bitcoin and “The Internet of Money”, a book about why bitcoin matters.

As an engaging public speaker, teacher and writer, Andreas m
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“Bitcoin experts argue that deflation is not bad per se. Rather, deflation is associated with a collapse in demand because that is the only example of deflation we have to study.” 2 likes
“Bitcoin consists of: A decentralized peer-to-peer network (the bitcoin protocol) A public transaction ledger (the blockchain) A set of rules for independent transaction validation and currency issuance (consensus rules) A mechanism for reaching global decentralized consensus on the valid blockchain (Proof-of-Work algorithm)” 2 likes
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