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The Science of the Blockchain

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  38 ratings  ·  9 reviews
FinTech developers and managers understand that the blockchain has the potential to disrupt the financial world. The blockchain allows the participants of a distributed system to agree on a common view of the system, to track changes in the system, in a reliable way. In the distributed systems community, agreement techniques have been known long before cryptocurrencies suc ...more
Paperback, 124 pages
Published January 27th 2016 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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3.42  · 
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 ·  38 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Peter Aronson
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book appears to be the course notes for a distributed systems course taught by the author, and as such is rather dry and terse -- the actual lectures would have presumably expanded and explained the material. The author would have done better to have included that lecture material as well if he's going to sell the book to a general audience. And, despite the title, only to one chapter out of eight really involves the blockchain.

This is a rather mathematical treatment of the subject materia
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
The subject matter of the book was exactly what I hoped (consensus, byzantine agreement, and some explanation of what blockchain achieves). However, this book is just a copy of some chapters of the author's freely available online lecture notes on distributed computing. Moreover, both the book and the lecture notes read like a printout of slides, used during lecturing. Probably all the rest (motivating and explaining different protocols) was done verbally during the lecture course. I feel that t ...more
Aug 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
The book already requires solid knowledge in and familiarity with mathematical notation, computer science and algorithms. Those who have these skills may not need that book in the first place.

The best readership for this book are people who, on one hand have sufficient skills in mathematics, algorithms and computer science in order to understand the text, but on the other hand were not able to learn about blockchain on their own. Well, I guess the number of people who fulfil that criterion is pr
Tuấn Anh
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book write about Blockchain in computer science
Jeremy Clark
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
An academic trace from distributed systems through to blockchains and beyond. Given "blockchains" is in the title, I expected more on it. In reality, the blockchain chapter is stapled to some earlier chapters on Paxos and BFTs with little interplay beyond a claim of eventual consistency for a blockchain (a claim now challenged as being considerably weaker than the level actually achieved). On the positive side, I enjoyed the conversational style of the remarks highlighting corner cases of what w ...more
Warren Mcpherson
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Very short, very academic book that follows the development of topics foundational to the creation of the blockchain. It describes a variety of distributed system concepts like fault tolerance, consensus, and quorum. I thought the book did a particularly good job of defining Byzantine nodes and following up with implications for several algorithms. It is very good at showing the quantitative impact of defence against attacks in different systems.
The book seems like it is targeting a committee of
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
The term "Blockchain" features prominently in the title, but that's probably just to sell copies, as it's hardly the focus of this book. Rather, Wattenhofer lays out the evolution of algorithms designed for creating distributed systems, with an emphasis on distributed consensus. Also explored are how these systems behave when participants may be faulty or malicious. The tradeoffs of each approach are listed, with subsequent systems usually focusing on the previous systems' shortcomings.

Topics sp
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Little more than a computer science lecture script and just as motivating to read, even if you (partly) understand the math inside.
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Accession No: DL028497
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