This talk on Bitcoin and the Blockchain was held on Friday February 17, 2017 in MC 4045. The talk was given by Ben Zhang.


In this talk, we will learn about the principles behind the Double Spend Problem, the Blockchain, and explore the various ways this technology is being used today.

Transferring money in the physical world is easy. However, the transfer of virtual currency is not as easy to validate. The Double Spend Problem has long stood in the way of a free (libre et gratis) virtual currency, and the world found a need for a third party (usually in the form of large banks) to validate all virtual transactions.

In 2008, a mysterious individual known as Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper titled "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System" which describes a system for virtual transactions to be validated through the distributed computing power of the community. The system, known as the Blockchain, uses hashing and non-deterministic mathematics to protect itself from Double Spending attacks. Nakamoto's paper led to the creation of free online currencies such Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum, which are used in marketplaces today.

Prerequisite Information: Middle school math.