It has been a tumultuous few years for Bitcoin. Users of the currency have had to face a series of challenges ranging from government crackdowns to incompetent brokers. Yet despite this the underlying principle of Bitcoin, namely, that currency needn’t be dependent on centralised governments, has remained intact.
In truth the Bitcoin story does not really begin with the publishing of the whitepaper. In a sense, as is made clear in the paper itself, Satoshi Nakamoto (the pseudonym of the paper’s author) stands upon the shoulders of legions of computer scientists and cryptographers whose research, conducted throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, made Bitcoin possible.
Yet the whitepaper itself, published in October 2008, elegantly and concisely manages to weave together these separate strands of research in a manner that allowed a vague idea, casually discussed in chatrooms in obscure corners of the internet, to become realised.
To understand Bitcoin one must be able to understand the whitepaper. Yet the non-technical reader may be overwhelmed by the language that Nakamoto uses, we’ve published a guide to keep things simple.
Of course Bitcoin, and the regulatory space within which it operates, has changed a great deal since 2008. This guide will not attempt to discuss these more recent changes. Nor will there be any mention of the many controversies (such as block size, alt-coins etc.) currently raging. Instead all efforts have been made to focus exclusively on Nakamoto’s words through which, it is hoped, the reader will be able to gain a serious understanding of Bitcoin.