I have always enjoyed studying. I graduated Wellesley High School and Bates College with honors, not because I was the smartest person in the world, but because I was good at studying. It bothered me if I didn’t understand something my teacher said or that I read in a text book—I would always take steps to make sure I fully understood the material before moving on.
This is the exact approach I’m taking as I try to learn more about Bitcoin.
As of today, I’ve made the move from CalvinAyre.com to CoinGeek.com, with a full-time focus on the intersection of Bitcoin SV (BSV) and the gaming industry. I know the gaming inside and out, I’ve been living and breathing it since March of 2005. But Bitcoin? Not so much. I’ve flirted with Bitcoin-related content since 2013, but never really dug into the technicalities powering it and the innovation happening around it, until now.
Over the last month I’ve taken several Bitcoin courses, started consuming Bitcoin-related articles, interviews and livestreams, jumped into some social media activity and signed up with a number of BSV-powered applications. Starting now, I will be creating content exclusively for CoinGeek.com in an effort to share all of my newfound knowledge and hopefully inspire you start learning about Bitcoin too.
So why bother educating yourself on Bitcoin and blockchain technology?
I used to feel the same way. It’s not an easy subject to master and human beings tend to lean towards to the path of the least resistance. Well, here’s the thing. Blockchain is in its infancy—think about the evolution of mobile technology from its clunky beginnings in the ‘90s to how we use it today. EVERYONE has cell phone and even toddlers know how to use them—we can’t live without them! This is what’s going to happen with blockchain.
The other point I’d like to make is once you start learning about Bitcoin and the blockchain its built upon, the technical gibberish starts to make sense and suddenly you begin to get why the technology is so exciting. You can follow those conversations on social media, you understand those articles that your peers are sharing. It feels good to be informed and conversely, it feels awful to be uninformed.
So how do we start educating ourselves? Well, this is an easy one, thanks to my friends at Bitcoin Association who have created several introductory online courses.
BSV Academy Bitcoin Theory Course: Getting back to the basics
Start with the BSV Academy Bitcoin Theory Course like I did. By no means is this an easy course and to get the most out of it, be prepared to dedicate time to study. The course takes you through the Bitcoin whitepaper, diving into the terms and technicalities Satoshi unveiled. As my rugby coach used to tell us at Bates, you can’t execute the complicated plays before you master the basics and “going back to the basics” is what this course is all about.
The Bitcoin Theory course is free and you can tackle it in your own time, spreading out your study sessions over the course of days or weeks and reviewing the material as you wish. The final assessment is 80 multiple choice questions, 60 of which students must answer correctly in order to pass. My advice here is to take notes while you go through each section and do not move on to the next section until you fully understand the previous one. Review the content from every section the day before you take the final assessment to be sure everything is fresh in your mind.
I feel so much more informed now that I’ve completed this course and terms such as nonce, Merkle tree, Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA), SHA-256 and UTXO are no longer scary mysteries to me. Should you decide to take this course, do not hesitate to reach out with questions and I’ll help you find the answers. If I can do it, you can do it!
Saxion Bitcoin SV MOOC: BSV’s business proposition
After finishing the BSV Academy Course I took the “What is Bitcoin and why does it matter” MOOC offered by Saxion University of Applied Sciences, in collaboration with the Bitcoin Association. This less technical course (also free and online) is designed to educate the masses on the business proposition of Bitcoin SV and serves as an outstanding follow-up to the Bitcoin Theory course.
I loved learning about how some of the other blockchains work and where their technology falls short. I also learned a lot about how our data is currently sold and compromised, how the internet has developed over time and how Bitcoin SV can solve so many of the data and payment issues we face today. I found the final assessment for this course to be much easier than the Bitcoin Theory course, so you’ve got that to look forward to.
Now that I’ve completed these two courses, next up on my list is to watch Ryan X. Charles’s Theory of Bitcoin: The Bitcoin Whitepaper series, stay tuned for my top takeaways from each episode.
Before getting back to my Bitcoin studies, I’ll leave you with a parting thought. This is the second time Calvin has taken me out of my comfort zone, the first time being on-camera work for CalvinAyre.com, a skill that is now my second nature. As I prepare to come out of my comfort zone once again—this time with creating content surrounding BSV technology—I invite you to join me for this next journey.
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New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.