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Best Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Tutorials
Table of Contents
- What is a Blockchain?
- How Do Blockchains Work?
- What is the Best Way to Learn Blockchain Technology?
- Is Learning Blockchain Technology Hard?
- How Long Does it Take to Learn Blockchain Technology?
- Is Bitcoin a Blockchain?
- Best Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Tutorials
- Use These Blockchain Tutorials to Launch Your Career
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are one of the hottest technology trends in the past ten years. The concepts that underpin it are still confusing to many, but they will have an enormous impact on our lives.
The blockchain is a revolutionary concept that has the potential to impact nearly every field just like the internet has driven every field in the past 2 decades. Instead of having our financial systems and technology platforms centralized through one group, it looks increasingly likely that we will have more of a decentralized future.
If you are interested in learning this new technology and getting a head start in this field, here’s a list of the top 10 cryptocurrency and blockchain tutorials.
What is a Blockchain?
Everybody’s heard about the blockchain at this point, and it’s one of those buzzwords that companies love to throw around, like Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. But like the latter two, there is actually some weight to what they represent, and they have the potential to change how we interact with each other at a deep level.
The idea of a blockchain is actually quite simple: it is a distributed ledger. A ledger is simply a store of data, whatever that data or use case may be. Its most characteristic quality is the fact that it is decentralized, i.e, there is no single entity that decides what information is right and wrong.
Take a bank for example, whose main purpose is to ensure that all the money coming in and going out is tallied up correctly. The bank is a centralized entity that ensures that financial data recorded in its ledger is accurate. You can trust the bank to ensure that your account is credited when you receive a deposit, and the sender’s account is debited when they send funds.
However, there are downsides to centralized systems, and these can broadly be categorized into security, cost and speed. These issues arise from the fact that there is one central authority who handles all the transaction recording, and they can be subject to server downtimes, are susceptible to fraud and charge higher for transactions, especially international ones.
This is where decentralized ledgers show their worth. Bitcoin and other blockchains remove the intermediary and the transaction recording is conducted in a way that every node on the network is incentivized to correctly record information. As such, with a distributed network, security is higher, the costs are lower and the transaction confirmations are faster.
How Do Blockchains Work?
So, knowing what those advantages are, how exactly does blockchain work? We’ll take Bitcoin as our blockchain example.
A blockchain contains a series of blocks that contain transaction information. It is a shared public ledger. This is where the transaction and recipient addresses are stored, as well as the ledger information that tallies the amount of bitcoin sent and received. Bear in mind that this information could be anything, not just finance-related data.
If you want, you could download the bitcoin blockchain yourself, though it is quite large. You can view all of the transactions that have taken place on the blockchain. Alternatively, you can visit one of the many bitcoin blockchain explorers online.
Users have what is known as a public address, which you can think of as a bank account. They have private keys - which must be stored safely - that can be used to access their address and the stored funds. Funds are sent and received through these public addresses.
Transactions are verified and added to the blockchain through a process known as mining, which takes place in a Proof-of-Work network, which bitcoin is. They are rewarded for doing so, and this is where Satoshi Nakamoto’s brilliance is most clear. These different entities work to agree on the state of the blockchain, preserving chronology and authenticity. It is worth noting that the rewards for bitcoin mining reduce with time, as the difficulty of complex mathematics required to mine blocks becomes harder.
That is the long and short of it. The full explanation is much more technically complex, but this is a good primer for how bitcoin and blockchain works. There are many types of consensus beyond Proof-of-Work, and those blockchains operate differently. If you’re interested, do your own research on them.
Recommended Blockchain Course!
Blockchain Specialization by Coursera
What is the Best Way to Learn Blockchain Technology?
The best way to learn blockchain technology is by getting your hands dirty. You should make good use of a blockchain tutorial, of course, but that must be secondary to actually build a blockchain. Take your theoretical learnings and implement them practically.
Is Learning Blockchain Technology Hard?
Learning how to build a blockchain and all the associated concepts isn’t any harder than learning some other computer technology. There are some unique considerations, but it is fundamentally programming logic. One example of blockchain technology is Ethereum, and it has good career prospects.
How Long Does it Take to Learn Blockchain Technology?
For the most basic kind of blockchain, it doesn't take very long at all for you to get off the ground. This could be a matter of weeks to a few months. However, it is what follows that is challenging, as there is much more than just launching a blockchain. In fact, creating a basic blockchain can be done in just a day if you have a slight technical bent.
But creating a minimum viable product, with adequate security and features is a much more challenging prospect, and may take a year or more.
Is Bitcoin a Blockchain?
Yes, bitcoin is built upon a blockchain, and it launched the current market of blockchain-based applications. Bitcoin was built by an anonymous developer, or group of developers, called Satoshi Nakamoto. It uses the previously explained decentralized system to ensure that information on the blockchain is correct.
Best Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Tutorials
We will split this article into 2 main sections: First Blockchain Tutorials and then Cryptocurrency tutorials (Bitcoin and Ethereum)
1. Blockchain A-Z: Learn How To Build Your First Blockchain
- Good beginner course on cryptocurrencies and smart contracts
- Learn how to create your own cryptocurrency and smart contracts
- Used by several companies to teach employees about blockchain technology
- Uses Python
- Little to no prerequisite knowledge necessary
With 14.5 hours of content, the Blockchain A-Z course on Udemy will take you through the fundamentals of blockchain and the motivation behind it. It covers cryptocurrencies and smart contracts, and even teaches you how to create your own cryptocurrency and smart contracts using Python.
This is a good blockchain tutorial for beginners and an excellent way to start your blockchain technology education. It is also fairly short, but gets up and running at the same time.
2. Blockchain: Foundations and Use Cases
- Offered by ConsenSys, one of the premier Ethereum developers
- Suitable for those with both technical and non-technical individuals
- Covers use cases from businesses in ConsenSys’s startup portfolio
- Contains insider knowledge on the blockchain space
ConsenSys is a very well-known name in the crypto space, responsible for many prominent developments. The company’s Blockchain: Foundations and Use Cases course on Coursera teaches you about Bitcoin and Ethereum, while also providing information about startups and development from an insider’s perspective.
3. Decentralized Finance (DeFi): The Future of Finance Specialization
- Learn about decentralized finance, one of the most significant use cases of blockchain technology
- Covers both the infrastructure of DeFi and its leading applications
- Also teaches you about risks and opportunities, and the future of the space
- Pairs well with Ethereum smart contract courses
Duke University’s Decentralized Finance course on Coursera is an excellent way to learn about one of the hottest developments in the crypto space. DeFi continues to be a pivotal part of the market and has attracted the attention of financial incumbents. You’ll learn everything from DeFi infrastructure to major protocols, as well as risk and opportunities.
4. Blockchain and Bitcoin Fundamentals
- Quick but effective fundamentals course
- Used by several companies to teach employees about blockchain technology
- No prerequisite knowledge necessary
This Blockchain and Bitcoin Fundamentals course is a theoretical one with 2.5 hours of content to teach you the theory behind blockchain. It introduces Bitcoin, and teaches you how its particular blockchain works. While it isn’t the most in-depth course, it does well as a basic course on blockchain technology.
5. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies
- Teaches you everything from bitcoin works to how to use it
- Provides brief coverage of ancillary areas of cryptocurrencies, like politics and regulation
- Offered by Princeton University
- Entirely free
This Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies course on Coursera is offered by Princeton University, and along with a book with the same name, should prepare you well on your road to becoming a blockchain developer. You’ll learn the fundamentals, the mathematics, the underlying philosophies, and requirements of blockchain development.
This cryptocurrency tutorial is clear and thorough, however, the assignments are quite challenging and may take you some time to adapt to them. But in the end, it is extremely rewarding as you’ll understand how blockchain achieves decentralization, how mining and storing bitcoins work and you’ll also be introduced to the blockchain ecosystem and different altcoins.
6. Mastering Bitcoin: Programming The Open Blockchain
- One of the most popular books on Bitcoin
- Excellent for individuals with both technical and non-technical background
- Includes real-life examples
- Ebook version is completely free
Andreas M. Antonopoulos book Mastering Bitcoin is one for the technical as well as the nontechnical folks. Author Andreas M. Antonopoulos is well-known and respected in the crypto community, and his book is one of the most famous on bitcoin. It introduces blockchains, and after explaining the general concepts for non-technical people, it dives deeper into more advanced concepts like lightning networks, segregated witness, and payment channels. It is a visually rich ebook with real-life examples and code snippets to keep you on track with what you’re learning.
For many, this was their first blockchain development tutorial. It is well worth considering, even if you aren’t the bookish kind.
7. Ethereum and Solidity: The complete developer’s guide
- Excellent practical course on blockchain development
- Learn about Solidity, a widely used programming language in the cryptocurrency space
- Learn how to build an actual blockchain application
- Includes practical examples on blockchain and mining
Udemy’s Ethereum and Solidity course teaches you about Ethereum and the programming language Solidity. You’ll quickly learn what smart contracts are and how to build applications using Solidity. It also covers how to design, build and deploy your blockchain applications with practical examples and coding tutorials so that you can start building your own blockchain application.
- Learn how to create smart contracts in Solidity
- A fun smart course by the end of which you’ll have created a crypto-collectibles game
- Lessons are bite-sized but informative
Very different from the other courses on this list, CryptoZombies is a free blockchain dapp development course that teaches you how to create smart contracts in Solidity through a course on making your own crypto-collectibles games. Being fun and educational at the same time, it has been met with enthusiasm from the crypto community.
This is a good cryptocurrency tutorial for beginners who want to see results immediately.
9. Create a Hello World Contract in Ethereum
- Offered by the Ethereum Foundation itself
- Includes tutorials on Ethereum development, as well as experiments for you to get your hands dirty
- Contains tutorials on a wide variety of subjects
- Provides extensive documentation
Offered by the Ethereum Foundation, this tutorial on Ethereum provides documentation and tutorial on several aspects of Ethereum development. That includes learning how to create a simple hello world contract in Ethereum using the console. It may seem a little complicated for a hello world program, but once you get the hang of it, it’s quite simple and intuitive. If you don’t know how to use the console, you can try the graphical UI tutorials instead.
10. Mastering Ethereum: Building Smart Contracts and DApps
- Learn how to build smart contracts and dapps
- Written by Andreas M. Antonopoulos and Gavin Wood, two experienced figures in the space
- Ebook version is completely free
Another stellar book by Author Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Mastering Ethereum has received rave reviews from the community. If you're looking to get started with the Ethereum protocol--or are among the many open source developers, integrators, and system administrators already working with this platform - Mastering Ethereum is a great book on the topic.
With this practical guide, Andreas M. Antonopoulos and Gavin Wood provide everything you need to know about building smart contracts and dapps (Decentralized applications) on Ethereum and other virtual-machine blockchains. This book shows you how to develop the skills necessary to be an innovator in this growing and exciting new industry.
Use These Blockchain Tutorials to Launch Your Career
Blockchain development is cementing itself as one of the most promising fields of the future. It is still at an early stage, which means that it can be a rewarding journey for those that put in the effort. But as you can with the best blockchain tutorials listed here, it’s important enough that some of the most prestigious universities are also offering courses.
It’s true that the field still lacks a lot in terms of maturity, but it’s under active development and the community is working in different areas to compensate for that, and the adoption of this technology globally shows how far it has come.
Pick a blockchain tutorial and get started. In time, you can try more blockchain courses and bolster your knowledge. It can pay off very well in terms of your career if you consistently work on a project!
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