At BarCamp Nottingham on Sat 23-Jul-2011 I ran an introduction to Bitcoin. Slots were only 20 minutes so I had to fire through the slides like a machine gun, and we filled the 10 minute changeover with questions.
My goal for was to stir some interest in Bitcoin and hopefully have people research it in their own time after. I don't know yet if that has been achieved.
The session fitted in well with the unexpected (to me) emergent economic/sustainability theme. Among others, @RichardSmedley ran a great session Inventing Money on the history of money and banking (seriously, it's amazing how much that guy knows), and @squiggle ran We're Screwed (he occasionally used alternative words in the actual session).
Please note: I'm not an expert on the Bitcoin protocol, so among the deliberate simplifications, I may have made factual errors. I'd be very grateful for any corrections, so please feel free to comment.
Many thanks to @martinrue for letting me test-drive the presentation on him. Without his input (especially regarding the mechanics of a transaction), this would be in no way coherent. The remaining errors are mine.
References / Further Reading
- Bitcoin Wiki
- Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System - the original Bitcoin paper is really accessible, and I recommend reading it if you want to understand how the network works
- Money Supply (Wikipedia) - source of the UK money supply graph
- Block Explorer - which lets you browse & search transactions, blocks, addresses etc
- Bitcoin Charts: Markets - excellent way to monitor Bitcoin exchange activity
- Britcoin (Intersango Ltd) - the exchange I use personally
- MJB Monetary Metals - a small precious metal dealer I've traded with (anyone who remembers the Canadian Silver Maple coin I passed round, it came from here - I paid 2.9BTC for it)
- Money as Debt - I didn't actually mention this video during the presentation, but I highly, highly recommend watching it. It's Economics 101, and if I had my way, it'd be shown in schools. (That will never happen, though.)