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Learn how cryptographic primitives power the blockchain and digital currencies.

Cryptocurrencies represent a fundamentally new way for people to exchange goods and services. They're powered by blockchains — data structures that are enabled by cryptographically secure hash functions. Proponents of cryptocurrencies argue that they'll lower transaction fees and democratize monetary policy, while detractors argue that they're a mathematician's pipe dream repackaged into a scam.

In this course, you'll learn about the math and technology behind cryptocurrencies through hands-on puzzles. You'll also explore the mechanics of maintaining and securing a cryptocurrency, so that you can decide for yourself if cryptocurrencies are a passing fad or the next big thing.



Concepts and

  1. 1


    Follow the fable of Cryptonia, an enlightening analog to today's cryptocurrencies.

    1. A Brief History of Currency

      Trust is the backbone of all currencies, from commodity monies to crypto.

    2. The Fable of Cryptonia

      Learn about a primitive parallel to cryptocurrencies, developed in the mythical land of Cryptonia.

    3. Cryptographic Signatures

      Want to spend your DragonBucks but can't cast a spell? You need the magic of modular arithmetic.

    4. Decentralizing Cryptonia

      Don't trust a currency with a single point of failure? Time to dive into decentralization.

  2. 2

    Building Blocks

    Hash functions form the data structures that we need to create a cryptocurrency.

    1. Included with
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      Cracking Cryptonia

      The math behind CryponiaCoin isn't secure, but with a modification it could be.

    2. Included with
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      Cryptographic Hash Functions

      Learn about hash functions and the properties they need in order to be cryptographically secure.

    3. Included with
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      Exploring Hash Functions

      The binary registers inside a computer are well suited for constructing hash functions.

    4. Included with
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      Inverting Hash Functions

      If you can run a hash function in reverse, it isn't secure.

  3. 3

    Creating ZooCash

    Learn how real cryptocurrencies are structured by helping Director Hayzos with his latest horse-brained scheme.

    1. Included with
      Brilliant Premium

      Introducing ZooCash

      "HODL" on, the adventure into real cryptocurrencies starts here.

    2. Included with
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      Account Management

      How can we make sure your account is yours alone? We need to solve the birthday problem.

    3. Included with
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      Blockchain Ledger

      Combining a blockchain with Merkle trees leads to a ledger that readily reveals the information you're interested in.

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      Double Spending

      A ledger that's easy to audit prevents people from spending ZooCash they don't have.