Learn Blockchains by Building One

You’re here because, like me, you’re psyched about the rise of Cryptocurrencies. And you want to know how Blockchains work—the fundamental technology behind them.

But understanding Blockchains isn’t easy—or at least wasn’t for me. I trudged through dense videos, followed porous tutorials, and dealt with the amplified frustration of too few examples.

I like learning by doing. It forces me to deal with the subject matter at a code level, which gets it sticking. If you do the same, at the end of this guide you’ll have a functioning Blockchain with a solid grasp of how they work.


BlockSci – A blockchain analysis platform

BlockSci Documentation

Documentation is available for the python interface library.

Additionally, a demonstration Notebook is available in the Notebooks folder.

For installation instructions, see below. More detailed documentation is coming soon. Meanwhile, feel free to contact us at blocksci@lists.cs.princeton.edu.


A Guide to Crypto Currencies

This guide is meant to serve as both an easy-to-understand introduction to the world of cryptocurrencies as well as an insightful view into the different projects competing for your investments and market dominance and a look at the underlying technology, history and trends.

For many years Bitcoin would occasionally appear in the media after it spiked in price. I didn’t think there was anything inherently useful about it. I thought it was a novelty, a ponzi scheme, hysteria. It was only after the most recent price spike in another cryptocurrency, Ethereum, that the crazy returns finally tempted me. What started out as a skeptical look into a get-rich-quick scheme led me down a rabbit hole and my mind was promptly blown at the potential of the technology. The hype surrounding it is nothing short of mania, but it’s not without merit. Cryptocurrencies will almost certainly revolutionize everything from insurance, logistics and the stock market to ownership and even create entire economies which don’t currently exist. You may feel skeptical when hearing something so optimistic but when banks, governments and research institutions start to take notice and want to work with these projects maybe it’s time we paid some attention.

Many of you reading may be likening the current craze with the dotcom bubble and I’m afraid I absolutely agree with you. The speculation surrounding cryptocurrencies and the ease of which the average person can invest has created an environment where an idea can raise hundreds of millions of dollars without even a proof of concept. This is part of the reason this guide was written, to steer you clear of these massively overvalued “pet.com” equivalents and towards the future Amazons and Googles.


A hacker stole $31M of Ether — how it happened, and what it means for Ethereum

Yesterday, a hacker pulled off the second biggest heist in the history of digital currencies.

Around 12:00 PST, an unknown attacker exploited a critical flaw in the Parity multi-signature wallet on the Ethereum network, draining three massive wallets of over $31,000,000 worth of Ether in a matter of minutes. Given a couple more hours, the hacker could’ve made off with over $180,000,000 from vulnerable wallets.

But someone stopped them.

Having sounded the alarm bells, a group of benevolent white-hat hackers from the Ethereum community rapidly organized. They analyzed the attack and realized that there was no way to reverse the thefts, yet many more wallets were vulnerable. Time was of the essence, so they saw only one available option: hack the remaining wallets before the attacker did.

By exploiting the same vulnerability, the white-hats hacked all of the remaining at-risk wallets and drained their accounts, effectively preventing the attacker from reaching any of the remaining $150,000,000.