The Beginner's Guide to Blockchain
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The Beginner's Guide to Blockchain

A Beginner's Dive into an Influential Technology of the Future
3.5 (1 rating)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
13 students enrolled
Created by Will Armstrong
Last updated 8/2017
Current price: $12 Original price: $20 Discount: 40% off
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 6 Articles
  • 38 Supplemental Resources
  • 1 Practice Test
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Assignments
  • Certificate of Completion

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What Will I Learn?
  • Confidently explain what blockchain is and how it works. Students will have a general understanding of blockchain and how it can be applied to existing organizations.
View Curriculum
  • No but determination and a willingness to learn is required!

Our world is advancing at an extremely rapid rate. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, drones, internet of things, augmented reality, and blockchain are growing in popularity every single day. Personally, I feel another industrial revolution is approaching quickly and the world we will in is going to drastically change. 

Blockchain is a difficult technology to understand but it has the potential to impact many organizations across the globe. If you're looking to get a head start on an innovative idea that will change our world then you're in the right place!

I created this course to help educate students and raise awareness about Blockchain. Right now, the technology is so new, there really aren't a lot of learning materials out there. Blockchain is still in its infant stage and in a few years, everyone will know the name Blockchain, but they won't necessarily know how it works. My goal is to set you on the right path and help you understand a major development that's going to change our world. 

By enrolling in this course you will receive:

  • Lectures and Slides
  • Quizzes to Reinforce Learning
  • An Invite to Our Course Chatroom
  • A Final Project (Optional)

In addition to the content listed above, this course isn't just a one and done thing. By joining the community you will have lifetime access to myself and other like minded individuals. As time goes on, I will also make improvements to this course along with update any old material. 

Here are some common questions to consider before enrolling:

What are the requirements?

  • There are none! Just have an open mind and a willingness to learn.

How will I benefit from this course?

  • You will develop a strong understanding of what blockchain is and how it works
  • You can learn at your own pace
  • You will have access to other individuals learning the same material
  • You will be part of a community that helps encourage learning beyond this course
  • You will understand a technology that will change this world

Who should take this course?

  • Anyone looking to learn more about a technology of the future! I'm a sales major which is a very non-technical major. My point being, anyone can learn blockchain!

I hope you take advance of this opportunity and enroll in my course. Remember, Blockchain is a new innovation and learning it may be quite frustrating at first. We've all been there so just be patient and try your best not to get discouraged. If you're worried, don't be! I'll be there with you every step of the way!

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who is interested in learning about blockchain and associated technologies.
Compare to Other Blockchain Courses
Curriculum For This Course
Getting Started
5 Lectures 05:06

Hey there are welcome to the beginners guide to blockchain! My name is Will Armstrong and I'll be your instructor for this course. 

I am incredibly excited you're here and I'm eager to begin teaching this course because blockchain is the future. You're going to hear me say this a lot but many people say blockchain right now is like how the internet was in 1990. Blockchain is just in the beginning phase and there's so much potential and capability that has yet to be discovered.

Now you're probably here because you've heard of blockchain and want to learn more. Maybe someones told you about it, maybe you saw it online, whatever the case, you're here because your want to learn more about this emerging technology.

One thing to keep in mind is that blockchain is very new and very complex. It may be challenging to grasp at first which may be discouraging but that's okay, you're not alone. In this course we will begin with the very basics of blockchain and I will provide exercises to help reinforce your learning. 

So enough about the boring stuff, let's talk a little bit about what you're going to learn. We are going to begin with what blockchain is. We are then going to move into how blockchain works, how it will change the world, we'll talk a little bit about bitcoin, how to get involved, and so much more. But keep in mind this is a beginners course. We aren't going to get too technical or deep into concepts but the goal is to be able to confidently explain to someone what blockchain is by the end of this course.

Now before we begin, it's important that you understand a little more about me and why i'm teaching this course. First off, I want you note that I'm a sales major. Sales is a very non-technical major and I want you to understand that anyone can learn blockchain. It doesn't matter how tech savvy you are or what you studied. If you have a desire to learn, you will have no trouble. 

I first learned about blockchain at the European Innovation Academy in Turin, Italy. This was a 3 week business program focused on technologies of the future. Some of the topics we learned about were Artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, internet of things, and last but not least, blockchain. While I was there, I teamed up with Blockchain at Berkeley who consult, research, and educate on blockchain technologies. We created an intro to cryptocurrency trading course that had 500 students enroll within the first couple days. After that experience, I realized the potential of blockchain and decided to dedicate my studies toward it. 

Blockchain is now at a pivotal point and I want to share my knowledge and help spread awareness about this emerging technology. If you want to get a head start on a technology of the future, then you're definitely in the right place. 

Without any further adue, let's dive in and begin learning about blockchain, the technology of the future. 

Preview 02:23

Show footage of community. Blockchain is a complex topic and not the easiest to teach. The online community will allow you to ask questions and get clarification on topic you still may be confused about.

Preview 00:26

Intro: Hey there and welcome to the community! Before we begin learning, I'd love to learn a little more about you and why you're taking this course. After you watch this lecture, I want you to go ahead and open up our community chatroom. You can find the link to do so in the previous lecture. Once you're there, I would love for you to answer these 3 quick questions.

1) What's your name?

2) Why you're taking this course

3) And on an unrelated note, what's your favorite animal?

Myself and the other community members would love to get to know you a little better but no pressure! Once you've introduced yourself to everyone, you can go ahead and continue your journey through this course. Good luck and I'll see you in the next lecture. 

Preview 00:35

So now that we know each other a little better, I want to share a few insider tips on how to succeed with this course. Blockchain is a very complex topic and because of that, it's important you stay involved and take advantage of the resources you have. Here is a list of my tips for success:

1) Even if you think you know the material, please don't skip any lectures. Studies show that relearning what you already know only helps reinforce the material more. 

2) Take notes and make sketches! Some of the concepts are pretty advanced and drawing a picture or diagram may help you out.

3) Join the online community!  Don't be shy! We are all friendly.

4) Don't be afraid to ask questions! I just can't stress this one enough.

5) Complete the projects and assignments. This will only help you learn the material better. 

6) Don't het discouraged. Some may find blockchain to be very simple while others of you may struggle to wrap your heads around it. No matter which you are, it's okay, you're here to learn!

As I mentioned before, I highly encourage you to follow these steps. They will make your learning experience much more enjoyable and successful. With that said, let's move on and begin learning what you're all here for... Blockchain! Ill see you in the next lecture.

Preview 01:09

Earlier in this course I outlined how to achieve the most success from this course. Just to make sure you were paying attention, I've decided to know in a little quiz!

What Can I do to be Successful in this Course?
1 question
The Bare Bone Basics of Blockchain
13 Lectures 22:40
  1. Let's set the scene back to 2000 and think about how advanced technology was. It's crazy to think we used to live in a world without smartphones or Google maps. 

  2. Since then, developments such as the Internet, Google (1998), the Iphone, Computers, Smartwatches and related technologies have taken over our world. 

  3. I bet you never thought that 17 years later we would be where we are today. I believe another industrial revolution is coming. Augmented reality and virtual reality, artificial intelligence and machineMachine Learning, Internet of things, Drones, and last but not least blockchain are going to dominant our future.

  4.  As I mentioned earlier, blockchain is so new and revolutionary that it’s being compared to the internet in 1990. It’s so new that no one really knows how to use it or how to monetize it, but they do know the opportunities it can provide are endless and that it will change the world.

  5. Before we begin learning how blockchain works, its important we learn a little bit about its history and how it came about:

    1. So, Blockchain began in 2008 with the creation of the Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown figure. Bitcoin was the first major innovation using blockchain technology. Bitcoin serves as a public ledger that solves the double spend problem. We will talk more about Bitcoin in the Bitcoin section of this course.

    2. After the success of the Bitcoin, companies began to realize that Blockchain could be used for so more than Bitcoin. Today, many large organizations are researching ways they can incorporate blockchain into their existing operations. This can range from logistics to finance and it spans across many different industries. In a later lecture I will discuss some of the possible uses for blockchain from an industrial standpoint.

    3. In 2015, Vitalik Buterin released Ethereum, a digital currency, and Solidity, a way to develop Ethereum based technologies. Running on the Blockchain, Ethereum developers can create smart contracts which take the middleman out of transactions. As an example, let's look at a store. You may not realize it but when you make a purchase with a card at a store, the money isn't transferred immediately. Fees are stripped out and it usually takes a few days before the money is cleared and the store actually receives it. Ethereum uses what are called smart contracts. Smart contracts can be viewed as self-executing contracts. We will discuss these contracts in more detail later in this course.

    4. One major milestone since the release of bitcoin is the transition from “Proof of Work” to “Proof of Stake”. Proof of work is currently the most used algorithm for blockchain but it requires a large amount of power and energy. Proof of work is basically computers competing against each other to solve advanced puzzles. The node that solves the puzzle receives a bitcoin and gets to write the next block of data. Miners with the largest amount of computing power wins. This system, however,  is shifting toward the more efficient Proof of Stake which is when minors/validators put up a stake and the creator of the next block is chosen based off of how much Stake they own. This solution is much more energy efficient than Proof of Work.

    5. Currently the network is growing at a rapid rate and to support all the users, Blockchain scaling is being researched. Researchers are looking into ways to increase efficiency and speed up the network no matter how large it is.

  6. So  I know that was a little overwhelming and probably much more than you wanted to know. Don’t worry, you don’t need to remember every exact detail, but try your best to remember the big ideas like how blockchain originated and how it has evolved over the years. To reinforce the learning of this lecture, I encourage you to go back and write down in your own words a one sentence summary of each blockchain development. When you feel comfortable with the information presented in this lecture, you may move on to the next lesson.

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Preview 03:14

Before I dive in to defining the blockchain, I want you to  pause this video and either think or write down how you would define blockchain. It can be a very simple definition, but in your own words, how would you define blockchain? It's okay if you know absolutely nothing about this technology, that's why your here, but go ahead and pause the video and try your best.  

Come up with anything good? Go ahead and hang on to that definition because at the end of this course we will do that same exercise again. We will compare the definition you just wrote to the definition you write at the end of this course. This will be used to track your growth and show you how much more you understand blockchain after taking this course. 

Alright so now let's get into the basic definition of blockchain. According to Google, blockchain is "A digital ledger in which transactions made in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly".

In simpler terms, blockchain is "a decentralized database of transcripts that everyone on a network can view and must approve before information is verified and can be recorded."

Don't worry too much if you find those definitions confusing because we will break it down much further. However, it may be a good idea to read them over just a few times before moving on. 

So before we move on, I want to share what some others are saying about blockchain. I know I've been hyping it up a lot but I want you to know it's not just me. 

Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal says "I do think Bitcoin is the first encrypted money that has the potential to do something like change the world."

Melanie Swan, author of many technology publications, says "Bitcoin is just one example of something that runs on the blockchain. Cryptocurrencies are just one example of decentralized technologies. And now that the internet is big enough and diverse enough, I think we will see different flavors of decentralized technologies and blockchains. I think decentralized networks will be the next huge wave in technology."

Last but not least, Leon Luow, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, says "Every informed person needs to know about Bitcoin because it might be one of world's most important developments."

As you can see, it's not just me who thinks blockchain is going to change the world. A few of those quotes referenced Bitcoin which we will talk about later in this course but just note that Bitcoin runs on the blockchain. 

Awesome! So now that we know the basic definition of blockchain, let's begin to take a more in-depth look at what this technology actually does. See you in the next lecture.


Defining the Blockchain

Once thing you've heard me say a few times is that blockchain is a decentralized database. What that means is that all the data isn't sitting in one location, it's spread across many databases in different locations. 

As an example, let's say you have an envelope with your social security card, your birth certificate, and your passport. Those are very important documents that you wouldn't want to loose. 

For a centralized database, your house for example, the documents are safe, however, they are vulnerable to a break in. If someone were to break into your house and steal the envelope, you have no way to get them back or replace them. 

If a database is decentralized it means it's spread out and not just in one location. Let's say you had a copy of that envelope at your house, in a deposit box at the bank, and at your parents house. If this were the case and the envelope was stolen from your house, you'd still have other multiple copies. If the bugler was trying to steal all of your copies, it would be very hard for them to go to every location and take the envelope. 

Blockchain works the same way by housing a database on user nodes. If someone where trying to hack a centralized database, it wouldn't be easy, but once they were in, they'd have everything. With a decentralized database, you would have to simultaneously hack every single node which is virtually impossible. 

The blockchain is becoming so popular because decentralized databases are much more secure than the traditional centralized database. 


Centralized Vs. Decentralized Database

A huge component of the BLOCK chain is a block. In simple terms, a block is just a finalized collection of data. In the previous lecture we talked about a decentralized database. In the blockchain, the decentralized database is made up of a collection of nodes that anyone with a computer and network connection can run. Data sits on these nodes and every 10 minutes, the nodes validate the data and place it into a block. Once finalized, this block can't be edited or erased. That's part of what makes the blockchain so secure. 


What is a Block?

So now that you know the Block part of the blockchain, let's now talk about the chain. Every 10 minutes, the nodes validate the data and pass it into a new block. This block is then added onto the existing blocks and the process is repeated. This creates a receipt and allows anyone to view the entire history of the transaction via the blockchain. 


What is a Blockchain?

As I mentioned earlier, the blockchain consists of a network of nodes that verify and validate data. You're probably wondering, what is the incentive for a person to have a node and validate data? 

Well, the incentive is Bitcoins through a process called Bitcoin mining. Basically what happens is every person who runs a node competes for Bitcoin. Now as we'll talk about later, this method is becoming less popular because people with more computer power have a huge competitive advantage. For example, Bitcoin mining farms are becoming increasingly popular. Bitcoin mining farms are basically warehouses filled with computers that spend all day mining for Bitcoin. 

Okay so how exactly are these computers competing? Well, each computer is trying to solve an advanced mathematical puzzle. The node to get it correctly announces it to the network and is awarded with Bitcoin. Now one thing to note is that like natural resources, there is a limited number of Bitcoin. The more people who mine Bitcoin, the lower the Bitcoin reward. 

So now let's tie it all together with a quick summary. When data or transactions are added to the blockchain, they are verified by the users / nodes. Before these transactions can be added to a block in the chain, they must first be validated. This data is validated by the nodes as they compete to solve mathematical puzzles. The node who solves the puzzle is rewarded with Bitcoin and in the process, the data is validated and added to the blockchain. This process repeats every 10 minutes as data is added to the network, validated, and then added to the blockchain. 


Bitcoin Mining

Alright now that you know the individual components, let's take a step back and look at the big picture. 

There are many different uses for the blockchain so, this is just an example of how blockchain would function in a business setting. 

Let's say you own a business and want to implement blockchain into your existing system. You would begin by having a custom solution developed for your company using Ethereum which we will get to later in the course. Once the solution is developed, a smart contract is put in place. When a transaction occurs, a network of nodes work to verify this transaction by mining and a block is added to the chain. Once this occurs, the transaction is complete. 

Now as I mentioned, this is a specific example, but it does involve the blockchain. We will get to Ethereum and smart contracts later but for now, just understand that transactions are verified by a network and not a central location. Once they are verified, they are added to the blockchain. 


The Big Picture

The Blockchain is Peer to Peer which means it is run by everyday people like you. Anyone with an internet connection can create a node and join the network. This may sound scary but the more nodes the safer the network is. Every 10 minutes, the community collaborates and reaches a consensus on which transactions are accurate. A block can be viewed as a transaction. Once a transaction has been completed, a block is formed and is permanently added to the database. Once data is added, it can never be changed or erased. It can only be added. 


The Openness of Blockchain

This exercise is designed to reinforce your learning of the Blockchain. Watching the material is one thing but applying it is another.
Sketch Out Your Own Blockchain Model
1 question

Organizations have been doing the same things for years. Although the processes typically run smoothly, Blockchain provides a more affordable and more efficient solution.

Before we dive into an example, let’s briefly compare and contrast the traditional system to the blockchain system. The traditional system houses a central database which leaves information vulnerable and easier to corrupt. Although the traditional system is established and widely accepted, there is a middleman between transactions and transactions are less secured.

So to put things into perspective, let’s look at a quick example. Keep in mind that this example is only one of the many uses for Blockchain. Let’s begin with the retail industry. When you purchase an item at the store with a credit or debit card, there are many more steps that occur behind the scenes than you may realize. For example, when you swipe your card, the store must first verify they accept the type of card you're paying with and that you have sufficient funds. Once your account has been verified, your card company then has to authorize the purchase. Once that is complete, the card company takes a processing fee and the money is finally transferred to the store. In reality, it can be a couple of days before the store even receives your money.

Now let’s look at a store that runs on the Blockchain. As soon as you make a purchase, your money is transferred straight to the store and avoids the middle man. It’s that easy and that’s why Blockchain is the future of businesses. It not only saves them time but also money. Companies like Paypal and Microsoft have already begun accepting Bitcoin as a currency.

Hopefully this example helped you to visualize how Blockchain can be incorporated into business. As I mentioned earlier, this is just one of the many industries Blockchain will disrupt. In the next lecture, we’ll take a look at some startups that are already trying to incorporate Blockchain with business.


Traditional Structure Vs. Blockchain Structure

A lot of individuals are realizing the potential of blockchain and are creating their own custom solutions. To help spark your creativity, let's look at some existing blockchain startups. 


Emerging Blockchain Startups

I know you've already heard me talk about some of the benefits of the blockchain, but I'm not really sure I've sold you on why it's better than the existing system. I mean if the current system works then why adopt the blockchain?

Well for starters, blockchain is transparent which means everything is out in the open. That means that is anyone adds data to the blockchain, it is timestamped and recorded for everyone to see. This allows you to trace all activity on the blockchain. 

Another advantage to the blockchain is it reduces cost. As I talked about earlier, it allows you to skip the middle man and avoid any processing fees. 

The blockchain is also more efficient and going off of the previous example, it allows you to skip all middlemen and execute instant transactions. 

The 4th benefit of the blockchain is it's trustless. This means that you don't need a 3rd party to monitor a transaction. Take an Ebay transaction for example. Paypal holds on to the money until the buyer has received the product. 

The 5th benefit is it's a simple system. This is similar to it being more efficient, but the less steps involved in the transaction process, the better. 

Blockchain is also more secure due to its decentralized aspect. This will enhance security for industries across the board. 

Another benefit is that blockchain is immutable. I've mentioned this before but this means that data can be added but never deleted or changed. This allows everything to be traced throughout  the transaction. 

Last but not least, the blockchain is reliable. When you put all these factors together, the blockchain makes for a more efficient, secure, and cost friendly solution. No wonder more companies are switching to the blockchain. 


The Benefits of the Blockchain

Although we will discuss business use cases later in this course, I’m going to quickly introduce a few industries that will rely on Blockchain in the future. The ones I’m about to name are just 5 of the big ones, but there are many more than this.

The first industry is banking. Blockchain will allow anyone to send money virtually anywhere in the world almost instantly and at a very low cost. IBM predicts that 15% of banks will use Blockchain technology by the end of 2017.

The second industry is cybersecurity. Due to its decentralized database, Blockchain is verified and validated using cryptology. The decentralized aspect makes it much harder to be hacked or corrupted. Blockchain also eliminates the middleman which makes it faster and more efficient.

The third industry is logistics. With Blockchain, all transactions are permanent and transparent. This means that companies can easily track their products from point A to B. By incorporating Blockchain into their logistical operations, companies will be able to track every point in the supply chain and analyze factors such as cost, time, and more.

The fourth industry is healthcare. Blockchain will help hospitals safely store sensitive patient information and medical records. They will be easily able to save and share this information with patients and their families.

The fifth industry is insurance. By using smart contracts, insurance companies will be able to collect and validate real world data. This may sound confusing but basically insurance terms will be simplified and contacts will be self-executing.

If the industry uses above seem confusing, that’s okay. The point of this lecture was to show you that Blockchain is finding its way into almost every type of organization that exists. Before we know it, almost every institution will run on the Blockchain.


Potential Industries Blockchain will Disrupt

End of Lesson Exercise: Explain Blockchain to Your Friends or Family
8 Lectures 05:21

According to Google, a cryptocurrency is "a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank."

Some people refer to cryptocurrencies as digital money or cash of the future. Using a private and public key, cryptocurrencies make it much easier to transfer money between two parties. Using cryptocurrencies allows for instant transactions while skipping middlemen fees. 

Anyone can create a cryptocurrency but that doesn't mean it will be a success. In order for a coin to thrive, it needs a community that believes in it. There are hundreds of coins but the most popular of all is the Bitcoin. 

Preview 00:40

Although this course isn't about Bitcoin, it's still important we touch on this topic. Bitcoin was the first major technology built on the Blockchain and is "A type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank."

In simpler terms it's "An encrypted digital currency that allows people to safely and securely transfer money instantly."

Earlier in the course I gave the retail example of avoiding the middleman when paying with a credit or debit card. This is done using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. 

Bitcoin solves the double spend problem which means the coins can only be sent once. Bitcoin is becoming increasingly popular and large companies are beginning to accept Bitcoin as payment. Before we dive into more detail, let's talk about the history of the Bitcoin. 

What is a Bitcoin?

The Bitcoin was conceived in 2007 by Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown figure. I'm terrible with pronouncing names but in 2008, Neal Kin, Vladmir Oksman, and Charles Bry filed a patent for the Bitcoin technology. 

In October 2008, Satashi Nakamoto released a white paper defining the idea of the Bitcoin. Shortly after, in January 2009, the project was launched and the first transaction occurred. 

In February 2010 the first Bitcoin market was established and in October 2010 Bitcoin lost a lot of credibility after it was hacked. 

In November 2010, the Bitcoin market reached 1 million dollars. Later in March 2013, The U.S. Crimes Enforcement Network issued the first Bitcoin regulations. 

That same month, the Bitcoin market reached 1 billion dollars. 

In December 2014, Microsoft began accepting Bitcoin as payment and a couple years later in May 2017, the price of a Bitcoin reached $2,500. 

The Bitcoin has gained major popularity recently and major companies such as Paypal, DISH Network, and Intuit accept Bitcoin. 

As you can see, Bitcoin has been though a lot and this was only a brief history. Now that you understand a little bit about how the Bitcoin came about, let's jump into how it works. 

History of the Bitcoin

In order to use Bitcoin, a person typically has a Bitcoin wallet. A Bitcoin wallet is basically a bank account for cryptocurrencies. When a person transfers money using Bitcoin, the funds are transferred via the Blockchain and are placed in the other persons wallet. This may seem simple but behind the scenes it's pretty complex. Actually, most of the work occurs on the Blockchain which we talked about earlier in this course. 

As I mentioned, we aren't going to go into a lot of detail on Bitcoin but it is something I felt I should at least expose you all to. If you're interested in learning more about Bitcoin, stay tuned for my Beginners Guide to Bitcoin Course.  

How it Works

One area of Bitcoin that's really been on the rise is Bitcoin investing. Today, the price of one Bitcoin is $3,384.00. I remember 2 or 3 years ago when the price was only $400 a coin. Bitcoin is pretty volatile and not for anyone who lacks experience. However, if you're experienced, it can be extremely rewarding. I know many people who've made a lot of money off of Bitcoin investing. 

Another major use for Bitcoin is as currency. As I've mentioned in previous lectures, many large companies are now beginning to accept Bitcoin as payment. By setting up a smart wallet people can instantly and securely transfer money between each other. 

The third most popular is a bit controversial but it's using bitcoin for illegal purposes. Due to its non-traceable aspect, Bitcoin is a popular currency for criminals. 

In the future, I think Bitcoin will be used for much more than what I just mentioned. The possibilities are endless and that's what I think is so exciting about blockchain and Bitcoin. 

Most Popular Uses

I want to take a minute to show you the growth of Bitcoin since 2008. As you can see, it spiked in 2014, fell quite a bit and worked its way up to where it is today. This graph is a little outdated because today, Bitcoin is worth $3,330 a coin. Now as a disclaimer I want you to know that you should have some experience under your belt before you begin investing in cryptocurrencies. 

The second graph I want to show you is the overall trend of Bitcoin. As you can see, the popularity of Bitcoin has slowly been on the rise since 2012. As the value increases, more people become interested in Bitcoin. 

Bitcoin's Tremendous Growth

A lot of analysts believe Bitcoin isn't even close to its peak. They believe as the coin grows in popularity, so will its value. Although the future of Bitcoin is unknown, I believe many institutions across the globe will begin adopting Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies very soon. 

Although there is a lot of potential, there are also some risks. The future of Bitcoin is unknown and that being said, the coin could crash. Technology is advancing so rapidly only time will tell. 

Future Potential

So in summary, Bitcoin is a way to instantly and securely transfer money between two parties. Bitcoin can also be used for more than that and it's uses will only expand in the future. 

I know this section was brief but as I mentioned, I just wanted to give you some Bitcoin exposure. If you're interested in learning more about Bitcoin, make sure to stay tuned for some of my future courses.

Bitcoin Recap
7 Lectures 11:33

Ethereum is pretty advanced and in this course we aren't going to talk about any of the coding behind it. The reason I wanted to talk about Ethereum is because it allows you to create custom solutions for businesses and startups focused around blockchain. Due to its smart contracts, Ethereum is becoming increasingly popular in the business world. Before we get into the details, let's briefly talk about how Ethereum began. 

You've heard me say this name a few times but in 2013, Vitalik Buterin conceived Ethereum. To be honest, I still don't know if I'm pronouncing his name correctly. Anyway, nearly a year later, Ethereum was officially announced in January 2014. Shortly after in June, the Ethereum foundation was established. Later in 2014, Gavin Wood announced Solidity. Finally in July 2015, the Ethereum Frontier Network launched. 

Now it's completely okay if you didn't understand anything on that timeline because as I've mentioned before, it's just meant to give you a little background information. Also, we haven't even talked about Ethereum or Solidity yet so no worries. In the next lecture, I'm going to dive deeper into Ethereum and what it actually is.  

The History of Ethereum

Ethereum per Investopedia is "a decentralized software platform that enables Smart Contracts and Distributed Applications (ĐApps) to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party. Ethereum is not just a platform but also a programming language (Turing complete) running on a blockchain, helping developers to build and publish distributed applications. The potential applications of Ethereum are wide ranging."

Basically what that definition is saying is that ethereum is a way to build decentralized applications. Businesses who transition to the blockchain are able to do so usuing Ethereum. 

Let's look at an example. You you own a business and need a website designed. To solve your problem you hire a front-end developer to create a custom website for you. The developer then does his or her thing and delivers a hand-coded website for your business.

The process of switching to blockchain is nearly the same. This time, say you own a business and you want to start accepting Bitcoin as payment. You would hire an Ethereum developer to code a solution that would allow your company to accept Bitcoin. 

So as you can see, a business that wants to be decentralized has to hire an Ethereum developer. This developer then creates a solution for you. 

For anyone who isn't tech savvy, just think of Ethereum as code that allows businesses to run on the blockchain. 

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum functions very similarly to Bitcoin. Ethereum uses what are called Smart Contracts. Think of these as like if then statements. If you've ever used email marketing, it's very similar. Anyway, Smart contracts are coded and basically say if this happens, trigger this action. 

All transactions occur via the blockchain and like Bitcoin, nodes validate transactions by mining for a digital currency called Ether. 

Let's say you own a business that runs on the blockchain. Your employee payment systems runs on the blockchain and you have a Smart contract in place with your employees. Let's say that in the Smart Contract you have written if your employee submits a progress report by Friday night at 6 P.M., they will be paid for the week. Once this contract is in place and the employee submits their progress report, the smart contract will execute and pay the employee for that week. 

All transactions are then verified by the nodes who verify and validate the data by mining for Ether. Once verified, the transaction is added to the blockchain. 

How it Works

As mentioned before, the most popular way to develop Ethereum is through Solidity. We won't go too much into detail but if you have any coding experience, it's pretty similar to javascript. Solidity is used to develop ethereum based products and is the backend component of the software. Developers can then use whatever front-end languages they'd like for the visual interface. 

Let's take a quick looks at the Solidity docs:

How It's Developed

Smart contracts allow you to exchange virtually anything in an open, secure, and conflict-free manner. When a smart contract is written, the conditions self-execute when the terms are met. Some examples of items that can be transferred are documents, information, money, stocks, and more. 

Think of it as a more secure written contract where you know both ends of the deal will be held up. For example, let's say you had a written contract with someone to develop a website for $1,000. After you deliver the site they refuse to pay you because they say the site isn't satisfactory. 

With a smart contract, the money would automatically be released once you deliver the website and it's a win win for both parties. Smart contracts can accomplish so much but are still a new development. More uses for this technology will surface as time goes on. In the meantime, businesses are already implementing smart contracts into their operations.

Smart Contracts

Ethereum is going to make a huge impact on modern business. By creating custom solutions, businesses will be able to increase efficiency while decreasing cost. The possibilities are endless and because of that Ethereum developers are very valuable these days. That concludes the Ethereum section, but I encourage you to keep learning. I will be creating a future course that will dive deeper into Ethereum so stay tuned. 

Ethereum Recap
The Blockchain Project
6 Lectures 04:06

Welcome to the final project. As I've mentioned, one area blockchain is headed is business. Because of that, I've developed a business based project in which you help a local company implement blockchain into their existing operations. 

Here is your assignment: 

"You are a blockchain consultant who has helped many businesses integrate blockchain into their existing operations. Clearwater Bank, a local bank, has heard of your services and would like your assistance. 

They would like to integrate blockchain into their business but have no idea of the benefits or how to get started. 

Your job is to research, develop, and deliver a solution to Clearwater Bank. How will adopting the Blockchain help Clearwater? What solutions will help them improve efficiency and decrease cost?

Approach this problem as if they were actually paying you. This is a learning experience so you can put in as much or as little work as you like! I encourage you to actually make a report but it's up to you!"

One thing to note is there is not right or wrong solution to this problem. You have complete creative liberty and may do it one way while someone else completes the project an entirely different way. The reason I'm assigning this project is because me lecturing at you isn't enough for you to retain the information. This project will force you to apply what you've learned and be creative. 

Good luck, and remember, if you have any questions, just let me know in the chat!

Preview 01:19

How to Approach this Project

Since blockchain is so new and because every business is different, research is an important step to delivering an effective solution. If I were you, I'd begin by researching use cases. Some examples include supply chain, management, and finance. I'd then research existing solutions that exist, how the company implemented them, and how they are benefiting from them. Feel free to borrow the good ideas you see! Remember that this is also a learning experience so the more you research, the more you learn!

Conducting Effective Research

Before delivering a solution, it's important to have structure. You should write down every step in the process and document the necessary steps the business must take to implement your solution. I'm not asking you to get technical. Pretend you have a team of talented developers. You're just tasked with orchestrating the operations. Outlining your information will help you create your final report. 

Outlining Your Project

So now that everything has been planned out, it's time to bring your idea to life. As I mentioned earlier, this requires technical skill so pretend you have a team of developers. For this section, you should translate all the information you've gathered so far into a report that you will present to the company. 

Develop Your Idea

Awesome, hopefully by this part, you've completed the project! This is the step where you hand your report over to Clearwater Bank, teach them how to use your solutions, and collect your check. 

Hopefully this project wasn't too terrible. As a mentioned earlier, there's no right or wrong answer. This was simply an opportunity for further learning and applying what you've learned so far. 

If you did complete the project, I'd love to hear about it in the chat! Let me know your thoughts and the solution you created for Clearwater. 

Implement Your Idea
Continuing Your Journey
7 Lectures 03:23

Congrats, you made it! Hopefully this course wasn't too boring. I know blockchain can be a little dry at times, but once you understand how it works, it opens up a bunch of new windows of opportunity. Now I want to go full circle back to the beginning of this course where I had you write down your definition of blockchain. Now that you've learned the basics, I want you to grab a piece of paper and in your own words, write down the definition of blockchain. Hopefully you find it easier the second time around. 

When you get a chance, go ahead and post your first and second definitions in the course chatroom. As your instructor, I'd love to read it over and see your growth from the beginning to end of this course. No pressure, there's no right or wrong answer.

A Note to Students

I assume the reason you took this course is because you're interested in blockchain? Hopefully after taking this course you'd like to continue learning about this emerging technology. I encourage you to research as much as you can by searching the internet, watching youtube videos, and even enrolling in my future courses. Even though you've finished the course, please feel free to always ask me questions. The learning doesn't end here. 

***Add Links to Social Media***

Research, Research, Research

As I've already mentioned and as I'm going to continue mentioning, the learning doesn't stop here. Personally, I read one new article about blockchain every day in order to continue learning and stay up to date. I've decided to put together some excellent resources that I use for learning about blockchain: 

Number 1 is block geeks. If you enjoy reading, they have a lot of articles and guides that relate to blockchain.

Number 2 is Youtube. This is for all of the visual learners out there like me. All you need to do is search for blockchain and you'll have access to many videos relating to this technology. 

Number 3 is Coindesk. This is another great blog that features a lot of articles on blockchain and cryptocurrencies. 

Number 4 is my soon to be website. Although it's not up yet, I encourage you to follow me on social media so I can let you know when we launch. On my website I will have video courses along with a blog featuring blockchain and cryptocurrency articles. 

If you're super desperate for information, the easiest was to probably just Google it. Whichever route you take, just make sure you're learning something. 

***Add Links***

Fantastic Resources

I know I touched on this in the previous lecture but stay involved with the community! We'd love for you to share insight, questions, or even cool articles or videos you found. Learning with others carries many benefits and I want you to know you're always welcome. 

Stay Involved!

Okay so this was the first online course I've ever taught so your feedback is going to be super beneficial. I'd love to hear your thoughts on some things I can improve going forward and I'd also love to hear your thoughts about future content you'd be interested in learning. I'd truly appreciate it if you could take a super quick survey, no longer than two minutes I promise! You can find the link in the description of this lecture. Thank you!

Your Feedback


Unfortunately all good things must come to an end. It's been a pleasure being your instructor and I hope this isn't the last I hear from you. Blockchain is the future and by taking this course, you are definitely on the right track to learning a technology that's going to change our world. 

Before you go, peep in mind it was a beginners course. Based on your feedback I will create a next level course which I encourage you to join. If interested, I will post updates in the course community chatroom. 

It's been a pleasure but it's time for me to go. Best of luck and remember, the learning doesn't end here!

Thank You!
Keep In Touch
2 Lectures 01:18
Connect with Me!

Hey there, my Will Armstrong and I'm the President & CEO of The Cleveland Blockchain Company. If you're watching this video it's probably because you're interested in blockchain and associated technologies. Here's why you should subscribe to this channel. 

1) Blockchain can be a confusing technology and learning alone isn't very fun or effective. By subscribing you will have access to our online community of like minded individuals for free. 

1) At The Cleveland Blockchain Company, we consult, educate, research, and develop blockchain technologies. With a lack of resources out there our mission is to raise awareness about blockchain, a technology that's going to greatly impact our future. 

3) We aren't here to make money, we are here to educate. If you ever have any questions, we would be more than willing to help you out. Unlike other channels we put the viewer first and strive to create an interactive and fun learning environment. 

If you still aren't sold, I encourage you to check out some of our videos. Blockchain is the future and if you want to get in early on an emerging technology, you're definitely in the right place. Take your first step today with myself and The Cleveland Blockchain Company. I'll see you around. 

Preview 01:05
About the Instructor
Will Armstrong
3.5 Average rating
1 Review
13 Students
1 Course
Blockchain Consultant

Hi, I'm Will! I'm the President & CEO of The Cleveland Blockchain Company, and I have a passion for learning and teaching. 

Blockchain technology is the future and will change our world in more ways than we can imagine. In the past I've had the privilege of working with organizations such as Blockchain at Berkeley who educate, consult, and research emerging blockchain technologies. 

Recently, I helped create a cryptocurrencies trading course that was published on Udemy and Teachable. Within 3 days of publishing this course, 400 students enrolled. Cryptocurrency trading is only a fractional portion of what blockchain technologies can achieve.

With the future relying on blockchain technologies and a lack of information, I have decided to share my knowledge with the community. Learning blockchain is no easy task so my mission is to create a community of students who can collaborate and share thoughts and ideas.

If you're looking to get ahead of the game, I encourage you to join the community and begin exploring the opportunities blockchain can provide! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch.

Let's change the world!