978 Summer 2020 De-Mystifying Cryptocurrency
Wednesday, 11:50–1:15, July 15
Instructor: Tom Manteuffel
Cryptocurrencies have become ubiquitous in recent years, along with other potential uses of the underlying technology known as block-chain. Bitcoin was the first, but dozens more cryptocurrencies have followed. Even social media giants such as Facebook are trying to create their own cryptocurrencies. But how exactly do such virtual currencies work? Are they trustworthy? Are they outside the law? Are they really money? This presentation delves into the mechanics of Bitcoin and the rest. Also included is a brief and irreverent history of money, a primer on public key cryptography which is the technological key to understanding all cryptocurrencies, and finally a look into where the technologies seem to be going.
Tom Manteuffel has taught courses at OLLI on cybersecurity, the Renaissance in Florence, and the book of Job. He owns no cryptocurrencies, partly because he was a software engineer and cybersecurity consultant for 30 years. He does however think Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever he was, was a genius.