Ever wonder how Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) actually work?

Bitcoin explained from the viewpoint of inventing your own cryptocurrency.
Home page: https://www.3blue1brown.com/
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Some people have asked if this channel accepts contributions in cryptocurrency form. Indeed!

2^256 video: https://youtu.be/S9JGmA5_unY

Music by Vincent Rubinetti: https://soundcloud.com/vincerubinetti/heartbeat

Here are a few other resources I’d recommend:

Original Bitcoin paper: https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

Block explorer: https://blockexplorer.com/

Blog post by Michael Nielsen: https://goo.gl/BW1RV3
(This is particularly good for understanding the details of what transactions look like, which is something this video did not cover)

Video by CuriousInventor: https://youtu.be/Lx9zgZCMqXE

Video by Anders Brownworth: https://youtu.be/_160oMzblY8

Ethereum white paper: https://goo.gl/XXZddT

Animations largely made using manim, a scrappy open source python library. https://github.com/3b1b/manim

If you want to check it out, I feel compelled to warn you that it’s not the most well-documented tool, and has many other quirks you might expect in a library someone wrote with only their own use in mind.

Music by Vincent Rubinetti.
Download the music on Bandcamp:

Stream the music on Spotify:

If you want to contribute translated subtitles or to help review those that have already been made by others and need approval, you can click the gear icon in the video and go to subtitles/cc, then “add subtitles/cc”. I really appreciate those who do this, as it helps make the lessons accessible to more people.

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If you are new to this channel and want to see more, a good place to start is this playlist: http://3b1b.co/recommended

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20 thoughts on “Ever wonder how Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) actually work?

  1. Thanks, heaps, for this video. I've been curious about cryptocurrencies for a while — this was a very simple explanation. Thanks.

  2. I don't understand one thing.
    How will the Blockchain technology make that people will not need banks? Where will people get loans then?
    And if it's straight from other people, this will still be a debt, which is not possible on the ledger.

  3. What I got from this is if you were somehow able to reverse engineer the cryptographic hash function used by the bitcoin Blockchain you would get rich really quick

  4. Great video but I kinda have a question that I didn't find the answer to. Why is bitcoin worth money if it is just a ledger?

  5. Also, cryptographic hash functions are actually one of the examples of chaotic systems: a very small change in the input may result in a drastic change to the output. That also means it induces a loss of information, therefore, the final hash contains less information than the original message it was made from (true for bigger messages).

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