And then you go on to talk about how the contracts written in 'Turing Complete' languages are gagged and can't call APIs.
So why "Yikes"? Using turing complete DSLs for contracts is both unnecessary and problematic.
Block chain is set up to be no trust so unless you're working with people who you can't trust, you shouldn't use it. The other main reason is that you want to avoid banks and government, which is certainly a smell that you may be a criminal. These benefits aren't for people who are honest.
It is saddening that this argument is used even on HN.
That's equivalent to the old "You don't need privacy if you got nothing to hide". Examples as in Cyprus  prove that you should always be careful when trusting banks or any centralized system. Your line of argument is very common among representatives of banks, governments or people who are simply uneducated on the subject. Or a combination thereof.
It's more like "don't install that library, we can just write a 10 line function." Someone who doesn't want to avoid the law is not going to get any of the benefits of using a cryptocurrency. It's a solution where the main use case is enabling people to make currency transactions outside the jurisdiction of banks.
I think there are some good use cases for it, like if a currency is unreliable due to corrupt government or inflation. However, the people who get the most use out of it is certainly ransom ware coders, people who distribute illicit goods like drugs and child pornography and finally libertarians that want to make themselves sound clever at a party.
For one, when I try to transfer money between banks it takes like a week. When I transfer ether it takes 15 seconds. If you'd like, I'm happy to provide a longer list of more examples, but illegal activities are far from the only reason to use cryptocurrency.
also see numerai's pure business model for incentivizing an entire organization.
or defeat tyrannical censorship by proving knowledge/hashing content with a timestamp. no more re-writing history.
HN I am disappoint.
Apologies if this seems like self-promoting my own slides -- and I should say I am not at all an expert here -- but I created them mainly because I had trouble finding a "primer", so maybe they can help others in a similar position.
the slides are repeated (because of the transitions)
The rest of the cryptocurrencies are only hoping to gain Bitcoin's popularity (which Ethereum is getting close to) that it maintained for nearly a decade.
Back in the day the following links helped me understand bitcoin:
Once you properly understand bitcoin you are ready to understand other cryptocurrencies pretty easily. If some design choices don't make sense (secp256k1), then remember that Bitcoin's creation was close to when someone was caught doing something. This is the answer to why many cryptocurrencies choose non-standard algorithms (aka. not NIST)
Furthermore, I suggest the Princeton cryptocurrency intro course on coursera . If you have CS background, you can skip the explanations of hashing etc and concentrate on the mechanics and incentives in cryptocurrencies, which are illustrated quite nicely.
Bitcoin-centric, but covers a lot of ground.
Since you will no longer be a layman, you can then follow that up with his post "The Intelligent Cryptocurrency Investor" : http://www.nadertheory.com/#!/main/articles/post-09-the-inte...
Edit: include article titles
This episode in particular:
And the inevitable, highly necessary takedown:
Disclosure: I wrote it.
I myself have also made the PHP version of the code implemented there. You could see it here: https://github.com/azophy/naivechain-php
Hope it helps
It goes through the details of creating a tiny Bitcoin client that can send transactions so that they will get included in the blockchain.
Technical perspective, people tend to conflate crypto currency with blockchain and vice-versa. Both are not the same. Crypto currencies are an implementation of the blockchain concept with their own twist on how to leverage blockchain.
A good primer on blockchain is - https://anders.com/blockchain/
Then there is the bitcoin paper which not only introduces blockchain but also explains bitcoin:
The white papers of various currencies also provide the technical perspective and details on their implementation.
Use case perspective, you will have to rely on white papers by the specific coins. They will delve into how they look at blockchain to solve their problems. Beware these papers tend to be verbose and full of marketing fluff. So unless, as Warren Buffett puts it, within your area of competence there is nothing to be gained.
One thing I have realized over time is that many people writing stuff on cryptocurrency tend to be very verbose. Case in point:
This in my opinion, and I am known to be very wrong most of the time, is because it takes the technical route to explain things than standard expressions.
Basic stuff like - what is a block is elongated with many technical terms. The simplest answer is "block is a public ledger and contains all transactions". Ledger is a legit word and you can find tons of articles explaining what is a ledger. But then you have tons of articles which skip this simple explanation in favor of a elongated explanation using technical terms and putting their own versions of what constitutes a transaction.
If you have an understanding of basic cryptography primitives, then I think it's an excellent introduction, especially if you learn well via audio.
In my opinion the best technical resource on Bitcoin.
His book on Ethereum is still work-in-progress.
I'm looking forward to his book on Ethereum. In the meantime, Chris Dannen's "Introducing Ethereum and Solidity" is helping me to get a good grasp.