Bitcoin for the Befuddled

Bitcoin for the Befuddled

by Conrad Barski and Chris Wilmer
November 2014, 256 pp.
Full Color

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard of Bitcoin—the game-changing digital currency used by millions worldwide.

But Bitcoin isn't just another way to buy stuff. It’s an anonymous, revolutionary, cryptographically secure currency that functions without the oversight of a central authority or government. If you want to get into the Bitcoin game but find yourself a little confused, Bitcoin for the ­Befuddled may be just what you’re looking for. Learn what Bitcoin is; how it works; and how to acquire, store, and spend bitcoins safely and securely.

You'll also learn:

  • Bitcoin’s underlying cryptographic principles, and how bitcoins are created
  • The history of Bitcoin and its potential impact on trade and commerce
  • All about the blockchain, the public ledger of Bitcoin transactions
  • How to choose a bitcoin wallet that’s safe and easy to use
  • How to accept bitcoins as payment in your physical store or on your website
  • Advanced topics, including Bitcoin mining and Bitcoin programming

With its non-technical language and patient, step-by-step approach to this fascinating currency, Bitcoin for the Befuddled is your ticket to getting started with Bitcoin. Get out from under the rock and get in the Bitcoin game. Just make sure not to lose your shirt.

Author Bio 

Conrad Barski has an M.D. from the University of Miami, as well as nearly 20 years of programming experience. Barski is a cartoonist, programmer, and the author of Land of Lisp. He's been using bitcoins since 2011.

Chris Wilmer holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Wilmer's first purchase with bitcoin was a bag of honey caramels from a farm in Utah. They were delicious.

Table of contents 

Chapter 1: What Is Bitcoin?
Chapter 2: Bitcoin Basics
Chapter 3: Storing Your Bitcoins Safely, Securely, and Conveniently
Chapter 4: Buying Bitcoins
Chapter 5: Lost at Sea: A Cryptographic Adventure
Chapter 6: Why Bitcoin Is a Big Deal
Chapter 7: The Cryptography Behind Bitcoin
Chapter 8: Bitcoin Mining
Chapter 9: Understanding the Different Types of Bitcoin Wallets
Chapter 10: Bitcoin 2030

Appendix A: Hello Money!: A Simple JavaScript Program
Appendix B: Bitcoin Programming with BitcoinJ

View the detailed Table of Contents (PDF)
View the Index (PDF)


Authors Conrad and Chris talk Bitcoin on Let's Talk Bitcoin!

Read an excerpt on CoinDesk

Listen to Conrad talk about Bitcoin's road to democratization

As featured on

"All in all, the book fulfilled its promise...I’m light years ahead of where I was."
—Gadgetopia (Read more)


Page 136:

The heading at the top of the page has a misspelling. It should read: "Why Is It Called a Digital Signature?"