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University at Buffalo

Blockchain Basics

University at Buffalo and State University of New York via Coursera


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This first course of the Blockchain specialization provides a broad overview of the essential concepts of blockchain technology – by initially exploring the Bitcoin protocol followed by the Ethereum protocol – to lay the foundation necessary for developing applications and programming. You will be equipped with the knowledge needed to create nodes on your personal Ethereum blockchain, create accounts, unlock accounts, mine, transact, transfer Ethers, and check balances. You will learn about the decentralized peer-to-peer network, an immutable distributed ledger and the trust model that defines a blockchain. This course enables you to explain basic components of a blockchain (transaction, block, block header, and the chain) its operations (verification, validation, and consensus model) underlying algorithms, and essentials of trust (hard fork and soft fork). Content includes the hashing and cryptography foundations indispensable to blockchain programming, which is the focus of two subsequent specialization courses, Smart Contracts and Decentralized Applications (Dapps). You will work on a virtual machine image, specifically created for this course, to build an Ethereum test chain and operate on the chain. This hands-on activity will help you understand the workings of a blockchain, its transactions, blocks and mining. Main concepts are delivered through videos, demos and hands-on exercises.


  • Blockchain Defined
    • We will introduce and define blockchain, explain the structure and operational aspects of Bitcoin blockchain, and compare different types of blockchains.
  • Ethereum Blockchain
    • We will discuss the innovation of the Ethereum blockchain, review its protocol, and explore the payment model for code execution.
  • Algorithms & Techniques
    • We will discuss the concept of asymmetric key encryption, define the concept of hashing, and explain techniques that use algorithms to manage the integrity of transactions and blocks in blockchain.
  • Trust Essentials
    • We will define elements of trust in blockchain and discuss the Consensus protocol.

Taught by

Bina Ramamurthy


2.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.6 rating at Coursera based on 7537 ratings

Start your review of Blockchain Basics

  • Anonymous
    To be honest, this course is bullshit. If you're watching the videos without any prior knowledge of blockchain, you will have a tough time understanding it. The instructor is very boring, and they just briefly explain the concepts in the videos.
    They expect you to learn from online articles, research papers, blogs, etc., of which dozens of links have been provided. I don't mind reading, but those articles are very long like 5 to 10 pages per article. Some of them are high level which adds on to the difficulty.
    But nothing can stop you if you're willing to learn, if you've started it, complete it.

    A wise person said:
    If you are going through hell, keep going.

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