Class Report

Bitcoin for Beginners

Teacher: Darrell Duane (far left)
Documentarian: Greg Giles
Location: Glow House
Date: Jan. 16, 2014

What was the take-home message of the class?
Greg: That Bitcoin is likely to play a larger role in our lives in the future. The Internet has fundamentally changed the way we do everything. If the existing structures of currency and transactions are unable to meet our rapidly changing needs, Bitcoin seems extremely well poised to take over.

What was the most surprising thing you learned?
Greg: Bitcoin depends on a huge collective of user-networked machines in order to keep the transactions secure. The process relies on brute-force calculation on a massive scale. Exploring the concept was a mind-blowing reminder of how powerful and sophisticated modern technology has become.

How did you get interested in this subject?
Darrell: I have had a long interest in financial and monetary systems from my time in working in the credit card industry. I learned about the theoretical idea of Bitcoin from the Cypherpunks mailing list in the late 90s and was quite intrigued then. I read the slashdot article about Bitcoin itself in December 2010 and I knew exactly what had been created.

What do people tend to wrongly assume about this subject before learning about it?
Darrell: That it’s for illegitimate or illegal uses, when in fact there’s plenty of honest people working with Bitcoin. A lot of people think that it’s going to go away or that it’s not backed by anything, but from my point of view there is a lot of strong backing for Bitcoin. There are a lot of big players that have invested a lot, as well as infrastructure that will keep it strong.

What can people read/watch for more information on this topic?
Darrell: Take a look at It’s been around for about two years. Some of the information is out of date, but it still gives a solid overview in visual form. I also teach some classes that can be found through

Are there any groups dedicated to this topic in the area?
Darrell: We have a Bitcoin DC Meetup group that meets once or twice a month at a local restaurant. And we’re going to have a Bitcoin conference here in late June downtown. We’re expecting around a thousand people from all over the world.

If an alien visited Earth and could understand English, what would they assume about humanity from your class?
Darrell: That there are a lot of different possibilities for solving one problem.