Stuff I want to know about cryptocurrencies:

  1. What is the actual data structure for the Bitcoin blockchain? What is a block? What data is stored in each unit of the block?
  2. Do all cryptocurrencies use this same data structure?
  3. How does the consensus algorithm work?
  4. What is Ethereum? What are its advantages/disadvantages over other currencies? What about Litecoin? Ripple? Stellar?

I actually have a lot more questions; but having written these down, I’m realizing I’d rather start digging into these now and let that process drive the formulation of more questions. Chances are, by the time I’ve learned about the blockchain data structure, I’ll have 20 new questions I want to answer before even worrying about Litecoin.

So now I’m going to start learning about how the blockchain actually works. I think that in data structure terms it’s essentially like a linked list of arrays, where each “block” is a node with a contiguous series of transactions and a pointer to the next block. But I don’t know if that’s right. I also don’t know, even if it is right, what precisely is stored as part of a transaction, or how distributed agents contribute to the blockchain.

Come to think of it, I’m not actually sure a block consists of transactions at all. Maybe it’s the coins themselves that are stored in the blockchain?

Yikes. I should probably just start researching.