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Learn Bitcoin with online courses and programs

Bitcoin is one of many digital currencies disrupting the financial world. By using a decentralized ledger and blockchain technology, Bitcoin eliminates the need for intermediaries such as banks. Learn how Bitcoin works with courses delivered through edX.

What is Bitcoin?

Created in 2008 by a group under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is a digital currency that operates similarly to cash in that it is decentralized. This means that transactions carried out with Bitcoin do not require assistance from a financial institution. Transactions are tracked and encoded through blockchain technology, which enhances the security of financial activities. This allows for greater transparency while ensuring privacy.Footnote 1

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How does Bitcoin work?

Bitcoins are created through a process called mining. This involves using advanced technology to solve complex math problems. These problems are directly related to existing transactions on the ledger, or financial record. The computers working to solve each problem are participating in a validation process to ensure the legitimacy of each transaction. The first computer to solve the problem “wins” a block of Bitcoin as a reward of sorts. There's no gatekeeper for who can use Bitcoin, and the entire process is secured through cryptography principles.Footnote 2

The value of Bitcoin can be compared to that of precious metals. This is because it has a limited quantity, is difficult to obtain, and is not backed by government authorities. Although it is not impossible to counterfeit a Bitcoin, its reliance on the blockchain makes it incredibly difficult, thus increasing its scarcity. Additionally, because many businesses do not accept Bitcoin as payment, the value of the digital currency can be hard to define.Footnote 3

While there is some uncertainty regarding its future incorporation into everyday transactions, many industries actively accept the digital currency. These include gambling, tourism, banking, food, and retail.Footnote 4 If you want to learn how to buy Bitcoin, how Bitcoin mining works, or how blockchain powers the ledger, you can get started by exploring online courses.

Bitcoin course curriculum

Before you start learning about Bitcoin, it can be helpful to first consider your broader goals. Do you want to start a new career in finance or fintech? Do you want to leverage your existing blockchain knowledge to explore the power of Bitcoin? Are you simply curious about this new form of digital currency? Knowing your answers to these questions can help you build an educational path tailored to your goals.

Introductory level courses can provide foundational knowledge around cryptocurrencies and the technologies that propel them. You might then move on to learning about distributed systems, proof of stake, and digital assets versus fiat currencies. In classes specific to Bitcoin, you may gain additional practice using smart contracts and building decentralized applications.

If you plan to use your new skills in a financial role, enrolling in a bachelor’s degree or, for more experienced learners, a master’s degree program geared toward your professional goals can be a promising investment in your education. These programs may cover Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in their curricula. For learners who are interested in advancing their existing knowledge, a financial technology boot camp can provide in-demand skills in a short period of time.

Explore jobs that use Bitcoin

With an understanding of how Bitcoin works, you can apply that knowledge to start or advance a career in a number of roles. Some of the jobs that work with Bitcoin include:

  • Software developer: Once an individual has received a Bitcoin, either through mining or a monetary exchange, they can store and manage it through a crypto wallet. These services may be made available via application, website, or some other form of software created by a developer.Footnote 5

  • Blockchain developer: Blockchain technology powers everything from the mining of Bitcoins to the individual transactions they take part in. In order for the blockchain to run smoothly, developers must design protocols, monitor the network architecture, and maintain general functionality.Footnote 6

  • Technical writer: New products and technologies need to be understood by everyone who uses them. Technical writers help users make sense of complex crypto wallet applications, Bitcoin mining platforms, and other advanced tools related to cryptocurrencies.Footnote 7

Keep in mind that you’ll likely need additional skills and experience to qualify for most of the roles listed above. Requirements will depend on the specific position and company you’re interested in. 

Build the skills you need for your next professional role. Explore the range of learning opportunities made available through edX. From specialized boot camps and individual courses on niche topics, to comprehensive programs that enable learners to earn degrees in topics like computer science, business administration, and data science, edX offers a variety of learning paths that can facilitate professional development. Start learning today. 

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