Virtual Currencies: A Case Study of Bitcoin | Online | Alison

Virtual Currencies: A Case Study of Bitcoin - Revised

Learn more about Bitcoin and how it is used as an electronic payment system, with this free finance course.

Finances and Banking
Free Course
This free online course in virtual currencies will introduce you to the popular crypto-currency Bitcoin and teach you about its features and functions. It will also show you how cryptographic hash functions allow the secure transfer of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies across the internet, and help you understand how these transactions are secured using Bitcoin miners. Take this free online course today to learn more.
  • Duration

    1.5-3 Hours
  • Assessment

  • Certification

  • Responsive

  • Publisher

    Khan Academy





View course modules


Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that can be used in electronic payment systems. This course will teach you how to install the Bitcoin client on your computer to make Bitcoin payments. You will study MD5 and SHA 256 which are used as cryptographic hash functions. You will also learn the important functions of cryptographic hash functions which include computational efficiency, collision resistance, information privacy, and random generation of output.

A Digital Signature Standard (DSS) is a collection of procedures and standards developed by the U.S. National Security Agency used to generate a digital signature to authenticate electronic documents. This course will discuss the RSA and DSS digital signatures. You will study the keys generated when creating a digital signature, which includes the signing key and verification key. You will learn that the verification key is kept public and the signing key is kept private.

Bitcoin is a decentralized system, meaning no single institution controls the network. This currency model has been increasing in popularity and notoriety for some time, and is unlikely to disappear any time soon. By the end of this course, you will have a much stronger understanding of what Bitcoin is, how it can be used, and what its potential future may hold. This is powerful knowledge in the modern economy, so check out the course today and start learning something really useful.

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Learning Outcomes

After studying this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how Bitcoin is used as an electronic payment system
  • Outline the function of cryptographic hash functions
  • Examine how digital signatures and proof of work ensure security
  • Discuss the importance of transaction block chains and how they are created


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