There’s an absolutely fascinating interview with Adam Back: “Let’s Talk Bitcoin Adam Back interview.” [link to http://letstalkbitcoin.com/e77-the-adam-back-interview/ no longer works]
For those of you who don’t know Adam, he created Hashcash, which is at the core of Bitcoin proof of work.
Two elements I’d like to call attention to in particular are:
First, there’s an interesting contrast between Adam’s opinions and Glenn Flieshman’s opinions in “On the Matter of Why Bitcoin Matters.” In particular, Glenn seems to think that transaction dispute should be in the protocol, and Adam thinks it should be layered on in some way. (Near as I can tell, Glenn is a very smart journalist, but he’s not a protocol designer.)
Secondly, Adam discusses the ways in which a really smart fellow, deeply steeped in the underlying technologies, can fail to see how all the elements of Bitcoin happened to combine into a real ecash system. Like Adam, I was focused on properties other systems have and Bitcoin does not, and so was unexcited by it. There’s an interesting lesson in humility there for me.
This is also interesting “How the Bitcoin protocol works.”