Spring 2022 Fundamentals Decal

Enrollment Information

Please enroll through CalCentral using the course number.

Course Listing: https://classes.berkeley.edu/content/2022-spring-indeng-198-003-grp-003

Course Number: 21958



The Blockchain Fundamentals DeCal is a comprehensive survey of relevant topics in cryptocurrency and the wider blockchain space. From a technological standpoint, we start with the basics of cryptography and economics, establish a solid fundamental understanding of Bitcoin by building it from the bottom up, then explore the myriad of ideas and technologies relating to blockchain technology. On the non-technical side, we start with the history of digital currency, then look at the laws, organizations, trends, and communities behind it to build a complete picture of the ecosystem surrounding blockchain technology.

Syllabus: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BNDsmzkiI9MmXLW-UbDC7TaJDDlVHdIO

Previous Semesters: https://blockchain.berkeley.edu/courses/archive



Many people find it difficult to understand cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the product of coordination between many complex components; and it’s hard to see the full picture until all the individual components are fully understood. Furthermore, since the field is technical and relatively new, cryptocurrency-related discussion by nature is full of jargon. Therefore, it is easy to get lost trying to follow nearly any conversation on crypto/blockchain if you have not built up the right background.

The goal of this course is to surmount the steep learning curve of cryptocurrency. By the end of this course you will understand how cryptocurrencies work and the ideas, technologies, and organizations sprouting from it.

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WeekTopicLecture SlidesLecture Recordings
1Bitcoin Protocol and Consensus: A High Level Overview
2Blockchain History and Philosophy:
Pre-Bitcoin to the Present
3Bitcoin Mechanics and Optimizations: A Technical Overview
4Interacting With Bitcoin: Wallets, Mining, and More
5Bitcoin in the Wild: Game Theory and Attacks
6Trust without Trust: Distributed Systems & Consensus
7Ethereum and Smart Contracts: Enabling a Decentralized Future
8Defi / Xcelerator
9Cryptocurrencies for the Masses: Scaling Blockchain
10Conclusions: A Blockchain Powered Future

Course Number: 21958 (Please enroll through CalCentral!)
Units: 1-2
Day and Times: Wednesdays 5-7pm PST
Location: Physics 0001 (virtual for first two weeks)
Course Staff: Rishi Madala (rishi.madala@berkeley.edu), Siddhant Satapathy (sidsata@berkeley.edu)

Prerequisites: This course have no formal prerequisites. However, blockchain is very technical in nature, so coming into this course with knowledge of computer science or cryptography will be extremely helpful, although not required. If you have any concerns about the nature of this course, do not hesitate to reach out to the facilitators. All are welcome regardless of technical background, and additional resources will be available upon request.


We hope you can walk away from this class with a concrete understanding of the technology underlying blockchain and the ability to explain/discuss blockchain in technical and non-technical settings. We have organized our grading system accordingly, allocating a high weight to attending lectures and discussion participation:

Grading for 1 Unit:

  • Discussions: 25%
  • Lecture Attendance: 25%
  • Weekly Quizzes: 25%
  • Final Paper: 25%

Grading for 2 Units:

  • Discussions: 25%
  • Lecture Attendance: 25%
  • Weekly Quizzes: 25%
  • Mid-Semester Paper Checkpoint: 5%
  • Final Paper: 20%

Full details in the syllabus: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BNDsmzkiI9MmXLW-UbDC7TaJDDlVHdIO


Blockchain at Berkeley EdX Lectures: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqeIoMMTKl9PK9O8BcEpNhQ/playlists

Textbooks: You are free to read from these books, which are both freely distributed and available online. Please do NOT go out and buy them. Some readings may be pulled from these books during the course.

● Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies by Arvind Narayanan, Joseph Bonneau, Edward Felten, Andrew Miller, and Steven Goldfeder

PDF: https://d28rh4a8wq0iu5.cloudfront.net/bitcointech/readings/princeton_bitcoin_book.pdf

● (Optional) Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos:

PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8lgcDXI8hEfbXFYcTh6aXNqRkk/view?usp=sharing

Source: https://github.com/bitcoinbook/bitcoinbook