Khan Academy launches bitcoin videos

Cryptography expert Zulfikar Ramzan hosts a new series of educational bitcoin videos at Khan Academy.

AccessTimeIconMay 3, 2013 at 1:50 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 10, 2021 at 10:43 a.m. UTC

-- the not-for-profit, online learning site whose mission is "a free world-class education for anyone anywhere" -- has leapt with both feet into the theory and technology of bitcoin.

Earlier this week, the academy uploaded seven instructional videos about bitcoin onto its Finance and Capital Markets section. (The videos also appear on Khan Academy's YouTube channel.) Ranging in length from 10:14 to 12:14, all the videos are presented by computer security and cryptography expert Zulfikar Ramzan.

Currently the chief scientist for the cloud technology group at Sourcefire, Ramzan previously worked with Immunet, Symantec, DoCoMo Labs and Alcatel-Lucent. He earned a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The new Khan Academy titles include:

  • Bitcoin - Overview
  • Bitcoin - The money supply
  • Bitcoin - Transaction block chains
  • Bitcoin - Proof of work
  • Bitcoin - Transaction records
  • Bitcoin - Cryptographic hash function
  • Bitcoin - Digital signatures

In the overview video, Ramzan focuses on the details of how a single transaction works, rather than attempting to summarize the workings of the overall bitcoin system.

"The bitcoin scheme is fairly involved ... ," he explains. "(T)he best way to really wrap your head around a scheme like bitcoin is to really suspend belief for a bit and get exposed to all these relevant details."

The posting of the new Khan Academy videos was met with a lot of enthusiasm from the bitcoin community.

"Awesome!" noted Bitcoin Forum member Mike Christ. "I was already a fan of Khan academy, but this is great. Reaffirms the fact that bitcoin is only going to get more and more popular."

"I’ve been saying for a long LONG time now that education is past due for a serious overhaul, and Khan Academy has been the front-runner in the race for education’s future," wrote David Perry, author of the Coding in my Sleep blog. "(A)nd now they’re teaching bitcoin."

Perry added, "While there are admittedly bigger stories to be found in the bitcoin world right now, as an education reformer, YouTuber and long-time fan of the good work Khan Academy is doing, I have to say this has me pretty excited."

also expressed excitement, though it was somewhat tempered by Ramzan's use of technical terms that "average people" might not understand.

"I hope the introduction doesn't scare the audience away," commented redditor tmalsburg2.

User JackPerth added, "Don't forget to donate to Khan academy :)" ... which drew the logical response from someone going by the name bitroll:

"As soon as they add a bitcoin donation option!"


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