Rustie Lin UC Berkeley CS, Distributed Systems, Blockchain

Giving My First Blockchain Lecture

A bit of a late post, but I gave my first lecture on Bitcoin wallets for the Blockchain Fundamentals Decal on 9/26. Personally, I would have preferred to speak about cryptographic hash functions, blockchain mechanics, and lower level technical details instead – the topics that excite me. Regardless, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to lecture the class I had taken the previous semester. Speaking about Bitcoin wallets was also good training for me, as I have a tendency to dive too deep into technical details, so for me, it was good training to practice my understanding of Bitcoin at a higher level, and to communicate it to the class in a concise manner. Not too proud about my first lecture, now that I know what I can improve on, but I’m definitely looking forward to practicing so that my next lecture will be a lot better. Here’s a recording:

I have a deep respect for educators, as they demonstrate a high (if not the highest) level of understanding in their work. It’s one thing to understand a concept, and another to explain it in a variety of ways to ensure that all your students can firmly grasp the concept. After giving my lecture, I received some constructive criticism, which I will act upon before delivering my next lecture for the same class, which will hopefully be on alternative consensus protocols.

One surprising incident occurred after I finished the lecture and dismissed the class. As I was packing my bag to leave to my class, a student approached me and pointed out a typo in the notes I had written and open-sourced during the summer (see my previous post titled “Blockchain Textbook”). While I was embarrassed for spelling “save” as “saev”, I was more surprised than anything. Although I had open-sourced my notes, and open-sourcing generally means that other people will see your work, I wasn’t expecting anyone to actually be reading my notes. As it turns out, several students have even printed out the entirety of my notes so far. All 90+ pages! With typos too! It turns out that someone had found a link to the Github repository where I had open-sourced my notes, and began sharing it. The students studying from my notes have given positive comments so far. In my mind, I was like “Wow! People are actually reading my notes!!” and that gave me more motivation to continue writing and editing content.

Thankfully, I’m more than halfway done with my blockchain notes. Now that I know that people are reading my work, it’s time to pick up the pace and write faster and with more quality in mind.