Foreword

An extract in Fountain Head by Ayn Rand resonated with me.

Gail Wynand, the powerful puppet master of the world, and Howard Roark, the protagonist building architect discussed together. Gail finds a strange relief when he is with Roark, not knowing where it comes from, he questions him. Wynand asked: "Howard, have you ever been in love?" Roark turned to look straight at him and answer quietly: "I still am." "But when you walk through a building, what you feel is greater than that?" "Much greater, Gail" "I was thinking of people who say that happiness is impossible on earth. Look how hard they all try to find some joy in life. Look how they struggle for it. Why should any living creature exist in pain? By what conceivable right can anyone demand that a human being exist for anything but his own joy? Every one of them wants it. Every part of him wants it. But they never find it. I wonder why. They whine and say they don't understand the meaning of life. There's a particular kind of people that I despise. Those who seek some sort of a higher purpose or 'universal goal,' who don't know what to live for, who moan that they must ‘find themselves.’ You hear it all around us. That seems to be the official bromide of our century. Every book you open. Every drooling self-confession. It seems to be the noble thing to confess. I'd think it would be the most shameful one." "Look, Gail". Roark got up, reached out, tore a thick branch off a tree, held it in both hands, one fist closed at each end; then, his wrists and knuckles tensed against the resistance, he bent the branch slowly into an arc. "Now I can make what I want of it: a bow, a spear, a cane, a railing. That's the meaning of life." "Your strength?" "Your work." He tossed the branch aside. "The material the earth offers you and what you make of it..."

I think the Blockchain is like the tree branch. For outsiders, it feels like a boring and useless collection of bits. For programmers and entrepreneurs, it is a marvelous raw material that can be shaped with our imagination. We give it meaning and purpose.

Just as you need to know about wood to make a bow, spear or cane from a branch, you need to learn about programming to shape the Blockchain. My hope is that you will discover how much your skill and intelligence can shape that useless collection of bits.

Let me warn you: learning about Bitcoin is like taking the red pill from The Matrix. You may find yourself ready to quit your job to work on it full time.

This book will take you from basic to advanced use of the Blockchain. It will not teach you how to use an API (such as the RPC API provided with Bitcoin Core), but it will teach you how to make such an API.

Satoshi Nakamoto once described Bitcoin as “boring grey in colour.”

While programming to an API can assist in getting an application up quickly, the developer is limited to innovations that can take place against the API. By fully understanding the Blockchain, the developer is empowered to unleash its full potential.