Bitcoin: What’s the Math?

Bitcoin- will it replace fiat currency? How does the math work? And where can I get one of those physical coins?

I came across Bitcoin about 6 months ago, thanks to a friend who started her own company that uses blockchain technology. I’d heard of Bitcoin before- my general idea was “Bitcoin is a virtual currency that my brother used to mine when I was in high school.” I didn’t know much other than that, like most people.

What really sparked my interest was my realization that Bitcoin and other digital currencies are a great application of cryptography (hence the name “cryptocurrency”), a field that I’ve always been very fascinated by. Cryptography, to me, is a perfect way to use math in the real world. Once this realization hit, I decided to actually look into the math behind bitcoin.

Although I read countless articles, including the original Nakamoto whitepaper, I still struggled to find a resource that would answer the fundamental question: What’s the math? The best I could find was articles that would discuss elliptic curve cryptography, and the particular parameters used for Bitcoin. This didn’t satisfy me.

As per the suggestion of my friend, I got a copy of Andreas Antonopolous’ Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open Blockchain. This book really brought everything together for me. I highly recommend it!

I hope this blog post can help you understand the Bitcoin protocol and the Bitcoin blockchain, from a mathematical perspective. I’ll assume first that you’re familiar with Bitcoin, and second that you have a knowledge of the math. I’ll leave links to explanations of the math topics below, for those who are not so familiar.

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Sentiment Analysis: Justin Trudeau’s Tweets

I’ve seen sentiment analysis of Trump’s tweets done all over the internet. It makes sense- no president, political figure, or anyone for that matter, really, has used Twitter the way Trump does. Reading these analyses of Trump’s tweets, his sentiment is just all over the place. But you don’t need a text processing tool to use that, you can see this by just listening to his speeches or reading the news. It made me think, though, what do the tweets of my Prime Minster, Justin Trudeau, look like? Are his tweets more balanced in their sentiment? Is there a difference between his tweets in English versus his tweets in French? Let’s take a look!

For this analysis I’ll look at some basic tweet features: source, “retweet” and “favourite” count, and overall sentiment, for both English and French tweets. While the source and sentiment of a tweet gives us insight into Trudeau, the retweet and favourite count speaks on behalf of Canadians. Through this analysis we’ll get to learn a bit more about our Prime Minister, and a bit more about ourselves.

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B.C. Politics: Sentiment Analysis Predicts Horgan Win

This post originally appeared on on May 5, 2017.

The candidates: The NDP’s John Horgan, the Liberal’s Christy Clark and the Green Party’s Andrew Weaver. Adapted from the Vancouver Courier. Photo by Dan Toulgoet.

Sentiment analysis of Reddit posts using machine learning techniques suggests that NDP leader John Horgan will win the B.C. election this Tuesday, May 9th. The study suggests that while Reddit users in the r/Vancouver and r/BritishColumbia subreddits post more about Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberal Party, they hold a significantly more positive sentiment towards Horgan and the B.C. New Democratic Party.

What is sentiment analysis?

Sentiment analysis, also known as opinion mining, aims to identify the feeling and attitude of a speaker or writer in a given text. The technique can determine whether a text is positive, negative, or neutral based on the words used by the writer. Words with positive sentiment incline the text to a positive score; negative words, negatives. A sentiment analysis program can therefore quickly and efficiently scan vast numbers of comments, posts, or pages and classify them as expressing ranges of sentiment towards a topic.

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