Bitcoin, The Blockchain, and Beyond

What Is Cryptocurrency?

Bitcoin is a new, distributed, decentralized form of digitally based currency designed to operate independently of banks and governments and centralized authorities. It is one of what are now thousands of different cryptocurrencies vying for attention and investment in the public square.

The cryptocurrency investment market that has grown along with it has gone from zero assets in 2009 to a market cap of over $800 billion in January 2018, and drawn the attention of investors from Goldman Sachs to Thomson Reuters, whose survey of over 400 clients showed that roughly one in five of its client financial firms are considering trading cryptocurrencies.

Author and publisher David Pascal will be giving five lectures at the Osher Institute, a learning facility associated with the Rochester Institute of Technology, that will introduce, explain and discuss Bitcoin, the blockchain technology underlying it and its implications, plus how to use cryptocurrency to make purchases and receive payments, and how to invest in cryptocurrency markets online.

Time, Location, Registration

Classes will take place on Tuesdays, from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM, beginning on September 18th, 2018 through October 16th, 2018, at the Atheneum Building on East River Road at 50 Fairwood Drive (Suite 100), Rochester NY 14623 – about one mile south of the main RIT campus. (For more detailed directions, see

Classes are restricted to Osher members only, not the general public, and attendees need to register beforehand.

Registration opens on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, at 10 AM, and Osher recommends registering online at that time by visiting the Osher website at and clicking on REGISTER in the top right of the page.

Paper applications before August 14th will be accepted at the Osher office at the Atheneum Building but will not be given preferential treatment–they will be processed at random at that time.

Course Layout

One: A general introduction to Bitcoin, the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and cryptocurrency markets. A historical overview of Bitcoin will be presented, its basic terms and concepts will be explained, and a discussion of its practical uses and potential benefits and dangers will follow.

Two: Acquiring and Using Bitcoin.  This class will present a step-by-step demonstration of how to acquire Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, where and how to store it, and how to use it to make purchases. Emphasis will be placed on doing so securely.  This class will also lead the student through a step-by-step demonstration of how to open investment accounts with online cryptocurrency exchanges, enabling the student to trade or store Bitcoin on those exchanges

Three: Investing In Bitcoin. This class will discuss various exchanges and their pluses and minuses, profile leading cryptocurrencies in the market today from Bitcoin to Ethereum to Ripple, walk the student through the process of researching a particular cryptocurrency, discuss the factors that makes one cryptocurrency more attractive to crypto investors than another, and discuss various investment strategies while providing cautions and caveats regarding potential investment pitfalls.

Four: Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s).  An initial coin offering (ICO) or initial currency offering is a cryptocurrency-driven form of crowdfunding intended to raise capital for startup companies and other ventures. In an ICO, a newly created cryptocurrency is sold to investors in the form of “tokens” in exchange for normal fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.  The tokens are intended to serve as functional units of currency if or when the ICO meets its funding goal and the project launches and, hopefully, flourishes. ICO’s can be one of the most profitable areas in cryptocurrency in which to invest–although fewer than half of all ICOs survive four months after the offering. They are also one of the areas where the future of cryptocurrency is being most visibly shaped, as that is how many new currencies debut, where criteria for market viability are often set and shared, and where market leaders and investors often partner and congregate.

This class will also include discussion of the cryptocurrency “ecosystem”– the conferences, web sites, online forums, events and general networks where the global cryptocurrency community meet and exchange information.

Five: Beyond Bitcoin. In the concluding lecture and discussion we will return to the social, financial and personal implications of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, and discuss the promise—and threat—they hold of decentralizing major institutions and social processes.

Slideshow Presentation Files:

PDF versions of the Keynote presentations are available for viewing and downloading here:

Class One:

Class Two:

Class Three:

Class Four:

Class Five:

About David Pascal

David Pascal has been investing in cryptocurrency actively since mid-2017. He is is marketing consultant, author, ghostwriter, and web and graphic designer, and owns a small publishing firm, Pascal Editions.

He can be reached via the contact page below, or at

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    Any financial or other information provided during the above classes, in private or public communications prior or subsequent to the classes, or on this web site, is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with a qualified financial advisor or investment analyst or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs. David Pascal does not make any guarantee or other promise as to any results that may be obtained from using any content communicated. No one should make any investment decision without first consulting his or her own financial advisor and conducting his or her own research and due diligence. To the maximum extent permitted by law, David Pascal and any organization associated with him disclaim any and all liability in the event any information, commentary, analysis, opinions, advice and/or recommendations prove to be inaccurate, incomplete or unreliable, or result in any investment or other losses. David Pascal makes no claims to be a certified financial advisor, and any content contained on or made available through his classes, communications or website is not intended to be and does not constitute legal advice or investment advice. Your use of any information provided during classes, or in the course of private or public communictions, or on this website, or involving materials linked to from the web, is at your own risk.