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I often come across papers written in the Bitcoin space involving some math that I am not formally versed in.

Could anyone point out general topics in math that I should have a formal grasp on in order to really understand cryptography?

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The signatures in Bitcoin (and Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and many other cryptocurrencies) are generated using elliptic curve curve cryptography. I found these videos very helpful in that regard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQLmaBjYrk4

Other than that, you probably want to look into hash functions and asymmetric cryptography in general.

As a general introduction to cryptography, I took the cryptography course on Coursera which I can really recommend. This goes into the role of the adversary and what he can achieve. The teacher of this course, Dan Boneh, is, I believe, among the ten most renowned and best cryptographers in the world. On top of that, he is a very good teacher. The course does go into both symmetric and asymmetric cryptography but in the asymmetric field, it only teaches you RSA and Diffie-Hellman, not elliptic curves. Use the above videos for that.

  • Thanks. I'm trying to look into the Bulletproofs paper and there is math and notation that i kinda know but don't really. It's linear algebra and probabilities mostly. I want to understand the math behind this game theory shit basically. The math of the adversaries. – jojeyh Feb 22 '18 at 21:34
  • I updated the answer. – Thorkil Værge Feb 22 '18 at 21:37

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