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Consensus Algorithms Blockchain Bootcamp

Duration: 4 weeks

Blockchains claim to be fast, but how do you evaluate their claims? Blockchain can be understood as a hybrid of distributed systems and cryptography. By understanding distributed systems and what affects the attributes we care about (reliability, speed, security, and so on), we can evaluate the marketing claims of blockchain performance. You will be able to make much more sophisticated analyses than the surface level judgements of how (de)centralized a blockchain is.


Week 1-2

Foundations of Consensus Algorithms Part 1

We will rigorously understand what “fault tolerance” and “byzantine fault tolerance” mean. What exactly is “consensus” and under what conditions are consensus possible or not? We will study replication and leader (or leaderless) strategies traditional databases use to stay consistent so we can understand how these concepts apply to blockchain. Blockchains are databases after all.

Week 3

Bitcoin and Ethereum Whitepaper

Armed with the knowledge of the previous two weeks, you will find these papers amazingly simple to read. Although Ethereum’s consensus mechanism changed quite a bit when it moved to proof of stake in 2022, it’s still worth study to understand the context of how proof of stake chains tend to operate.

Week 4

Avalanche and Algorand Whitepaper

From the previous week, have seen scalability issues that older blockchains are held down by. This week we will see how newer blockchains, unencumbered by older designs, start fresh to address them.

We will study probabilistic consensus algorithms and how these chains use them. We will also see novel ways they handle growing state.

Week 5

Solana whitepaper

Solana uses several ideas to accelerate throughput that you will notice a lot of parallels to from the first two weeks. You will understand clearly the origins of Solana’s proof of history and Sealevel parallel processing. In this week you will tie Solana’s ideas to it’s academic origins.


  • You need to be okay with reading textbooks! Don’t worry, we’ve handpicked the good ones!

  • At least two other extended bootcamps from RareSkills. Unlike our other bootcamps, this is very focused on theory. It’s better to study theory after a meaningful amount of hands-on practice


What are the assignments or home-works?

There will be quizzes. But the most important part of the course will be a final paper you write at the end which will be reviewed and revised by your instructor. This is intended to be published under your name so you can demonstrate expertise on the subject.


$1000 ($980 with crypto discount). There is no one-on-one component here except for advising on the final paper you will write, there are only small group discussions.

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