Alas, while I would like to say that there is a single one-stop shop about bitcoins, there is not. As a general rule, avoid most news articles, as many are inaccurate, oversimplified, and repetitive.
As a background, read what a crytographic hash function is and how RSA cryptography works. You don't need to know every step of the algorithms, just what their inputs and outputs are, as the algorithms are purposely designed to be so complicated that nobody knows everything they do (that's the reason for a hash function).
Teach yourself the basics of bitcoin mining, transaction fees, and the blockchain.
For development, I would focus on locating things produced by specific sources who are involved in the development of bitcoins. Read anything written by Gavin Andressen, as he is the primary developer of bitcoins at the moment and everything I've read from him seems to be accurate. Review his plans for development in bitcoin version 0.9, and find his roadmap for future features.
Research the current technical issues facing bitcoins. The only issue I see that can prevent bitcoins from becoming the world currency is the 1MB transaction limit. Get an understanding of how it takes 95% to upgrade the network to get rid of the 1MB transaction limit, and how bitcoins may have already passed the point where everyone can agree on a solution to this issue. Also, read about mining pool centralization.
In politics, find an interview from the Coinbase CEOs and listen to what they say about the market for bitcoins in the United States. Read about the actions of the Chinese government to see how bitcoins are being viewed as a threat to their communist monetary controls. Read the transcript of the Fincen hearing that took place on November 18 and started the third bubble.
For economics, Erik Vorhees is another lead developer who mostly writes about economics. He is well known for somehow managing to lose ten thousand bitcoins (!) because all three of his backups were invalid, so he also has developed ideas about security. Read about the Elliot Wave theory and the S-curve theory of adoption. Research altcoins, and be able to explain how litecoins differ from bitcoins. Find out why some altcoins are just pump and dump schemes.
For behavioral and legal issues, read about "m of n transactions" and "multisignature transactions." Learn about escrow, contracts, and the bitcoin scripting language. Learn how you can prove the existence of any physical object using the math present in bitcoins.
Finally, understand how bitcoins are a protocol, not just a monetary system. Read about how there are already second-level coins, like mastercoin, that provide anonymity on top of bitcoins. Research the concept of "colored coins," and how bitcoins allow people to prove ownership of any object. You can also look at how a stock market can be created where there are no brokers and dividends are paid out without ever needing to know who owns the shares.
As you can see, you will need to spend an entire Saturday or Sunday (or both) on this, but it will be worth it. It isn't easy to understand, but as I said earlier, I have never met a person who has taken the time to become an expert in bitcoins and who does not see the significance in this. Whoever created bitcoins solved a mathematical problem that had stumped the greatest minds in the world for decades.
Like the Internet, bitcoins are a technology that nobody knew was needed. In 1970, filmmakers depicted the future as a place where pneumatic tubes whisked messages across the country in minutes because they could not conceive of anything different. Today, many people view trust as an issue that is inherent to the world and cannot conceive of a society where it is almost impossible to deceive people.
Good luck in your search!
As they say, the best time to start is now. I've had this blog for almost 3 months now, and I have yet to write a single post. I won't bother going through every excuse I've made, but here I am. The timing to start a new project like this isn't perfect, but it never will be. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to write about, but that's fine, too.
As a basic introduction, I'll say that I hope this blog becomes a useful way for me to organize my thoughts, learn from readers through their comments and messages, and hopefully help my readers gain something valuable as well. My first several posts will likely be based on a cool website I found, or a new book I read, or any other review-based stuff. This is mostly because it'll be hard for me to run out of things I think are fun/neat/interesting/helpful/cool to share, which means I won't have any excuses for not writing.
Having a blog has always interested me, so I'm excited to officially get started and see how things turn out. I don't feel like I have any groundbreaking ideas that everybody should hear, but I do feel like I've found a lot of interesting things worth sharing. I'm not looking to become a full-time blogger, I'm not interested in growing my reader base simply to brag about it, and I'm not committing to any overall theme that will cover all of my posts. I'm simply logging parts of my life on the web as a means to becoming more involved with the online community.
Thanks for reading, and wish me luck!
In 2009, probably within the first couple months of its existence, I downloaded the Bitcoin client and began mining bitcoins. Back then it was really easy-- you could get hundreds of Bitcoins per week for free, but they weren't worth anything. Not wanting to waste my time, I deleted the Bitcoin client, and any bitcoins I had mined went along with it.
Last March I thought about Bitcoins again and decided to check up on them. As I read about the progress that had taken place in the preceding years and learned more about the technical aspects of Bitcoin, I was blown away. This is going to change the world, I thought.
So I bought a few when they were around $30 a coin, a few more at $80, and then again at $110. I'm not a Bitcoin millionaire or anything awesome like that, but percentage-wise, it's the best return I've ever gotten on anything. In case you don't fanatically check the price like I do, it's at around $825 per coin as I write this.
I'm going to write the rest of this blog post to explain why I think it's important that you buy some Bitcoins, but take it all with a grain of salt. I do know a fair amount about Bitcoin, but I don't know much about investing or, more importantly, your financial situation.