Put open source to work
July 16–17, 2018: Training & Tutorials
July 18–19, 2018: Conference
Portland, OR

Building your own cryptocurrency

John Feminella (Pivotal)
2:35pm3:15pm Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Location: Portland 256
Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.40, 5 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Enterprise architects, developers, and anyone curious about blockchains

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of the challenges posed by distributed systems (e.g., increased latency over a tightly coupled system)

What you'll learn

  • Explore blockchain concepts and properties
  • Understand the potential use cases and serious trade-offs of this technology


Blockchains are a way to create decentralized, permissionless, immutable information—attributes that are highly relevant and valuable for distributed systems. John Feminella explains the core cryptographic and distributed-systems properties that make the blockchain work as he walks you through building your own cryptocurrency from scratch. Along the way, you’ll discover that cryptocurrencies are just scratching the surface of the potential applications for blockchains and see why this newfound power comes with serious trade-offs that make many kinds of use cases impractical (but also exponentially strengthen a few others). You’ll leave with a good understanding of the kinds of applications that are feasible to design with a blockchain and the enormous potential that’s enabled by one.

Photo of John Feminella

John Feminella


John Feminella is the advisory platform architect at Pivotal, where his daily goal is to transform how the world builds software. An advocate for curiosity in all people and about all things, John is the author of several published research papers on software architecture and the cofounder of analytics startup UpHex. He lives in Charlottesville, VA, with his partner. John likes milkshakes, metajokes, and referring to himself in the third person in speaker bios.