14 October 2022 • 11 min read
What is the best crypto book for beginners? What is the best source to learn about crypto? What should I read before investing in cryptocurrency?
Given crypto’s increasing popularity, more traders are entering the space. And if you’re like the rest of us, then you have a lot of questions, which is why writers are at pains to explain the underlying blockchain technology behind cryptocurrency as well as the basics of things such as algorithmic trading, crypto wallets, NFTs, crypto regulations, crypto taxes, and even the future of decentralized finance (DeFi) itself.
Whether you’re looking for some good reads on crypto or simply a gift for the holidays, our picks for the best cryptocurrency books to read will surely have something for everyone.
And unlike the majority of recycled lists you’ll find online, ours only contains books published in 2022 (not in 2018, not in 2016, and certainly not in 2014).
Let’s get to it!
You should never judge a book by its cover and the same might be said of Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin. As regular readers of his blog can attest (aptly named “Vitalik Buterin's website”), Buterin is a man with a lot of interesting things on his mind. To be honest, we wouldn’t have been surprised if he had simply entitled his book Vitalik Buterin’s Book (likely a no-go with the publisher), but Proof of Stake: The Making of Ethereum and the Philosophy of Blockchains provides a fascinating glimpse into the vision and ideas behind Ethereum, one of the world’s most important blockchains.
Organized into three core parts consisting of 23 essays written between 2014-2022, Buterin’s book walks readers through premining (referring to the creation of tokens before a blockchain becomes public), proof of work (Ethereum’s original consensus mechanism), and proof of stake (the result of Ethereum’s recent Merge).
What emerges (see what we just did?) is a striking story of a visionary with a steadfast belief in the power and potential of blockchain. If you’re interested at all in crypto, then Buterin’s book should be at the top of your list, especially since his chain is the foundation on which so much of the crypto space is built (no offense, Bitcoin maxis).
The best part? Among those to whom he dedicates his book are “internet meme lords.” Nice one, V God.
“One day this book will be read by a person without a body. This prediction will almost certainly come true before the end of the twenty-first century, perhaps even by 2040. Consider: We already know with some confidence that the mind is a machine that processes information. COnnecting it to a computer - one with the capacity to simulate an entire world - is a fully plausible outcome and, I would argue, an inevitable one.”
So begins Herman Narula’s fascinating Virtual Society: The Metaverse and the New Frontiers of Human Experience, which reads more like science fiction than the science of our future collective reality. Where some might see a dystopian world in which humans recede into a technology-driven landscape, Narula takes a novel approach to grappling with the emergent notion and implications of the metaverse.
While many commentators focus on the future, Narula looks back into human history, seeing the metaverse as merely the most recent iteration of a centuries-old human tendency to create alternative worlds, whether those worlds stem from religious beliefs (in the case of ancient Egyptians and the pyramids) or something as mundane as sports fans (immersed as they are in physical and computer games, statistics, and virtual communities).
Drawing on history and psychology, Narula might have a point. The metaverse might turn out to be human, all too human.
What happens when you take a highly respected art book publisher and add 50 prominent digital artists? The answer: The first “Phygital” book, entitled Crypto Art — Begins. The portmanteau “phygital” refers to the fact that the book will be released as a traditional print volume, making its way into bookstores and museum shops, as well as an NFT for circulation in the metaverse.
The collaboration is the brainchild of the NFT Magazine and the NFT version is available on the platform Nifty Gateway. According to the publisher,
“‘CRYPTO ART – Begins’ tells of the exciting beginning and evolution of Crypto Art through the history and works of 50 among the best artists in the world, who through their NFTs have contributed to the birth and are still an active part of the present and future of this revolution, including HACKATAO, Refik Anadol, Kevin Abosch, Osinachi, Federico Clapis, Giant Swan, DADA.Art and more.”
The book is scheduled for release in Italy on November 8, 2022, and will be available in the United States sometime in Spring 2023. Based on the teasers, though, this one has the makings of a hit, especially since Rizzoli is renown for its sumptuous illustrations, which is why the book has earned a spot on our list even before its official release.
Investing in crypto can be a complex, daunting process for beginners. In order to demystify the process, #1 New York Times bestselling author Ric Edelman has written a straightforward guide, The Truth About Crypto to blockchain technology and digital assets. Readers are encouraged to follow along as Ric recounts his earliest encounter with crypto, beginning in 2012 and 2013 when he first heard the words “bitcoin” and “cryptocurrency.”
He quickly came to realize two key points: “First, blockchain technology and the digital assets it makes possible are revolutionary. This is the most profound innovation in commerce since the invention of the internet. Second, few people realize this—including the vast majority of financial professionals.” The result is an accessible, informative read that bridges the gap between average investors and the highly specialized technology driving the future of financial services.
Among the many topics covered are cold wallet hardware devices, digital asset banks, major base layer protocols, major blockchain applications of financial products and services, publicly traded Bitcoin mining companies, digital assets exchanges, custodians for digital assets, qualified IRA custodians that hold digital assets, publicly traded companies that own digital assets, US Bitcoin futures ETFs, ETFs investing exclusively in companies engaged in blockchain and digital assets, digital assets portfolio tracking services, tax planning and tax consulting/advisory services for digital assets, and blockchain research and analytics firms.
Henri Arslanian is a respected name in the industry. His previous book, The Future of Finance: The Impact of FinTech, AI and Crypto on Financial Services (2019), was translated into many languages and became a global top 10 best-seller in financial services on Amazon. It was also named by Book Authority as one of the “Best FinTech Books of All Time”. So you know from the outset that you’re in good hands with his latest, The Book of Crypto: The Complete Guide to Understanding Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets.
Taking an expansive approach, Arslanian covers a great deal of ground, including a summary of Bitcoin, crypto digital assets such as stable coins, CBDCs, utility tokens, security tokens, and NFTs as well as commentary on DeFi, crypto mining, crypto regulations, crypto investors, crypto exchanges, Web 3.0, the Metaverse, DAOs, and even quantum computing.
With so much coverage, just who exactly is the book’s target audience? As Arslanian writes,
“I’ve adapted my content, including crypto educational content, over the years to target two distinct audiences: the interested mass market audience and the committed niche audience. The first category includes individuals who are curious about crypto but not much more. They’re keen to learn more about it but will not spend more time going in-depth. The second category includes individuals who may have started in the first category but are more curious about the topic and want to spend time going in-depth or down the proverbial crypto ‘rabbit hole’.”
After a journey into the rabbit hole of crypto with Arslanian, you’ll emerge with a wealth of knowledge and a solid foundation on which to build.
Within the world of books on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, altcoins don’t get much love, which is why a book on Algorand (or all things) is something of a unicorn. But Anthony Scaramucci, the Founder and Co-Managing Partner of SkyBridge Capital, has waded into the altcoin waters with his The Genius of Algorand.
At roughly 112 pages, Scaramucci’s book is a slim volume, but it’s packed with insights into Algorand, making it appealing for diehard “Algonauts” as well as curious investors just looking for some deeper insights into the Algorand blockchain. One of the book’s real strengths are the many interviews with some of the sharpest minds working at Algorand, which was founded by MIT professor Silvio Micali (he also received the Turing Award in 2012 for his work in cryptography). Scaramucci also covers the Algorand Foundation, the project’s corporate structure, adopters of Algorand, and Algo’s emergent tech (not quite an industry leader—yet).
“What is going to be the protocol that will best address the needs of large-scale institutions?”
You guessed it. If you’re Scaramucci or one of the many Argonauts, then it’s definitely Algorand. But even if you are not among the true believers, Scaramucci’s book provides an interesting read about a blockchain project with demonstrable potential.
If you’re new to blockchain and crypto, then Robert B. Seymour’s The Blockchain Future is something of a breath of fresh air. Leaving aside the epic length of its title, Seymour’s book offers an excellent, jargon-free primer for those interested in learning more about crypto. Not one to leave much to the imagination, Seymour focuses on (you guessed it) blockchain technology and its current and future uses, from smart contracts to the latest Web3 developments, in a way that any lay person can comprehend.
Readers should note, however, that Seymour is a true believer, which is borne out by his many enthusiastic pronouncements on the future usefulness of crypto, and blockchain more generally, in which he sees it gaining an increasing foothold in gaming, trading, social media, banking, music, and art. His coverage is admirable: the many topics covered are the rise of crypto and blockchain; the tech that powers it; its impact on financial institutions and social media; questions of privacy; current and future use cases; and a general summary of commonly used terminology.
Fair warning to newbies: By the time you reach the end of Seymour’s book, there’s a good chance that you’ll be a crypto convert!
Noticing a bit of a pattern here with titles of books on crypto? We here at Team Trality already have the perfect title if we ever decide to pool our collective knowledge and put pen to paper: Algorithmic Trading Bots: Automated Trading Strategies for Day Trading, Arbitrage, Margin Trading, Momentum Trading & Python Trading Using Fundamental and Technical Analysis for the Next Bull Run in 2022 and Beyond. Instant bestseller.
All joking aside, Metaverse Investing is a great read about the wild and, at times, weird world of the metaverse, featuring coverage of blockchain, the metaverse, Web 3.0, metaverse tech and health (and especially interesting chapter), and a look ahead at possible future developments. Just what is the metaverse? Well, according the book’s author Meta-Verse (it doesn’t get more meta than that), it’s “characterized as a multi-user real-time virtual realm in which individuals from all over the globe can connect via a network, co-exist, socialize, and trade value with one another.” Underpinning this brave new world is blockchain, which is explained briefly.
One of the book’s strengths, though, is also a weakness (albeit a minor one). As a primer, the book contains some tantalizing bits of information, which many will find useful, but those looking for more in-depth analysis will need to look elsewhere. Nevertheless, it’s a good read for anyone interested in the metaverse and how to invest in it.
This one will come as a surprise to many, and you’re unlikely to see it on any of the many copy-and-paste “Best Cryptocurrency Books to Read” lists, but Mark de Castrique’s Secret Lives is a fictional thriller worthy of your time. Weighing in at just under 300 pages, de Castrique’s novel begins in fine fashion, drawing readers into the murky world of crypto intrigue: ‘Jonathan Finch saw the dark sedan parked where he’d been told it would be—on the top level of the parking deck near Whole Foods in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia.”
We’re not one to ruin a good story, and so we won’t be giving away any spoilers. However, we will say that the labyrinthine plot involves a 75 year-old landlady-cum-retired FBI agent with an impressive network of government connections, a mysterious murder, a bag containing wallets with thousands worth of crypto, and the stench of government corruption. A native of western North Carolina, author Mark de Castrique has written previous political thrillers and this more recent foray into the genre makes for a riveting read.
True to the book's opening epigraph (quote at the beginning) by J. Edgar Hoover (of all people), “There is something addictive about a secret.” We couldn’t agree more.
Last but not least on our list of the best cryptocurrency books to read in 2022 is an academic title (with an academic title’s price tag to match) covering an important aspect of the crypto space: regulation. In his study Crypto-Finance, Law and Regulation, Joseph Lee, a Professor of Law at the University of Manchester (UK), examines whether crypto-finance will cause a paradigm shift in regulation from a centralized model to a model based on distributed consensus.
As he writes,
“This book explores the emergence of a decentralised and disintermediated crypto-market and investigates the way in which it can transform the financial markets. It examines three components of the financial market – technology, finance and the law – and shows how their interrelationship dictates the structure of a crypto-market. It focuses on regulators’ enforcement policies and their jurisdiction over crypto-finance operators and participants.”
In addition, Lee looks into how a crypto-finance system could provide access to finance, thereby promoting a shared economy with greater access to justice.
Although primarily intended for students, scholars and practitioners interested in regulation, finance and the law, general readers will benefit from Lee’s academic rigor and resultant insights.
Based on the extensive number of forthcoming books on cryptocurrency, blockchain, the Metaverse, NFTs, and DeFi in publishers’ catalogs, 2023 is shaping up to be a banner year for crypto content. Be sure to check back with us early next year for our list of the best cryptocurrency books in 2023.
In the meantime, grab a few of the titles reviewed above and immerse yourself in the future of finance. And if you’re hungry for more information, then check out some of our other curated lists of content, including the Best Crypto Podcasts in 2022, the Best Crypto News Sites in 2022, and the Best Books for Algorithmic Trading for 2022.