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09 December 2020 • 13 min read
Cryptocurrency is making news almost every day in the established media, and its popularity is likely to rise in the coming years.
From a very niche market to a global financial force, tokens like Bitcoin are being used all over the world as a means of payment and a store of value. For all the people that have already learned a little bit about crypto, there are still many people who know little about the sector.
For anyone who is still new to cryptos, there are some great resources available. While Bitcoin was the first token to hit the markets in 2009, the industry has evolved into a global payment solution that has the potential to do a lot more as development continues.
Here are some of the best cryptocurrency books to read in 2021 if you are trying to learn more about cryptos, and what they can do for our world.
by Andreas M. Antonopoulos
Bitcoin has been evolving for more than a decade, and in Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open Blockchain author Andreas M. Antonopoulos gives readers a broad view of important events that have shaped what Bitcoin has become, and also many of the important developments from its history.
The book is in its second edition, and the author has added relevant information that will further educate readers. As Bitcoin has received development support from a wide community, the tools that operate with Bitcoin continue to grow.
Antonopoulos begins the work by introducing the core concepts of Bitcoin to readers in non-technical terms that are perfect for people who aren't interested in actually developing open-source blockchain code structures. For executives that want to know more about Bitcoin, or an investor who wants to learn more about the sector, this is perfect.
He moves on to a more detailed look at how the blockchain that powers the Bitcoin network operates on a level that is aimed at developers. By taking this approach, the author creates a book that can be used both as an educational tool and a practical guide to how Bitcoin-based development works.
The book then reviews how the network works from a practical perspective, explaining the peer-to-peer (P2P) nature of a decentralized blockchain, and how transactions on the network operate. While many people think that Bitcoin can be owned, like a physical object, the author works to give a solid explanation of the public/private key system that allows Bitcoin to be used globally.
The author has been active in the Bitcoin space for many years and is also behind several successful tech start-ups. Antonopoulos earned degrees in Computer Science and Data Communications, as well as Distributed Systems from UCL. He has launched start-ups in New York, London and California.
As a developer, the author works with numerous platforms and sectors, including Bitcoin, Cryptography, Cloud Computing, Information Security, Data Centers, and Linux, among others. He has backed three Bitcoin-specific businesses and continues to work in the growing world of cryptos. Antonopoulos is also the host of “Let's Talk Bitcoin”, an industry source for information on recent developments.
In addition to Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open Blockchain, Antonopoulos has also written Mastering Bitcoin and The Internet of Money. His works are thought to be authoritative on the subject of Bitcoin and crypto and can be helpful to people who are just getting into the field or want to learn more about the technical side of Bitcoin's blockchain.
by Dr. Saifedean Ammous
Dr. Saifedean Ammous' The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking gives an overview of what Bitcoin is, and what it could mean to society as a whole. Bitcoin emerged as an obscure, however powerful idea. In the book, Dr. Ammous works out how Bitcoin grew to be the answer to what many see as a world plagued by centralization.
Unlike many later crypto platforms, Bitcoin was solely focused on the problem of money. People need to be able to transfer value and save with a stable currency, and in the modern age, central banks have taken on the role of issuing this vital social asset.
Dr. Ammous walks the reader through the history of money and shows the ideas that Bitcoin embodies in the digital age. Instead of using fiat currency, the author shows how powerful the idea of a choice can be when it is transferred over the internet. The author postulates that it is not a coincidence that Bitcoin came into existence as central banks became social planners after the crisis of 2008.
From this point, the book shows readers how Bitcoin works, and why it can be used instead of fiat currency. The discussion moves into the idea of trustless systems, and why this is such a revolutionary idea in the modern history of money. Most people who are alive today haven't lived without central bank-issued currency, as metals are no longer used as money.
Trustless systems, in the way that Bitcoin is, are a very new technology, and according to the author, these new systems can make many other new social ideas viable. Bitcoin also undermines the idea of central banks planning the economic cycle via interest rates, which is another part of the money that many people take as unchangeable.
The author moves into the idea of Bitcoin as a new form of the global gold standard, which can be used on a supranational basis to settle payments and also as a nation's reserve asset. While these ideas may have seemed far-fetched a few years ago, the rush by major financial institutions to secure the asset makes this book appear prophetic.
Dr. Ammous earned a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development from Columbia University, and also holds an MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics, as well as a Bachelor of Engineering from the American University of Beirut. In addition to writing, the author also teaches the economics of Bitcoin.
by Neel Mehta, Aditya Agashe, et al.
Anyone that wants to gain a comprehensive view of the blockchain development space should have a look at Blockchain Bubble or Revolution: The Present and Future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies. The book is authored by three professionals who have deep knowledge of the tech space and have worked at companies like Google, IBM and Microsoft.
The days when Bitcoin was the only compelling decentralized blockchain platform are long gone, and this book does a great job at explaining where the sector is likely to go next. The book begins with a look at how Bitcoin and blockchain work from a perspective that doesn't require the reader to have deep technical knowledge.
From that base, the authors take the reader through the beginnings of Bitcoin, and also explain how a blockchain works, including definitions for commonly used terms that will help the reader move through the rest of the work.
With the popularity of cryptocurrencies, blockchain has been applied to many new areas. The authors take a look at applications for blockchain and offer their opinions on when it makes sense to use the technology, or when it may not make sense to integrate blockchain into a project.
As most people know, there are a few other popular tokens, and Blockchain Bubble or Revolution: The Present and Future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies will help the reader to better understand how Ethereum is different from Bitcoin, and how it could find a complementary role in the crypto space.
In addition to talking about Ethereum and its evolving technology like smart contracts, the authors also dive into some of the major stablecoins, as well as other tokens like Monero and Bitcoin Cash. There are numerous new technologies in the blockchain sector, and this book will give the reader a solid base to do more research on their own.
According to Mike Novogratz, who is the Founder of Galaxy Investment Partners and a former Partner at Goldman Sachs,
"Whether you are bearish or bullish on crypto, Bubble or Revolution brilliantly articulates both sides of the argument and offers well-researched insight on the future of blockchain technology."
This book actually presents a lot more to the reader, with discussions on crypto regulations and how they may replace fiat currencies in the future.
Anyone who wants to buy one book as a starting point to learn more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain should consider Blockchain Bubble or Revolution: The Present and Future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies as that starting point.
by Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar
Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond has been split into three key sections: WHAT, WHY, and HOW, all of which cover a thorough view of the history, the technology, and the supply/demand equation as digital assets entered the global financial space.
For anyone that wants a look at how digital assets came to this point, this is a great book.
If you are a new investor in this space, the book will provide all the key principles - a great foundation to start. Even if you’re already familiar with the concept of crypto, this book will present different perspectives and add more value to your knowledge base.
In the first section of WHAT, Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar bring readers back to the year of 2008, when a devastating financial collapse hit global markets and Bitcoin was just a year away from being launched.
One year after the crisis, Satoshi Nakamoto brought Bitcoin into existence as a solution for the failure of the global financial system. Cryptocurrency, as its most basic level, functions on networks of open-source code, and its value is determined by the market dynamics.
The first section also defines key terms regarding Bitcoin’s blockchain like distributed, cryptographic ledger, immutability, and Proof-of-Work consensus.
While blockchain technology started with Bitcoin, it also paved the way for the birth of other coins, from altcoins like Litecoin, Ripple, Dogecoin to more private-focused coins including Dash, Monero, and ZCash.
The WHAT section of Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond hits the launch of the Ethereum network and smart contracts. While the first section covers the origins and understandings of crypto assets, the second one is focused on the motive behind investing in Bitcoin and other crypto assets.
The book discusses modern portfolio theory, the role of alternative assets while mentioning the lack of transparency and stability in Wall Street institutions, and hedge funds.
The final section of HOW, digs deeply into fundamental analysis and valuation framework for crypto assets. It also shares some good metrics to identify cryptocurrency and ICOs scams.
Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond displays a deep understanding of crypto assets and their underlying technology in an unbiased voice. The book is written with a cautious approach with talks around the potential risks of these assets as well.
Anyone who wants to learn more about the history of Bitcoin, as well as some of the other major tokens should consider this book. It isn't very technical, which makes it a great place for an investor to start learning about cryptos.
by Don and Alex Tapscott
As we enter a new age of blockchain and decentralization, it is impossible to talk about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies with no mention of the technology behind these innovations.
Blockchain Revolution: How The Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World is a worthwhile read for any readers that look to gain more insights into the blockchain phenomenon.
The book is written in three sections, including the “Revolution”, “Transformations”, and “Promise and Peril” of blockchain technology.
The first part explains the protocol behind blockchain and its seven design principles: network integrity, distribution-powered system, value as an incentive, security, privacy, ownership rights, and inclusion. This book is focused on how open-source global technology grows and changes the way we do so many things on the internet.
The discussion targets blockchain as a powerful solution to enhance financial services, protect personal identity details, businesses, individual contracts, and the expansion and development of the Internet of Things, with smart devices that can collect and share information.
Blockchain is in its early stages and its applications aren’t just restricted to cryptocurrencies. Every business with an electronic ledger can benefit from technology. The Tapscotts' book helps the reader get past skeptical concepts about blockchain and brings together the use cases for the technology.
While the book certainly explains the tech behind blockchain, a deeply technical explanation is not its objective. Indeed, the book lays out several ways in which blockchain can change the future of monetary systems, transactions, and businesses.
This new technology, through the eyes of Don and Alex Tapscott, is a simple yet groundbreaking protocol that enables anonymous financial transactions more secure through a distributed decentralized ledger.
Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, commented,
“Occasionally a book comes along that changes the global discourse. This is likely to be one of those books. Blockchains are at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution and the Tapscotts lucidly explain why and how to capture the opportunity and avoid the dangers.”
Blockchain technology and a decentralized ledger make the use of virtual money more trustworthy. Although there is still a long road to implementing the blockchain in the world’s process, the authors have done a great job separating what the technology has done and what is still waiting for it to do.
If you are interested in learning more about the ways that blockchain has already changed our lives, and also how it may be used in the next century, Blockchain Revolution: How The Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World is a wonderful resource.
by Phil Champagne
If you know a little bit about cryptocurrency, you will be familiar with Satoshi Nakamoto - the father of Bitcoin. Despite being notable as the founder and owner of a huge fortune in Bitcoin, no one knows the identity of this person or group. The only traces left are a number of their works, one of which is the Bitcoin whitepaper.
Phil Champagne looks into the thought process of Bitcoin’s creator in his work The Book of Satoshi: The Collected Writings of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
Blockchain and Bitcoin have an inseparable relationship because it is through blockchain that Bitcoin operates. If you are looking for a book with less technical and more conceptual knowledge, this is the right book for you.
When it comes to the mysterious person or group who created Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, no one knows if it is a real name or just an alias or the name of a person or a group of anonymous people. Nakamoto may be a virtual name, but we just can't know for sure.
The Book of Satoshi features most of Nakamoto's important writings, including the original concept of Bitcoin, Nakamoto's explanation of how Bitcoin works, and emails and articles in chronological order that Nakamoto published.
Jeff Berwick, aka The Dollar Vigilante, wrote,
"Phil Champagne has put into an easy-to-read format the fomenting of one of the most important technological innovations of our time... a completely decentralized platform to perform payment transaction without the need for a trusted third party. Its importance is only surpassed by the Internet itself as an evolution in communications."
The book, from the introduction to the conclusion, is focused on 72 key topics, mostly covering a collection of insights and controversies that Satoshi himself created during the early stages of Bitcoin, how the digital coin functions, and its creator’s vision at the inception of the project.
The consensus Proof-of-Work, alongside transaction fees and the Byzantine General problem in computer science, is also covered in the book. Nakamoto clarified how the blockchain helps to solve the problem regarding sharing information in an insecure communication setting.
More conventional subjects including the issue of central banking, regulatory problems, and money supply issues that Bitcoin can help address are also present in the discussion. With all the technology that goes into making Bitcoin and blockchain-based decentralized platforms operate, it is easy to forget that Bitcoin was about new money. In The Book of Satoshi: The Collected Writings of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto, these ideas are revisited and may become more relevant as the next decade unfolds.
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