Top 10 Books to Learn About Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency
We’re excited about the future of digital currency here at Genesis Mining, and we want you to be too. If you’re gone through our recommended TED Talks, watched our favorite documentaries, and started listening to the podcasts on our list, now’s the time to dig in with our top books about Bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrency.
Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money
by Nathaniel Popper | HarperCollins, 2016
With engaging storytelling and character-focused narrative, New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper recreates the early days of Bitcoin, starting with Hal Finney tinkering with Satoshi Nakamoto’s source code to finally generate the first coin. Popper conducted over three hundred interviews to tell the story of Bitcoin, from its roots in 1990s cypherpunk activity to Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper on its creation, from early adopters like Gavin Andresen and Erik Voorhees to the early roadblocks like Silk Road’s dark web exchange, Charlie Shrem’s arrest, Mt. Gox’s mismanagement, and the regulations that followed. Popper covers the people, events, and philosophy behind Bitcoin in its infancy.
Why we like it: Excellent storytelling and behind-the-scenes extensive journalism make this a key read.
The Bitcoin Guidebook
by Ian DeMartino | Skyhorse, 2018
The Bitcoin Guidebook is essentially just that: Author Ian DeMartino, the cofounder of CoinJournal and someone who has been in the space for a while, takes your hand and gives you a tour through everything Bitcoin. The book is well-research and comprehensive, with easy-to-understand examples, and stories and advice from DeMartino’s own experience. It has the expected sections on what Bitcoin is and how it works, its history, and what it can do for the economy, but also contains sections on how to invest in Bitcoin, how Bitcoin mining is done, and where to find a job in the industry. It also includes a glossary of terms and a “Who’s Who.”
Why we like it: While it may be a bit denser, it covers everything you need to know about Bitcoin.
Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Is Changing the World
by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott | Penguin, 2018
Father and son Don and Alex Tapscott explain their book on blockchain technology as this: “We tried to get inside Satoshi’s mind and tease out his design principles for blockchain.” In addition to what blockchain is and the trust protocol it relies upon, the book details how financial services will change with its implementation, how new business models will come about, how it will support the Internet of Things, how it can solve global economic inequality, how it can bolster democracy, and how it can positively affect culture. But this revolution won’t be easy, and Blockchain Revolution brings up challenges to the new system as well.
Why we like it: It’s all about how the technology at the foundation of Bitcoin may quite literally change the world.
The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking
by Saifedean Ammous | Wiley, 2018
What is money, what are its properties, how is it used, and how does Bitcoin fit into it? Professor of Economics Saifedean Ammous explains just that in The Bitcoin Standard, starting with the basic properties of money and examples of how exchange of value works from primitive currencies. He then moves on to money’s role in economic systems and free markets, and how governments manage the money supply — and if that’s a good thing or not. Finally, he reviews the evolution of digital currency and how “Bitcoin represents the first truly digital solution to the problem of money.”
Why we like it: A book on money and economics? It’s surprisingly easy to read and helpfully educational.
Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond
by Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar | McGraw-Hill, 2017
Cryptoassets is the book for anyone wanting to get into investing in Bitcoin, or looking to expand their knowledge of the market. Authors Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar, both with extensive experience investing in Bitcoin, provide a technical yet accessible look at cryptoasset investing, from what Bitcoin is, a history of its pricing in the market, and how to explain its volatility (including a chapter showing how Bitcoin is not a Ponzi scheme). They go over how to manage a portfolio, and provide a framework for investing, including evaluating Bitcoin’s security through decentralization, how to invest directly in mining, exchanges, and wallets, and everything you need to know about ICOs, or Initial Coin Offerings.
Why we like it: Since Bitcoin has become an investment asset, it’s great to have a book that covers that side of Bitcoin’s existence.
Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open Blockchain
by Andreas M. Antonopoulos | O’Reilly Media, 2017
When Andreas M. Antonopoulos was introduced to Bitcoin in 2011, he admits he thought it was “nerd money.” But after reading Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper, he was convinced it was something much more. Mastering Bitcoin is a look at Bitcoin from the computer science side of it: Not just what Bitcoin is, but a look at the source code, how transaction chains work, how to set up a node in the network, what mining and proof of work code looks like, and more. While Antonopoulos claims this book is for coders, anyone with a working knowledge of Bitcoin will gain more knowledge, insight, and awareness of Bitcoin from it.
Why we like it: Really dig into how Bitcoin works with exposure to the math and code behind it.
The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order
by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey | Picador, 2016
Wall Street Journal financial reporters Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey have been covering Bitcoin since the beginning, and draw on their interviews for an overview of the creation and implementation of Bitcoin and the blockchain. They begin with money — what is it, how is it based on trust, how has it failed in unstable economies like Argentina — and then go on to cover the origins of Bitcoin, how the early community grew, and the various start-ups that exploded. Self-proclaimed early doubters, Vigna and Casey not only wanted to write about Bitcoin, but wanted to put the puzzle pieces together for themselves — and the reader gets to come along with them.
Why we like it: Journalists make great storytellers, and their coverage draws you in.
Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption
by Ben Mezrich | Flatiron, 2019
Mezrich is the king of movie-like non-fiction, and his most recent book follows the story of the Winklevoss twins — yes, the ones from The Social Network — from the wake of Facebook to becoming the first Bitcoin billionaires. The book opens with Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss settling their lawsuit with Mark Zuckerberg, then follows them as they pivot to their next project: Investing seed funding into Charlie Shrem’s BitInstant, and buying 1% of available Bitcoin. The book follows the twins’ journey as they interact with the people, technology, regulations, fiascos, and adoption of Bitcoin, seen through the eyes of its first billionaires.
Why we like it: Bitcoin Billionaires reads like a novel, so grab a drink, find your favorite chair, and settle in.
Blockchain Bubble or Revolution: The Present and Future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
by Aditya Agashe, Parth Detroja, Neel Mehta | Paravane Ventures, 2019
Is blockchain a bubble or a revolution? The authors — three project managers from Google, Microsoft, and Facebook respectively — aren’t going to simply answer that, but they provide a framework for helping the reader understand blockchain technology. The first part of the book delves into the technical aspects of what the blockchain is and how it works, using graphs, charts, and illustrations (it even has a photo of the two pizzas, which were the first Bitcoin purchase). The second half of the book provides case studies on where blockchain is being used, from climate change to voting to gaming, and where it best serves society — or doesn’t.
Why we like it: A more recent book, it shows where blockchain disruption is becoming a reality.
The Book of Satoshi: The Collected Writings of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto
Collected by Phil Champagne | Wren Investment, 2014
In the beginning were the words, “I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party.” This was how Satoshi Nakamoto, a mysterious pseudonymous coder, introduced his white paper detailing his creation Bitcoin and the blockchain upon which it functions. Satoshi communicated with early adopters of the technology, getting it off the ground and giving guidance on its usage, until he disappeared completely two years later, his identity never revealed. This book collects his writings from emails and forums, providing his wisdom on the establishment of his new currency, solving the double spend problem, 51% attacks, and proof of work — even his thoughts on the Bitcoin logo.
Why we like it: Like a religious text, it’s the collected wisdom of a legendary founder.
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