Learning About Cryptocurrency: 23 Essential Reads From the Basics to Coding

If you’re investing in cryptocurrency and blockchain, it’s necessary to understand the technology and the latent disruptive power it possesses. Here are InvestInBlockchain, we want readers to be capable of making their own decisions when it comes to investment and trading. Don’t just take our word or anyone else’s for that matter; every opinion in the cryptocurrency world should be taken with a sack of salt.

However, to form a solid understanding and opinion of the cryptocurrency market, you must first be educated in the matter. This is the primary distinction between the successful investor and the failing one. It is a requirement that is simple in its statement, but difficult in its achievement. There is a lot to absorb about blockchain; partly because it’s new and constantly evolving, and partly because of its highly technical slant.

To that end, we’ve put together a list of books covering a variety of aspects about the blockchain industry: the history, the economic implications, the technical underpinnings, general educational books and the most influential whitepapers.

These are all great reads if you wish to gain an understanding of why some coins rise in value and some drop. While the focus of these books (ranging from technology to commercial applications) are by no means the only influencing factors (human psychology is a mysterious thing!), they are decisive in their influence.

We also recommend reading our podcasts guide and listening to some of them, as you’ll hear from industry insiders and veterans about what’s the latest in the field. These podcasts are extremely engaging and insightful, and range from introductory sessions for beginners to deep analyses on particular topics by experts. If you have programming experience yourself and are tempted by the idea of a career in blockchain, read our guide on how to get a job as a blockchain developer.

Introductory Books

For both the newest of arrivals and the seasoned individuals, the books below serve as an educating read about the world of blockchain from the perspectives of those who have experienced it long before it came into the public mind. These books dive into the “why” of blockchain, and cover such diverse topics as the disruptive power of blockchain, cursory forays into the technology and opinions from insiders.

The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Andreas M. Antonopoulos is one of the principal proponents of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. His presence at the Canadian Senate, back in 2013, is now the stuff of legend.

He has written numerous books on cryptocurrency and blockchain, but none serve as a better introduction to the field than The Internet of Money. An edited collection of the many lectures he has given over the years, it is accessible and piercing in its predictions.

 

 

 

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Donald Tapscott and Alex Tapscott

Written by the father-son duo of Donald and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution reveals with clarity impact that blockchain will have on the world, while also instructing the reader on how to seize the opportunity to thrive in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper

New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper plunges into the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain in Digital Gold. Through the eyes of notable figures in the business and cryptocurrency world like Satoshi Nakamoto and the Winklevoss Twins, he creates an account of how Bitcoin has taken over the imagination of the world while also explaining it in readily understandable terms.

 

 

 

 

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey

Experienced Wall Street Journal reporters Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey take on an economic development unlike any before in The Age of Cryptocurrency.

The book prepares the reader for the upcoming cryptocurrency-dominated world, educating us on how financial structures will be reshaped while also clearing up some of the misconceptions surrounding Bitcoin.

 

 

 

 

Cryptocurrency 101 by Ben Yu on Medium

One of the most comprehensive guides on the internet, Ben Yu’s Cryptocurrency 101 takes the reader through the ins and out of cryptocurrency, including investment philosophies and basic guides for beginners on how to store coins. Medium is a popular medium for cryptocurrency enthusiasts to talk about cryptocurrency and blockchain, and few articles have been more expansive and elegant than Ben Yu’s.

History

While Satoshi Nakamoto was the first to implement a blockchain with secure encryption, through Bitcoin, the blockchain idea itself dates back to the early 1990s. The following books offer an account of how blockchain has progressed over the years.

The Book Of Satoshi: The Collected Writings of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto

Source: Bookofsatoshi.com

Satoshi Nakamoto is an enigmatic figure that has attracted much investigation. Who is the man that has single-handedly slapped financial institutions and governments in the faces?

The Book of Satoshi is a collection of all the communications of Nakamoto, including e-mails and forum posts. It is a fascinating, if limited, look into the mind behind Bitcoin.

 

 

 

 

How Money Got Free by Brian Patrick Eha

Source: oneworld-publications.com

Brian Patrick Eha joyfully takes the reader through Bitcoin’s appearance on the stage and its genesis in the minds of misfits and outcasts. It is a very entertaining read that looks at both the past and future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pay the Devil in Bitcoin: The Creation of a Cryptocurrency and How Half a Billion Dollars of It Vanished from Japan by Jake Adelstein and Nathalie Stucky

Jake Adelstein made his name as the one of the first non-Japanese reporter to work for the Yomiuri Shinbun. His best known work, Tokyo Vice, talks about his time in Tokyo working for the paper. Pay the Devil in Bitcoin looks at the early years of Bitcoin and its criminal connections.

More importantly, it deals with the fall of Mt. Gox, at the time the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, which was in Tokyo. Half a billion dollars disappeared, launching Bitcoin into one of it’s greatest crashes. Adelstein investigates why this happened.

 

 

 

American Kingpin by Nick Bilton

American Kingpin tells a different story. It talks more about the infamous Silk Road of the Dark Web. It does not directly involve Bitcoin or cryptocurrency, though it does make a point on how BItcoin was used to fuel criminal activities on the black market. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating read based on a true story.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Whitepapers

A project’s whitepaper is extremely telling of its potential. It is the crux of a project’s existence, informing the reader of its intentions, its approach to solving problems and its potential applications. A good whitepaper will possess detailed technical descriptions of its methods.

While it can be a challenging read, whitepapers are not as obtuse as they may seem and a good team will reserve some sections of the whitepaper for more accessible communication on their project.

We have listed below some of the most influential white papers that have been published. These papers have had a profound influence on altcoins and describe foundational approaches to some of the most popular use cases for cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System by Satoshi Nakamoto

The paper that launched a thousand coins, Satoshi Nakamoto – bless him, whoever he is or they are – showed us how a decentralized system could solve the problem of trust. In elegant and accessible terms, he explains the the Bitcoin blockchain system that would at first draw laughter, then mockery, followed by grudging acceptance and lastly, eagerness.

Ethereum Whitepaper

It is important to remember that Bitcoin and Ethereum are two separate protocols setting out to achieve different things. Bitcoin lacks the flexibility of Ethereum, but is more robust and secure. It is the opposite with Ethereum.

The Ethereum whitepaper showed us that blockchain technology could be used to do so much more than we initially imagined.

Zerocash Research Paper

The cryptocurrency market is filled with a group of coins – Verge, Monero, Zcash – that are fighting to be the best one that offers privacy. Bitcoin does not offer true anonymity. In 2014, a research paper was released that showed how a truly anonymous payments system could be derived from Bitcoin. It has served as inspiration for numerous coins including Zcash and Zclassic.

Cryptoeconomics

A special branch has spun off from cryptocurrency called cryptoeconomics. This branch is distinct enough that some blockchain projects will list personnel as having specialized knowledge in this field.

There is no accepted definition for the term “cryptoeconomics”. It broadly deals with the study and optimization of blockchain protocols applied in the context of a decentralized economy. This includes the protocols governing how products and services will be distributed and the mechanisms that best achieve this.

We have listed below some worthwhile reads on the subject.

The Business Blockchain by William Mougayar

Source: TheBusinessBlockchain.com

A detailed book that talks about how exactly the world will be interconnected through blockchains in the near future. The Business Blockchain focuses on the different possibilities for blockchain to disrupt the economy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy by Melanie Swan

In clear and simple terms, Melanie Swan dives into the various use cases of blockchain technology. She emphasizes that blockchain has uses that extends to voting, healthcare and ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are few resources on the recently born field of cryptoeconomics. We also recommend listening to what Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, has to say on the subject:

Technical books

Most cryptocurrencies run on the blockchain. To truly understand what the impact of the technology could be, or to better understand what each project is accomplishing, it is necessary to have a grasp on the technical aspects of cryptocurrency.

It is true that it is not necessary. Cryptocurrency will slowly progress to more accessible and user-friendly forms that require no technical knowledge, like how the internet progressed from command line interfaces to browsers.

However, at such an early stage, if you want an edge in investing, it might help to know how the technology works. The following is a list of books dedicated to this particular topic:

Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Another essential by Antonopoulos, Mastering Bitcoin is an excellent technical exposition on how to build on the blockchain. As the book itself says, you’ll learn how to engineer money. The book is freely available online. Click the link above to access it.

 

 

 

 

 

Mastering Ethereum: Building Smart Contracts and Dapps by Andreas M. Antonopoulous and Gavin Wood

Mastering Ethereum is Antonopoulos’ exposition on Ethereum. The book will teach you about smart contracts and decentralized applications, their significance and of course, how to build them. The book is freely available online. Click the link above to access it.

 

 

 

 

 

Ethereum: Blockchains, Digital Assets, Smart Contracts, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations by Henning Diedrich

While this book does have a specific focus on Ethereum, a lot of its contents pertain to blockchain in general. It details the possibilities of Ethereum and its limitations, as well realistically calculating the impact of smart contracts in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Ethereum and Solidity: Foundations of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Programming for Beginners

This is a purely practical book, the meat of which will tell you how to create a smart contract, coin and blockchain and deploy it. It then spends some additional time instructing you on how to create more complex smart contracts.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investment and Miscellaneous

If you’d like to dive deep into blockchain and cryptocurrencies, then the following books, which offer a concentrated focus on specifics such a smart contract development and career skills, will be of use.

The Bitcoin Bible by Benjamin Guttmann

The Bitcoin Bible is a collection of pieces from various individuals, including Vitalik Buterin, Elizabeth Ploshay, Ryan Broderick, Alec Liu and other prominent tech individuals. It offers valuable information on a variety of topics such as tax and governments. It might be a little longer than necessary, but for beginners, it is a good book.

 

 

 

 

Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond by Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar

Cryptoassets is a book with great practical value – it teaches you how to invest. Topics include how to evaluate cryptoassets, how to manage your portfolio, guides on wallets and exchanges and possible trends in the future. It is a comprehensive starting point on investment for beginners.

 

 

 

 

 

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

This book has more to do with the stock market, but the core investing tenets that it champions are ever applicable. Benjamin Graham, renowned in his own right but known for being the mentor to Warren Buffett (who is no fan of cryptocurrency), takes us through different investment scenarios and why emotion-free intellectual analysis of investment opportunities is necessary to succeed.

 

 

 

 

The Theory of Money and Credit by Ludwig von Mises

This might seem like an odd addition, but The Theory of Money and Credit is an insightful look at how growth and recession plays out in the economy, the effect credit and debt has on a nation and, generally, the value of money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Brafman

The Starfish and the Spider is a book that focuses, more or less, on what organizations would look like without central authorities. Given that blockchain is aiming for precisely that, it offers reason as to why decentralized institutions are beneficial.

 

 

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

This list is but a sample of the worthwhile reads on cryptocurrency and investing. They are the opinions and thoughts of industry insiders with years of experience. These experts are not infallible themselves, but it’s worth one’s time to weigh their words. Cryptocurrency and blockchain initiates will find these especially useful. It is common for someone new to the space to be overwhelmed by the sheer technical nature of the field – a lot of the words and ideas may fly over their head.

However, over time, you’ll begin to make connections – “Oh, so that’s what it is…” moments. Technical phrasings and jargon will automatically reveal itself to you in more comprehensible analogies. You’ll be able to spot a lucrative ICO amidst the many shady ones. Most importantly, you can go into investing and trading with a little more confidence, accompanied by reason and learning.

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