To commemorate World Book Day, our team has decided to give some recommendations on what to read about cryptocurrencies and all things blockchain. Prepare to take notes and add to your backlog, since we tried to find books for every level of understanding and topic!
One of the most popular kinds of books about cryptocurrencies is guidebooks that aim to explain what it is in the first place. These books range from simply written to somewhat technical or focused, but are usually approachable by the general public nonetheless.
Mark Gates’ Blockchain: Ultimate guide to understanding blockchain, bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and the future of money is praised for its simplicity of language and approachability. Perfect for a brief overview of the technology without going in too deep. An alternative to that guide would be Blockchain Technology Explained: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide About Blockchain Wallet, Mining, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Zcash, Monero, Ripple, Dash, IOTA and Smart Contracts by Alan T. Norman. It is self-published but faithful to its title and concise.
No list is complete without mentioning Andreas Antonopoulos and his books. His knowledge comes from his education (a degree in Computer Science and Data Communications and Distributed Systems from University College London) and passion for Bitcoin that stems back to 2012. Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies is a deep-dive into Bitcoin’s technicalities, approachable by engineers and economists alike, though it was clearly meant for the former. The Internet of Money and the following two volumes are collections of essays that were reworked from Antonopoulos’ lectures and presentations. In this series, he explores the economic, historical and philosophical implications of Bitcoin.
These books were written in 2015, and many things have changed since then. Nevertheless, they give enough ground to move on to more advanced and recent information. Readers can look forward to his next work, Mastering the Lightning Network, which is actually going to be a collaborative open-source project.
To get an introduction to the second largest cryptocurrency and its network, you can read Ethereum: Blockchains, Digital Assets, Smart Contracts, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations by Henning Diedrich. It is not too layman-friendly, since it contains code and technical details, but not too detailed to be targeted at developers, either. The perfect place to start it would be after learning the basics of Bitcoin and blockchain.
Another entry by Andreas Antonopoulos, Mastering Ethereum: Building Smart Contracts and Dapps is written in collaboration with Gavin Wood in the same spirit as Mastering Bitcoin: with attention to technical details and competent technological overview. A must-read for developers interested in Ethereum blockchain and decentralized applications.
Introducing Ethereum and Solidity: Foundations of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain, written by Chris Dannen, came out slightly earlier than the previous entry and is one of the best pieces for non-advanced developers about programming in Solidity.
The technology of cryptocurrencies seems to be an equally popular topic with readers and writers alike. Many people have tried to give their explanation for such a complex but disruptive novelty, probably because the public is growing aware of its potential and shows the demand for such guides.
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: A Comprehensive Introduction by Arvind Narayanan: a tech manual for specialized courses that also does not overlook the bigger picture. Readers note that the Computer Science background certainly helps to understand the book, but is not required since it is concisely written and well-structured.
On the contrary, Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction in 25 Steps by Daniel Drescher can be recommended to non-technical readers since it relies more on analogies and repetition, when necessary, and each chapter is provided with a concise summary. A good starting point for an introduction to such a complex idea. Another option beginners can pick up is Mastering Blockchain by Imran Bashir.
The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology, William Mougayar introduces the concept of blockchain to entrepreneurs and investigates contemporary and future applications of the technology. This book also has its fair share of futurism and can get too excited about the promises of blockchain, but Mougayar’s decades of experience in consulting and analytics give essential ground to his claims.
Blockchain Bubble or Revolution: The Present and Future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies is a great read that we couldn’t possibly skip mentioning. This could be described as a deep-dive into use cases which gives a balanced review from “the outside”. Its authors are product managers at Google (Neel Mehta), Microsoft (Aditya Agashe) and Facebook (Parth Detroja).
If you are an absolute beginner but feel confident enough to undertake trading as a source of income, you might find Bitcoin – Cryptocurrency Trading & Investing: Beginners Guide To Buying, Trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, Alt Coins & Investing In ICOs For Profit by Aimee Vo helpful. This book includes the most basic information on purchasing and trading Bitcoin, as well as some technical details in Plain English as an addendum.
Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond by Chris Burniske is targeted at investors. The main selling point of the book is cultivation of the means to assess an asset’s value that is a result of its utility. Sure, the market is not the same as in 2015, when it was published, but Burniske intended his book to be a tool for future investors and traders to help comprehend the contemporary crypto landscape.
For a more approachable introduction, you can refer to Cryptocurrency Beginners Bible: How You Can Make Money Trading and Investing in Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum and altcoins by Stephen Satoshi. It’s more grounded in concrete advice and guidance for the folks that know next to nothing about the crypto market (circa 2017, that is, so take the advice with a grain of salt).
Following the previous book, you can pass over to Cryptocurrency – A Trader’s Handbook: A Complete Guide On How To Trade Bitcoin And Altcoins by Marvin Neuefeind to learn more about cryptocurrencies themselves and become acquainted with the basics of fundamental and technical analysis.
Another well regarded book on the subject is Glenn Goodmann’s The Crypto Trader: How anyone can make money trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Sure, it is personality-focused, but this approach also lets you gain insight on behavioural finance and psychological aspects of trading.
On History and Philosophy
Humanities were no stranger to the phenomenon of cryptocurrencies. There are books that investigate the place of it in economics and history, but there are also nonfiction pieces that definitely read like the wildest fiction.
The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order, by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey. Michael C. Munger (Professor of Political Science, Economics and Public Policy and Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program) of Duke University says in his review that “if you’re going to read one book about Bitcoin, this is it”. He notes how the book delivers on telling the reader economic implications and technical details in a comprehensible form. This book can be recommended to those who are not looking for a deep dive into the technology but rather would like a comprehensive yet approachable introduction. Most importantly, it puts the recently emerged digital money into the global perspective and shows how it can influence it — as the title implies. A follow-up on blockchain in the same air is given in The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything by the same duo.
If you are looking for something more exciting but still comprehensive, Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper can be classified as narrative nonfiction and in addition to covering Bitcoin basics it introduces lots of stories of people involved in the Bitcoin’s short but bright history. Popper is a technology and business reporter in the New York Times, so as expected, “Digital Gold…” is well-researched and solidified by numerous interviews and sources.
In Bitcoin: the Future of Money?, Dominic Frisby gives a general reader an overview of early history of Bitcoin. The technology, admittedly, is glanced over, while more focus is given to anarchist implications of cryptocurrency or a separate chapter in which Frisby is speculating about Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity. The word is, this one “reads like a thriller”, so if you don’t mind or even share the ideological charge this book carries, you might want to check it out.
Another approach is taken by Phil Champagne in The Book of Satoshi: The Collected Writings of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto. Without focusing on who the Bitcoin creator actually is, Champagne instead presents the thought process that went into making the first cryptocurrency. Admittedly insightful read for people already well-versed in the subject.
Of course, there are many more guides, biographies, investigations, manuals and other pieces of nonfiction about blockchain and cryptocurrencies, since even after more than a decade of existence it still remains a mystery to the general public and a quagmire of secrets and curiosities even for seasoned traders, developers and journalists. If anything, as time goes by, even more subject matter emerges, so more and more exciting books will surely be written and published.
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