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Bitcoin – along with various other cryptocurrencies – are taking the Internet by storm, but to get the most out of what’s at hand it pays to have knowledge on your side. While our Bitcoin guide and various hot off the presses news updates will certainly point you in the right direction, a bit of extra-curricular reading can still go a long way. Ensuring that you don’t get wrapped up in the publications that don’t matter, we’ve decided to place the spotlight on four books that are simply essential for learning about Bitcoin and what it’s capable of.
The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking (Saifedean Ammous)
Considered by many to be flagbearer of Bitcoin books, The Bitcoin Standard is the best known and most mentioned Bitcoin book out there. Ammous grounds Bitcoin’s ideology by looking at the history of money and what has passed for it in previous civilizations before going into depth about where Bitcoin stands.
Featuring understandable and relatable insights into the technological workings of Bitcoin, The Bitcoin Standard is something that most non-Bitcoiners will understand, which is why it is often cited as the best place for newcomers to start.
The Internet of Money (Andreas Antonopoulos)
Coming from the pen of early Bitcoin advocate Andreas Antonopoulos, this three-part series makes for essential reading. The Internet of Money details the basics of Bitcoin through a series of key lectures and essays, addressing current related technologies, along with the history, political, and potential social change that Bitcoin has the power to be intertwined with.
Described by Marc Andreessen, co-founder Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz, as “an ode to open protocols, what happens when you connect people online, and the power of innovation on the internet”, what’s most endearing about this particular series is that it isn’t solely focused on how Bitcoin acquisition can lead to potential profit – Antonopoulos also addresses how Bitcoin has the power to improve the world, giving 7.5 billion people access to a stable banking system.
Digital Gold (Nathaniel Popper)
An award winner in almost every sense, Digital Gold was nominated for 2015 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year (which is ironic, given how the Financial Times feels about Bitcoin). Delving deep into the mystery and aura behind Bitcoin’s anonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, this book covers the names that have helped bring Bitcoin to the brink of mainstream acceptance.
Popper also addresses the similarities between Bitcoin and gold in detail, along with how Bitcoin may potentially become the future’s “store of value” investment product, which is a particularly prescient perspective given what we have seen in recent months.
American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road (Nick Bilton)
Not exactly a pro-Bitcoin book, but certainly one that needs to be read by anyone who wants a true understanding of what happened to Silk Road and its founder Ross Ulbricht. Many feel that Ulbricht’s sentence of two life sentences plus forty years for founding and operating the dark web marketplace is considered extremely harsh by his supporters and even one of his appeal judges, but his sentence is put into even more perspective once you know the whole story – including how some of the agents sent to investigate him themselves ended up in prison due to misdemeanours during the case.
A thrilling story in itself, American Kingpin is essential reading for anyone wanting to learn about a crucial episode in Bitcoin’s history while also affording themselves a better understanding of how Ubricht was treated during his trial in 2015 and the sentencing that followed.