One of the ways we are able to understand new concepts and ideas is through consuming content. Whether this involves reading, listening or watching, consuming content is how we progress in our understanding of a topic. It is vital in being able to make an informed opinion.
We live in an age where we are incredibly time poor. We might hear things in the media and the remarks of what people we come across in our daily lives tell us, but we never take the time to deep dive into it. We want the answers to our questions instantly, on a platter, with little to no effort. The issue is there is so much material available on the internet for consumption. Where do we start? What do we consume? How do we get the most bang for our buck?
In this article, I aim to:
- Direct you to Bitcoin related content that will give you the most bang for your consumption buck.
- Direct you away from, what I believe, is misguided information.
Full disclosure – I do not get any sort of kickback for promoting the content I recommend. It is all content I’ve consumed myself and has helped me enormously in my understanding of Bitcoin and Austrian economics. It has deeply changed my view of the world.
On a more personal note, throughout my education at school, university and post university, I don’t think I had ever read a single book cover to cover. I got through school to pass exams, not to learn. I used past papers and rote learning to get the desired outcome of getting the marks I needed. This changed completely once I fell down the Bitcoin rabbit hole and I’ve been hooked ever since. My thirst for Bitcoin related knowledge has drastically increased. What you’re about to embark upon is a blessing and a curse. Once you unplug yourself, there’s no turning back.
Level 1 (Commitment: 15 minutes)
Bitcoin Money by Michael Caras – this is a children’s book but make no mistake, it is not just for children. In the 15 minutes it takes for a grown adult to get through this book, it answers the simple question of “Why Bitcoin?” It takes us through how money has evolved over time, what problems society has faced along the way and how we’ve attempted to solve them. This book will whet your appetite for learning more. For the curious adult, it’ll raise more questions than it answers. Get this book from our store here.
Level 2 (Commitment: 30 minutes)
Introduction to Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopolous – when this man opens his mouth, I get shivers down my spine. He is the sole reason I’ve held on to Bitcoin for as long as I have. Whenever I thought Bitcoin would fail in the early years, Andreas would release new content and I’d be back on track. He’s a prolific speaker, his videos are incredibly inspiring and continue to give hope for a better world. I would recommend you go through all the Bitcoin related content on his YouTube channel. Adjust the playback speed (1.25x or 1.5x) to save time.
Level 3 (Commitment: 3 hours)
Inventing Bitcoin by Yan Pritzker – By now you’re probably a bit more intrigued by Bitcoin, but you still have some fundamental questions on how it actually works. This is where Inventing Bitcoin comes in. This is a 100 page book you can smash through in about 2-3 hours. The author’s non-technical language and conversation based tone makes for a rather enjoyable, easy read. One of the key call outs of this book is it does a fantastic job of explaining how Bitcoin mining works under the hood and the game theory behind it. It explains how we’re able to remove the need for trusted third parties, describing how Bitcoin arrives at one of its key principles – decentralisation. You should come out of this book having a basic level of appreciation for the genius of Bitcoin as a technology. Get Inventing Bitcoin from our store here.
Level 4 (Commitment: many sittings)
The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous – Now that you have an appreciation for Bitcoin as a technology, it’s time to appreciate Bitcoin’s economics and policy choices. This 400 page book will give you a high dose of Austrian Economics, an economic theory you will not find being taught at school or university. It’s time to rewire the trash you were taught at school/university and get down to why Bitcoin is a better form of money for society from an economic perspective. This book might just give you the shock you need to wake up from the autopilot of the life you’ve been conditioned to accept. It explains in detail where Michael Caras left off with the origins of money and how it’s evolved over time. He’ll introduce you to concepts such as ‘low time preference’ and the damaging effects of inflation. He’ll answer the question of whether governments should be responsible for the supply of money. By the end of this book, you’ll find some unsettling and uncomfortable truths about money and government abuse of it. If you start to question the motives of government, good. You’ll soon realise the topics of politics and government policy you were once passionate about amount to nothing in the face of sound money and how big of an advancement this is to the human condition. The rabbit hole runs deep.
Level 5 (Commitment: many hours, many sittings, many reads)
Grokking Bitcoin by Kalle Rosenbaum – It’s time to get intimate with Bitcoin from a detailed technical perspective. This is a university style textbook. In my years of reading about Bitcoin, I don’t think I’ve ever had this much education dumped on me from one source. Rosenbaum starts off the book with recording transactions on a spreadsheet by a single person and amazingly turns it into Bitcoin through a series of proposed upgrades. You’ll see how this spreadsheet evolves from a technical level and morphs into, what I believe, is the most powerful form of money man has ever created. You’ll come out of this book appreciating the open source Bitcoin developers for their genius. You’ll soon realise how difficult their role is, why there is enormous debate and what’s at stake. This book will take time to read and digest – it isn’t something you can smash through in one sitting. You’ll probably have to read and re-read. Get Grokking Bitcoin from our store here.
Level 6 (Commitment: 1.5 hours)
The final nail in the coffin I want you to read is a piece called 21 Lessons by Gigi. I estimate you can get through this in about an hour and a half. If you’ve read the content above, the 21 lessons piece will reaffirm what you already know. It will solidify your understanding and give you confirmation that you ‘get it’. What I find incredible about this piece is that I have independently drawn identical conclusions as the author of this piece. I don’t know him, we’re probably on two different sides of the planet, but I can’t find a sentence I disagree with. After reading all of the content above, I think you’re at a point to form an educated opinion on Bitcoin. If you still don’t think it’s something worth your long term attention, that’s up to you. You’ve made an educated choice. But if you’re still intrigued, let’s carry on.
Level 7 (Commitment: On-going)
Bitcoin.page by Jameson Lopp. Jameson Lopp has curated an enormous list of quality Bitcoin related content. As you’ve probably realised, Bitcoin has many subtopics. If there’s a subtopic you find interesting, Lopp’s probably got it indexed and waiting for you to learn more.
Bitcoin-only.com is a great source where you’ll find links to carefully curated Bitcoin only materials.
Bitcoin related podcasts. These are fantastic for consumption on the commute. They are generally 1 hour in duration but if you adjust the playback speed, it can be shorter. Podcasters interview the best minds in Bitcoin so you can keep up to date with all the development happening. If you’re on Android, I recommend downloading an app called ‘AntennaPod’ – it’s free and open source. It allows you to queue up the podcasts you want to listen to, adjust playback speed and get notified when an episode gets released. Some good podcasts I’ve enjoyed are Stephan Livera Podcast (obviously), What Bitcoin Did and Tales from the Crypt.
What to avoid
Unfortunately with this territory comes a lot of misinformation. Newcomers to the space quickly fall down traps and get confused. Here’s my attempt at steering you clear. Why should you listen to me or trust my judgement? You shouldn’t. Do your own research and make your own mistakes.
- Australian mainstream media – if you read something about Bitcoin or ‘blockchain’ on SMH, AFR, news.com.au or see anything on major Australian TV stations about it, it’s likely to be rubbish. They’ll be quick to publish articles on how Bitcoin is used for nefarious purposes and has links to crime syndicates (and so does the Australian dollar, believe it or not). They’ll never publish anything about Bitcoin being an attempt to separate money from the hands of the state. Nor will they publish anything about the damaging effects to society of the government’s monopoly on “monetary policy” – printing limitless supplies of money and abusing the power that comes with it. We had a Royal Commission into banking in which the Reserve BANK of Australia was not involved. This racket has been happening for decades, and we haven’t seen anything about it on The Project or A Current Affair.
- Forums – be careful with this – there are some great posts, but they’re few and far between. I wouldn’t recommend forums as your solid source of information. Be wary of the opinions expressed on ‘cryptocurrency’ forums such Hot Copper, Whirlpool, Reddit, Ozbargain etc. They’re largely shitposts. Good for a laugh.
- Bitcoin.com is a place to convince you to buy this completely different currency called “Bitcoin Cash” (BCash). There are some strange conspiracy theories being sold on this site in an attempt for you to buy “Bitcoin Cash” instead of Bitcoin. They will convince you that it’s faster, cheaper, more efficient and ideologically more sound than Bitcoin and since it’s a ‘bargain’ in AUD price compared to Bitcoin, it’ll have you convinced pretty quickly. Big mistake. Don’t go near it. Don’t waste your time learning about it. You’re not missing out on the ‘next big thing’.
- Coinbase – be careful with the terminology here. Coinbase, unfortunately, has two meanings. The term “coinbase” is a technical term used to describe the newly minted coins that the network introduces into circulation every 10 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s also the name of a well known cryptocurrency exchange who have tried to co-opt Bitcoin to fit their business model. Stay clear of this exchange.
- Most Bitcoin news outlets – they’ll talk about other cryptocurrencies and blockchain use cases. Not interesting. Pass.
- ‘Blockchain’ events – For some reason corporate Australia has gone bonkers over ‘blockchain’. If you’re interested in making existing processes faster, cheaper, better and more efficient whilst lining someone else’s back pocket, go for it. If you’re interested in learning about financial freedom and sovereignty for yourself and at the same time creating a better society for all, start educating yourself about Bitcoin.
- YouTube shills – this is where you get ‘taught’ how to pick trends and read charts to trade your coins for profit. See my article here on my thoughts about trading. In short, don’t do it.
- Twitter – high follower accounts on Twitter aren’t necessarily the best people in Bitcoin to follow. For a better idea, see hive.one/bitcoin.
If you’re interested in learning more about Bitcoin, understanding the theory and how to practically apply it, Stephan and I will help you quickly advance up the learning curve. We run in person workshops and coaching sessions to help you along your Bitcoin journey. Find out more about our services here. Feel free to reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.