When it comes to Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain, it is easy to see that there’s more information than one could ever consume. More and more people want to play a role in this up and coming revolution, and everyone has his or her vision of how things will unfold.
Drowning in this sea of information is easy. Out of curiosity (and to save myself from information overload), I decided to turn to the good old books. Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain books may not be packed with the most recent information like the latest articles or podcasts, but written by some of the most influential thought leaders in the space, they offer a credible view of technology fundamentals, vision, use cases, and roots. Best of all, the authors try to do their best to provide a neutral perspective so you will get a healthy view of the ecosystem.
These are some of the most influential blockchain books you can put in your reading list for the upcoming year.
Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World (2016)
By Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
Blockchain Revolution is the visionary book on how blockchain can impact the way we live. The authors don’t bother explaining the most complicated nuances of the technology and deliver the big bold promise that drives the most blockchain enthusiasts instead.
The book also received its fair share of criticism for not being critical. Yet it is still one of the most prominent texts for every newcomer in the space. It also references many exciting projects and ideas, so if you read attentively, you’ll discover lots of fascinating things you didn’t know before.
In brief: Visionary, introductory overview of blockchain; non-technical.
Public rating: 3.5 on Amazon; 3.37 on Goodreads.
By George Gilder
Speaking of more critical and technical books, Life After Google is one of them. George Gilder neatly outlines the biggest holes in digital age technologies and proposes blockchain as a fundamental solution. While doing so, he also looks at the specifics of systems and technologies that have the most potential to dominate the future.
It might not be the easiest book to read, but the author’s outline of the future where individual freedom and human rights triumph tyrannical top-down systems will leave you with plenty of food for thought.
In brief: Visionary, somewhat technical, inspiring.
Public rating: 4 on Amazon; 3.74 on Goodreads.
The Internet of Money, Volume 1 & 2 (2016 & 2017)
By Andreas M. Antonopoulos
Introductory works by Andreas M. Antonopoulos clarify the possibilities and practicalities of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in a passionate, inspiring and enlightening manner. The author is known for his ability to communicate a clear vision grounded in profound technical expertise.
Volume I introduces how and why Bitcoin will change the world for the better and Volume II elaborates on the first with more up-to-date information. However, both volumes are entertaining and worthy of reading. The content derives from Andreas presentations, so it’s a great start for everyone who wants to invoke his or her enthusiasm for Bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies
In brief: Visionary, introductory, inspiring, somewhat technical, easy to read.
Public rating: Vol. 1 – 4.6 on Amazon, 4.13 on Goodreads;
Vol. 2 – 4.8 on Amazon, 4.32 on Goodreads.
By Joseph J. Bambara, Paul R. Allen, Kedar Iyer, Rene Madsen, Solomon Lederer & Michael Wuehler
A Practical Guide to Developing Business, Law, and Technology Solutions is a balanced way to get to know blockchain for its developers, and even lawyers. It summarizes all the crypto basics, history, and vision even takes you through all the steps in developing blockchain application.
It may be too technical and boring read for the “average Bob,” but the book offers a complete view for everyone who wants to learn how to write a smart contract, understand critical challenges and play a role in the future development of blockchains.
In brief: Introductory, technical, informative.
Public ratings: 4.2 on Amazon, 4 on Goodreads.
By Chris Burniske & Jack Tatar
While most books in this list focus on explaining Bitcoin, blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and their role in the future, Chris Buriniske and Jack Tatar provide a comprehensive analysis of the crypto assets for the numerous investors entering the space. As a result, Cryptoassets is a clear and concise financial overview of the emerging market.
The book categorizes crypto assets into cryptocurrencies, crypto commodities, and tokens. It also introduces a framework for evaluating crypto assets, compares the space with traditional markets, speaks about taxes and is enriched with many detailed examples.
It’s a must read for everyone who wants to jump on the crypto train as an investor and ride it for the financial gains.
In brief: Introductory, financial, informative, easy to read.
Public rating: 4.5 on Amazon, 4.1 on Goodreads.
Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money (2015)
By Nathaniel Popper
Digital Gold is a well-written example of genuine journalism which covers the development of Bitcoin and other digital currencies until 2015. It’s a highly engaging story which excludes complicated technical information and focuses on the people and drama behind it.
The result? An entertaining primer on Bitcoin and it’s beginnings.
In brief: Introductory, non-technical, very easy to read.
Public rating: 4.6 on Amazon, 4.17 on Goodreads.
The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order (2016)
By Paul Vigna & Michael J. Casey
The Age of Cryptocurrency introduces cryptocurrencies, major market players, drivers of success and possible future scenarios in an informative but non-technical way. Already several years old, it feels outdated at times, but still gives a detailed look at the revolution in progress.
So if you want to deepen your knowledge of mining, system vulnerabilities, Bitcoin, altcoins and more, this is a decent book for a thorough introduction to the blockchain.
In brief: Introductory, solid overview, slightly outdated yet still informative.
Public ratings: 4.3 on Amazon, 3.9 on Goodreads.
Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open Blockchain (2nd ed., 2017)
By Andreas M. Antonopoulos
In Mastering Bitcoin, Andreas M. Antonopolous dives deep into the technical details of Bitcoin. The refined 2nd edition of what was previously called “the first serious textbook of Bitcoin” is a well-written, solid and extremely informative text on all things Bitcoin. It is a must-read for every aspiring Bitcoin expert. You won’t be one without hands-on experience, but this as you can get to it by reading.
Also, Mastering Bitcoin will have a sister book in early 2019 – Mastering Ethereum: Building Smart Contracts and Dapps. It is expected to maintain the high bar set for the author and should find a place in every aspiring cryptographer’s reading list, too.
In brief: Highly technical, well-written developers guide.
Public ratings: 4.8 on Amazon, 4.31 on Goodreads.
Blockchain Technology Explained: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide About Blockchain Wallet, Mining, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Zcash, Monero, Ripple, Dash, IOTA And Smart Contracts (2017)
By Alan T. Norman
The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide in the title is rather self-explanatory. Not so long ago, Jamie Oliver jokingly said that cryptocurrencies are “everything you don’t understand about money combined with everything you don’t understand about computers.” Well, this book gives out just the right amount of details to not overwhelm you. Nevertheless, if you haven’t been hiding under the rock in the recent years, you probably won’t find anything new and exciting here.
However, if you’re looking for an easy book to introduce blockchain to your non-crypto friends, family or colleagues this book is a smart choice.
In brief: Short, introductory and easy to read.
Public ratings: 4.4 on Amazon, 4.08 on Goodreads.
By Saifedean Ammous
The Bitcoin Standard is for everyone interested in the history of money, how money works and why Bitcoin is the better alternative. The author builds a compelling economic case for Bitcoin based on the knowledge every cryptocurrency enthusiast should know and understand.
Some author’s arguments may appear somewhat ideological, but Saifedean Ammous book is still a valuable perspective to consider in order to understand the past and future of money better.
In brief: Easy to read, non-technical, informative.
Public ratings: 4.7 on Amazon, 4.33 on Goodreads.
By Phil Champagne
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Well, most of us can only guess at this point. However, many of his writings in public forums were collected and put in this book, offering a unique insight into the mysterious and revolutionary creator’s mind, who thought process which led to the invention of Bitcoin.
It should not be the first book you read on the blockchain, though. It’s a better read when you already have some prior knowledge. In any case, if you want to learn Bitcoin from its humble beginnings, this is the book to pick up in your spare time.
In brief: Technical, very informative.
Public ratings: 4.5 on Amazon, 4.05 on Goodreads.
The ever-changing world presents us with many daily challenges, but once in a while, everyone needs to unplug and read (or listen to a good audiobook). Several hours spent on reading a book on the topic you like is always a time well spent.
Which blockchain books do you read and why?