There’s a saying that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. All of us want to be successful cryptocurrency investors (which means learning as much about crypto as possible)- and a little cheat code I’ve found to life is that if you read books by experts on the subject, you become just a little bit more like them. Most people don’t want to hear this because reading doesn’t deliver the dopamine hits that staring at our phones does. But believe me, when you’re making some of the outsized gains that cryptocurrency can deliver because you did your research, there will be plenty of dopamine rushing in and the gratification can be immensely satisfying.
It’s cool when your cryptos go to the moon. It’s also cool when your crypto knowledge goes to the moon. Truth be told, 99% or more of the American public couldn’t explain how blockchain works, even though at least 14% of Americans invest in or say they want to invest in crypto. Aside from sounding like you know what you’re talking about if friends or family ever asks you about crypto, knowledge really is power and it will help you see through a lot of the bullshit that unfortunately crowds the crypto space. In my experience, books pay for themselves many times over in what they have taught me and how they’ve affected my decisions. Note: I am not making any affiliate income on this article, and I truly believe these books are great. Here are the 5 best books out there about the cryptocurrency space:
- The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains by Antony Lewis
This book’s primary value-add is that it helps you understand the technology behind the coins that we know and love. It’s important to understand how and why cryptocurrencies bring value -because you’ll begin to see the many different areas they could be used. Mainstream society will know about this soon enough once blockchain gains worldwide adoption alongside fiat- you might as well get a head start.The book also takes a good hard look at the vulnerabilities of cryptos and praises hardware wallets. Anytime your private keys are stored on a software wallet or on an exchange, there’s a chance you could lose what you have. Another big plus is that all crypto jargon is explained in clear English in this book, which in of itself is worth the price of the book. This is important because I think the crypto community has done a poor job of making the space understandable for new entrants- and if we want the asset class to grow (and we all do), we need to be more accomodating.
- The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos
This book is a collection of short essays and articles written by Antonopoulos. The topics are all bite-sized, so the book reads a lot like a daily devotional. I mean, why not have a daily devotional to blockchain tech and how it’s going to change the world? Although you can get most of the content of this book through watching his YouTube videos or listening to his guest appearances on podcasts, I like having a physical book to be able to go back and read. Since this book focuses so much on the ‘why’ of Bitcoin and crypto, it’s hard not to get done reading this and not feel like the world will absolutely positively adopt blockchain technology. In the developed world, our financial institutions work well enough that our need for an easy digital currency isn’t quite as pronounced as in most of the world. Further, most of the world lives underneath tyrannical or otherwise shoddy government regimes who make frequent and inequitable mistakes with their money supplies. Antonopoulos points all of this out and more.
- The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous
In this book, Ammous does an incredible job of explaining the concept of money, which in reality 90% of the population cannot explain. In short, money is a way to transfer value across time and space. By explaining what has passed as money in civilizations throughout the history of humanity, he extracts principles about what technology makes for good money that will last. He outlines that Bitcoin has many of these desirable traits that make it a good form of money- a controlled supply, an immutable ledger, and a network consensus that’s extremely economically expensive to hack or manipulate. He also explains what the ramifications of a free-market invented money are- and to say the least it’s going to be incredible. The only drawback to this book is that Ammous is a ‘Bitcoin Maximalist’ AKA he trashes any other digital currencies as being shitcoins and fakes. The book is a few years old, so perhaps his opinion has changed.
- Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper
Popper is a New York Times editor, and he’s got a talent for making non-fiction read as smooth as fiction. I really enjoyed reading this book. If Popper wrote a 700-page history of the garbage can, I’d probably read it. Bitcoin’s history is covered in detail in this book, and if you’re a Bitcoin investor, it definitely helps to know about Bitcoin’s rocky history, so when people mention Silk Road, BitConnect or Mt. Gox, you know what they’re talking about. Early in its history, a sizable fraction of Bitcoin users were criminals using the privacy aspect of crypto to engage in the buying and selling of drugs, prostitutes, and other vice. Reading this book will give you some of that O.G. crypto knowledge. One thing that I realized when reading this book is just how niche Bitcoin was and frankly, still is. The book helps you see the meteoric arc of crypto and makes you realize there’s plenty of room to grow and that you’re an early adopter. It was truly just a very small group of people who got in early and actually HODL’d who are now worth billions or hundreds of millions. I look to this book and think of this story when I hear a lot of the FUD around cryptocurrency. The space is still currently so small and the technology so revolutionary that it’s hard not to think there won’t be some exponential growth to come.
- Thinking: Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Ok- I realize that this one is not a blockchain-specific book. Hear me out. I can count on one hand the number of books that have had the kind of impact on my life that this book has had. The reason why this book is important in the crypto space is because the cryptocurrency market is still largely speculative with a lot of retail investors- and human psychology plays a massive role in the markets. Understanding the human fallacies and biases outlined in this book is like having x-ray glasses on when you look at the market. You’ll be able to see a lot of why things are happening and how people are reacting to it. In case you’re not going to read it, I absolutely need to outline a key few points in the book:
- For simplification purposes, we have two brains. One is a very powerful animal brain that can respond well to threats and that functions extremely quick and supplies us with our mammalian impulses. The second is a slower, deliberate, exacting, reasoning brain whose signals are often not as strong. In order to become a master at investing, we have to teach ourselves to act on the thoughts supplied by our slower, rational brains and not our animal instincts.
- The Endowment Effect has been evolutionarily programmed into us. In finance, it means we hate losing money. The pain of a loss of something we own is far greater than the pleasure made from gains. This effect is so powerful that it causes humans to make irrational decisions, like hanging on to a coin that hasn’t done you any good and won’t anytime soon.
- From an evolutionary standpoint, humans are terrible at predicting things, and we have a general overconfidence in what we think is going to happen. After reading this book, I approach everything with the attitude of “how is this bullshit” or “how could I be wrong about this.” The truth is that you should always make a healthy allowance for doubts and entertain those doubts, while putting your feelings aside.
Read about blockchain
I’ve always been bullish on reading. Great figures from the historical to modern are more often than not avid readers: Winston Churchill was never without a book, and Elon Musk spent hours of his childhood reading books at the bookstore until it closed. Cryptocurrency aside, being an avid reader is part of the path to becoming the best possible version of yourself. The truth is that your investing decisions and overall sentiments toward different coins, platforms, and blockchain tech will be more informed if you pick up these or any number of books about cryptocurrency. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of being able to simply explain complex technological concepts to future blockchain enthusiasts- and that demographic might be larger than you think.