The Chinese calendar says 2018 is the year of the Dog. In the realm of technology and fin-tech, its certainly looks like the year of “Bitcoin, crypto and Blockchain“. Facebook appears to working on launching their own crypto-currency and even Wall Street will soon trade Bitcoins. It would be wise to learn what this phenomenon is.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. – Benjamin Franklin
Before investing in any asset class, the best investment you can possibly make is in “YOU”. What better way to sharper your mind than reading. In this blog post, I want to share some of the books which helped me develop a holistic understanding on “Bitcoin, crypto and Blockchain”.
Digital Gold is written by New York Times journalist Nathaniel Popper in 2015. Although a lot has happened since 2015, still Digital Gold will help you understand the evolution of Bitcoin and the people behind it. Nathaniel has interviewed all the major players from Bitcoin-Core Developers, Libertarians to Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist who helped Bitcoin to gain popularity since its inception in 2009.
The Story takes off soon after Satoshi Nakamoto (Mysterious Figure) published his Bitcoin white paper online. You will learn there a lot interesting characters who adapted Bitcoin early-on. Although they come from different backgrounds, interests and ideologies, you will find they all shared the same distrust of Central Banks and 2008 financial crises & the subsequent bail-out only reinforced their fears and commitment to Bitcoin.
The book is filled with crazy interesting anecdotes. One of my favorite is that Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 BTC for two pizzas in May 2010 which would cost $84854650 today.
Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order is written by Wall Street journalist Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey. Its easily one of the best primers on Bitcoin that covers most ground especially for people with non-technical background. You can gain a basic understanding on BTC concepts like Blockchain, proof of work, 51 percent attack, BTC Mining.
They interview liberatrians, cyper-punks, VCs and many bitcoin enthusiasts. What really like about this book is that it gives a global perspective why Bitcoin matters. They present a case how it helps girls in Afghanistan to hyperinflation infected countries like Argentina. I really can’t recommend it enough. Go grab a copy now.
If you are purely interested in Bitcoin and cryptos only from an investor prespective, then Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond is the book for you. The writers, Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar, present a case from Modern portfolio theory perspective on why you should include cryptoassest class in your portfolio.
The book makes a good case on why Crypto-assests is a new Asset class like equity and precious metals. It takes us through various crypto-projects from its inception, their use cases, developers & its target market. Shares the similarities and dissimilarities with other assets classes from historical perspective.
Evaluating cryptoassets can be problematic because cryptos cuts across multiple disciplines and traditional valuation methods & metrics are unhelpful to validate these assets. What really works in this book is that it provides the right framework and tools to validate & analyse these Crypto-assets. Also provides some good metrics to detect scams in the Wild World of ICOs.
I seriously cannot recommend this book enough. Its one of those books which had a profound effect on my thinking. The main thesis of the book is that, in the twenty-first century, citizens will be more of a customer to governments and governments will act more as a service provider than a political institution.
The Sovereign Individual is incredibly prescient for a book written in 1997. Had I read this book in its year of publication, I probably would have dismissed it as an alarmist-elitist rant. But reading it after two decades since its publication, I am quite surprised how accurate many of its prediction are. The authors rightly predicted the role of cyber economy, crypto-currencies, income disparity, automation of low skilled jobs, rise of nationalism & extreme right-wing groups across the globe, rise of neo-luddites and the role of silicon valley entrepreneurs. Although many other events predicted in the book haven’t happened yet, I am inclined to agree with most of their views. A thought provoking read. Highly recommended.