RLWL: 3 Blockchain books for 2018

Happy New Year!!!

Going into 2018 I am starting a series called Read Listen Watch Learn (RLWL).

This will be a curated list of things to read, listen and watch to learn more about FinTech.

It comes from my learning and experience over the past couple of years and will be a curated list of what I have found most helpful in learning about FinTech topics.  So for the first post in this series:

Want to learn more about blockchain this year but wondering where to begin?

Here are the top 3 books you should start with and the reasons I found them the most useful during the early stages of my blockchain discovery:

1) The why:

Blockchain Revolution: How the technology behind Bitcoin is changing money, business and the world – Don and Alex Tapscott

The father-son Tapscott duo frequently appear in the media and at conferences talking about blockchain as two of the most experienced minds in the field. This book was published back in 2016, which makes it old by the pace of blockchain development.

Alex Tapscott’s crypto Venture Capital firm was in the news in late 2017 for misrepresenting information and therefore cancelling their public listing whilst returning investors’ money.

Despite this, Blockchain Revolution is still one of the key books out there on blockchain, particularly on the use cases for blockchain and its potential applications in the real world.

I recommend you read this book as an early intro to blockchain precisely because it leaves out the technicalities and the complexity, whilst very clearly presenting the what and why of blockchain and how the technology can be used.

Once you can see some uses and understand the potential of blockchain as a technology, you can focus in on which parts are most interesting to you and then develop your knowledge further in those areas.

2) The what and the how:

Blockchain Basics: A non-technical introduction in 25 steps – Daniel Drescher

Daniel Drescher has managed to write the blockchain tech introduction without being too technical. He is a banker with extensive experience in electronic security trading, holds a doctorate in econometrics and an MSc in software engineering.

Blockchain Basics: A non-technical introduction in 25 steps gives an excellent description of blockchain structures and the parts that make up a blockchain system.

Whilst there can different building blocks in every blockchain depending on the network and use case involved as I explained in my original post on blockchain, there are core concepts common in all.

If you want to know what blockchain actually is and how it works in more detail than an online article, this book is your first stepping stone.

3) The history:

Digital Gold: The untold story of Bitcoin – Nathaniel Popper

Blockchains are now almost a decade old – the Bitcoin whitepaper was first published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 as the first implementation of blockchain technology.

Bitcoin is (arguably)the oldest and still the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation and for better or worse has captured the world’s mainstream media attention over the course of 2017.

One way to understand blockchain is to understand where it came from and why, including the actors that have shaped its story along the way.

Nathaniel Popper is a New York Times technology and business reporter; evident from the insightful yet easy-to-read style of Digital Gold. Starting from the origins of the Bitcoin whitepaper and the cypherpunk movement, Popper charts Bitcoin’s history through to 2015 when the book was published.

This is the most comprehensive study on the foundations of blockchain technology and Bitcoin itself; for that reason I highly recommend it to develop context to your blockchain learning!


Spread the word!

These three books are my top picks for starting out in blockchain and bitcoin. More and more people want to at least learn the fundamentals behind the technology. Since it has appeared in the news a huge amount, most of you will have heard about Bitcoin in some way or another.

Making the first move to gain a foundational understanding of blockchain, Bitcoin and the history of how they came about will put you ahead of the pack and let you see above the hype.

You will be able to use this base as a stepping stone; whether you want to invest in crypto and ICOs or develop your career in emerging technologies.

Blockchain has the potential to affect multiple industries, so start building your knowledge past the media headlines and stay informed about this fast-moving technology.

Have you found any other books on blockchain that you’ve found particularly helpful for beginners? Let me know your favourites!  I will share my further reading tips in future posts…