Innovative blockchain technology works without the need for a central authority. Blockchain is the underlying technological foundation of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Dozens of leading financial firms, including Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan (JPM), are investing heavily in developing the technology. For people who want to learn more about blockchain technology and its applications, here are three of the best books on the subject.
- "Cryptoassets" offers an introduction to blockchain for investors, including basic concepts, a valuation framework, and practical details on getting started.
- "Blockchain Revolution" takes a look at how blockchain technology might transform the ways we live and trade in the future.
- "The Book of Satoshi" helps readers to understand the blockchain from the perspective of its creator, the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto.
- "The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains" provides a comprehensive overview of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, serving as an excellent introduction for people new to the industry.
- "The Blockchain Developer" is a powerful resource for those interested in digging in to the technical aspects of blockchain work to start new or continue existing projects.
1. Cryptoassets by Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar
Burniske and Tatar look at blockchain from a financial perspective, but they also cover key technological concepts along the way. "Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond" is written for investors, rather than programmers or Bitcoin enthusiasts. That keeps most of their explanations relevant and comprehensible. Burniske and Tatar start with the origins of Bitcoin during the 2008 financial crisis and cover the basics. They also explain the crucial differences between Bitcoin and broader blockchain technology. The book then goes into detail on the types of cryptoassets that have arisen, such as crypto tokens and crypto commodities.
Like any new technology, understanding the financial implications of blockchain is often more useful to investors than learning technical details.
This book also goes far beyond most of the rest of the literature by attempting to define cryptoassets as an asset class. There is even a chapter that takes on the difficult task of developing a valuation framework for cryptoassets. While the market is still too young for any framework to be definitive, Burniske and Tatar deserve praise for laying the necessary foundations. Finally, they also deal with the practical details of blockchain investing. Blockchain wallets, cryptocurrency exchanges, and initial coin offerings (ICOs) are all covered.
2. Blockchain Revolution by Don and Alex Tapscott
The father and son team of Don and Alex Tapscott have written "Blockchain Revolution" to explain the impact of cryptocurrencies. The fully open platform of blockchain technology will expand and transform what we can do online, the way we do it, and who can participate. According to the Tapscotts, blockchain technology will immensely improve the delivery of expanding financial services and the safeguarding of personal identity information. Blockchain also has benefits for business contracts and the development of the Internet of Things (IoT).
The book also discusses the various ways that blockchain technology is changing the future of money, transactions, and business. Don Tapscott, also the author of "Wikinomics," and his son, Alex, an expert on the blockchain, carefully explain the technology. They see it as a simple but transformative protocol that enables financial transactions to be both anonymous and secure through the distributed ledger. The authors recognize that blockchain technology is still in its infancy. They do an excellent job of separating what the technology can actually deliver now from its vast potential for the future.
3. The Book of Satoshi by Phil Champagne
Blockchain technology and Bitcoin are linked because blockchain made cryptocurrencies possible. This book offers the writings of the mysterious creator of Bitcoin, known as Satoshi Nakamoto. As of early 2020, the general public still did not know the true identity of Nakamoto.
The Nakamoto persona has only a virtual existence, much like its cryptocurrency creation. The persona is present only in the online publications Nakamoto offered to explain Bitcoin during the earliest days of its introduction. The Book of Satoshi is a definitive collection of Nakamoto's essential writings, including the original paper detailing the idea of Bitcoin. The book also contains Nakamoto's explanation of how Bitcoin works and a chronologically organized collection of emails and online forum posts by Nakamoto.
4. The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains by Antony Lewis
Antony Lewis, formerly of early cryptocurrency exchange itBit, has been an expert in the cryptocurrency and blockchain spaces for nearly a decade. In this book, Lewis clearly and concisely breaks down technical aspects of blockchain technology in a way that is digestible and understandable for those within and outside of the space. While this book also covers the fundamentals of cryptocurrencies as well, it is also a useful guide for those particularly interested in blockchain technology and its many applications.
5. The Blockchain Developer by Elad Elrom
While other books on this list provide a general overview of blockchain technology, this book is written with developers in mind. As such, The Blockchain Developer does not shy away from technical discussion and granular, detailed information. After introductions to the technology and its structure, author Elad Elrom discusses the process of creating your own blockchain, building dApps, and more. There are specialized sections of the book relating to popular existing blockchains for developers interested in creating apps for preexisting networks, as well as a portion of the book about blockchain applications outside of cryptocurrency.