In 2017, the value of a single bitcoin soared from below $1,000 to close to $20,000 at its highest point. The cryptocurrency dominated news cycles and investor interest, racking up a total market cap of well over $250 billion as of this writing. Beyond the performance of the coin itself, the cryptocurrency industry as a whole exploded, with new coins, startups, ICOs, and modes of investment appearing all the time. Here are some of the best books to read to learn about bitcoin and the cryptocurrency revolution.
"Mastering Bitcoin" by Andreas M. Antonopoulos
Published in 2014, this is a key book to understanding the idea and concept of a decentralized currency based in the digital world. The book goes into the technology behind bitcoin, the purpose of the virtual currency, and its applications in the real world. Readers learn how the currency works, the nature of bitcoin transactions and details about the underlying network. The book also covers some critical concepts behind bitcoin, such as the blockchain and bitcoin wallet. A new edition, released in July of 2017, has updates reflecting the latest developments.
"Cryptoassets" by Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar
Written by the founder of a cryptocurrency asset firm and an angel investor, this 2017 book explores not only digital currencies, but related tokens and commodities. It is written in an easy-to-read style, but that doesn't mean that it's short on information. Of particular note is a detailed history of the industry, which many new investors may not know about.
"The Book Of Satoshi" by Phil Champagne
The author aims to get people caught up on the key issues behind the creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. Champagne investigates who Nakamoto is, whether it is one person or a group, and how it was possible for Nakamoto to create bitcoin while remaining completely anonymous. The book contains actual emails and internet posts by Nakamoto, which are presented in chronological order. The text also includes a variety of technical bitcoin topics broken down into easy-to-follow layperson terms. The currency's economic potential and implications are discussed, and a copy of the original white paper by Nakamoto, which started the entire concept of bitcoin, is included.
"Cryptocurrency" by Abraham K. White
This book, released in October of 2017, is all about mining, investing, and trading in digital currencies other than bitcoin. Yes, it includes material on the original and leading cryptocurrency, but readers may find it even more useful for its analysis of and recommendations regarding lesser-known digital currencies.
"Bitcoin From Beginner to Expert" by Christian Newman
An excellent general primer on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies more broadly, Newman's book divides its coverage between the practicalities of investing in bitcoin and details of the blockchain technology which supports it. This book is recommended for investors without prior background, and it's a great jumping off point to explore the subjects related to virtual currency in more depth.
"Digital Gold" by Nathaniel Popper
This 2015 book was shortlisted for the 2015 Financial Times and McKinsey business book of the year. Nathaniel Popper investigates the anonymous creator and beginnings of bitcoin and tells the story of the digital currency through the eyes of many of the currency's central characters, including South American and Asian millionaires, the Winkelvoss twins, and the mysterious and unknown creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. The author also analyzes bitcoin and makes comparisons of the digital currency to gold, stating how bitcoin may be the global standard for "store of value."