Culture Books

 Book selections from our reading list with a focus on the social impact of blockchains, the history behind Bitcoin, and the political implications of cryptocurrency.

The Book of Satoshi

Phil Champagne
2014 • Beginner • 394 pages

The enigmatic inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, was a man (or woman) with a life shrouded in mystery. While Satoshi is no longer around to influence the course Bitcoin takes as both a money and a technology, his early writings continue to have a profound impact on the direction developers choose to guide their efforts.

Take a journey into the mind of this great innovator with this superb collection of public posts and messages from Bitcoin’s early days, and discover for yourself what “Satoshi’s Vision” truly meant.

The Bitcoin Standard

Saifedean Ammous
2018 • Beginner • 304 pages

Examining the subject of Bitcoin within the historical context of money as a technology, Dr. Saifedean Ammous breaks down the development of cryptocurrency by presenting it as the next logical step in the evolution of globalized finance.

By discussing the economic properties validating Bitcoin as a financial instrument, as well as the resulting implications for government-sponsored forms of currency, Ammous provides his reader with a clear understanding about what makes Bitcoin such a valuable and innovative new asset.

The Internet of Money

Andreas Antonopoulos
2016 • Beginner • 123 pages

Although Andreas Antonopoulos’s Mastering Bitcoin is among the most highly praised technical guides to Bitcoin, The Internet of Money decisively shifts gears in order to educate a broader audience, as well as answer some of the deeper philosophical questions about the concept of decentralized money.

Assembled from transcripts of his various talks about Bitcoin around the world, Andreas’s enthusiastic, entertaining, and extremely clever personality shines through with every word. Any casual reader looking to get a thorough, entry-level primer on Bitcoin will undoubtedly walk away a hardcore believer.

Digital Gold

Nathaniel Popper
2016 • Beginner • 432 pages

An expert storyteller, New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper pulls his readers directly into the story of how Bitcoin came to be, recounting the events and personalities throughout its history that drove the creation of this groundbreaking new industry.

By telling this story through the eyes of the innovators who lived it, including the notorious Winklevoss twins and even Satoshi Nakamoto himself, Popper delivers an entertaining tale focused on the most colorful characters in Bitcoin.

The Age of Cryptocurrency

Paul Vigna & Michael J. Casey
2016 • Beginner • 384 pages

By now, almost everyone has heard of Bitcoin– but why should they care? Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey, a pair of Wall Street journalists well-versed in the world of cryptocurrency, use this text to propose a definitive answer to that essential question, offering expert guidance into the complex world of digital currencies.

Despite Bitcoin’s mysterious and somewhat illicit reputation, the authors insist that disruptive cryptocurrencies are here to stay, and present an all-encompassing, well-balanced coverage of the most important facts for the casual reader interested in learning more about the blockchain phenomenon.

American Kingpin

Nick Bolton
2017 • Beginner • 368 pages

With all of the mainstream media attention and institutional interest, its easy to forget how exactly Bitcoin first burst onto the scene. The Silk Road, the Dark Web’s most notorious online drug exchange, was launched in 2011 by a young libertarian programmer named Ross Ulbricht. Assuming the moniker of the “Dread Pirate Roberts,” Ross tied together two budding digital technologies– anonymous browsing and Bitcoin– to create a massive crime enterprise unlike anything ever before seen.

While this harrowing tale of Ross’s exploits focuses heavily on his criminal activities, rather than the decentralized technologies that enabled them, the story itself offers an insightful look at the type of clientele cryptocurrencies first serviced, prior to the Wall Street rush.

How Money Got Free: Bitcoin and the Fight for the Future of Finance

Brian Patrick Eha
2017 • Beginner • 496 pages

Containing a more diverse cast of characters than any written history of Bitcoin before it, How Money Got Free pits the early pioneers of cryptocurrency– a renegade coalition of cryptographers, libertarians, and drug dealers– against the behemoth corporations which seek to co-opt their beloved blockchain technology.

While the thrilling narrative of this novel deeply engrosses you in the personal lives of the entrepreneurs, politicians, and bankers in question, the overarching themes of the story are equally well-communicated, rallying readers to reconsider what exactly they think they know about politics, money, and freedom.

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything

Paul Vigna & Michael J. Casey
2018 • Intermediate • 320 pages

From the same authors who brought us The Age of Cryptocurrency comes an equally engaging, up-to-date account about how blockchain as a broader technology could be as transformative as Bitcoin itself. As Vigna & Casey enumerate the various flaws inherent in the “legacy systems” of our corporate and government worlds, they simultaneously present a compelling case for replacing these institutions entirely with distributed blockchain ledgers.

While most novels tend to focus disproportionately on the rosy future blockchain could promise humanity, they also work to emphasize the challenges this transition will present– job losses, corruption, and social unrest, among many others.

The Code Book

Simon Singh
2000 • Intermediate • 432 pages

Civilizations are inarguably inclined to engage in conflict; human history is punctuated with countless bouts of violence, espionage, and abuse. While atomic weapons and high-caliber cannons have always commanded the spotlight, however, a closer examination of these campaigns reveal the most powerful forces wield an even more potent weapon: cryptography.

Despite a publication year pre-dating the invention of blockchain, leading figures in cryptocurrency nonetheless insist the content continues to maintain exceptional relevance. Shifting stylistically between engaging historical narratives and in-depth analyses of contemporary cryptography methods, Singh’s The Code Book is a must-read for any Bitcoiner wishing to understand the intricacies of the complex mathematical methods that ensure the blockchain’s robust security and integrity.

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