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The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains -- Antony Lewis


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I found Antony Lewis’s 2018 book The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains:  An Introduction to Cryptocurrencies and the Technology that Powers Them on a few recommended blockchain/crypto book lists.  At the outset, I have to acknowledge that any book published in 2018 in such a fast-moving area is likely to be out-of-date rather quickly.  Moreover, I understand that via white papers and other sources, an interested reader can get a very good start in this area via a few Google searches.  So, anyone picking up this book needs to be realistic about what they can reasonably expect to get out of it.


With those caveats out of the way, I actually found the book quite useful, but not in the way I expected.  Although most of the book is devoted to describing the mechanics of Bitcoin, Ethereum, cryptographic hashing, digital wallets, and so on, it also contains a concise and lucid explanation of how bearer assets (like physical cash) and payments using bank money work in a modern banking system.  With that description in mind, the reader can quickly grasp the purpose of a permission-less decentralized ledger, and to me that alone makes the book worthwhile. 


The book is too dated and simple for anyone who has done significant reading or has some first-hand experience with Bitcoin, Ethereum, NFTs, etc.  But if you’re trying to whet the appetite of a Bitcoin/crypto skeptic who prefers old-fashioned books to Discord, you could do worse than recommending The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains.  

Edited by KJP
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It currently takes about 2 years for a new book to get into publication ... this information is as at 2016.

The foundiing Bitcoin Paper was released late 2008, 8 years prior. As at YE 2021, Bitcoin is 13 years old, and this book is 5 years out of date - only about 38% (5/13 yrs) !!


The most effective way to get up to speed on Blockchain, is to simply take a university course. This early in the technology's life, curation matters; which is the value-add of taking a course. Drink from the fire-hose via Google, once you have a framework down and know where you would like to expand your knowledge. Not all courses are the same, and not all are on-line, so look around. Faculty will also often give alumni an exemption, to take a course that would otherwise be 'closed'.


The other advantage of going the course route; is connection to the university's ongoing research, incubator, and internship programs.

If your company needs to do research into a potential application, the bulk of it can often be done via a university monitored, student internship, part-funded via a government grant. Some university's better than others :classic_wink:


Happy hunting!






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