The best books on cryptocurrency

The Sovereign Individual ~ James Dale Davidson and William Rees Morgue

The Sovereign Person is one of those books that will change the way you look at the world forever. It was published in 1997, but the extent to which it foresees the impact of blockchain technology will give you chills. We are entering the fourth stage of human society, moving from the industrial to the information age. You need to read this book to understand the scope and scale of how things will change.

As it becomes easier to live comfortably and earn an income anywhere, we already know that those who will truly thrive in the new information age will be workers who are not tied to one job or career and are not dependent on location. The appeal of choosing where to live based on cost savings is already more appealing, but it goes beyond digital nomadism and freelance gigs; the foundations of democracy, government and money are changing.

The authors predicted Black Tuesday and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and here they predicted that the rise of people’s power would coincide with decentralized technology eroding the power of governments. The death toll in nation-states, they predicted with uncanny prescience, would be a private digital asset. When that happens, the dynamic of governments as immovable thugs robbing hard-working citizens of their taxes will change. If you become someone who can solve problems for people anywhere in the world, then you are about to enter the new cognitive elite. Don’t miss this one.

Choice quote: “When technology becomes mobile and transactions take place in cyberspace, as they increasingly will, governments will no longer be able to charge more for their services than they are worth to the people who pay for them.”

Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind ~ Yuval Noah Harari

Whenever I want to impress someone with how good this book is, I ask, “Do you want to know the fundamental difference between humans and apes? A monkey can jump up and down on a rock, wave a stick and shout to his friends that he saw a threat coming their way. “Danger! Danger! Lion!” A monkey can lie too. She can jump up and down a rock, wave a stick, and shout about a lion, when in fact there is no lion. He’s just being silly. But what the monkey can’t do is jump up and down, wave a stick and shout, “Danger! Danger! Dragon!’

Why is this? Because dragons aren’t real. As Harari explains, it’s the human imagination, our ability to believe and talk about things we’ve never seen or touched, that has pushed the species to cooperate in large numbers with strangers. There are no gods, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws, no religions, no justice in the universe beyond the common imagination of men. We make them so.

All of this is a pretty great preamble to where we are today. After the cognitive revolution and the agricultural revolution, Harari takes you to a scientific revolution that started just 500 years ago and could start something completely different for humanity. The money, however, will remain. Read this book to understand that money is the greatest story ever told, and that trust is the raw material from which all kinds of money are built.

Choice quote: “Sapiens, on the other hand, live in a three-layered reality. Besides trees, rivers, fears and desires, the world of Sapiens also contains stories about money, gods, countries and corporations.’

The Internet of Money ~ Andreas M. Antonopoulos

If the two books mentioned above help us understand the historical context in which Bitcoin first appeared, this book explains why with infectious enthusiasm. Andreas Antonapoulos is perhaps the most respected voice in the crypto space. He has been traveling the world as a Bitcoin promoter since 2010, and this book is a summary of the talks he gave on the circuit between 2013 and 2016, all of which have been prepared for publication.

His first book, Mastering Bitcoin, is a deep technical dive into the technology aimed more specifically at software and systems developers, engineers, and architects. But this book uses some choice metaphors to explain why you can’t ban or shut down Bitcoin, how the scaling debate doesn’t matter, and why Bitcoin needs the help of designers to lock in mass adoption.

“The first time you drive your brand new car in the city,” he writes, “you’re driving on roads that are driven by horses and that have infrastructure designed and used for horses. There are no traffic lights. There are no traffic rules. No hard coating. roads. And what happened? The cars got stuck because they had no balance and no four legs.’ But fast-forward a hundred years, and cars that were once derided have become the absolute norm. If you want to dive into the philosophical, social, and historical implications of Bitcoin, this is your starting point.

Choice quote: “Bitcoin is not just money for the Internet. Yes, it is the perfect money for the Internet. It is instant, secure, free. Yes, it is money for the Internet, but it is much more. Bitcoin is the Internet of Money. Currency is only first application. When you understand this, you can look beyond price, you can look beyond volatility, you can look beyond fashion. At its core, Bitcoin is a revolutionary technology that will change the world forever. Join in.”