The Bitcoin Reading List

An ongoing list of the best long-form essays for understanding cryptocurrency.

An ongoing list of the best long-form essays for understanding cryptocurrency loosely grouped by approach and with a short note of context.

Start here:

  • Satoshi’s Original Whitepaper [link]

    • A surprising number of people haven’t read the whitepaper. It’s only eight pages long (plus one page of references). The only made up term in the paper is Bitcoin itself. It is very readable, and it is worth reading.

The investment case for Bitcoin:

  • The Bullish Case for Bitcoin [link]

    • Originally written in 2018, the Bullish Case for Bitcoin by Vijay Boyapati is still the best general overview of the case for owning Bitcoin.

  • An (Institutional) Investor’s Take on Cryptocurrencies [link]

    • John Pfeffer’s An (Institutional) Investor’s Take on Cryptocurrencies (written in 2017) was one of the first Wall St perspectives on cryptocurrencies as an investment class. He argues that currencies gain value not based on how people want to use them but whether they want to hold them - i.e. that store-of-value is the key competitive use case.

  • It’s the Settlement Assurances, Stupid [link]

    • Nic Carter’s essay on how to think about security spend and settlement assurances in cryptocurrencies and why critiques that Bitcoin is "too slow" are missing the point.

  • Everyone should have Bitcoin Insurance [link]

    • How much Bitcoin do you need to own so you can ignore it. My personal answer to the question "How much Bitcoin should I own?"

The academic foundation of Bitcoin:

  • Shelling Out: The Origins of Money [link]

    • Nick Szabo’s essay on the meaning and origin of money is deeply historically sourced description of the early pre-history of money from shells to gold coins.

  • The Bitcoin Reformation [link]

    • Adamant Research’s long-form historical analogy comparing Bitcoin to the Protestant reformation in 16th Century Europe.

  • Measuring Decentralization [link]

    • What it means for a network to be decentralized and how to make intelligent comparisons between different aspects of decentralization.

  • Money is a technology, not a religion [link]

    • My own answer to the question "What is money?"

The ethical case for Bitcoin

  • The humanitarian and environmental case for Bitcoin [link]

    • Alex Gladstein of the Human Rights Foundation lays out the pro-environmental and humanitarian case for how Bitcoin makes the world a better place.

  • The hidden cost of the Petrodollar [link]

    • The counterpart to the humanitarian case above, this is Alex Gladstein’s critique of the unexamined costs of the current financial system.

  • An Open Letter to Senator Warren [link]

    • My open letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren about why far from being concerned about Bitcoin she should be excited to embrace it.

  • The Bitcoin Energy Debate

Building on top of Bitcoin:

  • The Dual Adoption Curves of Bitcoin [Part 1] [Part 2]

    • The Dual Adoption Curves of Bitcoin by Michael Levin is the story of the evolution and adoption of the Lightning Network, Bitcoin’s most important layer-2 scaling technology.