Blockchain 101 (and Beyond): Recommended Resources for the Crypto-Curious
I often receive requests for reading materials/learning resources from crypto-curious folks who want to dive deeper. Below is a curated list of recommended reading/listening/watching. Expect this to grow and change over time. Have resources to add? Please message me @mcutler.
In efforts to simplify the journey, this reading guide is divided into five sections
- Learn about Money: This is a deeper topic than many expect.
- Learn about Bitcoin: Where it all began.
- Learn about Ethereum: "Let’s take the core concepts pioneered by Bitcoin and expand them. Significantly."
- Learn about what is being built on Ethereum/Web3: DeFi, NFTs, DAOs, the Metaverse, and more.
- Advanced and/or more specialized materials: It truly never ends.
While the topics are sequential, the bulleted resources are not. Crypto/blockchain/Web3 is a surprisingly broad, diverse, and deep topic. This list barely scratches the surface.
1. About money:
- Andreas Antonopolous’ Introduction to Bitcoin: what is bitcoin and why does it matter? (VIDEO) – START HERE for a big picture overview that explains why crypto matters. Andreas is a leading Bitcoin evangelist and has many talks and books that are worth checking out.
- Communist Capital vs. Woke Capital vs. Crypto Capital (PODCAST) – Plenty of Big Think here. And plenty that might prove controversial.
- Balaji Srinivasan on The Future of Bitcoin and Ethereum (PODCAST) – Similar to the above. More Big Think from Balaji Srinivasan.
- History of Money (VIDEO SERIES) – A full college course and a truly deep dive into the subject. Taught by Dr. Jonathan Barth of ASU. For enthusiasts. The two most relevant episodes are probably:
- The Post-Gold Dollar: Unanchored Capitalism and the Power of Big Finance – This one is reasonably eye-opening.
- The Bitcoin Lecture: The Past, Present and Future of Cryptocurrencies – Recommend skipping the section on Market Capitalization of Crypto.
2. About Bitcoin / blockchains in general:
- The Bitcoin Whitepaper – REQUIRED READING and surprisingly accessible. This is the foundation of all things blockchain and crypto. Skip the (brief) math sections if necessary.
- Yes, You May Need a Blockchain
- An Interview With Bitcoin Beach, the Community That Inspired El Salvador to Adopt the Bitcoin Standard (PODCAST) – This is a great podcast episode that illustrates how crypto can positively impact the lives of everyday people in impoverished communities.
- Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain (DOCUMENTARY)
- The Frustrating, Maddening, All-Consuming Bitcoin Energy Debate – Start here if you have questions about the environmental impact of Bitcoin.
- On Bitcoin, the Gray Lady Embraces Climate Lysenkoism – Despite the odd title, this is a great article that addresses some of the mainstream media biases against crypto head-on.
3. About Ethereum:
- The Ethereum Whitepaper – Longer and more challenging than the Bitcoin Whitepaper.
- 4 Eras of Blockchain Computing: Degrees of Composability – This one in particular was a major lightbulb moment for me.
- The Bankless Podcast – Start from Episode 1 and listen sequentially. Check out the newsletter as well.
- EthHub – A collection of Ethereum resources, a podcast, and a newsletter.
- The MyCrypto Knowledge Base – Essentially a FAQ of all things related to using an Ethereum Wallet.
- An introduction to Crypto for Newbies – A curated set of resources from MyCrypto. Aimed at less technical folks. The first bullet is a Buzzfeed-style ‘20 Fun Crypto Facts to get you Started’.
- A Prehistory of the Ethereum Protocol
- Ethereum is game-changing technology, literally
- DeFi: Smart Contract & Dapps Overview
4. What is being built on Ethereum:
- The Finematics Explainers (VIDEO) – A deep inventory of short explainer videos on all things DeFi. Need a primer on Yield Farming? Gas? Ethereum 2.0? Start here.
- How to build your on-chain resume – A great hands-on, getting started guide. READ THIS, TRY THIS. You will learn more by working through this punch list than reading through all of the resources listed here.
- Zapper Quests – An ‘in-game tutorial’ that aims to teach the basics of Ethereum and DeFi via hands-on exercises.
- NFTs, explained – Tons and tons out there about NFTs.
- Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) – Among the most interesting-yet-overlooked innovations enabled by programmable public blockchain networks. A net new form of human collaboration.
- Vitalik Buterin: Ethereum 2.0 (PODCAST)
5. Advanced reading:
- Ethereum is a Dark Forest – A seminal piece that popularized the metaphor of the mempool as a perilous, predator-filled operating environment.
- Escaping the Dark Forest – A thriller describing a mempool rescue mission.
- Value of the Token Model
- All you need to know about EIP 1559 (and more) – An introduction to the largest change/upgrade to Ethereum since… launch?
- Flash Boys 2.0 – A seminal research paper that introduced the notion of Miner Extractable Value (MEV) and eventually gave rise to Flashbots.
- MIT’s Introduction to Blockchain Course – Taught by then-MIT Sloan School of Business Professor Gary Gensler… who now happens to be the chair of the SEC.
- MIT’s Cryptocurrency Engineering and Design Course – A deeper, more technical course taught by MIT’s Media Lab.
These are recommendations from folks who have reviewed this list and thought: “Oh, this resource should be there too!”
- The Maker Protocol: MakerDAO's Multi-Collateral Dai (MCD) System
- What explains the rise of AMMs?
- The Mirage of Miner Centralization
- A rollup-centric Ethereum roadmap
Other lists of lists:
- A16Z’s Crypto Canon – 100+ links to further reading, categorized nicely. Many great resources here, but appears to be getting a little long-in-the-tooth.
- House of DAOs
- Michael Saylor’s Hope.com
- The Reading List – A carefully groomed reading list of 300+ resources. More than a little overwhelming.
As you dive down the ⬛ ⛓ 🐰 🕳️ :
The blockchain rabbit hole is deep. Going from crypto-curious to crypto-expert takes many cycles of learning and going hands-on. As you begin this journey, I encourage you to experiment with decentralized applications and participate in these new ways of transacting.
And I always suggest that new users monitor their hot wallet with Blocknative to reduce transaction anxiety and better understand the state of their transaction.
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