A little more than a decade ago, Bitcoin emerged as a new kind of money designed for the internet – giving people on opposite sides of the world the ability to exchange value without governments, banks, or anyone else in the middle. In the years since, it’s evolved into an asset worth hundreds of billions of dollars and sparked an entirely new, constantly evolving crypto universe.
If you’re seeking a deeper understanding of all things crypto, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered some of the smartest, most essential resources the internet has to offer: YouTube clips that can help you grapple with arcane concepts, podcast interviews with foundational figures, and the Bitcoin white paper — the document that started it all.
The case for Bitcoin and the rise of digital money
The best way to understand crypto — how a blockchain works, why it matters, how the space has evolved — is to start with Bitcoin. The original cryptocurrency continues to dominate all other forms of digital money—it’s most people’s gateway to the wider crypto world, and its technology provides the foundation for a lot of what came after. Here are some of the best explanations of what Bitcoin is and how it gave rise to the entire crypto ecosystem.
- Explain Bitcoin Like I’m Five (Angel investor Nik Custodio does exactly what the title says)
- Ben Horowitz explains the rise of crypto (a 3 minute explanation of crypto’s potential)
- But how does Bitcoin actually work? (Invaluable, easy-to-understand YouTube explainer)
- Why Bitcoin Matters (Marc Andreessen, investor and Coinbase board member, makes the case for digital money in a 2014 New York Times essay )
- Bitcoin whitepaper: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System (Satoshi Nakamoto’s 2009 whitepaper that started it all – technical, but more readable than you’d assume)
- Cryptocurrency: The Future of Finance and Money (In this four-minute video, experts from Coinbase and across the crypto universe dive into the democratizing potential of cryptocurrency)
Why (and how) you should think about investing in Bitcoin
In a remarkably short period of time, Bitcoin’s market cap has gone from essentially zero to nearly $200 billion (as of November 2020). If you want to understand where Bitcoin has been and where it’s headed, we’ve gathered insights from some of crypto’s biggest and smartest investors.
- Bitcoin for the open minded skeptic (Crypto VC specialists Paradigm break down the essentials of Bitcoin for investors )
- The Great Monetary Inflation (Hedge fund pioneer Paul Tudor Jones shares his crypto strategy in this much-circulated investors’ letter)
- The Case for Bitcoin (Excellent, useful, and constantly updated mix of data and analysis)
- Bitcoin’s Killer App (Deep dive on investing and blockchains from crypto fund Pantera Capital)
- Why MicroStrategy invested $500 million in bitcoin (Thorough YouTube interview with Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor)
Ethereum and other coins
Ethereum took Bitcoin’s blockchain idea and made it more flexible – allowing it to power everything from games to tools that are creating an entire decentralized alternative to the financial system. But while it might be the second-biggest digital currency by market cap, it’s certainly not the only Bitcoin alternative. Learn about Ether and other altcoins here.
- Ethereum in 25 minutes (Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin explains the basics in this YouTube talk)
- The evolution of Ethereum (Want to go deeper? This guide from the Ethereum Foundation will take you there.)
- Beginners Guide to Cryptoassets (Linda Xie’s guide to Monero, Tezos, Zcash and more)
- The 10 Most Important Cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin (Investopedia’s guide to some of the most popular altcoins)
If you want to really understand crypto you need to understand the technology behind it. Get up to speed on concepts ranging from blockchains and decentralization to smart contracts and more.
- What is Blockchain: the Complete Wired Guide (Highly readable explainer from the tech magazine)
- Why (TF) Blockchain? (Interesting take from software engineer and crypto investment fund manager Aleksandr Bulkin)
- The Meaning of Decentralization (Vitalik Buterin explains why it’s more than just a crypto buzzword)
- Why decentralization matters (a16z partner Chris Dixon explores the next phase of the internet)
- Thoughts on tokens (More writing from Balaji Srinivasan — how Bitcoin’s token concept could change the internet)
- A Beginner’s Guide to Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
Best crypto podcasts
Want to take your crypto education offscreen and hear about the latest developments? These crypto podcasts offer behind-the-scenes stories and interviews with key players.
- Hash Power: A documentary on blockchains and cryptocurrencies (Three-part audio documentary the crypto universe)
- Bankless (“Guide to crypto finance” in podcast form)
- Epicenter (Long-running podcast on all things crypto)
- Unchained (Laura Shin’s popular “no hype” crypto resource)