Spending time learning more about a topic and refreshing your knowledge can be good. Bitcoin has vast knowledge embedded in the system, from technical details to economic tie-ins. As Bitcoin grows in relevance, now can be the perfect time to access these resources.
The “Why” Behind Bitcoin
The foundation behind the rest of the knowledge is the purpose of Bitcoin itself – something that isn’t clear to everybody. This section highlights some good resources to browse or think through.
This primer on Bitcoin comes from Jameson Lopp, who founded CasaHODL, a security service for Bitcoin. It goes through the basic tenets and easily explains through illustrations why something like Bitcoin is different – and makes sense for passing transactions without the need for a custodian of funds.
Suppose you prefer more text-based sectioning on the “why” behind Bitcoin and the details. In that case, this section of Bitcoin Magazine offers a comprehensive view and goes all the way down into how you can use Bitcoin and the importance of concepts like self-custody.
The Bitcoin Wiki is a wiki set up to define Bitcoin deeply. It often goes many layers deeper than Wikipedia and includes articles on topics that aren’t often addressed, such as applying economic theories to Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin Whitepaper set Bitcoin into motion. Published by Satoshi, nine pages of somewhat technical details set clearly how the network is framed. Yet, since it’s written through a more academic lens, the annotations help us understand how Satoshi intended Bitcoin’s creation.
Once you understand the “why” of it a bit more, Bitcoin’s first topic is economics and why it is a differentiator regarding ideology and practical application. A grounding in some economic topics can help evaluate and sharpen your understanding of the mechanics and purposes behind Bitcoin.
One of the first things that most people know about Bitcoin is the deflationary tendency of the cryptocurrency conveyed most clearly with the 21 million Bitcoin limit: there will only ever be 21 million Bitcoin mined if it follows current network rules, which contrasts with most currencies we know, such as the United States dollar. Understanding inflation is critical for understanding Bitcoin. This Econlib summary offers many perspectives on the definition and causes of inflation – and can help create a grounding to understand inflation.
This Khan Academy section offers a free summary of one of the trickiest parts to understand about Bitcoin – the modern banking system and how it works with reserves issued from central banks. Appreciating this helps people understand why Bitcoin matters, how it’s different from the conventional banking system, and what traditional finance has meant for many.
This post by Joshua Gans and the series goes into why economists seem to hate Bitcoin – through counter-example, you can start to understand why conventional economists can’t seem to understand Bitcoin – and with a more nuanced perspective, this resource allows one to explore some of the economic, practical and ideological space around Bitcoin.
Bitcoin helps people sharpen and maintain their digital privacy knowledge – it gives you the tremendous responsibility of protecting your private credentials in return for censorship-proof transactions and the ability to transact value without a bank. The following resources help shape digital data practices.
The Financial Freedom Report that the Human Rights Foundation puts together is a valuable source of stories about Bitcoin and its usage by human rights activists. It also offers many practical resources and tips for privacy in practice with Bitcoin and other adjacent tools.
As one gets into using Bitcoin, digital security and privacy become more and more critical. It’s essential to have clean digital data habits to ensure that self-custody assets are not stolen or misused.
One of the things that are hardest for most people to understand is the technical details behind Bitcoin: how does it work the way it does, and why is the Bitcoin network set up this way? The following resources can help put everything together – and even send you on your first steps towards understanding how to build with Bitcoin.
Awesome Bitcoin is a GitHub repository filled with technical resources, from sandboxes where you can play with Bitcoin code to learning resources and data dumps. While it has more of a developer focus, some more general resources are worth it, even for those without a technical bent.
If you want to set up a Lightning node, this guide helps you turn old hardware to do just that. By following the easily digestible steps, you can also learn how to install and configure Bitcoin Core on your machine and be part of a network of nodes that ingest Bitcoin’s blockchain.