Book Review: Understanding The Basics About Bitcoin & Other Cryptocurrencies

Understanding The Basics About Bitcoin & Other Cryptocurrencies:  The Beginners 101 Guide:  An Introductory Explanation For Beginners, Part 1, by El-P. & El-I. Taylor

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Books Go Social.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

This book feels like a sales pitch.  Everything about it seems motivated not to educate the reader about cryptocurrencies [1] but to manipulate them into investing in them and increasing the (not entirely deserved) hype about them.  To be sure, there is at least some educational value in the book, as it is not entirely worthless in terms of providing information.  That said, though, everything about this book comes colored with the intent to make money from the reader, to the point where the book even encourages people to donate to their cryptocurrency wallets.  If the book provided means by which people could sensibly and reasonably enter the realm of cryptocurrency without spending a lot of money, that might be something, but this book contains no information about mining, but instead pushes the reader to invest in currencies through paying one’s hard-earned cash for rather dodgy currencies that lack a certain amount of legitimacy, and the legitimacy of this book is not helped by the general shadiness of it, including the dodgy names chosen by the authors to disguise their identities here.  Nothing about this book is trustworthy, unfortunately.

This short book of a couple dozen pages or so is divided into several sections.  The authors begin with a preface and introduction and then briefly explain what Bitcoin is.  After that they give a more detailed explanation as well as a general introduction into cryptocurrencies as a whole.  After talking about getting started they talk about exchanges and wallets, multi-currencies, the difference between custiodial and non-custodial wallets (the authors prefer non-custodial ones), and talk about how to open such a wallet online.  After that there are specific instructions on opening a coinbase wallet, depositing cash into that wallet at a bitcoin ATM, and step-by-step instructions for buying and selling bitcoin in such a wallet.  After that the authors discuss QR codes, how to securely store bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, storage options (including offline storage and online/device storage) before the authors close with a discussion of hardware wallets, exchanges, as well as a conclusion and some frequently asked questions.  Overall the reader is left with a question as to where the authors plan on going next, whether into more cryptocurrencies or a deeper explanation of blockchains or what.

Overall, this book feels not like a guide to better understanding cryptocurrency but rather a prospectus from someone who is trying to sell the reader on investing in bitcoin with the lure of profit in something that is beyond the reader’s comprehension.  There may indeed be some sort of real-world worth to blockchains and it is possible that cryptocurrencies will provide a way for financing and investing to take place outside of official channels where profitable and lucrative but somewhat socially disreputable projects and industries and companies receive necessary funding.  While all of that is possible, though, this book is far more about hype than it is about actual performance and actual worth, and the authors seek to motivate the reader to invest based on fear of missing out of something trendy rather than through genuinely well-informed advice.  There is a lot that this guide could have done better, and the fact that it is written suggests that there is money to be made by some in crypto-currencies at least, even if it is unlikely that the money will trickle down to the sort of people who this booklet is being marketed to.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/12/05/more-tales-from-the-crypt/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/01/06/were-all-in-this-together/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/09/13/tales-from-the-crypt/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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One Response to Book Review: Understanding The Basics About Bitcoin & Other Cryptocurrencies

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Den Of Thieves | Edge Induced Cohesion

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