The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains

Last December I was approached by a publisher, Mango, who asked me if I would write a book about blockchain technology.  A little nervously, I agreed, and I’m excited to announce the result of six months of effort:

The basics of bitcoins and blockchains - book cover

The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains is an essential guide for anyone who needs to learn about cryptocurrencies, ICOs, and business blockchains.  Written in plain English, it provides a balanced and hype-free grounding in the essential concepts behind the revolutionary technology.

I wrote The Basics for an audience of business people, students, practitioners, and those who are simply interested in this technology.  I tried to make it entertaining even for those who are already working in the cryptocurrency or blockchain industry.  For example, did you know:

  • Electrum, the name of a popular early bitcoin wallet, is also the word for a mixture of gold and silver that the Lydians used as coins in around 600 BCE.
  • Fiat currency is defined by central banks as having no intrinsic value
  • There is no such thing as “the gold standard” – there are many
  • Bitcoin’s protocol actually was hacked, in August 2010, using something called an integer overflow
  • A few pizzas were bought for 10,000 BTC, not just one
  • Bitcoin’s price has crashed over 75% four times

I also learned that the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is likely to be an allegory to US populism in the 1900s and a reference to a gold and silver standards.  There are plenty more nuggets (ha) in there that should delight readers.

Here are some comments from people in the industry whom I greatly admire, many of whom I have taken inspiration from (I’m blushing quite a lot as I write this):

“If you want a book that over-sells blockchain, go elsewhere.  This explains the fundamentals clearly and cuts through the hype.” – Richard Gendal Brown, CTO, R3

“This is one of the few credible books I suggest when people ask ‘Where can I learn about bitcoin?’. I’ve been in the space for quite some time and I still learned from The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains.” – Zennon Kapron, Managing Director, Kapronasia

“My family asked me to explain what I do, I gave them a copy of this book. Antony explains cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies clearly and articulately, whilst remaining witty.

Einstein said that “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Antony clearly understands and articulates the basics of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.” –  Colin Platt – Co-Host Blockchain Insider Podcast & DLT/Cryptocurrency Researcher

“Comprehensive overview of the fundamentals. One of the few recommended readings for my new staff.” – Yusho Liu, Cofounder, Coinhako

“A useful, usable and enjoyable read. Antony helps us all clearly understand the mechanics of bitcoin and blockchain” – Rob Findlay, Founder, Next Money

“A great resource for anyone who wants to understand what blockchain and cryptocurrency is really all about” – Paul Griffin, Associate Professor, School of Information Systems, Singapore Management University

“An engaging, clear, and authoritative guide to the applications and implications of blockchains.” – Greg Wolfson, Head of Business Development at Element Group

“A delightful read that cuts the hype, finds the signal in the noise, and fires on all cylinders from front to back.” – John Collins, Fintech advisor

… and finally, and this is my favourite, and those of you who are familiar with Tim’s commentary will know why:

“This is a helpful introductory guide to cryptocurrencies.” – Tim Swanson, Post Oak Labs

The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains assumes no prior knowledge of finance, banking, cryptography, or technology from the reader, and each section builds on the previous one.  It’s a crash course, but with tidbits that even industry insiders may not know.


  1. Introduction
  2. Money
  3. Digital money
  4. Cryptography
  5. Cryptocurrencies
  6. Digital tokens
  7. Blockchain technology
  8. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)
  9. Investing
  10. Conclusion

Phew!  You can order “The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains” now on Amazon.  It’s scheduled to go to print in mid-August, you you can think of this as an SEC-compliant pre-sale 🙂

Buy it for yourself, your staff and new joiners, your family, and friends who keep asking you to chainsplain

PS My dream is to see this in an airport bookshop, if you can help with this or anything else related to marketing or distribution, please let me know!


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1 Response

  1. Edgar says:

    Looking forward to reading it!

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