If you are new to Bitcoin, this is the perfect rabbit hole for you! Learn the Bitcoin basics including what Bitcoin is, how it works, and why it’s important. Learn about the history of money and why some common misconceptions around Bitcoin are incorrect. This rabbit hole will help demystify Bitcoin and serve as a great foundation to begin your Bitcoin journey.
The Bitcoin Canon presents thematic collections of the best Bitcoin educational content, curated by Bitcoiners.
Bitcoin uses a proof-of-work protocol to operate the network, which means that miners expend real-world resources (electricity) in order to validate transactions and secure the blockchain. Rather than being a bug, this is a feature because it is what keeps the protocol decentralized.
Other consensus protocols such as proof-of-stake may have their use-cases, but they make numerous trade-offs compared to proof-of-work. They are far more complex, with more attack surfaces, and are prone to centralization over time.
In addition, Bitcoin miners use energy in a very unique and useful way. Specifically, unlike data centers or other types of electricity consumers, individual Bitcoin miners don’t require very high uptime or a lot of internet bandwidth, which means they can go to areas of stranded energy production or can be co-located with power generation facilities as load balancers.
The biggest hurdles to understanding Bitcoin, in my experience, have been understanding how a completely virtual thing could have such immense value, tied to a general ignorance about what money is.
Below is a selection of episodes and article from my show, Bitcoin Audible, that will lay the framework for understanding Bitcoin in a different way. In my life I have never encountered anything as multifaceted and endlessly fascinating as Bitcoin. I hope you find value in what I’ve put together below.
The Bitcoin whitepaper promised a way for us to transact without the need for trusted third parties. Unfortunately, many bitcoin users fail to take advantage of this feature and still keep their funds with custodians. Those who do take custody of their funds find the journey fraught with peril and footguns.
Conservative estimates suggest that millions of bitcoin have been lost over the years by holders who did not take proper care of their keys, while millions more have been stolen due to security weaknesses. It’s important that Bitcoin users are confidently able to be their own banks, both to increase the security posture of each user and to increase the robustness of the entire ecosystem so that it does not evolve into another network of custodians who hold all of the money and power.
My rabbit hole is a mix of curated concepts and ideas gathered across almost 9 years studying Bitcoin. I believe to really learn about Bitcoin, you have to know enough across various disciplines to understand the how, what, and importantly, the why.
This includes austrian economics, cryptography, history, networking, politics, energy and distributed systems.
There comes a time in many-a-Bitcoiner’s journey, when the veil is lifted and the staggering, world changing, historically consequential potential of Bitcoin reveals itself.
For me that happened during the doldrums of the Covid lockdowns. I had been dollar cost averaging into bitcoin for years thinking it would be a good “investment” … digital gold, short the bankers and all that good stuff. But then I came across Gigi’s “Bitcoin is Time” article and it seriously blew my mind. The idea that Bitcoin’s distillation of chaos into order had literally created a second arrow of time running parallel to our universe’s more familiar 13 billion year long arrow of time gave me goosebumps. Learning about how proof of work forges a bridge, the only possible bridge, between the digital realm and the physical realm was thrilling to consider. His writings and many others have helped me to realize how lucky we are to be at the very early stages of a monumental upgrade to the operating system of humanity.
Not everyone takes the leap from looking at Bitcoin as an investment to looking at Bitcoin as a cosmic inflection point, but I sure did and I hope you do too!
“Bitcoin is the first example of a new form of life. It lives and breathes on the internet. It lives because it can pay people to keep it alive. It lives because it performs a useful service that people will pay it to perform. It lives because anyone, anywhere, can run a copy of its code. It lives because all the running copies are constantly talking to each other. It lives because if any one copy is corrupted it is discarded, quickly and without any fuss or muss. It lives because it is radically transparent: anyone can see its code and see exactly what it does.” — Ralph Merkle
Attempting to answer the question “what is Bitcoin, ” I found exploring parallels to the natural world to be particularly illuminating.
From this vantage point, Bitcoin appears to be a living system constantly evolving based on environmental stimuli.
It goes without saying that Bitcoin has several entirely novel technical characteristics, some of which represent brilliant academic breakthroughs. However, I have always been wary of associating Bitcoin too strongly with advances in information technology, or indeed with “newness” at all.
This is in part because these very same advances are argubaly insufficient yet necessary drivers of an increasingly politically and economically centralized world. They have contributed to many problems Bitcoin, and Bitcoiners, aspire to fix: the erosion of privacy, financial repression, monolithic power over dissemination of information, etc.
Bitcoin provides a means to (re)decentralize, and I think it fits nicely and naturally in a canon of academic philosophy, politics, and economics analyzing this ideal. But, crucially, this analysis is without reference to Bitcoin itself, or, in most cases, even the internet or software design. It is not techno-utopinaism, but humanism. It is not new.
Games have played an important part of social interaction since the dawn of civilization. While some sources date the earliest recorded game play to the Paleolithic era, the introduction of value into games emerged around 3,000 BC. As history progressed and games took on digital form, value in games quickly became regulated, outlawed, and deemed gambling. In parallel, in-game currencies quickly arose, stripping video games of real-world value.
As we spend more time online and creating virtual content, re-integrating meaningful value is essential to paving the way for equitable virtual interactions and economies. Rather than minting new, and likely flawed, virtual currencies specific to a game, Bitcoin’s sound money principles along with the speed of the Lightning Network provide a highly divisible, interoperable asset, perfect for video games.
Bitcoin gaming is quickly getting the attention it deserves. Companies like THNDR Games, ZEBEDEE, and Satoshi’s Games are building the foundation for the future of gaming on Bitcoin.
Throughout history, artists have played a major role in spreading ideas and furthering movements.
Since the earliest days of Bitcoin, there have been artists inspired by Bitcoin and what it represents. The artwork and mediums in Bitcoin are as varied as Bitcoiners themselves, but I believe that all Bitcoin artists share a common passion to help spread the Bitcoin message and make the world a better place.
“Bitcoin Art” means different things to different people, and that’s part of the beauty of this decentralized movement.
The story of Bitcoin begins long before Satoshi sent his white paper to the Cryptography Mailing List in 2008. The fight for privacy and freedom in the digital age started with the Cryptographers, and then the mantle was taken up by the Cypherpunks, and now, the torch has been passed to the Bitcoiners.
Satoshi was no doubt a genius, but he didn’t invent something new from scratch. Rather Satoshi cleverly combined existing technologies to create something new and groundbreaking, Bitcoin.
The majority of people who go into public service do so with a big heart and a goal of giving back or fixing something that affected them or someone close to them.
Pain points in public service typically stem from a lack of funding or transparency and accountability with appropriated funds. Other times, pain points come from manipulating monetary policies to avoid what would be a “catastrophic” outcome (i.e., one a representative or appointee wouldn’t survive reelection or reappointment from.)
This rabbit hole aims to show how Bitcoin can address these problems and many more. The resources below are not an exhaustive list of propositions or arguments to listen to or read, but it is a start, and I hope it encourages a continuance of a journey down the Bitcoin rabbit hole.
See you down there!
Parker Lewis is the Head of Business Development at Unchained Capital and a prolific educator and writer in the Bitcoin space. His series “Gradually, Then Suddenly” has helped orange pill many Bitcoiners over the years.
In that series, he debunks a lot of the common FUD while also providing a great framework of how Bitcoin will impact the world. Parker has a talent for distilling complex subjects in a way everyone can understand which makes him a great asset for the Bitcoin community.
¿Qué es mejor que aprender sobre Bitcoin? Cuando realmente puedes aprender sobre ello en tu idioma natal.
Bienvenidos a mi “madriguera” de Bitcoin, completamente en español. Los libros y artículos que encontrarás en esta página son increíbles introducciones sobre Bitcoin paras las personas que apenas estan empezando a aprender sobre esta technología. Estos recurzos detallan qué es el dinero, qué es Bitcoin, por qué lo necesitamos tan urgentemente, como funciona, y las caracteristicas que lo hacen completamente único.
One piece of FUD that is very common to hear is advancements in quantum computing will eventually be able to break the underlying cryptography of Bitcoin. Because both quantum computing and Bitcoin are extremely complex topics, most people who believe this actually have no idea what they’re talking about.
To fix this problem, I compiled a list of resources here coming from people who actually do understand quantum computing and its impact (or lack thereof) on Bitcoin.
Jimmy Song has been a prominent Bitcoin educator, developer, and writer for many years now. He has the rare skills to explain Bitcoin at a complex, technical level as well as simplify it for beginners to understand. This is a sign of someone who has truly mastered the subject matter at hand.
Jimmy has authored several Bitcoin books including “The Little Bitcoin Book”, “Thank God for Bitcoin, ‘Programming Bitcoin’, and ‘Bitcoin and the American Dream’. He also pens the popular newsletter Bitcoin Tech Talk.