Blockchain Consultant @PwC / Content Marketer / Obsessed with Crypto, AI, the Future, and the Past
Let’s get back to basics. Follow this article to get everything you need to learn about blockchain and the cryptocurrencies surrounding it.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are still in their infancy. There aren’t many industry standards, accreditations, or trust symbols. There’s no organization like the Better Business Bureau to let consumers know what sources of information are credible or not. The fragmented landscape of crypto information sources makes it difficult for retail investors to educate themselves and holds back risk-averse institutional investors from entering the market at all.
I’m working on a “Beginner Blockchain” course but until that’s complete — I decided to compile the resources that helped me when I first got into the space. I hope they provide the same insight and clarity for you.
I’ve broken this up into two main sections:
Everything listed here is free. I genuinely believe these resources are everything you need to learn the basics, and stay up to date on blockchain technology and the cryptocurrencies built on top of it. If you’re not as interested in blockchain as you are in trading cryptocurrencies, here’s a link to a Discord server with Trading Educational Courses.
Before we dive into the resources I want to clear a couple things. I get a lot of questions about what blockchain terminology, and what the difference is between “blockchain” and “cryptocurrency”.
Blockchain is to Cryptocurrency what the Internet is to E-mail.
The term cryptocurrency is widely used to describe all blockchain projects, mostly because the first blockchain projects were meant to act solely as currencies. It wasn’t until projects like Ethereum came around that we started to see blockchain projects with different aspirations than replacing fiat money. Like I said, there isn’t an industry standard or “Blockchain Bible” that defines all these terms explicitly — but this is my understanding, and as someone who lives, breathes, and eats crypto, I think I’m a halfway decent reference point.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin is built with blockchain technology, similar to how a car is built with a combustion engine.
There are other materials needed to build a car besides the engine, like metal. There are also other materials needed for Bitcoin to work, like computers that run as nodes.
If blockchain is the internet, then Bitcoin is paypal.
If blockchain is the internet, then Ethereum is HTML.
If blockchain is the internet, then Monero is a VPN
Admittedly, these examples are a little over-simplified. They don’t take into account the fact that many cryptocurrencies have their own blockchains — each touting specific benefits and drawbacks. Ethereum has it’s own blockchain for example: cryptocurrencies are either built ontop of a pre-existing blockchain, or they are their own blockchain.
Bitcoin is its own blockchain.
aXpire is a token built on the Ethereum blockchain.
I’m sure you’re sick of examples and analogies by now so let’s get into the resources.
Whenever someone asks me how to learn about blockchain or crypto in general, I tell them the exact same thing.
There are over 1600 cryptocurrencies in existence, I’m not saying reading these white papers will make you understand all of them do (half of them don’t really do anything innovative anyway). What it will do, is give you an understanding of how the underlying technology that fuels this industry works, and why it’s a game changer.
The reason you need to read these two white papers is because they present the two great innovations born in this industry: distributed ledgers, and smart contracts.
I strongly believe that you should educate yourself on distributed ledgers and smart contracts before learning anything else in this space. Read these white papers so many times that you can explain their concepts to a 10-year-old.
Now that you understand what blockchain is and why it matters, here are some websites to help keep you up to date on the latest news and data needed to succeed in this space.