This is an opinion editorial by Peter Conley, a product advocate at Vercel.
How does someone start learning about Bitcoin? This is the 21-million-coin question. Learning about Bitcoin can be disorienting. There’s so much content out there, content of all kinds: books, online courses, YouTube videos, podcasts, tweets, Medium articles and everything else you can think of.
Simply starting can be the most intimidating part. Before going down the Bitcoin rabbit hole, I didn’t know what the term “market cap” meant, what the Federal Reserve did, or anything about the history of gold. I have a degree in business administration from the State University of New York that taught me next to nothing about finance. And I couldn’t tell you the difference between a full node and a mining rig, yet I have worked in the tech industry since 2014.
So where did I start? Did I immediately buy “The Bitcoin Standard”? Did I go down the rabbit hole of Michael Saylor’s interviews? Did I pretend to understand what Nick Szabo was saying on Tim Ferriss’ podcast?
I took a more personalized approach to learning about Bitcoin. I focused on specific Bitcoin educators who taught through the lens of subjects I knew (or loosely knew) and would listen to their interviews ad nauseam until I could understand their basic mental models and premises.
Any specific tunnel that would allow me to burrow just an inch further down this rabbit hole, I took. If I felt like I couldn’t dive any deeper, I would seek out another educator to take me in a different direction, as long as it took me deeper.
I would listen to anywhere from three to 60 podcasts in a row from a particular educator, so I could drill their teachings and their analogies into my mind. From this, I was able to create a “trunk of knowledge” and then branch off to other subjects and subdomains to further my understanding.
Initially, Anthony Pompliano was the first to be able to hook me. In my opinion, he’s able to speak to nontechnical people and get to the first principles of Bitcoin. One of my favorite examples of this is his podcast interview with comedians Andrew Schulz and Akaash Singh.
When I found a foothold through the history of technology — like the printing press, or steel, or weapons — I would listen to Michael Saylor.
After 50 or so Michael Saylor interviews, I read “The Bitcoin Standard” by Dr. Saifedean Ammous. His book was able to frame the problem Bitcoin was trying to solve. Upon grasping how big a problem fiat money is, I could then further explore why Bitcoin is the best solution.
When I started to work in web development, I was impressed by Andreas Antonopoulos’ work, specifically “The Internet Of Money.”
I took this approach because humans learn by analogy. If you’re a web developer trying to learn about neuroscience, the more your teacher uses computer science references, the quicker you will learn. If your teacher continues to draw comparisons between the human brain and computers you’ll absorb the material at a rapid clip. The same applies to Bitcoin or any other subject.
I don’t believe there is a “one size fits all” way to learn about Bitcoin. I don’t think there is one best Bitcoin book. Nor is there one best Bitcoin podcast. However, there are definitely ideal pieces of content based on your existing knowledge and top-tier communicators that can help you understand Bitcoin more quickly.
Fortunately, there isn’t just one domain or one Bitcoin educator. If you know nothing about philosophy and don’t understand 70% of what Robert Breedlove says, you’re not out of luck. If you can’t write code, no need to go out and buy “Mastering Bitcoin.” Instead, find an educator that gives you a foothold.
Below, is a short list of my personal favorite Bitcoin educators and the domains they teach through. If you’re stuck on understanding Bitcoin, I’d suggest entering through a domain you already know, then scaling up your understanding from there. What’s the worst that could happen?
Andreas Antonopoulos, the author of “The Internet Of Money” and one of the OG Bitcoin educators, teaches through the lens of computer science, the history of the internet and internet technology (IT).
Michael Saylor, whose public company, MicroStrategy, possesses billions of dollars worth of bitcoin on its balance sheet, teaches through the lens of the history of technology, energy, investing in early domain names, public markets and by being a (recently former) CEO of a public company.
Dr. Saifedean Ammous, the famed author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” teaches through the lens of Austrian economics.
Robert Breedlove, a successful venture capitalist, primarily teaches through the lens of philosophy and “freedom maximalism.”
Natalie Brunell, one of the most recognized journalists in the Bitcoin space, teaches through journalism and the American dream.
Anthony Pompliano, venture capitalist, entrepreneur and media mogul, teaches through the lens of technology companies, financial markets and monetary policy.
Jason Lowery, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, teaches through the lens of warfare, physics, history and national defense.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who was voted one of the top mayors in the country, teaches through the lens of governance and local politics.
This by no means is an exhaustive list. I’ve compiled a more exhaustive list of Bitcoin educators here. If you have another one to add to the list feel free to message me via Twitter.
This is a guest post by Peter Conley. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.