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Reviewed by Irene Valentine for Readers' Favorite
My First Guide to Bitcoin: An Easy Read on The Cryptic Topic is written by Andrew O’Neil. With the font of a child’s first storybook, Andrew has used a simple conversational style to outline the concepts of Bitcoin. He warns against taking this light read as professional advice. Andrew also cautions against investing the money needed for current living expenses. The goal of this little 37-page book is to explain the concepts of Bitcoin. The idea of cryptocurrency began in the ’80s but the practical implementation had not been mapped out before the 2008 global economic crisis. Andrew outlines government bailouts, fiat money, and the introduction of “peer-to-peer electronic cash”. The Whitepaper went public on October 21st, 2008. This nine-page document outlined the foundations for Bitcoin, including the concept of proof-of-work to confirm transactions. The first block of the bitcoin system was mined on January 3rd, 2009.
Andrew O’Neil explains basic bitcoin terminology like transaction verification, what mining is, and why it is critical. As gold is mined by labor, Bitcoin’s protocol has similarities in that it requires miners to create blocks. Having access to a non-government-issued and regulated currency, which is not a physically printed item, challenges our perception. Digital payment of fiat has taken years to be fully adopted. As of June 2020, there were 5534 cryptocurrencies. Just as people speculate on shares, so speculators gamble on lesser-known cryptos. A Fun Fact is that Bitcoin ATMs are located around the world, from Australia to Zimbabwe. Like many, I initially felt daunted by this new concept of Bitcoin. However, after reading O’Neil's easy-to-understand work, I recommend My First Guide to Bitcoin, which is a quick and simple way to gain a basic understanding of this cryptocurrency.