Quintessential reading to understand the criticality of self-dependence in fiscal terms. Money detached from dependence on intermediaries to determine worth is the only means to guarantee security and future prosperity. Being individually sovereign should be the goal of every free person.
In many ways, this text, written in the late 90’s, projects a future path for the rise of Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain. There are a great number of key figures in the technology industry focussing on this text as an indicator of where the future of the world is headed towards.
Money wants to be free, but while it is controlled by central banks and manipulated by governments for selfish endeavours it never can be. Ultimately it is a technology that can be disrupted like any other, but unlike others, certain expectations are baked deep within due to cultural norms. The sovereign individual provides a roadmap towards this future and provides an understanding of how you will personally participate and prosper.
Debt is the fundamental enabler of the economic prosperity we all benefit from, it is the building block for any and all progress that we experience as a species. Unfortunately, it is also a tool which has been used to exploit humanity and harm people for over 5 millennia.
First and foremost, debt the first 5000 years is an anthropologist study of people and our perception of self. What it uses to achieve this is our relationship with money, and utilisation of debt as a weapon to multiply differences and control. There’s a reason that the words host, hostage, hostility and hospitality are all derived from the same root. Relationships are intimately linked to our concept of worth, and our ability to maintain knowledge of who owes us what.
Debt and our relationship with it affects our future as much as anything else. Understanding the mechanisms of how it is evolved, how deep concepts of debt, guilt and reciprocity permeate every facet of our life, as well as the ways in which it has been forgiven at times throughout history to achieve certain things is crucial to understanding what money is, but equally what it isn’t.
Believing money is anything other than the collective belief in the myth of its value is dangerously misplaced. Money an Unauthorised Biography provides an extensive account of why this is the case and its implications. It recants the means of exchange that have existed through the years, everything from shells to nails, paper to large stones.
Recounting tales throughout history, the author details a path for the future of exchange. Ironically its initial premise is based on the fact the story of money we are all taught is wrong. Barter as a mechanism of exchange has never existed yet the world persists on peddling falsehoods to ease the digestions of how we got to where we are now.
Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies is Changing the World
Easy to understand book on the utility of blockchain now and in the future. Blockchain is a revolution, but it isn’t close to crossing the chasm for public usefulness. That is the problem it faces, it is not yet ready to be adopted at a wide enough scale for usefulness to be recognised, so we are at the early infrastructure stage required to make it scaleable.
Blockchain will revolutionise almost every industry and this book provides insights to the extent that it will. Critically it makes you consider the ways in which it could be applicable to your life. It helps you frame current problems you face in a way that blockchain could provide a solution. It alters the mindset of the reader by facilitating a deeper understanding of whats possible.
This book won’t teach you how to build a blockchain, but it will introduce you to the technology that has enabled its evolution to this point. It will provide a route to the future through current understanding. If you want no understanding of the technology, this is where to start.
Probably the most influential economics text in history. Critical reading to understand the economics of the past which helped create the world we inhabit now. Much of its advice and assertions have expired, but some persist and remain, and for a book that’s nearly 300 years old that is remarkable. It still provides a framework for a basic understanding of how the economy works and what governs how it meanders.
Economics grew as a discipline following this text and it is filled with wisdom which persists to this day. Reading this might not have value in the traditional sense, meaning it’s teaching can be gleaned from other sources, rather it enables you to understand part of the world that aren’t as fixed as you imagine. The value I took from it was in understanding how certain thoughts grew to prominence and which can be ignored, altered or forgotten.
The final text from famed English economist John Maynard Keynes, the father of modern economic theory and the rules which govern your financial existence in the world. This text marked the dawn of a new age, shifting economic focus towards macroeconomics.
This book provides background and understanding of government economic policy, indicating why it traveled down the path it did. This involves insights into why their spending is focussed on certain areas, why budgetary deficits emerged, the types of monetary interventions that can be applied to markets in order to direct growth, as well as counter-cyclical policies.
Mostly, it provides clarity of vision for the evolution of economics from the 1930’s through to today. It questions the suitability of free-market economics to make the best decisions for economic development and prosperity. Where Smith advocates for the invisible hand, Keynes’ view was that it can be directed to pursue certain agendas. Rightly or wrongly this is the way that the Eastern hemisphere progressed and it is what we are dealing with today.
The hint is in the title, want to understand how the proof of work system equates to Bitcoin mining? Want to understand what a decentralised ledger actually means for you and how it protects your data? It’s all here, curated by a battle-hardened veteran operating at the centre of the space.
This book provides a coherent argument why Cryptocurrencies will supplant Fiat money while establishing a roadmap of how we will get there. If you have ever found yourself asking fundamental questions of how and why blockchain emerged this fills almost all the gaps while helping you form your own questions and answers to the most important question in the space.
The first book to describe and explain the world of international and corporate finance, banking, and money in understandable language.
Lombard Street is known for its analysis of the Bank of England’s response to the Overend-Gurney crisis. Bagehot’s advice (sometimes referred to as “Bagehot’s dictum”) for the lender of last resort during a credit crunch is summarized as follows: Lend freely > at a high rate of interest > on good banking securities.
This book is a blueprint for how most governments have tried to avert disaster through time. Understanding that becomes a central component to the understanding of how we will deal crisis in the future. Crypto and blockchain emerge as alternatives in this murky world of high-level corporate finance. What is refreshing about this is how easy to consume it is. In a world which employ purposefully obscuring terms to prevent participation or understanding, this books pulls back the curtain.
Is money fair or is it simply a mechanism used to enslave us. Money is a technology which has been exploited throughout history to ensure society operated in a way which is beneficial at scale. At the same time, it has been exploited as a mechanism to force society to pay for the mistakes of Kings, dictators and governments using us to fund their lifestyles, settle their debts and fund their ventures. Should we trust those who are the figureheads of central banks or those who collect taxes? These are all fair questions to ask and one which this book seeks to answer.
In my opinion, Cryptocurrency is the answer to many of the questions and paradoxes highlighted within. By decoupling money, wealth and finance from government we unshackle society from control. Where we are helpless against arbitrary decisions imposed on us, we can’t dictate the terms of our participation. Consensus must emerge where we are responsible for our own fate economically, and isn’t this what we should all be striving for? Ultimately if we can’t control the production of money, we can control our fate.
John Law is the most misunderstood and ignored economic genius in history. For that alone, it is worth familiarising yourself with his economic theory and vision of currency.
Sure his economic theories might have led to one of the largest bubbles in history (read the Mississippi company), but like many technologies that emerge, I would argue that this was simply too innovative for the time period. The world has changed since then, instantaneous transfer of data is now possible to ensure the level of transparency required to realise the vision of the world he painted.
Law wanted to democratise wealth in a way that the bourgeois of the day would never entertain. We are currently faced with the same problem. Governments and regulators determine who can participate in certain types of wealth generating vehicles multiplying the gap between the richest 1% and the remaining 99%. If we are to emerge into a fairer more equitable society we must find ways to decentralise and democratise the existing system. Law suggested ways which this can be achieved which need to be analysed and understood in more detail.
I could have included any Neal Stephenson, Willian Gibson or CyberPunk Classic here (Snowcrash, Ready Player One and Neuromancer in particular), but Cryptonomicon offers the most extensive and in-depth overview of the future we will potentially inherit. Like any great Novel, it makes you see the world from an alternative perspective, applying those learnings and insights to the world we inhabit.
In Cryptonomicon Stephen delves into the Histories of nations and the internal desires of humanities, identifying the virtues and forces that have shaped the emergence of the world in the last 100 years. Taking actual events — the cracking of the Axis codes in WWII through to the establishment of the South East Asian ‘data haven’ — the novel explores the overlapping themes of data, secrecy and war.
Cryptonomicon is a deep dive into the implication of information and technology and their likely consequences as we evolve. Blockchain and cryptocurrency are natural bedfellows, providing a route to our participation and protection.
Reads like a fiction novel but the book is based on the triumph of man over codes, and the ingenuity we have continually employed over time to create new ones which can’t be broken. Today’s encryption is so secure that, perhaps, only a new type of quantum computing will be capable of cracking it.
Why was Mary Queen of Scotts beheaded? Someone broke the code on her correspondence with those who sought to execute the queen of England of the time. How did we crack the enigma code and ultimately turn the tide on our success in the second world war? Where did codes emerge from and where are they going? Cryptocurrency isn’t the future because it offers an alternative currency, it is because it’s safer and more secure by employing codes that can’t be broken and immutable ledgers. This protects us in ways that traditional money can’t.
Cryptography and encryption have traveled through time as humanity required ways to keep secrets. Our ability to remain in front of codebreakers while cracking the codes of those who seek to do us harm is critical to our continued safety within an increasingly complex technologically derived world. Naivety isn’t an excuse, you need to understand how you are protected and what makes you vulnerable. This is how you begin to.
Written by one of the sharpest economic minds currently operating in the venture capital industry, this book argues that the evolution of the world is continually constrained by the scarcity of the day. Offering a compelling narrative centred around the evolution of humanity from its auspices beginnings, through medieval times and finally the modern day, a World After Capital paints the picture that the only scarcity left in the world are your time and attention.
Understanding this enables you to participate in the next wave of innovation forthcoming. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency are the mechanisms which will enable you to maintain control of lifes most valuable commodity when this paradigm emerges. In many ways, we are already aware of this exploitation. To Facebook, Google and almost every technology company we are the product they exploit and profit from. Our attention is exploited for the sake of selling advertising characterising us as mere zombies implicit in this dance.
A world after capital challenged us to invent ways in which this scarcity can be directed for good. How can reward mechanism emerge which reward creators of products services and content with little to no friction? How will the world deal employ novel technologies for the good of mankind? Those questions are yet to be answered but this book provides an indication of the likely scenarios that will emerge.