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The essential crypto and DeFi reading list

Our curated guide to the best learning resources on crypto, blockchain and DeFi

Oct 1, 2021

Quick summary

Crypto and decentralized finance (DeFi) moves quickly, very quickly. So here's our hand picked list of the best guides, articles, videos, and other resources to help you navigate cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, DeFi, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), and web 3.

You can also find our non-fungible token (NFT) guide here: NFT reading list.

Introductory guides and explainers

An Intro to Crypto: Building Blocks by Linda Xie

An introductory video to crypto (currencies, tokens, and networks) – from the quest for digital money and history of Bitcoin, to the emergence of Ethereum and smart contracts.

WTF is The Blockchain? by Mohit Mamoria

A plain English guide to understanding blockchain technology.

How does Ethereum work, anyway? by Preethi Kasireddy

Explains how blockchains and Ethereum work at a technical level, but in an accessible way, without any complicated maths.

But how does bitcoin actually work? by 3Blue1Brown

A video explaining the basic technology and maths behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

What is DeFi? by Argent

Our simple guide to the latest revolution in finance.

Crypto Glossary by Alex Pruden and Sonal Chokshi

Does what it says on the tin: defines the key concepts and terms related to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology – everything from nodes to gas to miners.

History and foundations

Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System by Satoshi Nakamoto

The original Bitcoin white paper from 2008. It’s quite short and surprisingly accessible for beginners.

Ethereum Whitepaper by Vitalik Buterin

The original Ethereum whitepaper from 2013, setting out Ethereum’s vision.

Beyond the basics

Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos

This book is aimed at developers, but anyone with a basic understanding of technology can read the first two chapters to get a good grasp of Bitcoin.

Mastering Ethereum by Andreas Antonopoulos and Gavin Wood

Again, this book is mostly intended for coders wanting to learn how to develop smart contracts and decentralized applications, but the first few chapters work as an in-depth introduction to Ethereum for non-coders.

The big picture and big ideas

The Meaning of Decentralization by Vitalik Buterin

Explains what decentralization is, the different types and why it’s desirable.

Why Decentralization Matters by Chris Dixon

Explains the different eras of the internet, what decentralization is, and why it will win.

The future of decentralized finance by Linda Xie

Where DeFi is headed and some of the interesting possibilities that could come next.

Making Sense of Web 3 by Josh Stark

Explains the web 3 vision – a vision of a new, better internet – in clear, simple terms.

Crypto’s Consumer Era by Kinjal Shah

How crypto is poised to define the next consumer transformation and become more mainstream.

Infrastructure

An Overview of the Crypto Wallet Landscape by Richard Chen

Gives an overview of the crypto wallet ecosystem and highlights some of the recent improvements in wallet user experience.

Blockchain Bridges: Building Networks of Cryptonetworks by Dmitriy Berenzon

Explains the concept of bridges – connections between different cryptonetworks – why they are important and what the future holds.

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs)

A beginner’s guide to DAOs by Linda Xie

Explains what a DAO is, their future use cases, and potential issues.

DAO Landscape by Cooper Turley

Gives an overview of the DAO landscape, and the relationship between financial and social capital.

Scaling

Making Sense of Ethereum’s Layer 2 Scaling Solutions by Josh Stark

Discusses the scaling challenges of Ethereum (and all public blockchains) in general, before delving specifically into “off-chain” or “layer 2” solutions.

What is Layer 2 on Ethereum? by Argent

Our guide to layer 2 and how it will help everyone enjoy cheaper fees (gas) and faster transactions with Ethereum.

Courses

Crypto Startup School by Andreessen Horowitz

A free course of lectures, fireside chats, and reading material for those looking to get started in crypto.

Solidity, Blockchain, and Smart Contract Course by freeCodeCamp.org

A free course that gives you an introduction to blockchain, smart contracts and DeFi, so you can start building your own contracts and applications with Solidity and Python.

CryptoZombies by Clever Flare

Learn to make smart contracts in Solidity or Libra by making your own crypto-collectibles game.

Conclusion

If you want to dive deeper still, take a look at Andreessen Horowitz's Crypto Canon, and our other Learn guides. And if you’ve got questions, join our Discord to chat with other Argent users about all things crypto and DeFi.

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