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The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  3,772 ratings  ·  508 reviews
Bitcoin is the newest technology for money—find out how it fits in the future.
Bitcoin is the digital age's novel, decentralized, and automated solution to the problem of money: accessible worldwide, controlled by nobody. Can this young upstart money challenge the global monetary order? Economist Saifedean Ammous traces the history of the technologies of money to seashells,
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Wiley
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Swilmo We are moving to a digital world and it makes sense to me that we will leverage digital assets for various functions; including a store of value.

The f…more
We are moving to a digital world and it makes sense to me that we will leverage digital assets for various functions; including a store of value.

The fact that almost a quarter of all USD in existence was printed in a single year is more than alarming, it’s mind-blowing and terrifying. Bitcoin is a hedge to these actions and others. Also it’s is a safe way to play in best bitcoin gambling sites.(less)

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Matt Weller
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
As I see it, this book is made up of three distinct sections/essays:

The first 10% (5 stars):

Potentially the best explanation of the characteristics of money and how they work together to solve the "coincidence of wants" issue.

The next 50% (0 stars):

Think of the obnoxious frat bro who just read Ayn Rand for the first time and now has the world completely figured out, or the stoner who believes that the illegality of pot is the cause of all the planet's suffering: it's the sort of exaggerated, t
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended, but with caveats.

For full disclosure, I am a cryptocurrency (particularly bitcoin) enthusiast and was in this camp long before I read "The Bitcoin Standard".

I would agree with some other reviewers that the first third of this book, covering the nature and history of various media used as money, is very readable and interesting. Likewise, the latter third, going specifically into why the author feels that bitcoin is potentially suitable to be a new monetary standard (even better than
Martin Brochhaus
This book has a few flaws but I'm pretty sure, it is the most complete and easiest to understand and most factually correct book on bitcoin available right now. If you want to learn about bitcoin, and more importantly about money in general, this is a great and quick read by a clearly intelligent author.

Chapter 1 defines what is money in theory. Chapter 2 shows examples of primitive monies from the past. Chapter 3 raves about Gold as the best form of money man has known so far. Chapters 4-7 get
Julian Worker
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a clear, well-written explanation of the history of money, the rise of Bitcoin and it's potential benefits plus the uses Blockchain technology can be put to. The author clearly doesn't like many other famous economists such as Keynes. Altcoins don't fare well. ...more
Chris Pacia
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
While I'm sympathetic to many of the ideas in this book, they are very poorly argued. The first half of the book or so is about the economics of hard money. The author could have charitably considered the pros and cons of such a system and examined alternatives in detail. Instead we are presented with juvenile arguments that give the impression the author has read very little about monetary economics. To the extent alternative views are presented, the author does so only to strawman them. Profes ...more
Apr 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: waiting
I'd rather read dictionary from Z to A than try this book again.
I'm in 3/4 and there is still nothing interesting if you know a little bit about bitcoin and financial system.

A great read for university professors born before 1970 I guess.
Warren Mcpherson
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookchain
Libertarian or "Austrian economics" explanation of money. Discussing the history and social impact then anticipating the role of bitcoin.
The book has a great explanation of the monetary property of gold. The stock to flow ratio was clearly described and illustrated a few times making a valuable concept very clear.
In other sections, the arguments were highly ideological. The argument about Keynes would more convincing if it was more disciplined particularly in describing specific positions. The
Skyler Jokiel
This book started off so promising. The first 30% is really solid. But then it seems like the editor stoped reading and the author decided to go off script. There were numerous attacks on institutions and process that just seemed petty. On top of that the attack’s rambled on with 0 citation. Instead of presenting the data and offering assessment for the reader to interpret the author added immense bias with no evidence. It got to the point that I stopped reading because even if what he was sayin ...more
Rob Price
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A well put together monetary economic history from an Austrian economics perspective. Despite the large uncertainty posed by the future, Saif holds strong and clear perspectives about the future of money and the cryptocurrency space. Many would find his perspectives controversial and potentially a little dogmatic. I do, however, appreciate his clarity of thought and his unwavering commitment to his views. Whatever the eventual outcome of the cryptocurrency revolution, Saif's contribution is a va ...more
Michael Huang
Feb 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: blinkisted
Though the book contains some interesting stories about money, for the most part, it’s full of dogmatic assertions and circular reasoning of the kind from libertarian monetary school: All the boom and bust cycles are because the government controls the monetary policy, so let’s go back to Gold or the new age version — bitcoin. (Never mind in the mother of all bubbles, the tulip bulbs were bought and sold using gold coins.)
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
[Note: this is a pretty “rough” review. There was a lot of material in this book, and I hope at some point to give it a second read-through and then re-write this review, to provide a better survey of key points and a more nuanced treatment overall.]

First off, I’m grateful to Saifedean for writing this book. I found it informative and thought-provoking, and loaded with potent one-liners that capture some of Bitcoin’s most exciting characteristics, and refute some of the most common arguments aga
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, stocks
I don't understand the many mediocre reviews here.

I have read several on this topic now...and THIS is the book that everyone should read to understand the history of money from beads and rocks to the evolution of digital currency. Current fiscal policy is explained as regard to how money works and of how digital currency can change the world and why you can be confident in it.

Governments have control over money, meaning they have control over you. Bitcoin offers freedom from control and inflati
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
This book could have been much better... There are good parts to it, especially in the beginning, a historical review of money is very interesting. However pretty soon the author loses credibility in my eyes as it slowly switches from presenting facts and interesting analysis to the ramblings of a madman.

I have no issue with a certain level of subjectivity and bias in a book like this, but the extremes to which this goes is insane. As many reviewers previously mentioned already, the author blame
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book on Bitcoin and the existing state of the world economy that I know. After almost daily reading/following the bitcoin space, this was the book I waited for. Covers gold, history of money, economics, central banking, all before Saifedean dives into Bitcoin and why it’s unique and has no equal. This will be my standard recommendation to anybody interested in Bitcoin or the crypto space in general.
Adrian Sprague
Really terrible. I thought this book would give some technical information on bitcoin, but instead gave me some libertarians shitty views on whatever it seemed like he was thinking about at the moment he was writing. His take on Modern art was among the most memorably idiotic parts of this publication. What it did say about bitcoin was basic knowledge I could have found on Wikipedia, and even that was barely touched and poorly written.

90% of the book wasn’t worth reading in my opinion
Jun 20, 2021 rated it liked it
I fell down the rabbit hole. I'd had it talked at me for months by colleagues during the 2020 bull run and had been in a position to stock some money in various places (full disclosure I have financial exposure to digital assets now among other investments). Turns out putting some money in it cranks up the research incentive exponentially over my already aggressive bookish baseline. Also turns out that this space is raising a lot of questions that are fascinating to consider in and of themselves ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: econ-finance
With all the hype in the crypto space, it’s gratifying to read a book about Bitcoin which (apart from a brief prologue) contains only incidental mention of Bitcoin for the first two-thirds of the book. Ultimately, as you’ll gather from the title, Bitcoin plays a fairly grand role, supplanting gold as the historical reserve standard, but by building a groundwork understanding of money’s emergence, history, and evolution, Ammous makes a sober arrival at his final destination.

Money has traditionall
Taylor Pearson
One of the interesting side effects of the rise of Bitcoin is that suddenly a lot of people are interested in Austrian economics.

In The Bitcoin Standard, Ammous offers a take on why Bitcoin is the best version of what Austrian economists call “sound money” and why he believes that makes it the only cryptocurrency worth paying attention to.

A lot of the argument hinges on the notion of time preference — that a sound money which can’t be inflated away incentives people to think longer term, a shift
Raphael Leiteritz
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For me, one of the most important books I ever read. I have been following Bitcoin for many years and I am still amazed how well this puts Bitcoin in a historic perspective and explains it huge potential. This is a future classic.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent book. I loved the first few chapters about the history of money, which led very nicely into why "Sound Money" is so important. Would highly recommend this to anyone who is investigating cryptocurrencies and wants to know what all the fuss is about.

The only thing that was a bit strange (and unnecessary), was the hate in the last chapter towards ETH. Yes the DAO was bad, but why spend so much time hating. Clearly the BTC maximalism kool-aid is strong enough to spill over into an actually
May 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: capitalism
This really should be three different books.

The first third of this book that goes into the history and formulation of money and currencies and implementation of the gold standard is really interesting and I would like to read more about it. The author didn’t do a bad job lightly touching on this subject and I’ll probably reread it sometime.

The second third of this book is a large critique on Keynesian economics which was fine but seem to rely heavy on how Keynes lives his life outside of his
Yousef M
Rather than dive into the emergence of digital currencies, their significance, and what the future may hold, this book takes a step back and asks “What is money and what purpose has it served historically?” before addressing “What is BitCoin and how is it the same/different as the money of the past?”
Author is an Economics Professor at Lebanese American University.  When he’s discussing the origins of money early in the book and BitCoin/blockchain towards the end, his writing is
Mikko Ikola
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021, crypto
Holy shit. One of the best books ever written to understand how currencies, money, the economy, and the world works.

This book was already released in 2017 and I never bother to read it then, because I thought the book mostly talks about the technical fundamentals behind Bitcoin. I had already familiarized myself with that, and I thought I could skip this book. Big mistake. If you already know Bitcoin, don't skip this book.

The cover of this book is misleading. This book is mostly not about Bitco
Ben Newman-Sanders
Aug 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I found parts of this book really interesting, mainly because it was the first book I had read on the history of money and bitcoin, but I also thought the author was insufferable and tried far too many times to impose what seems to be an extremely naive and amoral worldview on the reader.

On the history of money, where these facts and stories are far in the past, the book was excellent, strongly showing why the majority of things used for money, other than gold, are all deeply flawed.

As soon as t
Sagar Acharya
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
1st half was glorious and opened my eyes as to how to look at currency and the whole system of money. I did read economics (Keynesian) before reading this book and most of it's theories seemed strange. They used rational agent just a bit too much and in long chain reasoning where error should've grown pretty fast. Saifedean clears it up and presents a case of how money use has evolved, from examples of Rai stones, shells, salt to metals like gold and silver and ultimately to gold. Since 1943 the ...more
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
I would like to echo many of the existing sentiments surrounding the book. The first part of the book that talks about the qualities of money and what makes good money is amazing. Honestly, if you only read to the 1/3 mark on this book, you probably got 80% of what you need to know. After that though, the book kinda drags on. It's not even till the very last section of the book that even discusses bitcoin and the section on bitcoin can be summed in "you know all the things that I thoroughly disc ...more
Evan Nordquist
The first section was a good intro on the history of money. (4/5)
The last few chapters on realistic use cases and potential attack vectors is also more nuanced than the regular old fud. (4/5)

The middle ...50% of the book (0/5) was whining about how he hates his boss. What?! And that the reason the world even has bumbling middle managers is because of fiat. The author could have made a cause and effect, chain-reaction, Rube-Goldberg argument for why he thinks this is true, and he might even be ri
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a great book for understanding how money works. It begins with its conceptual origins and continues into present day and speculates beyond. The author does a good job of describing how a *-standard works and compares and contrasts the differences between a silver-standard and a gold-standard paving the way for an understanding of the bitcoin-standard.

But money is also an instrument in an economy and the author includes discussion on various economic theories and his leanings - which you
Alejandro Guariguata
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The most valuable service that this book can provide to someone who has not formally studied money is the presentation of hard money vs. soft money.

Bitcoin and why it can be used as a form of currency is a topic that can be explained by other books and even a good blog post. The reason this book is so valuable is due to the contrast that it provides between fiat and cryptocurrency. Understanding the flaws in the way that current fiat system operates allows for a deeper understanding of why Bitc
Nikola Bakic
Definitely the best book on bitcoin/crypto I've read so far. The exposition on the history of money and evolution of money from barter, to early forms of money (e.g. seashells), to bimetallism and gold standard, is perhaps the best manuscript on money I've ever come across. The author's philosophical musings on what sound money means for the societal development are very close to my heart. It all follows from the teachings of Austrian school, as is expected from someone who is a sound money advo ...more
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