Synopsis: The Book Of Satoshi by Phil Champagne collects the writings of the anonymous founder of Bitcoin, along with expert commentary and analysis. This article is a comprehensive The Book Of Satoshi book review, from bestselling author Nathan Rose.
***This review is part of a series. Click here for my full list of the world’s best cryptocurrency books.***
The Book Of Satoshi Book Review
The Book Of Satoshi‘s own Amazon description puts it best:
“The Book Of Satoshi provides a convenient way to parse through what Bitcoin’s creator wrote over the span of the two years that constitued his “public life” before he disappeared from the Internet… at least under the name Satoshi Nakamoto.”
But before diving into the writings of Satoshi, the first part of the book gives an amazingly coherent explanation of how Bitcoin works. When I was researching my own book (The Crypto Intro), this part of The Book Of Satoshi was hands-down the best resource for understanding Bitcoin and blockchain.
Instead of referring to Bitcoin mining as a “mathematical puzzle” (as so many others do), Champagne correctly characterizes it as a game of chance, with the winner determined by computers using processing power to try and guess a hexidecimal hash function below a certain threshold number. If that sounds compliated – don’t worry – the explanation inside the book is clear and perfectly paced. Any reasonably intelligent person will be able to follow along, even if they open the book without knowing the first thing about Bitcoin, hexidecimals, or cryptographic hashing. This is easily worth the price of the book alone.
But that’s just the beginning. With that groundwork laid, The Book Of Satoshi then gets into its main mission – presenting the most important writings of Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous founder of Bitcoin. The Book Of Satoshi selects the most illustrative parts of Satoshi’s prose, beginning each chapter with a short commentary on what is being said and why it matters. Satoshi was usually corresponding with other programmers, so the author very helpfully translates programmer-speak into language that non-technical readers can easily understand.
Others also have given it a ringing endorsement with a Book Of Satoshi book review of their own, including:
- John W. Ratcliff (Let’s Talk Bitcoin)
- Kevin Cruz (Bitcoin Magazine)
- Jeff Berwick (The Dollar Vigilante)
Top Quotes From The Book Of Satoshi
To give readers a preview of the kind of writing you can expect, this Book Of Satoshi book review has five of the best quotations below. If you were unclear whether to read this book, then the below passages will be helpful in deciding.
“The Guttenberg press helped bring books to the masses. The telegraph has enabled crude but rapid communication across great distances. More recently, personal computers have vastly increased human productivity, leading to the creation of the Internet, digital communications, and the advent of citizen journalism as photos of major events are almost instantly uploaded to Twitter and other social networks via smartphone, which are small computers in their own right. Until fairly recently, however, the monetary system has remained somewhat untouched by a major breakthrough.”
“The miner’s goal, the problem that must be solved, is to generate a hash output that is below a certain value. The first miner to compute a value having this characteristic wins, and his version of the block will, after validation by the other miners, be added to the block chain discussed earlier in this chapter. For simplicity, imagine that the hash output was actually a number between 0 and 1,000,000 and that the first miner to get a hash output of less than 10,000 wins. The 10,000 acts as a threshold, and each block within Bitcoin contains a number whose sole purpose is to obtain the threshold.”
“…rising prices are a symptom of a devaluating currency, which occurs when more of it is present than there was before. It is interesting but not surprising that this transition in definition corresponds to a time over which paper currencies became further and further detached from gold and silver, a development which leads to higher prices.”
“Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own.”
Bitcoin, in itself, may or may not survive up to the year 2140 when all bitcoins will have been mined, but the idea of a distributed, peer-to-peer and decentralized limited-supply currency is here to stay… Bitcoin’s major impact has been to allow the population of the world to reconsider how a currency should function.”
The Verdict: The Book Of Satoshi Book Review
The Book Of Satoshi is truly unique. There have been many books dedicated to the history and potential future of Bitcoin, and many programming guides dedicated to the technical aspects, but none before had covered the extensive writings from the founder himself. As the book’s foreword pointed out, many people are fond of saying that the origins of Bitcoin are “shrouded in mystery” – but this is not true. Want to know the origins of Bitcoin? Read The Book Of Satoshi.
Along the way, many of the most frequent Bitcoin criticisms and questions are handled. Could governments take down crypto? Could a malicious attacker break into the blockchain? Could a thief use a public key to reverse-engineer the private key, with enough computing power? Is Bitcoin wasting too much electricity? Satoshi answered all of these questions at some point. With Phil Champagne’s commentary to aid, readers can get to the bottom of such thorny questions through the figure who knew Bitcoin better than anyone – Satoshi Nakamoto – because he invented it.
If you enjoyed this The Book Of Satoshi book review, then you would also enjoy my book – The Crypto Intro. My book is more of a hands-on how-to guide for getting started with crypto. Read The Book Of Satoshi for to understand what Bitcoin is and how it works, and read The Crypto Intro if you want to get your first wallet, buy your first Bitcoin, and begin using it for yourself!