The crypto space is constantly changing and evolving. And yet, some constants will always stay the same.
When it comes to learning any new thing, understanding those constants is usually the quickest path to understanding. For example, if you’ve ever tried to learn Spanish (or any language, really) you probably realized the power of learning to conjugate verbs:
Comer: To eat, becomes “Yo como” (I eat) / “El come” (he eats) / “Ellos comen” (they eat.)
Realizing the same rules apply to almost any Spanish word that ends in “-er” unlocks almost all of the language, and before you know it you’re on your way to understanding and appreciating a deeper side of Pitbull.
The same is basically true with crypto and its biggest constant, Bitcoin.
Bitcoin was the first invention to prove out a new, revolutionary concept dubbed blockchain. At the simplest level, a blockchain is just a publicly viewable list that can’t be altered without permission. Once you understand it, you unlock understanding almost all of crypto. But by it I don’t simply mean bitcoin the cryptocurrency that people have come to appreciate as digital gold. More importantly, I mean understanding how the Bitcoin network functions and is powered by the cryptocurrency, bitcoin.
For myself (and any friend who has ever asked me how Bitcoin works) I always go back to a phenomenal digital animation that has now racked up more than 12,000,000 views on YouTube. I watched it in 2017 and have shown it to hundreds since. No joke, sometimes I watch it when I’m bored. Last week, I went to a movie night with friends and put it on.
Not everyone was pleased, but by the end of it they agreed it’s simply worth the 25 minutes. Even as a huge Ozark fan myself, I promise the return on your time will be worth more than an episode of your favorite show. The animation by 3Blue1Brown is titled “But how does bitcoin actually work?” and you can watch it here.
The reason why I love it and still rewatch it today is because it’s not only great at simplifying things, but it’s also great at visually showing what’s going on behind the scenes from a technical blockchain perspective. It also addresses the “why.” Why is Bitcoin necessary? Why is it better or worse than the old system? Why was it built the way it was, and what can be improved?
Inevitably, it’s that last question of what can be improved that has spawned countless other crypto projects – from Ethereum, to Tether, to USDC, to Avalanche. The list goes on but the constant is that they are all derivatives of the same constant. They are all blockchains.
Of course, understanding the first and largest blockchain that is Bitcoin might not get you to understanding all of crypto. But when it makes up nearly half of the entire crypto space by value, after mastering it you can at least say you almost half understand cryptocurrency. :)
I also use the term “mastering” half jokingly there. Obviously it’s not going to teach everything about bitcoin, but after nearly a decade in crypto I have yet to find a better explainer. Maybe it’s because I’m a visual learner. Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for nice voiceovers. It’s just good, and honestly sometimes people who thought they knew everything about bitcoin even pick something up.
So give it a watch. If it prompts new questions, let me know. If it prompts absolutely nothing, also let me know in the comments here or DM me on Facebook or Twitter!
*(Screenshot courtesy of 3Blue1Brown.)