The Internet’s Best Introduction to Bitcoin Curriculum

This post outlines the fastest, most efficient learning path for people who want to get up to speed on Bitcoin, whether that’s for making an investment or transitioning to working in the industry. You’ll alternate between:

  • studying Bitcoin using the resources most recommended by Bitcoiners,
  • and using Bitcoin by doing activities designed to follow up these resources.

After six hours of guided research, you’ll own a small amount of bitcoin and you’ll have used the tools that power the ecosystem. You’ll understand the main reasons for holding your bitcoin securely and how to buy more.

To go through this curriculum using proper learning software (and not Medium), enroll in my free Teachable course.

To dialogue and do these activities with me and a group of your peers, join a live cohort here.

Here’s an overview of the curriculum:

  • A vision (20 minutes)
  • Buy and receive your first satoshis (20 minutes)
  • What is money, and how much do I have? (1 hour)
  • How Bitcoin works (2 hours 30 minutes)
  • Upgrade your self-custody setup (20 minutes)
  • The Lightning Network (30 minutes)
  • Misconceptions, risks, and the community (20 minutes)
  • Construct and follow your transaction (20 minutes)

Prerequisites:

  • Mobile device (Android or iOS)
  • Computer (OSX, Windows, or Linux)
  • Internet connection

Time commitment:

  • 5 hours and 40 minutes

Why you should trust me as your guide:

  • I dropped out of school to create my own degree using internet resources, then created dozens of courses and curricula for prominent edtech companies and for my own business. I’ve completed hundreds of online courses and critically reviewed hundreds more — I know what makes a good learning process.
  • I fell down the Bitcoin rabbit hole in 2020. I’ve given tailored Bitcoin onboarding sessions to interested friends and family since mid-2020.

Let’s get started.

A vision

Bitcoin is Generational Wealth

15 minutes (210k views, 10k likes on YouTube)

Bitcoin Is Generational Wealth is a short film that explores Bitcoin’s potential impact on humanity. The purpose of starting with a film instead of a technical intro is to get you asking questions. How can one believe the claims made in this film? What is so special about this computer program? Are these people in the comments real?

Watch the video on YouTube:

Satoshi’s First Email & First Forum Post

5 minutes

The Complete Satoshi is a collection of the public writings of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. Satoshi wrote emails, a whitepaper, and forum posts between 2008–2012 to launch his vision for a new form of money. You will read his first email and his first forum post. The goal here is to contextualize the previous video and get a high-level technical understanding of Bitcoin so you understand what is happening when you receive your first satoshis in the next section.

Read his first email here:

Read his first forum post here:

Watch my walkthrough video on Vimeo:

Buy and receive your first satoshis

20 minutes

For your first activity, you will:

  • download an app on your phone to store your bitcoin,
  • buy your first satoshis privately and securely from a friend or using a voucher system, then
  • receive those satoshis using your app.

The app is called Wallet of Satoshi. The voucher system is called Azteco. If you want to go the friend route but you don’t know any Bitcoiners, join a live cohort here.

Follow the instructions for this activity in this post:

What is money, and how much do I have?

The Bullish Case for Bitcoin by Vijay Boyapati

30 minutes (4.8/5 ★★★★★, 333 ratings on Amazon & 35k claps on Medium)

Vijay Boyapati in his article The Bullish Case for Bitcoin presents the history of money, the anatomy of Bitcoin, and how Bitcoin compares to previous monetary technologies like gold and fiat. The goal here is to understand how Bitcoin could become the world’s next dominant form of money, and the investment case for buying bitcoin now instead of later.

For this part of the learning path, I recommend reading everything in the article except the “Common misconceptions” and “Real risks” sections. These sections are outside the scope of your learning objectives for this section — you will revisit them later.

Read the article on Medium:

You can also read a paperback format of the article by buying it from Vijay’s website or from Amazon. If you choose to read the book, read Chapters 1–4, then the “Conclusion” section (pages 92–95).

Activities for The Bullish Case for Bitcoin

30 minutes

I created a list of activities for each section (in the article) or chapter (in the book) in The Bullish Case for Bitcoin. The goal of these activities is to reinforce what you just read.

Follow the instructions for these activities in this post:

How Bitcoin works

Inventing Bitcoin by Yan Pritzker

2 hours (4.7/5 ★★★★★, 436 ratings on Amazon)

Yan Pritzker in his book Inventing Bitcoin presents a process of inventing Bitcoin, no technical expertise required. The goal here is to understand how Bitcoin works to gain confidence in the accepting or disputing the claims made in Bitcoin is Generational Wealth and The Bullish Case for Bitcoin.

For this part of the learning path, I recommend reading chapters 1–5, then chapter 7. The other chapters are outside the scope of your learning objectives for this section — you will have an opportunity to revisit them later.

Read a free copy of the book in PDF, audiobook, and e-reader formats here:

You can also read the book in paperback format by buying it from Amazon.

Activities for Inventing Bitcoin

30 minutes

I created a list of activities for each chapter in Inventing Bitcoin. Again, the goal of these activities is to reinforce what you just read.

Follow the instructions for these activities in this post:

Upgrade your self-custody setup

20 minutes

For this activity, you will:

  • download a new app on your phone to store your bitcoin,
  • make a backup for a situation where you can no longer access your phone,
  • send the satoshis you bought in the first activity from your old app to your new app, then
  • delete the app and restore your satoshis via backup to simulate a situation where you can no longer access your phone.

The new app is called Phoenix Wallet.

The Lightning Network

What is The Lightning Network?

10 minutes (40k views, 1k likes on YouTube)

The Lightning Network is a second-layer network built on top of the Bitcoin network that allows bitcoin payments to scale to millions of transactions per second. In the first activity of this learning path, you used it to send satoshis to your Wallet of Satoshi app. The following animated video describes how the Lightning Network works and the challenges it currently faces. The goal here is to understand how everyday payments would likely work should Bitcoin achieve mass adoption.

Watch the video on YouTube:

The State of Lightning: Volume 2

20 minutes

The State of Lightning: Volume 2 is a report by Arcane Research that quantifies and visualizes what’s happening with the Lightning Network as of April 2022. The goal of reading this report is to see how Lightning is beginning to solve real problems for real people around the world.

I recommend reading pages 3–20 and 41–44 at this part in the learning path.

Read the report via Arcane’s website:

If you don’t want to log in to download the report, here is a link to the PDF.

Misconceptions, risks, and the community

Misconceptions and risks

10 minutes

Go back and read the parts of The Bullish Case for Bitcoin that I suggested you skip earlier. Those are:

  • the “Common misconceptions” and “Real risks” sections of the article, or
  • chapter 5 of the book (website, Amazon).

The community

10 minutes

To keep your knowledge up to date, I recommend joining Twitter and following people that care about Bitcoin. hive.one provides a list of profiles to follow algorithmically ranked by reputation in the community.

If you don’t have a Twitter account, create one here. To start, follow the top 10 profiles on hive.one/c/bitcoin. You can follow a profile by clicking the three dots on the right of a profile then clicking Open Twitter Profile.

As you use the app over time, click on what interests you and the Twitter algorithm will feed you relevant tweets, articles, videos, podcasts, etc.

Construct and follow your transaction

20 minutes

For this activity, you will:

  • download a new app to store your bitcoin that has more features,
  • make a Lightning transaction and watch it finalize instantaneously, then
  • make a Bitcoin transaction and follow it using a tool called a block explorer.

The new app is called BlueWallet. The block explorer is called mempool.space.

Next steps

You’ve completed the learning path. Congratulations!

You own a small amount of bitcoin and you have used the tools that power the Bitcoin ecosystem. You understand the main reasons for holding your bitcoin securely.

Now it’s time to decide if you want to buy more. If you do want to buy more, here’s what I recommend:

  • If you want to buy up to a few thousand US dollars worth, repeat the process from the Buy and receive your first satoshis section of this learning path. Here’s the post again. Note: you may have to make multiple purchases depending on your chosen purchase method and your desired amount of bitcoin.
  • If you wish to buy more than a few thousand dollars worth, you’ll need to use a different method for purchasing, and potentially a more secure self-custody setup. This post outlines how I would approach buying and storing a significant amount of bitcoin as a beginner.

Thanks for reading.

Again, to go through this curriculum using proper learning software (and not Medium), enroll in my free Teachable course.

Tto dialogue and do the activities in this learning path with me and a group of your peers, join a live cohort here.

The content above provides education as to general privacy and security practices when using bitcoin. Should you choose to apply the practices described with bitcoin you own now or may purchase in the future, you do so at your own risk, and I shall in no event be liable for any loss suffered. Nothing shall be construed as providing consulting, financial advice, or general advice as to securing bitcoin.

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