Mastering Bitcoin
Book Review

The Bitcoin Standard

The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking.

Gary Woodfine

Gary Woodfine

22 May 2024

The Bitcoin Standard - The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking

The Bitcoin Standard

The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking

Bitcoin is autonomous decentralized software offering an unstoppable and globally-accessible hard money alternative to modern central banks. The Bitcoin Standard analyzes the historical context to the rise of Bitcoin, the economic properties that have allowed it to grow quickly, and its likely economic, political, and social implications.

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A comprehensive history of money and its flaws, with a focus on the potential of Bitcoin as a secure, decentralized currency that could revolutionize the financial system.

If there is one thing I can say for sure about Bitcoin, is that it is the one technology based product that will 100% change your world view on everything once you scratch the surface and start digging into it. This has not only been my experience, but it is a common experience of many of the people I know who have got themselves in Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin Standard is a great book to read if you want to learn more high-level overview about Bitcoin technology but with a bit more detail about the problems that Bitcoin solves, by finding out why the current financial system is broken.

Bitcoin is a collection of concepts and technologies that form the basis of a digital money ecosystem

Mastering Bitcoin

What no-one will actually prepare you for when you start learning about Bitcoin, is just how much you need to re-learn about the world you thought you already knew. Particularly what you thought you knew about money.

The first concept of one needs to get their head round when its comes to money, is that money is not and really shouldn't be a government or state controlled entity.

This book is a great introductory text to take you through many of the core economic principles and problems that Bitcoin and its ecosystem provide a solution too. It also provides a condensed history of how money has evolved to what we know today, and also some context as to why it is broken and why bitcoin fixes this.

As you read through this book, you'll learn the importance of having an incorruptible monetary system by examining the historical evidence of just how humanity has corrupted its monetary systems countless times over the millennia and the taking a look at the results of those failures.

The book also provides a detailed discussion on the flaws of Keynesian Economics and the reasoning as to why humanity needs to stop persisting with this flawed economic philosophy.

Bitcoin is economics

Many people are under the misguided perspective that Bitcoin is a software solution, but the reality is it is more of a subtlety that Bitcoin is actually an economics solution in a software form, and to truly start to get an understanding of Bitcoin you really need to have a thorough grounding on Economics and also quite a bit of Economics history. After all you have to understand why things are broken before you can understand how to fix them.

The first three chapters outline a particular theory and history of money, which does seem to correlate with Greabers work in Debt - The first 5000 years. However, Ammous retells the standard barter-myth Austrian school approach, and the Coincidence of wants . There is a particular focus on Antal Feketeâ's concept of the stock-to-flow ratio in determining how a monetary commodity emerges. It is a narrow and partial history of money, excluding the ubiquitous role of credit and governance which are detailed in more comprehensive treatments of monetary history.

THE next four chapters intermix between a history of the Gold Standard and post-gold standard era, politics, and a kind of cultural anthropology of the impact of sound money and time preference on society.

Ammous seems to focus on shining the light more on Maynard Keynes and Keynesian Economics .

Keynes argued that inadequate overall demand could lead to prolonged periods of high unemployment. An economy's output of goods and services is the sum of four components:

  • consumption
  • investment
  • government purchases
  • exports

Any increase in demand has to come from one of these four components. But during a recession, strong forces often dampen demand as spending goes down. During economic downturns uncertainty often erodes consumer confidence, causing them to reduce their spending, especially on discretionary purchases like a house or a car. This reduction in spending by consumers can result in less investment spending by businesses, as firms respond to weakened demand for their products. This puts the task of increasing output on the shoulders of the government. According to Keynesian economics, state intervention is necessary to moderate the booms and busts in economic activity, otherwise known as the business cycle.

The problem with government-provide money is that its hardness depends entirely on the ability of those in charge to not inflate its supply.

Keynes book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money and its' precursor A treatise on money are regarded as more important to economic thought. Keynes created a dynamic approach that converted economics into a study of the flow of incomes and expenditures. It is also important to note that Keynes, also correctly predicted that the crushing conditions the Versailles peace treaty placed on Germany to end World War I would lead to another European war.

The book delves into the issues of Keynesian Economics and how it differs from the Austrian School of Economics. Bitcoin the principles of Bitcoin are predominantly based on the thoughts and principles of the Austrian School of Economics, whose adherents believed that recessions and booms are a part of the natural order and that government intervention only worsens the recovery process. There are doubts that governments have the ability to regulate the business cycle with fiscal and monetary policies.


I feel this book is a great start to help you understand Bitcoin and gaining a broader understanding cryptocurrencies in general. It also provides an excellent introduction to the principles and philosophies of the Austrian School of Economics and how they differ from the Keynesian Economic theories.

This book also explains the properties of Bitcoin (BTC) and its possible role in the future, which may be equivalent to gold but with a built-in settlement layer.

I have and continue to be an active investor in my future wealth and will also continue to invest in Shares, Bonds, Gold and other precious metals and property. However, I am currently expanding my portfolio and have steadily been increasing my exposure to Bitcoin and other interesting Cryptocurrencies and projects. I am not going to go all in on crypto for the same reasons I haven't gone all in on any other investment area.

In order to make educated investment decisions, one needs to at least educate oneself in the selected area. This book has provided me with a lot of food for thought and helped me to evaluate my decisions for investment and also not to invest in the wider crypto markets, but to seek out projects which have similar properties to Bitcoin and the for the most for me personally there is only one and that is Litecoin.

Gary Woodfine
Gary Woodfine

Back-end software engineer

Experienced software developer, specialising in API Development, API Design API Strategy and Web Application Development. Helping companies thrive in the API economy by offering a range of consultancy services, training and mentoring.

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