Cryptocurrencies and the Blockchain Revolution: Bitcoin and Beyond

Lerner/Twenty-First Century. Oct. 2020. 96p. Tr $37.32. ISBN 9781541578777.
Gr 8 Up–This primer provides a fuller understanding of cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin) and the systems that make them possible, specifically blockchain technology. Bitcoin was introduced to the world not long after the economic recession of 2007–08; it was positioned as an alternative to government-backed currency and the challenges that surround it. The text breaks down the theories and specifics of how Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies function, but some background knowledge of how computer networks operate is necessary in order to have a complete picture. Subsequent chapters take a closer look at the pros and cons of cryptocurrencies, describing both the utopian vision of a currency that has a decentralized system of support and the pitfalls that have occurred over the past 10 years or so of its existence. Blockchain technology is sufficiently explained in addition to how it has been put to use around the globe in ways that are not related to currencies. The writing is necessarily dense, but diagrams and occasional sidebars facilitate further understanding.
VERDICT Like any book about current technologies, this one will become quickly outdated. However, this fascinating title presents a strong introduction to a complex topic. A serviceable purchase for those who are interested in the subject.

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