First Edition of Bitcoin: Be Your Own Bank is now on sale!

After a public review period of the first draft, I am excited to announce today that the official First Edition eBook version of Bitcoin: Be Your Own Bank is now for sale on Gitbook. Everyone who pre-ordered the book will have already received PDF and epub copies of the book in their inbox by the time this post is published. If you weren’t one of the people who pre-ordered the book, you can pick up your own copy for $9 by visiting Gitbook. You can also click here to pay with bitcoin, and your copy of the ebook will be delivered to the provided email address within 24 hours. I am also working on making hardcover copies and additional distribution channels available as well – subscribe through the email signup form on the sidebar of this website to be alerted when this happens.

Many thanks to everyone who was involved in the drafting and publishing of this First Edition of Bitcoin: Be Your Own Bank, your help has been invaluable and most appreciated!

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First Edition Draft Published

The First Edition release of Bitcoin: Be Your Own Bank is just around the corner. Today, the final revisions were pushed to Github for public review and comment. By the end of the month, the book should be ready for both print and digital distribution. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally done: this First Edition version will contain the most up-to-date information about the many ways you can use bitcoin to be your own bank. I will continue to update the book as needed on a rolling basis, but this First Edition will mark the first major release.

Some changes since the version 1 release:

New title – based on a recommendation by Harlan T. Wood, the title has been changed from BYOB: Using Bitcoin to Be Your Own Bank to the less wordy and more straightforward Bitcoin: Be Your Own Bank. Thanks to Harlan for his suggestions and help getting started with Github.

New cover – with the new title comes a new cover, designed once again by Rob Mitchell of Paperclip Robot. This cover reflects the move towards more straightforward branding and minimalist aesthetics.

Two new chapters – chapters featuring information about the blockchain and colored coins have been added to the book. The blockchain is the most important piece of the bitcoin puzzle, and full nodes are needed to help build, store, and distribute it. Learn more about the blockchain in Chapter 1. Colored coins provide a way to represent non-bitcoin assets on the blockchain, assets such as property titles, shares in a company, votes in an organization, identities, and more. Learn more about Colored Coins in Chapter 6.

Updated chapter titles – some chapter titles have been updated to more accurately reflect the content of each chapter.

More pictures – who doesn’t like pictures?

I hope you’re as excited about this release as I am! Head on over to the BYOB Github repo if you want to read the First Edition draft before it’s released in print and digital format; just click one of the chapters in the file list to start reading. I welcome you to share your comments or questions by creating an issue on Github or by sending me a message through my website.

BYOB v1 Release

I am happy to announce that today I am releasing version 1 of BYOB: Using Bitcoin to Be Your Own Bank. This release features the following chapters:

Chapter 1: Mining Bitcoin
Chapter 2: Storing, Sending, and Receiving Bitcoin
Chapter 3: Crowdfunding With Bitcoin
Chapter 4: Notarizing Digital Files With Bitcoin
Appendix A: Checklist for long-term bitcoin storage

I am already beginning work on version 2, which will feature an extra chapter on colored coins plus additional appendices featuring instructions for sending cold storage and multisignature transactions.

Instructional videos to accompany this guide will be released throughout the week. Physical copies of the book will be printed and mailed to people who ordered them by the end of this month.

Thank you to everyone who ordered through the BYOB Indiegogo campaign for your patience and support. I look forward to your feedback on the progress so far and the work yet to be done.

Proof of Existence

Document hash:

84f34439270ea75b9f166304a84e5b5b5219393bb9660c1fc79212344e605e2d

Why I Chose Indiegogo Over Kickstarter to Crowdfund “BYOB”

Yesterday, I publicly launched the crowdfunding campaign for my upcoming online course and e-book entitled “BYOB: Using Bitcoin to Be Your Own Bank.” While I wish I could have followed in ind.ie‘s footsteps and crowdfunded “indie-style,” they haven’t open-sourced their tools yet, and I wanted to launch this campaign before the holiday season was over. So I had to choose between the top two websites that I knew of: Kickstarter or Indiegogo. I got the idea for my campaign from an Entrepreneur article I read a while back about an entrepreneur who made over $60,000 using Kickstarter to pre-sell access to a course that teaches people to code iPhone apps, so initially I was going to use that platform for my campaign as well. I started filling out all of the campaign details while I was at an airport, thinking I could finish setting up the campaign in the hour before my flight left. I was wrong.

Kickstarter was difficult to deal with from the start: the website was running way too many scripts in my browser, and with NoScript and Ghostery blocking everything even remotely sketchy, the site was basically non-functional. After biting the bullet and allowing everything but the most sketchy of scripts to run, I was able to begin constructing the profile. Where I really hit a snag was when I got to the section about payment details. Kickstarter has partnered with Amazon Payments and required that I not only verify my identity on Kickstarter, which required answering invasive questions and confirming personal information that I’m shocked they even know, but verify my identity on Amazon as well, which asked for my full social security number, home address, phone number, and email address. This is where I drew the line and gave up on Kickstarter. None of that information is relevant to running a crowdfunding campaign. Ok, maybe they want to know who I am so that recourse is possible if I don’t deliver – fine. That doesn’t require me to give strangers on the internet all of the information necessary to steal my identity.

So I deleted the Kickstarter campaign and created an account on Indiegogo, hoping I wouldn’t be subjected to the same invasive procedure as before. The site had about the same number of scripts running on it as Kickstarter, and the trackers that Ghostery picked up were mostly social or analytics, which I switched off anyway. When I started creating my campaign, I skipped ahead to the payments section and was pleasantly surprised. No invasive questions, just two check boxes: bank deposit and PayPal. I checked both options and entered my payment details, clicked “submit,” and received a friendly “verified” badge. That was it. I smiled from ear to ear and proceeded to fill out the rest of the Indiegogo campaign. About 30 minutes later, I was done. That was easy!

I launched the crowdfunding campaign then and there and sent the link to close friends and family, then shared the link with my followers on Twitter. The campaign was quiet through the weekend, then I launched it to the public on Monday morning. I have since received $151 out of my $2000 goal, which is set as “flexible funding” so that even if I don’t hit my target I still get paid (I chose this option since there are no hard costs to fulfilling the rewards and I want to create the course and e-book whether I hit my goal or not). Progress has also been made in non-monetary ways. I received a private message from someone offering to help design the book cover, and Udemy approved my application to become a paid instructor on their platform. I have also finished the course outline on Udemy and have a filming and writing schedule for January so I can get the course and book completed in time for my self-imposed deadline of January 15th.

Overall my experience with Indiegogo thus far has been a pleasant one. I look forward to using a P2P platform like Lighthouse in the future, but for now Indiegogo has provided me a great service. I’d like to take the rest of this post to thank everyone who has contributed thus far by giving money to the campaign, sharing the campaign with others, and giving me valuable feedback. I’ve learned a lot and will continue working hard to hit my goal and complete the online course and e-book. With bitcoin acceptance growing every day, and people around the world experiencing economic oppression at the hands of authoritarian governments, I see an opportunity in the market for accessible and practical bitcoin education, and I thank all of my backers so far for validating this hypothesis and supporting my Indiegogo campaign for “BYOB: Using Bitcoin to Be Your Own Bank.”

BYOB: Using Bitcoin to Be Your Own Bank

After the first time I heard about bitcoin, it took me almost a year of learning about the underlying technology before I bought my first coins. Part of the reason for the delay was because I wanted to first understand bitcoin, but after grokking the concept of “decentralized digital currency,” the main hurdle was availability. The options for purchasing bitcoins were slim at the time, limited to wiring money to online exchanges in foreign countries or sending concealed cash in an envelope to “OTC” traders and hoping that bitcoins were received in return (I didn’t choose either of these options). After I managed to purchase my first bitcoins, I then had to figure out how to secure them. Luckily, a programmer from my area had developed a cool piece of software called Bitcoin Armory that was specifically geared towards the security-minded, and it made securing bitcoins relatively easy using advanced techniques like cold storage signing and Shamir’s Secret Sharing. Learning how to keep my bitcoins secure took practice, but I eventually developed an efficient workflow that made it easy to move coins between cold storage and hot wallets.

Once I felt comfortable using bitcoin, I started to spread the word and tell others about this exciting technology. But there was a problem: every new person I told about bitcoin had to start from scratch, and I didn’t yet know of an effective way to boil down the bitcoin story into an easily digestible elevator pitch, let alone teaching someone how to use it securely. When I would tell someone that it’s p2p money, I had to first explain what p2p meant and then explain why they would want to use bitcoin instead of the money they were already using. The “why” for bitcoin can be more difficult to explain than the “what” or the “how,” and I would often end up just sharing a bunch of links that were probably never read. But the more I practiced the pitch, and the more diverse my audience became, the better I got at explaining the “what,” “how,” and “why” of bitcoin. I eventually felt comfortable and knowledgeable enough to share my excitement with the world, and started a website where people could contact me to learn about bitcoin one-on-one. This started a journey into the bitcoin investing and startup world, and ultimately brought me to where I am today.

After almost two years of consulting for bitcoin investors, startups, merchants, and casual users alike, I have decided to take everything I’ve learned and taught and distill it down into an online course and companion e-book entitled “BYOB: Using Bitcoin to Be Your Own Bank.” In the course, I will be sharing a brief overview of the history and technology behind bitcoin and then dive right in to the practical ways that people can use bitcoin, including how to buy, sell, send, receive, and store bitcoins without relying on centralized services to store private keys.

I’m running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign right now to gauge public interest in this form of bitcoin education. For $25, contributors will receive lifetime access to the course as well as both a digital and physical zine version of the companion e-book. The intended audience is people new to bitcoin who want to learn how to use it without the fear of being hacked like so many others have been in the past. Contributors to the crowdfunding campaign can be beginner bitcoiners themselves or people who want to purchase access to the course and e-book as a gift for someone else. With the holiday season just around the corner, I can think of few better gifts to give than the gift of monetary freedom and satisfying one’s curiosity about bitcoin. And for those who don’t celebrate religious holidays, this is a perfect opportunity to make it a New Year’s resolution to take control of your money and “Be Your Own Bank!”

If this sounds like a great way to help increase bitcoin adoption, please consider contributing to the crowdfunding campaign at the $1, $15, or $25 level (or choose your own amount). You can also help by sharing the campaign page and video via email and social media with those who might be interested. I am starting to reach out to people who can help with the cover design and formatting of the e-book, if you’re interested in being hired to do this, please get in touch!