Understand and use Bitcoin, Ethereum, NFTs, and more!

Take Control of

Glenn Fleishman

In Take Control of Cryptocurrency, Glenn Fleishman casts aside the headlines and hype around cryptocurrency to dig in on the fundamentals. You learn everything you need to know as an individual from the ground up about cryptocurrency, including details about the popular forms of it. You’ll find out what risks it poses for the planet—and for your pocketbook. Discover the role of a cryptocurrency wallet, how to find the best one, and how to use it safely. You will understand the ins and outs of buying and selling cryptocurrency and using it for real-world purchases and sales. Glenn also explains the mystery of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which are a peculiar but popular use of cryptocurrency that lets you own unique digital artwork.

This product has been discontinued.

This book was discontinued on January 16, 2023. Author Glenn Fleishman writes: “When I wrote Take Control of Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin had crossed $60,000 per unit in nominal value. I wanted to help people understand the high risk associated with investment while also mastering the technical principles. With the collapse in value, numerous lawsuits, criminal charges, and alleged frauds, Ponzi schemes, and other reported misdeeds across cryptocurrency projects of all sorts, I believe readers are now widely informed about dangers and highly unlikely to require a primer. We have decided to stop selling the book because while the technical underpinnings remain accurate, many practical, economic, legal, and software issues have changed.”

Cryptocurrency is a new way of representing value that’s going through the throes of change and no one knows exactly what form of it will survive and thrive. It hit the mainstream years ago but 2021 seemed to whip people into a frenzy over Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, and several other popular forms. Valuations—the price in cash one could get when selling cryptocurrency—soared. But cryptocurrency doesn’t have an inherent price: it’s worth only what people will pay for it. In May 2021, most cryptocurrencies plunged in value by half or more.

Meanwhile, a similar furor arose over the introduction of “non-fungible tokens” (NFTs), a way to use an aspect of cryptocurrency to buy and sell unique ownership of digital assets, like born-digital art and clips from NBA basketball games. NFTs similarly suffered a giant drop in value from a peak in May 2021. What is this all about, anyway? Why did cryptocurrency and NFTs tank?

Take Control of Cryptocurrency ignores the hype in favor of the reality beneath it. This new form of currency is not going away, even if the price in dollars, euros, and renminbi may fluctuate madly. The future of the economy will incorporate cryptocurrency and you can get to know it in great but understandable detail with the help of author Glenn Fleishman.

This book teaches you what cryptocurrency really is and how it relates to government-backed money. Glenn walks through all the parts of a cryptocurrency in clear detail—like a wallet, blockchain, and transactions—and explains how cryptocurrencies produce permanent transfers. He also lets you see two different kinds of risk: the side effects of Bitcoin and others in consuming massive amounts of electricity and the rise of ransomware on the back of somewhat anonymized payments, and the risk to your pocketbook from scams and thefts (and how to guard against them).

Of course, you also learn how to manage cryptocurrency: find out what a wallet does and how to obtain one (and which might be a good fit); buying, selling, and exchanging cryptocurrency; and even purchasing or selling items in the physical world using cryptocurrency. Glenn also delves into how NFTs swept the news in early 2021, as creators and others staked a claim on defining an “original” item in a digital world, and how—and whether—to get involved in buying and selling NFTs.

Warning: Purchasing, holding, and selling cryptocurrency comes with a large variety of risks. This book doesn’t recommend investing in it or offer legal or financial advice. Instead, it’s an objective, friendly introduction to understanding and engaging in it, teaching a reader the risks so they can manage them.

This covers everything to do with cryptocurrency that you need to know to become an informed participant:

  • Master the elements that let you get set up and successfully buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrency.
  • Learn what the blockchain is and how it works to commit transactions irrevocably.
  • Get to know all the parts of a cryptocurrency, like coins, transactions, and wallets.
  • Dig into mining to understand the role that specialized participants in a cryptocurrency play in keeping the system running.
  • Discover the details and basics of major cryptocurrencies, including how to understand transaction fees and pay just the right amount when you post a transaction.
  • Avoid fraud by learning how hackers and malware might target you.
  • Figure out the right cryptocurrency wallet for you and how to protect its secrets.
  • Develop a working knowledge of proof of work and proof of stake, popular methods by which cryptocurrency ensure transactions are accurate and permanently committed.
  • Learn why Bitcoin is using a significant percentage of the world’s electricity, and how that might change.
  • The emergence of cryptocurrency is a challenge to governments, particularly tax agencies. Get a grasp on what you need to know to record your interactions and avoid running afoul of financial rules and penalties.
  • Puzzle out what a non-fungible token (NFT) really is and whether it means anything—to you or anyone else.
Glenn Fleishman

About Glenn Fleishman

Glenn Fleishman is a veteran technology writer who has contributed to dozens of publications across his career, including Macworld, Fast Company, and Increment. He has also written dozens of editions of books in the Take Control series. He spent 2019 and 2020 building 100 tiny type museums full of real printing artifacts. Glenn lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

What's New in Version 1.1

Writing about cryptocurrency can be as volatile as the exchange-based value of the coins themselves. In this version, I’ve made these updates:

  • Ethereum transaction fees: I updated the section in Ethereum on transaction fees because these fees have gone through the roof since mid-2021. See “Ethereum 1.0 (Proof of Work).”
  • Price, volume, and other numeric changes: I’ve updated the market-value prices of cryptocurrency throughout the book, as well as hashing rates, transaction fees, and electricity consumed.
  • Simplified cost per kilowatt: I reworked details in “The Economics Stop Penciling Out” to make it easier for you run your own calculations on the break-even point for Bitcoin miners. Previously, you had to follow my work and tease it out.

This version also fixes typos and minor errors.

  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • What’s New in Version 1.1
    • What Was New in Version 1.0.1
  • Introduction
  • Cryptocurrency Quick Start
  • Understand Cryptocurrency
    • What Is Money?
    • What Is Cryptocurrency?
    • Understand Liquidity
  • Learn How Encryption Binds Cryptocurrency
    • The Node
    • The Coin and the Token
    • The Transaction
    • The Blockchain
    • The Wallet
  • Dig into Currency Mining
    • What Role Miners Occupy
    • How Blocks Are Mined
    • Proof Forms Consensus
  • Discover How Major Cryptocurrencies Work
    • Bitcoin
    • Ethereum
    • Stablecoins
    • Other Cryptocurrencies
  • Explore Environmental and Structural Hazards
    • Resource Consumption
    • Forces of Change and Disruption
    • Ransomware
  • Avoid the Dark Side of Cryptocurrency
    • Lack of Anonymity
    • Wallet Theft
    • Avoid ICO and Cryptocurrency Scams
  • Buy and Sell Cryptocurrency
    • Examine Legal and Tax Issues
    • Get a Wallet
    • Obtain Cryptocurrency
    • Sell or Transfer Cryptocurrency
    • Purchase Stuff with Cryptocurrency
  • Understand Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
    • Have NFTs Already Peaked?
    • What Is an NFT?
    • How To Buy or Sell an NFT
  • Appendix A: Technical Explanations
    • Make a Hash of It
    • Learn How Addresses Are Calculated
    • How Ethereum Plans To Implement Proof of Stake
  • Appendix B: Crypto Slang
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Author
    • About the Publisher
  • Copyright and Fine Print

November 23, 2022—This book is mostly up to date. Although it's still largely accurate, Glenn wants to update it to reflect the widespread cryptocurrency crash and give the book a fresh, more cynical and practical tone. We expect to release a minor revision in the first quarter of 2023. The update will be free to everyone who purchases the book now. (Read more about updates.)


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