Crypto ELI8 Series Guide

TL;DR

  • The Crypto ELI8 series aims to describe crypto concepts and topics with language an eight-year-old can understand
  • The series was born out of my desire to refine and solidify my own understanding of important crypto concepts and topics
  • Each post opens with an imaginary scenario, which is then used as a reference to describe the post’s topic
  • The full list of Crypto ELI8 posts and resources are included at the bottom of this guide

Where did the series come from?

Image source: BrainyQuote

When I started my journey into crypto in July 2020, I was both excited and overwhelmed by the amount of crypto educational content online. Like any newbie, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Nevertheless, I dove head first into the rabbit hole. I spent the better part of a month voraciously consuming as many books, articles, videos, etc. as my attention span would allow for.

This learning process was (and still is) one of continual and ever-expanding discovery. I like to compare it to the classic game Minesweeper. Each “Aha!” moment when something clicked was also accompanied by an “Oh boy…” moment, characterized by the realization that this was only a small piece of a much, much bigger puzzle.

The crypto learning journey is like Minesweeper in that everything is interconnected. Image source: minesweeperonline

It quickly became clear to me that, if I wanted to build an in-depth understanding of the crypto space and all its nuanced components and mechanics, I needed to have a strong grasp of the foundational properties and concepts on and in which the crypto ecosystem lives and grows.

Adopting the philosophy that the best way to learn about something is to teach it, I decided to start translating what I was learning into my own words. This was especially helpful because it challenged me to distill concepts down to what I viewed as their essential parts. As much as I could, I tried to avoid technical jargon by using simple, easy-to-understand language that an eight-year-old can understand.

Hence, the “Crypto ELI8” series was born.

Originally, I intended to be the sole audience. However, as my understanding grew, so too did the number of crypto-related questions from friends and family curious about the space. I shared my pieces with them and got great feedback.

Instead of letting these articles collect digital dust in a Google Drive folder, I figured why not publish them to the web. In my eyes, even if a handful of people benefit from any of the posts in this series, it’s served its purpose.

How are posts organized?

Each post in the Crypto ELI8 series is organized around a specific term, concept, question, or other topic related to crypto. For the most part posts follow a standard format.

Posts open with an Imagine this… section, that describes an imagined scenario. Although the scenarios are crypto-agnostic, they are designed to capture key elements of the topic being discussed.

The next section, So, what’s….?, discusses the topic in simple language, using examples from the imagined scenario. It also places the topic within a wider crypto context.

For example, the process of mining is often compared to solving a puzzle, whose difficulty increases as more people try to solve it. Therefore, a post on mining might open with an imagined scenario in which a bunch of people are racing to solve a sudoku. The So, what’s mining? section would then describe mining using elements in the sudoku puzzle-solving scenario.

Finally, each post ends with a Summary section and, in some cases, a list of further resources related to the topic.

Full list of Crypto ELI8 posts

last updated: December 8, 2020

  • Bitcoin Wallets — Understanding where your BTC are and how you access and transfer them
  • Commodity Money vs. Fiat Money — Understanding two of the most common types of money
  • Currency vs. Money — Understanding the similarities and differences between currency and money
  • Hash & Hash Rate — Understanding the mechanisms that help to make crypto networks secure
  • P2P Network — Understanding what P2P networks are and the role they play in crypto
  • Proof-of-Work — Understanding how the bitcoin network achieves consensus and security
  • UTXOs — Understanding Unspent Transaction Outputs

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