• The Bitcoin Standard

  • The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking
  • By: Saifedean Ammous
  • Narrated by: James Fouhey
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (3,613 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.95

Buy for $24.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

When a pseudonymous programmer introduced “a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party” to a small Online mailing list in 2008, very few paid attention. Ten years later, and against all odds, this upstart autonomous decentralized software offers 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. 

While bitcoin is a new invention of the digital age, the problem it purports to solve is as old as human society itself: transferring value across time and space. Ammous takes the listener on an engaging journey through the history of technologies performing the functions of money, from primitive systems of trading limestones and seashells, to metals, coins, the gold standard, and modern government debt. Exploring what gave these technologies their monetary role, and how most lost it, provides the listener with a good idea of what makes for sound money, and sets the stage for an economic discussion of its consequences for individual and societal future-orientation, capital accumulation, trade, peace, culture, and art. Compellingly, Ammous shows that it is no coincidence that the loftiest achievements of humanity have come in societies enjoying the benefits of sound monetary regimes, nor is it coincidental that monetary collapse has usually accompanied the collapse of a civilization. 

With this background in place, the book moves on to explain the operation of bitcoin in a functional and intuitive way. Bitcoin is a decentralized, distributed piece of software that converts electricity and processing power into indisputably accurate records, thus allowing its users to utilize the Internet to perform the traditional functions of money without having to rely on, or trust, any authorities or infrastructure in the physical world. Bitcoin is thus best understood as the first successfully implemented form of digital cash and digital hard money. With an automated and perfectly predictable monetary policy, and the ability to perform final settlement of large sums across the world in a matter of minutes, Bitcoin’s real competitive edge might just be as a store of value and network for final settlement of large payments - a digital form of gold with a built-in settlement infrastructure. 

Ammous’ firm grasp of the technological possibilities as well as the historical realities of monetary evolution provides for a fascinating exploration of the ramifications of voluntary free market money. As it challenges the most sacred of government monopolies, bitcoin shifts the pendulum of sovereignty away from governments in favor of individuals, offering us the tantalizing possibility of a world where money is fully extricated from politics and unrestrained by borders. 

©2018 Saifedean Ammous (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Bitcoin Standard

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,903
  • 4 Stars
    460
  • 3 Stars
    155
  • 2 Stars
    47
  • 1 Stars
    48
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,419
  • 4 Stars
    424
  • 3 Stars
    123
  • 2 Stars
    33
  • 1 Stars
    26
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,339
  • 4 Stars
    413
  • 3 Stars
    153
  • 2 Stars
    46
  • 1 Stars
    47

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Less Bitcoin, more old Austrian Economics Vendetta

Working about 75% thru this book on Audible. Most of it is economics from the Austrian POV. Long story short everything was great under the gold standard and bad before and since. Bitcoin is the next gold so bring it on.

The economic theory here is a missed opportunity for advocates of this economic school to be serious, instead they are not. Fallacies galore combined with implausible claims. For example, Mozart was great art made under gold, while today Miley Cyres 'twerks' under fiat money. Possibly but we know about Mozart today because he made it through the great filter of history. Plenty of ribald ballads were sung in Mozart's time that were forgotten about. It's absurd to evaluate the art of today without understanding the fact that we know more about today's art than we ever will of a previous eras because the forgettable has yet to be forgotten.

The author considers a cartoon version of Keynesian economics (and quite frankly is pretty rude about Keynes the man, claiming he never read classical economics and alleging he had sex with children. The first is clearly false, I don't know about the second but it's suspect when an author writes a book on theory that only does personal attacks on theorists he doesn't like. If you are writing biography or history then do so).

A more serious book would have attempted to wrestle with the actual challenge Keynes poised to the Austrian view of money. The first is clearly the gold standard did not last very long and by the author's admission quickly became consumed by banks that issued paper against their gold holdings. If it was so good why did it fail? Government control was not really the issue. Even when private gold holdings were illegal, gold jewelry was an option and even today is often used as a way to hold gold.

The book confuses savings with investment badly by failing to consider investment is spending. Very little savings is in the form of money, for good reason. Money, at best, can give one a 0% return. Stuff $100 under a mattress and ten years later you will only have a $100 bill. The investment the author equates to savings only happens when money is spent directly by the 'saver' (say a person uses some of his income to buy work tools) or loaned to a business that is doing investment (you save $100 in the bank, the bank loans $100 to the pizza place that uses it upgrade its oven). Savers in a modern economy are investors.

The book focuses on one aspect of danger with fiat money, runaway money printing either by a malicious or incompetent government. But the book acknowledges banks will create money based on fractional reserves (you put 100 gold nuggets in the bank, the bank loans out paper for 90 of them figuring on any given day only a small portion of people will show up demanding actual nuggets). Since this is a known issue with money, how can fiat money 'steal savings' when contracts can easily be written with inflation adjustments built in or it is easy to hedge against inflation risk in the financial markets? The hyper inflation of a desperate government (usually losing or almost losing a war) looks less like the theft of savings as the destruction of value....which is what happens when a nation loses a war. The Confederate States of America, for example, didn't 'steal' savings from Southerners, the assets Southerns had were destroyed as war devastated the nation. Sure if you were a plantation owner who sold his plantation for gold before the Civil War, you would have gold after the Civil War. But whoever brought your plantation wouldn't be as well off.

The gist of this is that the system seems to both demand that money be a store of value AND it provide some inflationary stimulus. The author takes the position that money is neutral...as long as we can divide it into as small units as we need, it doesn't matter if currency is 1 g gold bars or 0.001 g gold bars. But then how can inflation cause such problems? If money was neutral then inflation would simply be neutralized by the market. A 10% increase in prices would be meet with 10% increased wages and 10% increase in debts leaving everyone in the same position as before. If, however, money is not neutral out the window goes the assumption that money needs to be a 'store of value' above all else and a hard money supply will only produce good things and habits for the economy.

I suspect bitcoin will take the place of gold. It's a 'hard money' check on very dysfunctional governments...a great way for people in bad countries to escape the capital controls and bank freezes of a collapsing government...but ultimately not a money replacement.

52 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Mislabeled

The title suggests that the book would be dealing with Bitcoin, instead, it talks mostly about the gold standard and the history of money (albeit badly covered). The author seems to have picked the title to seem more current than what the content of the book provides.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

book is a subjective opinion of random person

lots of invalid facts, conviniently forgetting to mention important things and lots of topics where is clear the author has no idea what he is talking about

it's like listening somebody talk drunk in bar and connecting random dots in history while leaving out many important dots

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good Austrian economics, poorly presented

great dialogue and a convincing story, but it was astonishingly redundant and stressed the same points throughout (which is fine, to a degree). I much more appreciated the general economics information than anything else

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • PG
  • 06-22-18

Must read

This book is a must read for everyone interested in economics, finance or politics. Bitcoin will change the world as we know it today.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

First and last third of the book are 5 stars

The portions of the book dedicated to Bitcoin (the first and final thirds) are illuminating a describe it’s importance, applications, and uniqueness of the technology.

However, because I’m not an economist and I don’t have a strong foundation of Keynes vs Austrian school of thought. The authors aggressive bias and negativity throughout the middle of the book is off putting. I think this portion would have been better suited in another work where he could flesh out his ideas and provide stronger evidence. Instead of requiring me to take his word on the subject with very selective references and “evidence”.

Overall I think it was a good listen to highlight Bitcoins under examined qualities.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Extrapolation Crazy, need another book on bitcoin

This guy makes crazy assumptions about the present as to why art is the way it is from economics. I’ve never heard of someone so thick headed that their opinions bleed their own biases into what was supposed to be researched writing. Anyone can go on and make up explanations that sound right.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

instant classic

The only book that I have purchased in both print and audible format. Of the books I listen to repeatedly, this book will stand alone for the foreseeable future. Years of common Bitcoin lore backed up by a history of economics and statistics reveal why and how it is unlikely that I will ever see Bitcoin dethroned.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Must read.

Might be an artifact of the translation into audiobook, but I noticed a lot of repetition and belaboring points. Also a clear bit of bias at points and what occasionally felt like adhominem attacks. Overall though, it's probably the best overall analysis of the potential and pitfalls of bitcoin and blockchain technology I've seen in one place.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • bk
  • 01-17-20

Interesting but not convincing

This book is useful to know the limitations of Bitcoin and I don't think I want to use it after reading this book.

Who want to mind Bitcoin when Bitcoin does not generate any new coins?
What happens when nobody is maintaining Bitcoin blocks?

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-01-20

Rants detract from story

The author strays too often into areas that he seems ill-equipped to handle. His analysis of the history of money is selective. His biographical arguments on Keynes are evidentially thin. His analysis of modern music and art is weak. These positions may be grounded in some truth, but they appear in the text as opinions not well reasoned arguments. And what are they doing here anyway? There is no need for these digressions: it undermines the obvious authority the author displays elsewhere and makes a reader question his overall rigour. One is left with the impression not of a careful academic study but of an ideological project. This is a shame because parts of the book are excellent when the topic sticks to the proposed subject ie Bitcoin.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Vincent
  • Vincent
  • 03-08-19

My perspective on the world turned upside down

Want to find out why the world is the way it is today? Look no further than this book. This book is about more than just Bitcoin. It’s about what makes good hard money and the consequences on society for not choosing hard money and instead choosing easy, infinitely printed money. Wonder why it’s so much harder to get onto the property ladder today and much more? Look no further than the printing press of your central bank. This book is amazing and must be read by everyone. The only slight small thing I’m not in agreement with however is that blockchain has no use outside of digital cash. I agree that projects should not call themselves decentralised if they can alter the blockchain when events don’t go their way but I do think Bitcoin and blockchain will have a profound impact on our society for years to come. The possibilities and future events are yet to be imagined. Im so excited for what happens next in this space.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Don O'treply
  • Don O'treply
  • 03-07-20

Interesting but very smug

Contains quite a lot of interesting material but is rather spoilt by the many extended passages dedicated to telling us how stupid, lazy and greedy most people are.

After listening to this I invested in some bitcoin. It lost 10% of it's value in one day and is still falling. Sound money indeed.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for LC
  • LC
  • 12-18-18

Disappointing due to bias

Some interesting points made but it is clearly very biased and is providing a one sided subset of the facts which are presented in a distorted and misleading way. There is also a huge amount of repetition, strongly pushing the favoured viewpoint.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr. M. J. Young
  • Mr. M. J. Young
  • 01-23-20

Great book for understanding the advantages of the gold standard and its relationship to bitcoin

The first few chapters of this book are not really about bitcoin but rather about the gold standard and the libertarian argument for keeping this. The book then goes on to argue that bitcoin is a modern replacement for gold, that it alone (rather than any other cryptocurrency) has particular strengths, such as immutability and being out of control (having no one in charge). These make it an ideal replacement for gold and a long-term store of value.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MR WYNESS
  • MR WYNESS
  • 12-21-18

This is one of the best books I have ever read

I highly recommend this book, not just for a great understanding of Bitcoin but for economics and money explained in an easy to follow manner.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Big J
  • Big J
  • 03-20-20

Highly recommended

Very interesting. A whole history of money and where bitcoin fits into it. Great read!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MR c j cartwright
  • MR c j cartwright
  • 10-18-19

This book will go down as the bible of Bitcoin

This book goes into huge depth about the history and fundamentals of Bitcoin, a must for anyone thinking or already into bitcoin that wants a better understanding of the blockchain and everything bitcoin.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for 2teirah
  • 2teirah
  • 08-22-19

Bitcoin and other currencies

This book explains a lot more than bitcoin. Fascinating stuff! Worth a second listen for sure.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Carlos
  • Carlos
  • 06-05-19

Not very good

Arrogant writer who seems to believe he holds the absolute truth, not only in economics but also in other areas of life. He just insults those with whom he disagrees and presents his very limited and narrow views as irrefutable, with very limited or no justification. Don’t waste your time, there are plenty of good books on economics. Don’t be fooled by the title either, this is not about bitcoin, it is an apology of the free market and neocon ideology.

2 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-21

Excellent explanation of why Bitcoin is sound

The author spends most of the book explaining a history of money. It is very thorough and interesting. The early foundation pays off well by the end of the book in helping the reader to understand the value of Bitcoin.

There are a few things that I think aren't great. The author has many tangents, on the state of art for example and I think the comments about other cryptocurrencies were shortsighted. I don't think blockchain has so little potential as the author suggests.

Still, overall a great book and well worth reading. I feel more informed related to money and cryptocurrencies.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kyle
  • Kyle
  • 01-19-20

Should be mandatory reading.

This book should be mandatory reading at school. Most have no idea what money is and almost no one knows about sound money. The bitcoin information was very helpful to understand such a complex system

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for andiputra7
  • andiputra7
  • 09-30-19

Clear No Hype Explanation on what Makes Bitcoin Tick

This audiobook provide a clear explanation on the history of money, the importance of hard money serving as reserve currency, and how Bitcoin, like gold before it, could possibly play this role in the future.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sam Joel
  • Sam Joel
  • 01-12-22

The new standard of quality, for web3 books

The Bitcoin Standard is one of the most well written books on web3 topics such as blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFTs, and alike that I have heard so far. The writer has a done a great job at contrasting historical examples with present day technology, highlighting how and why these new technologies can help homosapiens to advance our civilization into a future built on sound money and trade, and all the goodness which organically results.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gerald
  • Gerald
  • 05-12-22

Introduction to Cryptocurrency

This book is highly recommended for anyone who would like to learn about cryptocurrency. I wish I have read this book before investing in crypto. Dr Ammous had made a very convincing case on the future of Bitcoin.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-10-22

A Mixed Bag

I'm going to echo the sentiment of many other reviewers.
The beginning of the book presents a history of finance and is excellently constructed.
Then the author suddenly takes a left turn and blames every ill in society, as he sees them, to our reliance on 'unsound money'.
Everything from the breakdown of the family structure to pop music is blamed on the rise of fiat money.
Then, thankfully, the book comes to Bitcoin and gives an excellent explanation of Bitcoin and discusses its features, benefits and shortfalls in a very well structured manner.
I'd certainly recommend the book to someone new to Bitcoin but suggest they fast doorways past the middle.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Yo Hirabayashi
  • Yo Hirabayashi
  • 04-17-22

The narrator is a robot

The guy narrating should do meditation for sleep because he is incredibly monotone, unenthusiastic and slow

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ryan
  • Ryan
  • 03-22-22

Great read

Thanks for all the knowledge
Go Bitcoin, time for the people to take back their financial security and sovereignty

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 03-03-22

Extremely Well Researched and Intelligent

After completing the text twice, I am profoundly impressed at how well researched and referenced the book is. A must-read for anyone wanting to know the truth about our current fiat based financial system and how it is stacked against the average person versus the potential liberation and empowerment afforded by Bitcoin to anyone intelligent and open-minded enough to give it a go

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ming
  • Ming
  • 02-21-22

Good source of information, although outdated

The book contained good information and reasonable analysis although heavily biased towards Bitcoin.

The commentary on other blockchain technologies and competing altcoins is severely outdated. It would be interesting to know what the author's comments on altcoins are now since the industry has exploded. The commentary on the Bitcoin network itself is also a little outdated.

Overall, it was an interesting book with good information on what Bitcoin could be in the future.