A few years ago, if you told me you could become rich by running your computer’s graphics card 24/7, I wouldn’t have believed you. But at the time of writing this, a single Bitcoin is currently valued at over $10,000. Digital or cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin has exploded in popularity in the last few years. Now it’s possible to be paid and make purchases with these alternate forms of currency, with over 250 companies now accepting them as legal tender.

That said, the industry has a lot of volatility. While Bitcoin has been reasonably steady, new cryptocurrencies seem to appear almost every month and quickly rise and fall in value. How you deal with cryptocurrencies largely depends on how you view their use. Are they are high-risk, high-rewards speculation buys, or are they a new way to categorize work and value? Other projects like Ethereum show a lot of potential with smart contracts and a proprietary programming language that allows applications to be built and paid for all within Ethereum.

If you’re not a digital native, it may be hard to get into the market. I remember one patron who came into the computer lab. They were excited to purchase some bitcoins while the price was still climbing, but they were unable to find a means to buy any because almost all trading services require a mobile phone for account validation.

Even if you don’t decide to take part in this market, just know that it’s out there and will only become a more significant part of the economy. Only time will tell how digital currency and related technologies will change the world. Check out the following titles to learn more.

The Age of Cryptocurrency by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey.

Two tech journalists describe the cryptocurrency financial system, made famous in recent headlines by Bitcoin. They discuss the system’s origins, the differences between cyber money and paper money and offering tips on becoming part of this new global economy.

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Bitcoin Billionaires by Ben Mezrich

Ben Mezrich, the best-selling author of The Accidental Billionaires, traces the story of Harvard twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. In the aftermath of their infamous legal battle with Facebook, the Winklevoss twins became tycoons in the obscure and sometimes sinister world of cryptocurrency.

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Blockchain: The Next Everything by Stephen P. Williams

An examination of the technology behind blockchain. Williams discusses how cryptocurrencies are transferring the economic power of banks, governments and corporations into the hands of ordinary citizens around the world.

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The Everything Guide to Investing in Cryptocurrency by Ryan Derousseau

An authoritative and comprehensive guide to help you safely jump into the lucrative world of e-commerce. You’ll learn about the different major cryptocurrencies, where to buy and sell cryptocurrencies safely and securely, how to set up and manage your cryptocurrency wallet, how to properly analyzing their investments and more.

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