How to Learn DeFi
A beginner's guide
Welcome back, friends!
I have lots of people ask me where to get started with crypto, but I’ve never really been able to give them a proper list of all the materials I used when I was first starting out.
This week, I've put together a list of content that I’d use if I was starting from scratch today.
Part of the issue with learning about crypto is that it's very hard to know where to focus and who to trust (and there are a lot of scammers out there). Hopefully, this list makes finding high quality content easier. What it won't do is teach you everything you need to know; crypto has a learning curve and you can only overcome it by putting in the effort.
I've organized the list of content in the order that I'd consume it, but definitely skip any articles/videos that are too basic for you.
I'll be updating this collection as I find more interesting resources.
The Basics of the Blockchain
Before you can understand DeFi, it's really important that you understand the technology that powers it (at a high level).
Of course, the blockchain starts with Bitcoin. It's important to understand Bitcoin because everything else in crypto has descended from it, and many of the core principles of Bitcoin (decentralization, permissionless nature) are found in other blockchains today.
But how does bitcoin actually work, 3Blue1Brown - the best, easy to understand explanation of bitcoin and blockchain out there
Bitcoin whitepaper - this is technical and tough to understand, so I wouldn’t read it unless you really want to. It's sort of a rite of passage among crypto enthusiasts, though. I found this deck helpful in breaking it down into understandable pieces
Before you move on, make sure you understand the following concepts: mining (Proof of Work), the blockchain, how Bitcoin solves the double-spend problem
After Bitcoin came Ethereum, a smart contracts platform.
Own the Internet, Packy McCormick
Ethereum overview for beginners - a shorter piece outlining all the important concepts in Ethereum
Proof-of-Stake (vs proof-of-work), Simply Explained
Smart Contracts, Simply Explained
MetaMask & Ethereum Wallets: Your Portal to DeFi, Daniel Schlabach
What is the difference between coins and tokens?, Ledger Academy
ERC-20 Tokens, Daniel Schlabach
NFTs & ERC-721 Tokens, Daniel Schlabach
Ethereum Transactions, Daniel Schlabach
Gas Fees, Daniel Schlabach
Understanding DeFi: Layer 2 explained, Monolith
At this point, you should have a decent understanding of how Ethereum works, what transactions and gas fees are, and why you should hold your crypto in a wallet instead of on Robinhood or Coinbase.
Solana is another smart contracts platform that's worth keeping an eye on. Its developer network isn't as strong as Ethereum's, but it's growing very rapidly.
Solana Summer, Packy McCormick
Web3 is another way of describing what’s going on in crypto. It’s the next era of the Internet.
The Promise of Web3, Daniel Schlabach
Now that you're familiar with blockchain technology, let's dive into its most popular use case today: Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
DeFi: The Future of Finance, Daniel Schlabach
Decentralized Finance: What it Is, Why it Matters, Marvin Ammori
What is DeFi, Explained! No BS, Kerman Kohli
What is an AMM and why do we need it? Explained., Kerman Kohli
More DeFi Materials
DeFi Weekly Youtube channel, Kerman Kohli - a really great Youtube channel that helped me out a lot when I was first getting started
Finematics Youtube channel - Finematics has fantastic videos on just about every DeFi topic
DeFi Orientation, Nat Eliason - I haven't personally done this course, but Nat always puts out high quality content and I've heard great things about DeFi Orientation.
Rabbithole.gg - get paid/rewarded to perform tasks on the blockchain! As you complete Rabbithole quests, you'll build up a "resume" of sorts listing all the crypto tasks that you're able to perform.
Don't get overwhelmed! It's okay to not understand everything the first time around. It took me a few times reading the Ethereum whitepaper before I really understood what made the blockchain so special. Be persistent and it will hopefully click for you too.