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).

Bitcoin

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

Ethereum

After Bitcoin came Ethereum, a smart contracts platform.

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

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.

Web3

Web3 is another way of describing what’s going on in crypto. It’s the next era of the Internet.

DeFi Basics

Now that you're familiar with blockchain technology, let's dive into its most popular use case today: Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

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.

Parting Advice

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.