Wellesley 6th grader Andrew Courey has a slew of interests, including basketball, soccer and lacrosse. But he’s also fascinated by technology and money, and over the year-end holiday break he devoted almost 6 hours a day to finishing his first book, a primer on the cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin.
“Early Bird Gets the Bitcoin”, now available on Amazon as a Kindle book and paperback, describes itself as the ultimate guide to everything about this highly advanced digital currency.
As Courey says — and I’ll vouch for him here — there’s a need for good basic explainers on Bitcoin and the underlying digital ledger dubbed Blockchain. As a longtime tech industry reporter and editor, I can recall a few years back having a tough time getting a handle on Bitcoin and Blockchain, and finding solid resources few and far between.
Courey realized he was pretty good at explaining these concepts as he did so with his dad, Jeff, whenever they would be driving around — something that comes with the territory when you play travel basketball as Andrew does.
“When I was trying to learn about Bitcoin, there simply was no easy-to-understand information on Bitcoin,” the Wellesley Middle School student says.
So upon reading “The Everything Store” about Amazon’s Jeff Bezos (hey, what 11-year-old isn’t reading that book?), Courey got introduced to self-publishing and realized it might be possible for him to pen a book about Bitcoin. His idea was to write not just for kids his age, but also “for people like my parents and grandparents who knew nothing about Bitcoin until they read the book.”
Courey, who started the research on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at the end of last summer, acknowledges that this subject is complicated. “I hope the book can help people understand the basics pretty quickly because cryptocurrencies will be part of our future,” he says.
Courey learned about Bitcoin initially via a YouTube video, then plowed through many more videos and articles to master the topic. Courey hopes his 57-page book will help people grasp the concepts in a more efficient way than he did.
Sports and video games tend to dominate conversations among his friends, but Courey says Bitcoin has started to seep in.
“Now that the book has come out on Amazon, I talk about it with people a lot more and they are asking questions,” says Courey, whose own reading list has included bios of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk in addition to the Bezos one.
One thing Courey isn’t suggesting to his pals is investing their life savings in Bitcoin.
“I have bought $40 in Bitcoin and not any more for a simple reason,” he says. “I used to earn money ($5-$10) to invest in stocks each day, so I learned about stability. I chose not to buy much Bitcoin, because I thought it was too risky of an investment. Right now I only invest in companies like Amazon or Google.”
But one of the great things about Bitcoin, Courey adds, is that “if you have a computer, you can use Bitcoin, regardless of whether you are rich or poor or somewhere in the middle.”
Is there any chance someone will buy Courey’s book using Bitcoin?
“If there were a way to buy books with Bitcoin, I think it would be awesome,” he says. “Unfortunately, Amazon does not accept Bitcoin as payment. But I thought of a way to counter that problem. First, someone would pay for my book with Bitcoin, second it would be automatically sold for money, then I would get my cut of that money, and Amazon would get their cut of the price. Problem solved!”
If all that’s too complicated, you can just buy the book the usual way on Amazon. Courey’s mom, Alicia Talanian, says they’re also working on getting the publication into Wellesley Toy Shop, so you’ll be able to purchase it the old-fashioned way, too, with plain old money.
P.S.: Not surprisingly, this story has started to go viral since we broke it. CNBC and the UK’s Independent have covered it, and more is surely to come.