- File Size: 1132 KB
- Print Length: 150 pages
- Publication Date: September 22, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00NUIUQ3A
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,775 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
BitCon: The Naked Truth About Bitcoin Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The second reason being that I have heard about bitcoins numerous times from my grandchildren, especially my grandson, and was clueless as to what exactly this bitcoin was and how one used it.
So when I saw the author had written an investigative book on bit coins based on his opinion - I felt it was worth reading.
While I see a mix of people saying yay to this book and people saying nay, as a retired school teacher, I keep in mind that one is entitled to his or her own opinions. I personally had no opinion before reading this book as I had no information other than hearing the word bitcoin several times recently. I'm not sure if I am spelling the word bitcoin correctly as Amazon keeps marking it as a misspelled word.
Mr. Robinson is slanted towards those not in favor of bit coins. He walks the reader through his reasoning and I think he provides good documentation for his logic.
Maybe some people disagree and maybe some people agree with his findings. This appears to be a volatile topic with strong feelings by both the yays and the nays. In my case, it as given me some interesting food for thought and I will certainly be sharing this book with my grandson to find out his opinion.
For all the lengthy and exhaustive discussions of the merits of bitcoin by its advocates, its many critics only expressed their doubts in brief articles or dismissive one-liners, without addressing in depth the alleged merits that its supporters ascribed to the technology. “Bitcon” seemed to be an exception in this sense, since it was a book-length refutation of the argument that bitcoin can be a solution to anything – let alone to the world’s financial problems – written by a journalist with a proven track record of competence and insight in the world of finance.
Good God, was I wrong. As a book, “Bitcon” has the unique distinction of being a future embarassment to its author regardless of bitcoin’s eventual success or demise. If in ten years from now bitcoin had completely failed and someone were to re-read this book, almost nothing in it will have proven prescient or insightful about the future course of events. Even when the author correctly points out critical elements in the bitcoin system (both the bitcoin economy and its technology), the same problems have already been better and more insightfully discussed (and only occasionally solved) by bitcoin’s own advocates. And if bitcoin were to somehow succeed (even in a shape or form which would ultimately disappoint the ‘faithful’) this book would become a testament to why one should not write about the future with the cocksure sneer of one who thinks he’s already seen it, and a hard lesson on how what has been published cannot be unpublished.
My most fundamental gripe with this book is that I came looking for the best possible refutation of the best possible argument against the most modest success-scenarios for bitcoin. What I found were mediocre refutations against the most adversarial interpretations of the weakest possible arguments made by the most unremarkable bitcoin advocates in support of the most grandiose and deluded visions of bitcoin's future. It is as if the author has put himself to work to find the Billy Madisons of the world of bitcoin and then tried to prove them wrong really really hard. I have plenty of doubts of my own about whether bitcoin can ever amount to anything (I give it a less than 50% chance of succeeding), but none of these doubts were roused by reading this book or by this author.
Robinson sets up the stage in the first chapter by describing a meeting of bitcoin ‘faithful’, whom he snarkily describes as a crowd of post-adolescent nerds who only recently solved their acne problems (I’m not making this up, he really brings it up). Throughout the chapter he quotes the very dumbest of them and he always seems to have a clever comeback for their idiocies, the type of clever comeback that always seems a little too spot-on to have been uttered with perfect timing, as if Robinson was the only person on earth who does not suffer of esprit de l'escalier. Even as a character study this sad vignette would be unacceptable, but the author instead uses the chapter to introduce pretty much the only speaking voice in favour of bitcoin. Throughout the entire book Robinson always summons in bitcoin’s defence an amorphous flock of internet voices and usually nameless bitcoin enthusiasts whose carefully picked, unsourced ramblings never fail to support Robinson's point. When he doesn't use nameless internet ignoramuses to set up his strawmen, Robinson chooses some of the worst crooks to have ever emerged in the bitcoin universe (as if only bitcoin attracted crooks, and not money in general) and tries to make them representative of the technology and the ecosystem by guilt through association. An especially gauche attempt to do so was the description of Mark Karpeles (the guy who either lost or stole – depending on who you ask – a half billion dollars in bitcoins) as a socially incompetent nerd who had girlfriends in “in jpeg form”, attempted to seduce Japanese girls by showing them his iPhone and shared Youtube videos in which he baked apple pies. What does this have to do with bitcoin? What does this prove? Why am I even reading this?
The author doesn’t think twice about naming and quoting respected figures in the world of finance (Paul Krugman, Alan Greenspan, Warren Buffett etc.) who speak very dismissively of bitcoin, but glosses over equally respected figures (Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers and others) who instead argued publicly about its potential in some limited domains. He also forgets to mention the slew of tech investors with a long track record of seeing the future before it’s there and then making it happen, and when he does (he quotes Andreessen a couple of times) they appear to be far more circumspect about the possibilities of Bitcoin than they usually are. Some of the most credentialled figures who show up in the book are Tim Swanson and Johnatan Levin, whom he quotes selectively giving the public the impression that they agree with him that Bitcoin is a complete scam. Nevermind that Levin runs a bitcoin analytics/consulting business and that Swanson – while not a fanatic – is far from a complete BTC sceptic (just do a Google search for some of his many, intelligent articles on the topic).
Most of the book is devoted to setting up claims that almost nobody is making and then knocking them down with disparaging sarcasm. I am not even going to try to discuss any of it in detail since – in the language of internet whipper-snappers – much of what he writes makes me lose "my ability to can", and it is much easier to correct small inaccuracies than prodigious misconceptions.
At the crux of his thesis is that Bitcoin has no fixed value; it trades like a stock and, as such, its volatility makes it virtually useless as a means for transactions. Money is optimal when it is fixed in value, and Bitcoin’s wacky fluctuations make it anything but.
This book has stirred much controversy, but I found it thought-provoking if nothing else. Whatever your philosophy, you should check out what this guy has to say, and judge for yourself.
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