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Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money Hardcover – May 19, 2015
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“An amazing story. Bitcoin is about to transform both finance and how we use the internet, and this fascinating book chronicles its unlikely genesis. Popper has produced a riveting tale filled with colorful innovators that is crucial reading for anyone who wants to understand the future.” (Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators)
“Bitcoin may be a product of computer science, but it is a very human story. This highly entertaining history reminds us yet again that truth can be stranger than fiction and can be peopled with even more unusual and compelling characters.” (Larry Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury)
“So, yes, it’s a totally awesome book” (Justin Fox, Bloomberg)
“This excellent work is the book on Bitcoin you’ve been waiting for” (Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution)
“An elegant, thrilling tour-de-force. . . . Nathaniel Popper gives us a front-row seat on the origins of Bitcoin and its captivating cast of characters. The fast-paced action never stops.” (William D. Cohan, author of House of Cards)
“Finally, the book so many of us have been waiting for: A riveting and smart account of the strange history of Bitcoin. You’ll start knowing nothing about Bitcoin and finish with deep knowledge, but you won’t realize you’re learning along the way -- you’ll just think it’s a lot of fun.” (Adam Davidson, co-founder of NPR's Planet Money)
“An engrossing introduction to one of the most transformative innovations in finance of the last few decades. Digital Gold paints a vivid portrait of the economics and technology of Bitcoin as well as the people behind it.” (Susan Athey, The Economics of Technology Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Winner of the John Bates Clark Medal in Economics)
“The most compelling and in-depth investigation into the world of Bitcoin and digital currency. Nathaniel Popper charts Bitcoin’s fascinating transformation from fringe oddity to a truly global currency. If you want to understand the future of money, read this book.” (Joshua Davis, author of Spare Parts)
“Nathaniel Popper’s new book, Digital Gold, is as close as you can get to being the definitive account of the history of Bitcoin.” (Felix Salmon, Fusion)
“An engrossing look at a system creatively designed to bring money into the 21st century.” (Library Journal)
From the Back Cover
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2015 FINANCIAL TIMES AND MCKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR
A New York Times technology and business reporter charts the dramatic rise of Bitcoin and the fascinating personalities who are striving to create a new global money for the Internet age.
Digital Gold is New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper’s brilliant and engrossing history of Bitcoin, the landmark digital money and financial technology that has spawned a global social movement.
The notion of a new currency, maintained by the computers of users around the world, has been the butt of many jokes, but that has not stopped it from growing into a technology worth billions of dollars, supported by the hordes of followers who have come to view it as the most important new idea since the creation of the Internet. Believers from Beijing to Buenos Aires see the potential for a financial system free from banks and governments. More than just a tech industry fad, Bitcoin has threatened to decentralize some of society’s most basic institutions.
An unusual tale of group invention, Digital Gold charts the rise of the Bitcoin technology through the eyes of the movement’s colorful central characters, including an Argentinian millionaire, a Chinese entrepreneur, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, and Bitcoin’s elusive creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Already, Bitcoin has led to untold riches for some, and prison terms for others.
Top customer reviews
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Before this book, I read three other bitcoin/blockchain books, watched the documentary (The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin) and read lots of web site articles and blogs. I heard lots of things about the main characters, Satoshi, Gavin, Hal, Ross, Erik, Wences, Winkelvii, Charlie etc. but after Popper's book, all of them are now linked in an organized story line and they came alive in my mind. In a way this book reads like fiction, almost like the script of an HBO mini series. But all of the events are real and the characters are actual living human beings, sometimes with sad endings.
I wonder if the FBI had ever used description of some events in this book as evidence? Or just the opposite, did Popper use legal documents or police reports. How on the earth did he find out all the details of the life of the founder of Silk Road? (Like the thoughts of his former girl firends) Or details about the "super secret" meeting of Allen & Co? Wow! I am shocked, this is journalism at its best, applied to a favourite but difficult to understand contemporary subject.
Bottom line: The book is an example of very fine writing and detailed reporting of the bitcoin subculture. Not a book to learn how to mine bitcoins or where to buy them.
Bitcoin is cryptocurrency, which became a digital gold. The origins of bitcoin belong to the people associated with libertarian views. The aim was to create a new kind of money that would be free from the state - dependent on the printing of money and monopolistic charges of the banking cartel. Launching a revolution similar to Uber, which changed the taxi market, and Airbnb, which affected the hotel market.
Lots of information on Bitocin you can read on the network, but the background of the formation and development of cryptocurrency you will find in the book.
The author has done a gigantic job, the number of interviews is impressive. But it paid off. The book is written well, journalistic style, so that it reads like a very good thiller.
Overall, I would recommend this book for what it is: an introduction to people with some stuff about what Bitcoin is, technically, thrown in. I think Popper accomplishes, for the most part, what he sets out to do but the nagging sense that we've only entered into an early stage of cryptocurrency holds the book back.
(In the 90's, llamas were touted as amazing pets/livestock, sales boomed, the next big thing. It turned out that everyone breeding llamas was selling them to other would-be breeders. No one actually wanted the end product, an actual llama.)
The businesses are about mining Bitcoints, managing your Bitcoins; the people are successful because of the increasing value of their Bitcoins. There's just not much to be done with the darn things, especially once the Silk Road goes kablooey.
I love Bitcoin, I want it to succeed, oh boy yes I do. But it's not really there, not yet (or ever?) and Digital Gold pumps it up beyond what it deserves.