Bitcoin became a buzzword overnight. A cyber enigma with an enthusiastic following, it pops up in headlines and fuels endless media debate. You can apparently use it to buy anything from coffee to cars, yet few people seem truly to understand what it is. This raises the question: Why should anyone care about bitcoin?
In The Age of Cryptocurrency, Wall Street journalists Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey deliver the definitive answer to this question. Cyber money is poised to launch a revolution, one that could reinvent traditional financial and social structures while bringing the world's billions of "unbanked" individuals into a new global economy. Cryptocurrency holds the promise of a financial system without a middleman, one owned by the people who use it and one safeguarded from the devastation of a 2008-type crash.
But bitcoin, the most famous of the cyber monies, carries a reputation for instability, wild fluctuation, and illicit business; some fear it has the power to eliminate jobs and to upend the concept of a nation-state. It implies, above all, monumental and wide-reaching change--for better and for worse. But it is here to stay, and you ignore it at your peril.
Vigna and Casey demystify cryptocurrency--its origins, its function, and what you need to know to navigate a cyber economy. The digital currency world will look very different from the paper currency world; The Age of Cryptocurrency will teach you how to be ready.
©2015 Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey (P)2015 Gildan Media LLC
"The Age of Cryptocurrency not only demystifies and explains bitcoin, but also shows where it fits into the cultural zeitgeist and where it's pointed, and what that may mean for our financial system." (John Mauldin, New York Times best-selling author of Endgame)
I learned a tremendous amount about Bitcoin, but more importantly about digital currency the blockchain and technologies that will change the way we do commerce.
At first glance you might think this book would be boring but it's fascinating definitely a must read for any serious person today
Want to learn what Bitcoin is? Know what it is but don't know why you should care? Thoughtfully written with input from extensive interviews with many many people who are building the future of money, Paul and Mike take the reader on a guided tour not only of the block chain, but the history of electronic money itself.
I can honestly say that after having been involved with Bitcoin since July 2010, I learned quite a bit from the book.
I initially approached this book as a relative sceptic with respect of Bitcoin. This book radically altered my perspective on a very important topic for all of us. I would highly recommend this book as an introduction to Bitcoin and more importantly, currency and crypto currency's. Read it to understand what you don't understand. Read it to help you radically expand your perspective.
The authors do an amazing job of capturing the most significant technology of 2015. The book explains the basics phenomenally, but also goes into great depth.
Covers history, pros and cons, as well as alternative applications and geopolitical implications of digital currencies. Also provides optimistic and dystopian perspectives about the future of the crypto currencies
The good: here is a fine, plain-spoken introduction to this field and its early leading lights. Also, midway in the book, emerges almost another book, which is giving an eye-opening tour of emerging ideas in autonomous business systems, automation, and new permutations of the "sharing" economy (finding and prying new value out of existing assets in the manner of uber, airBnB, etc.). That really got me thinking. In this segment, the book wanders away from "currency" per se and ruminates (quite usefully) about various possible branches of the technology, particularly the blockchain, and more generations and spin-offs to come.
The bad: not since the "dot bomb" era circa 1999 have I heard such journalistic fluffery, "gee whiz, it's so now, so hot, and these people are so so smart, blah blah" kind of tone, and such willingness to ignore (and brush aside) the downsides. Yes, there is some hedging sprinkled across the author's descriptions, but I can see issues that are casually brushed aside to keep the whole (nowadays tedious) "wow, hip and cool" tonality going. It crosses the line between advocacy and reporting, without being transparent (enough for me) about it. Yes, it is a popularization, I get it, and I am a little testy with the casualness of that format. And sheer academic density and dullness can have its own problems. But it is SO breezy, as we are introduced to a bunch of whiz kids many of whom, young and green, (with suitable 60s razzle-dazzle San Francisco dreamin' journalistic puffery) sit in lofts coding and seemingly know next to nothing about business, monetary theory, rudiments of finance, etc., and demonstrate this by apparently making the most simple and boneheaded of mistakes occasioning various reversals. I envision a fair number of them in years hence still without any assets, scraping up pin money and perhaps some turning to cybercrime, for excessive youthful hipness and lack of respect for the ABCs that less hip people bother to learn. (It is good to hear here, some Silicon Valley luminaries are bothering to get some education to these people.) It is a problem I try to warn particularly my more creative students about: don't disable yourself in your desire to be pure in your artistry, as you will be raw meat for many more crafty people, who will extract the value leaving you little. I must allow for the authors that this IS a fast-breaking field (with new headlines the week of this writing), and a lot of the problems have not shown up yet.
Likewise, how are these newfangled automated self-executing contracts going to replace people? As a contracts expert I can see realms of implementation problems blithely brushed aside here. This utopia is a lot further away than it might look here.
In all, I'm very glad I heard this. I just want to add my caveats. Many are the people who want to write a new world. Many are the razzle dazzle salespeople around them, full of sizzle.
ZEN. LDS. GTD. FTW.
If you have even a passing interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, definitely get this. Highly educational, and you can't go wrong with Sean Pratt as narrator. A classic.
The authors clearly do not have a firm grasp on economic theory. They exhibit the shallowest understanding of monetary theory permissible for writing a book like this; they neglect the origin and function of prices and interest rates. They even succumb to several popular, albeit demonstrably absurd economic fallacies, including their conception of monopoly and monetary policy. They make up for these glaring problems with gripping analysis and comprehensive research.
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