The story of the idealists, technologists, and opportunists fighting to bring cryptocurrency to the masses.
In their short history, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have gone through booms, busts, and internecine wars, recently reaching a market valuation of more than $2 trillion. The central promise of crypto endures—vast fortunes made from decentralized networks not controlled by any single entity and not yet regulated by many governments.
The recent growth of crypto would have been all but impossible if not for a brilliant young man named Vitalik Buterin and his creation: Ethereum. In this book, Laura Shin takes readers inside the founding of this novel cryptocurrency network, which enabled users to launch their own new coins, thus creating a new crypto fever. She introduces readers to larger-than-life characters like Buterin, the Web3 wunderkind; his short-lived CEO, Charles Hoskinson; and Joe Lubin, a former Goldman Sachs VP who became one of crypto’s most well-known billionaires. Sparks fly as these outsized personalities fight for their piece of a seemingly limitless new business opportunity.
This fascinating book shows the crypto market for what it really is: a deeply personal struggle to influence the coming revolution in money, culture, and power.
Shin, host of the Unchained podcast, digs into the origins, triumphs, and tribulations of the Ethereum blockchain in this perhaps too thorough account. In October 2008, a white paper by a "person or group named Satoshi Nakamoto" described how individuals could "bypass banks" and send money through the internet. Five years later, 19-year-old Vitalik Buterin, the owner of Bitcoin magazine, saw a flaw with how most cryptocurrencies worked: "each project was building a blockchain" for just one function, and he figured out how to create a single blockchain on which people could perform many functions. From this idea came Ethereum, and soon Buterin brought developers and funders on board, and the company exploded as an open-source platform on which users could code their own applications. Shin describes Ethereum's dramatic early days and the ensuing conflicts fueled by big personalities and erratic behavior, as when the Ethereum Foundation's executive director was banned from posting on Slack when she hadn't "slept for 30, 40 or 50 hours." The narrative of Ethereum's history is extremely detailed, sometimes to a fault, and can get lost in the weeds of dryly parsing pricing and development delays. Readers, though, with a reasonable grasp of blockchain technology will find this worth the cost of admission.
An awesome story that discusses the history of ethereum and reveals the identity of an individual who interacted with the DAO contract in such a way that allowed him to remove ETH. Excellently written!