Excellent journalism about bitcoin subculture
This book is standing out among other bitcoin books recently published in one important difference: This one is the result of genuine journalism. The writer is not here for attracting the techie crowd who are interested in the fortunes of mining bitcoins every 10 minutes or so. But he does a very good job of digging all the key people (arguably even the main character. Mr Satoshi himself) and putting events in a time-line starting from day one, from early 2009.
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.