The age of cryptocurrency

In the book “The Age of Cryptocurrency”, the authors, Paul and Michael, have tried to rationalize use cases and technical substructure around the blockchain and cryptocurrency. They have tried to incorporate information to be useful for people with no knowledge of cryptos to those involved in trading. The book puts more emphasis on technical aspects of how the system work.

The authors introduce the book writing about the limited knowledge among the people about the drug dealers using it or the price swings making it seem like bubble. Then they go on describing it as ground breaking digital technology that could completely reinvent the way the world does business and can help to uplift billions of people from poverty in the developing countries. The current world economic system is based on the faith of the governments that they can retain the currency value but when it fades, people tend to transfer their asset from the currency to some other asset. This factor thus fueled the innovation of digital currencies which doesn’t need trust or based on politics and politicians. The technology also bypasses the need of middleman like banks and less hassles involved.

The human civilization has developed money as tangible commodity. The cryptographers and Cypherpunks amid 1900s presented computer program to preserve protection within the confront of rising snooping from the enterprises and the governments. Pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto made bitcoin, the computerized cash and required program framework. The 2008 financial crisis was not only the crisis of stock market and economies but also crisis of confidence on the system as things were unbelievably fragile. People like techies, liberations fed up with the system started to grow up around bitcoin community. There was cultural movement around the digital currency like bitcoin artworks, bitcoin graphic novels, graphic novels for hunt of Satoshi, comics, music, bitcoin songs, etc. The crisis played huge role in fueling the bitcoin and put ground shell underneath it and the whole thing grew in very organic and viral way.

The digital currency operates in similar fashion to that of the money. It permits anybody to exchange bitcoins to anybody else-safely, anonymous and specifically-avoiding twofold investing, and dodging the inclusion of a central privacy- invading specialist who puts a hefty charge. The digital currency allows to do all these digitally online. One can connect with people who wouldn’t have known each other previously or could interact each other on very limited basis or talk to each other on email. Now they can do commerce with each other, send things and pay for it. This is performed by the dispersed blockchain software ledger.

The authors think that the pros of the cryptocurrency include being able to send money to anyone and economic integration of the poor population who don’t have access to bank accounts. One the negative side, it has scandals like case of Mt. Gox exchange going bankrupt, HSBC money laundering case and online drug trading site Silk Road prospering which was closed by the F.B.I.

The authors shared few success stories from the bitcoin investment. A guy named Hooroo Jackson invested in bitcoin which made him rich and then made movie named “Aimy in a cage”. Another story of Austin and Becky Craig who travelled around US, Europe and Asia using only bitcoin. They ended up some nights without food and shelter, but they showed it can be done. People think that idea of bitcoin came out of nowhere and it is going to take over the world economic system and this fueled the rise, but it wasn’t. People were already betting far too much on what is something being built. Still in beta phase, the system is still building protocol. Later in 2014 it started to grow as a technology and as a product. There were more bitcoin accepting business and more people were getting onboard in the development of it.

The authors wrap up the with talks of idealistic future of the bitcoin, more business and entrepreneurs adopting virtual wallets to use it easily and the governments starting to control the bitcoin market. Like most people, the authors thought it was scam, a Ponzi scheme when they first heard about, but it has come a long way since but also expresses concern of where it goes from here is exactly not clear.

In my opinion, this book presets good introduction to the bitcoin and explains the blockchain technology behind it. It present fascinating balanced view of the reform of finance, technological innovation, and the rejection of traditional politics. The authors did great job in simplifying the concepts for people with different background introducing them the blockchain and cryptocurrency. The book presents a good balance of the technical aspects and monetary value of the new digital currency. The authors did god job in simplifying the materials in make it understandable to a traditionalist person like myself and embrace its future prospects.

However, I think the exclusive accounts of the startups was too much. The authors also keep on jumping around and this moderate down the pace and energy of learning about the technology. Though very informative, I feel that this book is dated given the pace and height the crypto market has taken during recent months. It also does very little in explaining on if we cannot trust our governments on regulating the trading of our values, how can we then trust the anonymous individuals in the chains and the units that keeps changing every minute with our valuables. Also, the authors focus more on the history of how it all started than its present and prospects on how it can challenge the global economic order. I was baffled to find little concentration on ways bitcoin economy can assist in market gyration to prevent economy downturn like the ways banks intend to do.

The book is highly readable and engaging to this potentially game changing technology. It’s like learning to read and speak the language of the future in a concise and comprehensive text. The authors did extraordinary work clarifying the story behind the approach of bitcoin giving an impartial view on cryptocurrencies. This book is well-written and gives wider view of the history, present and possible future. It’s a bit long-winded in places, and to some degree drifting, hopping around to different focuses on time, but its well worth the read. The book calmly archives bitcoin’s rise, recognizes its imperfections and highlights its promises. Savvy and honest, The Age of Cryptocurrency is the foremost intensive and clear account of the brief life of the questionable money.

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