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The cryptopians : idealism, greed, lies, and the making of the first big cryptocurrency craze
2022
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Publishers Weekly Review
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. Agent: Kirby Kim, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Feb.)
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