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Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  2,551 ratings  ·  271 reviews
The system that governs how money works, with its brokers and middlemen, has stayed roughly the same for centuries. Now there’s an alternative, and it puts us on the cusp of a revolution that could reshape our world.

At the heart of this lie cryptocurrencies, a technology with the transformative potential of the printing press or the internet. They bypass the elites and cut
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Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 28th 2016 by Vintage (first published January 27th 2015)
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BlackOxford
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology, economics
Competing For Trust

Just as light is considered as both a particle and a wave in modern physics, the new forms of exchange that have been developed using the technology of the Internet are both currencies and commodities. This is another way of saying that neither in physics nor economics do we have an adequate description of either light or money, although we might temporise and muddle on regardless.

Surprisingly perhaps, we may be further ahead in developing a unified theory of money thanks to
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Athan Tolis
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
This is a tremendous introduction to Bitcoin. If you are not technically minded, it's as good as you could possibly hope for.

On the other hand, if you are a bit of a technophile, perhaps you may want to look for the fine detail somewhere else.

First comes all the necessary background. You get a thorough introduction on what money is, or rather what it is that that turns something into money, you get an introduction to the biosphere out of which Bitcoin sprung, including a long list of its predece
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Murtaza
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2021
This is the journalistic account of Bitcoin and blockchain technology that I had been waiting to read, providing a remarkably accessible account of Bitcoin's origins, as well as basic technical descriptions of how the protocol functions. One way to think of Bitcoin is as a giant public ledger that is maintained by everyone collectively in a networked manner, rather than a ledger kept by a central authority such as a bank. Bitcoins are "mined" through the process of doing the bookkeeping on the m ...more
George
"The Age of Cryptocurrency" by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey is a solid, non-technical, introduction to Bitcoin and block chain technology. This book covers the time period from the 1990s up through 2014.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in reading a non-technical introduction to Bitcoin and block chain up through 2014.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Notes:
Audiobook:

Narrated by: Sean Pratt
Length: 14 hours and 17 minutes 
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date: 2015-01-29
Publisher: Gildan
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Paul
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2016
Money supposedly makes the world go round. It doesn’t; that’s physics; but it is the lifeblood of business and the system that controls it, governments, banks, brokers and the other middlemen have made and lost fortunes with it and with that control comes power. Cryptocurrencies might be something that you have heard of, but like most people you are probably unaware how this new form of money is aiming to revolutionise the concept of money.

Bitcoin is probably the best known of these new cryptocu
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Tuncer Şengöz
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finance
Debate is still hot whether bitcoin (and cryptocurrencies in general) is a money, currency, commodity? Does it have a storage value? Is it a ponzi scheme, bubble, fraud or what?

This book is a good start from the "genesis" to the efforts to attach them to conventional economy, for those who have no idea about what cryptocurrencies are. It is printed way before the crazy bull market lifting bitcoin prices as high as $20.000 and then the collapse of all cryptocurrency prices plummeting to the loss
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Conrad Zero
At 2 years old, this is already feeling dated, but it gives a detailed look at the start of the blockchain 'revolution' in progress. The authors' backgrounds in finance/economy give them a particular slant but it doesn't keep them from diving into the cultural and technological effects of blockchain technology. As expected, there are some interesting guesstimates as to where the new tech might take us, but given what blockchain can already do out of the box, so to speak, is pretty impressive.

Re
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Ryan
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great summary of cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, etc.), including background (cypherpunks), current players, drivers of success/failure, and future scenarios. Non-technical, but well informed.

Personally not terribly sold on Bitcoin itself, but some kind of cryptocurrency (ideally, an anonymous one, like Zcash or blinded tokens) should succeed, at least for verticals.

(Audible audiobook)
Clémentine
This book is about Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology, but the focus is also on the community that build it, cherish it, believe in it. Through different real life stories of the major actors of the crypto world, it allows us to understand the mindset and motivation behind those creators and contributors as well as the potential behind it.

It talks about bitcoin the currency and Bitcoin the technology along with the creation of the Ethereum platform, Ripple, Stellar and
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Monty Mitra
2.5 stars
Some of the content in the book is interesting but overall, I actually found it a bit boring. I was also surprised by the bias of the authors. I don't mean that as negatively as it sounds but my understanding is that this book is written by journalists so I was expecting something a bit more objective but the tone of the book is by authors who seem pretty all in on bitcoin and they sometimes criticize those who are still skeptical. In general, I found the book selective in breadth and o
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Ali Tehrani
I wish I read this when it came out. A good introduction to cryptocurrencies, their benefits and drawbacks, the history behind their formation, with a good sketch of future potential applications. I'd be lying if I said I fully understand blockchain technology just by reading this book, but this book helped give me at least some basis for understanding why cryptocurrencies matter and what blockchain technology could mean for both the present and the future. ...more
Jon Tyler
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a technical book at all, this is an excellent review of the social and political ramifications of this new technology.
Clif
Apr 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a complete guide to cryptocurrency, in particular to the granddaddy of them all, Bitcoin. Because the subject is covered in all aspects and done with both enthusiasm and skepticism, it is the prefect tutorial and overview in an easy read. Five stars come easily. It was written in 2015 so it doesn't handle the wild rise of Bitcoin in value since that time.

The big question is whether cryptocurrency will become so common as to live up to the dream of its founders, the "cypherpunks," by repl
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Warren Mcpherson
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ideas, bookchain
Perhaps the best general introduction to bitcoin there is at the moment. It looks at salient aspects of the financial system along with the social and business aspects of the bitcoin economy.

There is a remarkably diverse set of interests involved in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This book does a great job of running through the formative ideas that have driven the interest and development of Bitcoin.
It starts with a discussion of money and the shared belief that is required to give a curre
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Nilesh Jasani
A balanced and thoughtful book.

The author, to start with, is not a crypto-fanatic. He does not cover the topic chronologically, another positive. Rather, he looks at various themes surrounding the concept and analyze the developments.

The book starts with a quick, even if highly simplified, summary of the roles of money. This allows him to nicely highlight the fundamental positives of bitcoin including its decentralized nature, the authorities' inability to debase the value over time whimsically,
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Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Good if nor brilliant book on the history, present developments and possible future paths of both Bitcoin the currency and what the authors distinguish as Bitcoin the technology (i.e. Blockchain).

The book starts with a brief discussion of the history of money including the debate between those who argue for a commodity backed currency (metallists and most commonly gold enthusiasts) and those who see it more as a token (and politically tend towards Kenyesian views).

It then traces the genesis of
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Edward
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books
The "Age of Cryptocurrency" provides a great introduction of bitcoin, tracing from its ideological and technical roots and discussing its impact to the financial world and the future of money. The authors provide an interesting narrative of bitcoin, from how it started (which happens during the banking crisis in 2008 when the trust in the banking system was low) as a proof-of-concept of a decentralized, irrefutable digital currency in a trustless environment, and gained momentum in the few years ...more
Douglas Summers-Stay
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
My brother is working for a cryptocurrency startup, but I felt like I didn't really understand what a cryptocurrency was or why it was useful. I realized something I had been missing about bitcoin: no one thinks that bitcoins are, in and of themselves, valuable. It is simply that they trust the whole bitcoin system will hold the value they put into it long enough to take it out again later with about the same or maybe more value. Demand for limited supply and speculation push the price up, but i ...more
Josh
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a solid book on bitcoin and the blockchain, mostly a non-technical view on how the technology came about, what the current and potential uses are, and some potential future outcomes in terms of penetration will be. This went slightly deeper than Digital Gold on the actual financial implications and overall capabilities of the blockchain, as it was less of a novel. However, of course there were some redundancies due to the same characters from early on in bitcoin's history appearing in b ...more
Jim Lavis
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why is this not in the news? It’s life changing.

I found this book to be very thorough and it addresses the history, the challenges, and possible future of cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology. I was amazed to discover how many companies are currently accepting Bitcoins as payment in today’s market.

This service has the potential of dramatically cutting costs and building efficiencies that society as a whole will benefit from, but it’s also going to be a disruptive change and will eliminat
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Zihad Azad
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book can be a great starting point if you have a rudimentary understanding of money. However, one still can enjoy the latter chapters of this book where the ins and outs of the bitcoin ecosystem have been fleshed out for the everyday reader. But without an inkling of monetary theory, it would be tough for anyone to grasp how bitcoin, with its limited supply and mob-ascribed value, can upend the traditional nation-state issued fiat currencies.
The thing is that Bitcoin is many things. It's a
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Phil
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid introduction to the history and benefits of cryptocurrency as well as the underlying blockchain technology. Best for those wanting to take their knowledge of these subjects up from “just a little” to “a little better” understanding. While some of the concepts provided were a bit challenging for this liberal arts major to wrap his head around, I couldn’t help but think back my initial inability in the 1990s to grasp the relevance and importance of “email” and the “world wide web” of thing ...more
Jay French
A history of money begins this book on cryptocurrency. Following the history (and interesting philosophy discussion about the meaning of value), the book drills into the history of cryptocurrency and the use of blockchain technology to track its use. The author takes what could be a technical subject and gives just enough description to help non-technical readers understand what is going on when they hear these terms. The book provides a lot of recent history on cryptocurrency, including magazin ...more
Mike
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I would dispute certain of the Vigna's individual ideas, and while no one can come close to knowing what impact Bitcoin, blockchain technology, etc., will have in the future, The Age of Cryptocurrency was surprisingly reasonable for a book on a topic that draws so much ridiculous commentary. Vigna has an optimistic but not zealously religious view of the subject. The book points out the possibilities, ranging from the most plausible to the most pie-in-the-sky, and the challenges that crypt ...more
Arthur Kosten
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology
Interesting book to learn about the history and background of bitcoin and blockchain technologies. I think there are two parts in the book. The first part on the origins of bitcoin & blockchain, adoption, struggles, innovation is very informative. Seeing how adoption, trust, hype and fear develop as a series of major events, some inside the bitcoin community (eg mtGox failure) or in the wider world (eg greek crises) helps to understand the current state of affairs.

Somewhere in the second half o
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GONZA
Nov 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is well written, but some of the strictly economic and legal aspects have been particularly difficult for me to understand. However, the future of Bitcoin is still completely open and it will be interesting to see how it all turns out.

Il libro é ben scritto, ma alcuni dei passaggi strettamente economici e giuridici sono stati per me particolarmente difficili da capire. Comunque il futuro del Bitcoin é ancora completamente aperto e sará interessante per tutti vedere come andrá a finire.

T
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Tim
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A reasonable overview of the history of cryptocurrency and its importance. Before reading this book, Bitcoin was just another buzzword in the tech industry that I didn't pay a lot of attention too. After finishing this book, I feel like I have a better grasp of what the movement is trying to achieve and how it works as a currency.
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Conrad Mason
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essentially the history of Bitcoin and the blockchain. A great explanation of the early days of the mysterious creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, and some guesses as to who it night be. The book goes on to talk about the scandal of the silk road, the rise and fall of mtgox and the various ways in which bitcoin and cryptocurrencies can we used in the real world.
deleted d
basic explanation about bitcoin, not much more though.

Very interesting technology, I think it'll be incredibly useful in the future, although I have a hard time how people will protect it from hackers and misuse.
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Kelly
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 - Good overview of the beginning of Bitcoin, I think this book provides a base to understand crptocurrencies, the philosophies behind them, and the changes seen in cryptocurrency-supportive communities. I was not crazy about the writing style after about 150 pages.
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7 likes · 2 comments
“We have an opportunity to reform the financial system, to turn it into the public utility that it’s supposed to be—a level playing field that everyone can indiscriminately use in their bid to get ahead. Let that be the standard for the coming age of cryptocurrency.” 1 likes
“gold is valuable as a currency or investment because we believe it is valuable (which is the same reason for valuing money itself). Gold’s value as currency is an abstract social construct.” 1 likes
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