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Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  673 ratings  ·  102 reviews
An experimental new Internet-based form of money is created that anyone can generate at home; people build frightening firetrap computers full of video cards, putting out so much heat that one operator is hospitalised with heatstroke and brain damage.

A young physics student starts a revolutionary new marketplace immune to State coercion; he ends up ordering hits on peopl
Kindle Edition, 182 pages
Published July 24th 2017 (first published July 2017)
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Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Read this before you decide to ‘invest’ in bitcoins or alt-coins (all other cryptocurrencies). It is very informative, history-wise... I didn’t know bitcoin had such a long history of bubbles, crashes and shady characters. The author obviously hates cryptos and thinks they’re a scam, so don’t expect a balanced view.

I came to this book after going through several ‘white papers’ and wondering how people could ‘invest’ billions based on such fluff. White papers are basically investment proposals de
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Delightfully snarky and not remotely interested in stroking the egos of folks with (occasionally) decent math and (all but exclusively) hilariously naïve politics. This doesn't go nearly as in-depth as Popper's Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money, though it brings a wonderful focus on the vast number of ways that bitcoin fails to live up to its promises, and a better interrogation of what those promises might actually mean. The fund ...more
Liam Proven
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never has a book about software and finance been so amusing.

Gerard dissects the hype behind digital currencies with an expert eye.

This is a relatively short book -- half the pagecount is references, which is probably necessary, as a lot of people will take grave exception to what he says, so it is essential that everything has a citation. But saying that, I finished it far sooner than I expected.

I laughed, I was absorbed by some of the details, dismayed by the rank incompetence of almost everyo
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017, kindle
Bitcoin: Interesting technological experiment, with a bizarre cavalcade of really weird people who develop and use it. Well, attempt to develop and attempt to use it, anyway.

This book is a good look at some of the weirdest things about Bitcoin, Ethereum and the nebulous "blockchain technologies", and offers a decent enough look on what exactly is wrong with Bitcoin and why it really shouldn't be used for anything substantial and why some people insist on doing so.

One small fault of the book is t
Karel Baloun
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent short book on the investment value and political Implications of current digital currency.

Proves two assertions, technically and financially:
Current blockchain implementations are all unreliable, and even fatally flawed.
Bitcoin specifically is a scam, full of cons and fraud, eventually trending to zero.

The last quarter of the book starts to explain the 2017 bubble, as low liquidity pump and dump. Some people will make money; many more will be left holding an empty bag. Crypto “investme
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic warning to stay the hell away from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but also just a good, well-researched, funny book. I laughed a lot and Gerard made the dry world of Bitcoin and Ethereum interesting and easy to understand.
Robert C
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a Computer Scientist currently working in IT Consulting, I found this book to strike the perfect balance between technical details and specific industry knowledge, very insightful and very well argued. On top of this, the book was structured very well and straight to the point. There were also a lot of jokes and ironies which I very much enjoyed.

As a disclaimer, it is obvious that the author is very pessimistic about the blockchain hype and its future use. This is mostly because, as he correc
G. Branden
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cackled and guffawed practically the whole way through, except for the parts where Gerard gives earnest advice to the wide-eyed naïfs who still want to put a little "blockchain" into their "solution" even after reading his dire warnings and the sordid history of cryptocurrency.

Technologically literate; this is not a rant by some tech journalist who grinned and nodded his way through an intro programming class in college before he switched majors. (Those guys seem to _love_ blockchain.)

Luke Kanies
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite non-fiction book I’ve read in years.

It is not about the block chain or bitcoin, but is instead about the people behind and around it, and what it can actually be used for. It’s also written in a voice that I truly enjoyed.

The book does a great job of describing how bitcoins are incapable of doing the work they’re supposed to do (e.g., only 7 transactions per second worldwide?), and how the people working in and around them are mostly scammers, drug markets, and incompetent.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some people at work have recently been investing in bitcoin. I mentioned this to one of my tech friends and she recommended this book.
Basically it’s a history of all of the scams and problems associated with bitcoin, and the dreaded “Blockchain” buzzword that businesses are so in love with now.
Donaldo Armand
Mar 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
Written with a sense of humour. Sadly full of bias on the author's part. Nathaniel Popper's book is far deeper and objective yet full of drama: ...more
Gaurav Sharma
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very well researched and data backed analysis of Blockchain technology. (Also replete with good humour)
Gourav Katyal
Feb 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
A rant against Bitcoin.. Avoid if you are looking for an objective look at the crypto
Samidhya Sarker Torsho
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dissecting the hype of block chain from a purely technological point of view. Actually this book applies to any kind of buzzword driven development in years to come.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Even though the book gave me new insights and informed me about some of the history of Bitcoin, it is drained in sarcasm (did make me lol at times). It is clear the author just hates Bitcoin and the blockchain. It makes it harder to take him seriously. What also made me take him less seriously is when he states, in the beginning of the book, that regulated and centralized financial markets keep the scams, frauds, criminals, etc away and it is fundamental to trust and safety. I literally said out ...more
David Pelayo
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting book. Sometimes gets technical but it's ok. It reviews a great amount of events since Bitcoin was born, all of them with references to check.
A bit of humour complements the criticism the author makes regarding cryptocurrencies.
Therefore, fun and quick read, but biased.
You'll need to read more regarding the topic. The book is good but the topic is complex and not as straightforward as the author tells.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am an early Bitcoin investor and a technologist with great interest in Blockchain. But after having read this book, I realised (a) how freaking lucky I've been for not having been scammed or hacked out of my money, (b) that Blockchain is an over-engineered solution to a fringe problem and (c) Ethereum & Smart Contracts will never take off.

David Gerrard doesn't pull any punches in this book. He writes with sarcasm to the point of scorn and is unafraid to call out names, dates and figures. His d
Brad Mills
Dec 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: purgatory
This book is poorly researched, poorly formatted, boring and largely irrelevant.

I could slog through half of it before giving up, and that was a chore.

The author has a clear bias against bitcoin. While I somewhat agree with him on the copycat cryptocurrency projects that were mostly created by companies to make someone rich - I just don't understand why he has the wool pulled over his own eyes like this on Bitcoin.

The bias is so thick - it's best to skip this book and read a book about Bitcoin.
Dimitrios Mistriotis
Want to thank my friend Stamatios for gifting me this book.

One note about it: It is un-put-down-able. The way Gerard writes is addictive. I stopped all my other reading until I could finish this one. Even in points I do not necessarily agree he made my laugh out.
Chris Gwinn
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great read for two reasons: pointing and laughing at blockchain enthusiasts is fun, and having a handy reference for why all of this is dumb is convenient when I’m not in the mood to argue with people.
Adrian Smith
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
A must read on bitcoin and blockchains.
Mohamed Ahmed
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beware of the Bubble Devil , Beware of the Bitcoin
A Must Read for anyone Interested in Blockchain and Bitcoin
I Feel I Still need to Read From the Bitcoin Advocates Point of View To Have a Bigger Picture
I Have to Say it Was Not an Easy Read But it Was Well Researched and Educating and I Enjoy Most of it
Artur Nowrot
Short, informative, entertaining.
Povilas Balzaravičius
I took this book because I've expected critical and impartial opinion on cryptocurrencies and blockchain. What I've felt was not an objective view but rather negative flow and bias. Some chapters are very superficial requires prior knowledge. Instead author provides over 400 references to external sources on this pretty short book (yep, basically 1/3 of this book is a list of links). Some of us might see huge amount of external sources as a benefit, but what I expect from the book is a full stor ...more
This was a short but quite interesting read - The author does seem to be very knowledgeable about this topic, even though I don't necessarily agree with all of his assessments. It's also definitely not an objective book - the author clearly thinks blockchain technology is the most useless invention ever - so if you're just getting into this topic I'd recommend finding something a little less biased. Also it does get a bit technical at times, but for the most part I found it quite easy to follow. ...more
Andrew Forsythe
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent if a little one sided

Excellent, well researched, and entertaining counterpoint to the mass hysteria of blockchain. Obviously very one sided and doesn't really have anything positive to say about a technology that is likely to have some good uses in the future but that's not the point because right now it's mostly just snake oil and more people need to realise that.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it liked it
A strongly partisan invective against practically all kind of blockchain-based technologies. The book is most probably assembled through massive cherry-picking, but the amount of anecdotal evidence it accumulates is quite convincing nonetheless. Apart from the aforementioned selection bias, the essay's most evident fault is its assertive tone when it comes to the more technical aspects: the author often mocks blockchain enthusiasts' miraculous claims and dismisses them as either scams or "bad id ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
In the current climate, this book fills a useful niche as a skeptical look at the technology and its proponents. I think its most compelling critique is the lack of adoption; it’s absolutely pitiful at the moment. For every person who has actually performed any meaningful transaction with cryptocurrency there are a 1000 speculative investors crying about the “potential” to boost the value of their bags.

The author comes out of the Buttcoin community on Reddit, which has lived and breathed cryptoc
Josh Draper
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everything you wanted to know about Bitcoin, Etherium, & Blockchain

If anyone has tired to sell you on Bitcoin, Etherium, cryptocurrency in general, Blockchain, or "smart contracts", this is the book for you. It covers the history of these things, and why you should run screaming from them, with extensive footnote citations to back up the author's conclusions. It's a quick read, perfect for those whose bosses have fallen for the business bafflegab. And the glossary isn't just informative, but inc
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Almost comically negative, it is hard to trust the objectivity of Gerard’s analysis. And the release date, mere weeks before Bitcoin closed up around 2000% on the year, makes certain revisions both necessary and likely. Nonetheless, the book is an easy and entertaining read that conveys a functional understanding of Bitcoin’s history, how it works, its potential applications and its various risks. The book’s greatest strength may be that it achieves this without being overly-technical, which can ...more
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