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The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-hackers Is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  575 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Written with the verve of such works as The Big Short, The History of the Future, and The Spider Network, here is the fascinating, true story of the rise of Ethereum, the second-biggest digital asset in the world, the growth of cryptocurrency, and the future of the internet as we know it.

Everyone has heard of Bitcoin, but few know about the second largest cryptocurrency, E
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 14th 2020 by Harper Business
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Soumya Tejam
Aug 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Camila Russo delivers a fast-paced, Michael Lewis-style history of the possibilities of cryptocurrency, the personalities involved and the business history of the concept. If you're looking for the nuts and bolts, you won't find them here. Instead the book works for its storytelling, finesse, and dedication to detail. As cryptocurrency and borderless digital finance sweep the world, The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-hackers Is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum will be canonical ...more
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is kind of the Ethereum ecosystem bible, for everyone. No need to be technical to read this book.
A must read for most people involved in digital currencies.
Very descriptive, some interesting details, about humans and technology. Covering the most important developments of the ecosytem.
I would have expected a little bit more of opinions, visions and ideas for the future from the different people and from Camila herself.
Very good read. I recommend.
John Alshukri
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book is good. However, it gives a narrow view about the future and crypto world. It uses complicated language for those who have no idea about cryptocurrency.

Ethereum is the new thing.
How's that? no one knows. It's amazing how the concept of money changed in the past 20years. We evolved from trading banana for fish, to trading banana for a gold (uneatable), to trading gold and fish with number. Money is subjective thing (or that what crypto implement). It could change from a form to another
Ethereum. One of the most important projects in Blockchain technology of our recent times. I have been lucky enough to been involved in this project since the beginning, so I can honestly say that I am a good critic. This book explains the underpinnings of Ethereum in a very HUMAN language.

I was shocked and super pleasantly surprised to find that it is an amazing book, super fluid and easy to read, full off all the pertinent information, and in many ways a literary master piece. It made “Bitcoin
Mayank Jain
Feb 15, 2021 rated it liked it
I didn’t realize that ETH was created by more people than just Vitalik. I thought the chronology of the book got a little confusing at times. It was interesting to hear the comprehensive backstory and all the things I’d various heard over time put into context. I thought the book didn’t do a great job of actually explaining blockchain concepts like DAOs, DeFI, proof of stake, etc, but at the same time I guess I can’t say it was the intention of the book to explain these things. But I do think th ...more
Ed Yao
May 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
An intimate view of the trials and tribulations for this collection of misfits and idealists on their very rocky path to creating this world-changing technology. I just wished that I read this 6 months ago!

The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that the technology talk was sometimes beyond my capabilities (and I'm reasonably familiar with the concepts around crypto).
Louis Shulman
May 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Please make a movie out of this.
Highly recommend.

Entertaining (check)
Educational (check)
Easy To Read (check)
Berend Bassleer
Jun 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Great insights into the creation and potential of Ethereum (and crypto in general)
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing

This book should be mandatory for any Ethereum developer out there, it does really tell the story, not all of course, but the most important aspects of the crypto community and how is it evolving day by day, telling the origins of Ethereum its founders and all the ups and downs that come with Defying the system, useless bureaucracy and bad apples.

I really enjoyed the first chapters on how it was merely and idea, and nowadays it’s just so big and keeps growing. The infinite machine may seem an ov
Pablo Fetter
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book tells the fascinating story of Ethereum and the people that buitl it :)
It involves geniuses, libertarians, idealists, fraudsters, hackers, billions of dollars, and most importantly a technology with the potential to change the world.

I read Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper (the history of Bitcoin) when it came out in 2015 and thoroughly enjoyed it. This book filled the gap, telling the history of Ethereum.

Camila writes with a masterful mix of human touch, technical details, and the susp
Alex Reyes
Aug 03, 2020 rated it liked it
I gave this 3 stars, which is significantly lower than most reviews made recently. Here's my thoughts real quick:

- I enjoyed the book, but at times it felt like a slog to finish.
- There was lots of (seemingly) irrelevant details and names throughout. There were probably 50+ individuals mentioned by name who each got a small blurb about their life.
- This book feels like the 'Social Network' of Blockchain. It's got the same kind of get rich quick while partying vibes that make you want to start
Mijael Feldman
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing read!

I'm a fintech Founder helping people improve their financial lives. Reading this book is encouraging me to think twice about the best way to grow and making me question if the future of financial services is still going to look the same in 10 years.
While reading the last chapter on DeFi, I spent an hour in Mexico City at a bank branch opening a savings account. 5 minutes later I was moving ethereum from my wallet to buy DAI and save on Maker Dao.
After reading this book I'm complet
Clo Willaerts
I’m still not sure what problem blockchain technology is trying to solve. Maybe the whole idea got a little tainted by its most famous application: bitcoin. Bitcoin’s origin story was just mysterious enough to intrigue, but then it got in the news for its use to speculate on market trends and shady transactions on the Dark Web. This is why Ether, a bitcoin alternative, was like a breath of fresh air. Its founder Vitalik Buterin was a frequent speaker at cryptcurrency conferences and is clearly e ...more
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great introduction to blockchain technology and it’s recent (r)evolution. The author details the who, what, why, where, when, and how, that was responsible for developing and driving the global adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency usage during 2011-2019 period.

This is not a technical guide, but rather an easy to follow account of the key people involved with the rise of crypto and the digitally re-imagined gold-rush that ensued. These people parlayed their early ch
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of the conception, development, deployment, and show-time of Ethereum – the blockchain based distributed peer-to-peer computing machine and much more. It is a current-day adventure tale, no less exciting and exhilarating than an Indiana Jones episode of yesterday. It has all the key elements: there is motivation to break away from the shackles of a constricting system that benefits the incumbents at the expense of everyone else; there is the breakthrough idea and the capable an ...more
Mikko Ikola
Mar 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021, crypto
Great story of Ethereum history

Jumping to the bandwagon of cryptos is no easy task. Full of new terms, stories, references that you are expected to know before you fully understand what people talk about today.

Just like Saifadean’s book “Bitcoin Standard” is a good way to familiarize with fundamentals behind history of money and Bitcoin, Infinite Machine brings you up to speed how Ethereum has developed to this day.

This book covers all main events such as personal history of Vitalik Buterin, Bit
Apr 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Rather than focusing on much technicality’s the book focuses on the history of Etherum and its founders. Easy to read, and definitely a good introduction to DeFi.

“Ethereum isn’t only a network for its digital currency, ether. It’s meant to be the base layer for developers to build whatever application they can dream of, including issuing their own coin.”

“Web 1 is the internet of the 1990s, before user-generated content, indexed search, and social media platforms. It lived exclusively in desktop
Forrest Norwood
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An incredible overview of what I think is the most exciting project in the world. The Infinite Machine reads like a thriller movie, winding together multiple perspectives of Ethereum contributors while maintaining their daunting sense of urgency to scale the ambitious project. Russo does very well to keep her journalistic integrity, she covers the founding and development of Ethereum from its highest highs to its lowest lows. And while the goal of the project is to remove human inputs and biases ...more
Mark Lund
First chapters were okay but I couldn't make it even through part 1 so I decided to not waste my time with this garbage. Incredibly boring. These are smart people but their lives are not very interesting. And the writing is not very engaging. There needs to be a stronger narrative. Make the reader want to continue and not think how long is this damn book? How many chapters left? The best books make you want it to go on forever. Sadly, most books suck. Not sure why this book has so many 5 star re ...more
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this. It reads like a fast-paced thriller movie. The Infinite Machine is a balanced tale of the inception and evolution of Ethereum and its buzzing community. Camilla takes readers through the basic principles of blockchain technology, why it's important, what it is, what it's not and how developers are applying this tech to different types of problems (or pseudo problems). It not only talks about the ideals. The ugly sides of this "invention", like scams, false outrageous hype ...more
Sam Ranson
Apr 17, 2021 is currently reading it
Shelves: crypto
Looking forward to delving deeper into the intricacies of the Etherium protocol.
As the network effect gets stronger, its use cases get ever more entrenched & it becomes too big to fail, especially once DeFi protocols start to gain traction.
Store of value narrative here to stay for Bitcoin and fully entrenched into Financial system with more & more institutions onboarding each quarter.
Vitalik's proof of stake vs proof of work jibe on Tim Ferriss' recent podcast with Naval Ravikant was interest
Clovis Ong
Apr 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Fascinating read, but there's an odd dichotomy of either hyper detailed explanations of fairly simple, low level concepts... or extremely subtractive brush offs hand-waving away more high-level, complex concepts. Either go into detail or don't. Either treat the reader as completely new to the space or as a veteran with background knowledge. The vacillation between the two extremes leaves a reader feeling alienated. I will still say that the background history on the community is highly intriguin ...more
May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I think my five star rating reflects the fact that I'm into economics, finance, and therefore by default in 2021, cryptocurrency.
I was still pleasantly surprised at how accessible this book is to anyone regardless of your knowledge in this genre.
Camila Russo has really done her homework and has natural storytelling ability alongside her excellent choices for detail selection within the crypto space category.
It's an easy book to recommend for anybody even remotely interested in the new digital e
Apr 22, 2021 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this! Working in Ethereum now and discovering its origins is a lot of fun, especially looking up mentioned people on twitter. The story speaks for itself and Russo does a great job of telling it with detail and care. I wished it was more grand and less expository, but I think that's also because the story is still being written, and we don't have the retrospect needed for an authoritative voice yet. I read this as a beginning-ETH-insider; not sure if more or less fun for other ...more
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-books
I am a tech person who is a crypto enthusiast since 2016 and I found this book to be the perfect read which connected so many dots for me in a masterful way.
I suggest it to anyone who want to hear an amazing story about what some really smart kids are building right now! It's a great introduction of the crypto word for anyone from people who are completely unaware what crypto is to even some hardcode crypto dev.
Rafaella Baraldo
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved the book and in fact I bought it as a gift for family members. It also became a gift to the onboardning of new team members at our company. It is a detailed description of how Ethereum Blockchain started and a bit of how it works. Camila's writing is easy to understand and is a non-tech book about a high tech topic.

Strongly recommend if you are interested in blockchain.

If you work with tech, finance or blockchain, this book should be mandatory.
Brady Dale
Mar 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a crypto journalist myself, I went into thinking I would know all of this. I didn't, though. There's lots of good detail in here that was new and interesting to me.
Russo does a nice job of finding some good characters to follow through the story. There are a lot of levels to ethereum.
It's a fun book, an easy read and worthwhile if you want to know about this world of cryptocurrencies. If nothing else, Vitalik is a one-of-a-kind character.
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great history of the (Ethereum's) future. This book offers a detailed view into what's been happening in the crypto/blockchain space since its beginnings and what obstacles had to be overcome to get to where we are today - from a thriving community of pioneers to builders creating a parallel financial system. Immersive and well researched! ...more
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book about the whole history of the crypto currency ethereum. Starting from bitcoin until the ICO's frenzy of ethereum, it succeeds in bringing every person that got involved in the project and share their point of view. ...more
Gabriel Alborta
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
A must-read for every cryptocurrency advocate. The book digs deep into Ethereum history from its spontaneous beginning to the big player it is today in the crypto industry. NOT recommended for bitcoin maxis.
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