Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper

Digital Gold

Digital Gold: Bitcoin And The Inside Story Of The Misfits And Millionaires Trying To Reinvent Money

It’s an interesting history of Bitcoin. I’m trying to determine if Bitcoins are for real or if the enthusiasts selling to each other. After reading the book I’m left impressed by the technologies, but I’m not convinced Bitcoin is going to be the one cyber-currency that become a defacto standard, or even one of many standards. Criminals and Governments, stand in the way. Banks are taking a wait and see approach. Popper does a fine job of showing how money is used as store of wealth. He explains how Public Key Encryption used with the block chain, and diffused computing power could revolutionize not just money but all forms of wealth transfer and storage.

421 pages

Wences began by purchasing a growing stockpile of Bitcoins from Mt. Gox in early 2012 and joined in the conversation on the forums and chat channels. When he wasn’t playing with Bitcoin’ he devoured several books on the history of money, most significantly “Debt: The First 5,000 Years,” a cult favorite in the Occupy Wall Street movement and in certain transgressive corners of Wall Street. The book, by anthropologist David Graeber, argued that historians and economists have wrongly assumed that money grew out of barter. In fact, Graeber argued, and Wences came to believe, barter was never common and money was actually an evolution of credit-a way of tracking what people owed to each other. People used to just keep a mental tally of what they owed each other, but money provided a way to expand the system more broadly among people who didn’t know each other. page 157

Marc Andreessen.. published a lengthy crib de coeur on the New York Times website, explaining what had the Valley so worked up. “The gulf between what the press and many regular people believe Bitcoin is, and what a growing critical mass of technologists believe Bitcoin is, remains enormous,” Andreessen explained. Andreessen’s list of the potential uses for the technology was lengthy. It was an improvement on existing payment networks, owing to its security and low fees, but it was also a new way for migrants to move money internationally, as well as a way to provide financial services to people whom banks had left behind. Like many Valley firms, Andreessen’s was thinking about intelligent robots, and Bitcoin seemed like a perfect medium of exchange for two machines that needed to pay each other for services. Beyond all that, though, the decentralized ledger underlying Bitcoin was a fundamentally new kind of network-like the Internet-with possibilities that still hadn’t been dreamed up, Andreessen said. page 294


About craigmaas

I do a little web design work and support a couple web sites and blogs. My primary focus is lighting and energy consulting where I use a number of computer tools to help my customer find ways of saving money and improving their work environment. See my web site for more information:
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