Bitcoin Book Review

John Young
Sat Jul 4 07:44:44 PDT 2015


The most poignant moment in the book comes when 
Popper contrasts a conference for the more 
ideologically minded Bitcoiners at a racetrack on 
the outskirts of Austin, where Ulbricht grew up, 
with the gathering of the rich and powerful at 
the South by Southwest festival, where Ulbricht’s 
mother is politely dismissed as she pleads for 
funds to help defray her son’s legal costs. It 
was an “unhappy reminder of a side of Bitcoin” 
that its new adherents “wanted to put behind 
them,” Popper writes. And as he notes, “If this 
was the new world, it didn’t seem all that 
different from the old one ­ at least not yet.”

Nor can “Digital Gold” be a tale with a 
satisfying ending, because the future of Bitcoin 
is unknowable right now. As the venture 
capitalist Barry Silbert says at a Goldman Sachs 
conference, Bitcoin “is either going to change 
everything, or nothing.” But if Bitcoin doesn’t 
change every­thing, people will keep trying to 
find something that will, and so Popper’s book 
stands as necessary reading, and very intriguing 
at that, regardless of the eventual fate of his subject.


More information about the cypherpunks mailing list