In the space of a few years, Bitcoin has gone from an idea ignored or maligned by almost everyone to an asset with a market cap of more than $12 billion. Venture capital firms, Goldman Sachs, the New York Stock Exchange, and billionaires such as Richard Branson and Peter Thiel have invested more than $1 billion in companies built on this groundbreaking technology. Bill Gates has even declared it ‘better than currency’.
The pioneers of Bitcoin were twenty-first-century outlaws – cryptographers, hackers, Free Staters, ex-cons and drug dealers, teenage futurists and self-taught entrepreneurs – armed with a renegade ideology and a grudge against big government and big banks. Now those same institutions are threatening to co-opt or curtail the impact of digital currency. But the pioneers, some of whom have become millionaires themselves, aren’t going down without a fight. Sweeping and provocative, How Money Got Free reveals how this disruptive technology is shaping the debate around competing ideas of money and liberty, and what that means for our future.
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About the Author
Brian Patrick Eha is a former editor at Entrepreneur and a journalist who has spent nearly five years following the rise of Bitcoin. His work has been published by the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Fortune, CNNMoney, American Banker, Outside, Port, Avaunt, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Money and Liberty 1
Chapter 1 Making Money 11
Chapter 2 Virtual Crack 37
Chapter 3 The Gray Hat 70
Chapter 4 Blood and Vein 83
Chapter 5 A Meeting in Ibiza 111
Chapter 6 Regulation Blues 129
Chapter 7 Bitcoin Never Sleeps 153
Chapter 8 The Billionaire Who Wasn't 178
Chapter 9 Innovation and Its Discontents 213
Chapter 10 Meltdown 245
Chapter 11 The Internet of Money 291
Chapter 12 Death and Taxes 323
Chapter 13 The Plea Deal 350
Chapter 14 Vindication 375
Chapter 15 Hearts and Minds 397
Epilogue: Discipline and Anarchy 427
What People are Saying About This
"If Brian Patrick Eha can make me, a Luddite dunce, both understand and care about the enigmatic Bitcoin, and if he can also tantalize the novelist in me with a narrative of intellectual daring and primal risk relating to Bitcoin’s rise and fall and rise, then he is some kind of journalistic magician. And so he is, because he did all those things and more. Welcome to a new reality and the monetary future. You’ll never find a better guide."
Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air and Blood Will Out
‘Fascinating…This book is like a fiber-optic cable extending into our uncertain economic future.’
‘A tremendously entertaining story of the technology, ideology, and personalities behind Bitcoin’s rise. Highly recommended.’
‘If Brian Patrick Eha can make me, a Luddite dunce, both understand and care about the enigmatic Bitcoin, and if he can also tantalize the novelist in me with a narrative of intellectual daring and primal risk…then he is some kind of journalistic magician. And so he is, because he did all those things and more… You’ll never find a better guide.’