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Publisher's Summary

Bitcoin became a buzzword overnight. A cyber enigma with an enthusiastic following, it pops up in headlines and fuels endless media debate. You can apparently use it to buy anything from coffee to cars, yet few people seem truly to understand what it is. This raises the question: Why should anyone care about bitcoin?
In The Age of Cryptocurrency, Wall Street journalists Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey deliver the definitive answer to this question. Cyber money is poised to launch a revolution, one that could reinvent traditional financial and social structures while bringing the world's billions of "unbanked" individuals into a new global economy. Cryptocurrency holds the promise of a financial system without a middleman, one owned by the people who use it and one safeguarded from the devastation of a 2008-type crash.
But bitcoin, the most famous of the cyber monies, carries a reputation for instability, wild fluctuation, and illicit business; some fear it has the power to eliminate jobs and to upend the concept of a nation-state. It implies, above all, monumental and wide-reaching change--for better and for worse. But it is here to stay, and you ignore it at your peril.
Vigna and Casey demystify cryptocurrency--its origins, its function, and what you need to know to navigate a cyber economy. The digital currency world will look very different from the paper currency world; The Age of Cryptocurrency will teach you how to be ready.
©2015 Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey (P)2015 Gildan Media LLC
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Critic Reviews

" The Age of Cryptocurrency not only demystifies and explains bitcoin, but also shows where it fits into the cultural zeitgeist and where it's pointed, and what that may mean for our financial system." (John Mauldin, New York Times best-selling author of Endgame)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Philo on 09-25-15

Nice intro, imaginative stuff, but boosterish

The good: here is a fine, plain-spoken introduction to this field and its early leading lights. Also, midway in the book, emerges almost another book, which is giving an eye-opening tour of emerging ideas in autonomous business systems, automation, and new permutations of the "sharing" economy (finding and prying new value out of existing assets in the manner of uber, airBnB, etc.). That really got me thinking. In this segment, the book wanders away from "currency" per se and ruminates (quite usefully) about various possible branches of the technology, particularly the blockchain, and more generations and spin-offs to come.
The bad: not since the "dot bomb" era circa 1999 have I heard such journalistic fluffery, "gee whiz, it's so now, so hot, and these people are so so smart, blah blah" kind of tone, and such willingness to ignore (and brush aside) the downsides. Yes, there is some hedging sprinkled across the author's descriptions, but I can see issues that are casually brushed aside to keep the whole (nowadays tedious) "wow, hip and cool" tonality going. It crosses the line between advocacy and reporting, without being transparent (enough for me) about it. Yes, it is a popularization, I get it, and I am a little testy with the casualness of that format. And sheer academic density and dullness can have its own problems. But it is SO breezy, as we are introduced to a bunch of whiz kids many of whom, young and green, (with suitable 60s razzle-dazzle San Francisco dreamin' journalistic puffery) sit in lofts coding and seemingly know next to nothing about business, monetary theory, rudiments of finance, etc., and demonstrate this by apparently making the most simple and boneheaded of mistakes occasioning various reversals. I envision a fair number of them in years hence still without any assets, scraping up pin money and perhaps some turning to cybercrime, for excessive youthful hipness and lack of respect for the ABCs that less hip people bother to learn. (It is good to hear here, some Silicon Valley luminaries are bothering to get some education to these people.) It is a problem I try to warn particularly my more creative students about: don't disable yourself in your desire to be pure in your artistry, as you will be raw meat for many more crafty people, who will extract the value leaving you little. I must allow for the authors that this IS a fast-breaking field (with new headlines the week of this writing), and a lot of the problems have not shown up yet.
Likewise, how are these newfangled automated self-executing contracts going to replace people? As a contracts expert I can see realms of implementation problems blithely brushed aside here. This utopia is a lot further away than it might look here.
In all, I'm very glad I heard this. I just want to add my caveats. Many are the people who want to write a new world. Many are the razzle dazzle salespeople around them, full of sizzle.

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27 of 28 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Larry V. on 04-13-15

absolutely fascinating, yet scary and exciting,

I learned a tremendous amount about Bitcoin, but more importantly about digital currency the blockchain and technologies that will change the way we do commerce.

At first glance you might think this book would be boring but it's fascinating definitely a must read for any serious person today

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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