Regular blog post on Tuesday again this week, due to another round of shilling for friends. In my defense, I try to only befriend cool talented people.
Anyway, you may remember David Gerard, with whom I cut the first of the podcast series promotiong Neoreaction a Basilisk. He was my beta reader on the book, and a longtime Internet friend and coconspirator. Among the many things David does is help run RationalWiki, where he righteously and snarkily skewers all sorts of bullshit artists. And one of the more interesting things I’d seen him skewer was Bitcoin. So a while back I suggested to him that he should write a short book explaining why Bitcoin was not, in fact, the money of the future. I was imagining something 30k tops that just laid out the case for why Bitcoin is bullshit. Instead he wrote a full-length book that releases today: Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain.
Instead he went off and wrote a beautifully thorough overview of Bitcoin that not only establishes the sheer number of scam artists and crooks surrounding Bitcoin and the larger notion of blockchains, but also establishes how utterly and hilariously stupid almost everything around it is. David provides one of the most layman-friendly explanations of what Bitcoin is, then explains in cogent detail why this involves breathtaking and fundamental design flaws such as consuming as much electricity to maintain as the entirety of Ireland. He’s got jaw-dropping accounts of people like Ross Ulbricht (aka the Dread Pirate Roberts, founder of the Silk Road website) and Craig Wright (who almost certainly did not invent Bitcoin). And a host of other amazing tales.
It’s a great book for anyone who’s interested in learning more about Bitcoin and the hype around it; one that takes the desire behind it seriously without buying into it, and that illustrates in ways both moving and hilarious just how big the gap between futurist dreams and the messy, material present can be. I highly recommend checking it out. Currently it’s on Amazon in Kindle edition, but there’s a print edition coming imminently, and it should be up on Smashwords today.
See you Tuesday.
(Oh, and keep an eye on the Seeming Twitter account: they’ve got another track from Sol dropping today.)