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Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption Audio CD – Audiobook, May 21, 2019
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 7.7 ounces
- ISBN-10 : 125022084X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250220844
- Product Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.84 x 7.83 inches
- Publisher : Macmillan Audio; Unabridged Edition (May 21, 2019)
- Language: : English
Best-sellers rank #1,130,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#233 in E-Commerce (Books)
#317 in Computer & Technology Biographies
#614 in Digital Currencies
- Customer Reviews:
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I did not change my mind that the twins behaved like entitled brats in their legal case against the agile coder and entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg as the author strongly implied in his earlier bestseller. Mezrich now seems to miss the irony of the twins extorting their $60 million settlement with an attempt to trash Zuckerberg's privacy by ripping rash or lecherous Zuckerberg emails out of context.
But Mezrich changed his mind, and now anyone who carps at the twins, such as Larry Summers, comes in for heavy breathing condemnation ("so unfair, so disgraceful for an educator"). Summers failed to punish Zuck for a "direct violation" no less of the freaking "ethical rules" in the Harvard Student Handbook! And Summers was insensitive toward the genetic vanities of female mathematicians! "Me-too," string us up!
So I was a hard sell from the beginning, altogether ready to make fun of Hollywood Ben and his bums rush into my world.
But soon enough, I was impaled like a pig on a barbecue and couldn't get away from this sizzling blockbuster of a book/putative film about what it is like to launch a new thing into the litigious and bureaucratic U.S. financial scene.
We get the sore pathos of the saga of Charlie Shrem of BitInstant, the twins' first bitcoin investment, who ends up in jail for two years for email foibles and clerical oversights that linked his customers to the Silk Road dark web drug fiasco. Money laundering, what ever that may be. We get vivid vignettes of Roger Ver, "Bitcoin Jesus," also a money blaspheming felon, and Ross Ulbricht, off to jail forever for Silk Road. Cryptocurrency venturers take warning: Momma don 'low no Maytag messing with the sacerdotal dollar and the mazes of rules surrounding it.
But Mezrich really hits his incandescent stride in Chapter 21, introducing much of the seedy and sage bitcoin elite. You meet them all in their habitat, from Jeb McCaleb, founder of the Mount Gox exchange/debauch, the epigrammatic Naval Ravikant of Angel List, Balaji Srinivasan of Coinbase, chessman Gary Kasparov, Paypal's Max Levchin, and Bram Cohen of BitTorrent. These all showed up at this recherche' "Genesis Block" preparty. You also meet ex-Facebooker Chamath Palihapitiya who pointedly shunned this event, the twins coming out party as bitcoin billionaires, before Cameron's great speech on innovation at the San Jose Convention Center: "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight with you. Then you win."
Mezrich climaxes his tale with an entirely convincing saga of the redemption of the Winkelvosses. He even had me agreeing that the shakedown against Zuck for supposedly "stealing" the moldy idea of a social network has been amply vindicated by the twins' bold and contrarian use of the funds to become the most audacious bitcoin financiers and pioneering investors in the next generation of technology.
And a real test of futuristic journalism is how a book's thesis fares after publication. With Mark Zuckerberg now coming around to reconcile with the twins and launch a blockchain currency himself with them, you can read post-publication chapters every day in the Wall Street Journal.
I ended up learning a lot from Hollywood Ben, and so will you, while taking a rapturous ride through the shoals of the US regulatory garotte and the origins of a new technological and economic era.
However, I would propose that you still read "Life After Google" to learn of the Bitcoin flaw and of the efflorescence of likely more important blockchain related companies.
It's admittedly not a movie, but you can come to grasp that blockchains beyond bitcoin offer a chance to remedy the two most serious ailments of the world economy--the billion-breach Internet security breakdown and the scandal of a $5.1 trillion a day of currency trading, some 25 times global GDP. All this currency shuffling doesn't even prevent minus-sum-trade war trumpery and hedging of almost all international transactions. Maybe a real bitcoin mimicking gold as Satoshi sought could restore global money as a measuring stick rather than a magic wand for central banks.
Like Ben and the twins, I am still not too old to change my mind. This book changed it for the better, about bitcoin and about the twins. And it should make a greater more portentous movie than Social Networking.
I had a less than stellar impression of these two guys before I picked up this book, but now I want dislike them viscerally.
It is almost impossible to cut through the hero-worship and focus on the mechanics of bitcoin or the rewards and pitfalls of bitcoin plays.
The Winklevoss Twins, also referred to as the Winklevii to those in the know, are known to those in the know because of their working with Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard on the development of Facebook. A famous court case occurred and the 6’5” Winklevii lost out to the 5’5” Zuckerberg. The tall boys did settle for a lot of money, though, and set out to make their ways in the financial world. They picked up on Bitcoin (whatever it really is), Charlie, and a fair number of somewhat spurious individuals.
The Winklevii are really the straight men in Mezrich’s tale of coin, drugs, and really hot women. Think models, here. His book is fun to read and will probably make a good movie, as a previous book about Facebook did. And maybe by the time I see the movie, I’ll understand crypto currency.
Top international reviews
The first act is by far the strongest, showing how the Twins fought their betrayal by Zuckerburg, no one will leave this book thinking anything but the worst of the later. The inciteful insights into this are incredibly interesting and enjoyable to read.
Unfortunately the "betrayal" that unfolds in the later two acts didn't quite live up to their earlier betrayal and just felt a little pushed (it was more of a head in the sand moment). It also didn't come as a surprise, although maybe that's because I remember it happening...
The worst part, of this very good and enjoyable book, is that the story isn't over, it has only just begun. An example of which is that Facebook have now announced "Global Coin" and have had discussions with Gemini. This would have been a far better ending that the blog post from Zuckerburg that features as the last words.
I hope Ben does a hat trick and sells this for a movie (I loved 21 and The Social Network), I know they'll have to cut a lot out but I think they will also be able to even more by bringing it to a wider audience.
I very much recommend this book.
I couldn’t put it down!
What a story, the difficulties (understatement!) the Winklevoss brothers went through following the Facebook debacle, how they got involved in Bitcoin, what that required of them (no pleasure cruise!!) - they are incredible guys, survivors, fighters! - the journey, but the history, motivation behind and mechanics of Bitcoin/crypto currencies and who else was/is involved, it’s fascinating.
I still have a ton of questions about crypto currency workings but that’s progress for me: I didn’t even know what the questions were before I read it!
Ben Mezrich is a great storyteller, eg ‘Accidental Billionaires’ (adapted to make ‘The Social Network’, the movie about the ‘founding’ of Facebook), ‘Straight Flush’ and ‘Bringing The House Down’ (adapted to create the movie ‘21’).
This is another great book!
This tells the story of the Winklevoss twins and how they came to own at least 1% of the entire supply of Bitcoin. Interestingly is how they funded this from their half billion dollar Facebook payout thanks to taking stock rather than cash in the settlement with Zuckerburg.
Anyone into #crypto and $btc ;) will already be familiar with many of the names mentioned on crypoTwitter from Roger Ver to Charlie Shrem and of course the Winklevoss twins themselves and how they came to legitimise crypto by working with legislators and setting up the Gemini exchange and trading platform after the collapse of Mt Gox.
Anyone not into crypto will be fascinated by the story. And then head out to buy some Bitcoin. It's not too late. It is the new global currency. A near perfect algorithm released by an anonymous and extremely smart group/individual to slowly infiltrate society. Very skull and crossbones. Beginning of a new world order? Make your own mind up.
You won't be able to put this book down. When you've finished, set up a Twitter account and chat to the author or one of the WInklevii - you'll at least get a like from them.
Can't wait for the film!
Can't wait for the movie