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Bitcoin Billionaires Paperback – August 4, 2020

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

BEN MEZRICH has authored Bringing Down the House, which spent sixty-three weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. His book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal debuted at #4 on the New York Times list and hit bestseller lists in over a dozen countries. The book was adapted into the movie The Social Network, nominated for eight Academy Awards and winner of four Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Flatiron Books; Reprint edition (August 4, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250217768
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250217769
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 8.8 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.53 x 0.72 x 8.29 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 1,410 ratings

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
1,410 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 7, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on May 27, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bitcoin Ride and Ruin
By George Gilder on May 27, 2019
Hey, I started this book in a snit of resentment at Hollywood Ben Mezrich for the offense of explosively displacing my "Life After Google" at the top of the Amazon bestseller list for "Digital Currencies." I was pulled painfully through pedestrian early chapters reliving his Facebook "Social Networking" saga and playing to prurient envy of the Winkelvoss twins Tyler and Cameron at Harvard and Olympics rowing races, and frottaging the "models" in flesh-fraught Ibiza.

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.
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48 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on May 25, 2019
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32 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on May 26, 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

Mr B W J Berry
4.0 out of 5 stars A story that isn't quite over!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 2, 2019
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7 people found this helpful
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Koby Gould
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘Bitcoin Billionaires’, by Ben Mezrich: superb!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 18, 2019
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 29, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 9, 2019
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good but could have been great
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 18, 2020
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