How Money Got Free by Brian Patrick Eha
This article is part of a series of blog posts reviewing our list of top non-fiction titles. These are the books that are being read by large groups in The Pigeonhole’s Company Book Clubs (click for more information). Our carefully curated list includes titles on technology, wellness, psychology, politics, geopolitics, the workplace and the economy. Expect a new post showcasing our ever-expanding list twice a month.
It is difficult to walk into any remotely financial workplace in the world at the moment without someone uttering the resonant but – for many – meaningless word, ‘Bitcoin’. Having started the year at a relatively modest valuation of $764 per coin, Bitcoin recently topped the $15,000 mark. You don’t have to be a mathematician or a Nasdaq trader to realise that that is some terrifying growth.
But what are Bitcoins? Well, they are a cryptocurrency (or a digital currency) that allow people to enter into trusting transactions without the need for 3rd parties. Every aspect of the transaction is stored on something called The Blockchain: a ledger of information that records anything and everything that has ever happened to every single Bitcoin.
A quick Google search (which, apparently, correlates directly with the wildly fluctuating value of Bitcoin) will tell you everything you need to know about the disparity of opinion that exists on this nascent currency. To some, it is a tulip-like bubble which will collapse/be outlawed/ or fail – or all three. Others think it will reach $100,000 per Bitcoin and replace fiat (conventional) currencies as we know them.
The only thing we know for certain is that Bitcoin is big news, and it’s worth understanding.
This is where Brian Patrick Eha comes in. Unlike the many, many laboured and jargon-heavy books on the subject, Eha has sculpted an eminently readable account of how blockchain technology (the system that Bitcoin relies on), Bitcoin, and the other less notorious cryptocurrencies came to be, through a web of human narratives. Where others get bogged down in figures and clunky explanations, Eha relies on his own storytelling to bring an otherwise opaque idea into focus. With echoes of The Upstarts by Brad Stone and The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford for sheer readability, you will race through this book like a tech thriller, and might even be able to make some money in the process.
Based in New York, Brian Patrick Eha published How Money Got Free in April of this year to widespread acclaim. He frequently writes and speaks about finance, technology and cryptocurrencies on various media outlets. He has graduated from the Columbia University School of Journalism and his work has been published by The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The American Reader and many others.