The international best-selling author of THE LAUNDRYMEN pulls back the curtain on the digital currency craze to prove, as he says, "When it comes to bitcoin, what you see is not necessarily what you get."
Jeffrey Robinson spent more than a year trekking through "Planet-Bitcoin" to find a digital-something pretending to be a currency; that same digital-something pretending to be a commodity; a political apolitical movement that reeks of a delusional cult; and a technology - unique peer-to-peer transfer system - that happens to be brilliant.He spoke with big players and small players, economists, tech analysts, bankers, cryptographers, digital engineers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, businessmen, regulators, get-rich-quick schemers, wannabes, political anarchists, and the "rock stars" of the eco system - from "Bitcoin Jesus" Roger Ver and now convicted bitcoin felon Charlie Shrem to Overstock's Patrick Byrne and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen - all of whom have a stake in bitcoin's brilliant future or abject failure.
He investigates the great promises made by the "Faithful": How bitcoin will replace fiat; how central bankers are trembling at the feet of this all encompassing digital currency; how bitcoin is the perfect solution to the developing world's unbanked and underbanked; how bitcoin is a speeding freight train bearing down on the dollar's dominance as the world's primary currency; and how bitcoin is wildly successful having gone so viral that it is viral cubed.
By separating the myths from the naked truths, one by one, he concludes they are, for the most part, wildly delusional.
He questions the get-rich-quick scheme of the Winklevoss twins; the rip-off bitcoin wannabe flogged by an off-the-reservation native American; and the illogic behind bitcoin ATMs - "For every bitcoin ATM in the world, there are 1680 condom machines in American gas station toilets." He explains how companies who supposedly "accept" bitcoins don't really want to have anything to do with them; then sings the praises of Satoshi's blockchain technology and of bitcoin off-shoots like ColoredCoins and Ripple.
Writing with typical wit, humor, and his jaundiced eye for cons, scams, pirates, hype, market manipulation, misinformation, outright lies, self-fulfilling Ponzis, sleight of hand and a mob of greater fools, Robinson reveals:
* Punch for punch, the pretend-currency can't stand toe-to-toe with the non-convertible Cuban peso.
* The pretend-commodity is really just a casino chip for a loaded roulette wheel.
* Despite the hype, there are fewer businesses worldwide who "accept" bitcoin than there are piano tuners in Canada.
* Despite the hype, there are fewer people using bitcoins to buy goods and services than there are members enrolled in Kuwait Airways frequent flyer program.
* The "blockchain" technology behind bitcoin is brilliant and could change the world.
The book that the bitcoin "Faithful" do not want you to read, Jeffrey Robinson rips through the headlines, the hot air and the hysteria to prove without any doubt that, "When it comes to bitcoin, what you see is not necessary what you get."