I heard Nathaniel Popper on the Unchained podcast in November, which led me to read Digital Gold. Digital Gold traces the rise of Bitcoin from the early theories of digital currency and Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper, to early mining efforts and initial exchanges, and ends with the collapse of Mt. Gox and the Silk Road.
I read Digital Gold to gain a better understanding of Bitcoin’s beginnings and to learn more about the people involved with Bitcoin’s start. Popper introduces familiar digital currency characters like Eric Voorhees, Roger Ver and Nick Szabo, but the reader meets a lot of interesting characters along the way.
One of the interesting characters introduced by Popper was Wences Casares. Casares is a successful tech entrepreneur from Argentina who saw Bitcoin as the alternative currency that could be used by people whose national currency experiences hyper-inflation and devaluation. Casares even attempted to integrate digital currency into his startup Lemon Wallet prior to selling it.
Balaji Srinivasan is a polymath who is very active in the Bitcoin space. In addition to lecturing at Stanford, Srinivasan is a board partner at Andreesen Horowitz and the CEO of earn.com. In Digital Gold, Srinivasan is introduced as developing a new chip to mine Bitcoin faster.
If you are interested in the origin story of Bitcoin, check out Digital Gold. Popper packs a lot of information into this fast moving narrative.