The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze

by: Laura Shin (2022)

The story of the idealists, technologists, and opportunists fighting to bring cryptocurrency to the masses.

In their short history, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have gone through booms, busts, and internecine wars, recently reaching a market valuation of more than $2 trillion. The central promise of crypto endures—vast fortunes made from decentralized networks not controlled by any single entity and not yet regulated by many governments.

The recent growth of crypto would have been all but impossible if not for a brilliant young man named Vitalik Buterin and his creation: Ethereum. In this book, Laura Shin takes readers inside the founding of this novel cryptocurrency network, which enabled users to launch their own new coins, thus creating a new crypto fever. She introduces readers to larger-than-life characters like Buterin, the Web3 wunderkind; his short-lived CEO, Charles Hoskinson; and Joe Lubin, a former Goldman Sachs VP who became one of crypto’s most well-known billionaires. Sparks fly as these outsized personalities fight for their piece of a seemingly limitless new business opportunity.

This fascinating book shows the crypto market for what it really is: a deeply personal struggle to influence the coming revolution in money, culture, and power.

The Reviews

Laura Shin is the ultimate narrator for this historic episode of technology and crypto. Not only was she one of only a handful of journalists to be present from the beginning of the story, she has always had the gift of telling a story in a thoughtful and balanced way.This book should be a critical resource for readers eager to understand how the crypto revolution gained steam and how it may evolve from here. I also suspect it will become an important historical document.

If you want to understand what crypto means to a generation of founder and buidlers, what this technology will unlock in multiple new and unique business models, then this is the book for you. An insider view of the first wave of creators of programable money.

You can tell Laura Shin is a seasoned journalist by the quality and sophistication of this book, even if you weren’t already familiar with her podcast or work. In attending an event in which Laura talked through her process for gathering the facts for this book, she mentioned having done 200 interviews over the course of 3 years. Her comprehensiveness shows. Like anytime throughout history when people were establishing and building a new frontier — the beginning of Ethereum was messy, complicated and full of drama. Laura has uncovered (as she does) so much for the rest of us to understand and appreciate in that story. Thank you, Laura! It was also a great read for anyone who’s not in the industry or super technical. I feel much better informed about how crypto works now having read this book!

This is the book I needed in the spring of 2018 when I began covering Ethereum as a journalist and needed to make sense of the people and politics.Why was there so much hostility by some people toward Parity? Who was really running the Ethereum Foundation? What was community sentiment toward The DAO creators? And how did ConsenSys fit into everything?Shin goes into incredible detail (which might overwhelm those who have only a passing interest in cryptocurrency) covering these topics, providing an insider's account of who did this, who said that, and how the world's second-biggest cryptocurrency got off the ground.Essential reading for crypto fanatics.

Laura is an expert reporter with decades of experience. She has been covering crypto for years and wrote an excellent, thorough book on the early days of Ethereum. Although not everyone is in 100% agreement on its contents, by and large it appears that the community consensus is that it is the best attempt at accuracy given the charged nature of events and characters found within its pages.

As someone who has been in the industry for years, this is the best book ever on the culture of crypto, and the clash between people who want to change the world for the better, and those who are looking for a get rich quick scheme. Ethereum is by far the most important project in crypto, and maybe all of technology, and it is great that Laura digs deeply into the characters that made it happen. My take is that this book will be a classic, especially to scholars in the future who are researching the brilliance and character of Vitalik B.

Even as someone who has worked in crypto for 5 years, I learned a lot from reading this book. It is really detail packed. What I enjoyed the most was the view inside Vitalik's mind (a hard to read person to say the least) and the view the book gave on his journey from wunderkind to leader and many of his traits (excessively idealistic, to say the least).

This book provides a highly detailed & exhaustively documented historical account of the Ethereum ecosystem. I found it riveting. If it accurately portrays some of the personalities involved, one should be suspect before investing in some of the top crypto projects out there.I would highly recommend the book to anyone out there involved with blockchain technology, speculating on cryptocurrencies, or just interested in the coming wave of DAO-based “crypto capitalism.”

This true story of the early alt-coin years is every bit as appalling, enlightening, and dramatic as “The Wolf of Wall Street,” though it involves much more complicated morality and mischief. Laura Shin animates every page, giving us a vivid sense of the surreal lifestyles and characters that produced “the financial revolution.” The research involved in this book is breathtaking, but Laura pulls it all together into a tale that draws us in and keeps us guessing. Most impressively, she made the highly-technical coding and investing schemes comprehensible to normies like me.There are many who have questioned the philosophies and failures of our current economic system, myself included. This book is about many such people who decided (for very diverse reasons) to do something about it. I have learned invaluable lessons by following the details of their experiences, though primarily, they are examples of what not to do (as so many life lessons are). I’d recommend this book for any crypto-enthusiast, whether idealogue or speculator.

Well researched, objective, informative and interesting. Laura Shin was thorough in her investigation and worked diligently to identify the dizzying array of characters.

Incredible book, clearly written, informative with Laura’s engaging and high-integrity style of reporting. This book is a key piece of the historical record.

I feel like the author over dramatized the story and gave not enough credit to developers.

The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze
⭐ 4.2 💛 271
kindle: $18.99
hardcover: $20.16
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