Table of Contents

From the print edition

  • A Bitcoin FAQ 7
  • Introduction 9
  • Chapter 1: What is a bitcoin? 11
    • Why Bitcoin? 11
    • What you have when you have “a bitcoin” 11
    • The blockchain 13
    • Secured by waste: Proof of Work 13
  • Chapter 2: The Bitcoin ideology 17
  • Chapter 3: The incredible promises of Bitcoin! 25
    • Decentralised! Secured by math! 25
    • Anonymous! 26
    • Instant! No fees! 26
    • No chargebacks! 26
    • Be your own bank! 27
    • Better than Visa, PayPal or Western Union! 28
    • Remittances! 28
    • Bank the unbanked! 29
    • Economic equality! 30
    • The supply is limited! The price can only go up! 31
    • But Bitcoin saved Venezuela! 31
    • When the economy collapses, Bitcoin will save you! 32
    • You can use Bitcoin to buy drugs on the Internet! 33
  • Chapter 4: Early Bitcoin: the rise to the first bubble 35
    • The tulip bulb era 35
    • The art of the steal 38
    • Pirateat40: Bitcoin Savings & Trust 40
    • Bitcoin exchanges: keep your money in a sock under someone else’s bed 42
    • The rise and fall of Mt. Gox 44
    • Drugs and the Darknet: The Silk Road 48
  • Chapter 5: How Bitcoin mining centralised 55
    • The firetrap era 55
    • Abusing your hashpower for fun and profit 57
  • Chapter 6: Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? 59
    • Searching for Satoshi 59
    • Dorian Nakamoto 60
    • Professor Dr Dr Craig Wright: Nakamoto Dundee. That’s not a signature. 61
  • Chapter 7: Spending bitcoins in 2017 69
    • Bitcoin is full: the transaction clog 69
    • Bitcoin for drugs: welcome to the darknet 71
    • Ransomware 72
    • Non-illegal goods and services 74
    • Case study: Individual Pubs 78
  • Chapter 8: Trading bitcoins in 2017: the second crypto bubble 81
    • How to get bitcoins 81
    • From the first bubble to the second 82
    • Bitfinex: the hack, the bank block and the second bubble 83
  • Chapter 9: Altcoins 91
  • Chapter 10: Smart contracts, stupid humans 101
  • Chapter 11: Business bafflegab, but on the Blockchain 111
    • What can Blockchain do for me? 112
    • But all these companies are using Blockchain now! 114
    • Blockchains won’t clean up your data for you 115
    • Six questions to ask your blockchain salesman 117
    • Security threat models 118
    • Permissioned blockchains 119
    • Beneficiaries of business Blockchain 120
    • Non-beneficiaries of business Blockchain 121
    • “Blockchain” products you can buy! 121
    • UK Government Office for Science: “Distributed Ledger Technology: beyond block chain” 123
  • Chapter 12: Case study: Why you can’t put the music industry on a blockchain 125
    • The rights management quagmire 125
    • Getting paid for your song 126
    • The record industry’s loss of control and the streaming apocalypse 127
    • Berklee Rethink and blockchain dreams 128
    • Imogen Heap: “Tiny Human”. Total sales: $133.20 129
    • Why blockchains are a bad fit for music 131
    • Attempts to make sense of the hype 132
    • Other musical blockchain initiatives 134
    • SingularDTV 136
    • Summary 137
  • Conclusion 139
  • Further reading 141
  • Acknowledgements 143
  • About the author 145
  • Glossary 147
  • Index 149
  • Notes 161