JACK K.- 4 STARS

Updated: Nov 16




This book is an introductory overview of cryptocurrency, containing some general guidelines for the beginner to start investing in cryptocurrencies. It is written at a very accessible level, somewhere between a blog and a how-to book. It is a fast read, but unusually engaging. It is also reasonably comprehensive, providing a high-level overview of the entire cryptocurrency system (rather than just focusing on one aspect, such as blockchain databases).


Disclaimer: I received a free digital ARC for this novel. However, both the decision to post a review and the contents of the review are voluntary and my own alone.


Another disclaimer for this one: It is unusually hard to write a review on a book about investing in cryptocurrencies without getting sucked into reviewing cryptocurrencies themselves. I will try and comment on the BOOK (rather than the TOPIC) but (as fair warning) I may get sidetracked anyway.


Pros:


The book is unusually readable for a book on finance. This has some downsides (more on this later) but it makes the book accessible to a wider audience than typical for a finance book.


The author provides good added value in assembling widely available pieces into a coherent whole. While much of the content of the book can be found in commonly available websites (such as Wikipedia, Investopedia and the like) this book provides a significantly more objective and coherent overview than can be provided by trying to piece this together by reading websites alone. (Particularly since some cryptocurrency websites exist with an ulterior motive of dragging unwary investors off into a rabbit hole of one type or another.)


The author is clearly a cryptocurrency enthusiast. This does (somewhat) answer the question of why the author is writing a book (which is unlikely to make all that much money) as opposed to taking that time to invest in cryptocurrency (where, presumably, the gains would be much larger). The answer, in this case at least, appears to be a bit of evangelistic fervor on the part of the author for cryptocurrencies in general.


The author does quite reasonably good job in remaining sensible and objective, even though clearly an enthusiast. While the author is more optimistic that I am about cryptocurrencies, the author’s guidelines seem generally sensible and responsible. In particular, the book does NOT appear to “go off the deep end” in advocating questionable “get-rich” schemes and the like.


Cons:


The downside of the readability and accessibility is lack of significant detail. This really IS a high-level beginner’s book, and folks wanting more significant detail about anything from blockchains to mining rigs will not find it here.


The author is clearly a cryptocurrency enthusiast (yes, I have this as both a pro and a con). Even though the author appears to have made a valiant attempt to be objective, the book still comes across as a strong “pitch” for cryptocurrencies. While the author does mention many of the various downsides of cryptocurrencies, there IS some sense of them being mentioned as “strawmen arguments” to be knocked down by the author’s overall enthusiasm for the topic. As such, the reader is left with the uncomfortable feeling there are still unknown/unstated risks that have not been well-exposed by the author.


As an aside, if the author releases revisions (which I hope will happen, given the rapid pace of this whole topic) having an opponent of cryptocurrencies write a chapter might add significant value for the more skeptical reader.


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