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Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain

Author: David Gerard

Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts

Additional information

Year of Publishing

2017

Format

Kindle, Paperback

Categories: , , , Product ID: 19529

Description

An experimental new Internet-based form of money is created that anyone can generate at home; people build frightening firetrap computers full of video cards, putting out so much heat that one operator is hospitalized with heatstroke and brain damage.

A young physics student starts a revolutionary new marketplace immune to State coercion; he ends up ordering hits on people because they might threaten his great experiment, and is jailed for life without parole.

Fully automated contractual systems are proposed to make business and the law works better; the contracts people actually write are unregulated penny stock offerings whose fine print literally states that you are buying nothing of any value.

The biggest crowdfunding in history attracts $150 million on the promise that it will embody “the steadfast iron will of unstoppable code”; upon release, it is immediately hacked, and $50 million is stolen.

How did we get here?

David Gerard covers the origins and history of Bitcoin to the present day, the other cryptocurrencies it spawned including Ethereum, the ICO craze, and the 2017 crypto bubble, and the attempts to apply blockchains and smart contracts to business. Plus a case study on blockchains in the music industry.

Bitcoin and blockchains are not a technology story, but a psychology story.

Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

Table of Contents

  • 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
    • Libertarianism and cyberlibertarianism 17
    • Pre-Bitcoin anonymous payment channels 18
    • The prehistory of cryptocurrencies 19
    • The conspiracy theory economics of Bitcoin 20
    • Austrian economics 23
  • 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
    • Litecoin 92
    • Dogecoin 92
    • Ethereum 94
    • Buterin’s quantum quest 96
    • ICOs: magic beans and bubble machines 97
  • Chapter 10: Smart contracts, stupid humans 101
    • Dr. Strangelove, but on the blockchain 101
    • So who wants smart contracts, anyway? 102
    • Legal code is not computer code 102
    • The oracle problem: garbage in, garbage out 103
    • Immutability: make your mistakes unfixable 105
    • Immutability: the enemy of good software engineering 105
    • Ethereum smart contracts in practice 106
    • The DAO: the steadfast iron will of unstoppable code 108
  • 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

 


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