Bitcoin: the Future of Money end-of-term report

This is a quick school report on Bitcoin: the Future of Money?

Overall, I’d say it’s done pretty well.

The feedback from readers has been very nice indeed.

Matt Ridley made it his book of the year in the Times.

It got some very nice reviews. A beauty in the Spectator from Michael Bywater, another very nice one in Moneyweek from Dr. Matthew Partridge and, probably the best of all, from James Delingpole in the Mail on Sunday.

It was also well received in the blogosphere. I particularly liked this one from Otto Rock over at IKN.

I suppose peak pleasure came on New Year’s Eve, when it pipped the economics book of 2014, Thomas Pikkety’s Capital in the 21st Century, to go top of the economics’ best-sellers. At one stage that day it even got the top of the entire business and finance section and to number 6 in non-fiction. Not like I was watching or anything. (The explanation was that Amazon had run a promo that day, so the glory was short-lived).

My biggest and probably my only stinker came from some bod in the Economist (it doesn’t say who to protect the writer’s safety). He/she didn’t even call the book by its name, but just slagged it off, quoting out of context and having a go at me for things I didn’t say. It then praised another book on Bitcoin for things I did say, before I gave up reading, out bored.

God it must be frustrating being a politician, particularly Nigel Farage, as this straw-man stuff happens to them all the time.  No wonder they’ve have all become so bland and beige. 

So there we go. It hasn’t got me on the telly, which is one of the reasons I wrote the thing, but overall it’s pretty good. The story it tells is a good one, so even if the world moves on from bitcoin, it’ll remain a good read.

Apologies if this post comes across as a vanity project. It probably is. But I wanted to get a record of everything down somewhere.

Was Satoshi Nakamoto a sociopath?

I was amused to read the following passage in M.E. Thomas’ Confessions of a Sociopathwhich I just finished last night:

‘I use Britishisms when I can remember to do so. I have noticed that other sociopaths do this as well – there are several whom I know to be Americans who internationalize their language and their cultural references, the result perhaps of their natural instincts to obscure and befuddle. It’s not enough to try to keep your personal information out of reach. One must also actively poison the well with disinformation.’

Of course, we all know Satoshi was an active user of Britishisms probably with this same very purpose to mislead people about his identity.

But the idea that he was a sociopath has never, to my knowledge, been considered. I don’t think he was, by the way. But it would explain his meticulousness.

Interesting, no?

For more on Satoshi and who he is, you need, of course, to read this.


Six easy steps to getting started with Bitcoin

1. Go to Blockchain or Coinbase and get yourself a wallet. All you need is an email address and password. You will then be told your wallet address. Copy it.

2. You now need to deposit some money.

If you are in the US, you can do this directly through Coinbase. Deposit $20.

In the UK, you should go to Bittylicious. Paste your wallet address where it says “bitcoin address”. Now deposit £20.

There are different exchanges for elsewhere in the world. I can’t list them all. Sorry.

3. Get a friend to do the same.

4. Practise sending each other small amounts of money.

5. Go to a café that accepts bitcoins and buy yourself a coffee.

6. Well done. You’re now part of the revolution.

7. I know I said six, but this is the most necessary step of all:  read my book.

The Idler and Financial Sense

I’m a big fan of Tom Hodgkinson and the Idler. How To Be Idle and How To Be Free are two of my favourite books. I’m really going to throw the cat amongst the pigeons when I say this, but I think the latter is better.

Anyway, I wrote this piece for them today – go read it. And then come to my talk there on Tuesday November 4th.

I’ve also been a long-time listener to the Financial Sense Newshour – so it was great to be interviewed by Cris Sheridan there, though I didn’t half ramble on. (Right click to download).

Matt Ridley in the Times – Could these weird coins transform our lives?

If you’ve read your Life After The State, you’ll know I’m a huge admirer of Matt Ridley and, in particular, The Rational Optimist.

So I was delighted to read his column in Monday’s Times – Could These Weird Coins Transform Our Lives.

You need to be a subscriber to the Times to read it in full. Now that Monday has passed, I’m sure those in charge will forgive me for posting this jailbroken copy for you to look at in case you’re not –  Could these weird coins transform our lives? | The Times.