Crypto Wars Book Summary - Crypto Wars Book explained in key points
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Crypto Wars summary

Erica Stanford

Faked Deaths, Missing Billions, and Industry Disruption

4.2 (204 ratings)
27 mins

Brief summary

Crypto Wars by Erica Stanford examines the history of cryptography, from ancient times to the present day. The book covers the ongoing battle between privacy advocates and law enforcement, and what the future of encryption holds.

Table of Contents

    Crypto Wars
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Learn to spot some of the biggest red flags in the cryptosphere.

    If you said “no,” then you just saved yourself a lot of (hypothetical) money. PlexCoin’s pitch was full of red flags. Those outlandish claims about PlexCard holders never having to worry about exchange rates and investors being able to use PlexCoin to pay their utility bills? They sounded too good to be true because they were. And there was nothing clairvoyant about PlexCoin’s “insights” into the rising future price of PlexCoin tokens – it’s simply impossible to accurately predict what value a currency, crypto or otherwise, will hold in the coming weeks or months.

    If you’d done some more digging, you’d have found more red flags. For one thing, it’s standard practice for crypto companies to release a report ahead of their ICO, outlining how they’ll allocate the funds the ICO is projected to raise. PlexCoin did that . . . about 90 minutes before their presale started. That didn’t leave eager investors much time to do their research before buying in. And if you’d looked at their website, you might have noticed there was no team photo. In fact, there was no information about who was behind PlexCoin at all. According to PlexCoin, this was for undisclosed security reasons. They could have at least mimicked the equally scammy crypto startup Benebit and copy-pasted a photo from an elite British boy’s school to use on their staff page.

    PlexCoin’s ICO raised $15 million. But their tokens never really rose in value, and their investors never saw the promised ROI. PlexCoin’s founders never expected they would. They siphoned off as much of that $15 million as they could before they were arrested for fraud, fined $100,000, and given a two-month jail term. Most investors never saw their money again.

    PlexCoin wasn’t an isolated case. Between 2016 and 2018, you couldn’t throw a Bitcoin without hitting a dodgy crypto startup. While legitimate currencies like Bitcoin and Etherium have proven to be solid investments – sometimes stratospherically so – the market for crypto was initially barely regulated, poorly policed, and dangerously easy to exploit. The code behind Bitcoin was open source, meaning anyone could access it to create their own company with its own currency. And ICOs offered these companies an unchecked opportunity to raise vast amounts of money by conjuring tokens out of thin air, and then selling them without offering equity or having to meet any legal requirements. For fraudulent crypto companies this was, quite literally, money for nothing.

    Nevertheless, investors couldn’t get enough. At the peak of the early crypto bubble, the market cap for cryptocurrencies reached a $1.8 trillion valuation. The volatile nature of this emerging market meant that some investors saw real returns, becoming millionaires – and more – overnight. 

    But all bubbles eventually burst. Now, law enforcement estimates that over 98 percent of crypto ICOs are, at best, failed projects. At worst, they’re outright scams. At least some companies were upfront about this. ScamCoin promised investors a 0 percent return on 100 percent of their investments – and, unlike many ICOs, it delivered on its promise. PonziCoin, despite its unpromising name, still raised $250,000 at its ICO. And plenty of other crypto companies with names like “Rich,” “Gold,” or “Real” seemed to promise authenticity and wealth. 

    Unfortunately, most investors would have done just as well if they’d invested in ScamCoin.

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    What is Crypto Wars about?

    Crypto Wars: Faked Deaths, Missing Billions, and Industry Disruption (2021) lifts the lid on some of the cryptosphere’s most audacious scams and notorious scandals. From the missing cryptoqueen, Dr. Ruja Ignatova, to the tech whiz kid who – according to his creditors, at least – faked his own death, Crypto Wars shares this secretive industry’s most compelling stories.

    Crypto Wars Review

    Crypto Wars (2021) by Erica Stanford provides a deep dive into the world of cryptocurrencies and the battle to control them. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a comprehensive look at the history, technology, and potential impact of cryptocurrencies, providing insightful and up-to-date information that is valuable for beginners and experts alike.
    • The book explores the ethical and political implications of the cryptocurrency revolution, shedding light on the debates and controversies surrounding this decentralized financial system.
    • With real-world examples and engaging storytelling, the author makes complex concepts accessible, ensuring that the subject matter is anything but boring.

    Who should read Crypto Wars?

    • Crypto enthusiasts after the inside dirt on some of the market’s biggest scams
    • Interested investors who want a rundown of the red flags in the crypto world
    • Anyone who’s ever wondered if they could make a cool million – or billion – in crypto

    About the Author

    Erica Stanford is a lecturer and sought-after cryptocurrency expert. She founded the Crypto Curry Club, the UK’s top cryptocurrency networking community, and edits the widely read affiliated newsletter, the Crypto Currier.

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    Crypto Wars FAQs 

    What is the main message of Crypto Wars?

    The main message of Crypto Wars is the importance of privacy and encryption in a digital world.

    How long does it take to read Crypto Wars?

    The reading time for Crypto Wars varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Crypto Wars a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Crypto Wars is worth reading for its insightful exploration of the battle between privacy and security in the digital era.

    Who is the author of Crypto Wars?

    Crypto Wars is written by Erica Stanford.

    What to read after Crypto Wars?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Crypto Wars, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The Promise of Bitcoin by Bobby C. Lee
    • Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper
    • The Age of Cryptocurrency by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey
    • The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous
    • NFTs Are a Scam (NFTs are the Future) by Bobby Hundreds
    • Read Write Own by Chris Dixon
    • The Fine Art Of Small Talk by Debra Fine
    • Rich Dad’s Retire Young Retire Rich by Robert T. Kiyosaki