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The Promise of Bitcoin summary

Bobby C. Lee

The Future of Money and How It Can Work for You

4.2 (361 ratings)
26 mins

Brief summary

"The Promise of Bitcoin" by Bobby C. Lee explains how Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that has the potential to reshape the global financial system and usher in a new era of financial freedom.

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    The Promise of Bitcoin
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Money is a good system for commerce, but it isn't perfect.

    Bitcoin is a digital currency. So, unlike dollars, euros, or yen, bitcoins don’t take the form of physical coins or bills. Instead, each one is an encrypted set of numbers – hence the term “cryptocurrency.” 

    In other words, it’s money unlike any other in history. But when you get down to it, pretty much anything can be money. You can use beads, shells, spices, salt, silver, or gold. It’s not the particular thing you’re using as currency that really matters, but the fact that people use it. Widespread adoption is what gives it legitimacy. 

    In the language of economists, money is a medium of exchange, and by most measures, it’s a pretty good one – as long as it’s in the right hands.

    The key message here is: Money is a good system for commerce, but it isn't perfect. 

    Money isn’t the only way to exchange goods. There’s also bartering, or directly trading something like apples for boots or planks of wood. This system works, but it’s inefficient: if your shoemaker doesn’t need fruit, he won’t mend your footwear. 

    Bartering has been around for a long time. Over 3,500 years ago, Phoenicians and Babylonians created a vast barter system that extended from the shores of the Mediterranean to the banks of the Euphrates. They traded weapons, spices, and luxury goods. Centuries later, the Romans – who conquered much of this territory – used scarce and highly valued commodities like salt to pay their soldiers. 

    Goods-based barter continued for millennia. Even societies with complex monetary systems returned to barter at times. During the Great Depression in the United States, for example, cash-poor Americans exchanged goods like corn for medical services or coal to heat their homes. 

    Barter might not be the most efficient means of connecting buyers and sellers, but it does have one great merit: it’s self-governing. That is, the users of the system establish the value of their “currency.” 

    Money issued and backed by states is different. Take the sixth-century kingdom of Lydia. This state, located in today’s Turkey, is credited with creating the first centralized currency. The monarchy determined how much this currency was worth and guaranteed its value by imprinting regal symbols like eagles on its coins. 

    Commerce flourished – initially, at least. The problem the Lydians introduced, and which every centralized monetary system since has also confronted, is that the power to guarantee a currency’s value has a flipside. It also means you can devalue it.

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    What is The Promise of Bitcoin about?

    The Promise of Bitcoin (2021) is an introduction to the financial revolution that began in 2009 – the year an anonymous coder who called himself Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin. Rooted in the conviction that old monetary systems have failed us, this digital currency promises a more trustworthy, decentralized, and democratic alternative. How does it work? Few people can explain that better than Bobby Lee, a Bitcoin pioneer who’s been on the barricades since the revolution’s earliest days. 

    The Promise of Bitcoin Review

    The Promise of Bitcoin (2020) by Bobby C. Lee is a compelling exploration of the revolutionary potential of Bitcoin and why it matters. Here's why you should give this book a read:

    • It offers a comprehensive overview of Bitcoin's history, technology, and potential impact on our financial systems, empowering readers to understand its significance.
    • Backed by the author's expertise as a pioneer in the cryptocurrency industry, the book provides valuable insights and analysis on Bitcoin's future prospects.
    • With its clarity and accessibility, the book avoids jargon and complex technical terms, ensuring that readers of all backgrounds can engage with the content.

    Who should read The Promise of Bitcoin?

    • Investors looking for new opportunities
    • Critics of the banking system 
    • Technophobes wondering what all the Bitcoin fuss is about

    About the Author

    Bobby Lee is the founder and CEO of Ballet, a start-up that helps people buy and use Bitcoin. He began his career as a software engineer at Yahoo! before joining Walmart as vice president of technology. Lee is perhaps best known as the founder of BTCChina – China’s first Bitcoin exchange. Today, he serves on the board of the Bitcoin Foundation, a nonprofit organization that builds awareness of Bitcoin. 

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    The Promise of Bitcoin FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Promise of Bitcoin?

    The main message of The Promise of Bitcoin is the potential of cryptocurrency to revolutionize the financial industry.

    How long does it take to read The Promise of Bitcoin?

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

    Is The Promise of Bitcoin a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Promise of Bitcoin is an insightful read, providing a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities and challenges surrounding cryptocurrency.

    Who is the author of The Promise of Bitcoin?

    The author of The Promise of Bitcoin is Bobby C. Lee.

    What to read after The Promise of Bitcoin?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Promise of Bitcoin, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • MegaThreats by Nouriel Roubini
    • Blockchain Revolution by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
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