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Digital Gold Summary, Notes, Lessons & Quotes

By March 23, 2022October 26th, 2022No Comments

Digital Gold Summary

The Bitcoin Standard Summary

This is a Digital Gold Summary by Peter Conley. It is a review of the book, Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper.

Bitcoin was a truly organic movement that took flight.

If it wasn’t for the Cypherpunks, the obscure cryptography mailing list, and passionate online libertarian communities bitcoin would have never gotten off the ground.

Bitcoin almost died in its first year or two due to a major bug, that thankfully wasn’t exploited but actually fixed because of an anonymous user, and lack of traction.

Satoshi had to beta test the software in real-time, it wasn’t launched as a finished project and people like Hal Finney made major initial additions to the code base that made it as sound as it is today.

The first attempts to build real infrastructure around bitcoin like the early exchanges and Mtgox were slapped together by a bunch of independent hackers and programmers. The beginning stages of this protocol were laughable.

Without the libertarian movement and its internet communities, bitcoin wouldn’t have grown to where it is today.

Silk Road, the drug marketplace built on the TOR network contributed to bitcoins awareness in the early days and was the first major use case for using bitcoin as a medium of exchange at scale.

Around 2012 is when bitcoin started to really pick up steam and major players with real money entered the industry like the Winklevoss twins and Wences Casares. In addition to these players entering the space, more bitcoin infrastructure companies like hardware wallet producers began to enter the space.

At every turn, the mainstream media and mainstream institutions were quick to dismiss bitcoin, but eventually, as more and more “respectable” parties with large amounts of capital began to enter the domain, like the top-tier venture capital firm ​​Andreessen Horowitz, bitcoin’s credibility grew.

There were hiccups along the way of course like Charlie Shrem’s sentencing due to breaking money transfer laws, Silk Road’s demise, and the arrest of its founder Ross Ulbricht. Regardless of the setbacks, year by year bitcoin’s userbase and price continued to grow.

There was however internal conflict with the bitcoin developers. There was a debate on how to scale it and if they should change the “block size” to increase the number of transactions per block. Ultimately the “small blocks” team won out and the protocol continued to run as-is.

You can find another Digital Gold Summary on the four-minute books blog. 

Related Books

The Internet of Money Volume I

By Andreas M. Antonopoulos
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The Internet of Money Volume II

By Andreas M. Antonopoulos
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The Internet of Money Volume III

By Andreas M. Antonopoulos
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Digital Gold Quotes

“It’s either going to change everything, or nothing,”

“The creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi, disappeared back in 2011, leaving behind open-source software that the users of Bitcoin could update and improve. Five years later, it was estimated that only 15 percent of the basic Bitcoin computer code was the same as what Satoshi had written.”

“If there was ever a time that Silicon Valley believed it could revive the long-deferred dream of reinventing money, this was it. A virtual currency that rose above national borders fitted right in with an industry that saw itself destined to change the face of everyday life.”

“I think whatever Jamie does or doesn’t do will be as relevant as what the postmaster general did or didn’t do about e-mail.”

“Bitcoins are the most important invention since the internet itself. They will change the way the entire world does business.”

-- Nathaniel Popper

Digital Gold Lessons

  1. Bitcoin was a truly organic and grass-roots movement
  2. Without the libertarian chat rooms and movement, bitcoin may have amounted to nothing
  3. People join the bitcoin movement for a variety of reasons
  4. Bitcoin is software, bugs are still very possible
  5. Satoshi was a true idealist, and built bitcoin for the mission — nothing else

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