I originally picked up this book along with a children’s book on Bitcoin, because I needed to understand Bitcoin better. I know how I learn best: through children’s books and biographical stories. It worked!
This book follows alongside the Winklevoss twins fresh off the settlement with Zuckerberg and Facebook, and follows them into the basements of Bitcoin.
The story is written by Ben Mezrich, who first researched the Winklevoss twins in “The Accidental Billionaires,” which was the source for the movie, The Social Network. In this book, we learn about Bitcoin alongside the Winklevoss twins, as they were pioneers of entry. And that is what helped me understand it.
The first part of the book paints a picture of their relationship with Zuckerberg because their foray into bitcoin is subsequently influenced by that broken relationship. They realized early on that to develop their investment in Bitcoin, they’d need to make it more mainstream. To make it more mainstream, they’d need money from Silicon Valley.
However, many associates feared dealing with them because Zuckerberg had so much control there by that time. So many investors depended on Zuckerberg that they could not risk that relationship for one with the Winklevoss twins in the untested industry of Bitcoin.
This book has all the makings of a perfect story. There are avowed bachelors, island getaways, parties, gold rush, and risk that all combine to make this a new-age pirate adventure. Bonus: it’s real. Sometimes, I found it hard to believe I lived on the same planet as the people portrayed in this story. And yet, we do.
In addition, Mezrich does well to paint the picture without conspiracy.
The author makes the case the Winklevoss are not dumb jocks. They are brainiacs who trained, studied, and built upon an empire so that they could mine for another billion-dollar idea. And indeed, I’m not going to be one to call them dumb: these guys hit not one, but two billion-dollar ideas before they hit age 40. I’d love to know what they’re working on now!
1) Word on the street is that there will be a movie about this, as well. Check out the details here: https://www.engadget.com/winklevoss-twins-bitcoin-billionaires-movie-155010745.html
2) I was a bit horrified to read some of the snippets about Zuckerberg in the first part of this book. Mezrich uses some of that material to paint the picture for the reader that indeed, the Winklevoss twins are smarter than they have been portrayed. He also shows, however, that they are no strangers to industries where the etiquette hasn’t even been developed yet.
3) Remind me to think twice about glorifying an Ivy League. The facts provided in this book led to me to disgust of the horrendous neglect by Harvard University in its handling of the Facebook controversy.
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