In the space of a few years, Bitcoin has gone from an idea ignored or maligned by almost everyone to an asset with a market cap of more than $12 billion. Venture capital firms, Goldman Sachs, the New York Stock Exchange, and billionaires such as Richard Branson and Peter Thiel have invested more than $1 billion in companies built on this groundbreaking technology. Bill Gates has even declared it ‘better than currency’.
The pioneers of Bitcoin were twenty-first-century outlaws – cryptographers, hackers, Free Staters, ex-cons and drug dealers, teenage futurists and self-taught entrepreneurs – armed with a renegade ideology and a grudge against big government and big banks. Now those same institutions are threatening to co-opt or curtail the impact of digital currency. But the pioneers, some of whom have become millionaires themselves, aren’t going down without a fight. Sweeping and provocative, How Money Got Free reveals how this disruptive technology is shaping the debate around competing ideas of money and liberty, and what that means for our future.