It’s disruptive to review The Bitcoin Dilemma when the author is called ‘READ’ because once that gets in your head then ‘read’ and ‘review’ merge into one portfolio word and all those old days of LSD come back with a swirly vengeance.
Even so, the aforesaid The Bitcoin Dilemma is not a book to be forgotten and while not an easy read, it’s very much worth the effort in doing so.
Instead of focusing on all the speculation and hyperbole about making profits and destroying Satoshi’s invention, this book delves into the maths of crypto.
Moreover, Colin L. Read really knows what he’s talking about. He has worn many hats, but his experience of being the mayor of a ‘crypto mining’ US city lays bare the real costs of bitcoin mining, not just for the local and global environment, but for the people who live where mining takes place.
Effectively they pay for the mining to take place and it takes a tough mayor to ensure that miners do not take the capacity, the piss, the biscuit.
In some places the book reads like a collection of essays and the gentle touch of a sub-editor to dispel the over-adjectives and the self-crusading would have been welcome, but those who know of maths and mining no less about reading and reviewing.
As somebody who is fairly well-versed in crypto, there was a lot in this book that was new and I learnt a lot. While proof-of-work protocols are clearly bad and proof-of-stake are much better for Planet Earth, those who don’t know the difference will know by the end of the book.
Apparently Ethereum’s recent ‘upgrade’ from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake took off a whopping 0.2% of the world’s total power supply and it is a move that bitcoin, alas, cannot replicate.
This book made me want to sell my bitcoin portfolio and move it a more sustainable currency. It made me think. I would suggest most readers will have a similar reaction.
That makes it a good book.