Book Review: The Cryptopians, by Laura Shin

This book was released on 22.2.2022, which is a date with a lot of numbers 2 in it. That is a good fit to its topic, the 2nd best blockchain by market cap, the Ethereum project.

I liked reading this book and recommend it to anyone interested in the space.

I have a very low opinion of Ethereum, which was strongly influenced by the “DAO” hack and other glaring problems. As such I found the detail about that particular episode useful.

But it was also interesting to note what the whole Ethereum idea was supposed to be about in the first place. Enabling more use cases by having a more complex and variable system.

Bitcoin in is more limited. It does one thing well, securing funds on the base layer. Digital gold with wings, immutable, borderless, peer-to-peer, with a reliable inflation schedule. You may need something else for other use cases.

Reading all the details about that DAO hack, I was reminded again why I don’t trust Ethereum at all. It is amazing how they left the door so wide open for anyone to steal any amount of funds.

I was less convinced by the parallel disclosure by the author on the name of a person she thinks was the DAO hacker. That disclosure requires the hacker being dumb enough to name his GRIN wallet with a string making it easy to identify him. Not something you would want to do if you are using a privacy enhanced blockchain in the first place and have strong incentives to make sure third parties are unable to identify you. At best this is a theory of having that person being framed by the real hacker, since the real hacker of course would be interested in pointing to someone else.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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