Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government Saving Privacy in the Digital Age by Steven Levy (2002)

Disclosure: This is another edition to summaries of social science literature. Please note that these summaries are intended to scratch the surface and function more as guidelines to book chapters. One should not solely rely on these summaries to gain knowledge but rather use them to elicit an appetite for a particular book or research topic. In no way do these summaries replace the rich content and contexts of the literature presented here. …

Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency by Finn Brunton (2019)

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Brunton vividly paints a montage of the various projects, experiments, and subcultures that underwrote the pre-history of Bitcoin. From the early Extropians, a group that commits itself to develop knowledge and technology to improve the human condition, to the Cypherpunks, an early digital rights group that advocated for privacy-enhancing technologies for political change, Brunton maps how their visions of the future incited the development of digital cash.

Indeed, Bitcoin’s history is not complete without accounting for how the aspirations of these groups, resembling almost a science-fiction-like character that “made it possible to imagine a nearly inconceivable future and build instance…

Andy Greenberg — This Machine Kills Secrets (2012)

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Greenberg provides a detailed history of leaking, whistleblowing, exposing secrets, cryptography, and anonymity. It is overall an excellent text for understanding the autobiographical details of important hackers and leakers, where we get a good sense of their ethical dispositions. The book allows the reader to comprehend how people in whistleblowing movements operate and think. It also addresses how these actors are united by certain core beliefs (but also shows where they differ/diverge) and how this often makes it difficult for them to unite in a mutual goal.

“The Whistleblowers” chapter begins with the story of Daniel Ellsberg, a military strategist…

Death is the ultimate mystery. It is thus unsurprising how many hubristic technologists have decided to take up “death” as the ultimate problem to be solved. Currently, a plethora of ideas and experiments circulate within technological and scientific circles that are dedicated to anti-aging and life resurrection initiatives. Thanks to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, there are also many books and articles being written on “Biohacking”, serving as essential references for those who are in constant search for the fountain of youth. …

Crypto Twitter is going insane over Facebook’s announcement of Libra.

The Libra mission: A simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.

Reinvent money. Transform the global economy. So people everywhere can live better lives.

However, it is still premature to speculate whether Libra is a good or bad idea. After all, this is not the first time Facebook dabbled in digital currency. For instance, Facebook used to offer credits that could be used to buy goods in platform-based video games as well as for purchasing apps.

Libra is not exactly a cryptocurrency but is certainly a…

Many blockchain enthusiasts would argue that the blockchain hype did a lot of disservice to the cryptocurrency and the blockchain world. They are right — it created many false expectations and instilled vast yet empty hopes into the public’s imagination. We all shuddered at the crypto-hype that befell us in 2016, especially the developers who very early on understood the technical challenges that awaited them, treading very carefully not to make bold statements and claims about the technology.

4 years of ICO activity by Elementus

For blockchain, the ICO craze was excessive, overwhelming, and quite frankly, did not do any…

Ann Brody

PhD Student of Communication Studies (crypto and blockchain)

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