Bitcoin is a tricky subject. The concept behind the digital currency can be difficult to explain to someone for the first time, and its history-barely six years old-is already fraught with controversy, starting with the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, author of the first bitcoin code.
That's why Digital Gold, the new book from journalist Nathaniel Popper, is an impressive accomplishment. No, it doesn't clear up the mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto, though Popper clearly has a favorite candidate for the role. But the book (you can find an excerpt from it here) is a lucid guide to the heady mix of innovation,ideology, avarice, and accident behind the burgeoning world of bitcoin, depicting the key players as they encounter and evangelize the new technology. And it does all this without getting drawn into the hyper-optimism or deep cynicism that seems endemic to commentary on bitcoin.