Some of this story, in particular the dramatic takedown of the Silk Road and the capture of its creator, Ross Ulbricht, has been told before. Greenberg’s narrative differs from Nick Bilton’s American Kingpin in that it leans more heavily on the point of view of law enforcement. Greenberg has less insight into specific criminal personalities, but that lack is balanced by his level of detail and the absorbing narrative of the investigators. Each key section of the book unfolds like a compact mystery ... At the book’s close, Greenberg reaches for a bigger point, bringing back one of his protagonists, the cryptographer Sarah Meiklejohn, to point out how the tools used to catch criminals might be employed just as easily in the service of mass surveillance. It’s a reasonable concern, but relies on some slippery-slope speculation that doesn’t feel totally convincing. From the stories here, in which piecing together each set of transactions takes months of legwork and a fair dose of luck even when the targets aren’t exactly top-shelf criminal masterminds, it doesn’t seem like the age of wholesale financial surveillance is dangerously near.
... spellbinding ... Written with great enthusiasm and with an ear for the dramatic turn of phrase—readers familiar with the work of Ben Mezrich will note a similarity of approach—this is the kind of book that yanks the reader’s eyes wide open ... Lively, highly relevant, and more than a little scary.
Greenberg methodically and meticulously explains the way cryptocurrency functions ... These stories are fascinating and so enthralling, it is hard to distinguish real people from the aliases used to protect identities and privacies ... This highly recommended book has been picked up by Jigsaw Productions to develop into a scripted screen adaptation, a documentary, and a podcast. There are few books on the crypto underworld, making this a must for all libraries.
A sinuous, eminently readable story ... Greenberg tells the stories of demolishing crime empires like AlphaBay and Hansa and their bosses with verve that’s refreshing for a book full of computers, code-breaking, and electronic cat-and-mouse games ... Greenberg’s book is reminiscent in all the best ways of Clifford Stoll’s Cuckoo’s Egg, smoothly blending crime writing with matters of the deepest techno-geekery ... An absorbing work of true crime—and, as the bad guys will tell you, true punishment.
Greenberg examines in fascinating detail how criminals have employed technology for their nefarious ends, along the way providing a history of Bitcoin and a look at a possible future technology that would make 'truly untraceable and anonymous finances possible.' He brings to vivid life the assorted players, including the agents who cracked the crimes, those in law enforcement who succumbed to the allure of fast money on the dark web, and the private citizens who ushered in the golden age of cryptocurrency tracing. This is a must-have for the true crime shelf.