Bitcoin Billionaires is the story of the Winklevoss twins' redemption and revenge in the wake of their epic legal battle with Facebook. Planning to start careers as venture capitalists, the brothers quickly discover that no one will take their money after their fight with Zuckerberg. While nursing their wounds in Ibiza, they accidentally run into an eccentric character who tells them about a brand-new idea: cryptocurrency.
So far that doesn’t seem like much of a story – wealthy speculators speculate and accumulate – but what Mezrich does with it is more interesting than that. It ends up being a kind of anthropology of the bitcoin craze ... The book is written with a slick beauty. It is structured as a sequence of dramatic scenes ... The book even has a truly heartwarming ending, at which the reader gives a little cheer. As an introduction to the rise of cryptocurrencies and the modern tech world generally, it is as painless and novelistic as could be imagined.
...it’s hard to muster much pity for two privileged young men ... Mezrich treats the brothers’ Bitcoin binge as something profound, as if they are the visionaries who created the cryptocurrency rather than the rich gamblers who wagered on it ... Mezrich is a talented storyteller, and portions of Bitcoin Billionaires offer memorable glimpses inside the messy world of a start-up currency ... Mezrich’s tale is hampered by his reliance on the Winklevoss brothers as his main sources ... the narrative is polluted by clichés ... there is Mezrich’s jarring disclosure at the outset that some details and settings described in the book are 'imagined.' It is hard to overcome the impression that large swaths of the book fall into that fictional zone.
Some books aren’t really books at all: they’re thinly disguised movie pitches that have been fleshed out to sit between hard covers ... Unfortunately, the 'Revenge of the Winklevii' is not a strong enough storyline to sustain Bitcoin Billionaires. By the second half of the book, their path to vindication has lost its zing ... Better books will surely be written about the cryptocurrency phenomenon ... But this is still an easy read for anyone willing to go along with the reconstructed dialogue and cinematic scene-hopping that are part of the genre.