Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall

An entrepreneur friend who fell deep into crypto mania said he hadn’t thought of it before.

The inevitability of crypto dominance that he predicted would be led by how traditional fiat currencies would fall out of favor. The thing about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, I told him, was that no military backed them. Tanks favor the status quo.

Now, as the founder of a tech-business publication, I always knew I needed a handle on blockchain, crypto and its myriad interwoven technologies, now increasingly labeled web3 and decentralization. So I still hold a small stash of bitcoin and ethereum, and I do hold an NFT, but I’ve always been prepared for them all to be priced at zero. That did help me better understand the world.

But that friend of mine had a hard fall. His stake in cryptocurrencies has so far fared better, but his portfolio of NFTs are essentially worthless today. It will always be a cautionary tale. And I bet the story isn’t done. Yet, the high-profile fall of the crypto exchange FTX and its boyish, one-time-billionare founder Samuel Bankman Fried was enough to spin an array of books – including one by a former coworker of mine. More recently, I read another account from journalist Zeke Faux, in his 2023 book “Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall.”

Below I share my notes for future reference.

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I bought my daughter an NFT

Constrained ownership of digital assets could mean thrilling possibilities.

The chaotic pandemic contributed to a frenzied focus on a new stage for non-fungible tokens. I was introduced to the concept a few years back and followed with interest the explosion of attention more recently. I wanted to purchase an NFT to become more familiar with the process, to support an artist and, most importantly, to give my young daughter a small slice of this strange moment in time.

The process is still quite clunky, expensive and fairly confusing — with multiple related systems. It helped that I also recently went through a similar process to chip into a DAO.

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