Summary of Digital Cash

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Digital Cash book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans

Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Eye Opening

Recommendation

Cryptocurrency might seem like a new concept, but as professor Finn Brunton reveals in this intriguing study, bitcoin is the result of decades of arcane technological advances and fringe thinking in economics. He leads readers on a tour through a variety of attempts since the Great Depression to launch alternative currencies.  Brunton aptly lays out the utopian and dystopian visions that have dominated this often overlooked corner of the economy. His intriguing narrative will fascinate anyone interested in both the history and the future of money.

About the Author

Finn Brunton is an associate professor at New York University. His previous books are Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet; Communication; and Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest.

 

Summary

Dystopian times beget utopian currencies.

Bitcoin isn’t the first alternative currency to capture the imagination of the disgruntled masses. During the 1930s Great Depression, as banks failed and bread lines lengthened in the United States, the circulation of US dollars slowed and then nearly ground to a halt. In response, many municipalities issued their own currencies; the Dow Chemical company created magnesium coins; and many stores bartered commodities such as eggs and honey. It was a perfect time for New York impresario Howard Scott to come onto the scene with Technocracy Inc., a scheme that promised an alternative monetary system.

The “Technate” – as Scott called his imaginary economic regime – would rule the United States and Canada. Master engineers would ban all nonessential activities. The means of exchange would be “energy certificates” that promised to be more reliable than the government-issued greenbacks that had let down so many Americans. The energy certificates, like many other creative currencies, belong to a category described by one historian as a “cosmogram” – a mashup of science...


More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

Cryptoassets
8
Cash Is Dead, Long Live Cash
8
The Big Blockchain Lie
9
Cryptocurrencies and Monetary Policy
8
How Futures Trading Changed Bitcoin Prices
9
A Short History of Crypto Euphoria
8

Related Channels

Comment on this summary