Infinite Machine book – short and invigorating history of Etherum

Do you remember when we watched movies on DVDs? Or when mobile phones were big as a brick? If you do, then you have lived through a tech disruption cycle. There’s always a period when one standard dominates the market but there’s a new thing coming, to change the game. Etherum is one of the major tech solutions that ties flexibility of the digital world with broad financial services of the real world. If you are used to paying for your soy latte with your smartphone, then prepare for what’s coming next.

infinite machine book blog post cover

Cover the crypto basics

The world of cryptocurrencies is confusing and it’s changing fast. Etherum is even more abstract because it goes beyond the domain of money. Before going deeper into the rabbit hole I suggest these resources:

  • Banking on Bitcoin – a decent documentary that explains in a visual way the function of Bitcoin in comparison to the traditional banking system. It also shows the first wave of businesses that embraced the technology but went bankrupt, were deregulated or shut down.
  • Bitcoin 101 with Vijay Boyapati – listen to the podcast interview with an ex-Google engineer that untangle complex terms and phenomenons related to the world of Bitcoin.
  • The Bullish Case for Bitcoin – a long-read article covering the historical role of money and technological advancements that changed our ways of living. The content gives you the right perspective and distance you need to understand the world of crypto.
infinite machine book

Infinite Machine – collective’s journey to create better financial systems

Only if you have been living in a region that experienced hyperinflation, you can truly understand the importance of a strong financial system. That’s why Camila Russo, the author of “Infinite Machine” tells the story of a bank teller in Argentina. Showcasing the hardships of a country where national money loses value gives the right perspective to every one of us. Especially at the age when Internet connectivity is common.

Cash, loans, savings – all the financial services, can be done with any device connected to the Internet. That’s precisely the premise of the crypto world. The term “cryptocurrency” used to describe Bitcoin is not suited for Etherum Network. In the following chapters, Russo is surfacing many practical use cases:

  • smart contracts – an automated service that transfers the money once a product is delivered
  • stable coins – cryptocurrency build on top of Etherum and pegged to (fiat) currency like USD
  • entertainment – for example, video games with an economy run directly on the blockchain (i.e. CryptoKitties)
etherum logo
Etherum logo | GitR0n1n, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There’s no one hero of the Etherum

What I enjoy the most about the book is the story arc of the whole collective. Even though Etherum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is often portrayed as the leader of the Network, nothing would have happened without other key people like Gavin Wood or Mihai Alisie. Moreover, the location of the pivotal moments shifts from Switzerland to Israel, to Romania and Canada. The development of new tech solutions is only limited by the Internet access and creativity of coders.

As in any good story, there are crises that test the character of Etherum enthusiasts. Diehard developers, forward-thinking investors, and passionate individual believers in the new technology. They all contribute to the immense growth of decentralized finance, often called DeFi. “Get rich quick” scammers are obviously also banking on the hype. Russo is describing it all in an easy to understand language.

The Crypto world is such a hot topic that I wouldn’t be surprised to see a movie adaptation of the “Infinite Machine” in the near future. It’s witty and informative in a similar fashion as the Big Short was about the 2008 financial crisis. Regardless of your knowledge about coding and crypto, you’ll definitely enjoy the extraordinary story in the “Infinite Machine” book.

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