With every passing year, bitcoin becomes more clearly a significant player in 21st century technological, economic, governmental, and human history. Any book recording the first-hand experience of those who lived through cryptocurrency's first decade could be a valuable building block for understanding that history in full.
Ethan Lou, the Canadian author of Once a Bitcoin Miner, was both an early journalist covering the crypto world and an early bitcoin miner. His peculiarly detailed accounts of physical, emotional, and even culinary experiences at bitcoin meetups, conferences, parties, and regulatory offices from Canada to North Korea risk annoying readers who just want to learn bitcoin basics. Yet Lou's reported interactions with various scoundrels, small-scale and large, vividly teach an interesting lesson.
Crypto was a scene where people without proper credentials and connections in the world of high finance could strike it swiftly rich. Lou writes about people who traded avidly and built businesses in the early years of crypto but came to all sorts of trouble, legal and financial, later on. Quiet, patient accumulators of crypto have meanwhile seen themselves growing wealthier at a rate unprecedented in human history. Ironically, in those early years many who believed in bitcoin in and of itself—as opposed to being obsessed with thinking up new ways to get rich off it—were the ones who more reliably got rich.