Out of The Ether

October 16, 2020

It’s over ten years from the origin of Bitcoin. The landscape is now fundamentally different than it was in the early 2010s.

Out of The Ether does a good job of illustrating the journey from Bitcoin enthusiasts towards something else and their quest for decentralised money, programmable global computer and everything between.

The main character in the story is Vitalik Buterin who the reader follows from his school day years till today. It’s a journey of self-development, discovery and personal growth.

Buterin is an exceptional person and it is no coincident that he’s the founder of Ethereum. The book tells the story how it is possible to build a new blockchain ecosystem from scratch at the time it was already thought a difficult if not a mission impossible task.

There has been a lot of drama in the development of Ethereum. Buterin needed other people to help him to realise his grand vision. The people who answered his call came together for various reasons: some of them for less idealistic and monetary driven motives than others. Nevertheless, it was for Buterin to figure out the right moves and developments in the midst of management, leadership and external challenges.

One of the defining moments for Ethereum was the launch of DAO that raised more funds than was originally anticipated. Soon afterwards, the automated smart contract was hacked and everyone who had a monetary interest in DAO was about to lose their stake.

Leising chases the Ether thief throughout the book and describes how the Ethereum community and The Robin Hood Group (RHG) jumped into action for saving the funds from the crypto thief (or thieves).

The story of Ethereum and the actual heist are full of drama, twist and turns and it has enough material for many sequels and even prequels.

Out of The Ether captures the sentiment and the atmosphere of the crypto space in the 2010s. There are clearly different phases from the early days to euphoria with Lamborghinis and ICOs, and the more mundane reality with slow progress and tons of technical and business challenges.