Confessions of A Crypto-Millionaire, by Dan Conway
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookSirens in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
In reading this book I was reminded of a friend of mine who had legendary bad fortune when it came to investing. The man was so terrible at picking what to invest in that whatever he went in on would be wise to short. In the late 90’s he jumped on the tech boom just before it went bust. In the mid 00’s he was fascinated by real estate in Florida just before the Great Recession. What this book reminds the reader is that if one wants to make money on that which is daring, one has to do so before the low-information rush comes in. This book is at times painfully personal to read as the author discusses his failures as a middle manager for various companies, his drug addiction, his information addiction, and the steadying role that his wife provided for him given his drive and obsession to find a way to live life on his own terms and not be some sort of corporate serf. If this book does not exactly provide tips on how someone can follow the author’s example, it certainly makes for a compelling memoir.
This book is more than 200 pages long and is written like a three act drama. In the first act, the author is a put-upon middle manager who is unable to make progress towards freedom and finds himself burdened by unpleasant work tastes and a toxic work culture where the author resents the “red state” mentality that appears predominant in the company he works for. His life is spiraling out of control as he struggles with an addiction to pills besides alcoholism and self-destructive tendencies. In the second act the author finds himself a whale in the world of cryptocurrency, riding waves of gains and losses, putting himself hundreds of thousands in debt and risking his financial future on the chance that blockchains will take off, and finds out that they do, to stratospheric levels, even as the author has to deal with being surplus to requirements in the ordinary world of 9-5 jobs. The third act is how the author manages the wealth, which provides a satisfying and victorious conclusion that many readers will celebrate. This is not a book that ends with a flameout or a stint in jail, but instead with glorious success.
In many ways, this book has the feel of a memoir that is trying to aim for the inevitable film adaptation like Wolves of Wall Street. While the author changes some of the details of other people so as to avoid lawsuit problems, most of the book focuses on the author himself and it is entertaining and compelling. The author is entirely believable in being obsessed with the idea of earning his millions and the good life (spoiler alert: he succeeds) while simultaneously being hostile to big business at the same time. I happen to be skeptical about the ability that blockchains are going to have in decentralizing the way that business and politics works. There has been a frequent pattern by which the first wave of technologies has promised freedom only to see authorities seize upon the same technologies to increase control and centralization. It seems quite likely that blockchain, if it has any lasting results, will be to further efforts at control whether than provide the freedom that the author and others obviously seek and which would be a great improvement over the rather inept authoritarianism that threatens in these dark days.