Out of the Ether: The Amazing Story of Ethereum and the $55 Million Heist that Almost Destroyed It All


In June of 2016, $55 million worth of the cryptocurrency ether vanished in one of the biggest hacks in the history of crypto. By exploiting a bug in a contract that held $250 million, hackers stole the funds in the digital equivalent of broad daylight, siphoning off the money in full view of anyone with an internet connection. Out of the Ether: The Amazing Story of Ethereum and the $55 Million Heist That Almost Destroyed It All tells the compelling tale of the cryptocurrency heist that shook the world of blockchain as well as the early history of the brilliant and often eccentric coders and hackers who created Ethereum, the second most-valuable blockchain after Bitcoin. Author and reporter Matthew Leising paints vivid portraits of the inventor of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, and many of the cofounders he gathered around him. While the hackers who made off with the $55 million have never been caught, Leising reveals here a person associated with the 2016 attack, whom he identified using blockchain forensics, encrypted messages, and insider sources. The book details the dramatic and, to some, unthinkable “fix” to the hack dreamt up by Buterin and others in the Ethereum community. A fix so controversial, many predicted that it, and not the attack itself, would prove to be the undoing of Ethereum. Out of the Ether provides in-depth coverage not only of the massive heist that forms the core of the narrative, but also the technological, social, and economic questions raised by Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. The book examines questions of decentralization, anonymity, and privacy in light of the actions of the larger-than-life coders, developers, and hackers in the story. Perfect for anyone with even a passing interest in daring heists, digital financial technologies, or blockchain, Out of the Ether is a thriller so cutting-edge you may just choose not to believe it.

Oppleser: Chris Henry Coffey