Best Crypto Books of 2023

Reading Time: 3 minutes

2023 has seen a handful of crypto-related books hit the shelves, with Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX, and the wider crypto collapse naturally featuring strongly. Of all the releases, however, what are Fullycrypto’s picks of the year?

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin.

Zeke Faux – “Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall”

When crypto became mainstream in 2021, attracting giant investment funds, celebrity endorsements, and TV ads proclaiming it as the future of money, people still flocked to cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu for quick fortunes. Investigative reporter Zeke Faux suspected it might all be a massive confidence game, and what started as curiosity turned into a two-year global quest to uncover the reality behind the supposed digital financial revolution. 

In “Number Go Up”, which also dives into the murky world of Tether’s multi-billion-dollar machine, Faux encounters characters like Sam Bankman-Fried, Snoop Dogg, and Brock Pierce, delving into the crypto world’s scams, utopias, and overnight billionaires in the process. His journey takes him to El Salvador’s Bitcoin experiment, a Philippines mobile game touted as an anti-poverty solution, and even exposes a crypto-powered human-trafficking ring in Cambodia.

“Number Go Up” captures the highs and lows of the 2021-2022 crypto craze, including an insight into the collapse of FTX at the time it went down. It will shock the initiated and uninitiated alike, something that’s hard to do.

Mark Hunter – “Ultimate Catastrophe: How MtGox Lost Half a Billion Dollars and Nearly Killed Bitcoin

Fullycrypto writer Mark Hunter says he was inspired to write a full chronicle of the rise and fall of MtGox when researching his podcast series, “Dr Bitcoin – The Man Who Wasn’t Satoshi Nakamoto.” Hunter says that he soon realized that no one had written a comprehensive account of the collapse of what was at the time the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchange, and so he set about speaking to those who worked there, traded there, and helped track down those who brought it to its knees.

The result is “Ultimate Catastrophe”, an absorbing tale that takes us inside MtGox’s creation and extraordinary growth between 2010 and 2012 and then its slow and steady two-year collapse, precipitated by a series of monstrous hacks that left the exchange almost half a billion dollars out of pocket.

The second half of the book covers three elements: the investigation of MtGox’s collapse and the search for the hackers, the efforts of former CEO Mark Karpelès to clear his name, and the battle fought by the creditors to get their money back – a battle that continues as the 10th anniversary of the collapse approaches.

“Ultimate Catastrophe” is the premier book on MtGox and will only be bettered when Mark Karpelès chooses to speak out…if he ever does.

Michael Lewis – “Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon”

When it was revealed that legendary financial writer Michael Lewis had been shadowing FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried during the collapse of the company and his own arrest, everyone believed that this was a match made in heaven. The movie rights were sold along with the book rights, and publication was set for the opening day of Bankman-Fried’s trial in October.

The result, however, is a book that feels rushed and lacking in detail. Lewis maps out Bankman-Fried’s youth and early influences beautifully, but when it comes to the meat of the story, the collapse of FTX and what went on behind closed doors, the author comes up short. Perhaps he wasn’t afforded the access everyone hoped, or maybe he just wasn’t around at the time, but key events are glossed over during the crucial period in 2022, leaving the reader feeling short-changed; much of what Lewis tells us was already known from very recent news reports.

The publishers’ desire to have the book out on the first day of the trial backfired in two ways: firstly it meant that the end result was, naturally, rushed in order to meet the deadline; and secondly, Lewis wasn’t able to draw upon the critical details and accusations that emerged at Bankman-Fried’s trial. These, in many ways, were much more interesting than the events he covered in “Going Infinite” and would have greatly added to its allure.

“Going Infinite” was legitimately one of the top crypto books of 2023, but it also goes down as a missed opportunity.