In this debut memoir, Conway recounts his struggle to climb a corporate ladder and how investment in cryptocurrency gave him a way out.
Around 2010, the author scored what he calls a “golden ticket”—a blue-chip job at a major multimedia corporation with his own team, a budget, and a six-figure salary. He finally “felt dignified and gangster,” he says. However, he also notes that he was profoundly unhappy, frustrated with a “fake company culture [that] made me and most of my co-workers miserable” and unable to advance as quickly as he’d hoped. He says that his sense of self-worth was fragile and that he was perpetually unable to silence his “Flip Side, the bed-wetting, escapist gimp with bad judgment who lives in the basement of my personality.” He eventually turned to drugs as a balm for his anxiety, and he soon became addicted to Vicodin. After confessing this to his wife, he sought recovery at a rehabilitation center and became a devotee of 12-step optimism. However, he later lost his job, so he decided to bet money he really couldn’t afford to lose on “ether,” the currency of the Ethereum blockchain—one of the popular cryptocurrencies of the time. The author then thrillingly relates the consequences of this dramatic gamble, in which the stakes weren’t merely financial; he knew he would ultimately emerge as either a visionary or a reckless fool. But, he writes, he not only won, he won big—finally cashing out for millions of dollars in a life-transforming financial triumph.
In this memoir, Conway skillfully combines three intersecting narratives involving his ego-driven, often self-destructive ambition; his cryptocurrency gamble; and the history of cryptocurrency in general. Along the way, the author stirringly describes how, to him, cryptocurrency investment wasn’t just a new technological innovation, but rather a way to escape the corporate world that he once set out to conquer. Indeed, his critique of corporate bureaucracy in this book is both astute and conveyed with verve. More than anything else, he asserts, the blockchain movement is about freeing oneself from the financial gatekeepers that stymie progress—and about profiting fabulously in the process: “I’m bringing this up simply as a reminder that decentralization used to be a reasonable priority for the common man and woman,” he writes. Over the course of the book, the author recounts his personal experience with admirable candor; specifically, he unflinchingly documents his foibles and reflects deeply on how his life experiences prepared him for his risk-embracing cryptocurrency adventure. The tone of the book is somewhat inconsistent, however, as it ranges from buoyantly irreverent to smugly knowing. The author also savagely caricatures his former colleagues, referring to them by nicknames, such as “Fuckface” and “Kermit,” presumably in order to protect their identities but which also serve to deepen his condemnation of them. Overall, though, this book offers an edifying look into a mysterious world that promises momentous transformation.
A highly dramatic but lucid introduction to the murky world of cryptocurrency.