In 2009, an Internet user calling himself Sataoshi Nakamoto introduced the first system of digital currency to a small community of online friends. Uniting these early users was a shared utopian vision of an economy unencumbered by meddling third parties like banks, corporations, or even nations.Five years later, the exchange they called Bitcoin now occupies a crucial place at the intersection of finance and technology, and its short life has been a rollercoaster ride of eye-popping growth, equally dramatic crashes, and the first glimmers of its recognition as a legitimate currency. In Digital Gold, New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper charts this fascinating and troubled history, from Bitcoin’s origins in the hands of the bizarre and brilliant Nakamoto and his first group of true believers to the catastrophic collapse of Bitcoin’s largest exchange platform, Mt Gox, to its status today as a closely watched and heavily regulated, if still fledgling, financial player. Along the way, Digital Gold illuminates how this complex system of digital currency actually works, and how this once-laughable idea attracted hundreds of thousands of followers and hundreds of millions of dollars with new users and money pouring in every day. It also reveals how Bitcoin’s anonymous, underground platform has given rise to the dark side of the original utopian ideal, with drug dealers and assassinsfor-hire now enabled to communicate and do business with impunity.