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Number Go Up

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399611343

Price: £25

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BOOK OF THE YEAR FOR WIRED | LA TIMES | FINANCIAL TIMES | WASHINGTON POST | GLOBE AND MAIL

USED IN EVIDENCE IN THE TRIAL OF SAM BANKMAN-FRIED

In 2021, cryptocurrency goes mainstream. Giant investment funds are buying it. Politicians endorse it. TV ads hail it as the future of money. Hardly anyone knows how it works – who cares when everyone is getting rich? But financial crime reporter Zeke Faux cares: even in fraud, there are standards.

In the Bahamas, schlubby billionaire wunderkind Sam Bankman-Fried tells him how he will use his fortune to save the world. In Cambodia, a spam text unearths a horrifying slavery ring fuelled by crypto. Faux buys a $20,000 cartoon of a mutant ape to gain access to a festival headlined by Snoop Dogg, and talks his way onto the yacht of a riddling crypto founder/former child actor (The Mighty Ducks, 1992) who was among the first to see the power of imaginary treasure. In search of an elusive cash reserve at the foundation of the whole system, the incredulous Faux finds himself crossing three continents, as well as the boundaries of law, taste and economic rationality. Shocking and uproarious, Number Go Up is the essential chronicle of a $3 trillion delusion, the greatest bubble in history.

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Reviews

[In his book Going Infinite, Michael] Lewis reveals little about the inner workings of crypto . . . For those wanting a rollicking - albeit jaundiced - examination of crypto's underbelly, read Mr Faux's book
The Economist
An instant classic: Liar's Poker for the era of digital monkey tokens
Kit Chellel, co-author, Dead in the Water
Unlike every other crypto book . . . I just couldn't put it down . . . The real beauty of this book is in the little details. It's what makes it read like fiction, even though it's all unfortunately horrifyingly real
Off Topic with Molly Jane, Blockworks.co
Boisterous and masterfully written . . . Faux's cast of misfits and con artists never fails to entertain
Washington Post
Ludicrously compelling. I, quite literally, couldn't put it down - and I don't even care about crypto. Zeke Faux writes about this world with such clarity, humor, and perspective that the portrait captures something even larger: a moment in time that we can't afford not to understand
Evan Osnos, author, Joe Biden: American Dreamer
The best book yet written about cryptocurrency
Patrick McKenzie, Bits about Money
Eye popping . . . one of the tensest things I've ever read
Jenny Colgan, Herald Scotland
Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the mass delusion that was crypto
Bethany McLean, bestselling co-author, The Smartest Guys in the Room
The definitive book about crypto and the only one you'll want to read
Max Chafkin, author, The Contrarian
Both a serious financial investigation and incredibly entertaining ... Faux seems to be the only one asking uncomfortable questions
Sarah Frier, FT/McKinsey award-winning author, No Filter
Not only a breath of fresh air but quite possibly the best book ever written about the cryptocurrency industry
Cas Piancey, Protos
An excoriating attack on crypto and all who sail in her . . . It's enough to drive the observer slightly nuts. You can find that energy in Faux's funny, furious book
John Lanchester, LRB
It's terrific. Each chapter, each scheme somehow stranger, funnier and more enraging than the last. A whole economy layered like a French pastry of Ponzi schemes
Scott Tobias, The Next Picture Show
Definitely the best book to read for anyone who wants to understand what happened with SBF and FTX; I'd argue it's also the best book to give any general-interest reader who wants to learn more about why crypto has crashed and burned
WIRED, 'The 16 Best Books of 2023'
The funniest financial journalist in America takes on the funniest story in modern finance
Matt Levine, author of Businessweek’s Money Stuff
Combines sharp analysis, intrepid reporting and punchy writing
Wall Street Journal
Offers a shrewdly sceptical view of crypto where [Michael Lewis's] Going Infinite is stubbornly credulous
New York Times
Of all the books you could read about the pandemic-driven crypto and NFT pyramid-scheme madness, this is the one. It is fantastically funny, sceptical, thoughtful and he's willing to pursue every part of the story. The chapter in which he investigates the effects of crypto-based gaming in the Philippines is devastating. The sequence where he risks his savings by buying an extremely ugly Bored Ape in order to get into a party is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Naomi Alderman
Business journalists are not usually lauded for their bravery, but it takes guts to gaze into the abyss of late-stage capitalism, never mind parachute directly into it. [Number Go Up] is a kind of hero's journey . . . Riveting
Jessica Pressler, special correspondent at Vanity Fair, producer, Inventing Anna
Faux demonstrates his incisive grasp of the story with the very first words of his prologue . . . In telling his story, Faux has one major advantage over [Michael] Lewis: almost from the start, he had crypto's number
LA Times
Funny, enraging, racy and profound. We were waiting for the first great crypto book and Zeke Faux has written it
Oliver Bullough, author, Butler to the World
Number Go Up is a globe-trotting nonfiction picaresque that's as much fun as you can have reading about financial malfeasance and blockchain scams. It's a crisp primer that effortlessly ties the overinflated promise of bitcoin not just to the fraudsters like Sam Bankman-Fried who peddle it, but to the places in the Global South, like the Philippines and Cambodia, that are steamrolled by the fallout when that promise dies, often in spectacular fashion. It's scathing; it made me snort rage chortles aloud as I read. I would have finished it in a single sitting if I didn't have to sleep.
LA Times, 'The 10 Best Tech Books of 2023'
A dizzying safari of the surreal ... Zeke Faux takes readers behind the velvet rope and onto the mega yachts and multimillion-dollar tropical compounds of the billionaire crypto schemers, hustlers, and evangelists who may all be headed to prison, but are having a riotously good time
Joshua Green, #1 NYT bestselling author, The Devil’s Bargain
The superior guide to understanding the FTX debacle and Bankman-Fried himself . . . This is the strength of Number Go Up: it doesn't pretend there's something inside, just beyond our reach. Instead, Faux explores how flimsy the whole crypto industry really is
Wired
This often funny, often tragic analysis of the rise and fall of cryptocurrencies and their champions shows human vanity and weakness at their most destructive . . . It is hard to think of any book or film with a cast as odious, as indifferent to the consequences of their shakedowns, as arrogant, or as voracious as the hustlers launching one ICO 'opportunity' after another . . . This well-written, pacey book is difficult to put down because you wonder how the swizz of the previous chapter might be surpassed - as it nearly always is
Irish Examiner
An appalled, Wolfe-ian look at the barely concealed cynicism and grift that fuelled and continue to fuel cryptocurrency's vast speculative bubble . . . No one comes out of this well, from Tony Blair and Bill Clinton cosying up to Bankman-Fried to an endless parade of celebrities shilling for crypto . . . Recount[s] the end of an era
Spectator
Laugh-out-loud funny . . . An often hilarious courtside view of the recent mania - and a useful reminder to blockchain evangelists about the many, many sleazy characters who inhabit their realm. Well worth a read
Jeff John Roberts, Fortune
Faux does an excellent job [of] digging into the personalities and hype . . . A lot of things about crypto finally clicked into place for me after reading this book
The Verge