Number Go Up by Zeke Faux

Number Go Up by Zeke Faux

Earlier in the autumn, there were two major new books (well at least two) examining to a greater of lesser extent, the story of Sam Bankman-Fried, who was to end up being found guilty on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy.

One was Going Infinite by Michael Lewis. I tend to love Lewis’ books, as he makes sometimes very esoteric monetary subjects very readable, and has a skill to create page-turning books of his stories. But I was put off this book because it seemed that Lewis was slightly conflicted following his involvement with Bankman-Fried, which had included interviewing him on stage at a Bankman-Fried organised conference.

Instead, I turned to Number Go Up by the Bloomberg writer Zeke Faux. Although he hangs his tale off Bankman-Fried and FTX, this is as much as anything a story about the whole crypto world, and particularly a “stablecoin” called Tether.

Lots of people have lost a lot of money through varying Ponzi schemes that have been nothing more than grifts aimed at the gullible, the greedy and others who have been sucked in. It’s not surprising since as recently as 2022, even the Super Bowl telecast was still being filled with ads with famous people promoting crypto schemes.

Faux has written a book that not only exposes many of these schemes for the utter nonsense they are, but is riotously funny at the same time. As I read this book, and at times laughed out loud, I felt I was reading a non-fiction version of something Carl Hiaasen might have written.

Of course, not everyone has lost money in this space, and some have made a great deal of money indeed. And often they’ve slunk away into the background, perhaps not wanting to behave like archetypal “crypto bros”, living it up in luxury pads in the Bahamas or wherever.

Thoroughly recommended.