Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency

Books on Tape. Nov. 2022. 10:47 hrs. ISBN 9780593628171. $95. CRIME
Journalist Greenberg (Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers), who specializes in cryptocurrency, digital surveillance, and the seedier parts of the internet, presents well-researched accounts of how law enforcement and crypto companies worked together to track Bitcoin through the blockchain to bust dark web markets. Reading with gritty intensity, narrator Ari Fliakos briefly describes Bitcoin basics (pointing out that Bitcoin purchases are indeed trackable), and then walks listeners through Greenberg’s explication of four major cases. The author addresses the Silk Road and the imprisonment of its leader, the Dread Pirate Roberts along with the demise of its successor, AlphaBay. Then, the massive theft of Bitcoin from the Mt. Gox exchange. The book saves its most disturbing story for last: the takedown of Welcome to Video, a distribution site for child sexually abusive material. Throughout, Greenberg discusses how private companies sprouted up to specifically track digital currency, seemingly at their discretion. Greenberg concludes his narrative, requesting readers to consider the implications of these companies’ existence.
VERDICT Propulsively narrated by Fliakos, Greenburg’s book tells a crypto true-crime story, and also critiques the complexities of financial privacy in the digital age.
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