Years ago I remember being interested in Bitcoin, simply because it was new interesting tech. I even mined a few dozen of them back when it was possible to do that with an underpowered second hand computer you were willing to leave on for a few days. For the last 5+ years though crypto has seemed like nothing more than a ponzi scheme where I’d be left holding the bag.

Enter Number Go Up by Zeke Faux, which is a look at the crypto-currency industry. What starts out as a quest to find the US currently that supposedly backs Tether, ends up being a wide ranging look at the personalities that inhabit the crypto space.

The most famous crypto scammer, Sam Bankman-Fried, makes an appearance early in the book, but mostly as a side character. Of course I read this after SBF’s trial so I knew that he’d be a much bigger figure towards the end of the book, but he doesn’t loom large a first.

In fact, few characters left much impression on me throughout the book. What did leave an impression was that everyone Faux talked to sounded like they had for more money than brains. They’d gamble away millions of dollars on the crypto market, but also entirely misplace millions of dollars in crypto due to bad accounting practices.

The characters were so crazy, and stupid, that when chapter 11 was titled “Let’s Get Weird” my note was to question how on earth we could get more weird than all the dumb stuff I’d read about thus far. But yes, it does get weirder.


So the big things I’ve taken away from Number Go Up is that anyone investing in crypto is chasing get rich quick schemes and I should politely ignore them.

Secondly, that the biggest use of Tether is in the criminal markets[1]. Faux takes us on a ride to “businesses” that are really jails for people in Asia that have been lured by the promise of a good job. When they arrive at the job, it’s a compound with barbed wire fences and armed guards keeping people in. Then they’re told they must call people and scam up to $400 a day in crypto-currency from people, or face beatings and solitary confinment.

This illicit market is what keeps liquidity in the crypto world as money is passed into it from crime and then back out in cash, while “investors” in many countries try to gamble on the market and earn money. Heck I have friends that have tried this, and I’m sure they wouldn’t support human trafficking, or that crypto is the defacto payment requested by computer hacker groups.

Should You Read Number Go Up by Zeke Faux?

If you’ve been interested in crypto and want an insight into just how dumb the people involved in it are…the book is a wild ride and I recommend it. You’ll get your fill of alligator parties with live alligators on the floor, and rappers called Razzelkhan, who must be one of the dumbest criminals out there.

Purchase Number Go Up on Amazon

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