All Commentary
Monday, December 28, 2015

A $250,000 Bitcoin Magic Trick

When new tech makes billionaires feel like kids again


I love this scene from Digital Gold, Nathaniel Popper’s entertaining book on the history of and people behind Bitcoin. Wences Casares, a successful internet entrepreneur and Bitcoin enthusiast, is at a party of millionaires and billionaires and he wants to impress the crowd:

To prove how easy this all was, Wences asked [Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget] to take out his phone and helped him to create an empty Bitcoin wallet. Once it was up, and Wences had Blodget’s new Bitcoin address, Wences used the wallet on his own phone to send Blodget $250,000…

The money was then passed to the phones of other people around the table once they had set up wallets. Anyone could have run off with Wences’s $250,000, but that wasn’t a risk with this particular crowd.

Instead, as the money went around, Wences saw the guests’ laughter and wide-eyed amazement at what they were watching.

Wences is something of a character. Russ Roberts did a good interview with him on EconTalk.

Cross-posted from Marginal Revolution.


  • Alex Tabarrok is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He blogs at Marginal Revolution with Tyler Cowen.