Number Go Up


After years on the financial world’s margins, crypto went mainstream in early 2021. It seemed like everyone knew someone who was bragging about their returns from Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and other bizarrely named “digital assets.” FOMO spread: Was crypto the new path to financial freedom? It didn’t seem to matter that hardly anyone knew how it worked. The longer prices went up and up, the harder it was to resist. To borrow a phrase from crypto parlance, the only thing that mattered was “number go up.” Observing this mania, Zeke Faux sets out on a quest to pull back the curtain on the wizards behind this new financial machinery.

In stock


‘The far superior guide to understanding the FTX debacle and Bankman-Fried himself’

‘A shrewdly skeptical view of crypto where [Michael Lewis’s] Going Infinite is stubbornly credulous’

New York Times

‘Combines sharp analysis, intrepid reporting, and punchy writing’

Wall Street Journal

‘Boisterous, masterfully written . . . Faux’s cast of misfits and con artists never fails to entertain’
Washington Post

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.