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Philip Fokker

Ohad Ben Shimon takes his readers on a contemporary Gold Rush

"Until the last breath" by Ohad Ben Shimon, pub. zimZalla.

Ah yes, bitcoins. The hype, the fear of missing out, the 'Im not dealing with this stuff', the digital native millionaires...

I remember bitcoins entering the stage, back in 2009. A friend told me about harvesting the digital coin and a 3000 euro machine that was required to do so. As I write this today, I realise that I still do not understand how this exactly worked, because I never looked into it. It felt like going to a casino or buying stocks, stuff that eludes me. What I do know is that a mutual friend of ours did start harvesting and is now a multi-millionaire. Fast forward to 2019 and the digital currency is celebrating its tenth anniversary on January 3rd as billboards advertising 'bitcoins for everybody' dot the city.

'Who knows where this will go in the future?', reads the first page of Ohad Ben Shimon's work of poetry "Until the last breath". It accurately catches the anxiety surrounding the bitcoin phenomena since the beginning. This modern-day Gold Rush has people mining websites, and mobile applications in a virtual fever no less real than in 1850s California.

Any reader with the slightest sense of the bitcoin phenomena, ones who did buy in or those who resisted, I recommend starting the book when they have an hour or two to kill. Ohad takes the reader on a captivating journey, buying Ethers (the payment units on the Ethereum platform that uses blockchain technology), sending his dad on a cryptocurrency summer school, while keeping us posted on the exchange rate of the currency, his thoughts and his everyday life. This is a poetry book you want to read in one go.

"Until the last breath" starts with about twenty pages of one-liners, written in a lighthearted, humorous way but with an eerie undertone. Then, at 3.9.17 (there are no page numbers) longer strings of text start to appear, the first sentence: 'I'm on the sites'. The story has a beat literature feel to it. It brings to mind William Burroughs' classic "Junky". 'I'm on the sites' reads like: 'I'm on skid row again', as a reader you think: shit, he's hooked now... And he is, feverishly keeping track of the exchange rates, discussing BUY or SELL possibilities with his father and keeping the reader posted on his conversations about the currency with friends and acquaintances.  The last four pages of the book are dedicated to the explanation of the Bitcoins phenomena. And after turning the last page, you feel like reading Until the last breath again. Some might even feel like investing in bitcoins

Copyright © Philip Fokker, 2019