A Crypto Thriller
by Ari Juels
Fears of a weaponized blockchain become reality when a software developer races to deactivate the rogue smart contract targeting him for assassination.
Life is comfortable for a prominent, if schlubby, developer at a New York City blockchain company. That is, until FBI Special Agent Diane Duménil seeks his help against a bewildering threat: The Delphians, worshippers of the god Apollo, have launched a rogue program on a blockchain. It’s offering a crypto bounty to assassinate a European archaeology professor.
The developer brushes off the danger until he learns the next target: Himself.
Mythical antiquity collides with a near-future cyberworld as The Oracle’s unassuming hero and his FBI partner race against time to dismantle the Delphians’ murderous blockchain software. Theirs is a whirlwind tale of oracles ancient and modern, vanished antiquities and conjured crypto billions, cybercriminals and digital idealists—narrated by a cynical hero normally more concerned with dark chocolate than the consequences of the technologies he’s pioneering. What happens when the crypto ideals of privacy and truth might cost human lives—especially your own?
Cover design by Ter33Design
"Ari Juels is a brilliant researcher at the forefront of understanding cryptography and what it means for our ability to trust each other and what we see in the world."
—Vitalik Buterin, inventor of Ethereum
"At once a fun read and witty primer on the tech and moral quandaries of the blockchain universe. The Oracle is a rare treat."
—Martha Pollack, president, Cornell University
"A common definition of science fiction is 'making an argument for a world that has not yet come into existence.' In The Oracle, Ari Juels, a person at the heart of building tomorrow's world, does just that. A roller-coaster thriller that takes you irresistibly down a slippery slope of empowered cults using the latest technology to wag the societal dog. A must-read if you want to understand the new frontier that crypto brings to the real-world. Brilliantly written and also very approachable, teaching you the basics of the crypto world of blockchain, smart contracts, and oracles in a fun and accessible way."
—Laurence Moroney, AI Lead at Google and bestselling author
Ari Juels’s foresight regularly makes me wonder if he himself should be considered an oracle. His novel The Oracle makes it clear that the interaction between blockchains and AI creates a powerful force for how the world will work.
—Sergey Nazarov, cofounder and CEO, Chainlink Labs
"Blockchain technology is changing the world and creating new myths and legends along the way. If you’re not in the thick of it—and even if you are—I can’t think of a more entertaining and exhilarating ride than The Oracle."
—Dr. Emin Gün Sirer, founder and CEO, Ava Labs
Ari Juels has a short but hard-to-spell name and a long job title. He’s the Weill Family Foundation and Joan and Sanford I. Weill Professor in the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech in New York City, as well as a Computer Science faculty member at Cornell University. He co-founded and co-directs the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts (IC3). He also serves as Chief Scientist at Chainlink Labs, where his contributions to oracle networks and blockchain industry are commemorated in the name of the smallest denomination of the LINK token: a Juel. He is the author of well over one hundred widely cited and influential research publications, along with a previous techno-thriller, Tetraktys, published in 2010.
To learn more, visit his personal website: www.arijuels.com.
Photo credit: Tobias Scholl