“Anders Drachen has done the impossible – written a young adult story about new technology that entertains, informs, and inspires at the same time. Two adorable girls, Wimax and Leodie, keep inventing new ways of getting into trouble, and each time they do, they add another piece to a technology that will improve the society in which they live – which happens to be an ant hive. The technology is blockchain. Drachen walks the reader carefully and easily through all of the critical concepts – the internet, security, proof of work, anonymity, even central banking. It is an even-handed treatment, describing the old way as valuable in its reliability and yet, too ossified to change. The ant girls’ inventions are spurred along by a lovable cast of insect characters that includes a compassionate caregiver, a gigantic scorpion, a doddering old professor, and a band of fuzzy pirates. There is resistance to the new technology, but it is overcome not by violence but by cunning and persuasion.
The writing and tone of the book is thoroughly charming. As an avid reader of fantasy books, I admire Drachen’s ability to generate wonderful names and funny moments. The deeper lore of the ants is mysterious and intriguing, as it should be. Somehow these ants have built their society on top of an ancient mechanical technology, most of which has been forgotten. The ancient ways are brought back to life through the ingenuity and spunk of Leodie and Wimax, then taken in directions no one could have imagined.
This is the perfect book for the techy (and not so techy!) Moms and Dads who want their daughters (and sons!) to be ready for the new world of blockchain economies. A fantastic book!”
Edward Castronova, Professor of Media at Indiana University Bloomington. Author of “Synthetic Worlds”, “Exodus to the Virtual World” and “Wildcat Currency”.
“Antwork is a unique introduction for children — and their parents — about the foundations of economics and recent technological innovations, such as blockchain. Set within a fantastic world, the book introduces ideas and principles of economics and technology. Going beyond mere explanation, the book gently uses characters and their society to question things we rarely question, for example, why money has value or why banks charge interest. “Antwork” encourages children to be curious, ask questions and to change the world around them — and to never give up.”
Dr Diego Klabjan, Professor, Director Center for Deep Learning, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, Northwestern University.
“This book is an exciting way to introduce children and their parents to the two worlds of money and digital technology. These have in the past seemingly led separate lives. However, with Internet commerce, on-line gaming, and smartphones providing easy mobile payments, money is now also digital in everyday life. The invention of cryptocurrencies marks a very particular way of connecting money, digital systems, and social community. The book creatively links of the inner workings of ant colonies to the financial system and further to blockchain arrangements. This allows the reader to both understand and question how things are. This book will be an excellent way for children to learn through a compelling story based on sound insights.”
Dr Carsten Sorensen. Reader (Associate Professor) in Digital Innovation at The London School of Economics and Political Science.
“Understanding the basics of economics, debts, and modern technology up to cryptocurrencies is a task that even grown ups struggle with. It is no surprise that it plays only a minor role in today’s educational system and as such, I cannot emphasize enough how important Antwork will be in teaching our children. Its presentation is perfect for the complex task it tries to solve. And it requires someone as Anders Drachen, with a deep understanding of the subject and long experience in teaching complex matters to young adults, to write such a surprisingly easy to understand and entertaining novel that also parents will love – and I’m sure also learn a lot from.”
Dr Christian Thurau, Director of Data Science & Analytics, N26 Group
“Antwork can be a revolutionary work to introduce children (but not only children!) to complex topics like economy and also important future technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrencies in an understandable and engaging way. Actually, I would absolutely like to read and learn in this way myself about these topics. This is just a brilliant idea and I really hope that this is only the beginning of a series of books set in the ant-universe. I absolutely love this work.”
Dr Johanna Pirker, Graz University of Technology, Institute for Interactive Systems and Data Science, Forbes 30 under 30 in Science and Healthcare 2018
“Wildly inventive storytelling which reduces complex economics into child-sized bites. After reading, I think I finally understand how Bitcoins work!”
Dr. Aaron Hawkins, Professor, Head of Department, Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering, Brigham Young University, author of The Year Money Grew on Trees
“An educational tour de force about often misunderstood concepts in money and finance, wrapped into an entertaining story playing in a fictional animal world used to draw witty analogies… While written for children, adults can surely learn a thing or two as well!”
Dr Michel Rauchs, Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, University of Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge