Ben McKenzie may be best known to television fans as the star of hit shows such as “The O.C.” and “Southland.” But the actor has more recently become an outspoken critic and skeptic of the burgeoning world of cryptocurrency. McKenzie recently partnered with author and journalist Jacob Silverman on a series of articles that unpacked everything from the celebrities who are earning money to hawk the speculative market on social media to NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ recent decision to take his salary in bitcoin.
Now, McKenzie and Silverman are expanding that investigation into a book, “Easy Money,” which has been acquired by Abrams Press. The book will be an account of McKenzie and Silverman’s ongoing attempts to pull back the curtain on the world of cryptocurrency and the people impacted by its spectacular rise and potential fall. Abrams Press editorial director Jamison Stoltz acquired world rights in the project from McKenzie’s literary agent, Noah Ballard, of Verve. Silverman is represented by Erik Hane of Headwater Literary.
“Finally I’ve found a crypto project worth shilling: my book,” McKenzie said in a statement. “‘Easy Money’ is about two things — money and lying — and while I know a little about the former from my econ degree, it’s the latter that fascinates me. Maybe that’s why I do it for a living. In Abrams, Jacob and I have found the perfect partner: a highly respected publisher with global reach who can help two Brooklyn dads unravel the mysteries, and the absurdities, of crypto. We will do our best not to bore you.”
“Since Ryan Atwood from ‘The O.C.’ unexpectedly slid into my DMs last August to ask if I wanted to have beers and talk crypto, I’ve had the thrill of discovering that a great actor is also a lively thinker who cares deeply about economic and social issues,” said Silverman. “I couldn’t be more excited to investigate the freewheeling world of crypto alongside Ben and a great team at Abrams.”
The duo is set to appear at a featured session of SXSW in Austin next month to unpack the crypto marketplace and the sketchy way it has been advertised and endorsed by celebrities at events like the recent Super Bowl.
“The combination of Jacob’s reportorial skill and experience, and Ben’s deep knowledge of the subject and what makes people tick is potent,” said Stoltz. “Their writing on crypto has already cut through the hype, and ‘East Money’ is going to be a wildly entertaining must-read book on the biggest financial boom around. We see this as ‘The Big Short’ for the crypto era.”
Before getting his start in Hollywood, McKenzie earned a degree in economics and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He first captured attention as Ryan Atwood in “The O.C.” and spent five seasons as James Gordon on Fox’s “Gotham.” He has also appeared in the Oscar-nominated “Junebug” and made his Broadway debut in 2020 in “Grand Horizons.”
Silverman writes about technology and national security for The New Republic. His work has appeared in Slate, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, along with other publications. He is the author of “Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection.”