" trying very hard to have the good time they paid thousands for,"
December 6, 2018 9:06 AM   Subscribe

 
'After his event, the attendees mob the aisles to get closer to their heroes—entirely ignoring the “beautiful ladies” who the host tells us have just taken the stage for the “women in blockchain” panel. It’s a shame, because they miss moderator Olga Feldmeier’s summation, delivered in a pitch-perfect Russian lilt: “Being a woman in blockchain,” she says, “is like riding a bicycle. Except the bicycle is on fire. And everything is on fire. And you are going to hell.”'

Hunter S Thompson would be proud.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:16 AM on December 6 [72 favorites]


John McAfee has never been convicted of rape and murder, but—crucially—not in the same way that you or I have never been convicted of rape or murder.

Hell of a sentence.
posted by jcreigh at 9:19 AM on December 6 [180 favorites]


The whole article is a goldmine of quotable sentences.
John McAfee has never been convicted of rape and murder, but—crucially—not in the same way that you or I have never been convicted of rape or murder.
(edit: Damn, too slow. I'm leaving it as is because it deserves to be quoted twice)
(supplemental edit: The article is not a few months old. I had confused it with another article where a snarky reporter goes to a gathering of obnoxious crypto millionaires)
posted by AndrewStephens at 9:20 AM on December 6 [7 favorites]


There's not enough fiat currency on earth to get me on that boat.
posted by odinsdream at 9:23 AM on December 6 [10 favorites]


Turns out that your reflection isn't very good company. Especially when you are these people.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:38 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


A whole bunch of excellent sentences in this article, such refreshing thoughts put down to share. These crypto guys, trying to find out how to be good and rich. They just need to establish a giant buried needle factory, so the camels can easily pass through the eyes. They have the money...
posted by Oyéah at 9:44 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


The world economy in microcosm, a bunch of grifters trying to grift each other before the whole thing hits an iceberg.
posted by The Whelk at 9:48 AM on December 6 [15 favorites]


I thought I couldn't have more respect for Laurie Penny, but then I read that even at a cryptocurrency conference she managed to find half-naked hippies worth sleeping in a pile with.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:51 AM on December 6 [28 favorites]


I was expecting to fetch water and painkillers for half-conscious corporate executives with dust in their perfect hair and no idea how to get home. I was expecting to get a bit carried away and end up shouting about the government and chalking poetry all over the walls. I was expecting to hear very rich men talk without blinking about tax planning and sacred geometry.

You know who I really miss? J.G. Ballard.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:02 AM on December 6 [23 favorites]


She attempts to put him off politely, but the problem is that to do so she has to talk to him, and that’s all he wants.

Why have I never heard of this writer before?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:15 AM on December 6 [9 favorites]


Also; regarding the women who were there as "entertainment": Surely now everyone realizes that anyone in crypto-coin has now had all their devices compromised, right?
posted by odinsdream at 10:19 AM on December 6 [5 favorites]


"One of the ways men bond is by demonstrating collective power over women."

Jesus, that's a straightforward, compact way of explaining so much.
posted by gladly at 10:20 AM on December 6 [82 favorites]


CoinsBank, the company organizing the cruise, has left little welcome gift boxes in each of the rooms. They contain painkillers, Alka-Seltzer, several condoms, the world’s flimsiest pregnancy test, and a half-bottle of Jägermeister.
Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Ewwwwwwww. Ewwwwwwww. Ewwwwwwww.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:20 AM on December 6 [48 favorites]


> Also; regarding the women who were there as "entertainment": Surely now everyone realizes that anyone in crypto-coin has now had all their devices compromised, right?

you have made an unwarranted assumption. you have assumed that cryptocurrency cultists are worth compromising.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:21 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


What, of course they are. Stealing actual money from these morons? Yeah, that's worth it.
posted by odinsdream at 10:23 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


Sounds like her bosses were hoping for a 21st century version of Dante’s Inferno.
posted by Anne Neville at 10:24 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


A Penny among Bitcoins.

Assuming Penny got off the ship beforehand, it could have sunk without a trace and the world would be much improved thereby.
posted by JohnFromGR at 10:24 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


you have made an unwarranted assumption. you have assumed that cryptocurrency cultists are worth compromising.

Well, cryptocurrency cultists with money to burn on ICOs and other related scammery jammed into a cruiseship for an endless series of hard-sells... Probably worth compromising insofar as they're fools who have not yet been parted from the entirety of their money.

I wonder how much of the overall grift on the scene is just charging people to be on the boat vs. getting them to invest in other bullshit.
posted by brennen at 10:26 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


> Assuming Penny got off the ship beforehand, it could have sunk without a trace and the world would be much improved thereby.

there were more workers than cryptocurrency nitwits on that boat. sinking it would only improve things if you could get the crew and the eastern european teenagers off the boat first.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:28 AM on December 6 [31 favorites]


Roger Ver is a true believer. [...] He’s not a libertarian; he prefers the term “voluntaryist.” “The idea is that all human interaction should be on a voluntary basis or not at all.
Ewwwwww.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:29 AM on December 6 [5 favorites]


The Hacker News comments on this story are so hilariously obtuse and self-unaware that they border on self-parody. They might as well have been written from the boat.

Has there been an actual crypto-religion thing yet? Its enthusiasts are so close to one already that surely someone must have tried by now.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:32 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


I was going to post this when I found time! I hate everyone on this boat but Penny's writing is so fucking good I couldn't stop reading about them.
He then gives me a metal pin that represents “Metatron’s Cube,” the symbol of his “future of now family community,” he says, launching into a little explanation of sacred geometry. “It’s one of the most powerful symbols in existence. That’s the seed of light, that’s the genesis pattern of creation. Where all life comes from.”

This is no less bonkers and a lot more good-hearted than the five talks I’ve just sat through where people in suits declared, and I am barely paraphrasing, that bitcoin will go up forever, taking everyone in the room with it until we leave this mortal plane and ascend into the ionosphere where ICOs rain chocolate money and there is no death.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:37 AM on December 6 [14 favorites]


and a half-bottle of Jägermeister.

I know want to know if this is a half-size (say 350ml) bottle or a full-sized one that someone already drank half of. The second seems more on point.

I also imagine that a cryptocurrency cruise would be one where your distance from port would change wildly from hour to hour, leaving you constantly in fear of being lost at sea or run aground.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:37 AM on December 6 [41 favorites]


Religion has to be the next step; it's what you go for in America when crackdown starts.
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:37 AM on December 6


the major social change blockchain has brought about so far is that a small number of people have become very rich indeed

I've been reading up on blockchain lately because of a project at work and this quote exactly sums up my discomfort with it. Even while sticking to the technical side and avoiding the crypto-evangelist stuff, so many of the examples and applications are about enabling those who already have money and power to acquire more money and power.
posted by Basil Stag Hare at 10:38 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


> I hate everyone on this boat

don't hate everyone on the boat. hate everyone who paid to be on the boat and everyone who paid other people to be on the boat.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:43 AM on December 6 [9 favorites]


Am I reading the sequel to snow crash?
posted by nikaspark at 10:44 AM on December 6 [37 favorites]


Christ, where's an iceberg when you need one?
posted by duffell at 10:49 AM on December 6 [5 favorites]


['not Penny's boat' joke]

Next level booth bunnying. I wanna hurl.
posted by wellred at 10:50 AM on December 6 [9 favorites]


Am I reading the sequel to snow crash?


If these guys are right, it's a prequel. I'm not even kidding, the premise of Snow Crash is that widespread adoption of untraceable electronic currency transfers destroyed governments' ability to collect taxes and led directly to corporate-led neo-feudalism.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:50 AM on December 6 [75 favorites]


This was an interesting read that went places with its focus that I wasn't expecting. It's a giant narrative of EWW but there is so much simply GREAT writing in there that I'm really glad to have read it. And I'm sorry the writer had to live through that, but I'm glad for the result.

I've been to long weekend events where I felt really uncomfortable being there but had to be there for one reason or another... but none of them involved me being trapped on a boat with no possible escape. *shudder*
posted by hippybear at 10:51 AM on December 6 [6 favorites]


Just the thought of being stuck anywhere with a bunch of people who adulate "thought leaders" makes me want to go hide in the woods. What is it with this "thought leader" crap? Pondering this I went looking online for others who might feel the same and came across this essay.
posted by mareli at 10:54 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


Christ, where's an iceberg when you need one?

I've got some bad news about icebergs
posted by The Whelk at 10:54 AM on December 6 [136 favorites]


I've read it few times over the past couple days and am amazed each time. Great writing. Her ability to balance the repugnance while still being respectful is truly impressive. I've been meaning to read Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults since it came out and this clinches it.
posted by ...possums at 11:00 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


Cruise ships, lobsters, dystopian futures and men who treat women badly. It's like some kind of David Foster Wallace fever dream.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:03 AM on December 6 [16 favorites]


I'm not even kidding, the premise of Snow Crash is that widespread adoption of untraceable electronic currency transfers destroyed governments' ability to collect taxes and led directly to corporate-led neo-feudalism.

Except that just feeds into cryptocurrency's narrative of self-importance when, as always, it's utterly irrelevant. We're already slipping into corporate neo-feudalism as made plain by things like the disgusting display of cities prostrating themselves before Amazon for a chance at hosting its new HQ. I imagine the next iteration of this, instead of just tax breaks and other financial goodies, will be cities or states offering some mega-corp some kind of semi-sovereignty and legal immunity to entice them.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:07 AM on December 6 [13 favorites]


Forgive me, I fell down an internet hole some months ago and got into the history of chairs.

big mood
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:09 AM on December 6 [14 favorites]


FTA: "For instance, in October, artist Kelly Donnelly released the feminist anthem “I Am She” using Ethereum, making it, in her words, the “first unblockable music video ever released … meaning women living in censored regions like Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and Turkey have been able to watch the video.” Sounds good to me."
If there is information on a blockchain that an authoritarian regime disapproves of could they not just outlaw the Lantern service and all Etherium clients and/or censor any crypto related internet traffic? I don't know how the technology works, but I suspect that a sophisticated censorship regime like China's wouldn't be thwarted all that easily.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 11:19 AM on December 6 [5 favorites]


Christ, where's an iceberg when you need one?

I've got some bad news about icebergs


Perhaps the oceanic garbage patches can perform the same function lolsob.
posted by emjaybee at 11:28 AM on December 6 [11 favorites]


Don't have time to do the whole thing now, but my favorite sentence:

The women on this boat are polished and perfect; the men, by contrast, seem strangely cured—not like medicine, but like meat.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 11:31 AM on December 6 [20 favorites]


Can't wait to read this but can we agree that penny is a national treasure? Of every nation.
posted by klanawa at 11:33 AM on December 6 [11 favorites]


I'm stuck on the pregnancy test. Why? What... do they think they work instantly, like, you can tell within thirty seconds of having sex if you're pregnant?
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:38 AM on December 6 [28 favorites]


Still, I am at least wearing the fresh socks provided by CoinsBank, the one genuinely useful freebie in this cacophony of sleaze and kitsch. Who doesn’t need fresh socks? These ones come with an uplifting message for each day, and a schedule reminding us where we’ll be. It’s Saturday, we’re about to pass by Monaco, and the message on the socks is: “A Man is Always Right.”
Hoo Boy.

Fantastic read.
posted by clawsoon at 11:38 AM on December 6 [15 favorites]


this whole article is extremely quotable, holy shit

If he was anyone else, I would suspect Pierce was trolling this entire community to see how long he could talk like the back of a smoothie bottle before getting slapped. When he isn’t suddenly remembering that people can be cruel and abusive, Pierce is almost preternaturally trusting. This is a man who would be an excellent cult leader if he only had the essential malice and attention span.
posted by entropone at 11:43 AM on December 6 [10 favorites]


I'm stuck on the pregnancy test. Why? What... do they think they work instantly, like, you can tell within thirty seconds of having sex if you're pregnant?

i kind of feel like yes, in fact, some of them do? bc most men have the least amount of knowledge possible about women's bodies? a lot of them pride themselves on this actually. but also that it's a heterosexuality signifier (as well as a kind of intensely creepy virility trophy) in a way that a condom alone isn't. like if the real purpose of it was oriented towards women's health (lol) it would at the very least be Plan B.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:45 AM on December 6 [30 favorites]


“No amount of coercion,” he said, “can solve a math problem.”
Here we meet a man unfamiliar with Stalin's nuclear program.
posted by clawsoon at 11:49 AM on December 6 [25 favorites]


Pierce, like many of the crypto-hippies, has the special quality of innocence I’ve only ever observed in wealthy young white men, one that is captivating and frightening at once.

Pierce sounds like Bash from GLOW, only instead of spending his money on cocaine and women's professional wrestling he's enabling evil libertarian assholes.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:52 AM on December 6 [9 favorites]


Laurie Penny is a treasure. I enjoyed reading every word of that, while at the same time shuddering in revulsion.
posted by twilightlost at 11:56 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


Am I reading the sequel to snow crash?


If these guys are right, it's a prequel. I'm not even kidding, the premise of Snow Crash is that widespread adoption of untraceable electronic currency transfers destroyed governments' ability to collect taxes and led directly to corporate-led neo-feudalism.


Stephenson wrote the prequel, too: "The Great Simoleon Caper", in which the gummint tries to ratfuck the launch of the first cryptocurrency at the Super Bowl, and fails.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:02 PM on December 6 [4 favorites]


re: the pregnancy test - it's not there so people can find out if they're pregnant.

it's there to communicate that it's supposed to be a sexual environment. and, given the gender dynamics going on that the author described - is also about communicating to men that women are there for their amusement.
posted by entropone at 12:09 PM on December 6 [26 favorites]


Plus it contrasts with the message sent by the condom. "Practice safe sex! Or not, who cares. Certainly not us!"
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:17 PM on December 6 [7 favorites]


Christ, where's an iceberg when you need one?

Forget iceberg, where are the pirates? Imagine holding this ship hostage for a million bitcoins or so.

There's a screenplay in here somewhere, someone get me Jerry Bruckheimer on the phone.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:23 PM on December 6 [14 favorites]


Unrelated to blockchain, but
I, too, was a lonely intelligent child who knew the special horror, as most lonely intelligent children do, of thinking both very little and too much of themselves at the same time. I am as susceptible to fear of missing out, to the seduction of being surrounded by people who tell me I’m important, as any other elevated nerd.
Holy shit.
posted by notsnot at 12:25 PM on December 6 [67 favorites]


Cruise ships, lobsters, dystopian futures and men who treat women badly. It's like some kind of David Foster Wallace fever dream.

As performed by the inmates of Charenton under the direction of Jordan Peterson.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:35 PM on December 6 [11 favorites]


If there is information on a blockchain that an authoritarian regime disapproves of could they not just outlaw the Lantern service and all Etherium clients and/or censor any crypto related internet traffic?

Virtually everyone involved in crypto believes that it will be a technical solution to social problems. Unfortunately it's a rather pathetic tool in the face of the age-old technique of spies and informants that kept the people in the USSR in line for so many years and continues to do so in China.

Or another example: Silk Road made heavy use of encryption and web anonymizing services. And then it was brought down by (arguably) a user misconfiguration. No amount of encryption technology can save you from the fact that everything begins and ends with humans.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:40 PM on December 6 [8 favorites]


Forget iceberg, where are the pirates? Imagine holding this ship hostage for a million bitcoins or so.

Considering "a million bitcoins" usually works out to something like "an unbelievable amount of money in theory only Ha Ha the exchange just shut down and the owners have disappeared with your Real Actual Currency", piracy kinda doesn't seem worth the effort. . . .
posted by soundguy99 at 12:47 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]


No amount of encryption technology can save you from the fact that everything begins and ends with humans.

What if there's a little paperclip that pops up and says, "So it looks like you're trying to launder some money. Can I help?"
posted by entropone at 12:51 PM on December 6 [14 favorites]


Every fucking cryptocurrency thread should have the blink tag resurrected for the following

WARNING!: DUNNING KRUGERANDS
posted by lalochezia at 1:10 PM on December 6 [34 favorites]


Considering "a million bitcoins" usually works out to something like "an unbelievable amount of money in theory only Ha Ha the exchange just shut down and the owners have disappeared with your Real Actual Currency", piracy kinda doesn't seem worth the effort. . . .

Dunno. You _would_ become a folk hero, celebrated in legend and song. So there's that.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:24 PM on December 6 [4 favorites]


But the bitcoins are worthless so you'd have to demand every lupin on board.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:34 PM on December 6 [8 favorites]


Damn. That's some journalism.

The one thing that twinged me: she was charmed by Yannopoulis as well wasn't she? Being charmed by hapless stupid whiteyoungmen is very very far from any mental state I've ever reached, so I'm not finding the portrayal of Brock Pierce that convincing however much fun she had. To hang out with Bannon and Marc Collins-Rector indicates rather a telling defect in the sense-perceptors, or the consciousness-balancers or what have you.

You can go much further back than Stalin for an example of how social context influences scientific/ mathematical discovery. After all the Inquisition only had to show Gallileo the instruments.

Re digital futures “first unblockable music video ever released … meaning women living in censored regions like Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and Turkey have been able to watch the video,” I always hear the unsaid thing echoing in my head after sentences like this, which is: "provided they have a smartphone, a network, some data, some way to charge their battery, and are allowed to use all of these things."
posted by glasseyes at 1:34 PM on December 6 [14 favorites]


glasseyes: which is: "provided they have a smartphone, a network, some data, some way to charge their battery, and are allowed to use all of these things."

Plus however many months it would take to research how, exactly, to extract that video from the blockchain it's embedded in.
posted by clawsoon at 1:40 PM on December 6 [13 favorites]


To hang out with Bannon and Marc Collins-Rector indicates rather a telling defect in the sense-perceptors, or the consciousness-balancers or what have you.

Well she didn't spend much time with them, so I'm sure they were acting performatively and not showing their true selves. Also, rising to positions of power within the government requires some level of 'charm', since these guys were 'influencers' and not back room accountants, guards, and whatnot.

Also for what it's worth, I had a friend whose brother was arrested as a serious sexual predator, and I spent some time with bro and had no idea. He had a wife and kid and everything. His own brother had no idea either. It can happen. The first season of a show called Broadchurch got into this a bit.

In my opinion, the way around this is to not describe them as 'charming', even if they are, or describe the fun you had at their hippy party because the 'charm' and 'hippy party' is performative and covering for the insidiousness , it's not the main focus.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:46 PM on December 6 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I think a better substitute for 'charming' would be 'disarming.'
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:50 PM on December 6 [11 favorites]


Plus however many months it would take to research how, exactly, to extract that video from the blockchain it's embedded in.

And it's a fair bit of bandwidth to download the Ethereum blockchain.
posted by Dysk at 1:57 PM on December 6 [3 favorites]


Pierce was all of seventeen when he began his professional association with Collins-Rector; it's quite possible that he was groomed as much as any of Collins-Rector's victims. Working with Steve Bannon, I dunno.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:59 PM on December 6 [3 favorites]


I reckon my brilliant plan of getting investors to talk to me by being one of the only girls on a boatful of nerds needs revising.

I am not 10 feet tall and 22, but I am a tiny hyperactive white woman with weird hair and poor boundaries, so I revert to an old standby and start serving full manic pixie dream girl.


the hero we need
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 2:17 PM on December 6 [20 favorites]


No amount of encryption technology can save you from the fact that everything begins and ends with humans.

The recent event-stream debacle is the perfect example of this. A burned-out open source maintainer who was maintaining a very popular Javascript package for free accepted help from a kindly internet stranger... and then that dude added a bunch of malicious code that targeted people's Bitcoin private keys. People are always the weakest point of any system.
posted by Basil Stag Hare at 2:23 PM on December 6 [6 favorites]


CoinsBank, the company organizing the cruise, has left little welcome gift boxes in each of the rooms. They contain painkillers, Alka-Seltzer, several condoms, the world’s flimsiest pregnancy test, and a half-bottle of Jägermeister.

Ruining a perfectly good drink...
posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:00 PM on December 6


After reading Penny's sharp take on gender in the Bitcoin cruise world (“Being a woman in blockchain,” she says, “is like riding a bicycle. Except the bicycle is on fire. And everything is on fire. And you are going to hell.”), I found the suggested article at the end of the essay an, um, interesting companion piece: Bitcoin Bodice Rippers Are Romance’s Most Sizzling New Subgenre.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:40 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


That sharp take was from Olga Feldmeier. I don't know much about her, other than a quick Google search reveals the title cryptoqueen.
posted by clawsoon at 4:07 PM on December 6 [4 favorites]


"What happens on crypto cruise stays on crypto cruise's immutable ledger forever"
posted by srboisvert at 4:23 PM on December 6 [33 favorites]


and a half-bottle of Jägermeister.

I know want to know if this is a half-size (say 350ml) bottle or a full-sized one that someone already drank half of. The second seems more on point.


It was a full bottle when they put it in the room but it being a crypto cruise half of it just vanished.
posted by srboisvert at 4:32 PM on December 6 [49 favorites]


I thought I couldn't have more respect for Laurie Penny, but then I read that even at a cryptocurrency conference she managed to find half-naked hippies worth sleeping in a pile with.

Man, I haven't slept in a pile of half-naked hippies since high school. I should get out more.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:48 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]



The one thing that twinged me: she was charmed by Yannopoulis as well wasn't she? Being charmed by hapless stupid whiteyoungmen is very very far from any mental state I've ever reached, so I'm not finding the portrayal of Brock Pierce that convincing however much fun she had. To hang out with Bannon and Marc Collins-Rector indicates rather a telling defect in the sense-perceptors, or the consciousness-balancers or what have you.

About that:
I am the last person—the very last—to claim that having once made a mistake means you’re morally unsalvageable. Six months ago I wrote an article that really upset people, an interview with the followers of now-disgraced alt-right spokesman Milo Yiannopoulos. I conducted in-depth discussions and attempted to understand the motivations of young proto-fascists on the new far right. What I found was that these people are often horrifyingly confused and misguided in a way that only white men ever get to be. The howling insincerity of leaders like Yiannopoulos who will say anything to shore up their personal power is only matched by the zeal of their followers who really mean it. I also found that people will construct intricate architectures of fake oppression to persuade themselves that they’re still the good guys. A lot of today’s Nazis don’t know they’re Nazis, because they still think Nazis are comic-book villains from history, and they’re not alone. Many people argued that in conducting those interviews, I normalized the message of neo-fascism. Staying in the room with that critique has been extraordinarily instructive. It has once and for all taught me that history doesn’t give a damn how well you meant.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:11 PM on December 6 [65 favorites]


MetaFilter: a pile of half-naked hippies
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:12 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]


Her courage in baring personal flaws to power up her chaos dunks on terrible people reminds me of Ta Nehisi Coates. What a wonderful writer.
posted by zymil at 5:59 PM on December 6 [7 favorites]


Being charmed by hapless stupid whiteyoungmen is very very far from any mental state I've ever reached, so I'm not finding the portrayal of Brock Pierce that convincing however much fun she had.

the point at which she was supposedly charmed by him was when they were all in ibiza, no? so technically it is only charmed within an extremely specific context. in the decade i spent there i can tell you factually that i was at various times wholly charmed by: my own toes; an enormous stuffed cactus that i mistook for a real cactus that was alive and sentient; an angry stray cat that bit me on the face; the guardia civil who stopped to let me go to the store to buy ice cream while i was technically under arrest and on my way to prison*; and diego maradona.

*i will not be taking questions at this time
posted by poffin boffin at 6:54 PM on December 6 [45 favorites]


. . . it’s clear this is not the Burning Man-style celebration of the liberatory potential of decentralization I was promised. This is a locked-room, hard-sell pitch session to a literally captive audience . . . whose only escape is the lifeboats. The whole place smells of aftershave and insecurity.

Set aside the cryptocurrency specificity, and this is maybe as neat a summation of the original promise of the internet and what we actually got as I've read.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:10 PM on December 6 [15 favorites]


"provided they have a smartphone, a network, some data, some way to charge their battery, and are allowed to use all of these things."

It's on YouTube.

What? It is.
posted by petebest at 7:36 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


This is great.
posted by mwhybark at 8:05 PM on December 6


even at a cryptocurrency conference she managed to find half-naked hippies worth sleeping in a pile with.

Wouldn't be an LP article without at least one reminder that the author is, in fact, Extremely Enlightened And Cool In a Sex Way
posted by ominous_paws at 10:02 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]


re: the pregnancy test - it's not there so people can find out if they're pregnant.

it's there to communicate that it's supposed to be a sexual environment. and, given the gender dynamics going on that the author described - is also about communicating to men that women are there for their amusement.


Its even more than that.
Its to remind the men that although they may look innocent, the pretty young things aboard are actually devious, untrustworthy and conniving and will be able to extract from them their precious precious bitcoins if they can conjour a child from a dalliance.
posted by Plutocratte at 11:02 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]


The FT Alphaville piece (google cache) she links to about the (ew) quarter-price cabins for (ew) 18+ women with (ew) not enough beds to go round includes this wonderful use of italics:
This raises more questions than it answers. Why is it that only two of the four lucky “18+ only” ladies will get passes to the conference? The conference is the whole point of the cruise, right? Also, why would a four-woman suite have only two “twin beds”? (We were initially told this meant two single beds, then two doubles.) Why don't the other room listings mention age requirements? Could it be that we are missing some glaringly obvious subtext here?
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:10 AM on December 7 [3 favorites]


That sharp take was from Olga Feldmeier. I don't know much about her, other than a quick Google search reveals the title cryptoqueen.

We stan a cryptoqueen.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:39 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


Great article, Laurie is awesome. Here's the video of the crazy BTC vs BCH debate at the timestamp of her question.
posted by JonB at 1:57 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


The one thing that twinged me: she was charmed by Yannopoulis as well wasn't she? Being charmed by hapless stupid whiteyoungmen is very very far from any mental state I've ever reached, so I'm not finding the portrayal of Brock Pierce that convincing however much fun she had.

One of things that Penny is so good at is to distinguish between the different kinds of right-wing character she meets, and not lump them all together as 'evil' or whatever. She observes — and is upfront about this being through personal interaction — and then includes careful analysis in her writeup.
Her description of Milo portrays him as charming, yes, but neither hapless nor stupid:
Milo Yiannopoulos is a charming devil and one of the worst people I know.
[...]
... there is absolutely nothing I have been able to say to Milo to persuade him that we are not friends. The more famous he gets off the back of extravagantly abusing women and minorities, the more I tell him I hate him and everything he stands for, the more he laughs and asks when we’re drinking. I’m a radical queer feminist leftist writer burdened with actual principles. He thinks that’s funny and invites me to his parties.
[...]
I’m not going to quote Milo’s speech here. You can find it online if you want to. It’s a very good speech, for a given value of “very good” that’s designed to leave decent people keening in a corner over the death of reason. He tells a racist joke. The crowd goes wild.
[...]
It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t mean it. It doesn’t matter that he’s secretly quite a sweet, vulnerable person who is gracious to those he considers friends. It doesn’t matter that somewhere in the rhinestone-rimmed hamster wheel of his mind is a conscience. It doesn’t matter because the harm he does is real.
That combination of journalistic skills, both sharp political analysis and perceptive engagement with the humans involved, is valuable I think; you rarely get both, and rarely get them so elegantly written up as by Penny.
posted by vincebowdren at 3:16 AM on December 7 [21 favorites]


> The one thing that twinged me: she was charmed by Yannopoulis
> as well wasn't she? Being charmed by hapless stupid whiteyoungmen
> is very very far from any mental state I've ever reached

Have you ever been in the same room with someone who has accumulated followers and managed to keep the media's spotlight for any length of time?

Some humans naturally attract people and keep them in their orbit. It has nothing to do with race or ideology, they are simply charismatic by birth. Sometimes that ends well; more often it seems to end in cults of personality.

You don't have to like or trust someone to recognize their charisma.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:02 AM on December 7 [9 favorites]


You don't have to like or trust someone to recognize their charisma.

You also don't have to be taken in by it yourself to recognise it.
posted by Dysk at 4:07 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


Laurie Penny is an empath; it's what she does.
posted by acb at 4:16 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: a pile of half-naked hippies

I must have left that meetup early.
posted by clawsoon at 4:19 AM on December 7 [10 favorites]


I inhale the lobster as neatly as possible, and it tastes, oh, it tastes like true love tasted in the heat of my early twenties, delicious and suspicious and never enough of it to touch the sides.

Reader, I laughed out loud.
posted by chavenet at 4:21 AM on December 7 [6 favorites]


If there is information on a blockchain that an authoritarian regime disapproves of could they not just outlaw the Lantern service and all Etherium clients?
Yes – this is obvious to anyone with the slightest awareness of how authoritarian regimes have acted and are currently acting, but the blockchain community has a very strong history of excluding any fact which would be bad for business. Regimes like China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc. are already jailing people for making network requests to the wrong server or having the wrong app installed, and the cryptocurrency people tend to leave out the fact that currency transactions leave lots of people who could eat you out with an immutable, irrepudiable record of each illegal activity.

This is basically the equivalent of telling people to try the “sovereign citizen” routine of telling the police they don’t have the authority to arrest you — in a police state!
posted by adamsc at 6:25 AM on December 7 [6 favorites]


If the forced labour camp's flag has a fringe that means it's an admiralty forced labour camp and legally you're allowed to just walk out the front gate.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:50 AM on December 7 [23 favorites]


Adamsc:
who could eat you out
I assume you meant "rat you out" but, given the comments about piles of naked hippies...
posted by notsnot at 9:32 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


notsnot: hah, iOS clearly wanted that comment to be sexier. Sorry about missing it in the edit window.
posted by adamsc at 9:55 AM on December 7


What if there's a little paperclip that pops up and says, "So it looks like you're trying to launder some money. Can I help?"

And what if that paperclip is programmed to take any available matter near it and transform that matter into more, similarly programmed, paperclips?
posted by aspersioncast at 1:52 PM on December 7 [4 favorites]


I wish I enjoyed this article as much as you all seem to do, but is there any more to it than ‘X throws shade at Y’, with this iteration being ‘Laurie Penny throws shade at crypto-bros’? It is very well-written shade, that I don’t dispute. But during a period of history when it feels like the existential threats are piling up with regard to democracy and humanity itself, more is needed. What I want to know is if in 5 years time these assholes are just going to continue to be regular assholes, or are they going to be something more? Are they going to become a threat with global reach or will they always be just deluded clowns immiserating anyone nearby? Help me out Laurie.
posted by um at 7:43 PM on December 7 [1 favorite]


um, if you haven't taken in this post from later in the same day yet, you might find it useful somehow. They feel like they are part of different parts of the same conversation.
posted by hippybear at 10:48 PM on December 7


In five years I expect most of them to be quite broke, because their whole thing is a pyramid scheme predicated on basic misunderstandings about fiat currency, money in general, the nation-state, society, encryption, and their role in all of that.

What's weird is that several of them seem to realize aspects of that, but everyone thinks the other guy's gonna be left holding the bag while they make off with the loot.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:53 AM on December 8 [3 favorites]


What's weird is that several of them seem to realize aspects of that, but everyone thinks the other guy's gonna be left holding the bag while they make off with the loot.

Which was one of the more infuriating revelations of the This American Life piece "The Giant Pool of Money" podcast about the subprime mortgage crash. Which wasn't driven by individuals trying to flip houses and failing to make their $1,000 payments, but by investment wonks trying to flip aggregate portfolios of mortgages and defaulting on million-dollar payments. Lots of people suspected something was fishy about how hundred-million-dollar transactions were over-leveraged using short-term credit, but as long as you could flip the product to a fund manager at by the end of the week, no one thought too hard about it.

If there is a saving grace behind cryptocurrency's recent crash, it's that the banks at the top of the credit chain are probably not over-leveraged thinking that bitcoin and etherium are safer than government bonds at a higher rate of return.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 10:28 AM on December 8 [2 favorites]


What's weird is that several of them seem to realize aspects of that, but everyone thinks the other guy's gonna be left holding the bag while they make off with the loot.

I imagine that in the grand scheme of things they will be the Brownfield Capital guys in The Big Short, if not the car salesman IKEA-application bros.
posted by rhizome at 12:36 PM on December 8


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