What Goes Up...
January 24, 2022 6:31 PM   Subscribe

Line Goes Up is a very long, highly detailed, and meticulously researched investigation into and polemical take-down of the NFT and crypto scene by Dan Olson.

Olson roots his critique squarely in the economic history of the last decade or so, and it is a good forty minutes into the two hours eighteen of the video before he finally starts talking about NFTs.

If you thought you already knew how generally dreadful that whole scene was, Olson will show you how it is, in fact, worse than that by an order of magnitude. If you're still on the fence, he lays out a series of arguments for being extremely sceptical about claims made by proponents of crypto. If you're into it, or invested in it, Olson invites you to take a good hard outsider's look at what he believes is actually going on and why.

File under 'videos that could have also been short books'.
posted by motty (110 comments total) 124 users marked this as a favorite
 
(Dan Olson previously - 1, 2)
posted by motty at 6:41 PM on January 24


I watched this a day or two ago, and it is very, very good. It is also pretty dense, because the aim of the video is to be comprehensive. He touches on just about every "but what about" that could possibly be brought up.
posted by explosion at 6:56 PM on January 24 [13 favorites]


Excellent!

I'm 15 minutes in, and yes his paragraph pitch of BTC is what I loved about all of it when I finally took time to read about all that.

Fortunately or not me learning about all that was way too late for the "LSD in the mail" part. And I got into reading about crypto far enough back to see that NFTs have a possible paragraph pitch that was similarly exciting.

And then all this crazy "i own that meme" & "here is my $500K jpeg" stuff started happening, and it made me want to forget all of it. my Homer Simpson brain-bits still likes to see how all of it could be so much more. there are a bajillion ideas for how it could have been useful.

This person is great to listen to, and thank you.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 7:05 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Huh. I have a pretty good sense of the inherent badness of the blockchain, but I did not know that you could just put code-bearing tokens in someones wallet without their permission and that those tokens could contain malware that runs as soon as you interact with it in any way, including trying to delete it.

(Granted, I'm not surprised. Making quality software is not really the blockchain community's strong suit.)
posted by suetanvil at 7:08 PM on January 24 [16 favorites]


This is a truly amazing video, and yes it is worth watching even at 2.5h long (it's very parseable at 1.5x or 2x, if you need it). It does a tremendous job connecting the economic instability post-2008 crash to how we got to cryptocurrency + NFTs today, while also handily tearing apart basically every "but what about ..." argument that the usual folks will offer in rebuttal.

One point worth pulling out a little more explicitly than he states:

Literally every cryptocurrency is just a "greater fool" scam -- "buy this thing that's worthless because you can sell it later for more to a greater fool than you". One of the really rough parts of fighting this kind of scam is, there are people who don't start the scam who make money. If a scammer sells to Person A for $100, who sells to Person B for $200, who sells to Person C for $300, and then the whole enterprise collapses, Person A and Person B feel like this was a good investment. In reality though, no value was generated -- all the money that was made came from the last person, the one left holding the bag.

And everyone thinks they won't be the one left holding the bag.

The only person who will never be left holding the bag is the one who starts the scam. Everyone else involved is gambling on the assumption that they can get someone else to take it so they can get out clean.
posted by a faithful sock at 7:18 PM on January 24 [35 favorites]


He just made the claim that 7 billion people use the global banking system.

I don't think that is even close to right.

But I like watching him take down all the parts of crypto in one piece. It validates my interest in it, and it validates my lack of having any crypto.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 7:19 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I watched some of this yesterday, the part where he talked about a game called Axie Infinty (which I am not going to link to). My head exploded trying to follow what was going on. And then it hit me: this is how you get the world depicted in the Black Mirror episode ‘Fifteen Million Merits.’
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 7:43 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


For those of us who prefer reading at our own brisk speed to watching a multi-hour video, is there a print transcript anywhere?
posted by PhineasGage at 7:44 PM on January 24 [22 favorites]


Jacobin just took a big dump on cryptocurrencies as well.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:48 PM on January 24 [7 favorites]


I understood the "global banking industry for seven billion people" line as an umbrella term, i.e., the non-crypto banking system(s) used by the world at large. I have no idea what the actual number, or estimated number, of people who don't use some sort of banking system may be.

I'm usually not into watching long videos, but now and then something comes along that grabs me, and so far this is one such thing.
posted by heteronym at 7:48 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


I have read a lot of the things that he is laying down in a variety of web sources. And to be honest I have never engaged IRL talk about crypto with anyone.

It has been all fragmented. So it is super refreshing to get a chance to see someone's face and mouth build up a thesis.

Although it does put a pummeling on my techno-utopian bent to finding a nationless, non-corporate exchange system be it documents or money.

It has been like a personal "where are our jetpacks ?" but for money, passports, et cetera.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 8:01 PM on January 24


I hated Bitcoin from the very beginning and I only barely regret not putting $20 into it when it was trading for fractional cents because I hated the idea that much. My hatred of it is that strong.
posted by interogative mood at 8:03 PM on January 24 [12 favorites]


For those of us who prefer reading at our own brisk speed to watching a multi-hour video, is there a print transcript anywhere?

This is my usual thought. Ugh, a video or podcast, can’t I just read it? But it’s quite brisk and dense and I had to rewind a few times to process it. Yeah, it’s a time commitment, but it’d be hard to find anything more valuable that you could read in less time.
posted by sjswitzer at 8:08 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]




i've been watching a chapter at a time when the mood strikes me since it was posted in the last thread on this topic and i've found it quite enjoyable and elucidating in those 10 - 25 minute chunks.
posted by glonous keming at 8:44 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I'm only an hour into this, but this is AMAZING. I have people I want to share this with, but I don't know how to share it with them in a way that doesn't get their hackles up.
posted by hippybear at 9:08 PM on January 24 [6 favorites]


Started watching last night and it is very good; insightful and with some one liners that had me laughing quite a bit.
posted by nubs at 9:13 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I just got served a crypto commercial as one of the breaks. That's hilarious.
posted by hippybear at 9:26 PM on January 24 [14 favorites]


I hit the like button around the time he said something along the lines of "NFT don't do what they claim, which is bad, but if they did do what they claim, that would also be bad". Some of his best work.
posted by krisjohn at 9:28 PM on January 24 [13 favorites]


My previous exposure to Dan Olsen's videos was his eloquent take down of Jamie Oliver's crusade against chicken nuggets - so I had to do a double take at seeing him on this link yesterday. But the video took up 2 hours or so of my time and I feel a lot better informed. For me, my favourite parts were his insight into the deep motivations behind those who have become involved in crypto - just as it was into the people who used to rage against chicken nuggets.

In the end the crypto world really is a little like Amaway: a potent complexity of lots of money and baffling levels of system complexity that makes it a perfect milieu for scammers. But, as he says, it is also important to acknowledge the senses of boredom, injustice, greed, frustration, sociapathy and isolation that drive people into the field.

Probably just my imagination - but he seems to visibly age slightly between the start of the video and the end. I think we can all sympathise!
posted by rongorongo at 9:38 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


To repeat others, this is dense but very much worth the watch. You can get the subtitles as text from https://www.downloadyoutubesubtitles.com/.

Remember: anyone who says there is *something* at the core of cryptocurrency that is at all worthwhile is a deluded moron and you can disregard their opinions and judgement on nearly anything. It's like if someone told you, in 2022, that Jesus told them in a dream that beanie babies were a worthwhile investment. This is especially true with NFTs.

You may keep wondering to yourself that maybe, just maybe, if you do a little more research you'll figure out NFTs and crypto and just "get it". You won't. There's nothing to get. It's just dream-Jesus-beanie-babies and nothing more.

It's a pyramid scam and every single one of its cheerleaders just wants to make the line go up.
posted by AlSweigart at 9:44 PM on January 24 [16 favorites]


Dan Olson also recently put up a grueling short story on his Patreon: We're All Going To Make It that takes gig work, play to earn, and cryptocurrencies and extrapolates them into a grim near future.
posted by foxfirefey at 10:02 PM on January 24 [10 favorites]


It's a really good video but it also made me feel like shit afterwards. Like, I thought I knew what was bad about crypto and NFTs and it turns out no I don't did you know about all this other bullshit that's orders of magnitudes worse. And it's not just environmental concerns or people getting scammed or the fact that nothing of value is being traded, it's somehow worse than all of those things.

The material on what it's like to be in an NFT community Discord reminds me of Film Crit Hulk talking about the rise of Gamergate (dehulkified for readability):

In this environment, all disagreements become personal attacks. It all becomes a moving goal post. The "truth" of virtually every single step is a shadow of something that cannot even be conceived, maybe even by the perpetrators themselves. Because the one thing Hulk cannot get any single one of them to do is outline something positive they are accomplishing that doesn't make it seem like they are trying to eradicate feminist influence in gaming. Instead, they just cling so desperately to the those positive words they say they represent and lash out against any and all threats. The end result is you can't even get to the nugget of disagreement on the world view. There is no world view. There is only the attack and the response.

Which, in case you are unaware, is the standard operating procedure for cults, behavioral programming and more organized organizations like Scientology.

(...)

You have to understand how problematic this is. It's almost thought to be impossible. What has essentially happened is that we have taken a cult behavioral approach to discussion and philosophy - normally a really difficult thing to instill into people and requires isolation, direct programming and full-on cultural separation - and turned it into something that has been
casually learned on the internet's proverbial streets through the organic process of being a part of video game's most toxic subculture.

This is one of the scariest things Hulk has ever seen.


That was seven years ago. Now it's not just a single movement or a handful of movements but THOUSANDS OF SPLINTER COMMUNITIES, all full of people who have to believe that everything isn't a mountain of lies because it's the only way they'll make it to the moon, and rapidly spinning off new communities every day. It's like the internet is an industrial machine plant designed to spit out increasingly bizarre and unsettling versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
posted by chrominance at 10:16 PM on January 24 [38 favorites]


For those of us who prefer reading at our own brisk speed to watching a multi-hour video, is there a print transcript anywhere?

I didn’t click it, but there is a "pull transcript" button under the three horizontal dots at the far right and just under the video in the default view if you click on those three dots.
posted by jamjam at 11:07 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


I can't believe no one has yet linked to Dan's awesome "In search of a flat earth". The one with the twist at the 37 minute mark.
posted by St. Oops at 12:36 AM on January 25 [17 favorites]


I'm pretty sad about how much a group of ... what, a couple hundred people, at least, each, with $10k or even $100k to invest and a determination to stay loyal to the project through downturns and apparently a lot of time to spend thinking about it, think how much useful profitable stuff such a group should be able to do.
posted by clew at 1:00 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Or his many essays about cinematography, which used to be his core thing. For a taste, see The Art of Editing and Suicide Squad or his trilogy of videos about the 50 Shades movies [ one | two | three ].
posted by sukeban at 1:01 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


It's a really good video but it also made me feel like shit afterwards.

This was my experience too. Hard to believe it's not all going down the tubes when the bleeding edge of human progress is a straight-up scam.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 3:52 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


[spoilers] I was expecting a twist like in the flat earth video, and it only took 12 minutes this time!

I've really enjoyed a lot of Dan's stuff, thanks for encouraging me to get in to this. I will admit it's an intimidating run time, but it's working broken up into chunks.
posted by LegallyBread at 4:41 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


I can't believe no one has yet linked to Dan's awesome "In search of a flat earth". The one with the twist at the 37 minute mark.
This was also great! Watching the two videos together does illustrate a commonality between the two sets of groups: both place quite a lot emphasis on blind faith and discouragement of rational thought, both groups use shame and sunk costs as a means of keeping people locked in. Spoiler: Dan does not, in fact, get attacked by a bear.
posted by rongorongo at 5:21 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


This video essay was so good, I was reminded of the best of the BBC documentaries that I grew up with; it's well worth the 2+ hours that you could put into it.
posted by The River Ivel at 5:31 AM on January 25


You might also like the (all text) Case Against Crypto by Stephen Diehl. Taken together, Diehl and Olson's work has heavily informed my thinking on the topic.

Cryptocurrencies aren’t currencies and have no mechanism to ever become currencies. They are effectively unregulated securities where the only purpose of the products is price appreciation untethered to any economic activity. The only use case is gambling on the random price oscillations, attempting to buy low and sell high and cash out positions for wins in a real currency like dollars or euros. Yet crypto cannot create or destroy real money because unlike a stock there is no underlying company that generates income. So if you sell your crypto and make a profit in dollars, it’s exactly because a greater fool bought it at a higher price than you did. So every dollar that comes out of a cryptocurrency is because a later investor put a dollar in. They are inherently zero-sum by design, and when you take into account the casino (i.e. exchanges and miners) taking a rake on the game then the entire structure becomes strictly negative-sum.
posted by mhoye at 5:53 AM on January 25 [22 favorites]


I'm pretty sad about how much a group of ... what, a couple hundred people, at least, each, with $10k or even $100k to invest and a determination to stay loyal to the project through downturns and apparently a lot of time to spend thinking about it, think how much useful profitable stuff such a group should be able to do.

The important thing here tho is it isn’t the relative pikers you need to worry about. It’s the Thiels and the Musks and the Dixons who want you to suffer in forever precariousness and they have a LOT more money to put behind it.
posted by dame at 6:41 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


And if Diehl and Olson's arguments weren't enough to convince you, I would like to present you with the following research, emphasis mine:
We introduce systematic tests exploiting robust statistical and behavioral patterns in trading to detect fake transactions on 29 cryptocurrency exchanges. Regulated exchanges feature patterns consistently observed in financial markets and nature; abnormal first-significant-digit distributions, size rounding, and transaction tail distributions on unregulated exchanges reveal rampant manipulations unlikely driven by strategy or exchange heterogeneity. We quantify the wash trading on each unregulated exchange, which averaged over 70% of the reported volume. We further document how these fabricated volumes (trillions of dollars annually) improve exchange ranking, temporarily distort prices, and relate to exchange characteristics (e.g., age and userbase), market conditions, and regulation.
Seventy. Percent.
posted by mhoye at 6:53 AM on January 25 [19 favorites]


I really loved the entire video making it the longest thing I’ve ever watched on YouTube. Like others all, not just one, ad spots were for crypto companies.
posted by misterpatrick at 7:00 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


I can't believe no one has yet linked to Dan's awesome "In search of a flat earth yt "

So that's where I'd seen him before! (Had this inkling of recognition of the rigour of his logic&discourse, but couldn't place it.) Double-rainbow!
posted by progosk at 7:23 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Watched this the other day when it was posted in a thread here. Beaten to making it an FPP! Fantastic video essay, well worth the time.

The most mindblowing thing for me is that it is considered bad form to not engage in scammy wash trading, etc, as it is seen as denying early buyers opportunity to resell at an artificially inflated price. It's insane.
posted by Dysk at 7:23 AM on January 25 [3 favorites]


It bears mentioning that Olson prefaces his video with the events leading up to the 2008 economic collapse. I appreciate that many of us don't often tuck into 2+ hours of information on any old topic, but to be honest this felt like a speedrun because he really tries to provide a comprehensive analysis without hesitating on too many details. I really appreciate what he has produced in this video. My nephew is swimming in these waters and over one year my thoughts have gone from "oh, this is interesting and I hope it works out for you" to "how do I speak to my nephew about this toxic scam he is both enabling and likely to fall prey to." I see the past two decades as a steadily accelerating series of steps towards greater precarity for more and more people, and this contributes to understanding why some people are determined to grab ahold of e.g. crypto schemes, flat earth theories, QAnon, etc. If the world makes relative sense, the appeal of a cult is somewhat diminished. Not sure what to say about the times we're in.
posted by elkevelvet at 7:28 AM on January 25 [8 favorites]


honestly I approve of this shift in Dan Olson's output - his show is called Folding Ideas, and towards the end of it, it was mostly about bad movies, which is a wildly pretentious name for a show about why bad movies are bad (it also initially referred to the character gimmick, which was that the show was hosted by a cardboard puppet named Foldy, because that's what you did back then).

But what he's doing now is actually the kind of synthesis the show title promises - the last couple of years, he's been bringing together ideas from a wide variety of sources to exhaustively dig into and expose the roots of a topic that's very easy to not think about, or at least to get a workable read on without understanding the why of it. (I think he's also gotten a lot better at it - some of his work during the transition was flawed.)
posted by Merus at 7:39 AM on January 25


I'm really envious of his ability to explain complex concepts as clearly as he does.
posted by octothorpe at 9:14 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


I got through over an hour, and i then left my browser dour.

I'm convinced that we have become a sit-com in a simulation.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 10:02 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Transcript if anyone's still looking for one.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:11 AM on January 25 [9 favorites]


Melania Trump started her own NFT.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:13 AM on January 25


So, how about that tax on financial exchanges? It seems the Bitcoin people have already mastered the art of it but it's all going to Elon instead of something useful like roads or hospitals
posted by eustatic at 10:38 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Melania Trump started her own NFT.

And, if you ever needed incontrovertible proof that crypto and NFT are a gigantic grift, the involvement of a Trump is it. I guess they figured they haven't sufficiently scammed nearly enough of their loyalists' money.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:00 AM on January 25 [6 favorites]


I'm curious how many people here came to Dan Olsen's remarkable video like I did, via Kenji's mention of Folding Ideas on Instagram?
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:04 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


I know it's not a new idea to compare libertarianism to Calvinism but this video has an amazing piece connecting the two, using the lingo of the "community" at 1:13:00 to 1:17:00

So if you're looking for a 4 minute highlight, i think that's a good one.
posted by eustatic at 11:06 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


I'm curious how many people here came to Dan Olsen's remarkable video like I did, via Kenji's mention of Folding Ideas on Instagram?

Um, now that you mention it, yes, that's where I heard about it and looked it up over the weekend.
posted by dnash at 11:35 AM on January 25


I found Olson's video via reddit (speaking of a surge in crypto-related nonsense..)
posted by elkevelvet at 11:45 AM on January 25


I cannot figure out any way in which cryptocurrency/blockchain has any societal benefit. Based off my understanding of Olson’s video, I tried to think of some way in which such systems might be made to benefit the world, and here’s a piece of fiction that resulted: an announcement for a fictitious cryptocurrency, rendered in breathless Silly Valley pitch style (and no, I am still not convinced). Any errors or misrepresentations about cryptocurrencies are likely a result of misapprehension on my part:

SOLVENT
Solvent is a cryptocurrency for the public good.

Most cryptocurrencies extant today justify their existence by claiming to solve systemic problems in modern economic systems. There are indeed many problems in world economies that need solving, but can cryptocurrencies really solve them?

To answer this question, we should perhaps begin by examining cryptocurrencies themselves. There are two main types of crytpocurrencies in common circulation: proof of work (POW) and proof of stake (POS). Both are fatally flawed.

For POW cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or the initial implementation of Ethereum, a new cryptocoin is generated when a computer or computer farm solves a complicated mathematical equation. Different computers and computer farms around the world race to be the first to solve the equation and claim ownership of a new coin. However, only one computer/farm will win that race, so all the energy that went to fuel the losers’ calculations simply goes to waste. The costs (both environmental and economical) of running such a system are obviously untenable.

POS cryptocurrencies purport to be a more efficient and ecologically conscious alternative to POW cryptocurrencies. For POS cryptocurrencies, participants have to offer up funds in order to obtain a chance at gaining a cryptocoin. The greater the size of the stake, the higher the likelihood of gaining a coin. Equally, the bigger the stake, and the earlier it is made, the greater the degree to which advantages compound. Therefore, a person making a smaller initial stake, or making a large but later stake, cannot feasibly overtake someone with a large intial stake. Additionally, validation of transactions (the method by which decisions are made regarding which transactions are legitimate) is often delegated to participants with large stakes, giving those with rich stakes the power to set the rules and define reality for all users of the blockchain. POS systems, then, simply serve to entrench the power of the already-rich. Therefore, although cryptocurrencies purport to be an alternative to other economic systems already dominated by elites, POS systems offer no real alternative.

Regardless, the greater sin of both POW and POS cryptocurrencies is that, for all the energy and attention they consume, the only thing they actually create is a gambling venue. Cryptocurrencies claim to be money, but it is impossible to purchase anything with a cryptocurrency without first converting it into a fiat currency (by selling the cryptocurrency to another buyer who pays in fiat currency). This of course requires a willing buyer, so if no buyer can be found, the cryptocurrency is worthless.

If a cryptocurrency were directly exchangeable for goods or services, things might be different; the cryptocurrency could then be considered money. But money is not a tangible good. It is a medium of exchange that greases the wheels of commerce. Because commerce is what drives modern economies, money is a necessary thing to have. However, in and of itself, money lacks intrinsic value; it only has value when someone is willing to accept it in exchange for goods or services.

We conclude that both cryptocurrencies and money are objectively worthless. But what if interacting with a cryptocurrency produced an actual good? What if these goods were cryptographically recorded on the blockchain for all participants to access?

Introducing Solvent.

Solvent is a new cryptocurrency that exists to solve important problems. It involves no duplicated or wasted work and offers empowerment to everyone.

How does Solvent achieve this?

Solvent is a distributed computing network. Computers on the network cooperate to solve real-world problems of value to society, and each computer’s contribution to the solution is rewarded by fractional ownership of a Solv coin when the problem is solved. Problems can range from simulating protein structures and interactions to calculating orbital dynamics, to managing network traffic or drawing 3D objects for virtual environments. Network participants can choose the type of problem they work on based on subject matter or estimated complexity, or simply let intelligent load-balancing algorithms assign them to problems needing work.

The Solvent Foundation accepts problems for work, farms them out to network members, then awards fractional Solv coins based on the complexity of the problem, the number of computers working on it, and the time it takes to reach a solution. The solutions generated by the network are recorded in the Solvent blockchain for all to see and use. In this way, Solvent generates money that can be used for economic transactions a gambling venue while also solving real problems and creating real public goods.

Don’t be part of the cryptocurrency problem. Be part of the solution. Be Solvent.
posted by disentir at 12:09 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Then, of course, you have to make it so bad actors can't game the system.
posted by acb at 12:19 PM on January 25


Why don’t you just pay me real money for renting time on my computer?
posted by njohnson23 at 12:55 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the worst thing about making a convincing comparison between the ecosystem that's brought us racist monkey NFTs on the one hand and MLMs like Amway on the other hand is: Amway has never gone away. Amway's almost old enough to collect Social Security. MLM's in general are about a century old. They've been dangling that dream carrot, redistributing money, time, and energy, from the least-well-off and least-connected to the most-well-off and most-connected, for generations. Individual organizations might come and go, but the basic grift seems destined to accompany us into the future indefinitely, like syphilis.

Long, long videos like this, even when they're informative and funny, make me wish there was a way to give old-school text blogs their clout back.
posted by Western Infidels at 1:06 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


They are insecure about their lack of knowledge, and this makes them very susceptible to flattery, in particular being reassured that the only reason for negativity is because critics just don't understand.

Interesting how many scenarios this applies to, divorced of context. A couple that come to mind are anti-vaxxers and Jordan Peterson fanboys but it really seems like the motivating force behind just about all the bad things, these days...

I guess learning is hard, ignorance is scary and embarrassing and the embrace of a comforting Daddy is what a lot of guys need right now.
posted by klanawa at 1:33 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


However, only one computer/farm will win that race, so all the energy that went to fuel the losers’ calculations simply goes to waste. The costs (both environmental and economical) of running such a system are obviously untenable.

My new plan for making giant buckets of money off cryptobros is to come up with some snakeoil scheme to "recycle" all those wasted calculations. It'll be like some genius combination of an indulgence racket, gizmos that violate the second law of thermodynamics, greenwashing, and selling pickaxes during a gold rush.

I'm gonna be super rich.
posted by nickmark at 2:15 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


I agree with every criticism Olsen has to offer on PoW and PoS blockchains. I cannot see any way in which any proof-of-something-then-longest-chain-wins consensus protocol is ever going to be performant enough to function as an actual currency, and the day that the world wakes up to this and stops fucking about with them will be a good day for me.

Attempts to design what are allegedly currencies in ways that require no trust between counterparties are just failures before they get out of the starting gate, and I don't understand how this isn't obvious to everyone.
posted by flabdablet at 2:54 PM on January 25


I hit the like button around the time he said something along the lines of "NFT don't do what they claim, which is bad, but if they did do what they claim, that would also be bad". Some of his best work.

I did a fist pump in the air when I heard him say that.
posted by octothorpe at 3:01 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


This video helped solidify that I made the right decision to break up with my crypto-obsessed ex
posted by BooneTheCowboyToy at 3:06 PM on January 25 [17 favorites]


I've been generally aware of cryptocurrency, blockchain, etc for many years. Back in the day (late 1990s?) I seem to recall having vaguely positive vibes around the idea of an anonymous online virtual cash system - assassination markets and all that. But as it was actually put into practice via blockchain "technology," it seemed so useless, ridiculous, poorly implemented, and without any real foundation that I have actively tried to avoid learning a lot more.

But after listening to Olson's summary and reading some other recent articles, my big takeaway is that cryptocurrency really should be abolished and banned permanently.

We as a society would be far, far better off if we just paid off all cryptocurrency holders at the current value, closed up all of the cryptocurrency markets permanently, and simply ban the technology as useless/dangerous to society.

That would cost a lot of money, but it would save many times more.

The other thing I have been vaguely aware of, but hadn't quite put together in concrete terms, is how completely useless the cryptocurrencies all are for the purpose of making payments of any kind.

Back in the day one actual use I imagined for crypto was in making microtransactions online.

But . . . when every transaction costs $50 and up - and takes several hours to a couple of days to complete - it is hard to imagine ANY type of transaction where crypto could be used in any practical way, let alone MICROtransactions.

And I understood it was a type of pyramid scheme - and one far worse than Amway and similar. Amway at least has an actual product that can be used at the bottom of its pyramid. Cryptocurrency has quite literally nothing. If it could even be used to buy and sell things, there could be some value there.

But it can't!

Beyond that, though, the degree to which the entire market is actively based on pump and dumps, scams, and complete fraud is very astonishing on the one hand yet at the same time, completely predictable.

This is what inevitably happens in completely unregulated markets run by and filled with bad actors.

If you've ever wondered what the libertarian dream of completely unfettered free-market capitalism would look like - there it is: A fraudster's playhouse benefitting the already-wealthy at the expense of everyone else and creating nothing but massively net negative value for society.

In conclusion, burn it all down to the ground.
posted by flug at 3:09 PM on January 25 [12 favorites]


You know, watching this has made me, for the first time, truly anxious about "crypto" etc. Most of it is so transparently stupid that I don't think I ever really clocked the aspects of social control/power consolidation that make it more likely than not that we will be living in some kind of cryptometaverse at some point. Right now surveillance capitalism has been described as the exploitation of human information in the way earlier regimes of capitalism have exploited forests or oil wells. Well there is something that rhymes between all the defi crypto bullshit and surveillance capitalism, something about EVERYTHING being financialized that scares me.
posted by Pembquist at 3:21 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Solvent is a distributed computing network. Computers on the network cooperate to solve real-world problems of value to society, and each computer’s contribution to the solution is rewarded by fractional ownership of a Solv coin when the problem is solved.

Not sure whether you'll be gratified or horrified to learn that your proposed hype-driven scam already exists and that its associated speculative tokens are still trading briskly on Coinbase despite already being well into the Greatest Fools long tail.
posted by flabdablet at 4:22 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


So I also recently watched the Lularoe documentary, and there's a bit in there where they talk to a graphic designer who worked on the actual designs of the leggings etc. She talked a lot about the pressure to make more designs quickly, regardless of whether they were any good, and the amount of copying and reusing old designs with tiny tweaks, the way they ended up with some really ugly garbage....

And then when he talked about the actual art of all these avatar image type NFTs, that immediately came back to mind, because it's the same goddamn thing but at least leggings are a thing that you can actually wear. (Well, at least until all of the production problems)

Unrelated, +1 to this sentiment:
This video helped solidify that I made the right decision to break up with my crypto-obsessed ex
posted by epersonae at 4:24 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


I didn't get any cryptocurrency ads during the video, BUT about an hour after I finished a friend called me up to ask my opinion about mining Helium (HNT). I had to look it up--so this is my take after a quick look--but it's... interesting.

The basic idea is to set up a long range wireless network (LoRaWAN). So, instead of doing computational work (POW) to generate tokens your 'mining rig' is a node equipped with an antenna and (between passing network data) answers or verifies challenges to nearby nodes on the network (Proof of Connectivity.) Notably, setup is not very energy intensive; a single board computer computer (e.g. Raspberry Pi) drawing about 5w will suffice.

The only scammy part is you get paid in (of course) crypto tokens. However, it makes me wonder if something like this where nodes got paid a portion of the network's (cash money) revenue would be a viable use of blockchain.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:08 PM on January 25




You know, watching this has made me, for the first time, truly anxious about "crypto" etc. Most of it is so transparently stupid that I don't think I ever really clocked the aspects of social control/power consolidation that make it more likely than not that we will be living in some kind of cryptometaverse at some point. Right now surveillance capitalism has been described as the exploitation of human information in the way earlier regimes of capitalism have exploited forests or oil wells. Well there is something that rhymes between all the defi crypto bullshit and surveillance capitalism, something about EVERYTHING being financialized that scares me.
I'm almost done with the video, and I feel the same way as you. When I read Adam Greenfield's Radical Technologies a couple years ago, the blockchain/cryptocurrency stuff was not terribly easy for me to understand, and the phenomenon wasn't quite the collective hallucination it is today, so I didn't think very hard about it beyond "well, good to know my instinct that crypto is bullshit was right."

Now, though, despite being "transparently stupid," as you perfectly put it, the collective hallucination seems to be getting worse, infecting people who aren't investing in merely by their knowing about it, like some malevolent ledger-based egregore summoned into being because the days of productive capitalism (i.e., the exploitation of forests, oil wells, etc.) are being left behind in favor of pure finance. After all, why be a sucker and make actual things when you can make nothing but hot air, sell it for an insane profit, obfuscate the failures of the system in the process, and leave some chump holding the bag, which isn't even a real bag, just a wallet full of shitty NFTs?

But that's not all- not only is that chump left holding the ape-swollen bag, you've convinced him that the system is fine, and now it's his chance (nay, his responsibility, since he doesn't want to "have fun being poor") to fuck over someone else, only for far less profit than you made. And this shit is supposed to extend to every corner of our lives? Holy shit.
posted by heteronym at 5:44 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


Why don’t you just pay me real money for renting time on my computer?
Because… crypto! Uh… and blockchain! Also that would involve real money.

Not sure whether you'll be gratified or horrified to learn that your proposed hype-driven scam already exists
Coming down pretty hard in the horrified side.
posted by disentir at 7:11 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Amazing. I just listened to the audio and still found it really digestible.

There was a point where I remembered Mila Kunis on Hot Ones, promoting her cartoon (about weed smoking cats?) that she was financing by having people buy into a crypto “community”, that would give them input on story direction. Seeing as she and Ashton Kutcher probably have enough money under their sofa cushions to finance a web cartoon, it sounded odd then but now it seems really shaaaaaaaaaaady.

One thing about crypto scams in general, it's hard not to draw parallels to the world's fine art markets.
posted by brachiopod at 9:12 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


However, it makes me wonder if something like this where nodes got paid a portion of the network's (cash money) revenue would be a viable use of blockchain.

A portion of what revenue? What actual value-generating service is it offering? At best it sounds like they're trying to reinvent the internet/ISPs, but shittier and less efficient. More realistically, it sounds like exactly the same sort of empty economic activity only propped up by speculation as any other crypto token. But with antennas! I guess.
posted by Dysk at 9:25 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the only cash coming into the operation is from mining/onboarding fees and people buying into the scheme. There is no revenue. There are only bigger idiots.
posted by hippybear at 9:34 PM on January 25


A portion of what revenue?

Heh. I was wondering what the advantage over cell service was. After I posted that, I got recommended a video by one of the more popular advocates (VoskCoin) who straight up admitted nobody was using the network. Yet!

The real money in Helium seems to be in selling the rigs (which require an approved manufacturer.) They're essentially Raspberry Pis with an order of magnitude markup.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:53 PM on January 25


disentir, your "Solvent" token sounds nice, but I think the crypto illuminati would consider it theoretically unsound. In order for proof-of-work to do its job, the work has to be inherently worthless, because that is what prevents 51% attacks. If the work had inherent value, then an adversary could mount an attack while still profiting (in a broad sense, not necessarily financially) off of the work.
posted by nosewings at 9:54 PM on January 25


One thing about crypto scams in general, it's hard not to draw parallels to the world's fine art markets.

A large part of the NFT racket is the fine art market discovering that the art doesn't have to be particularly fine for their purposes, yeah.
posted by rifflesby at 11:04 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


I did not know that you could just put code-bearing tokens in someones wallet without their permission and that those tokens could contain malware that runs as soon as you interact with it in any way, including trying to delete it.

I did not know that either, so I've been trying to find out whether it is in fact the case. So far I'm not convinced that this is actually a thing. People have certainly said it is, but I have yet to understand the mechanism.

If anybody can point me to a detailed explanation of how this is supposed to happen and/or a detailed account of it actually having happened, preferably including links to all the associated transactions on the blockchain concerned, I'd appreciate it.
posted by flabdablet at 1:19 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Olson's video is really just an astounding piece of work. I feel the same way I did after watching Ava DuVernay's 13th, just so impressed at his ability to take a huge complicated subject and explain it clearly without over simplifying it. The work he and his collaborators must have put into researching this and writing the script had to be enormous.
posted by octothorpe at 4:33 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


Seeing as she and Ashton Kutcher probably have enough money under their sofa cushions to finance a web cartoon, it sounded odd then but now it seems really shaaaaaaaaaaady.

First rule of Hollywood...always use Other People's Money.
posted by mmascolino at 5:00 AM on January 26


>If anybody can point me to a detailed explanation of how this is supposed to happen and/or a detailed account of it actually having happened, preferably including links to all the associated transactions on the blockchain concerned, I'd appreciate it.
Not removing tokens from wallet by malware but removing items still in the wallet from an index that breaks their place in the ecosystem:

We previously'd Moxie Marlinspike's first impressions on Web3, where he describes making an NFT and putting them up for sale, and they were removed from sale on OpenSea with unclear claims how they violated the ToS.

"[A]fter OpenSea removed my NFT, it also no longer appeared in any crypto wallet on my device. This is web3, though, how is that possible?"
Read the link for more info. TL;DR looks like the nature of the NFT being a reference allows OpenSea to stop replying to searches for it and the other set of the ecosystem's tools rely on OpenSea's index, so the data is out there in the chain but not accessible according to the ecosystem.
posted by k3ninho at 6:17 AM on January 26


If anybody can point me to a detailed explanation of how this is supposed to happen and/or a detailed account of it actually having happened, preferably including links to all the associated transactions on the blockchain concerned, I'd appreciate it.

From Check Point Research, who reported the exploit: Here’s what we did and how we did it. Basically, they created an SVG file that contained malicious javascript. OpenSeas claims they fixed this vulnerability and gifted NFTs from unverified collections are now hidden by default.
posted by peeedro at 8:09 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


In case you were worried that was an isolated failure, please accept this gift of an NFT that reveals your IP address to the person who sent it to you.

It's OK though, I'm sure it will be fixed soon, now that Metamask knows about it.

Oh wait. Turns out a Metamask dev admits it "has been widely known for a long time" and they're only now prioritizing fixing it because it got bad press.
posted by a faithful sock at 9:12 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


The timing of this is bonkers - they had certainly been working on the video for a while and just this week a massive correction in the crypto markets. The video has very much made me more sympathetic to everyone who turns out to be that greater fool and is left at the end holding on to a worthless digital ‘asset’. The crypto system was clearly constructed in taking advantage of these folks.
posted by zenon at 9:35 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


From Check Point Research, who reported the exploit

Thanks, that was helpful.

As a result of understanding that, I do have to ding Olson a good-faith point or two. The fact that blockchains make no distinction between unsolicited airdrops and other kinds of transaction is not the fundamental security flaw here; items dropped into a wallet by Internet randoms do not automatically confer the wallet owner's signing rights upon code controlled by said randoms.

Rather, the security flaw presented by Checkpoint is part of a huge existing class of flaws that all rest squarely on social engineering: persuading people that doing unsafe things is in this instance perfectly OK. Email-borne phishing attacks work in essentially the same way, by fooling the end user into authorising activity that isn't what they assume they're authorising.

The only new thing that blockchain in general and Ethereum in particular and NFTs on Ethereum in particular particular bring to the table is that nobody has a fucking clue how any of this shit is supposed to work, which raises distinguishing what is safe from what is not to new heights of difficulty.
posted by flabdablet at 3:15 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


just this week a massive correction in the crypto markets

The Crypto Fear and Greed Index has been grumbling along somewhere from Fear to Extreme Fear since late December. It's done that before, and yet it keeps on bouncing back to Greed. The present Fear regime is not yet anomalously long, and I have yet to be convinced that the Greater Fool Pool is anywhere even close to evaporating.
posted by flabdablet at 3:39 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Rather, the security flaw presented by Checkpoint is part of a huge existing class of flaws that all rest squarely on social engineering: persuading people that doing unsafe things is in this instance perfectly OK.

Great, let's blame the victim! How dare they un-attentively click "ok" on a malicious dialog box that looks like a million other dialog boxes the system trained them to click "ok" on?! They should have known this one "ok" was different than the others, somehow. Only the suckers got scammed, the rest of us are going to make it, right?
posted by peeedro at 5:11 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]


Social Engineering is a subject that really can and should be discussed, and it is most definitely NOT a discussion about "blaming the victim". Scams succeed because they are rigged to get people to do things they normally would not do, or they use tricks to pull people toward behaviors. One minor example of social engineering or dark design is to have a dialog box with only one button, and "OK", no cancel, but have an X in the upper right corner. That's not a "blaming the victim" moment.

So let's avoid that branch of this, and talk about how people actually are engineered through social interactions of various sorts to produce desired results.
posted by hippybear at 5:45 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


the work has to be inherently worthless, because that is what prevents 51% attacks
It’s perverse incentives all the way down.
posted by disentir at 9:15 PM on January 26


how people actually are engineered through social interactions of various sorts to produce desired results

The main reason that IT offers particularly rich pickings for social engineers is that most people, when they interact with IT, don't have a fucking clue why they're doing what they're doing. Most people, when they interact with IT, do so on the basis of memorized step sequences they learned from a training course or by watching others who also have no fucking clue why they're doing what they're doing. As a result, most people, when they interact with IT, live in constant fear of breaking something if they find themselves outside the tiny walled gardens of familiar procedure and are quite strongly motivated to believe that they remain inside those walls when in fact they've been cunningly led beyond them.

And this is not because most people are in some way defective or deserving of blame. It's squarely the fault of the self-aggrandizing instincts of the commercial IT priesthood. We could teach IT properly in schools; we don't, because the IT curricula are all set by people with a vested interest in making sure that never happens.

The simple fact is that most people who work in IT, particularly software developers, have both an almost unimaginable degree of contempt for people who don't work in IT, and a particularly toxic degree of unjustified regard for their own intellectual superiority. I worked in this sector for decades, and I reckon this observation is true of roughly four in five of us.

The consequence is that it's really really hard to find an entry-level IT course that actually teaches any fundamental IT concepts. Instead, right away they start in on making participants memorize recipes and sequences for getting particular tasks done. First there's the recipe for "getting on the Internet" (i.e. opening a web browser and typing something into Google), then they walk you through the steps of making a document look 90s-fancy with ugly fonts and colours in Word, then that's you certified and out the door and left to your own devices.

What's a file? Who knows. What's a file browser for? Who knows. What's a network for? Where are my files stored? What's a database? What actually happens to my email when I click Send? Nobody gonna find these things out from an entry-level IT course, that's for sure. Nor is anybody going to find any such course the least bit motivating to seek these answers out for themselves. The courses do not spark an interest in IT. They deliberately frame IT as a mysterious, implacable embuggerance that needs to be worked around for no better reason than that you're gonna need to do that to get any real work done.

The underlying assumption is that people who don't already have IT skills are simply ineducable, just fundamentally incapable of absorbing the relevant ideas; so we won't waste our godly IT time even trying to educate them. Instead, we'll just take their money, make them run our mazes, toss them a brightly coloured food pellet, pat them on their little heads and send them on their way; and we'll keep on dumbing down the user interfaces on every device they ever touch so that none of the little darlings will ever feel motivated to learn a thing about how they actually work. This whole approach, especially the ubiquity of it, shits me to tears and has done for decades. People who develop an interest in IT do so in spite of, not because of, the face that the IT industry as a whole presents to the general public.

As well as the insufferable arrogance there's a strong set of incentives in place that keeps things working this way. After all, if we actually had a populace that was properly IT-literate, there is no way that the IT priesthood could continue to command the monetary compensation that it does. People would see the Man Behind The Curtain and become deeply unimpressed. It's exactly the same ruse that the financial priesthood has been using for centuries, and it works exceedingly well.

The last job I had before retiring, and the one I stuck with for more years than anything else I've ever done, was working as an IT technician cum netadmin at a local primary school. And the reason I kept doing this for a sub-McD's-trainee hourly for thirteen years was that every working day gave me an opportunity to work one-on-one with bright, motivated people and help them understand why I took the approaches that I did toward dealing with the issues that they brought to my attention.

I like to think that as a result of those efforts there exists at least a double handful of people less likely to fall for scams based on inducing people to click Next, Next, Next without understanding what the dialogs they're ignoring were actually asking them to agree to.
posted by flabdablet at 9:45 PM on January 26 [11 favorites]


The fact that blockchains make no distinction between unsolicited airdrops and other kinds of transaction is not the fundamental security flaw here...

Unsolicited airdrops that - by definition - can contain arbitrary, possibly malicious code, strike me as a fairly fundamental security flaw.

The case linked above required an element of social engineering to get that code to run on that particular platform, sure. That doesn't mean all such cases do (or will) require social engineering.

More generally, the idea of code immutably written into the blockchain, aka every single smart contract without exception, is also a fairly fundamental security flaw.

Such code can never be fixed if there is something wrong with it. Such code may even have been secure on the day it is written, but may later become insecure, because the environment has changed around it.

And no-one writes bug-free code. No-one.

That's before you take into account people deliberately writing immutable malicious code, which blockchain strongly incentivises, because if it works, you make money (for certain values of "money").

It's fundamental security flaws all the way down.
posted by motty at 12:13 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


Unsolicited airdrops that - by definition - can contain arbitrary, possibly malicious code

are indeed the very thing that Olson alluded to, which is exactly what motivated me to try to find out how that worked. Because if the malicious code in question were in fact immutable, on-chain, "smart contract" code, then that would be a demonstration that the entire design of Ethereum was so egregiously broken as to render it not only unfit for any of the purposes it's already being used for but not even interesting any more.

But that's not what this was. The malicious code in question was not immutable on-chain code delivered in the airdropped NFT, it was ordinary boring JavaScript embedded in an SVG image linked to that NFT. And it exploited not Ethereum per se, but a particular Ethereum wallet implemented as a browser extension. And the exploit still needed to social engineer the user in order to get its malicious work done.

Every point you make about the complete unsoundness of "code is law" when all of that code's bugs are immutable is completely correct. Smart contracts are clearly just another instance of the word "smart" being employed in the standard IT industry sense of "boneheaded, misconceived, wrong from the start, fundamentally flawed, probably insecure, and riddled with infuriating side effects"; see also smart TV, smart quotes, smart cars, smart locks, smart lighting, smart fridges etc.

But in this particular instance, the fact that the specific vector for the exploit in question was a blockchain did not actually reveal novel kinds of smart contract boneheadedness. The very same malware could just as easily have been delivered by email. All that using an NFT airdrop as the vector achieved here was making its social engineering component more likely to work.
posted by flabdablet at 4:37 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


So, um, I get that crypto sucks, but does anyone have a better way to get LSD in the mail? (At least as a stopgap until we can re-legalize it.)
posted by The genius who rejected Anno's budget proposal. at 4:57 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Bored Ape Yacht Club is Racist and Started by Neo-Nazis. There's a bit of numerology involved - Hitler's birthday and whatnot - but it somehow wouldn't be shocking if true.
posted by clawsoon at 5:39 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


that would be a demonstration that the entire design of Ethereum was so egregiously broken as to render it not only unfit for any of the purposes it's already being used for but not even interesting any more...

Ok then, try this account of an genuinely honest attempt to recover from an Etherium error worth $12,000 (sic) without the recovery attempt being itself stymied by adverserial arbitrage bots.

This isn't about airdropped NFTs any more, but it gives a sense of the overall environment and specific security concerns around it.
posted by motty at 6:18 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


a sense of the overall environment
Because I’m a professional DeFi thought leader, I had never actually deployed a contract to Ethereum before.
And there it is.

Unless and until one of the low-energy, low-fee, fast-transacting blockchains gets stablecoins issued on it by some institution at least as trustworthy as a national reserve bank, cryptocurrency will simply not achieve widespread uptake as an actual currency, and its prime application will keep on being nothing more than a short-term, volatile store of value suited only for pure speculation. And as long as that remains their main application, anybody who interacts with any of these systems for any reason other than consciously recreational unregulated gambling - a pastime which has always and everywhere involved a risk of losing one's entire stake for nothing in return - is doing it wrong.

And because this is indeed the Stupidest Timeline, the only cryptocurrency that any national government has actually got behind is fucking Bitcoin: the most wasteful, most expensive, slowest settling, least scalable cryptocurrency of them all. Makes my blood boil.
posted by flabdablet at 8:48 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


I wonder how long before some copyright troll gets ahold of the rights to something published without permission in the blockchain and then goes after the cryptominers under DCMA. Since they can’t delete it; but keep replicating the copies of the work.
posted by interogative mood at 8:50 PM on January 27


A large part of the NFT racket is the fine art market discovering that the art doesn't have to be particularly fine for their purposes, yeah.

The same kind of shenanigans playing out in the retro video game market.
posted by onya at 6:58 AM on January 28 [3 favorites]


To be fair, the fine art world has been a high bullshit zone for a very long time: "Turns Out the Diamond Skull That Damien Hirst and White Cube Said They Sold for $100 Million in 2007 Still Belongs to Them."
posted by PhineasGage at 8:47 AM on January 28 [3 favorites]


Code, finance and fine art: a match made in heaven?
posted by flabdablet at 11:18 PM on January 28




If anyone is still paying attention to this thread, there's an interesting interview just posted by Ruth Ben-Ghiat, author of Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present, with Michael Edison Hayden, a reporter and spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center, about far-right extremists and cryptocurrency.
posted by PhineasGage at 9:08 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]


I think this is the link to the interview that PhineasGage mentioned.
posted by mhum at 1:45 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]




The dildo thing gives it a new twist, but there's a lot of this about. And plugging untrusted USB devices into trusted computers or phones has never been a good idea.
posted by flabdablet at 9:53 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Bored Ape Yacht Club is Racist and Started by Neo-Nazis. There's a bit of numerology involved - Hitler's birthday and whatnot - but it somehow wouldn't be shocking if true.

I've seen assertions that this is a 4Chan disinfo op, but honestly I don't even care. Any association between NFTs and reactionaries that hurts the reputation of either won't give me any sleepless nights.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:02 PM on February 4


assertions that this is a 4Chan disinfo op

What are they trying to do over there, create another QAnon but for leftists?
posted by flabdablet at 7:22 PM on February 4


I had no idea Cracked was still around but they have a video out that further calls out what bullshit NFT’s are.
posted by interogative mood at 10:44 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


In the vein of the Cracked video (which I quite enjoyed, thank you), I also liked Jreg's take.
posted by Cogito at 1:33 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Mapping the celebrity NFT complex - which explains the intersection between celebrities, the companies that represent them, and ownership interests in crypto.
posted by nubs at 6:46 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


https://www.zdnet.com/article/i-bought-bitcoin-from-paypal-heres-what-happened/

Paypal claims to be buying and selling bitcoin in amounts as small as a dollar, but it's not clear that it actually works.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 12:38 PM on February 12


I couldn't find anything in that article that shows that the experience of buying Bitcoin on Paypal is any worse than the experience of dealing with Paypal in general.

Paypal works OK for me as a means to avoid needing to give out my credit card number to more online vendors than I absolutely need to, but there is no way I would ever be willing to hold a credit balance of any kind with that organization.
posted by flabdablet at 7:06 PM on February 12


https://billypenn.com/2022/02/12/phillycoin-cryptocurrency-philadelphia-citycoins-kenney-wheeler/

Should we just view city cryptos as being like government-run lotteries? A tax on lack of financial clue?
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 8:21 AM on February 13




An Honest Conversation On The Problem With NFTs & Cryptocurrency, with @Folding Ideas

Dan talks about some of what was left out, reactions to the vid, etc.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:34 PM on February 17 [4 favorites]


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