Skip to content

Well, we can analyse it that way, sure

Like any radical, a true believer in crypto could argue that FTX is what happens when the revolutionary DeFi program is not fully implemented. But here again crypto bros are hoisted by their own trustless petard. The reality is that the 21st-century crypto industry – automated or not – must follow the same capitalist market physics that were endemic to 20th-century energy markets, or 19th-century London banks: ruthless competition winnows an industry down to a few key players and then, as Marx wrote in 1847, there comes a phase “when everybody is seized with a sort of craze for making profit without producing”.

Myself I’d analyse politics that way. Diversity advisors, they are “a sort of craze for making profit without producing” or not?

12 thoughts on “Well, we can analyse it that way, sure”

  1. The firm was once heralded as the Goldman Sachs of crypto

    Probably should’ve been a red flag in itself.

    Casual investors, along with funders ranging from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to BlackRock, who invested millions into FTX, are now uncertain where their money went and if they will ever get it back.

    Really? They think there’s still a chance they’ll get refunds? 😀

    these technologies appear to have supercharged the same old problems, letting a Bahamas-based “polycule” commit international fraud to the order of billions of dollars and sink millions into political candidates in just three years

    If you can’t trust a mysteriously wealthy twentysomething pervert who’s literally called ‘Bank man’ with billions of dollars of untraceable fake Internet money, who can you trust?

  2. I read that absolutely baffled. Do none of these people understand what a currency is? A token of value to expedite commerce. If crypto was doing that there’d be a reality check. The confidence in the purchasing power of the digital token in goods & services. And no one would be “investing” in it. Any more than they invest in $’s £’s ¥’s or €’s. Sure they’d be speculation. But in the underlying relative purchasing power of the currency.
    They seem to have built themselves a castle of sand & are now wailing that it’s fallen over. Thank heavens stupidity gets punished.

  3. BiS: In the private sector stupidity sometimes gets punished; in the state sector lessons are always learnt.

  4. Alan. In the private sector, stupidity always gets punished. Not always the primary stupid. But someone suffers the cost. It’s equally stupid trusting the stupid. Eventually there’s a learning process.
    Shame we haven’t learned with the public sector, yet. But there’s hope.

  5. Crypto is just another lesson not learnt.

    It is heralded as a new type of ecnomics, but is in fact still the old economics in drag. It is reminiscent of the DotCom boom and bust, when dimwitted executives thought that they had hit upon a new paradigm, only to discover – usually to their employees’ cost – that it was still the old economics. It was a bubble and when it burst only those who were most fit for the environment would survive.

  6. I’ve been reading quite a bit about crypto recently and have come to the conclusion that its main problem is that almost everyone driving the market is a fucking crook.

    The people who launch cryptocurrencies and run exchanges are fucking crooks and so are the people who launder money through them, although the money launderers are going to get a nasty shock when their laundered coins become utterly worthless. After which I expect more crypto crooks will mysteriously drown, fall out of windows and tragically accidentally cut their fingers and toes off and set themselves on fire. The smart crypto guy is the one who has already disappeared, had surgery and converted his ill-gotten gains to krugerrand and Swiss francs.

    There are, of course, plenty of gulls, from individual dabblers to Canadian pension funds, and they are all going to lose it all. Probably quite soon. All the crypto scams are interwoven and it looks like Binance will be next. I’ve also been reading about Bitfinex and Tether, which is ripe for collapse.

  7. Otto – it’s worse than that, it’s pure speculation on something that doesn’t and probably can’t add any actual value. The internet bubble in ’99 was at least a series of bets on companies promising to make or sell actual products and services. New things that didn’t previously exist in the world.

    What’s new about crypto? Might as well speculate on the price of sea shells or Panini stickers. NFT’s are even more bonkers – they’re trying to create a “non fungible” market for something that’s fungible by definition, it’s just a computer file.

    Why would I pay actual money to “own” an animated gif of a monkey I can download for free? That’s even more mental than paying for a TV License.

  8. Steve: I can find a really good copy of the Mona Lisa to hang on my wall, but I’ll never own that thing that hangs in the Louvre. An NFT endeavours to give actual ownership rights to something that can be copied with high fidelity. Whether that has value is in the eye of the seller and buyer. Most of us would value it at zero.

    As an aside that grifter artist did NFTs of some of his paintings and offered to sell the painting or the NFT, presumably at the same price. The originals of the NFTs were then destroyed. I think the people who bought the real paintings got the better deal. Personally they both have zero value to me but there is a a market for his stuff.

  9. In City of Death, Dr Who goes back in time and writes “This is a fake” on canvasses that Da Vinci was supposed to paint copies of the Mona Lisa, so that they’ll show up on Xrays.
    He later says ” But who’s going to bother to Xray the Mona Lisa ?”

    Steve – a lot of the dotcom products and services indeed “promised” much but in fact did fuck all. If I had a pound for every time I met an “entrepreneur” who couldn’t actually tell me what his company or software actually did….

  10. Steve: Why would I pay actual money to “own” an animated gif of a monkey I can download for free?

    You’ll be featuring on Netflix if Meghan reads this.

  11. it’s pure speculation on something that doesn’t and probably can’t add any actual value.

    No, Steve. It would add value if it was used for the reason it was invented. As a token of value in commerce. I’d be using it today. I’ve no qualms about evading laws & taxes. And it would definitely add value. At a VAT rate of 20% say, sale prices could be 10% lower whilst buyers would be paying 10% less in real terms. (If they split the difference) Let alone in what would be saved in other taxes in not running transactions through the books. Both are better off. (Or better off by being able to do the transaction in the first place.) That’s real added value in the commerce. Just because it may not be strictly legal ( & WGAF about greedy government demands anyway) doesn’t mean it doesn’t add value. You’d see the added value coming out in what you’d have to pay for goods in crypto versus fiat.
    Or you can look at it the legal way (if you must). We wouldn’t be paying the cost the banks impose on us for using their systems. Every time you use a card they’re plundering your money.

  12. “or 19th-century London banks”

    Surely a better comparison would be with 18th Century Scottish banks? From which, despite a few high-profile scandals, emerged the Scots’ reputation (now lost forever, I fear) for financial rectitude.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *