Saturday, October 23, 2021

There's a sucker born every minute

The independent mini-markets that mostly sell a few edibles and booze to the neighborhood have begun displaying new signage. 

I was a mildly astonished to see what some corner stores are peddiling now.

Yes, you can get your bitcoin at the same place you buy your lottery ticket. Somehow this doesn't increase my confidence in cryptocurrency. I assume the whole thing is a ponzi scheme to fleece the unwary.

Bitcoin enthusiasts will be displeased that I look for explanation of the bitcoin phonomenon to economist Paul Krugman:

... cryptocurrencies play almost no role in normal economic activity. Almost the only time we hear about them being used as a means of payment — as opposed to speculative trading — is in association with illegal activity, like money laundering or the Bitcoin ransom Colonial Pipeline paid to hackers who shut it down.

... If normal, law-abiding people don’t use cryptocurrency, it’s not for lack of effort on the part of crypto boosters. Many highly paid person-hours have been spent trying to find the killer app, the thing that will finally get the masses using Bitcoin, Ethereum or some other brand daily.

But I’ve been in numerous meetings with enthusiasts for cryptocurrency and/or blockchain, the concept that underlies it. In such meetings I and others always ask, as politely as we can: “What problem does this technology solve? What does it do that other, much cheaper and easier-to-use technologies can’t do just as well or better?” I still haven’t heard a clear answer.

... a long-running Ponzi scheme requires a narrative — and the narrative is where crypto really excels.

First, crypto boosters are very good at technobabble — using arcane terminology to convince themselves and others that they’re offering a revolutionary new technology, even though blockchain is actually pretty elderly by infotech standards and has yet to find any compelling uses.

Second, there’s a strong element of libertarian derp — assertions that fiat currencies, government-issued money without any tangible backing, will collapse any day now....

But hey, you can gamble in Bitcoin right at your corner store.

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