TL;DR: There’s a present rush in prominent circles to get extreme distance from billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein. The mogul has been in the news of late, tied to more salacious crimes and powerful political figures. A little-known interview, profile resurfaced of Epstein from 2017, and it appears he was a fan of Bitcoin Core (BTC). His arguments for it eerily match those of present-day Maximalists.
Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein BTC Maximalist?
In the business, it’s what we call a “get.” Jeffrey Epstein, even back in the heady days of late 2017, was notorious. While the particulars of his present brush with the Southern District of New York were not making headlines, Epstein’s past was not exactly a secret. The Next Web (TNW), an online news journal and tech conference, published his views on BTC as part of their Contributor series. It reads a bit like, ‘Hey! We found a billionaire who likes BTC!” However, a simple Google search of Epstein at the time would’ve surely given any enterprising reporter pause.
Epstein’s context, relevance, was conveyed by author Dylan Love in the following manner: “When you’ve been a billionaire for more than 20 years, you form some incisive ideas about money.” It’s just one sentence among many turns of phrase Love and TNW would probably like to have back. Again, Epstein’s exploits were not unknown. Easily accessible press accounts were readily available. In fact, long before the TNW profile, he’d already been convicted in Florida, punished, and worse.
More strange TNW context and framing continued unabated, noting his “money management firm that famously held a secret client list containing only the names of people worth $1 billion or more. Epstein excelled at finding hidden value for his clients and himself, identifying anomalies in the market, and using arbitrage to profit from them,” they gushed. In fact, he “swims in an ocean of ideas pertaining to money, science, and technology. So when we met at his residence on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Bitcoin was a major topic of conversation.” Keen observers note both that ‘secret client list’ and his ‘residence on Manhattan’s Upper East Side’ have taken on decidedly different significance not even two years later.
BTC Not a Currency, is Store of Value
As for Epstein’s BTC views, they really do not differ substantially from standard Maximalist talking points. “Bitcoin is not a currency,” he’s claimed to have insisted. “Bitcoin works as a store of value,” TNW wanted readers to know. “‘When we talk about gold as a store of value,’ says Epstein, ‘that just means a lot of people agree to pay the same price for one ounce of gold.'” Why any journalist would find his musings worth committing pixels to is anyone’s guess. It doesn’t mean Epstein is wrong, necessarily, but it does make him rather unremarkable.
Instead, TNW’s loving portrait is an appeal to authority, Epstein’s billionaire-ness. He’s also a “science philanthropist,” they laud, and as “a result, the [then] 64-year-old tycoon holds court with A-list names from the academic community, like theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, cosmologist and author Lawrence Krauss, or MIT’s quantum computing pioneer, Seth Lloyd.” Oof.
Literally not one word in the TNW interview summary points to Epstein’s very real notoriety, and that is really, really strange. He’s just an eccentric genius living his best life. His comments do not move the BTC case forward, and one wonders what TNW was thinking by including such a take found on any goofy subreddit. Maybe it can be chalked up to Amsterdam’s warm libertinism? It’s doubtful something like a pro-Epstein profile could pass today, as by Spring of this year The Financial Times purchased a majority stake in TNW.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
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