TL;DR: I am not leaving crypto. What began as an ideological interest has blossomed into an ever-changing, unpredictable advocation tempered by cool waters of intellectual sobriety. Remove irrational expectations, view the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a microcosm of human society, and its notable faults become less worrisome. Scams, fractional reserve stablecoins, encroaching degenerate gamblers, gross influencers, and toxic tribalists all scheme to drive you away. Here’s why I remain.
Not Leaving Crypto
Granted, I am in an unusual position, working for the Spicy Coin. My gig affords me a certain luxury to spend the day surveying a broader spectrum of the brave new world cryptocurrency is creating. And though I’ve had some interesting offers to leave and do other things, I stay … happily.
It’s not that I push my head in the sand, ignoring structural problems. My economic training tells me the relative power and rise of centralized exchanges might not be ultimately sustainable. Their heavy reliance on coddling to regulators and licensors, erecting barriers to entry against competition under the guise of security and protecting traders does leave me cold.
They’re simply recreating legacy finance. Even a cursory look at the likes of tether (USDT) weaving its way through major exchanges’ volumes is enough to make your butthole pucker. It’s a form, albeit different, of central banking in the worst sense. Those USDT, supposedly pegged or backed by government denominations, might not be solvent as a matter of course. Trading pairs dominant in USDT are a chimera, accounting fiction — the only disclosed ratio admitted-to by legal counsel for the issuing company puts the number at about 74%. That’s not a small gap.
Price Manipulation is Real
Zillions of USDT are sloshing around, and more than a few analysts insist they’re directly tied to crypto booms and busts. It also doesn’t help bad actors in the space are thought to use USDT “printing” as a means of buttressing favored coins. Speculative price manipulation is real, and I do not doubt that for a second.
Don’t get me started on ecosystem influencers. Ugh. Just ugh. That we support these clowns gives me less faith by the day in the wisdom of crowds thesis. They’re often more trouble than light, and cults of personality end up fairing poorly in economics. Inevitably, such people are found out, discovered hypocrites or scoundrels, and those brought-in having been attracted to an influencer’s charisma are soured forever on the crypto idea.
With regard to scams, I have a confession. I love them. I do not advocate for their impacts, hurting people financially, but I am a connoisseur of how they operate. That influencer who takes it one step further and launches a token, nabs advisory roles and team deck endorsements, and eventually exits, leaving a fiscal bloody trail, is something I watch in awe. It is at times so transparent, bald, I wonder why anyone hands over their reputation to these people. For sure, influencers and their associated projects are a giant concern.
Chances are Good the Project I Favor will Fail
Tribalists in the space make life very difficult for anyone trying to separate fact from fiction. CoinSpice, obviously, has a bias: peer-to-peer electronic cash. So maybe we’re a version of this problem as well. Fair enough. We’re upfront about it, however, and folks come to us for our takes in this regard and how we relate them to that prejudice.
Tribalism is nauseous. The differences between some coins is so minuscule to normal people that even I, Mr. Spice, get a little embarrassed by how doctrinaire I can come off. The truth is the coin you support or the project I favor might bite the dust, and hard, for a myriad of reasons. It doesn’t even need a fundamental flaw necessarily. Crypto markets are so tiny, so correlated and coupled, that our favorite blockchain could eat crap for no other reason than they all do.
My eldest daughter finds my current line of work a fun topic of conversation. The way she sees it, her pop is either a genius, way ahead of the financial curve, or part of those multi-level marketing idiots who fell for one of history’s greatest cons. And, to be completely honest, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground when I really think about her teasing.
Why I Stay
Damn, it’s too late now. My professional name and body of work is utterly wrapped-up in cryptocurrency. If it does implode, so do both. All it’s going to take is some whacked out terrorist to use BTC as the principal financing for his blowing up of a US school, complete with pictures of him wearing CoinSpice socks (on sale now), to force everyone out of our collective hallucination and back into reality.
Governments, despite what knuckleheads insist, do have mechanisms to bring the ecosystem to a grinding halt — and they’re getting better at certain off-ramping, on-ramping shutdowns all the time. A few tweaks here, some tidy legislation there, demonization by media outlets, and it’s effectively over … which is saying nothing of the systemic risks pointed to above.
So why stay? I believe this is our generation’s chance to carve out some real, substantive financial freedom, autonomy. It is, and I know it is, because of the panic crypto sets off among lawmakers, haters, and traditional finance types. We’re exactly no threat now, and we’re probably closer to an inside joke, a punchline, at Wall Street cocktail parties.
Stay Sober, My Friends
The past decade or so, however, I have watched crypto go from wide-eyed dreamers to institutional schemers and online hucksters, and flower into a real force necessary to grapple with. It’s a truly international phenomenon, and people from all walks of life are participating at various levels. I spend my day speaking to producers in South America, China, Japan, Europe, occasionally Africa, and North America. That’s incredibly exciting, even though I cannot be certain what will come of all this. I can’t know.
Anyone who tells you they do is know is full of shit. Period. They do not. Yes, USDT is insidious, but that’s not never been the case. In fact, the very prices they’re measuring against are in fiat, and I won’t take you seriously if you believe leaving crypto for fiat is any more moral. That’s a stupid argument.
As for scammers, hey, that’s a free society, bucko. They exist. The difference in crypto is we’re not employing through expropriation still greater scammers to stop scams. You’re going to really insist the alphabet soups of SEC, CFTC, FTC, FinCEN, etc. are more reliable and trustworthy? Grow up. Before crypto, people disenchanted with government monopolies over money just had to suck it and deal. Precious metals have long since been co-opted into central bankers’ playthings. The only game in town was fiat: choose your color and favorite group of politicians. Now, right now, I have a choice, a viable one, in cryptocurrency and I intend to stay and fight for its betterment … even though I have no idea how any of this will shake out.
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DYOR: CoinSpice is your home for just spicy crypto things. We’re not affiliated with any cryptocurrency project or token. Each published piece is intended for information purposes only, not investment advice and not in the hope of impacting speculative markets. There are plenty of trading sites and coin-specific advocacy journals out there, we’re neither. CoinSpice strives for rigorous accuracy in our reporting. Information presented here is contingent usually on a host of factors, and the ecosystem moves fast — prices change, projects change, and at warp speed. Do your own research.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.