Hello fellow Dopers. Yes this is a 2 hour youtube video. No i don’t expect anyone to watch the whole thing. Hear me out please.
I really struggled with where to put this as I wasn’t sure where the discussion would go, or what I would say, so I settled on MPSIMS for now.
So there’s a new youtube video going viral about crypto currencies and NFT’S. I’m not unsavvy with technology but i have no problem admitting that I’ve struggled with grasping the mechanics of how these work. This video finally assembled the puzzle for me and I know other dopers have asked questions about this so i felt the need to share.
This all seems like a giant ponzi/pyramid scheme to me based on general misunderstandings of how markets and tech works but I also recognize that i may still not understand how this all works. I can’t summarize the video succinctly. It seems extremely well researched and cited and I’ve watched it from beginning to end twice now.
A few months ago my wife, who i love to death but is much less tech savvy than myself, asked me about investing in bitcoin and NFT’S and I said i had researched it and none of it made any sort of sense to me and i thought it looked like a scam on the surface. Seeing bitcoin lose 50% of it’s value since November was actually a sigh of relief.
So I guess im looking for opinions and reactions here? What do others think? I will be reading with great interest.
If this drops like a stone i won’t be surprised. But i thought others might find this informative.
I haven’t watched this video, but I’ve seen it making the rounds. I think the entire topic of cryptocurrencies is fascinating technologically, culturally, and legally. But the current furor around them is just so rife with fraud and nonsense that I’m not going to touch it. A lot of people are going to get really burned by all this.
Some of the support of crypto and NFTs comes from their ability to be used for illegal activities, such as money laundering, human trafficking, drug payments, ransomware, etc. While other pyramid schemes just have enthusiasm to keep them going, these crypto currencies are used for actual real-world transactions. The transactions may be illegal and unsavory, but they serve an actual purpose in the real-world. That’s not the same with something like the craze over beanie babies, where people are just driving the prices up because they want to add to their collection.
Crypto may be a good investment from a financial perspective, but it’s built on a lot of transactions of illegal activity. Investments from normal people, like your wife, are one reason why unsavory people use it. They accept crypto for human trafficking because they know they can get regular people to pay $$$ for the crypto. If no one exchanged $$$ for crypto, then the criminals wouldn’t be able to use it for payments as easily.
I struggled through the whole video yesterday (it’s just over 2 hours long!) and can’t say I really came to understand crypto or NFTs any better. Or rather, it didn’t change what I think I know about them, it just enhanced it? It’s all just bullshit. And every week someone comes up with a new way to do the bullshit, that often makes the previous ways of doing the bullshit look even shittier.
What I found most interesting about it was linking all of this directly to the 2008 financial crash, including a full explanation of why said crash happened in a way I’d not heard before.
I knew NFTs sounded selling nothing. I knew that crypto seemed like an obvious bubble, due to a lack of anything of value beyond speculation. I didn’t know about the actual cult-like nature, or how it is basically MultiLevel Marketing for dudebros, using the complexity of the concept to fool those with little financial understanding. I didn’t know about play to earn and how it was being used to exploit poor workers.
I do follow the author/presenter, and I know the quality of his work. (Hence why I’d already watched the video when it came out.) I have no reason to doubt his video essays.
I just want to be clear that we didn’t invest anything. She first started hearing about bitcoin maybe a year or 2 ago but didn’t understand how any of it worked. I’ve been aware of it much longer as i had remembered hearing about it in the early days being used for illegal activities as you’ve noted and that was still what i mostly associated with it.
When i first started digging a little bit none of it made any sense and flew in the face of everything I’ve learned about computers and the internet over the last 30 years. (How do solved math equations convert directly into currency? It’s just a file and it’s not backed by anything except itself. It’s not even a program/application or a game. It doesn’t actually DO anything? And how can you “own” a jpeg? Not the underlying artwork. I can download a picture of mickey mouse but that doesn’t mean i have any meaningful ownership of that image. I think i understand the concept of blockchains but it’s still just a digital image?)
It was all completely counter intuitive and all i really saw was a bunch of handwaving and smoke and mirrors. And considering the origins of bitcoin all kinds of alarm bells were going off in my head. When i explained it this way we agreed it was unwise to invest real money into something like this.
I’m an avid gamer. Have been my whole life. I have a decent collection of games, physical and digital both, dating back to the Atari 2600. It’s my hobby and i follow the computer and videogame industries pretty closely and i had never heard of these games or this phenomenon.
It’s like someone looked at the free-to-play model of mobile games and said “You know what? I think we can make this MUCH more evil!”
I tried watching the video over the weekend, because NFTs are one of those things I’ve been trying to wrap my head around lately. I got through about 45 minutes before giving up, but by then it had confirmed my suspicions - it’s pretty much a scam, with a lot of hand-waving and smoke and mirrors.
One reason I had trouble with the video. The guy talks fast and throws out a lot of jargon, so it can be hard to keep up at times. But then he will pop up a screenshot of a tweet or some book excerpt while he’s talking. I couldn’t read what he was showing while trying to follow what he was saying, and then the screenshot would disappear before I was done reading it. I think it would have been easier to just listen to it as if it was a podcast, rather than trying to watch it as a video. In any case, did it really need to be two hours long?