The Consequences of Silence

A powerful piece from Ed Zitron:

Despite growing out of the 2008 financial crisis, Bitcoin has led to the creation of a faster, leaner and crueler crisis of its own, an unregulated hellscape where the elites have found yet another way to get rich off of the backs of regular people’s money. Whatever “noble” goals Bitcoin and cryptocurrency allegedly has or had are irrelevant — cryptocurrency does not generate freedom, it does not democratize finance, it does not create wealth for the majority of people that interact with it, and it has — this is not a “might” — led to billions of dollars of regular people’s money getting burned so that wealthy people can extract liquidity from them.

Zitron cites several of the letters Celsius clients wrote to the court following the company’s bankruptcy filing, and they are heartbreaking. As with so many victims of confidence schemes, many of them can spot warning signs in hindsight. These are smart people who have been lured by the quiet transformation of cryptocurrency from a niche Silicon Valley obsession into a mainstream scam masquerading as a financial instrument. And the most troubling thing of all is recognizing this will happen again because these companies keep getting legitimised by sports sponsorships and casual curiously press coverage.

Update: Molly White:

It’s apparently easy for some people to castigate those who’ve just lost everything by repeating this refrain, in the same way it seems to be easy for some people to only start pointing out the “obvious Ponzi” or “clear scam” projects only after everything crumbles. And it’s tempting, to those steeped in crypto, because it serves to place the blame with the individual, rather than with the platform, the particular segment of crypto that failed, or—God forbid—with crypto and its culture as a whole.

Well said.