Even though cryptocurrencies have had a big few years, I don’t really cover them here. That is mostly deliberate; I understand only enough about cryptocurrency to know that I do not understand cryptocurrency.
Happily, Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal was on Chris Hayes’ “Why Is This Happening?” podcast for an entertaining discussion about why cryptocurrencies exist and what problems they are trying to solve. I think it is a great listen, especially if you — like me — are the kind of person who kind of gets Bitcoin and also does not get it at all.
The minor reason I do not write about cryptocurrency is that it I find it very silly, as encapsulated by Matt Levine in yesterday’s issue of his Money Stuff newsletter:
Just imagine traveling 10 years back in time and trying to explain this to someone; just imagine what an idiot you’d feel like. “There’s going to be this online currency that people think is a form of digital gold, and then there’s going to be a different online currency that is a parody of the first one based on a meme about a talking Shiba Inu, and that one will have a market capitalization bigger than 80% of the companies in the S&P 500, and its value will fluctuate based on things like who is hosting ‘Saturday Night Live’ and whether people tweet a hashtag about it on the pot-joke holiday, and Bloomberg will write articles and banks will write research notes about those sorts of catalysts, and it will remain a perfectly ridiculous content-free parody even as people properly take it completely seriously because there are billions of dollars at stake.”
If I tried to explain this to my decade-ago self, I think it would break my brain only a little more than reading it now.
Actually, if I could go back in time, I’d tell myself to mine a bunch of that “Bitcoin” stuff I had been reading about, not to worry about understanding it, and not sell it for another ten years because there’s going to be a pandemic and that will make most of the Canadian housing market unattainable for normal human beings.