[Discussion] Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency! Either it's going to disrupt everything and usher in a new era of artistic and consumer freedom, or it'll hasten the climate apocalypse while largely benefitting a tiny number of investors. Let's yell about it!

Seth wrote:

I’m saying someone who invests their time, talents, and energy in something as laughably stupid as NFTs is not a smart person, any more than someone investing in playing roulette is a smart person.

I just think we are using the word a bit differently. I'm referring to intellectual capacity, while you're making a value judgement based on certain choices made. It's the difference between saying "Einstein was really smart, but he was dumb to invest in that losing real estate deal" and "Einstein was not really smart at all, since he invested in a losing real estate deal, which was a stupid thing to do."

Make sense? The thing I've noticed over the years is that many of my friends and coworkers who are very smart with engineering, with computers, with mathematics, with business, well-read sometimes, often capable of actual critical thinking and reasoning, lose all those skills when the topic is something that touches on what they feel is part of their identity. And that's a human thing, because we are still used to identifying with those around us rather than breaking with them, even on things that involve survival.

Those choices are stupid, often hateful, but that does not affect their intellectual capabilities. It just means they over-ride them when their emotions take over.

“Intellectual capacity” is, at its core, also a value judgment though. There is no single test for intellectual capacity, and it means as many different things to as many different people as my use of the word “smart” in this conversation.

But yes, you’ve confirmed that my original quip - that someone is using some new definition of “smart” that includes folks wasting their entire potential on a painfully obvious scam - was indeed correct.

But you now have no way of asserting that someone who otherwise is very successful and has multiple indicators of what we refer to as "intelligence", is in any way smart, simply because they believe one stupid thing. Just as intelligence has many different domains, being stupid in one area of judgement does not nullify the existence of the others.

That QAnon Trump guy could still be one of the best at turning out custom space-craft qualified electronics by hand, and I think anyone would agree it takes some flavor of smarts to do that kind of work. (And yes, this is a friend of mine...). He's smart, but he has made some stupid choices based on his Party allegiance.

Real life example: my dad! Was a fantastic doctor and ICU director till he retired.

Also believes 9/11 truthers and plans to vote for RFK Jr.

Huge difference between intelligence and knowledge. Most examples have show knowledge not necessarily intelligence. Not to mention opportunity. How many poor but otherwise intelligent people are denied opportunity and knowledge.

Robear wrote:

But you now have no way of asserting that someone who otherwise is very successful and has multiple indicators of what we refer to as "intelligence".

We’re kind of in a weird rabbit hole but yeah, I don’t think the human brain has access to the data, applications, systems, or technology it needs to understand, define, or categorize its own intelligence. Thus all attempts to quantify intelligence remain qualitative. Or, in other words, value judgments.

People may disagree but I would like to point out that the only ones who disagree with this are, in fact, other human brains, all of which are by nature biased on the topic of their own comprehension!

But sure, “smart in one way but not other ways.” We agree.

Intelligence is knowing that Frankenstein is the doctor.

Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein is the monster.

Seth wrote:

People may disagree but I would like to point out that the only ones who disagree with this are, in fact, other human brains, all of which are by nature biased on the topic of their own comprehension!

The only way that works is the hard claim that there's no way to *objectively* measure any form of cognitive capabilities. I think we've found a plethora of ways to do that. The problem comes in when people think that knowing that some people can solve certain types of problems faster than others means that they can solve *all* problems faster than others. That's how we ended up with various domain or function-based theories of intelligence.

But I would strongly dispute that intelligence tests measure *nothing*. Even with cultural bias, the tests do differentiate between different types of problems - language use, visual puzzles, logic, and so forth - that are statistically distinguishable across large populations of test-takers.

It's just that most people don't bother to read the fine print, including the bit about IQ tests not actually being predictors of success in life...

I read that as "Crypto eyeball scam" and it didn't strike me as out-of-place at all.

Didn't they start this project a few years back, in Africa and maybe India?

Worldcoin suspended in Kenya as thousands queue for free money

I did briefly think "Why would anyone sign up for this?" but that's me forgetting how desperate things are in other places.

The Kenyan government has ordered cryptocurrency project Worldcoin to stop signing up new users, citing data privacy concerns.

Worldcoin, founded by US tech entrepreneur Sam Altman, offers free crypto tokens to people who agree to have their eyeballs scanned.

Thousands of Kenyans have been queuing up at registration centres this week to get the currency worth about $49 (£39).

Kenya warned citizens to be cautious giving their data to private companies.

A statement from the Communications Authority of Kenya said it had concerns about:

- how the biometric data was stored
- offering money in exchange for data
- having so much data in the hands of a private company

The ministry of the interior has launched an investigation into Worldcoin and called on security services and data protection agencies to establish its authenticity and legality.

In one of the pop-up registration centres in the capital, Nairobi, where hundreds had been lining up for the registration, many had been locked out of the process on Wednesday after the large crowd was termed a "security risk".

"I've been coming here almost three days to line up and register. I want to register because I'm jobless and I'm broke, that's why I'm here," Webster Musa told the BBC.

"I came here yesterday. I waited until my phone died. So I came again today but I've missed the registration again. I really like Worldcoin because of the money. I'm not worried about the data being taken. As long as the money comes," added Dickson Muli.

Wow that right there is some scummy garbage. It makes me think of some cartoonishly villainous wealthy fop in a top hat and tails being driven through a poor neighborhood in a Bentley convertible, shouting “free money!” into a bullhorn and tossing coins to throngs of desperate people. Then when they try to spend their “free money” they learn that the fine print on the coins requires them to surrender an internal organ.

Maybe I have an overactive imagination. It’s still scummy though.

From https://twitter.com/Cryptadamist/sta...

Tether's cash through the ages:

➤ Dec 31st, 2022: $5.31 billion
➤ Mar 31st, 2023: $481 million
➤ Jun 30th, 2023: $90 million

That's an interesting trajectory for a company theoretically swimming in coupon payments from $70 billion in treasuries.

$70B should be generating at least $3.5B in interest every year - where is the money going?

Bruce wrote:

where is the money going?

To a lovely apocalypse/99% uprising survival compound somewhere in New Zealand, Colorado, or Alaska.

Assuming those numbers are accurate and that I'm reading it right, their total assets have gone up a bit and they've got more US Treasury notes. Isn't the real problem that they don't have a way to cover withdrawals? Unless the plan is to say, "Hey, US Government, we're going down the drain here with this run and we can't cover our customers and all we've got are Treasury notes...better bail us out!"

Sex Workers Took Refuge in Crypto. Now It’s Failing Them

Minor quibble, you can't be failed by something that wasn't ever designed with consideration for you to begin with.

In 2018, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) followed. The bills were supposed to make it easier to hold to account platforms that allegedly facilitate trafficking, like Backpage.com, which was seized by the FBI. But the online classifieds site—and others, since voluntarily closed—were also popular venues for advertising legal sex services, as well as sharing information about new clients for safety purposes. The bills had the triple effect, then, of clipping sex workers’ income, increasing risk, and making the banks even more squeamish, members of the industry say.

Because the adult industry has historically been fairly small—and the Christian anti-porn lobby has been dogged—its advocates have made little imprint in Washington, DC. But the arrival of platforms like OnlyFans, which grew substantially during the pandemic, has shone a new light on the banking issue. The industry “went from 2,000 people shooting adult content in San Fernando Valley to millions of people,” says Stabile. “Suddenly, there was a far larger number experiencing [the closure of bank accounts and other financial services].”

When banks close the accounts of sex workers, they rarely give a clear justification. In one letter delivered by Wells Fargo to porn actor Alana Evans, president of the Adult Performance Artists Guild (APAG), the bank wrote that the account, opened in the mid-1990s, would be closed as part of “ongoing reviews” related to its responsibility to “manage risks.” The decision, the letter said, was final. Wells Fargo declined to comment.

The personal and social consequences of a lack of access to banking and payments services for sex workers range from the mundane—an inability to use Venmo to split the bill at a restaurant—to the potentially existential: the failure to meet medical fees or rent, say.

It also means they are beholden from a commercial perspective to platforms like OnlyFans and Fansly, which handle payouts but take a sizable chunk of earnings. Because of the deterioration of their own relationships with the banks, these platforms are sometimes unreliable too. (In 2021, OnlyFans announced a ban on sexually explicit content, under pressure from banking partners to clean up, before reversing course five days later.)


Others were pushed toward crypto by external events. For Rae, it was OnlyFans’ flirtation with a ban on adult content. For some, it was a block imposed by Mastercard and Visa on Pornhub, one of the world’s largest porn websites, in 2020, following a New York Times investigation that found it to be “infested with rape videos.” Data collected by Sex Work CEO, an online portal featuring resources for sex workers, suggests at least a third of sex workers now accept crypto payments.

But for all crypto’s promise as a means of dancing around the banking system, sex workers are finding the limits of its utility: Although sending and receiving crypto payments is relatively simple, converting it into dollars is sometimes not.

The typical method is to transfer crypto to an exchange, where earnings are converted into regular money, which is then withdrawn to a bank account (assuming it hasn’t been closed). But sex workers are sometimes banned from crypto exchanges too, albeit less frequently, leaving them stranded with a form of money they cannot use to pay rent or buy goods.

“You get on an exchange for as long as you can, until they shut your ass down,” says Knox. “You quickly [run out of exchanges], so you sit on a lot of useless money. The whole ‘crypto is permissionless and censorship-resistant’ thing is a bunch of bullsh*t.” (Knox suspects she has ended up on a blacklist at Plaid, a provider of technology plumbing to large crypto exchanges like Gemini, Kraken, and Robinhood, leading to the repeated bans. Freya Petersen, spokesperson for Plaid, says no such list exists, but that all firms that wish to use its services are subject to a standard risk assessment process, factoring in the industry in which they operate.)

Meanwhile, banks’ increasing unwillingness to work with crypto-related businesses is causing problems for firms trying to make it easier for sex workers to interface with the crypto world.

SBF bail revoked for witness tampering!

Top_Shelf wrote:

SBF bail revoked for witness tampering!

But he's such a nice guy

PaladinTom wrote:
Top_Shelf wrote:

SBF bail revoked for witness tampering!

But he's such a nice guy

yes, but is he on a swim team?

Buyers of Bored Ape NFTs sue after digital apes turn out to be bad investment

The Sotheby's auction house has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by investors who regret buying Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs that sold for highly inflated prices during the NFT craze in 2021. A Sotheby's auction duped investors by giving the Bored Ape NFTs "an air of legitimacy... to generate investors' interest and hype around the Bored Ape brand," the class-action lawsuit claims.

The boost to Bored Ape NFT prices provided by the auction "was rooted in deception," said the lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Central District of California. It wasn't revealed at the time of the auction that the buyer was the now-disgraced FTX, the lawsuit said.

"Sotheby's representations that the undisclosed buyer was a 'traditional' collector had misleadingly created the impression that the market for BAYC NFTs had crossed over to a mainstream audience," the lawsuit claimed. Lawsuit plaintiffs say that harmed investors bought the NFTs "with a reasonable expectation of profit from owning them."

Sotheby's sold a lot of 101 Bored Ape NFTs for $24.4 million at its "Ape In!" auction in September 2021, well above the pre-auction estimates of $12 million to $18 million. That's an average price of over $241,000, but Bored Ape NFTs now sell for a floor price of about $50,000 worth of ether cryptocrurrency, according to CoinGecko data accessed today.

Investors previously sued Bored Ape creator Yuga Labs, four company executives, and various celebrity promoters including Paris Hilton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Hart, Snoop Dogg, Serena Williams, Madonna, Jimmy Fallon, Steph Curry, and Justin Bieber. The original class-action was filed in December 2022, and Sotheby's was added as a defendant in an amended complaint submitted on August 4.

Yuga describes its collection of 10,000 Bored Ape NFTs as "unique digital collectibles living on the Ethereum blockchain" that double as a "Yacht Club membership card." The website has some "members-only" areas. "When you buy a Bored Ape, you're not simply buying an avatar or a provably rare piece of art," the NFT collection's website says. "You are gaining membership access to a club whose benefits and offerings will increase over time. Your Bored Ape can serve as your digital identity, and open digital doors for you."

WAGMI indeed.

"Nobody told us it was a dumb idea except for everybody we refused to listen to!"

Prederick wrote:

WAGMI indeed.

We are all going to make it! Nobody ever said "it" would be the same thing for everyone, though. For example, what the people who bought those NFTs made was "a bad decision".

Seth wrote:

I’m saying someone who invests their time, talents, and energy in something as laughably stupid as NFTs is not a smart person, any more than someone investing in playing roulette is a smart person.

Speaking of...

Remember when NFTs sold for millions of dollars? 95% of the digital collectibles are now probably worthless.

I shouldn't glory in this, but there was something about how obvious the grift was, about how brainless, cultish smugness of its supporters, etc.

I wish we could put a yearlong scarlet letter on the Twitter accounts of everyone who tried to evangelize them. Because the whole thing was just an obvious "greater fool" scam. You had to talk about how it was going to revolutionize everything, because the only way for YOU to get rich was to convince a bunch of other people into buying in (or, getting in super-early and cashing out immediately).

Are NFTs dead?

A recent study looking at the price of thousands of collections seems to suggest the answer is, "yes."

A report by dappGambl found that 95% of non-fungible tokens are effectively worthless. Out of 73,257 NFT collections, 69,795 of them have a market cap of zero ether, based on data provided by NFT Scan and CoinMarketCap.

By their estimates, almost 23 million people hold these worthless assets.

"This daunting reality should serve as a sobering check on the euphoria that has often surrounded the NFT space," the researchers said. "Amid stories of digital art pieces selling for millions and overnight success stories, it is easy to overlook the fact that the market is fraught with pitfalls and potential losses."

NFTs are digital representations of art or collectibles tied to a blockchain, typically ethereum, and each one has a unique signature that cannot be duplicated. In 2021 and 2022, the NFT market saw a huge bull run, at one point leading to $2.8 billion in monthly trading volume.

During that time, popular collections like Bored Apes and Cryptopunks were selling for millions of dollars, and celebrities like Stephen Curry and Snoop Dogg participated in the hype. The boom coincided with cryptocurrency's peak, when bitcoin was trading close to $70,000. On Wednesday, the price of the crypto hovered just above $27,000.

But as dappGambl's study shows, that's all come crashing down. Currently, 79% of all NFT collections remain unsold, and the surplus of supply over demand has created a buyer's market that isn't doing anything to revive enthusiasm.

In 2021 and 2022, the NFT market saw a huge bull run, at one point leading to $2.8 billion in monthly trading volume.

That number would be a lot smaller if you could subtract the "trades" where people were selling it to their own alternate accounts.

The market isn't gone because there was a frenzy that fizzled out. The market's gone because the frenzy was fake to begin with, and when it failed to hoodwink enough people to sell to, there was no longer any reason to keep up the charade.

It was always designed around the rug pull. The only folks upset about it are idiots and folks who mistimed their pull.

Wasn't GameStop or some company supposedly investing in NFTs? Did that die?

They’ve been “winding down“ their wallet offering. The NFT store is still up but it seems to more or less be in maintenance mode.

Jake Moody BANGS a 21-yard field goal, to use the phrasing Al Michaels did for the kick.

Uh you got your streams crossed