Crypto Bros Are in Shambles

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Crypto Bros Are in Shambles

A fight in cryptoland spilled over into normieville this weekend, as an eminently reasonable request from two Blockworks writers was treated with the kind of level-headed reason we have come to expect from a market driven by mostly men paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for jpegs.

It began with Ryan Selkis, CEO of Messari Crypto, a cryptocurrency intelligence and research service, posting a video from Mar-a-Lago saying “fight for crypto. Support President Trump.”

Molly Jane Zuckerman and Jeff Albus wrote a retort on Blockworks that linked to Selkis’s tweet, titled “Only a fool would vote on crypto alone.” Selkis then said that Blockworks would publish his reply this week. If you didn’t have a Twitter account and didn’t know how big of an influence crypto Twitter has on the crypto markets, you’d think this was a pretty ordinary industry debate taking place on a respected crypto news service.

Before I dive into this whole mess, I do want to point out to my lefty Splinter compatriots that this already is more complex than the binary “lol all crypto is dumb” picture you typically see on the left. I have been paying attention to this stuff since 2014 and I spent all of 2021 and most of 2022 trading that bull run and diving head-first into crypto, and I can personally attest that the “lol crypto is dumb” characterization is extremely true, but it does not apply to all of crypto. Blockworks has already proven that with their “you should be a normal, well-adjusted human” take with lines like this.

I want to be clear — I do not care if you vote Republican, Democrat, or third-party, as long as you care about the issues at stake, and truly believe that the candidate in question is representative of your views. But voting for a candidate you would not otherwise support, simply because they favor the deregulation of a sector in which you hold a profit motive, is a compromise that you should not make.

This is the opinion that sent the unhinged crypto Twitter bros into a full-fledged meltdown in a woman’s mentions (I can also personally attest that this is far from the first time that has happened in crypto too). Crypto is global, so saying that crypto is conservative is simply not true and sells short the complexities that comes with an industry with as much influence in Asia as the United States—but the United States crypto bros, yeah, the most vocal ones are Trumpy—whether these supposed free-thinkers want to believe it or not. Their tongue is affixed to Dear Leader’s boot.

Austin Campbell, founder of Zero Knowledge Consulting and a professor at Columbia business school, said that if Biden wins “I will be leaving the country, likely renouncing my citizenship, and becoming an active advisor to companies and nations who are fully intending to use blockchains to seize control of the financial rails from the United States.”

This is a pretty good introduction to the level of hysteria currently taking place.

Martin Shkreli, the famous scammer who went to prison and then very hilariously told famed crypto scammer Do Kwan that prison wasn’t so bad, also got in on the dogpile, and after I told him he was a weirdo for photoshopping himself into Lauren Duca’s photos, he got definitely not mad online at me, tagged my boss, then tagged Twitter suggesting they should take down Splinter’s page, and then he gave Splinter some free promotion! All because I started poking fun at him for joining the crypto bro meltdown over an eminently reasonable take like “have interests other than being a weird reclusive poster who never talks to women except when you yell at them.”

Totally not mad online folks! Normal guy over here having a normal one!

WTF Is Going On?

So what is the actual policy at the root of all this noise? My guess is that it mainly comes down to a misunderstanding of how politics works, which is just another day in the life of crypto Twitter. At this time last year most of these same folks had convinced themselves that Ron DeSantis was going to rule forever.

There is some political savviness being demonstrated here, as industry folks are using the brain-wormed crypto Twitter hysterics to place pressure on an administration to pass favored policies. There’s even a kernel of truth at the root of Austin Campbell’s threat to leave the country if Biden wins. It just requires a fundamental misunderstanding of politics and the concept of linear time to get there.

Back in 2021, the Democrats proposed some utterly insane legislation that would have essentially ruled that anyone using crypto is a broker and thus would have to register with the government and do all sorts of stuff that people managing markets have to do. If you didn’t, you would have to leave the country to keep using crypto had it passed. It was bonkers and the whole industry rose up in opposition to it and most of it got smacked down. The absolute worst parts of that legislation are dead everywhere except for the psyches of the crypto bros where it lives rent-free forever.

Elizabeth Warren is spearheading a lot of the more aggressive legislation that does pose more existential threats to crypto, but based on how the bros are reacting you would think she was the American Queen who rules by fiat and not the fifth-ranked Democrat in the Senate.

It’s very telling that a certain kind of crypto Twitter bro focuses their existential dread on Warren (hmmm another woman that’s the primary target of their ire…) and not, yannow, the President of the United States, who has released statements like this that could easily serve as the rough draft for any of those Coinbase commercials playing during the NBA playoffs right now.

Today, traditional finance leaves too many behind. Roughly 7 million Americans have no bank account. Another 24 million rely on costly nonbank services, like check cashing and money orders, for everyday needs. And for those who do use banks, paying with traditional financial infrastructure can be costly and slow—particularly for cross-border payments.

The digital economy should work for all Americans. That means developing financial services that are secure, reliable, affordable, and accessible to all.

To make payments more efficient, the Federal Reserve has planned the 2023 launch of FedNow—an instantaneous, 24/7 interbank clearing system that will further advance nationwide infrastructure for instant payments alongside The Clearinghouse’s Real Time Payments system.

Some digital assets could help facilitate faster payments and make financial services more accessible, but more work is needed to ensure they truly benefit underserved consumers and do not lead to predatory financial practices.

Contrast that statement from the President of the United States to posts like this and you can see how some of these people genuinely do live in a different political reality from the rest of us.

That these manchildren are throwing this kind of shitfit over a pretty standard attempt at regulation just reveals the conservative boomer ideology at the base of all these bores’ brainstems. Venture capitalists are out here deluding themselves to be radicals while promoting Chris Rufo’s book like the dutiful Facebook Uncles they are.

Joe Biden is a standard neoliberal who wants to copy/paste a lot of existing financial regulation on to crypto. If you have problems with how effective his policy is and want to support someone else, that’s fine, that’s politics! But asserting that an administration staffed with Blackrock drones who say they want to integrate crypto into the existing financial system is actually an existential threat to crypto makes you sound completely insane.

To give some credit to Ryan Selkis and Ryan Selkis only, he pleaded with all of the pepes to stop yelling at a woman saying that abortion might be a more important subject to some people than fucking dog coins.

The other side of this freakout coin is the Securities and Exchange Commission’s outright hostility to crypto, which is pretty surprising given how SEC Chair Gary Gensler used to teach blockchain at MIT. Biden does deserve to get hit for having an SEC Chair who is weirdly hostile to an industry he should be trying to regulate, while also being so incompetent that he cannot win a trial against the most obvious security in the history of securities. What is all that hostility accomplishing?

There’s nothing wrong with crypo bros being conservative and saying that you don’t trust government to properly regulate the industry, just stop pretending that you’re some kind of new age freedom fighter and turn on Fox News and take a rage nap like everyone else in your ideological cohort. Crypto Twitter is in one of the thickest ideological bubbles I have ever seen. They have genuinely convinced themselves that not only do Americans vote on crypto (lolololololol) but that crypto has this kind of impact in American politics.

Hayden Adams, the creator of Uniswap, the largest decentralized crypto exchange, compared not looking at crypto as a salient political question to Hillary “campaigning in red states instead of swing states level miscalculation.”

Bro, most Americans haven’t thought of crypto since they lost $100 buying the Solana top in 2021. What world do you think you live in?

And I like crypto! People who call Bitcoin a fad must point me in the direction of another fad that has lost seventy to eighty percent of its value six times and regained all of it over the course of fifteen years and counting. Sorry folks, that’s the market telling you it has conviction in this thing. It’s not going away, especially not after Blackrock’s Bitcoin ETF approval.

Ethereum picked up where Bitcoin left off in 2017 when the rubber had to meet the road of Satoshi’s vision for decentralized ledgers and it chose the road of gold, then the subsequent proliferation of stablecoins on Ethereum and its competitors has been one of the biggest monetary technological advancements in recent history. Stablecoins expand the soft power of the United States by spreading the dollar to every corner of the world.

Now instead of having to figure out the Argentine Peso to Bitcoin conversion every time they get hit with hyperinflation, Argentinians can just park their savings in the equivalent of U.S. dollars, and it is absolutely imperative that the stablecoin industry be regulated properly to ensure trust, because that’s what’s underpinning all of this. Crypto should welcome regulation, because so long as it remains unregulated, most people will rightfully look at it as a giant apparatus for fraud.

I’ll even stick up for NFTs—no not the jpegs. Those are just shitcoins with pictures, whatever—who cares. Actual NFT technology is so much more than just pictures. An NFT is just a digital container that you can stick anything inside of, and in the future, they’re going to be referred to as asset tokenization. Their programmability and non-fungibility make them ideal stores for assets, and Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, the largest asset manager in the world, thinks they will house “every stock, every bond.”

Crypto is coming whether people like it or not. Some of this stuff works and it’s an improvement on our rigid payment rails that I can personally attest are also teeming with fraud.

But if these garden variety suburban boomer brains are going to continue to demand to speak for the entire industry and pretend to be radicals, then the industry will remain as marginalized as those folks allow them to be. Martin Shkreli poked fun at Splinter for a lack of engagement as we reactivate this mothership after five years of dormancy, but even with all his supposed influence and not mad online trolling, he was only able to push Dave Levitan’s excellent post about climate change polling up to number two on a site he claims gets no traffic during a low-traffic week while I wrapped up my grad school studies.

These crypto bros who don’t even speak for their entire industry and mainly know women just from yelling at them online like to think they have a world of influence, but reality simply proves otherwise.

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