Blockchain is back and it’s scammier than ever. We’ve decided to stop wishing it were something it’s not and start celebrating it for what it is. Very zen of us. We know. We’re the most humble degens you’ll ever come across, and the most important thing on the Internet, as per usual.
Chad & El Prof
(Price changes reflect past 24 hours as of 1.6.22 @ 4:20 PM EST.)
- Despite its so-called ‘Santa rally’ over the holidays, Bitcoin is back to falling face first into the snow. The price of BTC has hit its lowest point in months and its market share is 30% less than this time last year. Guess the stim checks were more substantial than Meemaw’s Christmas card.
- Ethereum and Solana wallets, however, are seeing record adoption numbers, including but presumably not limited to one Marshall B. Mathers.
You may’ve heard by now that Norton is bundling a crypto mining feature in with their antivirus software. You may’ve not, considering it’s only publicized in this footnote of an FAQ, and, presumably, some novel-length user agreement’s fine print. Aside from the fact that this constitutes the literal definition of the sort of adware Norton purports to defend against, it’s caused some uproar because the company is also skimming 15% off any cryptocurrency mined via the software for itself.
While this is generally upsetting to me in the same way that capitalism-as-the-internationally-accepted-system-of-economic-governance is upsetting, I find myself siding less with the instant Twitter outrage and more with the equally inevitable Slate op-ed. It argues that the story shouldn’t be about the software, but about what a crypto pivot from such a household name means for the antiviral industry at large — in short, Norton was only good for uninstalling competitors and generating annoying pop-ups in the first place, and, in the susceptible crypto landscape, will fit in just fine.
As someone who once had a major dissociative episode after a bad torrent downloaded antiviral-engine-hawking scareware onto my laptop, I am predisposed to agree. (I figured it must be a CIA-designed rootkit installed to drive higher order thinkers like myself to insanity, but we don’t need to go down that rabbit hole, now do we?) By nature, web3 is notoriously ill-equipped to deal with the variety of scams and privacy-invasive business practices endemic to it. It’s telling that Norton’s response, rather than trying to pioneer some new form of cybersecurity, was: ‘Fuck it! Let’s get in on that action.’
I suspect, as crypto technology continues to evolve, the pivots will only continue, too. Perhaps some will be even more transparent cash grabs than what we have here. There’s a lot of access to a lot of money in the space, after all, which unfortunately doesn’t just attract historically marginalized communities, but, somewhat obviously, billionaires and corporate giants, as well. Even the new web3 blue chips like OpenSea fall back on exploitative business practices, resting the responsibility of security entirely on the customer. Secure ownership rights and equitable access to resources draw many consumers into crypto, but businesses are here for the same reason as always: profit. It’s healthy to remind ourselves that we can’t look to the latter for the sort of innovation that the technology offers, and the former deserves.
Stoner doodles for a good cause.
I had high hopes that my transition from Ethereum Enthusiast Virgin to Solana Maxi Chad would crack the door wide open on my hunt to find the next CryptoPunks or $100m (not a typo) floating white balls by Pak. Upon wading into the wild waters of SolSea only to discover marquee collections such as Solana Sluts and Crypto Idolz – Butts, those hopes were quickly dashed.
Instead, here I am, shouting out the team behind PsyShrooms, who are channeling their not-negligible artistic talent into the type of drawings doodled in the margins by my high school drug dealer. But at least it’s for a good cause. Half of these 5,555 trippy little guys will be used to support charities working on drug addiction.
You can pick up one for as little as 1/5 SOL ($30 in these dark winter days) on the energy efficient blockchain, Solana, with gas fees more comparable to a daily electric bill than a whole month of running the heat at 78 degrees, as is the Ethereum way.
In keeping with their stylistic roots, I personally would prefer to see the PsyShrooms funds funneled into researching psychedelics for trauma therapy or something of the like. But I guess that’s why they’re leaving treasury allocation for their DAO to decide. If mental health is important to you, and you have a few hours a week to dedicate to writing and designing content, or just reading the conversations going on in their Discord, community engagement and participation is key to the teams behind the projects you believe in.
I’m speaking from experience, of course, as evidenced by the following shameless plug: if you need help adopting Solana, web3 in general, or simply making sense of our increasingly senseless existence, just drop into our own channel. Let’s chat.
All your apes are belong to us.
In response to losing a JPG collection valued at nearly $2m to a phishing scam, Todd Kramer, curator of the Ross+Kramer art gallery in NYC and bonafide adult human being, took to a public forum to write these infamous four words: ‘all my apes gone.’ In honor of his fallen simians and dignity, we’ve decided to mint our new semi-occasional Kramer Award, recognizing those who’ve contributed to the global economy by surrendering their easy-earned capital to more competent hands.
Our inaugural award goes to @9x9x9eth, proud owner of ‘242 pudgy penguins’, who recently posted a rollercoaster of a Twitter thread about the sorry state of that 600eth investment. The gist is, after investing $2m in glorified Neopets, he became an advisor to the burgeoning Poptropica knockoff brand, which offered to sell him a 20% stake in the Pudgy Penguins enterprise for 4000eth ($13.5m). Wisely, 9x9x9eth turned it down, then, unwisely, spent his ‘personal ETH to maintain the floor at 2ETH for months’ while the company raised two rounds of investment on the promise of developing an MMORPG based on the penguins. (But, like, totally not Club Penguin.)
Well, the artificial floor fell out last night, when the founders allegedly reached back out to our honoree, offering him a 100% stake in the company for a mere $3m. Which I’m sure sounded great, prior to the realization that they had already emptied out the treasury to split among the founders without delivering on any promises to investors, and now wanted to ‘sell the sinking ship for another 888ETH.’ Always the good sport, 9x9x9eth hopes ‘the team can start making changes that put pudgy penguins on the right track, as pengs are cute!’ But given that the co-founder, @ColeThereum, best known for admitting to ‘shilling random NFT projects for money’, coincidentally announced a Twitter break four days ago to focus on his mental health and ‘doing what [he] loves behind the scenes’? There’ve been better bets. Like ETH 2.0. Or Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
We hope we’re not being uncharitable by putting the burden of idiocy on 9x9x9eth’s back, who, after all, is being lauded as a whistleblowing hero in his mentions as I type. At the same time, he did invest the cost of an Upper West Side apartment into 242 penguin JPGs and participated in artificially inflating the value thereof, all in service of a proud scammer. But. You know. Pengs are cute!
2021 marked a banner year for crypto scams — holders lost $14b in total, up 79% from the year before, which, we suspect, will increase by another exponential figure this year, as venture and personal capital continues to flow freely into this unexplored and unprotected frontier. Like George Bailey, we’ll continue to pine for a trustworthy point of centralization in the markets until we’re blue in the face. In the meantime, we’ll honor the casualties of the decentralized dystopia pipe dream. Shine on you crazy diamond hands.