Why NFTs are the Future (part 2)

(This is an abridged response to a comment in my mailbox.)

I get that humans are hunter-gatherers and there’s a natural instinct to collect random bits and bobs, but it’s not the *collection* that has value; it’s the *discovery*. Cryptokittes were sort of fun because you could breed two cats and hatch an egg (wtf), and the result was a surprise. It took a modicum of effort to find a rare Kitty.

Humans love surprises; that’s why slot machines are so addictive. And that’s why baseball cards became popular. Kids would go to the corner store for their daily pack of cigarettes, and maybe there would be a Honus Wagner card inside the package. The modern-day equivalent might be the Pokemon toy you get in a McDonald’s Happy Meal. The cigarettes were probably healthier, but McDonald’s prizes are better.

We admire someone’s art collection, or baseball card collection, because it represents a proof-of-work. There’s something impressive about seeing the complete set of McDonald’s Pokemons. Like, someone plowed through a LOT of cheeseburgers to acquire that collection.

The liquidity of NFTs ruins the fun of collection, in that it cheapens the discovery process. Friction has value; that’s why Shopify is able to exist in spite of Amazon.

But maybe I’m jaded by post-capitalism. Back in the olden days, money was a sort of proxy measure for work, so a display of wealth was in theory a proof-of-work. Now that money magically arrives in the form of stimulus checks, does work even have value?

See Also:
Bitcoin as a Display of Wealth

Why NFTs are the Future

Would the Mona Lisa still be valuable if we discovered that Leonardo da Vinci was racist?

Trick question! Racism and art are social constructs, their value controlled by the same elite establishment.

We tend to think that people get canceled after a racism is unearthed, but it’s really the other way around. The Powers That Be identify someone who needs to be canceled, and find a way to smear them as racist. Or anti-semitic, extremist, or domestic terrorist. These are just catch-all terms to describe someone who has fallen out of favor with the establishment.

(By which I mean, rich people.)

It doesn’t take elaborate propaganda to create a consensus; if you say it enough times it becomes true. Contemporary art is objectively shit — an affront to the eyes — its only purpose to provide a vessel for money laundering. We’re convinced of its artistic value because rich people fund fancy museums to pump their bags. Did you know that the Museum of Contemporary Art is funded by the Soros family?

Comedian, by Maurizio Cattelan

“Art is anything you can get away with” –Andy Warhol

Things move faster in Silicon Valley. Which brings me to NFTs, or non-fungible tokens attached to a media asset. Like a title of ownership, but on the blockchain. The only reason anyone ascribes value to NFTs is because Silicon Valley VCs won’t shut up about them.

And…I mean that in a good way. It truly demonstrates the democratization of finance. It’s no longer billionaires in New York who can conjure up collective hallucinations for tax evasion purposes. Now billionaires in Silicon Valley can do it too. You thought it was a chad move to sell a banana taped to a wall for $150k? Jack Dorsey just sold his first tweet for $2M.

CryptoKitty sales chart.

Why did the CryptoKitty market crash? Because that Union Square Ventures guy stopped tweeting about them.

See Also:
Why NFTs are the Future (part 2)

Billionaires in Bitcoin

Bajillionaires are offering their thoughts on Bitcoin. Not because they have anything interesting to add, but because they pretty much have to. If you’re still a Nocoiner in the year 2021, you’d better have some darn good reasoning to spin to your shareholders. Putting bitcoin in your corporate cash reserves is like buying IBM in 1970. You don’t wanna be the guy who gets fired for buying a UNIVAC.

Some years ago, JP Morgan built an enterprise version of Ethereum, and I joked that having JP Morgan support your blockchain is like receiving a presidential endorsement from David Duke.

But here we are. BNY Mellon announced plans to provide bitcoin custodial services; Citi thinks Bitcoin is At the Tipping Point; now Goldman Sachs has restarted its crypto trading desk and will begin dealing bitcoin futures. Having Goldman Sachs support your blockchain is like receiving a glowing eulogy from the Washington Post 🤮.

Maybe the revulsion is unfounded. We reject the banking system and Wall Street because they have a monopoly over the money supply, and anything that can be monopolized can be manipulated. Money begets power. See also: Cantillon Effect

When it comes to Bitcoin, disproportionate wealth does not translate to disproportionate influence over the protocol. BlackRock may be “dabbling” in Bitcoin, but it won’t be appointed by a central bank to manage a bailout.

So, fine. Welcome billionaires and legacy banking. Fossil fuels may be dirty, but they provide the propulsive force to send our rocket to the moon.

Generic Bitcoin Headline

Okay, Bitcoin needs to stop going up. I am living proof that free money turns people into lazy degenerates.

(Or maybe I was born a lazy degenerate, and it was only the threat of poverty that made me get out of bed every morning.)

Since I’m too lazy to produce new content, here is some old content.

Other Crypto Stuff

Clubhouse is Awesome

Why is Clubhouse so awesome? Because you’re not there. And by “you”, I mean me, the normies and the riffraff, and most importantly, the journalists.

I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member. –Groucho Marx

Here’s a former attorney who’s made it her mission to invite as many journalists as possible to Clubhouse. For “accountability”.

It reminds me of 15 years ago, when some Facebook exec said, “Hey, TheFacebook is fun and awesome, but you know what would make it even better? If we invited all our Moms to sign up!”

Clubhouse is an invitation-only voice app where Silicon Valley people talk about tech trends, and journalists are mad because they aren’t in charge of the conversation.

Why is there so much animosity between journalists and VCs? Because both groups fancy themselves the arbiters of new trends.

VCs talk about picking successful startups like it’s a passive exercise, but the biggest determinant of success is a lead investor from Sand Hill Road. It’s not just the money, it’s the network. Anyone can make a social iPhone app, but only an a16z portfolio company can seed the app with Marc Andreessen and Felicia Horowitz.

Here’s NYTimes tech reporter Taylor Lorenz:

VCs dismiss this comment as self-important hogwash, but Lorenz is not completely wrong. Except that journalists don’t identify emerging trends, they create them.

Everyone in MSM knows that endless bleating is a sure way to shape public opinion: “Mostly peaceful protests! White supremacist armed insurrection! Clubhouse is full of Nazis!” They want to get more journalists on the Clubhouse app to amplify their own opinions.

Would we have had all those BLM protests if NYT hadn’t spent a whole year pounding the 1619 Project into our brains? (Speaking of which, has the NYT been charged with inciting a riot?) I mean, we were all a little stir-crazy from the lockdowns, but maybe we could have protested something more productive, like Universal Healthcare.

It’s the new Eternal September. An internet community does not die when the college freshmen show up, but when the Karens do.

Aside: This investor offered to donate $1000 to St. Jude for every VC that boycotts Forbes’ Midas List, but it looks like he got zero takers?