, 62 tweets, 12 min read Read on Twitter
You know what really terrifies me, when it comes to Bitcoin?

While the vast majority of people understand that it's a total joke, very few people really get how it works, so most people get the impression that it is a hilariously terrible implementation of some decent ideas.

No
What it actually is is a wildly successful implementation of several quite intentionally terrible ideas.

Anyone's effort to rehabilitate any of the core concepts behind Bitcoin and put them to use elsewhere is at best doomed to failure, and at worst setting up future catastrophy
The first myth that needs busting before you can really get your head around this is that Bitcoin is not actually a functional currency, nor was it designed to be such. Quite the opposite in fact! What it is is a big scam for duping people out of money. Which, basically, works as
sort of a hybrid of a couple very old and well-known ones you can hopefully get your head around:

Think of Bitcoin like if Amway sold limited edition beanie babies.

We all remember both of those, right? Amway is the big famous pyramid scheme company where a company has a lot of
random crap to sell, and rather than put it in a store, they pitch this whole notion to bored housewives that they can run their own home business by taking a bulk order of it and either personally selling it to everyone they know or subcontracting their friends as a "sales team"
and... ultimately, by design even, everyone gets screwed over. Either you're just buying a bunch of random crap from your friend and trying to flip it without really having the wiggle room to finagle a profit margin, OR you're ordering stuff in bulk/with a subscription model to
get around the profit margin issue, and just go broke as you warehouse all this stuff you can't possibly move in these quantities.

AND ultimately, it's all garbage nobody actually wants, which is WHY this system of selling it through a network of housewives buying it to flip it
is even a thing to begin with.

Meanwhile, Beanie Babies were (are?) a thing that really hit a boom when eBay was starting to get popular- A company makes a new design for a teddy bear... not even really a fancy designer one or anything, just a cheap little bear-shaped beanbag I
could maybe see grabbing for like a dollar because I'm meeting a friend and they have their toddler with them that day and a token gift to appease a child forced to hang out while adults talk is a cultural custom. However, they only create that particular design in a short run,
sell it for a brief window, then you can never buy it again. If you're too young to remember, think how hard it was getting an NES mini, but as an intentional marketing gimmick and not just a complete misjudging of how popular they'd be. The company that makes beanie babies keeps
doing short runs because knowing everyone is going to freak out about potentially missing their window means they'll always sell out.

Most people buying the things though aren't buying them because they actually want them. I mean, they're cheap garbage. I haven't sewn anything
since I was in high school, but gimme a machine a few dollars worth of basic supplies and I'm pretty sure I could do better still.

The idea though is that since so few were ever made, no more ever will, and plenty are probably going to be destroyed over the years, hoarding as
many as you can for as long as you can means they're guaranteed to become more rare, and the basic principle that rarity inherently equals value means you can eventually cash out on eBay to the tune of, let's see, just looking at this top search result, I see someone trying to
unload a Princess Diana memorial Beanie Baby for... $135,000.

AND scrolling down to "similar offers" I'm seeing literally the same exact one put up for just under $10 (or best offer) and basically any price in between those extremes. Because, again, there is no real market value
on something that nobody actually wants for the sake of actually having it. All these eBay Beanie Baby sales at this point are just speculators buying from and selling to other speculators, hoping they're snagging things from people who set the price too low and can flip them for
a profit, in just this strange closed off ecosystem where you just have a bunch of scammers and would-be scammers passing around the same worthless bean bags for arbitrary amounts of money... and, of course, always looking to drag other people into that ecosystem who haven't done
any pricing research.

So this is the basic goal state Bitcoin enthusiasts are seeking. They want something that can be acquired cheaply and sold at a profit, by virtue of becoming harder to acquire over time. Nobody wants any actual PRODUCT with any sort of value, just some sort
tradeable token that doesn't need physical storage space, and they also ideally want to avoid having to personally be out there on the street trying to sell the magic beans, ideally setting up a system where they just administrate for a cut of the profit off others' transactions.
And of course like other scams of this nature, there's a basic understanding that most people getting involved understand they're getting into some manner of pyramid scheme, and it's important to make sure more suckers are coming in after you than before so you can sell the idea
of infinite sustainability even though the whole thing is explicitly designed around leaving someone holding the bag at the end.

Bitcoin is something that was specifically created to serve this purpose. It has no real value beyond the ability to trade it away. Fixed supply with
built-in decay so it just gets more rare over time. "You just do it all over the internet!" And since we're mainly marketing this to uncreative con artists, a lot of security and security theater baked in to market to them, and then a simple catch phrase to also catch TOTAL rubes
with no critical thinking skills at all ("it's a stable currency you can still use after we get rid of all the banks!")

Now, the real issue is, some nerd really overthought the best way to accomplish all that, and came up with this whole "blockchain" concept to kill two or three
of those birds with one stone.

The basic idea behind blockchains is that you never have a situation where I hand you a dollar and you have me a sandwich. I instead pull out this great big ridiculous stapled together bundle of pages, comprising the entire history of a particular
dollar, chronicling every single time it has ever passed from one person to another, adding as I do, a new story, in which I transfer the long storied tale of the dollar unto you (we don't actually have a bill), in exchange for a sandwich.

Of course, if I just did THAT, it'd be
Entirely too easy for people to write up FAKE STORIES ABOUT DOLLARS (gasp!) so we actually have to go find a cryptography expert to use a whole lot of absurdly processor-intensive math to translate a book of total gibberish into the long story of a dollar, then run it through yet
again to keep the final log you're being passed a pile of confusing gibberish nobody could easily replicate.

This is, of course, absurd and ridiculous. Especially if you have any conception of just how often a given dollar changes hands. We end up with this absolutely stupidly
long log (which, oh yeah, needs to have random files added into it in addition to the actual transaction logs for security, like that scene in Johnny Mnemonic with the 3 random stills off the TV, we've all seen that right? No? Oh and yes there HAVE been instances of tossing child
porn in for this purpose, which yes, DOES mean there is an illegal photo permanently and forever duct-taped to that particular dollar along with a record of everyone who ever held it).

This makes the process of actually managing the exchange an absurdly complex process that gets
worse every single time, requiring steeper transation fees to cover the ever-increasing overhead for the people doing the intensely processor-intensive encryption work, which in turn also demands ever-increasing amounts of expensive hardware and electricity to the point where the
infrastructure behind all this is already a huge and still growing contributor to the extinction of all life, just by virtue of how many trees have to be burned down to power the computer processing this one purchase here.

Now at this point, you might be thinking I'm making up
the most absurd thing I can think of or getting the details wrong (believe it or not I'm actually oversimplifying) because there's no way any of this could ever serve any sort of practical purpose.

But again, see, we aren't actually here to serve a practical purpose. We're here
to make a product that only exists in ledgers harder to obtain over time, and let people who don't want to deal with the nightmare of selling it to people able to skim off the top on every sale. The horrible inefficiency is a feature, not a bug. The horrible environmental impact
is not, so far as I know, an intended feature. It's just that the sort of dirtbag who goes to THIS much effort trying to get rich off pyramid schemes inherently has no empathy and so doesn't care.

Now then. This whole mess is an obvious nightmare, and it's a bit like watching a
game of Jenga from the outside, where it's very easy to see how incredibly wobbly that tower is getting which is... a terrible metaphor for me to use because Jenga only has one loser and pyramid schemes have a ton. Everyone wants to unload their bitcoin ledgers at this point and
liquidate back to actual, spendable, valuable money. Nobody wants to be the guy who spent $135,000 on a beanie baby you can't even get $10 or on eBay. So you have the really desperate market where I'm... honestly kinda shocked I've managed to say Bitcoin so many times in this and
still not been swarmed by follow-bots and people shrieking not to listen to me and it's still a very solid investment, but we also have (and have had for years) a whole bunch of people who actually have gotten rich off this scam, or that think they could have if they'd gotten in
earlier, all trying to start up "competing" cryptocurrencies. I'm putting that in quotes because again, these are all pyramid schemes. There's no point where you've "made it" you just get to a point where it gets too big and collapses, hopefully cashing out before then, so really
if one crashes and burns just a little while after you got in on the ground floor, that's a win for you. Only a loss if you can't cash out first.

And then we also have all these people who have made their bank processing bitcoin transactions and have a WHOLE lot invested in huge
piles of hardware that aren't really good for anything but "managing blockchain transactions." Since, again, and I can't ever possibly stress this enough, "blockchain transactions" are an intentionally inefficient costly nightmare created only to make all things Bitcoin a massive
enough headache you have to outsource it to a contractor, we have a whole lot of con artists with a whole lot of product they need to sucker people into buying.

So uh... let me just browse a few search results here for "powered by blockchain," shall I?

frontiersin.org/articles/10.33…
MAGNIFICENT. Ever-costlier rapidly growing encrypted ledger logs are definitely the wave of the future for... parking lots. It's vital to be able to go back and prove all those occasions in which a particular vehicle was parked in a particular space, and also to anonymize that
data so nobody can actually say which space specifically was parked in or by which car, just the dates and times.

hackernoon.com/6-social-media…

Mmm, yes! Even better! The problem with Twitter is that every time you make a post you're just throwing that post along not an encrypted log
of everything you have ever posted along with everything ever posted by anyone interacting with your posts. That is a very good and sustainable idea and focused on a type of service that definitely isn't massively unprofitable, nor needs incredibly aggressive ads to cover costs.
blockchainpower.com

OK this one might actually get the prize for the evening. I can't even tell what, if anything, it is they're trying to pitch here, but it basically comes across like someone who just had the brilliant idea to completely eliminate his electric bills by
plugging two power strips into each other and skipping the wall jack entirely. Just breathtaking. And what an amazing pitch line this is! "Cryptocurrency miners are electromagnetic alchemists, turning electricity into digital currency."

I could keep going, but you get the idea.
If you see the word "blockchain" in any context other than blocking all of someone's twitter followers, someone is pitching a massive scam.

If you see "crypto" and it isn't followed by "zoology" or a misspelling of Superman's dog, that almost certainly is too.

Respond violently
Also? A quick little addendum here, to address the 2 biggest lies people trot out to pitch Bitcoin/cryptocurrencies/blockchains:

A whole lot of people say they invest in bitcoin because if you do digital transactions with real money, there's a paper trail.

This is hilarious, as
not only are all the things that create those transaction laws independent of what you're using to pay- people just kinda like to keep records of everything they're buying and selling for the sake of keeping tabs on things but can easily skip doing so if having those would pose a
problem (so your drug dealer probably doesn't ever write receipts, for example) but THE WHOLE POINT OF THE BLOCKCHAIN IS IT'S AN EVER-PRESENT PAPER TRAIL! Buddy, you are actually CREATING the problem someone conned you into thinking you were solving here. That's just sad.
And highly related to that, there's this deeply paranoid pitch about how some day the government might decide to stop letting you buy things with paper money and force all transactons to be electronic only. And... OK again, we have the angle where I really don't know how someone
managed to sucker you into thinking that something you can only trade over the internet with every transaction requiring increasingly difficult and resource intensive third party interventions is something that isn't going to eventually have the plug pulled on it completely, but
I think it's also important to keep in mind that making paper money/coinage worthless isn't something the government is actually capable of doing in any meaningful sense.

I mean, if any legal scholars are following me, I'm sure this is going to lead to some real nerdy side track
but legally... paper money is self-enforcing. There isn't some law on an old scroll somewhere saying "one dollar bill is worth one dollar and you can spend it" someone could just cross off and nullify everything. Every piece of paper in your pocket is its own independent legal
document. Really, whip a dollar out and read it. In the upper left corner it says "this note is legal tender for all debts public and private," and then down at the bottom there's signatures from the treasurer of the united states and secretary of the treasury. Your wallet is
stuffed with a big wad full of binding legal documents. If you go to buy something with paper money, and the store refuses to take it, and you wanted to be really dramatic about things, you could totally present that dollar in court and insist that it's an enforceable contract.
Of course, we're presumably looking at this in some post-apocalyptic nightmare scenario where all courts and law enforcement have ceased to exist so you can't go show a judge your dollar and insist people have to accept it, but... functionally speaking that should never matter?
If society has COMPLETELY collapsed and against all realities of human social interaction no effort is made to restore it and everyone is just out for themselves in the ideal libertarian hell world, the whole concept of bartering is off the table and you should just be collecting
all the durable knives and solid blunt objects you can now to club and stab your way through stealing other survivors resources. Anything short of that totally implausible scenario though...you're still going to be able to spend a dollar. Money is a huge convenience. If you don't
have some kind of basically worthless but generally agreed upon thing that's easy to pass back and forth, every time you want something, you have to do some weird ad hoc negotiation on the spot where you're working out the exchange rate on like, live chickens to unopened water
bottles or some ridiculous thing so you need to then also carry around you at all times. The Falout games make fun of this by using bottlecaps as currency, because they're this useless finite relic of the old world you can just carry a bunch of in your pocket but like... a dollar
works just as well there? Again, to this day, there's this whole weird economic ecology on eBay where people trade around cheap garbage teddy bears whose only perceived value comes from the fact that they don't make them anymore. There's people who collect old coins they stopped
minting. The idea that if they ever stopped printing paper money it would suddenly all LOSE value is absurd (and again, nobody's out there creating new bitcoins or instilling them with any outside value so, you'd better off with bottlecaps). A dollar with no government backing is
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