People say I don't criticise regulated businesses enough, so let me talk about Robinhood is planning an IPO soon and which I think is an absolute menace to society.
This app is rewiring an entire generation's investing habits to engage in out-right gambling by pushing users into crazy risky products that 20 somethings have no rational business buying.
Encouraging intraday trading by pushing constant notifications at them about short-term price movements is a cash cow for them because they profit per transaction, but not in the interest of their users.

Frequency of trades is almost always inversely correlated with returns.
Encouraging users to buy options contracts is even crazier. 60-65% of these contracts are going to expire worthless and most Robinhood users aren't trading these products as part of a hedging strategy but instead as naked gambling. It's like a casino parlor.
In their S-1 filing 34% of their cryptocurrency revenue was attributed to transactions fees on Dogecoin. A absurd financial product that is to first approximation a distributed Ponzi scheme backed by nothing but jokes.…
Although their entire crypto business is actually more honest than the rest of the sector. Since it doesn't allow withdrawals or transfers of cryptocoins, it abandons any pretense of bullshit "digital money" and presents users with the crypto slot machine they actually want.
And that cuts to the heart of why it's a terrible business. It's not about democratising access to the markets at all. It's about putting the same fruit machine you see in seedy bars into every teenager's pocket and addicting to them to high-risk gambling behavior like a dealer.

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More from @smdiehl

1 Jul
Ok, trying out this Copilot beta now and it's doing some reasonably impressive things ... more thoughts forthcoming.
First impressions, it's quite clever for boilerplate and like CS 101 kind of exam question-like problems. Probably not that surprising considering it's cribbing from Stackoverflow.

Anything beyond that seems to produce hilariously wrong answers.
Some experiments on variants of FizzBuzz or simple arithmetic expressions on nth prime numbers seem to confuse it quite a bit.
Read 4 tweets
1 Jul
This "but the blockchain" or #NotAllBlockhains is a silly petty argument that I don't have time for anymore.

So let's talk about the Tesco Blockchain. (1/)
A while back Tescos (i.e the British supermarket) did some misguided blockchain project involving tracking the provenance of vegetables from the EU. Was a terribly silly project that could have been done better other ways, but alas that's software. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (2/)
It consisted of a bunch of internal permissioned servers that would pointlessly replicate a bunch of data for no purpose other than to say "on the blockchain". It didn't really work, but neither did the project it replaced. (3/)
Read 7 tweets
29 Jun
When crypto skeptics talk about bitcoin as either a Ponzi scheme, a Pyramid scheme, or Multi-level marketing scheme we're using these words as a stand-in for a type of fraud for which there isn't a precise term of art for yet. (1/) 🧵
Most crypto coins are a speculative investment that shares some properties of the three types of classic financial scams:

1) The Ponzi schemes
2) Pyramid schemes
3) Multi-level marketing schemes

However it depends on subset of cashflows, market makers, and products you look at. Most cryptocoins are some combination of the above three, but diverge from the classic scams in subtle and legally important ways and may involve software in novel ways to obscure the fraud. (3/)
Read 10 tweets
28 Jun
After 12 months of crypto troll abuse, the upside is that I now have quite a large text corpus for my model. Trying to troll me at this point is just training my classifier to be more efficient at blocking.
Highest correlates for abusive Tweets are interesting and probably not surprising.

"#bitcoin" in bio
".eth" in handle
"🚀" in handle
"cardano" in bio
I don't have an image classifier on profile photo yet, but probably wouldn't be that hard to detect laser eye trolls. That would probably reduce confusion quite a bit.
Read 4 tweets
16 Jun
Let's talk about the evergreen meme that while cryptocoins are certainly a useless speculative bubble, "the blockchain" is a revolutionary technology that will improve the financial system. (1/)🧵
You see this clain basically every Bloomberg or New York Times article. The problem with this claim is that it's short on any specific goals, details or mechanism. What exactly will it change? (2/)
It's especially common to hear this meme repeated by residents of the United States where retail banking and payments are perhaps 20 years behind the rest of developed economies. In fact many developing economies are more advanced at this point. (3/)
Read 20 tweets
15 Jun
Generally good article in the Times this morning. Take minor issue with a few points though.…
Blockchain technology is neither ingenious and groundbreaking. After 13 years of being a solution in search of a problem it has found no applications that couldn't be better done with a simpler solutions.

We should not fetishize useless novelty.
The central bank currencies (CBDCs) aren't variants of bitcoin technology at all. Centrally managed digital bearer assets or central bank clearing systems are literally by definition centralised databases; the complete diametric technical opposite of cryptocoins.
Read 4 tweets

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