Stephen Diehl Profile picture
Programming 🐻
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Apr 5 7 tweets 2 min read
Guess the younger generation is really into these YouTube video essays rather than the written word. Fortunately there are some really good crypto critical ones. (1/) Web3.0: A Libertarian Dystopia (2/)
Apr 2 7 tweets 2 min read
The Tech Won't Save Us podcast by @parismarx has had a profound influence on shaping crypto criticism across the world. I highly recommend listening to all the wonderful critics he's brought on. Bursting the NFT Bubble w/ Jacob Silverman
podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/bur…
Apr 1 9 tweets 3 min read
I was completely wrong about crypto and NFTs. I realized that the only problem with artificial scarcity is that we aren't financializing enough of the conceptual universe. So today (and today only) I’m announcing my new NFT collection. 🧵 (1/) Previous NFT projects have attempted to Tinkerbell into existence a new asset class of non-physical fictitious pseudo-commodities whose artificial demand is purely narrative-driven. Now that sounds insane … until you realize a way you can profit. Then it makes total sense. (2/)
Mar 31 6 tweets 2 min read
One of the most important projects I contributed to recently is an
thorough analysis of crypto from multiple ideologies and perspectives. Trying to steelman the strongest form of their view. (1/) 🧵 The neo-metallist perspective on Bitcoin and the concept of "digital" gold and a possible rebirth of the gold standards of the 19th century. (2/)
web3.lifeitself.us/notes/neo-meta…
Mar 13 15 tweets 4 min read
Let's talk about what type of financial products crypto tokens are most comparable to in traditional markets. (1/)🧵 As most people have notied crypto"currencies" aren't currencies for very obvious reasons. They economics are deflationary, the transaction throughput doesn't scale, are too volatile to conduct commerce in and there's no mechanism for the volatility to ever subside. (2/)
Mar 12 12 tweets 2 min read
Let's talk about the crypto bubble bath "economy" and spawns new speculative bubbles out of nothing. (1/) 🧵 The essence of the first order crypto token scam is you create a form of digital monopoly money and then wrap it in some bullshit narrative (technolibertarianism, financial liberation, get rich quick, etc) to attract suckers. (2/)
Mar 12 4 tweets 1 min read
DHSR talk is really good, but minor nitpick is that he makes a distinction between "permissioned blockchains" and "permissionless blockchains".

Permissionless blockchains are things like Bitcoin, Dogecoin. These are the predatory scams. (1/)

blog.dshr.org/2022/02/ee380-… Permissioned blockchains is a very new and entirely made up marketing word that companies like IBM have retroactively fit on top of technology that's 30 years old. Intrinsically there's nothing harmful with the tech here, except that it lends credibility to the scams. (2/)
Mar 8 4 tweets 1 min read
Jon is very clever but this argument is way too reductive. The reason retail traders generally lose money isn't so much that they're losing a few basis point on execution when using free brokers. It's mostly because they're DAY TRADING in stupid ways.

None of this a particular excuse for some of the legitimately unfair things that sometimes happen in market infrastructure. But this whole argument seems like a non-sequitur even if it is talking about important issues.
Jan 15 4 tweets 1 min read
I have a couple of working theories on why there's so much journalistic self-censorship in reporting about the crypto bubble. But a pretty explanatory model why this is that it's just so damn stupid to even understand it all or write about. Would you as an aspiring reporter with a degree from Yale want to cover the big stories about massive geopolitical shifts or a bunch of kids gambling on fart coins and talking dogs?

The absurdity and low-brow childish aspects of it really do push serious thoughtful people away.
Jan 8 11 tweets 2 min read
People ask which descriptor you should use to describe crypto, either a 'pyramid scheme' or a 'Ponzi scheme'. The answer is either because it depends on what facet of the ecosystem you're looking at because it's a multi-layered fraud. (1/) 🧵 These type of digital investment frauds are all quite new, and for some definitions they don't match the classical scams exactly.

Law hasn't invented a proper term of art for what time of scam Dogecoin is yet, just like there wasn't a term for a Ponzi scheme before 1922. (2/)
Dec 30, 2021 15 tweets 4 min read
The crypto industry has a PR problem not that dissimilar from what the cigarette industry had back in the 1970s. It's perceived by the general public as being a corrosive vice. Let's talk about their media strategy and reputation laundering programs. (1/) 🧵 The only real coin of the realm in cryptocoin is credibility. Crypto schemes are predatory investment products that pay out old investors from new investors by attracting fools to invest in delusions of futurism and internet memes. (2/)
Dec 26, 2021 14 tweets 3 min read
Let's talk about the spectrum of harm related to crypto and blockchain. There is a level of specificity and nuance that that some of us crypto skeptics don't necessarily communicate well as to what we actually see as harmful. 🧵 (1/) Some crypto projects are simply more harmful than others based on the type of damage they can cause, who is in the blast radius, capacity for systemic risk, and their malign impact on the world. There's a spectrum of blockchain harm (1 - 9) from most to least harmful. (2/)
Dec 14, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
Since I'm old enough to remember the so-called Web 2.0 phenomenon, I think we need to remember what it was really based on. I see three things:

1. AJAX requests
2. JQuery and dynamic DOM rendering
3. Low-barrier to entry server-side scripting via (PHP, Perl, etc) All three of which were quite real advances in web technologies that really did work and opened up new forms of user interactions and new ways of building internet infrastructure.
Dec 5, 2021 6 tweets 1 min read
One model that I do like, that has some historical precedent in the history of science, is that computer science is going through it's "alchemy" adolescence. Basically flirtation with pseudoscience for economic ends. Were plenty of medieval scholars that earnestly believed they could transmute base metals into noble metals. Sir Issac Newton was among them funny enough.

Just like there are folks today that believe in transmuting technology into trust, and the production of "digital gold".
Nov 18, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
This is a really thoughtful article about the farce that is crypto. I suppose I only disagree (and it is a nit pick) about the analogy of blockchain to XML. Because XML, for all its flaws, actually worked and solved a real problem. Blockchains don't. (1/)

apenwarr.ca/log/20211117 The argument is still sound, and I've heard clever folks high up inside of large financial institutions make this case, that blockchain is just a useless technical catalyst that will burns off only as a reaction to get C-level buyin to update existing infrastructure. (2/)
Nov 15, 2021 8 tweets 2 min read
I'm always talking about negative and destructive business models in tech, but there's still a lot of wonderful progress going on that never makes the doom and gloom headlines. (1/) Theorem provers are seeing a bit of a renaissance with the amount of investment going on in Lean. (2/)

leanprover-community.github.io/mathlib_docs/
Oct 29, 2021 19 tweets 6 min read
Let's talk about Facebook's crypto project "Diem", and why its a privacy nightmare waiting to happen and will be the source of all the company's future scandals if not stopped. (1/) 🧵 It will come as no shock that Facebook has reached the limits of growth in the social media advertising business, its income right now is entirely generated from shady accounting, fake impressions, ad market collusion, and price fixing. (2/) nymag.com/intelligencer/…
Oct 6, 2021 20 tweets 4 min read
Lets finally talk about how NFTs are a giant scam. (1/) 🧵 First let's talk about what the NFT market actually is. Unlike buying bonds, equities, real estate, or actual art you're not buying something with any tangible existence, rights or utility. You're buying an expensive entry in someone else's database. (2/)
Aug 15, 2021 12 tweets 3 min read
Let's talk about how crypto mining is hurting cloud computing and driving up the costs of the internet for everyone. (1/) 🧵 Cloud computing is in essence selling compute time on servers you that you rent and can customise, but don't own. Because of economies of scale Google and Amazon can run a better, faster, more reliable data centre than their users can. (2/)
Aug 5, 2021 17 tweets 4 min read
Let's talk about the world's longest running Ponzi scheme, MMM, which has been running in some form for 32 years. And the uncanny similarities to crypto investments. (1/)🧵 Like so many of these stories go, when countries have a major shift in their economic model or political upheaval there is a vacuum left by non-functioning institutions and fraudsters come out of the woodwork to defraud the public. (2/)
Jul 22, 2021 19 tweets 3 min read
Let's talk about the mechanism by which government regulation will effectively kill cryptocurrency. 🧵 Seems inevitable at this point that the US government and EU are going to clamp down hard on cryptocurrency because of three recent developments: (2/)