Embarrassingly on point: John Oliver hits nail on the head about crypto-hysteria

Embarrassingly on point: John Oliver hits nail on the head about crypto-hysteria

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have gained a bad rap, and it’s nobody else’s fault.

For a man who claims not to know much about cryptocurrencies, English comedian John Oliver actually hits a lot of nails on the head in his recent segment criticizing the ongoing crypto-hysteria.

“I want to approach this subject carefully because discussions of any new technology tend to age very badly,” Oliver opened. “I’m forty years old, British, and oblivious—or FYOBO,” he joked in reference to the well-known acronym FOMO (fear of missing out).

Speaking about how complex blockchain technology is, he described it as “everything you don’t understand about money combined with everything you don’t understand about computers.”

Technical definitions aside, Oliver’s segment on his observations about the raging cryptocurrency hysteria is as animated as Bitconnect’s infamous presentation guy Carlos Matos, and embarrassingly, it’s pretty accurate. Oliver pointed out some disturbingly ridiculous cryptocurrency start-ups, including one particular company blatantly advertising a coordinated pump-and-dump—“a brazen advertisement for something that you could have sworn was illegal,” he said. Oliver also pointed out Bitconnect’s presentation of what he says is “a picture of a man coming up with the idea for a pyramid scheme.”

The cult mentality in the cryptocurrency space is so high that it borders religious delirium, as demonstrated by the very heated and often senseless word wars in online forums. It has got to a point where people seem to have become desensitized to criminal activities being openly marketed online that no one bats an eye. Overly hyped up marketing messages with no technical merits are also all over the web, with company founders even doing press conferences saying all sorts of flowery, techie words that overall do not have any meaning. Yet people still buy it, the same way they bought Dogecoin, which the founder said from the very beginning was a joke.

Otherwise intelligent people still consider the potential profits of obviously dubious companies, and this has led to the rise of countless ICO’s hoping to cut in on all the cash being thrown around in the sphere. It is pretty tempting, what with the cryptocurrency industry quickly breaking through the $2 billion market cap. Traditional companies are also jumping in, with stocks tripling simply by adding the word “blockchain” to their product.

“You’re not investing, you’re gambling,” Oliver said. While some would be up in arms arguing that there are absolutely legitimate projects out there and that some people actually “invest” based on roadmaps and white papers, we all have to admit: majority of “cryptocurrency traders” are in fact, wild guessing. Oliver using the term “gambling” is actually flattery in itself. Investing requires a certain level of intelligence and sound foundations for decisions, otherwise, you’re not even gambling—you’re just feeding yourself to the sharks.

Indeed, people have been throwing the word “invest” around to make wild guesses seem more dignified, but in truth many cryptocurrency “investors” know very little about what they’re investing in, whether it’s ICO’s, legitimate blockchain projects, or Ponzi scams. These days, using the term “invest” is a way to flatter oneself for throwing money at something not fully understood, and to help convince others to follow suit.

Oliver’s comedic segment on cryptocurrencies can strike a nerve for some, but it seems to come from a genuine place of concern, ending the segment with some firm warnings with the help of American comedian Keegan-Michael Key (channelling Carlos Matos). One would think that in this day and age, adults would be wise enough not to fall for the most obvious scams and risks when it comes to money, but current events are proving otherwise.

Watch the video below for the full segment on LastWeek Tonight.

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