Faux, a journalist from Bloomberg Businessweek, takes readers on a journey through the crypto world, focusing on characters like Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, the cultural phenomenon of Bored Apes, and the mysteries of Tether’s $68 billion valuation.
The book’s format, a first-person narrative, fascinated Jack, who said he enjoyed the informal style. Faux’s approach reflected the author’s personal experience as he became a character in the story. Brendan found the storytelling engaging, describing it as an adventure that kept him hooked: “The author managed to get into the offices of several of these really high-flying crypto executives. And I mean, it kind of reads like a bit of an adventure.”
Charles discussed the evolution of Faux’s perspective from a seemingly innocent article about Sam Bankman-Fried to a more critical stance, especially regarding FTX’s legitimacy. The conversation touched on the author’s initial portrayal of FTX as a “thought experiment,” later questioning its potential scam-like nature.
A discussion on Tether‘s central role in the crypto world surfaced, with Brendan raising concerns about Tether’s backing and its potential impact on the overall economy. He emphasized that Tether’s $68 billion valuation should have corresponding funds in a bank account. They discussed the suspicions surrounding Tether’s operations, with concerns about its actual reserves and its role in market manipulation. “I suspect and a lot of people in the BSV community as well, that Tether, there’s not much money there at all,” Brendan asserted.
Jack meanwhile argued that regulators should focus on auditing the trading practices of platforms like Binance and Bitfinex rather than questioning Tether’s reserves. “What they need to audit is not what’s backing the treasure chest. They need to audit how the treasure chest was obtained, which means they need an audit of Binance. They need an audit of Bitfinex and an audit of Tether to find out what trades were being made, how they were being made, and what dirty people they were trading with, and how they were manipulating prices to basically make themselves all that money.”
The conversation turned to the NFT craze, with Jack criticizing the quality of the digital assets. “I think the funniest thing about the NFT craze is the levels of ideocracy behind it. So first of all, the pictures themselves aren’t even on the Ethereum blockchain. And yet the funny thing about these NFTs is they have to be really low 1980s quality pictures.”
Brendan brought up the exploitative nature of some artists profiting from NFTs. “I was reading about these people who were creating NFTs and they were paying the artists, like $10 to create all of this material and then going and making $10 million from selling them. It’s not just lazy, but it’s exploitative.”
They proceeded to discuss a section of Faux’s book, which delves into the bizarre world of Bored Apes and how Faux risked $20,000 of his own money to purchase an Ape, with the goal of gaining access to an exclusive party and later selling the digital asset. The Bored Ape phenomenon represents the broader NFT craze, as discussed by the participants. They critiqued the low-quality, pixelated images of these digital assets. “I find the whole Bored Ape kind of hype cycle which I think really has largely ended now seems to be one of the strangest things that’s happened in crypto,” Brendan noted.
A significant part of the book explores the darker side of crypto, including the use of digital assets in scams, as depicted in Faux’s visit to Cambodia. The group debated whether crypto companies should be held responsible for how their platforms are misused, with Jack explaining that the ease of cashing out in crypto facilitates illegal activities: “Zeke points out in the book very well that it wasn’t so much that it was the fact that when they wanted to cash out, they told you that it was easier to do it via crypto.”
Interestingly, the conversation addressed the absence of any mention of Craig Wright or the Bitcoin Cash/Bitcoin SV split in the book. Jack expressed a desire to guide Faux, suggesting that he should explore how BSV blockchain works and move away from the negative narratives surrounding Craig Wright. “He doesn’t know that there’s something that actually works like the original Bitcoin from the white paper and you almost want to reach out and help him.”
They also reflected on the current state of the crypto industry, acknowledging its chaotic nature, yet expressing optimism that meaningful applications will emerge over time. Number Go Up was highly recommended by Brendan and Jack with the latter expressing a desire to collaborate with Faux through SLictionary, offering a potential avenue for Faux to explore the positive aspects of BSV blockchain.
Hear the whole of the Numbers Go Up discussion with Jack Pitts and Brendan Lee in this week’s CoinGeek Conversations podcast or catch up with other recent episodes:
You can also watch the podcast video on YouTube.
Please subscribe to CoinGeek Conversations – this is part of the podcast’s new series. If you’re new to it, there are plenty of previous episodes to catch up with.
Here’s how to find them:
– Search for “CoinGeek Conversations” wherever you get your podcasts
– Subscribe on iTunes
– Listen on Spotify
– Visit the CoinGeek Conversations website
– Watch on the CoinGeek Conversations YouTube playlist
New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.