Why Most Blockchain Projects Are Bullshit – magic. – Medium


And How to Spot the Ones That Aren’t

This is a good overview to blockchains and mountains of bullshit talk circulating around it:

The key to separating uses with promise from bullshit projects is asking what can onlybe done with the specific features blockchains provide, and whether those things are worth doing or having. In almost all useful cases, blockchains don’t solve technological problems, they solve people problems.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:


    A bunch of crypto-pilled Elon Musk fans spent $600,000 to build a giant statue that features the new Twitter czar’s head on a goat’s body, riding a rocket — and their coin crashed after they took the grotesque work of “art” public.

    Over the holiday weekend, the great minds behind the Elon Goat Token — an in-your-face homage to the man they consider to be the “Greatest of All Time,” or GOAT — decided to unleash upon the streets of Austin, Texas their metallic Frankenstein’s monster

    Insult to Injury
    As commentators have noted, Musk himself hasn’t yet acknowledged the bizarre homage in any way — but the crypto markets sure have.

    Indeed, the price of the already-low-value coin has plummeted dramatically since November 26, which was the day the coin’s makers held their “#GOATsgiving” unveiling and drive-by of the statue.

    As of right now, the Elon Goat Token is worth a very small fraction of a cent, though again, it wasn’t worth all that much more at its Thanksgiving Day high, which totaled about $0.002 per coin.

    Is this the last gasp of the crypto hype machine? Only time will tell.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How One Man Lost $1 Million To A Crypto ‘Super Scam’ Called Pig Butchering

    Pig butchering is a relatively new long-game financial con in which “pigs,” or targets, are “butchered” by people who convince them to invest ever-larger sums in purported cryptocurrency-fueled trading platforms. The fake platforms are designed to look real, and make the victims believe that their investments are making fantastic returns — until their scammer, and all the money they believe they’ve invested, disappears.

    Victims often lose significant sums, and the practice is so lucrative that it’s being scaled up and carried out en masse in countries like Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. So far, American law enforcement officials at both the federal and local level have made little headway in recovering stolen funds or catching the perpetrators.

    These scams are carried out “on a large scale, on an industrial scale — like they’re doing fraud in a factory.”

    –Jan Santiago, the deputy director of the Global Anti-Scam Organization

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    For dozens of celebrities, endorsing crypto has turned into a real nightmare.

    Crypto: Bieber, Madonna, Steph Curry, Snoop Dogg in Big Trouble

    A new lawsuit accuses a dozen celebrities of contributing to significant financial losses, by promoting non-fungible tokens, aka NFTs.

    The adventure of celebrities in the crypto space is turning into a real nightmare.

    After lawsuits against billionaire Mark Cuban along with bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital, Tom Brady, Steph Curry, Naomi Osaka, Gisele Bundchen, Larry David and others in the bankruptcy of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, a new class action lawsuit has just been filed against a dozen celebrities about non-fungible tokens, aka NFTs.

    This complaint relates to the endorsements of the very exclusive Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFTs and the ApeCoin token by these celebrities. The plaintiffs accuse the BAYC of being a “scheme”, which caused them significant financial losses after they invested in the NFTs and in ApeCoin, the cryptocurrency issued by BAYC.

    Both plaintiffs say they purchased these assets relying on “misleading promotions” from Yuga Labs and a number of celebrities.

    The lawsuit alleges that BAYC “rely heavily on the perception that ‘joining the club’ … brings investors status and provides them access to events, benefits, and other lucrative investment opportunities exclusive to BAYC holders.”

    “The exclusiveness of BAYC membership was entirely based on the inclusion and endorsements of highly influential celebrities,” the plaintiffs claimed.

    The Bored Ape Yacht Club is an NFT collection of 10,000 simian avatars created by Yuga Labs. Celebrities like Paris Hilton, Jimmy Fallon and Eminem all have their own special apes. Yuga Labs is a cryptocurrency-related company that offers investors a suite of digital assets, including various collections of NFTs and the company’s native token ApeCoin.

    value of these assets has fallen sharply, like most crypto assets which have been going through a very difficult period for several months. This period of prolonged price decline has been dubbed the “crypto winter.”

    ApeCoin has lost almost 84% of its value since its all-time high reached on April 24

    The prices of NFTs which had soared during the NFT craze in 2021 and early 2022 have also completely fallen.

    The complaint alleges that defendants made “false and misleading statements concerning Yuga’s growth prospects, financial ownership, and financial benefits for Yuga securities investors, as well as using celebrities to lure in unsuspecting investors, so that Yuga insiders could sell the unregistered Yuga securities in violation of the Securities Act.”

    Interestingly, the complaint refers to the NFTs as “securities.” This detail is important because the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been investigating Yuga Labs since March to determine whether the company is violating federal laws when it sells its assets. To answer this, the regulator must first determine whether the assets offered by Yuga Labs are “securities.” If this is the case, the company should have followed specific rules, particularly with regard to investor information and transparency.

    There are nearly 40 defendants who have been divided into subcategories.

    This is not law firm’s Scott+Scott first complaint targeting celebrities for promoting crypto assets. The same lawyers are the ones who filed a class action lawsuit against Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather and others, accusing them of promoting the defunct cryptocurrency EthereumMax on social media.

    A federal judge in California dismissed the EthereumMax suit on December 9, explaining that investors must “act reasonably before basing their bets on the zeitgeist of the moment.”

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bitcoin ‘A Magnet For Idiots, A Fool Detector,’ Says ‘The Black Swan’ Author

    + Free Alerts
    critic and noted essayist and mathematical statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb has said the apex cryptocurrency is now a “magnet for idiots.”

    What Happened: In a recent interview with French magazine L’Express, the author of “The Black Swan” said Bitcoin was a “fool detector.”

    On the craze surrounding cryptocurrencies, Taleb said it was a product of near zero or sometimes negative interest rates without “real market functioning.”

    “Lowering rates creates asset bubbles without necessarily helping the economy,” said the former options trader and risk analyst. He said this gave rise to “malignant tumors” like Bitcoin.

    Taleb said he had wrongly thought Bitcoin could be a “bulwark against the distortions of this monetary policy.”

    “​​I think the crypto universe attracts manipulators and scammers. It also has a generational vice: it is filled with young people who have no experience,” said Taleb.

    He said Bitcoin had not managed to satisfy the concept of “currency without government.” Taleb said Bitcoin was not a short-term or long-term store of value and cannot function as a hedge against inflation and doesn’t shield against “government tyranny” either.

    Taleb said Bitcoin compares poorly with gold. “Technology comes and goes, gold stays, at least physically. Once neglected for a brief period, bitcoin would necessarily collapse,” said the author.

    Previously, Taleb has compared “Cryptoism” with communism and labeled it as 21st-century “hyper-naive utopianism.”

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Michael Bodley / Blockworks:
    Sources: Amazon plans to launch an NFT initiative in April 2023, and has looked at layer-1 blockchains, blockchain-based gaming, and digital asset exchanges — Amazon is launching a digital assets enterprise, according to four sources familiar with the matter, who said that an NFT initiative is expected in the spring.

    Amazon NFT Initiative Coming Soon: Exclusive
    World’s largest retailer has been hovering at the edges of Web3 tech for some time

    Amazon is launching a digital assets enterprise, according to four sources familiar with the matter, who said that an NFT initiative is expected in the spring.

    Amazon has been shopping the digital collectibles effort to no shortage of power players in the industry, per multiple sources. Said to be among those entities are layer-1 blockchains, blockchain-based gaming startups and developers and digital asset exchanges. There’s a focus on blockchain-based gaming and related NFT applications, two sources said.

    One example in the works, per one source: getting Amazon customers to play crypto games and claim free NFTs in the process.

    The effort is still developing, sources said. April appears to have been penciled in for the e-commerce giant to make its bold crypto ambitions public.

    Amazon “coming into the space” is “a big one” for crypto “for many different reasons, one source said.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New Dingo crypto token found charging a 99% transaction fee

    Researchers at IT security company Check Point security have flagged Dingo Token as a potential scam after finding a function that allows the project’s owner to manipulate trading fees up to 99% of the transaction value.

    The warning from Check Point comes after company researchers have already witnessed this malicious fee change 47 times.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Backdoor in Dingo Cryptocurrency Allows Creator to Steal (Nearly) Everything

    A tax variable in the software implementing the Dingo Token allows the creators to charge 99% in fees per transaction, essentially stealing funds, an analysis finds.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “It is the minimizing of constraints and trade-offs in favor of techno-utopianism and the exclusive emphasis on positive outcomes and novelty.”



    Crypto Brain
    When Harvard finance professor Mihir A. Desai was asked what he thought of crypto while giving a lecture at a military academy, he responded by polling his young audience to see how many of them had traded the dubious financial assets. The results? More than half.

    “I was stunned,” he recalled in his latest essay, published Monday in the New York Times. “How could this population of young people come to spend time and energy in this way?”

    To that end, there’s no one answer, but Desai offers some observations.

    For one, he views cryptocurrencies as a manifestation of economic “magical thinking” — which he concisely defines as “the assumption that favored conditions will continue on forever without regard for history” — that “infected capitalism.”

    “It is the minimizing of constraints and trade-offs in favor of techno-utopianism and the exclusive emphasis on positive outcomes and novelty,” he adds. “It is the conflation of virtue with commerce.”

    From Crisis to Coin
    Some of this thinking, Desai argues, arose from the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing recession. The despair, shattered faith in economic institutions, and general disillusionment, collectively fostered a “receptivity to radical economic solutions.”

    That’s where the sort of breathless belief in crypto comes in, harbingered by larger than life tech entrepreneurs. Rather than being perceived as parvenus, they’re seen by many as exciting outsiders that bring new ideas, offering to democratize the amassment of personal wealth amidst an entrenched status quo that had so drastically failed the world not too long ago.

    Crypto, was new, appealing, and seen as a way to get rich that eschewed traditional channels without much government oversight, even though most didn’t fully understand it. But the technology benefited from its vague promise of a better currency and a better world, decentralized and free of untrustworthy financial institutions.

    The Magic is Gone
    But ironically, Desai may be a little guilty of the magical thinking he ascribes to crypto boosters.

    “The end of magical thinking is upon us as cryptocurrencies and valuations are collapsing — and that is good news,”

    While Desai seems to think we’d be better off without crypto — and he’s likely right — his conclusion that it would be the end of “magical thinking” seems optimistic.

    Perhaps crypto simply made the mistake of revealing the underlying speculative volatility of our economic systems too brazenly, and without the usual corporate decorum.

    Anyway, it doesn’t seem like crypto is dead and gone just yet.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Cryptocurrencies add nothing useful to society, says chip-maker Nvidia
    Tech chief says the development of chatbots is a more worthwhile use of processing power than crypto mining

    The US chip-maker Nvidia has said cryptocurrencies do not “bring anything useful for society” despite the company’s powerful processors selling in huge quantities to the sector.

    Michael Kagan, its chief technology officer, said other uses of processing power such as the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT were more worthwhile than mining crypto.


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