The cryptocurrency implosion shows that we are heading towards the end

We live in very strange times indeed. More than two years of COVID-19, which many mistakenly believe is over, have given way to a cost-of-living crisis accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This means that all accepted norms of how household and business budgets work have been thrown into the air.

I didn’t expect to pay more than £100 to put diesel in my little Audi a year ago. Some wise say that this price squeeze will help propel us towards a greener future of heat pump heated homes and electric cars with solar panels on the roof. This is a good prediction, but totally inappropriate for those who live in cities, or for the vast majority who simply cannot afford to make this type of capital investment. It almost feels like an “end times” moment; it’s a final roar of a great crescendo of self-abusing society, with the haves separating even further from the have-nots.

There are telltale signs that we are entering final years. The current implosion around the various cryptocurrency platforms certainly points in this direction. The value of Bitcoin, for example, plummeted from around $24,000 to $17,000 in June. While I don’t resent the big venture capital firms losing their yacht owners’ shirts, it is the heartfelt pain expressed by those who have very little and who have been coaxed – some might say tricked – their savings into them to plug this new miracle product. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into, how it worked, or the risks involved. In the past, you probably would have had to go to your bank or speak to a financial investor and then set this up with a reputable financial institution. Today you can transfer money anywhere in the world and in any jurisdiction from the comfort of your smartphone.

The whole “I’m in control” vibe can be very liberating when you believe that the evil institutions of the past were only there to oppress you. However, when something goes wrong, which they have been doing for the past few months, these same people wonder why they were left stranded and penniless. It’s pretty heartbreaking to watch.

Now don’t start me on NFTs. A more meaningless example of “end times” would be hard to find. The right to prove ownership of a link to a JPG of an image. That’s it. In the meantime, well-known companies are also getting involved with the so-called Benefit, an “exclusive club” with special advantages. In one example, an invitation to an “exclusive event” at headquarters; It may tickle your ego and tickle your imagination, but at the end of the day these companies want to sell you a car.

For Lotus and McLaren it may be a simple marketing ploy. They offer a gallery of high-resolution images that fans can download for free, and others can buy NFT versions. I can understand why companies want to get their media story out there, and images are a great way to do that. However, these companies like to work with other companies that offer NFT platforms because they may feel that they distance themselves from any risk. You are wrong. The reputation damage is potentially huge, and that will call back many who were persuaded to play in this space. It’s this fear of missing out, coupled with easy access to the Internet’s global infrastructure, that has fueled this nonsense.

We cannot expect politicians to do anything significant about it. Getting involved in the workings of the Internet and the global, real-time data scraping and user modeling process is well beyond their comprehension. It would actually be pretty easy to fix the underlying issues, but the simple reality is that much of the internet would then break. Our dependence on websites and services for data mining in every aspect of our lives has become the drug that fuels Web3. Protecting the user by breaking this would result in a significantly reduced experience for voters. “Brave, Minister,” as Sir Humphrey was fond of saying.

So it depends on us. For you and me. We must argue long and hard that this nonsense is just that – nonsense. Financial instruments based on Ponzi schemes that have no underlying value at all are an unacceptable risk. No ifs, no buts. Those who still want to lose their shirts will continue to do so. For myself, my block button on Twitter has never been so active that it removes from my world those who want to pile up and tell me I’m wrong; that both NFTs and cryptocurrencies are magic money trees; that they offer everyone a way out of this time of extraordinary worries and burdens. All this internet based nonsense is not the answer to the problem. Maybe there is no answer.

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