Gratitude and Scamitude
So last week was pretty nuts: I was on ANC’s Market Edge (segments starts at 49:00), BitRefill’s official podcast, Marvin Germo’s Youtube channel (twice!), James Deakin’s One for the Road, two other interviews that have yet to be published, AND I dropped my newest piece on Binance NFT. I wanted to take a moment to just say thanks to everyone who stuck around to watch all the streams and helped share all the FB and Twitter posts. Your support is everything, and I hope to bring useful info to all your inboxes for a long time to come. (Also, thank you Tanya for putting up with all the chaos this week ❤)
This would have been an overall great week if not for one troubling bit of news that I got on Saturday a friend, who I’ll refer to as JD to protect his identity. Over the last week, I’ve been helping JD get set up with crypto. As of last Friday he was ready to buy his first X thousand dollars worth of BTC, that he would then send to a non-custodial wallet that I’d put together for him.
Here’s the problem though: it wasn’t me that he was talking to all this time. In fact, I had NO IDEA he was even interested in Bitcoin until he called me about this on the weekend. He sent me three days worth of screenshots of his chat with a fake Cryptopop:
What you’re seeing here is the most classic crypto scam. These fraudsters copy the accounts of real crypto people and then add all their friends. It’s always the same strategy: they teach you how to buy BTC, and then give you an address that you need to deposit to so you can keep your coins safe. Once you’ve done that, you’ll never hear from them again. The fake Cryptopop is just making shit up to try to get JD to expedite his investment. Luckily, JDs spider-sense kicked in before it was too late, and no money was lost.
To me, JD’s experience indicates how far we have to go as an industry. We can all do something to help first-timers get started safely, and stories like this just remind me that we’re NOT doing nearly enough. JD will now be too afraid to EVER touch crypto again after this experience, and that’s a net-negative for the world.
Speaking of crypto education: last Friday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced his Bitcoin maximalist conference happening on July 21st. Dubbed The “B” Word, Dorsey’s announcement was promptly trolled by Elon Musk with a one-word tweet: “Bicurious?” Musk may end up debating Dorsey on stage at the event as a result of their bantering. If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to have two billionaires with equally massive Messiah complexes talking at each other for half an hour, this may be the event for you.
We’ve been seeing a lot of negative news about Tether recently. To sum it all up: $USDT was the first stablecoin to gain wide acceptance, owing to the fact that it was created by Bitfinex (at one point, the largest crypto exchange in the world). $USDT was created during a much simpler time, and the Tether team subsequently did whatever they wanted with the dollars that were backing their stablecoin. The key revelation in these recent months is that $USDT is less than 5% backed by actual dollars, and everyone including the US Federal Reserve has weighed in on how risky that is.
Here’s the punchline: you may have noticed that if you type #tether or #USDT on Twitter, you get a cute little Tether emoji now. People have been interpreting this as Twitter endorsing USDT in the same way they’ve endorsed BTC. (If you type #Bitcoin on Twitter, the official logo pops up beside it.) But of course, this is just a marketing move designed to rebuild confidence in a stablecoin that has taken a lot of PR hits recently.
And who would be behind a crypto marketing stunt of this magnitude and profligacy? None other than the inimitable Justin Sun! Most people don’t know this but those custom Twitter emojis can be bought at $1M a pop. And it looks like the Tron founder might have paid quite a lot more, since #Tron has one now too. (Also, USDT on the Tron network now exceeds the volume of USDT on Ethereum.) So yeah, if you’re wondering how the heck Tron got its own emoji before Ethereum did, well, there you go.
Stay safe out there, cryptofam!