Episode

3/23 The Golden Era of Crypto Scams w/ Jacob Silverman

March 23, 2022

Sam and Emma host Jacob Silverman, staff writer at The New Republic, to discuss cryptocurrency and his upcoming book with Ben McKenzieEasy Money. Sam and Emma start off by recapping some of the crazier moments from Day 2 of Ketanji Brown Jackson (KBJ)’s confirmation hearing, like when Lindsey Graham screamed at Dick Durbin that he’d spend countless taxpayer dollars to kill Guantanamo Bay inmates, despite most of them still there never being charged with any crimes. Then they are joined by Jacob, who begins the conversation by defining cryptocurrency, the high priced Wall Street deals we’ve been seeing regarding the asset recently, and how “tokens” are now being used as opposed to stock options in these deals to skirt around securities regulations. They then touch upon where these massive cash infusion and expenditures go in these deals (the answer-mostly marketing and celebritizing these assets). Jacob then touches on the “greater fool theory” and how passing the buck to more and more credulous investors leads to greater profits for some of these crypto companies, and whether standard policy white papers and prospectuses exist for such a speculative asset. They then touch on how exactly Bitcoin and other cryptos could possibly be valued given how unstable an asset it is, the fallacious notion that Bitcoin is extremely “state of the art” tech to begin with, the emergence of “casino capitalism” within both crypto and sports betting, and how many of the Bitcoin scams (think Turkish Martha Stewart) mostly operate either as “rug pulls” or as basic multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes. They then discuss the limits of “DYOR” (Do Your Own Research) when the research available usually comes from people with skin in the crypto game, as well as what the hell NFT’s actually are. They end the conversation with Jacob distilling the crypto business model to its essence: that of people with too much cash exploiting people with not nearly enough cash to make up for how much they’ll lose investing in these products.

And in the Fun Half, Sam dishes about how he came into a vintage H.R. Geiger sculpture that he could’ve waited much longer to cash out on, the crew checks in on Day 3 of KBJ’s hearings and Round 2 of Graham-Durbin, with Graham storming off AGAIN, Tom Cotton asking KBJ whether more or less murderers is good or bad, and Josh Hawley going hard for the 2024 QAnon constituency with his line of questioning. Then, Sen. Mike Braun says that interracial marriage should be arbitrated at the state level (he said he didn’t mean it), Marjorie Taylor Greene blames Ukraine for Russia invading, and right-wing nutjobs like Steven Crowder and Ron DeSantis obsess over trans athletes. Plus, your calls and IM’s!

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