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The danger of the internet turning money into a game

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24.09.2021

“A friend of mine came up with a variant on [Occam’s razor, which is] that the most ironic outcome is the most likely one,” Elon Musk told fellow billionaire Jack Dorsey and Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood during a virtual Bitcoin conference in July. Musk, who had been delivering a relatively sober perspective on blockchain technologies, seemed delighted that the conversation had turned to Dogecoin, the satirical cryptocurrency devoted to memes and dogs.

“And then I have a variant on that, which is the most entertaining outcome is the most likely one,” he continued. “If that is true, then the most ironic and entertaining outcome would be that the cryptocurrency [Dogecoin] that was started as a joke to make fun of cryptocurrencies ends up being the lead cryptocurrency.” Musk laughed.

Within minutes, Musk’s to-the-moon energy had spread to Telegram, TikTok, and Reddit. Inspired by Musk’s remarks, rapper Busta Rhymes announced to his 3.8 million Twitter followers that he was now “sold on Bitcoin.” In no time, the cool kids in Discord’s trading forums were labeling Doge a “pleb coin,” implying that regular people were flooding into it and fueling speculation (as of mid-August, it’s up 9,222% year over year).

The year 2021 will be remembered as the moment when financial culture and internet culture converged, leading to investment bubbles in everything from meme stocks to tokenized collectibles. But cryptocurrency trading, a largely unregulated casino, arguably represents the purest synthesis yet of personal finance and online social status. On TikTok, for example, one of the more popular formats involves a bro offering investment tips, talking-head style, while displaying the value of his crypto portfolio behind him; a billion or trillion of anything, apparently, is good for both the ego and the algorithm. And everyone wants in. In the past 12 months, upwards of 5,000 new crypto coins have launched. By August, SEC chair Gary Gensler was sounding the regulatory alarm and asking Congress to step in.

While........

© Fast Company


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