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Leroy Ross
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Leroy Ross   My Press Releases

A Tale of Two Bitcoins:Strip Clubs, Lambos and Hackers

Published on 2/24/2018
For additional information  Click Here

 

one imagines a networking event for a professional conference, the most well-known and over-the-top strip club in Miami probably isn't the venue that comes to mind.

Yet that's exactly where The North American Bitcoin Conference decided to host it. "Join us at E11even for some networking and R&R. Or dancing," the description read.

There was a lot of dancing.

Not your nerdy friend's crypto

Over the course of 2017, cryptocurrency experienced an unprecedented explosion.

 After years of quietly languishing below $1,000, the price of a bitcoin began to increase rapidly and public attention along with it. But it wasn't alone. At the same time, bitcoin's so-called dominance index, the size of the bitcoin market cap relative to all other cryptocurrencies, shrunk.

The cause? Other established cryptocurrencies like ethereum and litecoin were making their own explosive gains, while scores of entirely new and tokens were created out of thin air en masse with shocking overnight valuations.

An influx of new investors wanted in on this digital gold rush, buying into these new initial coin offerings or "ICOs" as fast as they could be created. Suddenly, everyone was making it big. Self-professed expert blockchain investors and traders were springing up everywhere overnight.

Cryptocurrency was no longer the domain of just cypherpunks, anarchists and radical libertarians. In fact those early groups all but quickly disappeared from the public spotlight in favor of this newer, shinier, get-rich-quick crypto culture.

Fortunes were being made after all, and tales of overnight success are much better media stories than the ongoing and abstruse technical debates about the real use cases, limitations and challenges facing blockchain technology.

Delicately balancing network throughput and decentralization? That's boring. Making outrageous money fast, and showing it off with Lamborghinis ("Lambos" for short) and extravagant strip club parties? Now that's exciting.

As the spotlight grew so did the influx of buyers, creating a self reinforcing cycle of irrational exuberance and the ultimate bull run. The problem? No one had any actual idea what exactly it was that they were buying.

Blockchain was simply the newest and coolest buzzword. The biggest takeaway seemed to be that anything it was attached to could make you rich, even if that thing was iced tea.

 

 

F.O.M.O.

But there was one problematic fact: In cryptocurrency you are far more likely to buy into an effective scam than "the next bitcoin."

Anyone can create and market a generic blockchain-based token with little or no added unique functionality. The barrier to entry for creating a new coin is nearly non-existent, and new investors suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out) don't have the expertise to vet them.

By leveraging pseudo-scientific buzzwords and exploiting these new low-information investors, projects with unsound fundamentals and total scams alike can quickly reach dizzying heights.

A notable example is tron, which at its peak sported a valuation higher than that of Twitter, placing it within the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap. What is tron? A standard ethereum-powered token with no special functionality, and a white paper with more questions than answers. Not only is there zero deployed infrastructure or uniquely developed technology behind tron, but the white paper as it turns out was largely unoriginal at best, or totally plagiarized at worst.

Even more alarming than a simple lack of education or due diligence, however, is the fact that perhaps many new cryptocurrency investors don't actually care.

 

 

Take Ponzicoin, the self-proclaimed scam jokingly launched as an outright ponzi-scheme. It raised over $25,000 on the ethereum platform in eight hours before its developer pulled the plug as best he could given the irreversible nature of blockchain smart contracts. Similar openly advertised Ponzi scheme PoWH coin sold $1 million-worth of coins in three days before later being hacked, perfectly encapsulating everything sour about ethereum smart contracts.

These events shows us many new crypto investors seem to be perfectly happy to invest in outright fraud and vapor, so long as they think they believe they won't be the ones left holding the bag.

Because in the end, who cares? Fortunes were being made, which was in turn attracting even greater amounts of new money to keep the party going. It's no surprise then that the North American Bitcoin Conference featured so many ICOs and new coins that it could easily be considered a "bitcoin conference" for marketing purposes only.

As it turns out Miami was the perfect outlet for the this newer, flashier and carefree type of crypto.

 

Leroy Ross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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