Six months ago, Stuart Hoegner, the General Counsel of Tether Ltd., flung me a tweet, calling on me and any other competent crypto-journalist to “cry harder kids,” simply for pointing out the various scandals and tomfoolery Tether’s executives have engaged in over the years.
Since then, Tether’s crime spree has continued, unabated. The notorious stablecoin issuer — that’s created more controversy than any other of the huge amount of dodgy entities now present in the crypto sphere — has been fined $41 million by the CFTC, after lying that its tethers were fully backed by U.S dollars, at all times. In the same injunction, its sister company, crypto exchange Bitfinex, also felt the brunt of the U.S. empire, receiving a $1.5 million penalty for “illegal, off-exchange retail commodity transactions,” plus breaking the terms of the last CFTC settlement it received back in 2016.
With crypto touted as the future of finance, it’s inconceivable that authorities, and maybe citizens outside the crypto bubble, will allow such a dodgy financial institution that resembles a wildcat bank from the Free Banking Era to become the motherboard of the new-age monetary system. Which it is, as it makes up 70% of the total volume of all crypto transactions, and has ties to all the big players in crypto finance.
Advocates claim Tether is one bad apple, but the rest of the crypto space isn’t exactly glowing with innovation, stability, or morality. After Bitcoin got its start via the collapse of Trenton Shaver’s infamous “Bitcoin Savings & Trust” Ponzi scheme, achieving volume, liquidity, and press coverage, it became a mammoth pump-and-dump, concocted by crypto insiders — including our comrades at Tether, which has required wash trading and greater fool theory to produce ever-increasing prices.
Bitcoin’s biggest rival Ethereum lost its shine after the decentralized myth was debunked ever since 2015, after its CEO intervened to rewind a hack, as if it never occurred. Now, it’s become the official currency of techno snake oil: NFTs, fueling the so-called metaverse — and almost nothing else. As for other “sh*tcoins”, the most popular one, out of the many other pointless Japanese dog-themed cryptocurrencies, is the Shiba Inu token, a vast multi-level marketing scheme, which uses social media bots and sock puppets, even the screens of Time Square, to pump engagement, leading to rampant price appreciation. One of its first adopters cashed out in the last week. He’s gone, along with billions of dollars.
It’s evident, looking at the top cryptocurrencies on offer, that the original vision of subverting the financial establishment has long been forgotten. All that is left now is a series of coded coins with no intrinsic value or societal good attached. “Unlike a gallon of petrol which can be burned for energy, or a kilo of wheat which can be made into bread, or an ounce of gold which can be made into jewelry,” crypto critic Stephen Diehl says, “there is no intrinsic use of a bitcoin”. Take away the liberation narrative, and all you have is a highly speculative asset.
It’s also a myth that the legacy financial power structures see crypto as a threat. In reality, they’re going all-in behind the scenes, because they know that bubbles and dodgy assets create the most alpha during rampant manias, like, say, the monetary madness we’re experiencing right this minute.
If you’re “lucky” enough to attend Goldman Sachs’s legendary graduate onboarding, they don’t teach social cohesion and how to look after your fellow man. Instead, they not only prepare you to commit various financial atrocities, from pumping up the price of wheat and corn futures creating inflation in the developing world to shorting their own toxic derivatives when a bubble, which they helped create, begins to unravel. They give you a masterclass in exploiting bubbles, the ultimate speculative investment strategy that “Wall Street doesn’t want you to know”:
If you’re a dirty speculator — like me, who’s openly admitted that the only reason he bought cryptocurrency was that it might provide monstrous returns through the rampant euphoric peak of the cheap money era, you should absolutely be involved in the crypto bubble. The returns for embracing fraud, Ponzi schemes, and swindles are enormous when the going’s good. It’s the getting out part that remains tricky, as deflationary forces combined with crypto’s volatility can halve your portfolio in minutes.
Only when deflation arrives, where everyone wants their money back, will Tether’s demise be possible, but how do you actually stop a global wildcat bank? Clearly the U.S. empire, even with its alphabet soup of agencies — such as Homeland Security, OFAC, and FinCEN — plus collaboration with its confederates at the intergovernmental behemoth FATF, is having difficulties taking it down. The CFTC and the S.E.C, meanwhile, are too busy squabbling over what Tether has become. Is it a currency, security, or commodity? They don’t know. And as long as the “brightest minds” in government can’t make up their minds, Tether will keep crypto’s historic rally alive, with skyrocketing prices remaining insulated from regulatory scrutiny.
(Also, perhaps, with Wall Street and Silicon Valley heavily invested in crypto, maybe the corrupt echelons of the Predator State don’t want to bring Tether to justice.)
Speaking of bubbles, fraud, and bad actors, everyone’s going nuts about Musk selling or not selling 10% of his Tesla stock, as billionaires not paying their fair share of tax has become a hot-button issue in western society. The super-rich playing ball, however unlikely, is significant, but the most salient issue, which has gone unnoticed by many, is that Elon Musk has become the world’s richest man by committing every fraud under the sun.
Any other CEO would serve jail time for committing securities fraud of the same magnitude. Yet Musk gets off scot-free. His Twitter reply: “Why does ur pp look like u just came?” to the Chair of the U.S Finance Senate Committee, Ron Wyden, who argued that “the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll”, was the latest example that Musk has the confidence to say anything, no matter how lewd or career-destroying. He’s now completely immune to punishment and scrutiny.
It’s no coincidence, then, that a serial swindler like Musk has become an icon of cryptopia, and now Bitcoiners want him to buy more of the cryptocurrency giant, meaning we could witness the highest net worth individual effectively cashing out of his own Ponzi scheme and piling into crypto’s premier pump and dump. In the cheap money era, Musk knows more than most that deception, fraud, and tomfoolery produce enormous returns, and will likely load up on more of the only bubble bigger than Tesla itself.
Danny Scott ⚡ @CoinCornerDannyIf Elon sells $Tesla and buys #Bitcoin it's going to get crazy.