When the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto published his white paper in 2008, it was just a mere document, describing a new, unique payment system he called Bitcoin. Yet, even though he did not portray any particular narrative inside, it prompted an entire generation of financially repressed citizens into believing that digital currencies might solve their ever-increasing monetary woes.
We began to perceive the Bitcoin network as a revolutionary economic tool, one that used sound money to create a more equal society through enhanced financial freedom and liberty. It was the new, rebellious way to stick it to the man, an escape pod that detached ourselves from the clutches of a financially repressive regime, and, best of all, a gigantic “screw you” to those who architected its rise and our descent into the monetary chaos.
Since then, the financial media has fed us a constant stream of crypto narratives, most declaring that the world is moving closer toward this brighter, more sovereign, more liberating future that Nakamoto indirectly sold to us. We’ve seen the rise of crypto influencers, or “cryptofluencers”, who often cheer things like: “The fiat system is collapsing!”, “Bitcoin is financial freedom!”, “Central bankers and Wall Street are literally shaking in their boots!”
Except, there’s one small problem with these narratives. None are coming true or have played out in reality. Instead, they have matured into carefully constructed fictions, disguising how Bitcoin has failed at almost everything Nakamoto set out to achieve. Since the crypto ecosystem keeps blurting out a non-stop stream of “freedom porn”, we’ve failed to notice that the crypto movement, though it started out with good intentions, has gradually mutated into the same regressive paradigm the existing elites have promoted for decades.
Nakamoto had designed Bitcoin to eliminate the middleman, mostly Wall Street banks, state financial institutions, and mega-corporations, which most citizens loathe and despise. Bitcoin has succeeded in doing this, but it has failed to create any of the delicious freedom, equality, and liberty it had promised. Rather, only a few individuals have truly benefited from the crypto boom. In fact, a new power has risen alongside the existing financial aristocracy: the crypto elite, who’s secretly formed a monopoly behind the scenes.
They did this by perpetuating the myth of decentralization. Just because nobody owns Bitcoin and it’s “unstoppable”, does not mean the Bitcoin network can’t be dominated and manipulated by bad actors. In 2015, five men who owned 80% of global mining operations stood on the same stage, and since then, four to five firms have dominated the market. The latest figures, which came out just before China’s recent crypto crackdown, showed that nine Chinese companies controlled 79% of the Bitcoin network.
This is just mining. It gets worse.
If you thought Bitcoin could solve the wealth inequality epidemic, the top 10,000 addresses own roughly 60% of all mined coins. As for liberating the people from Wall Street’s financial monopoly, over 60% of crypto traders choose to use Binance or another cartel exchange, which means they don’t actually possess a crypto wallet nor do they interact with the blockchain. Who works for, promotes, and owns these exchanges? Who holds most of the $BTC? It’s the crypto elite. It’s the crypto whales. It’s the cryptofluencers who peddle the decentralization narrative. They’ve added “Crypto” to the end of JPMorgan’s logo, forming a new-age finance monopoly.
Who are these mysterious, elusive individuals sitting at the apex of the crypto pyramid? Are they honest characters, law-abiding global citizens who advocate transparency and authenticity, like Nakamoto said they’d be? Not at all. Over time, the “legit side” of Wall Street and the corporate world have spat out bad actors, who have snuck their way into the crypto ecosystem, slowly corrupting it from the inside.
Characters like this:
Concoda @concodanomicsIs #Tether’s house of cards about to unravel? (feat @Bitfinexed, @CryptoWhale, @BennettTomlin) https://t.co/IA309pBYMi
This is a tweet, directed at this author, from Stuart Hoegner, the lawyer of Bitfinex, one of the largest exchanges and players in the crypto space today. Yet it’s a corporation that, among other things, has been banned from New York for alleged fraud, has used bots and sockpuppets on social media to alter public perception, and has lied about having sufficient reserves to back up its parent company’s stablecoin Tether.
Hoegner himself used to run compliance at Excapsa, the parent company of Ultimate Bet, the nefarious online poker room that enabled specific players to view other player’s cards. Now, he represents infamous members of the crypto elite, such as Tether co-founder Brock Pierce.
He’s portrayed as a rockstar, a philanthropist, but Pierce has a shady history. Not only has he met up with Jeffrey Epstein multiple times, for some reason, but he’s also set up “charities” just to take advantage of tax havens. After moving to Spain in 1999 with pedophile Marc Collins-Rector (as you do), Interpol caught Pierce in a house full of “guns, machetes and child pornography”. He also ran for President. Crazy, but fitting — if you think about it.
Pierce, however, has some serious competition for the most “controversial character in crypto”, the media’s hilarious new euphemism for James Bond-esque supervillains of the crypto world. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, known as “CZ”, says his company has no headquarters. That’s because the world’s largest crypto exchange is too busy jumping from country to country to bypass laws and regulations. It had started in Hong Kong but got banned. Then it tried Japan, Bermuda, Malta, and the Cayman Islands, but everyone said “nada”. Binance remains under investigation by the IRS, the DoJ, and the CFTC, plus Japanese, British, and Canadian regulators. Slowly but surely, the net is tightening around CZ’s $2 billion crypto empire.
Helping to portray a positive perception of “controversial” characters like CZ are crypto influencers. Another group that makes up the crypto “Illuminati”. Take Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, Dan Held, and others you see on Twitter — who constantly update us on Bitcoin’s price, seemingly every time it goes up by another thousand dollars. It’s their job to promote the false narratives around Bitcoin to line the pockets of other crypto elite members. They must spin every piece of crypto “FUD” into a positive to help maintain the status quo, and their wealth, which is mostly tied to crypto-based investments and hype.
These are the major players in a movement that’s supposed to be ridding the world of financial inequality and tomfoolery, yet they engage in endless amounts of it, almost on steroids. The greed that has corrupted Wall Street and the Fed, producing our sorry situation of bailout capitalism and casino economics, has worked its way into crypto land. The lust for power and wealth, it’s sad to say, has started plaguing new-age finance.
But nothing illustrates the crypto elite’s desire to increase their power more than the recent rise of “crypto colonialism”. A New York Times article entitled “Making a Crypto Utopia” details how our friend Brock Pierce plans to erect a city slap bang in the middle of Puerto Rico.
“They’re going to buy 250,000 acres so they can incorporate their own city,” says ex-pat Rob Rill, “literally start a city in Puerto Rico to have their own crypto world.”
Pierce’s “cryptopia” is not even the major developing story, however, with El Salvador’s Bitcoin fever stealing the spotlight. Though the popular Bitcoin Beach project has proven to be a success, with American ex-pat Michael Peterson enabling El Zonte’s locals to use Bitcoin as an alternative payment method, the sudden declaration from El Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele that Bitcoin will become legal tender raises serious questions.
After hinting years before that he might make the move, Bukele has teamed up with several Bitcoin Bros to make it happen.
Now, if you’re a hardcore crypto maximalist you’ll perceive El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption as a liberation, a way for citizens to free themselves from the U.S. empire and its allies. The opposing view, however, is that this is another episode of blockchain colonialism. If the Bitcoin revolution embodies freedom and liberty, you don’t set up shop in a “developing” country, become best buddies with their autocratic leader, and, together, force people onto a monetary system they have no power to oppose or flee.
The El Salvador drama shows that the crypto elites are becoming less like freedom fighters and more like anarchistic clones of the Wall Street mobsters they sought to overthrow. In fact, if Bitcoin had worked as Nakamoto proposed, no crypto elite would have emerged at all, let alone a rising power initiating a mass dash into the developing world, using it as a crypto-imperialistic Petri dish.
While the crypto elite gallivants around the globe, the crypto community, watching in awe as their leaders expand their empire, keep fighting it out among themselves. Divisiveness now governs a so-called pro-autonomy, pro-liberation movement. We’ve seen multiple religions emerge from Bitcoin maximalism to Ethereum maximalism to stablecoin maximalism. Not only are there cults but cults within cults, and we must only join one, creating rabid tribalism, the same centralized, regressive dogma that’s caused division throughout history. We’re striving to achieve “coin supremacy”, over which coin is “best”. It’s even entered the altcoin or “shitcoin” universe, creating a clusterfuck of mob mentality.
The drama surrounding Robert Breedlove, a moderate cryptofluencer, illustrates this absurd culture war dynamic. When he dared to question his religion, posting a tweet promoting Bitclout, an open-source blockchain “like Bitcoin” — oh the horror, his fellow but not-so-fellow disciples attacked him for such blasphemy as to promote — yikes! — another cryptocurrency.
“I am not a Toxic Maxi, nor am I even a Bitcoin Maximalist,” Breedlove said, “I am striving to be a Sovereign Individual and my highest value is Freedom. I am a Freedom Maximalist.”
Despite him doing zero research on Bitclout, he was drenched in a sea of toxic abuse, not just from trolls, but from prominent Bitcoiners, who accused Breedlove of “shilling” the “shitcoin” and being paid to promote it. “Bitcoin privacy figure Matt Odell accused me of cultivating an affinity scam”, Breedlove wrote, “saying that I would die on the bitclout hill”. Neil Jacobs, another prominent Bitcoin maximalist replied to Matt Odell’s tweet: “Well said!”. The demon inside every crypto zealot had exploded.
This and other supremacy wars only increase the crypto elite’s ever-increasing power. Just as we’re components in Wall Street’s machine, we’re plebs in the crypto elite’s rising order. It’s our anger and passion that fuel it. They feed us freedom and liberty porn through social channels and the media. They peddle crypto versions of the legacy financial system as rebellious breakthroughs, such as yield-farming, a Ponzi scheme replica of traditional fractional reserve banking, while pocketing the big bucks through fees.
Let’s face it. With the crypto supremacy wars fueling more division and inequality, the Bitcoin elite wreaking havoc on a global scale, and the community abandoning Nakamoto’s sound money vision to participate in Ponzi schemes, it’s sad but true: the crypto movement is slowly destroying itself.
Coming to terms with this is difficult. We’ve yet to acknowledge the shitstorm occurring both behind the scenes and front and center. We don’t want to believe it’s a carefully constructed illusion of freedom because we’re high on hope and euphoria. We’re too blinded by optimism and greed to peek behind the curtain.
If the crypto movement was accomplishing anything, right now, we’d be experiencing a different reality. We’d fail to witness a huge speculative bubble in the crypto market. We’d care about Bitcoin and its principles, not whether it’s going “TO THE MOON!”. We’d neither “HODL” until we reach one million, nor witness regular pump-and-dumps that create new victims every day.
We’d strive to achieve price stability, not “pRicE Go Up”, understanding that if Bitcoin did climb to six or seven figures, the most vulnerable would be left holding the bag, with crypto’s first adopters running for the exit hatch.
We’d watch sound money advocates rise to officialdom, not a rampant onslaught of cryptofluencers who get rich off the hype. We’d see the influential crypto bugs, such as the Winklevoss twins, Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, and What Bitcoin Did’s Peter McCormack promote sound money, help combat fraud, and enforce reputable markets.
Instead of filling up our Twitter feeds with thousand-dollar-increment Bitcoin price alerts, they’d be tweeting about how prices remain stable. They’d address the sketchy areas of crypto, like how Tether, a stablecoin backed by almost nothing, has fueled most of the latest crypto rally. They’d want to banish its dodgy founders and its Wall Street-esque shadow reserves from the crypto ecosystem, not support it, and declare obvious red flags as “FUD”.
(And, best of all, they’d stop sounding like members of a strange cult.)
Since we’re failing to witness any of this happen, however, the crypto dream is crumbling. But is it dead?
What if we’re early? What if we’re experiencing the Wild West stage of crypto and have yet to battle through the chaos that brings order? Maybe, when this mania ends, Bitcoin’s real price will be revealed, it will become less volatile and highly liquid, and will wipe out all the crap of this cycle, never to be seen again. This is a long shot, of course, but let’s face it: Out of the tools we possess to rid the system of crony capitalism, crypto is still our best shot.
The crypto movement, however, has begun to merge with the very order and power structure it set out to defeat, and there are no signs of a reversal. The only way back now is a monumental crypto purge, a colossal unwind where Bitcoin stands strong and upholds capitalism’s supposed best qualities of eliminating bad actors and bad ideas. If we fail to experience a “reset” soon, the crypto paradigm will replace the legacy monetary order, but with a stronger, more powerful, more technocratic elite shaping its financial agenda, not the people who Satoshi Nakamoto set out to empower.