Episode 84 – Cryptocurrency Criticism in a Down Market (feat. Molly White)

Cryptocurrency Criticism in a Bear Market (Feat. Molly White) Crypto Critics' Corner

Today Bennett and Cas are joined again by Molly White, the single best archivist of web3 fraud (on her website https://web3isgoinggreat.com/), to discuss the difference between criticism during a bull market and a bear market as well as a host of other topics. This episode was recorded on June 16th and produced by Asher Hirsch. Follow Molly White on Twitter @Molly0xFFF

In this episode Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined by Molly White to discuss her cryptocurrency criticisms, the cryptocurrency culture war, and similarities between crypto and the alt right.

This episode was recorded on June 16th, 2022.

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This episode was edited and produced by Asher Hirsch.

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English Transcript:

00:00:05:03 - 00:00:12:29
Cas Piancey
Welcome back, everyone. I am Cas Piancey, and I'm joined, as usual, by my partner in crime, Mr. Bennett Tomlin. How are you today?

00:00:13:00 - 00:00:14:08
Bennett Tomlin
I'm doing well, Cas. How are you?

00:00:14:16 - 00:00:25:14
Cas Piancey
Good. I'm tired, but I'm good. We're joined by a very special guest again, one of the few guests we've had on more than once. But I'm proud to say we are joined by Miss Molly White. How are you today?

00:00:25:23 - 00:00:27:15
Molly White
I am doing great. How are you?

00:00:27:27 - 00:00:36:21
Cas Piancey
I'm good. I know Bennett had particularly good question to start this off for you, so I'd like him to jump right into it.

00:00:36:23 - 00:00:55:18
Bennett Tomlin
Oh, sure. Molly, you create the website. Web three is going great, which describes a whole bunch of times that web three has gone exactly as planned. But could you talk a little bit about what the experience was like running it when the price kept going up and running it now that the price is going down?

00:00:55:23 - 00:01:20:02
Molly White
It's definitely been a bit of a wild ride and I am actually kind of grateful that I started writing it on kind of a bull run because it's been interesting to watch both ends of it. In some ways, I enjoyed writing it more during the Bull Run because it felt like the worst scams were just the really obvious rug pulls and they were pretty funny.

00:01:20:02 - 00:01:45:19
Molly White
And, you know, it felt like fewer people were getting absolutely taken out. Whereas now it seems like some of the larger projects are really starting to crumble and people are losing serious amounts of money. And so it's a little bit less entertaining, but also pretty easy, I guess, to highlight some of the flaws in the space that I've been seeing for a while.

00:01:45:20 - 00:01:55:16
Cas Piancey
I assume you were getting lots of angry responses before, but I'm wondering if you've seen an uptick in that or instead more people being grateful for what you do.

00:01:55:23 - 00:02:15:29
Molly White
That's a great question. I think there's always been a mix of people who, like some people, have always sort of thought that the site was useful even if they were into crypto because, you know, they wanted to see the flaws of their own ecosystem. But I think there are now a lot of people who look at what I'm doing and they're like, you're just gloating.

00:02:16:07 - 00:02:32:24
Molly White
You're just like pulling out all the bad stuff when everyone's on, you know, you're taking us on or down. It's like, No, I'm doing what I've been doing this whole time. You know, I was here six months ago doing the same exact thing, but I think people are maybe a little bit more sensitive right now.

00:02:32:28 - 00:02:52:02
Cas Piancey
On that note, I just want to say that I think it's worth noting that these are a lot of the same people who told everybody to have fun staying poor and that we were not going to make it. So when they get mad about this stuff, and take it out on critics or skeptics. Yeah, I take it with a grain of salt.

00:02:52:12 - 00:03:04:26
Bennett Tomlin
I was actually going to say the exact same thing is my favorite thing to do. And I get someone in my mentions saying something like that is to use Twitter's advanced search with from user name and those acronyms. And it's very often there.

00:03:04:28 - 00:03:22:09
Molly White
Yeah. Well, and it's a little strange too, because I feel like by and large, my posts, I try not to come off as though I'm gloating, you know, but but people will take just mentioning that our project failed and they'll be like, Stop pointing this out. You're gloating. It's like, I'm just reporting what happened.

00:03:22:24 - 00:03:45:18
Bennett Tomlin
What's kind of hilarious to me is that reaction in crypto isn't just directed at like independent critics who are doing it because they find it interesting. Like CZ the head of Binance, once replied to a Block reporter, recommending that they stop covering that type of news because it was bad for the industry. Like, their first reaction in all these situations is, No, you just don't talk about the bad things.

00:03:45:25 - 00:04:10:00
Cas Piancey
Yeah, well, I think that's exceedingly impossible now. I guess, as you said, there were a lot of obvious scams on the way up that you were able to call out a lot of smaller things that were so absurd and funny that it was worth talking about. I'm wondering what you're finding to be, let's not say, the most entertaining, but perhaps the hardest to turn away from.

00:04:10:02 - 00:04:41:18
Molly White
Yeah, I mean, I think we all just saw it with Celsius to a large extent. That was one where, you know, the rumblings of things going poorly at Celsius had been emerging for a while, and then everything went bad real fast. And it's like, well, we kind of saw that one coming, you know? And then I think whenever something like Celsius happens or, you know, Tara's another good example of these big failures that then have these cascading effects throughout the industry, which we're still seeing.

00:04:42:00 - 00:04:46:28
Molly White
So, you know, I think we're kind of in the early stages of the Celsius collapse to some extent.

00:04:47:01 - 00:05:21:08
Cas Piancey
Yeah, I agree. And who knows when this comes out? We didn't mention three AC yet, but three arrows capital also apparently insolvent possibly in debt. Rumors swirling. We have no idea what's actually going on. They've been pretty mum. And yeah, that is a really massive fund. I remember when we were helping to work on the tether papers with David Cannellis over at protests who he's now at Blockworks, but when we were talking about it, we were talking about three AC and a very like even us in a like a sort of positive light, almost like they could never fail.

00:05:21:10 - 00:05:33:01
Cas Piancey
Like it did feel like that even just that long ago. And that was September maybe. So I think we're seeing a lot of things that are unexpected, as you said early. Do you expect to see a lot more?

00:05:33:06 - 00:05:56:17
Molly White
I do. Honestly. I mean, it's it's almost like a snowball rolling down downhill hill, right? It feels like the more it rolls, the harder it is to stop. And it seems like we're just seeing the beginnings of these, again, you know, ripple effects as one thing falls, you know, another thing comes down with it. So I expect we will continue to see it for a while.

00:05:56:17 - 00:06:27:15
Molly White
You know, I try not to predict what's going to happen with Bitcoin or ether or whatever, but I think that it's pretty undeniable that there are some firms that were operating in pretty shady ways that were taking on a lot more risk than they really should have reasonably And, you know, we're all sort of setup in this very interconnected way where, you know, if someone defaults on a debt, then that just sort of, you know, you just keep pulling that string and it sort of unwinds a lot of different things.

00:06:27:27 - 00:06:29:13
Molly White
So that's my guess.

00:06:30:00 - 00:06:52:24
Bennett Tomlin
So my only before you started documenting the many mistakes of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, you had spent a lot of time online for Wikipedia and in other places documenting the activities of various alt right movements. Have you seen any similarities between those movements you documented and the cryptocurrency ecosystem or its members?

00:06:53:01 - 00:07:23:25
Molly White
Absolutely. Ali. I mean, I think there's a major overlap just in some of the talking points. You know, if you observe the crypto community, that means an inside jokes and all of that sort of look very similar to a lot of what you see in alt right communities and other sort of extremist areas online. There's also a lot of overlap, it feels like, with sort of the men's rights movements and in cells and those sort of weird corners of the Internet as well that really are apparent.

00:07:23:25 - 00:07:46:25
Molly White
You know, there is that weird word cells and shape rotators thing a while back. If anyone remembers that moment of like insanity in the crypto Twitter ecosystem where even like Vitalik was getting in on it and like the A16Z guys were getting in on it and it's like you realize you're talking about incels right now like that is incel terminology you're using right there and it's everywhere.

00:07:46:25 - 00:08:13:15
Molly White
But yeah, I think I think it's really common to see those overlaps, which makes some sense I think because, you know, the talking points of crypto are very similar to some of the talking points of parts of the right wing, especially libertarian parts of the right wing around no state intervention with money, you know, no state oversight of financial systems, no censorship is another really big one.

00:08:14:00 - 00:08:31:16
Molly White
You know, even a Ethereum's website makes a point somewhere about how if Twitter was built on a theory, I mean, you couldn't get, you know, canceled on Twitter, which is just such a sort of right wing, you know, oh, my God, the woke mob is coming for me type of thing to say. Right on their Web site.

00:08:31:23 - 00:08:53:27
Molly White
For the project that has been described by so many people as like the leftist crypto project. So I think, yes, that there are huge ties there. And I mean, in the U.S., we're also seeing increasingly right wing politicians and various other personalities on the right wing take on crypto as ways to u evade, you know, pot for being in some cases.

00:08:53:27 - 00:08:57:25
Molly White
And also, as you know, their next preferred form of payment.

00:08:58:05 - 00:09:44:04
Bennett Tomlin
It has been fascinating to me to watch both sides of it, the right wing embrace crypto, but then various crypto people embrace an evangelical driven right wing culture war. And that was somewhat striking to me because there is this kind of core libertarian ethos at the heart of cryptocurrency and like one of the tenants of libertarianism is that people should be fundamentally free to do just about whatever they want and so often the cultural reaction of the crypto community seems so reactionary and embedded in the same right wing culture that so much of America is engaged in at this point.

00:09:44:10 - 00:10:12:25
Cas Piancey
It reminds me of our segue into, I think two or three different things going on in cryptocurrency right now. I instantly think of, of course, Jesse Powell, who The New York Times did an article about crack, and he is for anyone unfamiliar. Jesse Powell is the CEO of Kraken, which is a US based cryptocurrency exchange. It's been around for a very long time and basic Lee They put out a I don't know, what do you call that?

00:10:12:25 - 00:10:16:25
Cas Piancey
I don't know what you call that manifesto. I was going to say I didn't want to say it, but.

00:10:16:25 - 00:10:17:06
Molly White
Yeah.

00:10:17:14 - 00:10:29:04
Cas Piancey
Yeah. So they put out a manifesto that said there's no phobias. No, I don't know, Molly, you wrote a great thread about it. If you could delve into that a bit.

00:10:29:05 - 00:10:54:09
Molly White
Yeah. So crack and basically announced that they were going to completely change their culture. And if you don't like it, you can leave. And the biggest sort of takeaways from it were that you have no right not to get offended at work. And if you're offended, that's sort of your problem. And you can't say that someone else has said something that's racist or X phobic.

00:10:55:20 - 00:11:32:09
Molly White
One of them was something very benign. It was like or unwise, you know, something like that. It's like, don't you want people pointing out things that are unwise at work? That seems like a good idea to me, but yeah, so that the whole takeaway was basically that you can't point out at work if someone is racist, you can ask that people refer to you with specific language but you can't expect it of them with sort of this strong undercurrent that if you use pronouns that someone doesn't necessarily think apply to you, they have the right to call you whatever they want, which is a bit of an interesting take in my opinion.

00:11:32:28 - 00:11:43:02
Molly White
But again, you know, the whole thing was like, we're libertarians here and we don't have to, you know, conform to your culture type of thing, which is something.

00:11:43:14 - 00:12:11:17
Bennett Tomlin
But also you have to conform to our code of acceptable speech that bans these words, which is why I get so frustrated so often that the ones who like claim some grand libertarian background because as soon as they have the opportunity, they are totally willing to embrace authoritarianism, whether it's trying to say you can't describe racist things as racist or whether it's embracing a self-identified dictator in El Salvador as soon as it potentially benefits them.

00:12:11:17 - 00:12:31:21
Bennett Tomlin
The claim to libertarianism is abandoned, so long as it centers them in the power structure. And even like I'm going to go off topic here for a moment, you know, like fundamentally when you look at like Bitcoiners vision of the future, the thing they've like set as their goal in the future is for them to live inside of protected citadels surrounded by the hordes of people who didn't make it.

00:12:32:02 - 00:12:40:03
Bennett Tomlin
Like fundamentally, the ideology at the heart of so much of this is it is good for me to succeed at the expense of all of you.

00:12:40:06 - 00:13:05:08
Molly White
Yeah. And I thought that Jesse Powell is Twitter thread on it. So he did a Twitter thread that morning. Or the night before. I forgot that that the New York Times piece published to try to sort of front run what he characterized as a hit piece, which I think he sort of told on himself a little bit because he, first of all, did like a 12 tweet long thread calling out employees at his own company, which seems enormously unprofessional.

00:13:05:19 - 00:13:34:03
Molly White
But he also characterized some of the discussions that they were having, and then he basically accused them of being unable to operate within the bounds of structured debate. And so because of that, it's your fault I had to be a dictator. Like he literally said back to dictatorship in a second. It's like, wait so I thought, you're a libertarian, you know, why are you suddenly saying that I'm a dictator and you can't say what I say is racist and you can leave if you don't like it.

00:13:34:08 - 00:14:02:14
Cas Piancey
Protests reported in July of 2021 about something I think you mentioned in your thread in which the New York Times mentioned as well, which is that Kraken apparently sued people who reviewed them on Glassdoor, which is for anyone who doesn't know is an employment review site. Basically, if you work at a place and you hate it, you can review it and let people know why you hated working there or alternatively why you loved working there.

00:14:02:14 - 00:14:27:21
Cas Piancey
So that's how it's supposed to work. But apparently Kraken sued them to take off those negative reviews. So now Kraken has a outstanding review. But yeah, I think it brings up a lot of interesting questions, that one. But then there's also another one that I think is quite applicable to this, which is the problems over at Coinbase and Brian Armstrong, the CEO there.

00:14:27:24 - 00:14:51:07
Cas Piancey
His motivations are so strange and his priorities are so odd, like why a company is talking about like pronouns at all in the midst of an economic recession and catastrophe. Like, I don't understand what's happening. Like what they're doing and making that. They're like, If you don't like it, leave hell to die on during this time. It's it's surprising.

00:14:51:13 - 00:14:56:24
Bennett Tomlin
I mean, they want people to leave is fundamentally at the heart of a lot of it.

00:14:57:16 - 00:15:03:08
Cas Piancey
They claim they're hiring, not Coinbase, Kraken, Kraken is hiring 500 people or something.

00:15:03:11 - 00:15:04:26
Molly White
So they say, yeah, right.

00:15:04:26 - 00:15:05:28
Cas Piancey
So they say, yeah.

00:15:05:28 - 00:15:25:01
Molly White
So who's to say it could be that they are doing this sort of, you know, Elon Musk strategy saying everyone has to come into the office or else you have to quit, you know, which is a great way of avoiding layoffs, I think. But they are claiming that they're still hiring, including for a couple of H.R. positions, which I thought sounded really appealing.

00:15:25:07 - 00:15:48:12
Cas Piancey
Yeah, go for but I brought up Coinbase because Coinbase suffered from similar issues before they had hiring practices and employment issues within the company that The New York Times reported on. Also, Brian Armstrong purchased $133 million compound in Bel Air. So I you know, it's hard to feel bad for him or his decision making at Coinbase.

00:15:49:09 - 00:16:06:06
Molly White
Brian Armstrong also came out in support of Jesse Powell saying, you know, basically great policy, screw the New York Times, you should run. And then, of course, however you want like I do. And it's like, well, you did just layoff 1100 people. So I'm not sure how that's going, but.

00:16:07:01 - 00:16:09:25
Bennett Tomlin
Your stock is down like 45% for the year.

00:16:11:06 - 00:16:38:25
Cas Piancey
And importantly rescinded employment offers to people that had been promised jobs, some of whom needed that job for visas. Right. So they kind of wrecked some people's lives along the way. The other one I was thinking of was Marc Andreessen was on a podcast and there is a big tweet about his explanation of Web three, and there's been two now there's been two of these non explanation explanations of what Web three is.

00:16:39:02 - 00:16:51:26
Cas Piancey
And I'm wondering if you feel like this is what you've been exactly what you've been trying to say. All this time, like they did it for you. The proponents of Web theory accomplished your mission better than you did.

00:16:52:22 - 00:17:18:26
Molly White
I mean, yeah, I feel like you know, in a lot of ways Web three is, is actually accomplishing my mission for me. And I'm doing very little extra work. You know, I just write down what happens at that. But I do have to hand it to some of the podcast hosts who have taken it upon themselves to sort of corner some of the the Web three personalities and really ask you know, so wait, why is this better than, you know, what I'm doing today?

00:17:18:26 - 00:17:41:00
Molly White
Or, you know, what the normal way that people would go about this? How does this not make things worse? Which it seems like a lot of people are having some trouble answering. And for some reason, they seem very inclined to go into these sort of weird use cases. You know, it's like houses on the blockchain or, you know, podcasts on the blockchain.

00:17:41:00 - 00:18:09:21
Molly White
And it's like that's what you picked, like how how is how is that argument going to play out? And I think in the first instance, even admitted at the podcast that like, he hadn't really ever thought that through before. And it was sort of the first time he was thinking about it. But I think it's a little bit telling that, you know, it's like and these are the people who are saying that Web three is the future and they haven't really thought it through that well to the point where they can't answer what I would think would be a fairly straightforward question, you know, and when pressed on it.

00:18:09:24 - 00:18:39:08
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah, it's part of one of the really troubling things to me about the incentives for venture capital in cryptocurrency is because the discounts are so steep in the time, the liquidity is so short, there doesn't need to be a there there for Andreessen Horowitz to make money from it. And that's that's kind of troubling in many ways because like Cas, you remember when I reviewed the failed white paper, which had raised millions of dollars for me, and the math in the white paper was just wrong.

00:18:39:19 - 00:19:00:12
Bennett Tomlin
If you did the operations they described, you did not get the answer they said you were supposed to get. But apparently no one before me had checked them. Or like in these examples you're citing, it's like packing and going on these podcasts and trying to describe the fundamental value proposition of the thing they've invested millions of dollars in, and they can't really do it.

00:19:01:25 - 00:19:17:09
Bennett Tomlin
And that's that can't be good for society, for capital to be allocated by people who can't describe why they're allocating it to things where they're basically guaranteed to get a profit, regardless of whether or not it works. That is just it can't be good. It can't be good. Right.

00:19:17:24 - 00:19:37:23
Molly White
I mean, I would probably argue that venture capitalists are not good for society regardless of what they're investing in. But yeah, there is one thing that I think broadly it has annoyed me in crypto kind of since I started researching it. There are some people who will tell you that they are involved with crypto because they think they can make money.

00:19:38:09 - 00:20:06:18
Molly White
And I think that is kind of fine, you know, like I don't really have that much of a problem with those people. Obviously, to some extent I think they are exploiting other people who don't necessarily understand what they're putting money into, and that's the profit that they're taking. But they're they're fairly transparent about what they're doing. There are other people involved in crypto who are arguing that crypto is the future of the web, that it is a promising technology.

00:20:06:18 - 00:20:31:28
Molly White
You know, that blockchains are a promising technology that are going to replace, you know, many of the types of databases that underpin existing Web software. You know that this is going to revolutionize the world for creators and artists and podcasters and whoever else. Those are the people that I sort of take issue with, because if Andreessen Horowitz is investing in this, because they can make a buck like OK, that's what venture capitalists do, I get it.

00:20:32:07 - 00:20:49:14
Molly White
But Andreessen Horowitz is also coming out and saying that Web three is the future of the Web, that it is going to give the power back to the little guy, that it is going to totally change financialization and incentive structures on the Web. And then they come on podcasts and they say stuff like this that they sort of can't back up.

00:20:49:14 - 00:20:55:17
Molly White
And it's like you're selling people a lie to try to make money. And that's where I really get annoyed.

00:20:56:08 - 00:21:23:10
Bennett Tomlin
And this is going to be a super deep throwback but Cas, you and I actually talked about this way back in episode eight when we're talking about Coinbase moving into media in Andreessen Horowitz expanding their media division way back then because the fundamental problem with these companies, these people, these venture capitalists owning their own platforms and being able to have that kind of control is eventually they get to a scale where there's no one to sit there and keep asking, so how's that better?

00:21:23:22 - 00:21:51:06
Bennett Tomlin
Why is that an improvement? And like, that's the even more troubling thing for me about what we've started to see in crypto, which is that like A16, when they really started to do this back in the gig economy, when they were placing various stories and stuff, but they've gotten really good at like placing stories, controlling the narrative and trying to establish a thing as though it should be treated as innovative and special before it's actually proven that.

00:21:51:15 - 00:22:27:24
Bennett Tomlin
And once they like convince people of that fiction, it stops being question is often you see more journalists just running the press release or running the straight comment. You see more and more people engaging with it as though it's an actual thing. And so this is, again, not really a question, but it's just been really good for me to see that they don't have the ability to fully control yet, that they're still going in places where they're giving adversarial questions and where these things are being exposed but so much of the engagement I've seen with cryptocurrency in much of the mainstream press, with many prominent exceptions, has been kind of a tacit acceptance of

00:22:27:24 - 00:22:36:22
Bennett Tomlin
what you're talking about. That blockchain is special, that this must be real because this money has been invested without actually like questioning that premise before it's accepted.

00:22:37:02 - 00:22:53:14
Molly White
Yeah, absolutely. And I sort of worry that the next step is that they're going to just stop going on those podcasts or they're going to sort of just try to polish up their media you know, appearance a little bit more with the hopes that they can completely control their narrative, which would be predictable, I guess.

00:22:54:07 - 00:23:19:27
Cas Piancey
Yeah, I was going to ask that because I almost expected already for them to have stopped considering the atmosphere right now. Not that I want them to. I think they should keep please keep making media appearances. I love it, but I already expected them to stop. So in some sense, I'm like, yeah, I've written about this where I think it's healthy for people to stop doing stuff like that and like reflect on what they're doing and why they're doing it.

00:23:20:02 - 00:23:40:05
Cas Piancey
And I think cryptocurrency is prone to pushing people to not take that time to reflect at all. Like they want you to just build and ignore the reason that you're trying to build. But that leads me into my next question, which is you've been doing you've been doing Web three is going great for a while now, and obviously I think you enjoy it.

00:23:40:05 - 00:24:00:17
Cas Piancey
That's the value add for you is that you get to enjoy yourself and do this thing that makes you personally feel good writing it and doing it. I mean, I can empathize. I love what we get to do. So I understand the value add for you, but I feel like you have a value add for the community at large, and I'm wondering if you perceive it that way as well.

00:24:00:17 - 00:24:07:20
Cas Piancey
Like if you think what you're doing is a value add to the community and if it is in what sense do you perceive it that way?

00:24:08:14 - 00:24:11:13
Molly White
Do you mean to the crypto community or just like to society?

00:24:12:02 - 00:24:23:27
Cas Piancey
Yeah, I mean, I guess I guess both in a sense. I guess I mean finance so let's, let's go outside the scope of just cryptocurrency. Let's talk about greedy finance and then also, yeah, society at large.

00:24:23:27 - 00:24:46:26
Molly White
I mean, I think I do think that Web three is going just great is probably broadly useful to the crypto industry to finance that was not necessarily my intention when I started it. You know, like I didn't create it thinking, Oh, I'm going to go fix crypto by pointing out all the bad stuff and leaving all the good stuff behind.

00:24:47:08 - 00:25:08:27
Molly White
I am somewhat skeptical on what might remain if all of the bad stuff was pulled out, but I think some people do see the website that way and they see it as, you know, basically helping, you know, skim off some of the worst parts of crypto to leave the better stuff behind and like personally, if that's what happens, like, that's great.

00:25:08:27 - 00:25:29:19
Molly White
You know, I if someone was like, it's going to be so ironic. If your website helps crypto succeed because you hate crypto so much and it's like, no, I hate the scammers so much and I hate the predatory aspects of it and the way that it's hurting people. And if my work in some way helps stop people get scammed, like that's a good thing.

00:25:29:23 - 00:25:47:09
Molly White
And if that means that crypto, you know, if I was wrong all along and crypto is the future of the web and the future of finance. And all we needed to do was like, you know, just get rid of the shady parts of it. Then like, great, I'm happy with that. So I don't know, it's kind of an odd state of affairs.

00:25:47:15 - 00:26:15:14
Cas Piancey
Well, yeah, I mean, I guess the reason I'm asking and it's because I keep asking other guests this and I'm sorry that I have to repeatedly ask people this question, but I'm struggling to reconcile myself. It's just an ongoing issue for me where on one hand, I want to deeply believe in the idea of financial education and like teaching people stuff, especially what you're talking about, like stay away from scams and how to identify scams, like even just going through Web three is going just great.

00:26:15:20 - 00:26:34:26
Cas Piancey
You can get an idea for what they offer. It allows you to reflect on how this happens. But I think like Jim Chanos said, like he was like, no, like you got to just take the L, that's how you learn. And I, I like, I want with everything in my being for that to not be the case. But I wonder how you feel.

00:26:34:26 - 00:26:40:02
Cas Piancey
I guess that was my indirect question with the previous question to you about, about your value add.

00:26:40:08 - 00:27:03:03
Molly White
Yeah, I heard him say that. I thought that was funny. Personally, I think everyone learns differently. You know, it's kind of a cliche, but like, it's, it's true. Like, some people will never, you know, they will never have it truly driven home that, you know, maybe you can't make these insane returns until they try to and then they get scammed you know?

00:27:03:03 - 00:27:29:18
Molly White
And that's what it takes. Other people, all they have, you know, all it takes is for them to read about that and be like, you know what? Maybe not for me. Maybe I'll try something different. And I think that, you know, I like to think that not everyone has to have total financial devastation before they, you know, learn that maybe crypto isn't for them or that you know, specific crypto projects that are, in my opinion, clearly scams are not sort of worth taking the risk on.

00:27:29:27 - 00:27:49:15
Molly White
And I will say, I have heard from people who have seen my website and have chosen to stay away from my projects. And then the project has collapsed and they were like, oops, glad. You know, they messaged me and they were like, I didn't imagine that, and I'm glad I didn't, you know? So I think there are people out there who it's enough for them to just do their research and not invest.

00:27:49:20 - 00:28:04:13
Bennett Tomlin
When I was on Griftonomics recently, with Jackson Palmer, which I think you've done and before, so people should check out that episode. One of the things that we ended up talking about was kind of related to this, and what they ended up saying is basically, I think of it as kind of like part of harm reduction, right?

00:28:04:13 - 00:28:24:10
Bennett Tomlin
Is that there are some people who this stuff can be explained. There's some people who can still potentially see these things be convinced of these things. And it's it's not the entire solution, but it's part of a solution. Right? Part of the time you spend trying to advocate for sensible consumer protections and reasonable regulations and regulators in law enforcement that work for the people.

00:28:24:10 - 00:28:41:08
Bennett Tomlin
But part of the toolkit, I think, is still very valuable to have that kind of education component to it. And and I think the education component potentially helps enable some of the other things because it helps give people the tools to understand why they should care about regulation.

00:28:41:12 - 00:29:01:11
Molly White
Definitely. And, you know, I do think that, you know, there are people who are able to do their own research to some extent. You know, it's such an overloaded term and an overused term in this in this space. But there are people who have not made up their minds on crypto and are really looking to find truly, you know, is this a good idea?

00:29:01:11 - 00:29:21:05
Molly White
Can I make money off of this? Is this risk, you know, acceptable to me? And to have some resources out there that aren't just saying, yeah, put all your money into this you know, bye bye bye. I think it's good, you know, and I don't think that, you know, my website is changing the minds of Die Hard, you know, true believers in Bitcoin or whatever.

00:29:21:05 - 00:29:34:15
Molly White
I don't think I'm, you know, winning over the Bitcoin Maxis So if I have to, he is going just great. But I do think that to some extent it is probably changing the minds of people who are still figuring things out and that feels useful.

00:29:35:13 - 00:30:09:05
Cas Piancey
I know there's one specific example of someone talking about Web three and their own explanation of it and comparing it to a Wikipedia article, but I'm wondering if if you think often about things like Wikipedia or Tor and essentially these programs and platforms and services that run for free and successfully accomplish decentralization to a degree, often I would say to a better degree than most cryptocurrencies.

00:30:09:12 - 00:30:37:15
Cas Piancey
But I wonder if you think about that and think about how there's already been efforts to do Wikipedia on the blockchain and stuff like that. But I guess for me there's it's such a distinct shift from this idea of, I guess Web one is that what we're calling it now, web one where it was just like sharing, like the sharing communities of the Internet and like even though I guess Wikipedia was later, it shared those ideals of wanting everyone to just contribute to a thing that is free.

00:30:37:28 - 00:30:57:19
Cas Piancey
And it seems like that dream with all of this stuff is dying. I'm wondering if you are hopeful about projects like Wikipedia or, you know, Tor or these other platforms or if you think that there is a threat with all of this monetization, tokenization, financialization of everything.

00:30:57:27 - 00:31:25:24
Molly White
I don't think there is too much of a threat to projects like Wikipedia or Twitter from Web three. I do worry that there is a threat from Web three, but also from other sort of worst parts of today's web, you know, advertising and enormous control by large tech companies and things like that. I think that that threatens the next Wikipedia, you know, like or the next tour.

00:31:26:06 - 00:31:54:23
Molly White
I think it's hard for projects like Wikipedia or Twitter to get off the ground today. It would be hard, I think, for if Wikipedia didn't already exist for someone to create it and to have it succeed today. And I put a lot of the blame there on, I think, like search engines on advertising, on the way that content is monetized and sort of forced in front of people.

00:31:54:23 - 00:32:11:09
Molly White
You know, I think Wikipedia would be I would have a hard time sustaining itself for example, if it wasn't at the top of the Google search results. And I think that it would be hard for Wikipedia to get to the top of the Google search results today if it hadn't been created, you know, 20 years ago or whatever it was.

00:32:11:22 - 00:32:34:20
Molly White
But I think that is a broader problem than just crypto. I think that, you know, the, the, the very financial side of crypto, you know, and the idea that in Web three, everything you do, you should be paid for it. That type of thing is going to be a part of it. But I think that there are sort of broad problems with the Web in general that threaten those types of projects.

00:32:34:26 - 00:33:11:11
Bennett Tomlin
Partially related on the topic of Wikipedia, several months ago, there was a favorite, the wiki. The Wikimedia Foundation had a internal governance discussion of some kind around whether or not the foundation should be accepting cryptocurrencies. And it caused quite a spirited reaction from the cryptocurrency community, which I found fascinating because to me it was an example of what they've described as one of the fundamental strengths of Web three, which is that the contributors to a community come together to govern how that community handles certain things.

00:33:12:01 - 00:33:14:29
Bennett Tomlin
Do you have any thoughts from that period?

00:33:15:03 - 00:33:50:20
Molly White
Yeah, I, I think I made largely the same point because I got extremely frustrated with the attempts by various crypto communities to come in and like gave the discussion you know, the point of the discussion was do you have members of the Wikimedia community, as, you know, people who actively contribute to those projects, discuss what we wanted for our communities and you know, a lot of people who were not editors but who saw the news on, you know, some crypto media outlet or on social media, you know, crypto social media decided we can't allow this to happen.

00:33:50:21 - 00:34:09:14
Molly White
They can't stop accepting Bitcoin. You know, this is the wrong thing for that community to do. And so they tried to come in and skew that discussion, which was just disruptive. You know, like we we have ways of, you know, discarding those types of votes. But it is a process and it's annoying to do. And so, you know, it's like just stop.

00:34:10:02 - 00:34:30:00
Molly White
But yeah, I thought it was very telling, you know, that a group of people who is so on one side invested in the idea that communities should govern themselves, make their own decisions democratically, you know, would then basically throw that whole thing out when those decisions don't personally benefit them. It seemed very telling.

00:34:30:24 - 00:34:50:07
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah. Kind of touches on a topic we keep coming back to here, which is that the narrative used to sell crypto. The ideas used to sell crypto are not necessarily the ideas you see in practice around crypto. There's a large gap between the way it's marketed and in the way its proponents react to the world around them.

00:34:50:13 - 00:35:12:23
Molly White
Yeah. And I think that, you know, it would probably be wise for people in crypto to sort of take a look at those types of comments from people in crypto and think about how they might be used in, you know, projects that they care about. Because one of the things that I was seeing people say about the Wikimedia discussion was it doesn't matter, you know, self-governance, we should throw away the idea of self-governance.

00:35:12:23 - 00:35:52:17
Molly White
If the people who are voting don't understand the issues enough, the idea is that the Wikimedia community broadly doesn't get crypto or they were misled or they didn't have the information despite literally tens of thousands of words of discussion about it. And so they made the wrong decision and that doesn't count as like internal governance. And it's like so you're just kind of telling on yourself that if your Dow or your whatever your company that you're running that's supposed to be so, you know, self-governing makes a decision that you decide is the wrong decision, you can just throw it out for any reason like that.

00:35:53:11 - 00:36:18:20
Molly White
That should be a very big red flag to anyone in your communities that that is something you should that you are considering. And it also I guess, shouldn't be surprising given that we've seen these groups do that before where does, you know, have come to decisions that the creators of the Dow or the powerful folks in the Dow didn't agree with and they just said, sorry, we don't agree and we're going to do our own thing.

00:36:19:03 - 00:36:22:02
Bennett Tomlin
You didn't follow the rules of debate. So it's back to dictatorship.

00:36:22:02 - 00:36:23:01
Molly White
Basically.

00:36:25:11 - 00:36:36:16
Bennett Tomlin
There's even yeah, there's an example right now of a Dow trying to refund their investors instead of pay them the gains they're supposed to have. Yes. Which is going well.

00:36:37:14 - 00:36:47:08
Molly White
Because they didn't contribute enough to the Dow community, even though there was no stipulation or expectation that they do anything besides provide the money that they provide.

00:36:47:26 - 00:36:52:16
Bennett Tomlin
Oh, yeah. Self-governance for the but not for me.

00:36:53:05 - 00:37:24:02
Cas Piancey
Yeah. It is beautiful that a cryptocurrency advocate who helped establish Mt. Gox, who is an obvious libertarian, literally said back to dictatorships I just it's just ultimately astounding. But he should come on the show. We should talk about all those crazy, crazy decisions. And I would love to talk to him about the history of his relationship. And crack his relationship with crypto capital core and and their early days where he talked about I think he had to use PayPal as a payment services provider.

00:37:24:04 - 00:37:29:04
Bennett Tomlin
He had to use his employee PayPal's and their friends PayPal in order to handle withdrawals and stuff.

00:37:29:04 - 00:37:55:21
Cas Piancey
Very legal stuff just recently. But anyway, on that note, Ben, I'll leave you with the last question. My final question, though, is what are your expectations for not crypto but your website? Like what are your expectations for what's going to happen in the next year or two? I suppose Ben and I have been through a bear market or so so far.

00:37:55:21 - 00:38:04:17
Cas Piancey
So we there is a there is a pulse to this generally, but we'll see if it's different this time. But I'm wondering what. Yeah, what you're expecting.

00:38:05:02 - 00:38:21:15
Molly White
I don't really know. I, I don't exactly have a plan. I guess I wouldn't say so. I'm just sort of taking it one day at a time, but I imagine I will not be running out of any time soon. I will say that.

00:38:23:15 - 00:38:28:02
Bennett Tomlin
I don't know that I have a good close out question. I guess I'm going to be honest with you.

00:38:29:01 - 00:38:34:17
Cas Piancey
No worries. Is there any is there anything else that you would like to say Molly, before we we sign off here?

00:38:34:28 - 00:38:37:20
Molly White
Um, all right. Do I have anything else?

00:38:37:22 - 00:38:38:10
Cas Piancey
No pressure.

00:38:38:10 - 00:38:39:29
Molly White
Yeah, I don't think I have you there.

00:38:41:27 - 00:39:12:20
Cas Piancey
On that note, thank you for joining us. It was lovely to have you back on. We are going to leave some links in the description for the episode for everybody to visit your Twitter, your website. Also, I checked again, and I see that you're good on donations right now for your for your website, apparently. But you have said if if you can't if people can't donate to your website, there are a few charities that you suggest people donate to in lieu of a donation to the website.

00:39:12:28 - 00:39:20:05
Cas Piancey
So maybe we can go ahead and leave those links up in the description as well. But yeah, thank you for joining us. It was lovely to have you on again.

00:39:20:09 - 00:39:21:04
Molly White
Thanks for having me.

One response to “Episode 84 – Cryptocurrency Criticism in a Down Market (feat. Molly White)”

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