[Our tour of the year's stupidest moments in a frequently stupid industry continues, as spring dawns, the buds blossom and the idiocy continues. This is part 2 of 4. Watch for part 3 tomorrow! And read yesterday's right here:Crypto's 101 stupidest moments of 2019: January—March]
77. Coindesk contributor calls for “blockchain for Brexit.”
Oh, woe be us, another dismal blockchain-for-Brexit hot take! Pindar Wong, a “member of Coindesk’s advisory board,” pens a remarkable clanger, calling on the UK government to instate a “blockchain for Brexit.” For some reason, he believes that the process of hashing out border checks, customs arrangements and trade agreements would be improved by replacing the politicians with billions of unaccountable computer nodes.
76. Crypto goes to Hollywood. The resulting movie is not exactly a, er, blockbuster.
Barely featuring any actual “crypto,” a movie called Crypto, spells the cryptographic term “merkle tree” wrong! Worse, it has the temerity to feature a literal-minded money launderer who labels one of his bank accounts “money laundering.” Rotten Tomatoes charitably gives Crypto a 20% ”rotten” rating. Decrypt calls it “paralyzingly slow.”
75. Craig Wright sues non-believers, gets delisted.
Craig Wright, the man who would be Satoshi Nakamoto, starts filing defamation suits against anybody who has called him a fraud, including a Twitter user whose avatar is a cat in a spacesuit, a podcaster named Peter McCormack, Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency news site called “Chepicap,” and, tragically, Wright’s old pal, Roger “Bitcoin Jesus” Ver.
Ver’s case will ultimately be dismissed, and McCormack’s will rage on into 2020. But not before several cryptocurrency exchanges take umbrage at the legal-trolling and delist Wright’s Bitcoin fork, Bitcoin SV.
74. If your constitution doesn’t work, impose a new one.
Block.one’s sacred “constitution”—which forms the basis of its trustless blockchain network, and requires at least 15% of the vote to amend—is scrapped and rewritten with 1.74% of the vote.
73. “Sir? I have Donald Duck waiting for you on line 2…”
Bittrex loses its “BitLicense” after regulators discover that many of its US traders use pseudonyms, among them “Donald Duck” and “Elvis Presley.”
72. Your seastead or your life.
Two Bitcoiners living peacefully off the Thai coast in a floating structure called a “seastead,” are startled when Thai law enforcement comes a-knockin’. The coppers inform them that their boat-thingy, anchored as it is in Thai waters, is perceived to be a danger to the country’s sovereignty. If convicted of the applicable crime, the penalty is death. The couple, sensibly, flees.
71. Please leave your keys at the door.
A forensic report reveals that a hacker or hackers have stolen tens of millions of dollars from Ethereum holders dumb enough to have left their private keys (or, dumber yet, changed the keys to) single digit numbers.
70. Trey’s company.
Crypto PR man Trey Ditto coordinates The Block’s Atomic Swap conference, and appears as a talking head on the “Ask A Crypto Reporter” panel. But wait a hot second there! Trey’s not a reporter! He’s a PR. No one notices because… it’s crypto and what’s the difference?
69. Partnership: what’s in a word?
Tron CEO and pitchman extraordinaire Justin Sun receives a generic media package from Liverpool Football Club, interprets it as an invitation to forge an “official partnership,” and announces it all to great fanfare.
Reporters seeking comment encounter mystified Liverpool flacks who wonder what a “Tron” is. In counter-response, Tron’s own PR department argues for a more philosophically nuanced understanding of the word “formal.” Not to be outdone, Decrypt subsequently says, “Hold my beer.”
68. Even the New York Attorney General is confused by “cash equivalents.”
The New York Attorney General sues everyone’s favorite stablecoin, Tether, discovering the “loans” and “cash equivalents” (etc.) backing Tether to be partly fictitious. Further, the agency accuses Tether’s sister company, Bitfinex, of dipping into Tether’s reserves to mask an $850 million hole in its finances.
Tether eventually comes clean on this charge, admitting in court that tethers are only 74% backed. There’s also reason to believe that at least some of this backing includes bad debt from Mexican drug cartels, and horses. Cattle! We knew there has got to be a pony in here somewhere.
67. When you’re a crypto star they let you do it, Part II.
Calvin Ayre once again redesigns the kit of Ayr F.C., the Scottish football club he owns, to feature his new favorite cryptocurrency, Bitcoin SV (last year it was Bitcoin Cash). Disturbingly, his designers paint the new look onto the naked bodies of two models, who are compensated in … Bitcoin SV.
66. Craig Wright maligns a Forbes reporter and is provoked by a fake news reporter at Oxford.
The distinguished Oxford Union invites Australian computer scientist Craig Wright to talk to a bunch of undergraduates about Bitcoin SV.
Asked during a Q&A why some people dispute his claim that he is Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto, Wright blasts “fake news” and maligns a Forbes reporter. Wright subsequently embarks on a remarkable rant, attacking “white males” and comparing himself with Augustus of Hippo and Sappho of Lesbos.
65. To get your mind off your headache, we will now smash your finger with a hammer.
After New York’s Attorney General offers evidence that Bitfinex has masked an $850 million financial deficit, the exchange comes up with a novel way to recapitalize: a potentially illegal token sale.
Aiming to raise $1 billion, Bitfinex flogs the “LEO” token to retail investors, promising to buy tranches back at regular intervals. LEO’s price duly soars, and the attorney general takes notice: the sale has “every indicia of [an unregistered] securities offering,” it writes in a subsequent complaint.
64. Stellar blues.
The immutable unhackable decentralized “Stellar” blockchain goes down.
63. Craig Wright files for a copyright of the Bitcoin white paper.
Australian computer scientist Craig Wright files an application to claim his own copyright of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper. He says the filing is a “US government recognition” of his authorship. Lawyers point out that anyone can register a copyright for $50.
62. How much will you give us for “decrypt.co?”
Block.one announces “Voice,” an EOS-based social network with a gratuitous token, and reveals it paid $30 million for the domain name. This is a lot of money! At those prices voice.beer—still available for a mere $52.99—is a steal.
61. Ain’t that a Kik in the head?
Kik’s DefendCrypto fund, an ad hoc slush fund set up to finance the company’s impending battle with the SEC, was initially backed by the likes of Coinbase, ShapeShift, Circle, and Messari. Then it, ah, wasn’t, after those companies got a look at the SEC’s case.
60. Long suffering and extremely similar to, perhaps, but not Jesus.
Craig Wright apostle Ryan X. Charles describes a “religious experience” that culminates in him emailing Craig Wright to ask him if he is Jesus. With great humility, Wright claims that he is not Jesus.
Or is He?
59. Crypto site CCN says it’s closing after a Google News algorithm upgrade ruined its traffic.
CCN provokes an uproar when it blames Google for a decline in traffic, abruptly packing it in for good in a surprisingly poignant farewell post...until two days later, when it returns, “back from the dead.”
58. Rick Santorum is a true believer in Catholic Coin.
CNN talking head and former US senator Rick Santorum joins the advisory board for “Cathio,” the issuer of a dollar-denominated stablecoin for Catholics. A frothy mixture, indeed.
57. Drunk bitcoin millionaire accosts women in bathroom
An apparently intoxicated man named James Groves is arrested after entering the ladies bathroom at a Florida truck stop and ranting. Later, he tells police he has been drinking “Four Loko,” a malt beverage that comes in flavors ranging from fruit punch to hemp. Also that he has $8.8 million worth of bitcoin. Sadly, he has neither cash nor a working credit card, so police take him to the local lockup. “It wasn’t immediately clear whether Bitcoins can be used to bond out of jail,” the local paper wryly notes. Ha!
56. Gullible’s travails.
Another twist in the QuadrigaCX tale: it turns out that QuadrigaCX’s allegedly deceased CEO, Gerald Cotten, didn’t die with $190 million in the bank. Ernst & Young finds that he had emptied the inaccessible cold wallets long before his untimely passing, apparently blowing the funds on loss-making speculative trades, real estate, and a luxury yacht called the Gulliver.
55. Passing the buck
Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled face stiff penalties for touting Centra Tech, a crypto project that turned out, shockingly, to be a securities fraud. The boys’ counsel blames their erstwhile lawyer for giving the two the go ahead. Alas, the old lawyer’s bona fides call into question the celebrities’ critical thinking skills - prior to giving them legal counsel, this “lawyer” had already been disciplined by the New York bar, because he had forged his legal degree.
54. I knew Satoshi, and this was not his vision.
Bitcoin SV is marketed as “Satoshi‘s Vision,” the one true Bitcoin, the one that will attract institutional investors, industry, governments, anybody who believes in the purity of the crypto dream. Except the majority of its on-chain activity is taken up by... “WeatherSV,” an application that reportedly plagiarizes weather data. Also written on the immutable Bitcoin SV blockchain is a cache of... child porn.
53. Maybe Facebook should have done this before launching Libra?
Shortly after releasing plans for a globe-spanning digital currency that has governments and bankers alike shrieking about monetary sovereignty and Silicon Valley overreach, David Marcus, the man in charge of Libra, puts out a job offer seeking ”someone who knows how economies tend to work.”