As 2019 draws to a close, there's still time for the crypto industry to squeeze in some last-minute moments of abject stupidity. Plus! The STUPIDEST MOMENT OF 2019 revealed!
19. FairWin: short-lived Ponzi, beloved by the masses.
Fairwin, a “provably fair” gambling platform on the blockchain, is the prettiest girl at the DeFi ball until users notice that all of their funds have been drained from the app’s smart contracts. Cybersecurity geniuses allege that Fairwin is a “Ponzi scheme.” Duh.
18. Russian sues Gaycoin for turning him gay.
Russian area man seeks $15,000 in damages from Apple, claiming to have been turned gay by an anonymous gift of 69 “Gaycoins” sent to his iPhone.
“I’m mired in intimacy with a member of my own sex and can’t get out,” the victim wrote in an actual complaint filed with an actual Russian court.
16. Hoisted by its own report.
BitWise drops a bombshell report, alleging that 95% of crypto trading volume is fake, then is shocked when its application for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund is rejected by the SEC on the grounds that 95% of crypto trading volume is fake.
15. "Libra is Going Great" Volume II
One by one, Libra's major backers—among them Visa, MasterCard, Uber and Stripe—abandon it, flustered by threats from lawmakers. Libra is left backed by a smattering of companies nobody has ever heard of, and Facebook. But all remains well, according to Facebook’s in-house Libra overseer, David Marcus, who describes the haemorrhaging of support as "liberating."
14. Binance says you can get crypto from Alipay. Alipay denies it . Famous CZ quote ensues.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announces that the exchange’s users can now credit their balances via Alipay, the Chinese payment giant. Alipay denies it, and The Block’s Larry Cermak points out that technically, Zhao is correct, because Alibaba turns a “blind eye” to the illicit transactions. Thence comes CZ’s famous phrase: “some things are better left unsaid. Recommend no more news like these, for the sake of the people, our industry (and your business).”
13. Bitcoin Maximalists praise Xi Jinping.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, leader of a country that loads Muslims into concentration camps and spies on its citizens, proclaims that blockchain will help to bring “economic and social value.” Bitcoin’s price shoots up shortly after (probably uncorrelated though, for what it’s worth), and crypto’s self-anointed heralds of a disintermediated world express their gratitude to the authoritarian ruler of a centralized state. Chinese state media then clarifies that while blockchain is a Good Thing, cryptocurrencies are emphatically not, and the price of Bitcoin duly plummets. Again.
The CEO of Zimbabwean exchange Golix confesses to having forgotten the password to a cold wallet holding $33,000 in client funds. Not a big deal unless it was your money he was holding, in which case, you have our sincere condolences.
Amid a Bitcoin market rally, Coinbase’s “regulatory attorney,” Hayley Lennon, screams “Puuuummmppppppp iiiiiiiittttttttttt” on Twitter.
10. Is this… progress?
A trader sends 0.00020549 BTC, incurring a 2 BTC fee.
BitMEX leaks thousands of user emails, which are swiftly scooped up by spammers.
8. It depends on how you define “partner?”
Decrypt gushes that the “Amazon of China,” Alibaba, has partnered with crypto online retailer Lollipay, when the reality is that Lollipay has just joined an affiliate program, which means absolutely nothing. Mea culpa.
7. I [heart] Richard Heart
Golden-haired cryptocurrency influencer Richard Heart believes that if he says enough times that his dubious new crypto, “HEX,” which advertises 1,400% gains, isn’t a security, it won’t violate US federal securities laws.. Good luck, we guess?
(Bonus: Heart also brags about having won over several of the promoters involved with BitConnect, a renowned, er, scam.)
6. Thieves rob Bitcoin ATM, forget to take most of the money.
A pair of thieves loot a Bitcoin ATM at the Simply Delicious Food Market in Vernon, British Columbia, but “forget to take most of the money.”
5. The saga of Tommy Mustache
The Block gets into a protracted Twitter spat with Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, after reporting that Binance’s Shanghai office (“doesn’t exist”) was raided (“didn’t happen”) by Chinese police.
From this chaos emerges one sole victor, a hitherto unknown Binance Maximalist and photoshop extraordinaire named “Tommy Mustache,” whom Zhao ally Justin Sun pays to, uh, superimpose various The Block staffers’ heads onto the bodies of men wearing mankinis, among other weird things. Tommy then reveals he is actually outsourcing these “memes,” to an … impoverished Romanian graphic designer.
4. Virgil Griffith’s North Korean adventure.
The FBI arrests a starry-eyed researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, Virgil Griffith, on suspicion that he assisted North Korean officials in evading US sanctions by teaching them about blockchain, after they told him not to go there, several times, and after he bragged about the trip on Twitter, also several times.
3. “Gym friend”
Blockstream’s Samson Mow, a self-avowed “toxic” Bitcoin Maximalist, bitterly admonishes Joshua Davis, an obscure tweeter, for making fun of a picture in which his girlfriend stands arm-in-arm with an alarmingly ripped old man with a beard. Decrying Davis’s “sexist” juxtaposition of that photo with one of Mow caressing a Transformers box—captioned, “You vs. the guy she tells you not to worry about”—Mow insists the man is merely his partner’s “gym friend.” But the anguished rebuke backfires, triggering the Streisand effect and sending the tweet stratospheric. Thus ensues widespread mockery, heated debate and a “gym friend” meme account … which Calvin Ayre unironically gives fitness advice.
2. “What do women want? Volatile speculative assets.”
Coindesk patronizingly advises that "there would be more women investing in bitcoin if they had more educational materials to help them," citing a report by Grayscale, a crypto investment firm with which it shares a financier. Grayscale graciously says that it is not for a lack of intelligence that a larger number of women than men aren't investing all their life savings in Bitcoin, but for a lack of "education"—education meaning, of course, "propaganda dressed up as an investment thesis." Women rejoice!
1. Poloniex delists digibyte
TRON’s Justin Sun purchases Poloniex, and begins using it to promote TRON via Twitter. The inventor of DigiByte launches into a tirade against the exchange, and Poloniex promptly responds by delisting the DigiByte token, following an entirely coincidental “careful review.”
THE DUMBEST MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Justin Sun’s aborted lunch with Warren Buffett.
Could there have been any doubt that the dumbest, most embarrassing moment of the year occurred on July 26?
TRON CEO Justin Sun spends $4.6 million on a charity lunch with Warren Buffett in the (misguided) belief that he can sway the great blockchain hater and emerge triumphant. He makes an enormous publicity stunt of it all, announcing announcements and inviting several of his very special friends.
Alas, Sun drops out at the eleventh hour, citing “kidney stones.” Nobody believes him, and rumours spread that he has been detained in China, on suspicion of running a stupid blockchain protocol, or something.
But it turns out the great man is laying low in San Francisco, where the bedeviling kidney stones have apparently failed to prevent him from, er, partying. Horrifyingly, the Chinese government is after him, and he apologises profusely for “over-marketing.”
A remarkable moment is already a candidate for dumbest of the century, and we’re barely 20% in.