Peter Howson is a professor of International Development and a researcher who’s worked around the world on projects related to environmental sustainability in the global south. We recently sat down with him to discuss his new book, ‘Let Them Eat Crypto’.
When he first heard about blockchain through his NGO partners, he bought into the hype that the technology could help solve some of the problems he was seeing in his field. But he soon discovered that instead of a solution, blockchain based crypto projects offer a vehicle through which the ultra-wealthy exploit the poor and enrich themselves at the expense of the most vulnerable.
Peter wrote the book, in part, to make amends for his initial enthusiasm about blockchain, and the conclusions he presents are a scathing indictment of the industry who promotes its spread. Howson disassembles cryptocurrency’s core narratives by putting their greed, flagrant hypocrisy, and utter contempt for other humans on display, and demonstrates that from green washing fraudulent carbon credits, to crypto colonizers displacing indigenous populations, to recruiting impoverished children into financial schemes, all of blockchain’s solutions are ultimately ‘Scammydocious’.
In the intervening years Stephen’s written dozens of articles and two books on the subject and has become one of crypto’s most prominent critics. He’s also become an activist against the well funded cryptocurrency industry and has challenged those seeking to exploit and defraud the public by organizing with others who are critical of the tech.
We sit down with Stephen to discuss his activism, the ever changing ecosystem of tokenized fraud known as cryptocurrency, and if we should let Sal burn it with fire or apply the law according to Adam. Tune in!
Investigative journalist Zeke Faux didn’t think very much of crypto, but when his friend Jay bragged about a Dogecoin ‘investment’ paying for a family vacation to Disneyland, he was determined to prove that Jay was not, in fact, Nostradamus. So when Zeke’s editor asked him to look into stablecoins, he yanked at the threads connected to crypto’s greatest mystery… What’s the deal with Tether?
Those threads dragged Zeke down a rabbit hole into a ripoff wonderland filled with colourful con-artists and the horror of human misery. From token luxury superyachts in the Bahamas to crypto’s forced labour camps in Cambodia, the first time author has chronicled the recent history of blockchain’s billionaires and the suffering of the victims on which their wealth depends.
One part detective novel, one part historical non-fiction, one part absurdist comedy. Faux has crafted an immutable ledger of the dark shadow that cryptocurrency has cast across our lives, a portrait that’s exciting, bleak, and funny in equal measure.
As crypto-critics, we’re often accused of living in an “echo chamber” being unwilling to entertain other points of view. As part of our ongoing efforts to try and discuss issues with the people who are in the industry, we present another interview/casual conversation with a 20-something year old Ethereum developer from Switzerland by the name of “Louis.” We get his points of view about what problems crypto claims to address. Among other things, he claims the tech offers “less trust assumptions” and “less technical points of failure.”
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Here’s the audio:
Video goes live Monday (although this is mostly audio – I do put up some relevant reference material at certain points in the video)
Jauwn is a gamer and youtuber who has a hobby that no one else wants. He plays and reviews crypto games. Eight months ago he started a channel devoted to meticulous reviews of play to earn cryto projects that are often held up as examples of Web3 success.
Instead of thriving player driven free market paradise, he’s discovered a desolate wasteland of scams and barely functional software. His videos take the crypto claims about web3 at face value and put them to the test, often discovering that there’s little utility, or fun, to be had.
From Axie to ARGs and Decentraland to Dr. Disrespect, the public owes Jauwn a debt of gratitude for his masochistic commitment to playing the worst, and best, games that blockchain has to offer. His dry delivery, sense of fun, and appreciation for the absurdity of crypto make his videos a pleasure to watch. We look forward to talking to Jauwn about his work, his thoughts on gaming, and what hes been working on.
In this episode, we interview one of the cryptocurrency industry’s earliest and most staunch critic, Berkely Computer Science Professor Doctor Nicholas Weaver, who has authored various articles and presentations on how and why Bitcoin and crypto are unsuitable for any of the applications they claim, if not downright, in his own words, “criminally negligent” technology.
Is Texas a crypto welfare state? We often hear that the crypto mining industry is good for the economy and the energy business. In IO Radio #5 we reacted to a propaganda video claiming that Riot and other crypto miners were good for Texas, but what do local citizens think?
American Scream and I talk to Jackie Sawicky – founder of the Texas Coalition Against Crypto Mining – her organization has boots on the ground in Navarro county and is trying to educate people about the lies and misinformation being spread about mining facilities being built and operated in Texas.
What’s at stake when a mining operation moves next door? According to Jackie it’s much more than you think. Communities are being exploited and people’s lives are are put at risk while municipalities give away electricity to private corporations who sell it back to the public at a huge profit.
Listen to the shocking story of what’s happened to the small rural Texas communities who’ve had bitcoin mining come to their front door, and ask yourself if government should be in the business of subsidizing the crypto industry.
An odd post on the /r/Buttcoin subreddit led us to look into FileCoin and the man making serious allegations about the file storage crypto project. We talk to Kevin Mauro, creator of the website dukedupe.com, to find out why he’s willing to go so far as to drive a van around Duke University to call attention to their endowment’s supposed connection to FileCoin. Is crypto incentivizing the distribution of harmful, illegal, & exploitative material online or are innovative technologies being criticized based on speculation & circumstantial evidence?