Went to the movies

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Fiat money fear and loathers at 2:37 pm by George Smith

Failure of the old PC necessitated change of platform, upgrade via a loaner of sorts, a new-ish laptop the modern web can’t choke. So, to Hulu, for some free video, the price of which is enduring commercials, more than you can shake a stick at but not so many as to make it unendurable.

The Rise and Rise of BitCoin

Rating: Interesting to view in retrospect, perhaps mostly for its assortment of young tech financial criminals who were among its most enthusiastic subjects. B-

Daniel Mross, the documentary’s host and narrator, is an avuncular computer nerd, a libertarian fascinated by BitCoin. He’s invested in expensive mining rigs he hopes will pay off and totally taken by the idea of BitCoin money, free of banks and the government, at last digital money that allegedly means something and is not created by government fiat, only by Satoshi Nakamoto’s, uh, fiat.

Mross, like all the young libertarian geeks, some of them flat out anti-government types transparently only interested in making a quick fortune, never really explain why they hate the dollar. It’s just bad because the Fed prints it. Why is that bad? Well, it just is. Zimbabwe, maybe inflation, Ben Bernanke…

You get the idea they despise it because they have no way to make a quick fortune with the dollar by getting in on the ground floor with something like digital gold mining (in other words, printing their own) and the hoarding of it.

The BitCoin fanatics interviewed by Mross are all from the period when it was still get up and go, its value on a fast upward trend. (BitCoin has been stagnant at about $240 for almost the entire year now.)

First there’s Charlie Shrem of BitInstant, a BitCoin exchange. He’s making great money but confides to the camera he doesn’t want to be a criminal. By the end of the doc he’s been arrested and is wearing an ankle-bracelet. Today he’s in jail in Pennsylvania for two years for aiding a money-laundering scheme through the Silk Road, the infamous on-line bazaar for drugs, counterfeit IDs, and unregistered weapons.

Next is Jered Kenna in San Francisco, rapidly expanding another BitCoin exchange, TradeHill. You can guess what happened. Poof! TradeHill eventually collapsed — twice — although its founder made his fortune. Now he’s in Colombia, allegedly planning new business ventures to acquaint people with emerging technologies like BitCoin.

Next is BitCoin Jesus, Roger Ver, another wealthy libertarian filled with hyperbole and visions of the future. He gave up his citizenship to avoid US taxes. The government subsequently denied him permission to re-enter the country. Now he’s living offshore at an undisclosed location, an island state for money hiding, probably St. Kitts.

There’s a man who was making all those gold “BitCoins” you used to see in photographs, everywhere, about the currency. The US government told him he didn’t have a license to do that. His coins, you see, also contained the tech to carry a BitCoin value. So he quit although he still sells other collectibles, apparently in the world of numismatics.

Then, yet another libertarian, gone to Panama City with another exchange, making empty talk about serving the “unbanked.” There’s no serving of the “unbanked” in The Rise and Rise of BitCoin, just libertarian get rich quick types who want to form their own country.

Finally, there’s Mark Karpeles of Mt. Gox and by the time Mross visits him things are already falling apart. Currently, odds are 50/50 the Japanese government will imprison him over the BitCoin fortunes gone missing at his exchange. (Oof! Done.)

You see the trend.

The Silk Road and Dark Web are part of the documentary. The government takes Silk Road’s BitCoins. So much for the silly idea BitCoin fanatics promoted that such things were impossible.

The US government subsequently auctioned off the riches to California venture capitalist and billionaire nuisance Tim Draper. Draper, you may recall, tried to get an initiative to split California into six states on the ballot. He failed. Just couldn’t resist putting his fingers on the scale with illegitimate signatures, apparently. Another matter, yes, but still related to the tech libertarian thing, the bit where you want your own country, with your rules, with your money kept safe from parasites and the government.

And you’ll see the Winklevosses, too.

Go to the Winkdex, read the blog, not much happening. Except this, renting out an 18-million dollar mansion in Los Angeles that had been hyped as a future HQ of their Internet venture capital firm.

And those nifty high-powered BitCoin mining rigs? They didn’t pay off. The ROI was terrible.

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