Yet Another Reminder That Many Bitcoin Critics Are Subpar

The funny thing is that Bitcoin is going to win in such a fantastic way because it is rooted in proof of work.

The below is a direct excerpt of Marty’s Bent Issue #1076: “Yet Another Reminder That Many Bitcoin Critics Are Subpar.” Sign up for the newsletter here.

via NYT

via NYT

The above snippet comes from the Opinions section of the New York Times, and it is a stark reminder of just how bad many Bitcoin “critics” turn out to be. In his piece that dropped today, Binyamin Appelbaum claims that the gold standard – something humanity used for THOUSANDS of years – was disastrous, called private keys passwords, claimed that the US Government can easily brute force ECDSA and confiscate anyone’s bitcoin, and that individuals don’t use bitcoin in a non-custodial self-sovereign fashion because it is “too hard”. A pretty impressive streak of objectively wrong statements.

The frustrating part isn’t that Binyamin was so terribly wrong, it is that he was so very confident while spreading his fake news in the New York Times. Confident enough to exclaim that bitcoiners are nothing more than “Libertarian cosplay” participants. I usually wouldn’t waste a day’s issue of this dirty rag on one particular critique from a single New York Time Opinions piece writer, but pointing out the juxtaposition of this article with the New York Times’ coverage of the Met Gala was irresistible.

The New York Times likes to paint itself as a leader pushing forward social justice and progressive values while speaking truth to power during chaotic times. However, if you look closely – particularly at this bitcoin hit piece and the Met Gala coverage – you will find that it’s the New York Times that is engaged in cosplay and not bitcoiners.

Since January 3rd, 2009 bitcoiners have been working diligently; writing code, building businesses, educating, and erecting physical infrastructure to provide the world with a peer-to-peer digital cash system that will serve anyone who can access the software. In the process, the network has provided billions of unbanked and those already banked with the opportunity to access a digital app where they can store their wealth. Not only that, but the Bitcoin network gives you the ability to have an extremely high degree of certainty that your share of the overall network cannot be debased. The app has only gotten easier to use over time as more and more people are drawn to the network and work to make it more efficient and user friendly. The same can not be said for the incumbent monetary system, which is only getting harder to use.

As central bankers and governments around the world continue to lose their grip on the very interconnected monetary systems of the world – causing social in-cohesion – they are getting more serious about the monitoring of who is sending money to who and how much they can spend. A result of this is increased data collection and filtering that is making it harder for individuals to interact with the economy. It’s getting harder to use in this technical sense, but it’s also getting harder to use in a practical sense as the amount of overall units of money increases rapidly, pushing the prices of many good up as a result. Either completely boxing individuals out from the digital monetary system all together, or decreasing their quality of life materially by making things more expensive.

Bitcoin fixes this problem by giving individuals the world over an open and sound monetary system, yet the New York Times, which is supposed to be cheerleading the advancement of human rights, chooses to bash bitcoin while running this article during the same day…


Legitimate gushing over an elite costume party where celebrities and politicians alike signal their support for social justice while dawning outfits worth tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars with a full life cycle of 12-hours. And the wardrobe wasn’t the only thing the celebrities at the Met Gala were waving in the face of the poors, they were also waving their actual maskless faces right in front of them too. Apparently if you adorn an outfit worth more than your average annual salary in the United States you are naturally immune to COVID. And as long as you signal your disdain for the state of the world by including political phrases like “Tax the Rich” and “Peg the Patricarchy” on your costume, you are absolved from not actually doing anything. That is enough effort. You can go on feeling good about yourself.

The funny thing is that Bitcoin is going to win in such a fantastic way because it is rooted in proof of work. A proof of work that the LARPing elites dependent on the Cantillon Effect cannot compete with in the long run. We’re going to wake up one day, Bitcoin is going to be as easy to use as the mobile phone or laptop you are reading this rag on, the incumbent monetary system is going to be more burdensome and less reliable, and those who the progressives think they are helping are going to thank Satoshi for Bitcoin for providing them with the opportunity to build themselves a better life.


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CBDC: Cognitive Bitcoin Dissonance Cyndrome

Bitcoin has many critics. And while it will never be constructive to simply dismiss criticism for dismissal’s sake, a vast amount of criticism against Bitcoin is often so blatantly false that it is difficult to believe it possible for seemingly intelligent people to perpetuate.

Criticism can lead to improvements and it is often our greatest critics that push us forward to our most important decisions. Case in point: Bitcoin itself is inherently critical. There are deep flaws in the world’s dominant systems of money and governance, and Bitcoin was designed specifically in response to that. It would be somewhat hypocritical of Bitcoiners to dismiss criticism for no reason other than the fact that it is aimed at Bitcoin.

That being said, Bitcoin FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) is circulated ad nauseam. And most, if not all, of it is repetitive nonsense. You can pick your own poison, but as a fun example I would suggest Senator Elizabeth Warren’s recent remarks, which included an old all-time favorite: the idea that “Bitcoin is only useful for criminals.” This point has been so thoroughly debunked that it isn’t really worth going over it again. But for what it’s worth, it’s even been indirectly debunked by her own government.

Enter Exhibit A, and the report released by blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, which illustrates that, in 2020, cryptocurrency-related criminal activity fell to only 0.34% of total transactions. Funny thing is, one would expect Senator Elizabeth Warren to at least be peripherally aware of that report compiled by Chainalysis, seeing as her own government is one of the firms’ biggest clients.

Agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Internal Revenue Service have spent millions of dollars on the blockchain surveillance tools developed by Chainalysis and have conducted investigations and charged people based on evidence collected with the help of Chainalysis. To say that the U.S. government has a good working relationship with Chainalysis would be a completely fair assessment. But for a prominent U.S. government figure to then completely ignore one of the most significant reports compiled by their partner organization is, at best, somewhat disingenuous.

Let’s take a step back here. Personally, I believe that the world will eventually adopt a Bitcoin standard, sooner rather than later. And I believe that Bitcoiners want to expedite that process for the sake of humanity’s best interests. Therefore it’s useful to understand how seemingly intelligent people like Senator Warren can maintain their grossly inaccurate beliefs around Bitcoin, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. Sure, let’s call it mental gymnastics or plain old stupidity. But does that actually help to understand what is happening here? And can understanding this phenomenon help Bitcoiners navigate the situation without wasting their energy where it serves no purpose?

Question: Why is that intelligent people so often make illogical, repetitive and blatantly false arguments? And not only with regards to Bitcoin.

While I don’t think we can paint all individual motives with the same brush, there is one particular explanation which, I believe, has not been widely discussed and which may prove somewhat useful to be aware of: cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is a well-defined term in psychology, having been studied since the 1950s. It is used to describe the reaction of an individual that is confronted by a new reality which contradicts their core belief system at its most fundamental level, to such a degree that the individual simply cannot adjust to that new reality. It causes the mind to experience intense discomfort and stress, which then prompts a course of action aimed at restoring internal consistency, for the sake of maintaining basic mental functionality.

In acute situations, it is crucial to understand that the primary and immediate objective of the response is to keep the individual functional. Having accurate beliefs about reality is (for the time being) of secondary importance. In the long run, of course, an individual with more accurate beliefs about reality will be better adapted for survival. But of more immediate concern is the individual’s basic mental functioning, which demands internal mental consistency. Therefore, very often, the course of action taken is that of rationalization and/or confirmation bias, which will either fabricate a new cognition, and/or avoid information likely to reinforce the new contradictory reality.

Like sleeping, breathing, or a beating heart, the response is automatic, and not under the control of the individual. And like the fight-or-flight response, it is an immediate but ultimately temporary fix to prevent the person from having a mental breakdown.

It requires a monumental amount of mental effort to consider reality-altering ideas which stand in contradiction to one’s established belief system. And in a world where people are often already overwhelmed, core-shattering information can become the proverbial “straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Hence their response blindly leads them to believe whatever they need to, so as to temporarily resolve unbearable internal conflict. Simply put, for the sake of immediate survival, denial is the name of the game.

Seen from this perspective Senator Warren’s remarks may make a lot more sense. “Digital currency from central banks [CBDC] has great promise … Legitimate digital public money … could help improve … [the] safety of our financial system.” Reading between the lines here, it should be pretty obvious that Senator Warren believes (likely very strongly) in the role of government. It is also very likely that she holds the fundamental belief that people cannot — and therefore should not ever govern themselves. So what can one expect when she’s confronted with a real world example that contradicts her core belief system? It’s impossible to determine whether or not she’s suffering from cognitive dissonance. But we do know for a fact that cognitive dissonance is a very real phenomenon. It follows then that there will inevitably be many people who suffer from it, especially in response to Bitcoin, a reality shattering invention if ever there was one. And if Senator Warren happens to be one of those people, it means that she’s gripped by an automatic fight-or-flight-like response. She’s simply doing whatever needs to be done, and saying whatever needs to be said, to remain functional.

The point I’m getting at is this: If Senator Warren, as a possible case study, is suffering from cognitive dissonance, she’s as unlikely to respond logically to factual information (like the above mentioned Chainalysis report) as a person suffering from depression is unlikely to respond positively to good news. If she’s suffering from cognitive dissonance there’s absolutely no point in trying to counter her arguments with factual information. Because, in her case, facts may not matter. That’s the whole point of the confirmation bias and/or rationalization response induced by cognitive dissonance.

And like so many other automatic human responses, if sustained for extended periods of time, the same thing that saved one’s life could eventually end up destroying it. A person can run to escape from a hungry lion, fuelled by a sudden rush of adrenalin, but eventually the body must rest or else it will eventually collapse and die from exhaustion.

And that’s why it’s useful to understand this response. If a person is suffering from cognitive dissonance they’re essentially (and desperately) trying to survive. As such any form of factual and logical engagement or debate will have zero positive effect, and instead only serve to further intensify the effort of denial.

The only constructive thing that can be done is to counter-intuitively, avoid direct engagement with the individual and rest assured that their approach is ultimately temporary. And as long as good content is continually being produced, they will come around when (and if) their mind becomes ready to make a shift.

And fortunately, in the case of Bitcoin, until such time and even if it never happens, it’s of little real concern as there’s nothing they can do to affect the inevitable outcome of a Bitcoin Standard.

This is a guest post by Hermann Vivier. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.


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The ‘Beginning Of The End’ For Ripple And XRP As Coinbase ‘Considers Its Options’

Ripple’s XRP, currently the fourth biggest cryptocurrency by value, according to CoinMarketCap, is fighting for its life.

XRP, the digital token controlled by the San Francisco-based company Ripple, has lost half its value in the last 24 hours, going into free fall after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said the token had been illegally marketed to retail customers.

Now, as a number of minor cryptocurrency exchanges remove XRP from their platforms, traders and analysts are questioning the future of XRP—with one long-time critic calling it “the beginning of the end.”

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“I think it is the beginning of the end,” said Frances Coppola, a financial analyst and commentator who has publicly criticized the company and the XRP token in the past. “Investors are already dumping XRP as quickly as they can.”


The XRP price, after soaring through November on the back of a hotly-anticipated new cryptocurrency giveaway, has crashed from $0.64 to $0.30 in under a week as traders and investors process the news.

Earlier this week, Ripple’s chief executive Brad Garlinghouse revealed the SEC had filed a lawsuit against the company arguing the XRP token is a tradable asset, known as a security, and as such is subject to its regulations. The lawsuit alleges that Ripple has raised $1.3 billion in unregistered securities offerings since 2013.

Three smaller crypto exchanges, OSL, Beaxy and CrossTower, have either temporarily suspended XRP trading or removed it entirely. In a further blow, Bitwise Asset Management has liquidated its XRP position, it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for U.S.-based Coinbase, one of the world’s largest exchanges that boasts almost 40 million users around the world and is gearing up for a mammoth IPO, said it is currently “considering [its] options” when asked how it will respond to the SEC lawsuit against Ripple.

“Any exchange that allows trading in XRP is potentially breaking the law, so exchanges are bound to delist it,” Coppola said, adding the SEC has “a very well put together case,” although couching that “the wheels of the law grind very slowly, so XRP isn’t going to disappear yet.”

“This potential court case is deadly serious for XRP, possibly even lethal,” financial author and trading veteran Glen Goodman, who has bought and sold XRP “at various times in the past,” said via email.

“The SEC doesn’t muck about—if it wants to make an example of Ripple as a warning shot to similar crypto companies, it will go all out to win this case, and XRP may have to be delisted from most crypto exchanges.”

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However, Ripple chief executive Brad Garlinghouse, who has also been charged with violating the U.S. Securities Act along with former chief executive Chris Larsen, has vowed to fight the lawsuit.

“The SEC is completely wrong on the facts and the law and we are confident we will ultimately prevail before a neutral fact-finder,” Garlinghouse wrote in a blog post.

“The SEC has permitted XRP to function as a currency for over eight years, and we question the motivation for bringing this action just days before the change in administration.”

Ripple’s response, combined with the SEC’s timing, coming at the end of the Trump administration, appears to have halted XRP’s sell-off, for now.

“XRP fell fast and hard, but it quickly found support at the level where it started its mammoth bull-run a month ago,” said Goodman. “So to put it in perspective, we’re still only back to November’s prices here! But it could get much worse, depending on how the SEC’s new management decide to proceed. The officials who started this court case are leaving with the Trump administration, so we can’t know what their replacements will decide to do.”

However, the outlook for Ripple and XRP in the coming year looks bleak, with some cryptocurrency investors expecting XRP to continue its long-term decline that’s seen it lose over 90% of its value since its early 2018 highs.

“Тhe prospects for a transformative 2021 for Ripple seem utopian now. Just as regulatory pressure was easing, the SEC made it clear that it delays but doesn’t forget,” Antoni Trenchev, managing partner of digital asset manager Nexo, said via email. “Throughout 2020, XRP’s price has been directly correlated with the project’s dwindling traction on social media and the SEC lawsuit has dealt a further blow to XRP’s potential for a price rebound.”

Elsewhere, some in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency community who think Ripple’s control of XRP meant that it was insufficiently decentralized to be considered similar to bitcoin or other major tokens have cheered Ripple’s woes.

“It is good for bitcoin in the sense that more people will get educated on why bitcoin is different from everything else in crypto,” said an engineer at bitcoin-buying app Swan Bitcoin known as Gigi, who’s also the author of bitcoin book 21 Lessons.

“Grouping bitcoin with projects that can be hit by such a lawsuit is a category error. The whole point of bitcoin is to bring something into existence that is like a natural resource, something that simply exists in the world. Nothing else in the crypto space has this property.”


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@DanBurkholder1 @APompliano Not at all. I was a vocal critic of the dot com bubble and the house bubble, so why should the Bitcoin bubble be any different? I have also been a long-time critic of fiat currency, so why should I not be equally critical of fiat digital currency? I’m just being consistent.

@DanBurkholder1 @APompliano Not at all. I was a vocal critic of the dot com bubble and the house bubble, so why should the #Bitcoin bubble be any different? I have also been a long-time critic of fiat currency, so why should I not be equally critical of fiat digital currency? I’m just being consistent.


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‘I’ve Changed My Mind’ on Bitcoin – $631B Asset Manager Reverses Stance on King Crypto

A top market strategist, asset manager and long-term critic of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, Inigo Fraser-Jenkins, says he has changed his mind on Bitcoin’s status as an asset. In a note to investors on November 30, 2020, the co-head of portfolio strategy at Bernstein Research, a global asset management firm with $631 billion in assets under […]

The post ‘I’ve Changed My Mind’ on Bitcoin – $631B Asset Manager Reverses Stance on King Crypto appeared first on The Daily Hodl.


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