From SBF to Book Deals, Crypto Makes Money for its Haters, Too

Shortly before Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX trial started, Bloomberg reporter Zeke Faux published an anti-crypto book, Number Go Up.

I haven't read it and don't plan to read it—not just because he didn't read any of my books, but also because I'm pretty sure I know everything he writes about.

Zeke does good work, so I'm sure the book is great. Generally speaking, I agree with the premise. We need people who hold our feet to the fire!

Mostly, it's just nice to see people making money off of crypto again. It's hard to grow your audience when crypto prices are down, but Zeke found a way—and timed the release to coincide with the SBF trial. Brilliant!

A good business opportunity

For all of cryptocurrency’s talk about immutable protocols that allow everybody to tap into vast, global, permissionless pools of capital, a lot of the major crypto stories have nothing to do with any of that. They're the product of fraud, incompetence, and greed.

As such, it's only fair that we should suffer the burden of naysayers. We brought this on ourselves.

Now that anybody can create money anywhere, anytime, for any purpose, with whatever rules they want, you get a lot of good and bad ideas. Also, a lot of good and bad people.

Since the cryptosphere has a lot of bad ideas and people, it’s very easy for haters to find something or somebody to mock, scorn, vilify, and ridicule. Good people are boring. Successful projects aren’t sexy. No money or clicks in writing about them.

The bad guys and scams get eyeballs and attention.

We have a cottage industry of skeptics and conspiracy theorists who can take advantage of losses, crimes, moral outrage, and a sense of elitism for their own benefit. For example:

  • Writer David Gerard has carved out a nice niche for himself as a perennial hater.

  • Former actor Ben McKenzie got a book deal, social media exposure, and appearances on radio and TV.

  • Comedian Bill Maher got some great segments out of it. So did John Oliver.

  • US President Joe Biden used cryptocurrency angst to get support for his tax plan.

  • Crypto website Protos got a lot of clicks.

And Zeke got book sales and airtime.

Cryptocurrency is so full of grifters that even the skeptics are grifting off of it!

Everybody gets a cut

The irony?

The haters and lovers both use cryptocurrency to enrich their lives.

Every tweet or book from a hater leads to a new person hearing the word “crypto” or “bitcoin.”

Each indictment or accusation encourages a response. For example, this tweet.

How often can you post something like this and have people actually read it?

Not often. This only happened because the Wall Street Journal wanted to make money from anti-bitcoin sentiment and war in the Middle East.

When criminals, frauds, and hypesters drag cryptocurrency’s reputation into the mud, they give people like us an opportunity to talk about the good things cryptocurrency can do. They make crypto seem real, legitimate, and worthy of attention.

Nobody kicks a dead dog.

As long as they still talk about crypto, we need to fear nothing. They’ll open the conversation.

The market will do the rest of our work.

Subscribe to Mark Helfman
Receive the latest updates directly to your inbox.
Mint this entry as an NFT to add it to your collection.
This entry has been permanently stored onchain and signed by its creator.