Tag Archive | blockchain

We’ve replaced all the blockchain buzzwords with AI buzzwords. Let’s see if big tech notices

Crypto collapse links

“Bitcoin’s current worth and future potential rest partly in the hands of the Bitcoin Core maintainers, a group who are chosen by their peers and are often vague about their whereabouts. A loose network of donors pays most maintainers’ salaries. At least once, the maintainers secretly patched a bug that bitcoin proponents say could have destroyed the cryptocurrency’s value.

A snappy, prescient review of crypto, from May 2022: “Its harms are substantial. It has enabled billion dollar criminal enterprises. It has enabled venture capitalists to do securities fraud as their business. It has sucked people in. So either avoid it or help me make it die in a fire.”

The final days of FTX: “Soon, news of FTX’s troubles was spreading beyond headquarters. Rental car agencies in Nassau demanded their vehicles back. Hotels and landlords turned out FTX employees, some of whom moved into properties owned by the company. Many workers rushed to book tickets off the island. ‘If you could get a flight out tomorrow, you would go,’ one recalled.

AI and chatbot links

“For a fun time, I decided to ask the new “Bing Search” chatbot what it knows about Leif & Thorn. […] By the second answer, the bot had made up a whole nonexistent storyline.

“How about a robot that instantly pulls and returning info from the internet when requested? Sixteen years ago, three guys had that exact idea—and it didn’t exist. The web was still a greenfield project. And thanks to some great foresight (perhaps too much, if that’s real) they created ActiveBuddy, the startup that built SmarterChild.

The joke here is “Chat GPT has very prudish sexual ethics“, but in all seriousness: we can all agree that’s not just predictive text, right? Some of those were phrases written by a human professional, once they noticed they were getting certain kinds of questions, where they absolutely couldn’t leave the chatbot to freeball the answers.

The Onion weighs in: Questions That ChatGPT Is Not Allowed To Answer.

“In this post, I catalogue a few of the analogies for “AI” art and how they are useful analogies and how they’re misleading.

Includes a link to an essay about data compression, and its fascinating failings. “It turned out that the photocopier had judged the labels specifying the area of the rooms to be similar enough that it needed to store only one of them—14.13—and it reused that one for all three rooms when printing the floor plan.


Going for the Silver in the crypto rubbernecking Olympics

There’s been a deluge of crypto-rubbernecking articles since FTX melted down 4 months ago…and I’m not even gonna try to link all the good reads. These are just some of the top hits.

November: “In less than a month, reporting and the bankruptcy process have uncovered a laundry list of further decisions and practices that would constitute financial fraud if FTX had been a U.S. regulated entity – even without any crypto-specific rules at play. […] The list is very, very long.

December: “Sam Bankman-Fried’s $30 million Bahamas penthouse looks like a dorm after the students have left for winter break. The dishwasher is full. Towels are piled in the laundry room. Bat streamers from a Halloween party are still hanging from a doorway. Two boxes of Legos sit on the floor of one bedroom.

“The Block, a media company that says it covers crypto news independently, has been secretly funded for over a year with money funneled to The Block’s CEO from the disgraced Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency trading firm, sources told Axios.

“Zhao [CZ, from Binance] was concerned that Bankman-Fried was orchestrating crypto trades that could send the industry into a meltdown. “Stop now, don’t cause more damage,” Zhao wrote in a group chat with Bankman-Fried and other crypto executives Nov. 10. “The more damage you do now, the more jail time.”

“[Trump’s] “digital trading cards” are indeed just another cash grab NFT project, but the low quality images and the company in charge of the project are a more complicated enigma. The images were so lazy that based on reverse image searches they were edited photos scraped off the internet.” Zoom in on some of them, and you can even see the remains of the Shutterstock watermarks…

February: “These are sophisticated idiots that not only acted with disregard for their customers’ funds – not that one can call anyone of Celsius a “customer” in the traditional sense, as no service was being offered – but with possibly the least financial acumen I’ve seen outside of the Minions from the Despicable Me movies.

“Dillon Danis said he felt bad for the victims of scams, but let’s see if he really means that. Putting an influencer to the ultimate test, by offering them money to promote what is an OBVIOUS fake NFT website, and then giving them a contract acknowledging the whole scheme.” [Video, another slam dunk from Coffeezilla]

Now: Crypto Collapse BINGO, 2022-23 edition, updated with the folding of Silvergate Bank. (I haven’t watched Crypto Critics’ Corner’s video about the de-bankening yet, but I’m sure it’s a good time.)

MLM rubbernecking + blockchain rubbernecking, unite!

New anti-MLM podcast in my queue: From Huns to Humans. Funny, sympathetic, care-filled, drama-packed conversations between the host and other MLM survivors.

Joining the ongoing Life After MLM, the hiatus’d Hey Hun You Woke Up!, and Sounds Like MLM But OK, and the complete The Dream.

(Links are mostly to the RSS feeds — I use Feed Preview for Firefox to make them easy and readable.)

It’s a good thing I found it, because I’m basically caught up on all the others…and for whatever reason, I’m kinda hyperfixating on these lately? Like, when it comes to background audio for mindless tasks at work, or for inking and coloring art — there are other things I’m making myself rotate through, but I really just want to load up another anti-MLM episode, or a dunking-on-crypto episode.


I know I’m not the first person to say this, but when you break it down far enough, they’re basically the same thing.

“I was convinced to buy this stuff with the promise that I could sell it for more money later on, with a mix of FOMO, toxic positivity, promises of financial freedom, and big claims about how this business was going to change the world! Turns out it’s junk that no real person wants, sellers are using all kinds of behind-the-scenes shenanigans to puff up their numbers, and the person who sold me on it was just trying to make a profit off of me.”


…the podcasts in the blockchain category are Crypto Critics’ Corner, Coffeezilla on Youtube, Scam Economy (also has a Youtube version), and Griftonomics (with a slightly broader focus, on all kinds of alt-right cons).

Fun fact, that last one is hosted by Jackson Palmer! One of the guys who created Dogecoin, as a joke, and still hasn’t gotten over being horrified that anyone (a) takes it seriously and (b) has lost real money on it.

Pretty sure Molly White, of Web 3 Is Going Just Great, has been a guest on all of them? Anyone who wants a good expert-knowledge-clearly-explained starting point, check for her episodes.

And anyone who wants something sharp and enlightening, but only has 20 minutes to spare, watch this:

One of the Crypto Critics guys lays out why it’s not a shock or a coincidence that crypto grifting and alt-right grifting have gotten so tied up in each other. Pulls together a bunch of threads and builds them up really neatly.

Links: social networks, Twitter, AI good stuff, NFTs and other bad stuff

Twitter and other social networks:

twitter_refugees is a DW comm for Twitter natives encountering journal sites for the first time. I’ve been on journal sites way too long to know if this is helpful. Maybe someone else can give it a review?

“I posted a thread on Twitter about potential legal liabilities for United States people who decide to run a Mastodon instance, and the response made it clear there’s a lot of people who could use the extended background. So here is a guide to potential liability pitfalls for people who are running a Mastodon instance, and how to mitigate them.” Not for everyone making a Mastodon account, but if you’re hosting other people’s accounts, read it.

“Mark Zuckerberg (founder and CEO, Facebook): I was in my sophomore year at Harvard. It was 2003, which is the year that historians call The Dunce’s Millennium because the world was dark chaos. Everyone was running around with all of their secrets locked up in their brains. Nobody knew anybody’s favorite movies. Nobody knew what anybody else looked like in a bathing suit. I wanted to change that.” Clickhole’s definitive oral history of Facebook.

Tesla Fire tracks all Tesla fires – including cars and other products, e.g. Tesla MegaPacks – that are reported by news articles or verified primary sources. We also tally the number of fatalities involved with Tesla fires and provide links to additional photos or footage wherever possible.” (Total, as of this posting: 143 confirmed cases, 44 fatalities.)

AI things that are fun, actually:

A neural net AI, “when faced with predicting what would come next on this [New Year’s Resolution] list, predicted first one drawing-related resolution, and then multiple others. Soon this became not just a list of resolutions, but specifically a list of drawing-related resolutions. It generated a broccoli-and-drawing-related resolution, and then the list became a list of resolutions by a painter/broccoli fanatic.

Another one was set to the task of predicting color names: “Some of our other color scales have four coordinates (like the ones designed for print), but the common ones don’t go up to 255. I like to think that Starbat is a color meant for birds to see, and the 1st color is actually meant for their ultraviolet vision.

“For nearly a decade, I’ve run @forexposure_txt, a twitter account that anonymously posts real quotes from people trying to convince artists to work for free. The humorous rationalizations it uncovers sometimes read like found poems. So I took 120 of my favorite quotes, and used Midjourney’s AI art creation tool to turn them into comics.

Crypto and other scams:

A part of the popular narrative around NFTs was that royalties were built into the operation of the blockchain. This was never true.” And now that the profits are slipping, NFT marketplaces are starting to ditch their obligations.

The writer of that one uses the tone all credible crypto-reporting should take these days: “If you are reading this and can still hold your mobile device even as you roll on the floor in a fit of “I told you so” laughter…”

Speaking of yelling about crypto, here’s a video clip of a guy on Bloomberg News, yelling about how FTX was never regulated. The “…you idiots” is unstated, but surprisingly audible.

Back in traditional finance: “Etsy is now forcing shop owners to be part of their ads. We can not opt out. […] Be aware that half the results WITHIN ETSY are ads as well, and if you click on one of those during browsing, even if you do not buy from that link, you have set a cookie within Etsy that tells them you’re shopping off an ad, and so they will charge the fee to whoever you buy from regardless if it was related to the ad you clicked. Please clear your cookies before you make an Etsy purchase. Yes really truly.”

The latecomer’s link roundup of crypto crashing news

People with funds locked in Celsius Network have been sending letters to the judge presiding over the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. These are excerpts from those letters.” Periodically updated with new excerpts, as new dockets get released.

““I couldn’t eat or sleep for two nights,” says Alla Driksne, a 34-year-old chef from London. “I got sick from the stress.” She has lost her life savings – a six-figure sum – in the Celsius freeze.

A few months before Celsius went belly-up, one of their customers called in to Scam Economy — here’s a clip that includes both the pre-crash call, and some post-crash reflections. Notably, the guy isn’t a hype-man, or an enthusiastic crypto fan. He just seems sorta sad and anxious about his money, and he’s also pretty sad and anxious about Celsius’ drawbacks, but somebody convinced him that every other option is worse:

“The top #1 Google result for “blockchain production users” (and related queries) lists 34 individual “real world blockchain” projects. […] Looking into all 34, I found that 13 are already dead (including one that has been killed by the SEC), 6 are only useful within the crypto & NFT ecosystems and not in the “real world” and 14 use Blockchain in a way where removing the blockchain would not impact functionality at all, or make the product better.”

One of the big pseudo-success stories is IBM (backers of IBM FoodTrust, a system hyped by WalMart). At least, until early 2021: “IBM has cut its blockchain team down to almost nothing, according to four people familiar with the situation. “

Really enjoy this podcast interview with a climate analyst, who’s familiar with Crypto Nonsense but whose first area of expertise is fighting climate change, doing a well-informed deconstruction of the “Bitcoin is good for the environment somehow” arguments.

“The bug caused a misplacement of decimal points when refunding pavladiv.near’s USN. Instead of returning 4.9995 USN (about $5), the smart contract bug minted 4.9995 trillion USN for the user on both occasions, thus creating almost $10 trillion out of thin air.” Oooops. (These are the same people who will say “USD is unreliable because the government can just print as much money as they want”…)

“Power companies don’t take bitcoins or tethers. But the crypto trading system was running low on naïve retail suckers to supply fresh dollars. So the miners needed to do their part in propping up the price of bitcoin. Their solution was to avoid selling their bitcoins, and instead to hold them and use them as collateral against low-interest loans.”

“I left my easy six figure job in crypto because I couldn’t stand to market to such a deranged group of individuals and the toxic web3 workplace. Even though I even enjoy some aspects of crypto… the online crypto communities are extremely bizarre, mentally unwell, deranged, and socially inept. […] AMA in the comments! I need to vent.”

“A London-based software company has just launched CloneMyNFT.com which offers NFT owners the ability to “keep their NFT artwork forever” even after they have sold it. […] The system works by creating an exact digital copy of the artwork but with another unique contract on the block chain, effectively making it an almost exact clone of the original NFT.”

Note: this has been possible for as long as NFTs have existed! The only change is having a convenient site that’ll process all the code automatically.

You don’t know anything about the metaverse but you want to do like all the best marketers around and write something on the web about it? Don’t worry, Tony is here for you and will give you all the advice you need to write the most impactful article about the metaverse ever. I have a structure that will make you jump ahead of all the competition. Follow me!” (This is so perfect, I love it so much.)

The entire crypto space has been a Jenga stack of interconnected time bombs for months now, getting ever more interdependent as the companies find new ways to prop each other up.” The Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto Crashing.