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Bitcoin is the Detector of Imbeciles

On The Cluster of Charlatans, Zero Interest Rate Virgins, & Crypto Tumors

Last year, 2022 was not of much respite for cryptocurrencies. While bitcoin has lost more than 60% of its value, the entire sector is in crisis, punctuated by various bankruptcies such as those of Terra and FTX. The phenomenon is the consequence, according to scholar and former trader Nassim Nicholas Taleb, of the low-interest rate “Disneyland” economy in which we have been living for fifteen years. A “cluster” was formed: Pro-putin, climate and Covid deniers, carnivores, and crypto culties, that Taleb, a former crypto hopeful but a fierce opponent since 2021, has decided to attack head-on.

L’Express: As early as 2021, you warned about the inability of bitcoin to play the role of a real currency. Prophetic remarks…

The comparison with gold is quite poor. It cannot be expected that an entry on a register that requires active maintenance by interested and motivated people — this is how bitcoin works — will retain its physical properties, a condition for monetary value, for any period of time. In addition, we are not sure of the interests, mentalities and preferences of future generations. Technology comes and goes, gold stays, at least physically. Once neglected for a brief period, bitcoin would necessarily collapse [The “absorbing barrier”].

The fundamental defect and contradiction at the base of most cryptocurrencies is that initiators, miners and maintainers of the system were making money from the inflation of their currencies rather than the simple volume of the underlying transactions. Thus, the total failure of bitcoin to become a currency has been masked by the inflation of its value, generating profits (on paper) for a sufficiently large number of people. In reality, bitcoin has maintained extremely high volatility throughout its existence and, even worse, at higher prices, which makes its capitalization considerably more volatile.

Let’s add that Bitcoin transactions are considerably more visible than others, which makes it uninteresting for intelligent fraudsters!

Where does the craze for cryptocurrencies come from?

Investors get pushed into a Ponzi-like strategies: to invest in the assets of companies whose price was rising. Thus, the majority of technology companies do not produce cash flow but are financed through “funding” which inflates their assets on paper. Another phenomenon, in the past fifteen years, hedge funds that should not normally exist have grown like mushrooms. And then you have malignant tumors like bitcoin.

At first, when cryptos appeared, you seemed rather favorable

I think the crypto universe attracts manipulators and scammers. It also has a generational vice: it is filled with young people who have no experience, who bought bitcoin early and who got temporarily rich without knowing anything except computer programming (but it will not last). This is the difference between our world and that, for example, of the Romans, who did not have the cult of the youth, who even despised it, precisely because it had not experienced much. In fact, young bitcoiners do not understand finance: they do not get that it cannot be a reliable cover against inflation. In any case, what we need is to return to a normal economic life, with interest rates of 4 to 5%. It will clean things up, particularly in the technoparadise

You spend some time fighting on Twitter with crypto advocates…

At the height of the disinformation about Covid-19 and the vaccine, a person I respect asked me to intervene: “The mainstream press looks like a boring and moralizing schoolteacher. You are known for being a fiery character who says what he thinks, much more reliable and interesting to listen to. So you have a moral duty to fight against misinformation. In addition, you obviously seem to be having fun so people will trust you.” I then began to attack these charlatans who pose a threat to society, and particularly to this cluster.

I occasionally share the opinions of the cluster, for example against GMOs, interventionism in Libya or Syria, and the Fed, which makes my opinion less suspicious for young people.

This cluster seems strange. What is the link between cryptos and Putin, for example?

Isn’t this conspiracy-prone cluster likely to be stimulated by Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter?

Then, regarding freedom of expression, I don’t like disinformation but I think nothing purifies better than sunlight. We must let all these idiots ridicule themselves and disqualify themselves in public.

What about sensitive issues, such as health? Shouldn’t we set limits?

Why is non-conformism preferred to scientific conformism?

Note: More than a million people died of Covid after Musk‘s episode. There is something pathological about people who don’t get that without vaccines we would be in real trouble, and they divert you from these points by nitpicking. So we need safeguards.

Some interpretations see in conspiracy the conspiratists or supporters of the disinformation of narcissists. You too?

This is difficult, because the current alternative opposes radicals of freedom of expression to people who want to limit all speech for fear of offending certain categories of people.

You have to be in the middle. And when you censor, you have to treat people fairly. Either you censor everyone or no one. I don’t like the toxic and unhealthy utopianism of the wokes, and they, no one censors them. Overall, censorship remains limited to a few and unbearable trolls continue to thrive on this social network. Being on Twitter is like going to a café that brings together the entire population and you don’t know which one is a fool and who is a professor of medicine. In general, when you go to a real café, you know if you are at the truck stop or at the Deux magots. Twitter is a mess, a mix.

You find yourself at a table with Einstein on your left and a truck driver on your right who comments on IMF policy or discuss whether the people of Davos are trying to put chips in our brains…

What could happen is that Twitter becomes such chaos that people spontaneously flee to networks where trade moderation is stronger. In any case, I think things will eventually settle: you will have a Twitter for Einstein and his friends, and a Twitter for others. There is already Parler, which brings together Trump fans.

We find this dynamic in France, except that at home, the center exists, with Emmanuel Macron.

Burke had a long but effective nose

In France, this right-wing shift translates into the rise of Eric Zemmour, who is completely xenophobic. It is even possible that he is anti-Semitic. The extreme right really makes me think of what some call the “ Nigerian scam” [a form of scam by which someone is promised a large sum of money in exchange for a small initial payment, supposed to have to be used to get the big amount. When the victim makes the payment, the fraudster invents a series of other fees to be paid or disappears.]

Well, the message sent by fraudsters is so primitive that most people immediately detect the fraud. But it still works because it filters a certain category of people: idiots. It’s the same with the extreme right: what they say is so stupid or weird that only fools or idiots believe in it. However, in a large population you will always have a few hundred thousand idiots. Bitcoin has had the same effect, it is now a magnet for idiots, a fool detector.

What do you think of Zemmour’s words on immigration and integration?

Look at the difference between Algeria and India: in Algeria, French colonizers were violent and sought to dispossess locals of their land and culture, unlike the British in India. As a result, the current relationships are very different. To the point where their current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is of Indian origin. The British even had a Sephardic prime minister, Disraeli, a century before the United States had its first Catholic president!

The British manage to integrate differences as long as they have a commercial basis. It is not the State that manages national identities, as in France, so integration is more organic, especially thanks to business. This is why immigrants are generally conservative in the United Kingdom, and especially in the United States. These people have immigrated in order to succeed and want to protect what they have acquired.

It is difficult to imagine the French right dealing with immigration in this way…



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