Tortoise Media: Making sense of Web3 with Luke Gbedemah — with Stephen Diehl, Geoffrey Huntley and David Gerard

I did a panel last night, with Stephen Diehl and Geoffrey Huntley, for Tortoise Media: what on earth is “Web3”?

The levels are all over the place, so get ready to adjust the volume on the fly. But our content was excellent, and it’s worth the effort. It runs a bit over an hour. [YouTube]



I’ll just add here my rant at the media from the end, which I think came out quite well:

We’ve got a room full of people in there who are interested because they hear about this so much but they don’t really understand how it works.

The very quick way is: all the complicated stuff that you don’t quite understand, that’s all chaff thrown up to try to get you to buy into nonsense. The idea that somehow money is different now, it’s a whole new paradigm, we can all get rich, everything will be magic, and it’ll be brilliant. There are problems in the world, we’ll supply some magic!

So the first point: is magic doesn’t happen. Two and two makes four, it doesn’t make five, six, ten or a million. It makes four. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s too good to be true. If you’ve got someone promising to double your money, they want to pick your pocket. You’ve got someone offering 20% interest rates, they want to pick your pocket. If someone’s promising a fabulous new future and all you have to do is give them your money, maybe you should look into it a bit more closely, or just think, no, I can do without that, and get on with my life.

If you want to fix your personal circumstances … crypto, you can totally get rich in crypto, right? You can also get rich betting on horses. It’s not investment on the individual level, it’s a gamble. If you think you want to become a crypto trader, you’re diving into a shark pool built by the sharks to feed the sharks. So trade carefully.

Magic doesn’t happen, and you need to watch out because this space is full of predators who want your money. None of this has changed in centuries. I often say the best book about Bitcoin is Extraordinary Popular Delusions by Charles Mackay, and that was written in 1841, about the South Sea bubble which Stephen mentioned, about the tulip bubble in Holland, John Law’s scheme in Missouri [I meant Mississippi], all of these asset bubbles and irrational exuberance.

It’s because some people really, really feel desperate and they don’t understand stuff. They think maybe this is a way out. But whenever you hear people saying “new paradigm, money is different now,” they want to pick your pocket. You can go a long way just on common sense that magic doesn’t happen, and if it looks magical, magic doesn’t happen. That’s basically the short answer.

And we need to be concerned, because these people are scammers! They’re out there skinning mums and dads and grannies and young people who are desperate! They’re desperate, and these people are preying on them! And that is reprehensible, and we have to stand up and say that, y’know.

That is what the media needs to do, and what it doesn’t do. Like, the shine came off the crypto bubble just recently, you’ve got all these papers running features, “um, crypto: maybe it’s not so good after all” — these are the same papers who were running articles a month ago saying how great it was and you should totally get in. You know, where were you a month ago, guys? They have really lost sight of the public interest here. The public interest is making sure the public isn’t scammed by predators. That’s the short answer to what media should do.

Here’s the Project Gutenberg download page for Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay. You should read it, you’ll enjoy it. [Project Gutenberg]

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4 Comments on “Tortoise Media: Making sense of Web3 with Luke Gbedemah — with Stephen Diehl, Geoffrey Huntley and David Gerard”

  1. Why has Youtube never tried to normalize sound? They reprocess all clips with massive computing power. They could easily normalize sound while they’re checking for unfashionable opinions. Pre-digital broadcasters (radio and TV) have been normalizing sound levels since 1930.

  2. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
    ― Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry Into the Limits of the Possible

    PS. My corollary – Every technology has a hackable weak point that destroys the magic.

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