Twitter and bitcoin share a key similarity in that their success while it lasted was just hubris. Realize that both companies were birthed by a virtual medium capable of monetizing turds if there is discoverable demand for them. Cardi B’s megahit single Wet Ass Pussy was proof of this. Twitter proffered turds in the form of members-only censorship that took delight in crapping on the Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment. But it took Elon Musk, with unlimited quantities of fuck-you money, to put a number on Twitter: $44 billion. Unfortunately for him, nearly all of it was for ‘good will’ that appears to have vanished. Nor is he likely to be consoled when it is discovered that the dark secret of Twitter’s overwrought ex-employees is that they can start a Twitter of their own with just a few mill, a rackful of servers and a dozen high school dropouts working from home, paid $20/hour to code.
Cute Little Bird
So what are the notoriously spoiled workers so disgruntled about? Leave it to an apparent millennial sympathizer reporting for The Wall Street Journal to excuse them with a high-minded quote uttered by no one in particular: “Employees said Mr. Musk pushed people to work well over 40 hours a week, but said they didn’t feel there was a compelling vision to justify it.” A compelling vision? Yeah, sure. And exactly what lofty end did they see themselves serving under Jack Dorsey, Orwell’s darkest nightmare masquerading as a little blue birdie? Stay tuned to the blogosphere for more dithering on this and other topics of scant interest to folks who live in the real world. What should please the company’s make-believe workforce in any event is that Musk set an intergalactic record for overpayment. If Twitter had changed hands for, say, a still-hugely-overvalued $40 million, no one would have given a rat’s ass what his plans are for the company.
Which brings us to bitcoin, another hubris-rocket fueled by insane excesses of speculative money and greed. Its sensational rise was based on a sexy story invented by, for all we know, a Hollywood flack: Bitcoin entered the space-time continuum via an algorithm written by a mysterious nerd-cum-rock-star known as ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’. His secret sauce was scarcity: there will never be more than 21 million bitcoin in circulation. An irony is that satoshi coinage inspired more than 2,000 cryptocurrency knockoffs, nearly all of them rendered worthless by bitcoin’s nearly 80% plunge.
When the bitcoin craze broke into a gallop in 2021 spurred by salacious tales of teen millionaires, it was on its way to becoming the Tulip-o-mania of this era, albeit on a global scale. The Murphy men who run our banking system cautiously signed on (even if Warren Buffett suspiciously did not), warming up the press and the rabble with luncheon speeches that lent bitcoin a veneer of respectability. No one seems to have noticed or cared that the banks themselves had little or no skin in the game. Their huckstering was meant to get bitcoin off the launching pad and solidly established in the firmament of Ponzis and shingles-and-siding hustles. Then, the supposedly smart money would rendezvous with the crypto mother-ship they’d helped create.
Alas, bitcoin’s pitch-men will have to start nearly from scratch now that the second-largest bitcoin exchange, FTX, has gone belly up in a scandal that is certain to widen. Its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, has gone from patron saint and second-largest Democrat donor to schmuck in less than two weeks. You can bet that he will resurface a few years from now, claiming to have solved the nation’s energy problems with cold fusion. By that time, bitcoin will have bounced its way down to zero, where all speculative manias eventually come to rest.