Tales from the Crypto

Because blockchain……

Celebrity endorsement of ICO

First off, Paris Hilton promotes an Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

In a tweet on Sunday, Hilton said she was “looking forward to participating” in an initial coin offering run by LydianCoin Pte Ltd, which describes itself as a “utility-token that allows cryptocurrency-enabled purchasing of targeted, A.I. driven digital marketing and advertising services” to be operated and developed by Gravity4 Inc., an online advertising company.

Lydian pointed out on Twitter that Hilton had a history of interest in ethereum, having dined — and instagrammed a picture of herself — with the blockchain company’s founders back in September 2016.

China places a blanket ban on ICOs

A few hours after Paris Hilton’s announcement, this makes the breaking news:

Chinese authorities banned a type of fundraising using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, dealing a blow to startups and other businesses that seized on the relatively new method of raising capital.

China’s central bank, cyberspace administration and banking, securities and other regulators Monday declared what are known as initial coin offerings illegal and ordered fundraising activities to “cease immediately.”

Paris Hilton tweets about Securities laws

When you think you have seen it all, crypto world surprises you. This time, it was Paris Hilton, the uber-socialite, tweeting about applicability of SEC regulations to her token


And you only have to follow the link to realize that it is written by some aspiring opportunist to earn some brownie points when he starts his opinion with the below disclaimer:

Profundity from the high priest of crypto

Obviously, Naval had to opine on it and get huge Retweets and Likes.

The problem with these Crypto aficionados is that they think ICOs are new or are democratizing fund raising just because there is an element of blockchain in it. They say that VCs have monopoly over financing startups but ICOs allow common man to participate in startups. I wonder whether these Crypto fans really believe their bullshit. There are many forums for common man to invest and lose money in startups: Seedrs, Kickstarter, GoFundMe etc come to mind. Then you have gift cards, loyalty cards, etc that have all the benefits of tokens i.e., allow you to buy stuff on the vendor’s platform only and sometimes in case of air-miles even allow you to move between different merchants.

But Crypto and Blockchain is a cult. You can’t convince them otherwise of uselessness of it.

You don’t need a token for that

Tuur Demester did a good twitter thread yesterday as why tokens don’t make sense. I will try to storify it below:

20 years have been a waste

Crypto currencies has brought in a paradigm shift and have upended what I learnt almost 20 years ago. I was taught Forwards / Futures help in price discovery and there are very liquid, robust futures markets/exchanges for currencies, commodities and stocks etc. But one has to really question such beliefs when a Chief Investment Officer who heads a team of CFAs, CAIAs and other professionals makes such claims

Somebody should have told him that Bitcoin futures already exist. Anyway, his anarcho capitalistic and libertarian beliefs knew no bounds

MIT Tech Review gets carried away … because blockchain

It follows the formulaic practice of all blockchain shill pieces.

  1. Take an existing product
  2. Say it uses blockchain
  3. Define blockchain
  4. Some global PR about blockchain such as “World Economic Forum says blockchain is the future” or “United Nations is studying its ramifications” etc
  5. Have someone say Blockchain is like early days of internet
  6. Define the uses of product (which has absolutely no reason to use blockchain)

The below MIT piece follows the above formula to the tee.

I browsed to MONI website. It is a Prepaid MasterCard (no blockchain in sight).

Let that sink in… and yet MIT magazine writes a whole piece about it. Some times it is hard to distinguish who is peddling more fake news: Fox news or the tech press.

Best for the last.. This is not a joke

If you thought Paris Hilton opining on securities law was the peak of last couple of days, you would be wrong. Now you can buy Dubai real estate with Bitcoin.

Two high-profile UK entrepreneurs are launching a new luxury apartment complex in Dubai, aiming to cater to those with considerable cryptocurrency holdings.

The “Aston Crypto Plaza” is being spearheaded by Baroness Michelle Mone, lingerie designer and member of the UK Parliament, and her partner Doug Barrowmen, a business mogul and founder of private equity firm Aston Ventures.

Barrowmen told CoinDesk that he felt the venture was the perfect opportunity for bitcoin investors to convert their holdings into “real brick-and-mortar” assets.

Mone — who was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2010 — further joked that, given her background as the founder of lingerie company Ultimo, she had “plenty of experience in construction.” The 40-story apartments block was “nothing compared to the G-cup,” she laughed.

Last Word

It will not be an ordinary week in Crypto land if a new scam didn’t happen. So this week, there was a scam with Hero Token. What is the use of Hero Token? From their website

Focus on the above Trustless Betting part. Let me reproduce the last few lines in bold for added emphasis:

This eliminates the risk of corruption, fraud and manipulation. No need to trust anyone, because the blockchain takes care of it for you.

Yet people get scammed. And because blockchain… you cannot approach any government, police, arbitration entity to reverse that transaction.

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