Crypto skeptics have been arguing online for years. They are organizing now.

Every other Tuesday, half a dozen people flock to Zoom and talk about how to expose what they see as a global fraud phenomenon: cryptocurrency.

The conversations are informal and they only talk for about an hour each time, said John Reed Stark, a former state attorney who participates in the calls. The team, as well It includes policy experts and technologists, has no title or official authority, but its regular calls have become a central part of a new phase of organizing in the crypto-skeptic movement.

“It’s a ragtag group of disaffected minds coming together,” said Stark, who worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission for two decades and now teaches at Duke University Law School.

Those minds and many others are organizing into what has become an industry of its own. An influential skeptic has been recording several podcasts to try to poke holes in pro-crypto arguments. Think tanks have begun to devote more resources to questioning the future of crypto. In June, they collected signatures for a letter to Congress criticizing the technology’s potential.

And next month, crypto skeptics are planning to hold what they say will be the first ever conference, a virtual event that will bring together people from London, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area and more. Among the scheduled speakers are Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Investor Protection Subcommittee, British Rep. Alex Sobel and actor Ben McKenzie, one of the most prominent crypto skeptics who is writing a book. crypto and fraud. About 800 people have registered to attend, organizers said.

The network even has its first unofficial lobbyist: Mark Hayes, a consumer advocate in Washington whose day job is to be a full-time crypto skeptic.

This is a reaction to what crypto skeptics see as the new technology still dominates discussion online and in Washington.

“Big Crypto is organized,” Stark said. “The biggest problem is that there is no organized organization of crypto skeptics. It’s a broad global network of people who occasionally talk together or work on projects, but we don’t have an organization.

The skeptics come from all walks of life, from computer programmers and Silicon Valley founders to lawyers and amateur podcasters. And all these skills are useful.

“When you’ve got billions of dollars negotiating on behalf of crypto, you have to counter that by revealing the most horrific details,” says Bennett Tomlin, co-host of the Crypto Critic’s Corner podcast, which is his day job. it was Fraud detection in pharmacy claims. Some weeks, his show ranks among the top 20 podcasts for tech news, according to metrics firm Chartable.

As long as crypto is around, crypto skepticism will backfire. And skeptics have gained attention on social media and traditional media, especially when the price of bitcoin and other tokens fluctuates dramatically. And some crypto firms have fallen into bankruptcy, only recently have they started digging long enough to build a balance sheet that is enthusiastic and wealthy for crypto. Defenders.

Unless Bitcoin crashes overnight, the skeptics think, there should be a loud voice of skepticism for some time.

“There are a lot of crypto conferences that are just pro-crypto and don’t bother asking questions like, ‘Is this a good thing? “Do we have to do this?'” said Molly White, a software engineer at the Web site that shows industry disruption.

The collaboration between crypto skeptics was mostly temporary. In March, for example, White organized a group effort to explain a lengthy New York Times article they believed to be highly credible.

London-based software developer Stephen Diehl, who is organizing next month’s conference, said one of the skeptics’ gripes is the misunderstanding of how cryptocurrencies will play out over time.

“There are two different schools of thought, one that says it will burn itself out and collapse, and others that think it should be actively limited,” he said.

“My job at the conference is to bring people from both camps together and find a way forward,” he said. “I can see both points of view. I’m a pragmatist.

Crypto boosters have not been impressed with the organizing effort so far. Cointelegraph, an industry publication that calls crypto the “future of money,” announced next month’s symposium titled “First Conference for Crypto Skeptics Who Hate Unity.”

The project of doubts has become more urgent as authorities in various capitals of the world weigh different options for regulating the digital token. EU representatives agreed to some new rules last month and US lawmakers are likely to follow suit next year. Curiously, the crypto industry has gone on a lobbyist hiring spree.

Diehl says crypto-skeptics know the need to work across borders because digital currency enthusiasts consider their assets stateless.

“It’s a large, national network of people interested in advancing policy across the Western Hemisphere,” he said.

In Washington, the job of promoting policy rests partly with Hayes. In the year He is a senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups founded after the 2008 financial crisis, when bitcoin was still a twinkle in the eye of computer programmers. But these days, he says, he spends almost all of his time on crypto, not crisis-backed securities like mortgage-backed securities.

Hayes said other Washington advocacy groups are spending more time and money on research, but he’s used to being outnumbered.

“This is very common with progressive advocacy,” he said. “As a general rule, we are smaller than those on our side. And crypto has grown so dramatically that many different advocacy organizations have recognized it.

Hayes said he thinks digital tokens “look and smell” like traditional securities and should be adjusted accordingly.

While much of the debate on social media revolves around crypto, some crypto skeptics have taken a few strategies to expose what they think are the flaws of the technology.

Liron Shapira, a 34-year-old founder of several tech startups, puts short video clips of bitcoin boosters to shame in his own words. It got almost 1 million views a Video Billionaire venture capitalist Marc Andreessen took to Twitter to explain the practical uses for Web3, a vision of the Internet informed by crypto enhancements that would run almost entirely on the same distributed blockchain. Technology like cryptocurrency.

Leave a Comment