Black Pilled at Bitcoin 2022: Do We Know What All This Is For?

As I’m watching men struggle on the mechanical bull (thinking, shouldn’t they only be using one hand?) at Bitcoin 2022 in Miami last week, a thought from the deep recesses of my mind emerges: What is all this for?

A documentarian who has been patiently listening to another one of my cynical rants echoes my thoughts and asks: “So why are you still here?”

And I have to admit that, well, I haven’t really thought about that in awhile. And then I also have to admit, that the reason why I haven’t been thinking about whether all this aligns with my principles and goals, is probably that, well, the money’s good here.

Let’s get a few things out of the way: This piece really isn’t about chiding Bitcoin Magazine’s conference (like I did last year). All that BS still remains, but it has taken a bit of a backseat. 

It isn’t about that ugly-ass eunuch bull or the confusion of telling your attendees to never sell while also hurraying innovations meant to make bitcoin the payment method for your morning coffee or evening beer. This isn’t about any of the actual content.

What I mean to ask is what is all this mechanical bulls and glowing, gassing volcanos and millions of dollars of expo hall and it’s not just this event, but yachts and booze, pick your poison, and IVs for the morning after and tons and tons of TV screens and everyone throwing around terms like “innovation” and “world-changing” and “peace” and just the most exhausting lineup of EDM and where’s the Molly and so many coins and tokens and it’s all a fucking casino.

For nearly a decade, I’ve watched both friends and enemies and all kinds of good and bad people make so much money in Bitcoin and the derivatives it’s spawned, and they use it to buy more shit, more tokens, more NFTs, more investments – so that they can appreciate in value and allow us to buy more tokens and NFTs and investments.

It used to be precious. I used to think things were sacred — Bitcoin’s mission, then Ethereum’s mission, journalism, ethics even.

At a happy hour, someone tells me they won’t step foot at the Bitcoin conference because they don’t want to support populist ideals and Tucker Carlson was specifically mentioned. I hadn’t heard he was walking around the conference, and I too, was nauseated that I would step foot in a place that would welcome him.

But the thing is: Surely most of these Bitcoiners don’t support him, right? So then, what is with all this bloviated, try-hard, ass-kissing bullshit?

These people don’t care about us. Where’s Chopra now? Barstool Sports David Portnoy didn’t even show up for his mainstage session “Bitcoin is f*** you money.” According to FastCompany, Portnoy spent that afternoon tweeting about the PGA Masters Tournament.

“Bitcoin’s attempts at going mainstream feel like a real two-steps-forward-one-step-back situation,” wrote FastCompany reporter Ryan Broderick.

When I mention that Nayib Bukele, the President of El Salvador, who last year embraced Bitcoin, has shown plenty of movement towards the authoritarian monster side of the political spectrum, I’m told, “Well when he does something wrong, Bitcoiners will drop him so quick.”

I mean… In February 2020, Bukele sent soldiers into the Legislative Assembly to goad politicians into passing a bill. That action started a political crisis that continues to this day. 

Oh also, you don’t even have to take it from me, Bukele labeled himself “dictator” and “the coolest dictator in the world” on Twitter in September last year.

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