Popular TV Host Tears Down Crypto: “It’s Still A Casino”
John William Oliver, the acclaimed comedian, actor, producer, and Emmy-award winner popularly known for his acclaimed half-hour series Last Week Tonight, tore down cryptocurrencies and their use cases in the latest episode.
Terra, FTX, And Celsius Collapse Indicts Crypto
There, Oliver, who remains critical of cryptocurrencies and how some of its actors have used the technology to defraud users, claims that the only use Bitcoin and other digital assets have is “gambling.” He added that the primary use case for crypto is to “gamble with more crypto,” continuing that “nothing significant has changed over the years.” If anything, he concludes, the crypto scene is one “big casino.”
The TV host cited several failed projects, which led to the loss of millions, sometimes billions of dollars. However, they had promised to be a game changer, replacing a critical component of the financial system. Their spectacular collapse, he said, turned out to be fiascos though they had promised users that they were building the “next dollar, Bank of America, and stock exchange.”
At the top of the list, and an event that triggered the broader collapse of the crypto market across the board, was the fall of Terra and UST, the platform’s algorithmic stablecoin. Oliver slammed investors of UST for being “naïve” and swayed by the confidence of Terra and LUNA creators.
This is because, in his assessment, there was “nothing special” about tokens minted by Do Kwon and Terraforms Labs, the team behind Terra’s development. If anything, Oliver explains, “every single crypto coin is just something that someone with a laptop made up.” These tokens rose to command billions.
For instance, by the time of the crash, LUNA, the native currency of the Terra ecosystem, he reminded his audience, stood at over $40 billion. Do Kwon, the founder of Terra, has since been arrested and could face charges in the United States, including fraud. Kwon is also wanted in South Korea, his home country, where authorities want him to answer for fraud and money laundering charges.
The reverberation from Terra and UST impacted several centralized crypto trading platforms, including Celsius and FTX. Oliver says the founder of Celsius, Alex Mashinsky, “lied to people” and that their business model was a “textbook definition of a Ponzi scheme.” He went on to drill FTX and, based on the comments of the receiving manager, said how the defunct exchange was run as a “complete shit show.”
He capped his episode by saying more needs to be done in the nascent industry because “in a financial system where the only real currency is confidence, scammers are going to thrive.”
Regulators Stepping In
In recent months, United States regulators have been cracking the whip on crypto companies. Sam Bankman-Fried is still under house arrest for his role in the FTX crash. At the same time, there have been many lawsuits against individuals, including social media influencers, who regulators claimed: “promoted scams.” Among them, Ben Armstrong, or BitBoy, is among those sued in a $1 billion class action lawsuit for allegedly promoting unregistered securities.
Feature Image From Canva, Chart From TradingView