Mining bitcoin became less profitable in 2022 as hashrate (the electrical cost of mining bitcoin) increased, while bitcoin tumbled from an all-time high of $69K in November 2021 to under $17K at present. Crypto is being propped-up with everything the US financial system has left. There are a lot of billionaires & multi-millionaires who are VERY upset at the prospect of losing a massive chunk of the portfolio invested in crypto.
In 2022, the stock prices of the five biggest public crypto miners by hashrate: Core Scientific ($CORZ), Riot Blockchain ($RIOT), Bitfarms ($BITF), Iris Energy ($IREN), and CleanSpark ($CLSK) traded down 99%, 85%, 91%, 92% and 79%, according to CoinDesk. What’s going on in the crypto industry is a massive restructuring, with a few big fish eating all the little fish. New rationalizations are needed to reassure venture capitalists in their support for the flagging crypto industry. If investors stop giving crypto money, then it’s lights out– literally.
Miners are hardcore crypto fanatics, so they tried to hold onto the bitcoin they mined, often electing to finance operations with low-interest debt, venture capital, blank check companies, etc. Perhaps pitch the idea on Shark Tank, which coincidentally appeared around the same time as bitcoin. The point is that bitcoin mining companies, who are in the business of mining bitcoin, weren’t making the BIG money in crypto.
Miners were contracted to make money for whales, who financed the mining of bitcoin. For instance, if Elon Musk contracted a massive amount of bitcoin to be mined from various bitcoin mining companies, the bitcoin would be delivered to him while he paid the consortium of miners for the service, presumably in bitcoin. This would support the industry as long as the price of crypto went up and money was cheap from the Federal Reserve.
Elon Musk’s financial Waterloo was his commitment to buy Twitter for $44B last spring. When his bitcoin empire crashed, soon after his takeover announcement, he began to back-off on buying Twitter. By summer, when Twitter shareholders threatened to sue & win in court, Musk was beaten. Elon Musk was heralded as the wealthiest man in the world by Forbes, with a value of $264B as of 2021. So here’s a modern economic question: Why couldn’t Elon Musk just buy Twitter for $44B, and be secure w/ $200+B remaining in personal wealth? Answer: Because his wealth was never real. It was mostly inflated crypto, and you can’t buy a publicly-traded company with bitcoin. Forbes is a central player in this fictitious accounting.
Elon Musk’s choices to finance his Twitter acquisition were to A) liquidate bitcoin; or B) liquidate Tesla. Tesla is WAY overvalued, and Musk knows this better than anyone, so him selling huge shares of his flagship electric car company tells the story there. If bitcoin recovers, Elon Musk is king again. If crypto goes to zero (which it must), then Musk is dust. When the stock value of Tesla collapses, as it must, Elon Musk won’t have any real money left. The more Tesla stock Musk sells, the sooner this will happen.
As poorly as Musk has run Tesla, his short reign as Twitter CEO has been qualitatively worse. Maybe Twitter was worth only a quarter of what Musk paid for it, say $10B. But that’s still an asset, and the second-largest social media platform on the internet. At least manage it decently for awhile, then take it public again, or sell it & eat the loss. That would be a rational business strategy after making a big mistake. But instead, Musk destroyed Twitter through a series of tirades, boneheaded ideas & tantrums. Now, Twitter isn’t worth $2B. These new-age millennial entrepreneurs have trouble producing value in the real world. They always need more money.
Turning to the unending crypto saga of Sam Bankman-Fried, the Securities Commission of the Bahamas has taken custody of FTX deposits valued at more than $3.5B as of November 12, according to a media release published last week. The November 12 date is significant, because the murky, murky $383M FTX hack, live-streamed in this video, happened during the evening of November 11, while SBF was in Bahamian custody. So where is the money?
The government of the Bahamas is in complete control of $3.5B in crypto, which the US government wants for itself. Bankruptcy trials take a long time, and this is largely a jurisdictional battle for the spoils which is to be hashed-out by lawyers, financial officials, opportunists, etc, on both sides until all the money is divvied-up to the right people. This is how governments steal for themselves in the name of their people & democracy.
The crypto community is facing an existential crisis. The vast majority, who have worked to build this industry, in mining, computer programming, sales & promotion, etc, have been shucked & jived by modern-day shysters. Calls in the fake media for regulation are a smokescreen, as crypto will never be regulated by US Congress. A few years back, during the Trump administration, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was compelled to testify before the US Senate for a regulatory hearing. The most memorable moment was when a crusty septuagenarian senator asked Zuckerberg how Facebook made money? The Facebook CEO smiled to himself & replied, removing as much condescension from his voice as possible, “We sell ads, sir.”
That’s typical of the level of fundamental cluelessness in elite politics. Crypto with its blockchains, decentralized finance, off-shore shell companies, etc, is much more complex than the nuts & bolts of social media. Not only is regulation unwanted by the industry (and Republicans), it’s unthinkable because no one in bourgeois politics has a clue how to deal with this mess. No politician wants to be seen as “impeding the free market,” and no politician wants to get dragged into these crypto scandals any further. You know it’s really bad when you see corrupt politicians insisting there are returning FTX money.
Calls for “regulation” in articles discussing crypto should be always interpreted as “bailout.” Eventually this crypto bubble will burst, and unlike the sub-prime crisis of 2007-08, there are no assets to recoup here. Millions of homes with defaulted mortgages were transferred into bank ownership in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown. This was done to make bankers & hedge fund investors (who caused the meltdown) whole again. They were too big to fail. But the soon-to-come crypto crash will leave nothing to be recouped, because it’s been a fake asset from the start. US & Bahamian regulators are fighting over custody of $3.5B in fake money, and who winds up with it is beside the point because it’s worthless.
Meanwhile, Sam Bankman-Fried is out on bond, living with his parents who are co-conspirators in the $32B FTX/Alameda swindle. The effectively altruistic boy genius came up with a better way to mine crypto. Instead of having a series of supercomputers mining the crypto by solving complex mathematical equations, SBF just made up his proprietary FTT tokens out of thin air. This saved energy costs, and the expense of contracting crypto miners. This way, SBF made super-profits! Crypto skeptics point to Binance’s native BNB token, and ask if Changpeng Zhao created them by the same process.
Sam Bankman-Fried has surely violated the terms of his bail by moving large amounts of crypto from hidden Alameda wallets after his release on bond last week. SBF denies this, of course, as his parents are there to punish him if he does anything wrong again. The problem with crypto isn’t SBF, per se, it’s capitalism & the flawed idea that you can create value from nothing.
Update: Wed Jan 4, ~8:45AM CST
SBF was allowed to be free on bond, and violate those terms by moving large amounts of crypto out of Alameda wallets to unknown accounts. Unknown to the public that is. The US government knows where the crypto is, because undoubtedly they have been monitoring his computer, but they aren’t revealing anything they know to the public which is normal. SBF is acting as a personal tutor for US intelligence agencies, etc, in how to move crypto. Notice how names are always redacted when his legal team requests it, etc. Since when has such a swindler been allowed such clout in a DOJ prosecution case? Normally, targets of the DOJ receive no mercy, unless they plead guilty– or cut a secret deal. SBF pled not guilty, yesterday, as expected. SBF should now be considered as an agent of the US state. It’s the only way he can save himself.
Final thoughts: Thu 05 Jan 2023 6:43 AM CST
The crypto community is learning the hard way, that BIGGER interests (such as the US-provoked war in Ukraine) override any claims of crypto theft. The most logical explanation for SBF’s ‘not guilty’ plea is that he made a secret deal with US intelligence to save himself. These demoralized libertarians are in WAY over their heads here.
Crypto believers have hyped bitcoin with an impressive amount of enthusiasm & bravado, but never answered any fundamental questions posed to them over the years. They display a staggering level of naivety & ignorance in the fields of economics & politics. And yet, in their collective moment of stunned disbelief over the reality of how quickly dreams can evaporate, they maintain they are correct. The Federal Reserve & US Intelligence are the primary forces keeping crypto alive. Crypto is a money-laundering tool, that’s it’s only use value.
Any talk of SBF being an asset of US intelligence will now be branded as “conspiracy theory” in the fake media.That’s the Big Lie playbook they run on the public. This conspiracy theory is backed by the facts and the events as they are unfolding, which strongly implies that it is correct. US Intelligence always lies & evades to minimize exposure of an asset, especially a big fish like SBF, who is teaching them new & better ways to move crypto. This helps Joe Biden work with Republicans in funneling funds to the neo-Nazis in Kiev in the name of fighting Russian aggression which keeps us safe from terrorism.