Line Goes Up – The problem with NFTs, Crypto, and Web3: A movie-length viral video about the fraud and deception of the next-generation internet and how cohorts of crypto parasites are feeding off the poor
Crypto, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralization, and decentralized finance (DeFi) have been dominating tech headlines over the past few years. Unless you have been living in a cave you must have heard of NFTs sold for millions of dollars and Bored Apes sold for millions. In March 2021, Christie’s Auction sold Beeple’s NFT for a record-setting $69.3 million, making it the most expensive digital art ever sold.
And just recently, metaverse and Web 3.0 took the internet by storm, and the two emerged to become two of the most talked-about buzzwords in the crypto sphere. But the question everyone has been asking is, what are the values and the utility behind these technologies? However, others see cryptocurrency like Bitcoin as a speculative asset with no intrinsic value. Gravel Institute even went as far as calling Bitcoin ‘a scam’ similar to a Ponzi scheme.
As for NFT and Web3, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is vocally skeptical about them and he’s not a fan. In a tweet, Musk suggested that ‘there is too much noise about web3 in the crypto market.’ In another tweet, Musk is not so polite tweet. In his response to a thread by OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman, Musk stated, “Web3 sounds like bs.” Musk also hated NFT because he didn’t like the “gas” fee.
Then last week, something happened. Everyone I know on social media was talking about a recently released viral video that explains some of the issues with cryptocurrency, NFTs, and the deception of the next-generation internet called Web3. I didn’t really have the time to watch the video until yesterday when Stephen Diehl, a crypto skeptic, shared the video on Twitter. Then it got interesting and decided to watch the video and find out why everyone is talking about it.
“The final chapter to this video is the coup de grâce against the NFT cryptocult and weaves the entirety of the argument together. It’s a masterpiece of form and argument,” Stephen said in a tweet.
Why all the brouhaha about the video? Titled “Line Goes Up – The Problem with NFTs,” it is a movie-long video essay by the Canadian media critic Dan Olson who goes by the name FoldableHuman on Twitter. The video is a brilliant take-down of not just the NFTs, but the whole cryptocurrency and all the problems and shortcomings that come with the so-called Web3 technology. The video was uploaded on Friday, January 21, and has since gone viral. As of the time of writing, the video now has over 3 million views and climbing.
The two-hour-long video is a meticulously done documentary that probably took several months to research to create. It features discussions about all things to cryptocurrency, NFTs, Web3 “more”. If you’re wondering why someone will spend 138 minutes on this type of video, you just need to watch the opening to understand why. I have watched many videos from crypto skeptics, I can confidently tell you that this is one of the best video essays of the year, if not the best.
In the 138 carefully researched minutes, Olson started out by tracing the history of the 2008 financial crisis, the creation of Bitcoin and Ethereum, and the rise of NFTs, DeFi, DAOs, and reaches the conclusion that “Web3” is effectively beyond redemption. At one point in his video, Olson says that every “smart contract” is a bug bounty. Olson also argued that the Web3 technology is too broken and beyond repair, and its creators are too indifferent to its failures. Olson also added that crypto and NFTs have exacerbated the number of fraud and scams online.
“The only market Crypto and NFTs managed to disrupt is fraud,” Olson noted.
Meanwhile, to play the devil’s advocate, Olson decided to join the NFT community on Discord. Sharing his experience during his time on Discord, Olson said, “For days now I’ve been accepting every spam NFT Discord invite I’ve received, and it’s getting dire.”
Meanwhile, a day after Olson released his video, software engineer Molly White addresses some of the potential blockchain abuses discussed in Olson’s video. In a blog post titled, “Abuse and harassment on the blockchain,” Molly writes:
People who keep their cryptocurrency wallet addresses private often do so with good reason: there is very little privacy available once your crypto wallet address is known, because every transaction is publicly visible, and attempts to obscure them often easily unobscured with chain analysis tools. Imagine if, when you Venmo-ed your Tinder date for your half of the meal, they could now see every other transaction you’d ever made—and not just on Venmo, but the ones you made with your credit card, bank transfer, or other apps, and with no option to set the visibility of the transfer to “private”. The split checks with all of your previous Tinder dates? That monthly transfer to your therapist? The debts you’re paying off (or not), the charities to which you’re donating (or not), the amount you’re putting in a retirement account (or not)? The location of that corner store right by your apartment where you so frequently go to grab a pint of ice cream at 10pm?
Not only would this all be visible to that one-off Tinder date, but also to your ex-partners, your estranged family members, your prospective employers. An abusive partner could trivially see you siphoning funds to an account they can’t control as you prepare to leave them. As for the marketing machines and predictive algorithms that currently suck in every scrap of data they can to determine what ads to show you, or evaluate your suitability for a mortgage, or try to predict if you’ll commit a crime? Well, they’ve just hit the jackpot.
The video is divided into chapters to make it easy to better understand the video. Olson eloquently tied the previous two hours together in the last chapter. The last 2 minutes summed up the entire video and should wake up some crypto investors from their fantasy dream. Overall, the video is very informative and insightful and also exposes the drawbacks of NFTs, DeFi, and Web3 technology.
After watching the video, one could argue that NFTs are a symptom of the moral corruption of our society and how the elites in western nations exploit and manipulate the poor in developing countries with deceptions and promises of making millions if they invest in cryptocurrency and NFTs.