Post: Little White Bias: The O.C. Star Is An Anti-Crypto Writer

Disclaimer: The following op-ed represents the views of the author, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Bitcoinist. Bitcoinist is an advocate of creative and financial freedom alike.

Ben McKenzie, actor and star from The O.C., holds a strong skeptical opinion about crypto. He has spent a lot of time digging into the blockchain world, convinced it is all a fraud scheme that he will unveil.

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McKenzie Wants To Pop The Crypto Bubble

McKenzie has a B.A. in economics and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. Alongside New Republic journalist Jacob Silverman, they have written a couple of pieces (see here and here) about alleged fraud in the ecosystem and are currently working on a book called ‘Easy Money.’

I am of the opinion that if one researches any topic trying to prove a single narrative without digging into your own possible mistakes, then your study will likely be flawed because it lacked to see beyond what you intended to prove.

For this reason, I now believe that McKenzie’s thoughts have several ‘little white biases.’ Little white lies are meant to be inoffensive but misleading in order to convince or prove a point. Well, with biases it’s kind of the same, only that the person telling them might truly believe they hold the only side of the story worth telling.

In this case, McKenzie makes great and valid points in many of his claims. For example, with the pump a dump lawsuit against Kim Kardashian, he has asked celebrities not to get involved in promoting projects that require financial investment and could turn out to be a scam, believing that many of them don’t understand what they’re helping to sell. He also gazes with attention to all crypto scam-related news.

What he fails to do is separate what can go wrong in the space from the attributes that are beneficial. By calling all of the crypto space a scam and ‘not real currencies’, he might not yet understand that all cryptocurrencies cannot be lumped together.

It seems like the main source for McKenzie’s anti-crypto ideas is SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and his MIT course about the Blockchain. He often paraphrases him like so:

“Crypto is a wildly anarchic, unregulated form of Wild West financial capitalism that is fueled by rampant speculation, sketchy stablecoins, and the murky dealings of a few big whales and insiders whose influence over these markets may be greater than most traders realize.”

McKenzie is concerned that “new coins are being minted all the time with the sole objective of making the creators or promoters of these coins money”, and believes that “crypto exchanges increasingly resemble unlicensed banks, with some now encouraging users to directly deposit their paychecks into crypto.”

As per The New York Times, McKenzie recognized he is an unusual addition to the no-coiner groups he has joined:

“I’m an actor,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

The actor is making many points that are outdated and misleading. Like saying that Bitcoin is a loser’s game, implying that it is all a Ponzi scheme, and in the case of his co-writer Silverman and the piece titled “Even Donald Trump Knows Bitcoin Is a Scam,” he also makes claims that can be defunded:

  • “Rather than promoting economic liberty by being a stateless currency, Bitcoin provides entreé to a wildcat market dominated by fraudsters, scammers, and powerful institutional investors.”
  • “With its dramatic swings in recent weeks, Bitcoin has, yet again, proved its unfitness as a currency and its continued resemblance to something more like a wildly manipulative multilevel marketing scheme.”

I could keep going, but for now, let’s help clarify a few misconceptions.

  • When looking into the characteristics of a Ponzi scheme and comparing them to Bitcoin, the writer Alex Bentley found that from its origin, rather than promising ‘easy money,’ Bitcoin has been “a major technical break­through.”
  • Bitcoin’s open-source and full trans­parency opposes entirely the way Ponzi schemes are built.
  • On paper, it was not Satoshi’s intention to enrich anyone but to provide an alternative to the many issues of the banking system.
  • “Third-party exchanges can be fraud­u­lent or can be hacked. Phishing schemes or other frauds can trick people into revealing their private keys or accounts infor­ma­tion. But these are not associ­ated with Bitcoin itself.”
  • Via Chainalysis data, the recorded numbers of fraud and illicit activity in the crypto space have been widely reported. Fraud does not ‘dominate’ the space, and blockchain technology is turning out to be helpful for authorities.
  • Recent historic events keep proving the many use cases for Bitcoin, like for those enduring the consequences of the Russo-Ukrainian war.
  • While fiat currencies’ inflation is very ‘dramatic’, Bitcoin has been used as a safe haven, and as mass adoption happens, its volatility is believed to moderate.

And this is just the start of an endless discussion, Ryan from the O.C.

Related Reading | Ripple & Greenpeace Join Forces For Curious Campaign To Change Bitcoin To PoS

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