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Jason Bloomberg is Totally Clueless. Here’s Why.
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If you’re in the cryptocurrency world and have a personality that’s anything like mine, you’re equal parts amused and exhausted when it comes to low-tier, ignorant would-be “journalists” talking about technology they barely understand. As someone with a master’s degree in computer science, I know that I can’t always expect regular people to understand blockchain technology as thoroughly as I do. Even so, people should at least do their due diligence if they’re going to write about an issue as complicated as cryptocurrency - you should keep your opinions to yourself if you aren’t willing to establish some basic knowledge, because otherwise you’re going to end up looking like a fool when you say things that are patently false. This might also end up being really damaging to your reputation if you are purporting to be some sort of technology expert.
At the time of this writing, if you Google “Bitcoin,” you might come up with Jason Bloomberg’s new article which was published on Forbes’s site on March 10th, 2018. The title is “We Need To Shut Bitcoin And All Other Cryptocurrencies Down. Here’s Why.” What?
I read this headline and I started rubbing my hands together. I knew I was in store for some grade-A fear and stupidity from someone who clearly has an infantile understanding of what they’re writing about. I know what you must be thinking. “Gee, Malcolm. This is just clickbait garbage. Why are you writing a response to clickbait?” Here’s the thing: this is on Forbes. I realize journalists don’t take their jobs very seriously sometimes, but this is a respected business magazine. I also realize this is just an opinion piece, but it’s also completely asinine and outrageous. How did something like this get past the editors?
The crux of Jason Bloomberg’s argument here seems to be that Bitcoin - or, more specifically, any cryptocurrency that uses what he calls a “permissionless blockchain” - must be made illegal because criminals can use it. What really scares him, it seems, is the idea of “illicit cryptomining.”
Honestly, looking at the first part of this article, my first assumption was that Jason was some nontechnical journalist, not somebody from the computing world. It reads to me like some regular Joe off the street just read a quick rundown on how cryptocurrency mining works - or maybe found out that Coinhive exists - and got spooked.
Upon deeper reflection, the implications of illicit cryptomining are profoundly frightening. Because this type of cyberattack is ‘relatively’ benign - for certain definitions of ‘relatively’ - it’s positioned to run amuck, taking over computers, networks, data centers, and cloud environments around the world.
Oh no! It’s positioned to “run amuck”! I feel like I’m listening to a hysterical grandma clutch her pearls about this newfangled Internet thing. It’s like he’s never heard of botnets before, or perhaps thinks that the idea of taking over computers en masse hasn’t existed ever since Nigerian princesses were trying to send “hotpicsofme.exe” over AOL Instant Messenger back in the 90s. I want to stress here that this guy is supposedly the president of a tech company. More on that later, though.
If you’re new to cryptocurrency, you might be a little lost at this point. Basically, what he’s talking about is the idea of hackers taking control of your system in order to use it to “mine” cryptocurrency, thereby turning a profit. This isn’t really altogether much different than any other piece of malware; the only difference is that, instead of logging your passwords or turning your computer into part of a DDOSing botnet, your computer instead quietly helps mine cryptocurrency and sends it along to the hacker who wrote the malware.
The article continues. He talks about the idea of cybersecurity vendors doing their part against illicit cryptomining but ultimately demurs that it’s impossible to fully prevent it. His solution: make all cryptocurrency illegal.
Yes, he is calling for the outright banning of an industry with a market cap of over two hundred billion dollars - all over some frivolous security concerns. I’m guessing Jason Bloomberg isn’t really much of a free market guy. If you read the rest of his article, he draws a line in the sand between what he calls “permissioned blockchains” and “permissionless blockchains.” In his explanation, he quotes some nobody who, like Jason, probably doesn’t really understand what she’s talking about:
The public approach draws a stark contrast with permissioned blockchain (generally ‘private’ or ‘closed,’ again with a few exceptions). “The permissioned Blockchain is a closed and monitored ecosystem where the access of each participant is well defined and differentiated based on role,” explains Devon Allaby, COO of Design Farm Collective. “They are built for purpose, establishing rules for transaction that align with the needs of an organisation or a consortium of organisations.”.
This is a bit of squid ink - if you ask me, what they’re really talking about is the concept of decentralization itself. The irony here is that this is what Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies were purposefully built to do - be permissionless through the magic of decentralization. The whole idea is that you and your money aren’t beholden to a central authority (such as a bank or payment system like PayPal) which - as history has shown us - often cannot be trusted. How many people have suffered from PayPal freezing their funds for completely frivolous reason? Nobody can do that to you when you have your Bitcoin in a wallet. That’s the point. Jason Bloomberg apparently has a problem with that, and he continues clutching his pearls, decrying the fact that anyone can engage in “criminal pursuits” that “leverage mining.”
Tax evasion. Money laundering. Funding terrorism or other illegal activity not directly related to cryptocurrency. But the most nefarious of all criminal motivations: illicit cryptomining.
I can’t even begin to tell you how stupid this old argument sounds to me. People who talk about cryptocurrency as the perfect instrument of various criminal enterprises - mostly various forms of money laundering - never seem to understand that cold hard cash works just as well if not better. The average criminal is actually a lot dumber than your average non-criminal - we’re talking about half of a standard deviation. You’re telling me they’re going to go for an emergent technology instead of cash? Statistics say no.
The meat of Jason’s lunacy is his opinion on “illicit cryptomining.” His hysteria revolves around a few ideas, such as the idea that any computer is usable as a crypto-miner - sort of true, I guess, if you’re mining a coin that is feasible to mine on a CPU - and so any compromised computer is valuable to a would-be hacker. He describes “the most devious aspect of illicit cryptomining” as “the fact that it can run undetected indefinitely.”
Jason goes on to describe his vision of a “know your miner” system which has some sort of centralized authority which either allows you to be a miner or doesn’t. Throughout this article I was continually surprised at this awkward permissioned-vs-permissionless verbiage - he didn’t once use the words “decentralized” or “centralized” which, frankly, seems pretty bizarre for someone going into the fine details of what to do about bad actors on a blockchain. I realize this might sound petty, but the lack of these words was a major red flag to me that this guy is what I like to call a “pretend expert.”
I actually can’t decide if he’s disingenuous or just a dope. Here’s my favorite quote:
The cryptocurrency world, therefore, will have two choices: switch entirely from permissionless to permissioned (or perhaps semi-permissioned) or shut down entirely.
The sad truth is that there will always be voices like Jason’s which caution you against technological progress. He is no different than the 90s Luddites who insisted that the internet was a fad - he is a dinosaur walking the earth, paying no heed to the flaming meteor overhead.
One Last Thing About Jason Bloomberg…
Here’s an excerpt from Jason Bloomberg’s bio from Forbes:
Jason Bloomberg is president of Intellyx and is the leading industry analyst and globally recognized expert on agile digital transformation. He writes and speaks on how today’s disruptive enterprise technology trends support the digital professional’s business transformation goals.
Apparently Intellyx is some sort of technology company. Their site claims that “Intellyx is the first and only industry analysis, advisory, and training firm focused on agile digital transformation.” Hilariously, it also claims that “Intellyx works with enterprise digital professionals to cut through technology buzzwords and connect the dots between the customer and the technology.” I find this pretty ironic considering that the site is chock-full of buzzwords.
I’m going to be totally frank: if Intellyx was a publicly traded company, I’d be shorting it right now. How is it possible that such a moronic person is running a tech company? I can only assume the people paying them for analysis, advice, and training are clueless and are basically getting scammed by know-nothing faux-experts if Jason’s article is anything to judge his company by.
All I can say is that his article was a great way to annihilate his credibility as any sort of tech expert. Some advice, Jason? Retire. You’re a fool. You don’t know what you’re talking about, and you seem unwilling to learn.
Before you go…
Know of any other obnoxious mainstream blowhards pretending they know cryptocurrency? Want me to write about them? Let me know! I love to hear feedback from people and get ideas on what cryptocurrency topics I should research. You never know, I might even write an article about your suggestion!
If you’re new to cryptocurrencies, don’t worry - it’s easy to get in on this! Here are the basic steps:
- Buy some Bitcoin or Ethereum from Coinbase.
- Trade them for altcoins on Binance, KuCoin, HitBTC, or Changelly. Out of these, Binance is my preferred exchange.
- If feasible, store your coins offline in a wallet for security purposes. Use an inexpensive Android phone with the Coinomi wallet app, or go ultra secure with a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S or Trezor.
If you’re looking for a more lengthy guide to purchasing altcoins from start to finish, just take a look at my page - I’ve written a lot about this!
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Posted: Mar 11, 2018
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