Cryptocurrencies are no longer a topic restricted to investors and technology fans. Now endorsed by celebrities and digital influencers, they are increasingly popular. Unfortunately, scams related to them too.
Now, a contrary movement is beginning to be consolidated on the internet. A group of activists, which includes policy experts and technologists, are leading the so-called “crypto skepticism”, which preaches distrust (or even outright denunciation) of this type of investment.
The action started with informal conversations over Zoom but is on the way to becoming something bigger. The first global conference is already scheduled: the Crypto Policy Symposium (Cryptocurrency Rules Symposium), on September 5th and 6th.
In addition, videos and podcasts are gaining ground to show the weak — and even dangerous — point of this financial trend.
“When you have billion dollar funds lobbying [atividade de pressão por grupos organizados junto aos órgãos governamentais] on behalf of cryptocurrencies, you need to counter that by publishing the most sordid details,” said Bennett Tomlin, co-host of the Crypto Critics’ Corner podcast.
The podcast page on Apple currently features 89 episodes, with an average score of 4.9 stars (especially difficult considering the low number of reviews: 183). The agenda revolves around cryptocurrencies and finance, mainly focusing on fraud, exchange hacks, exit scams and other illicit acts.
Crypto Skeptics Moves
In June of this year, the group led by 1,500 computer scientists, software engineers and technologists managed to gather signatures to send a letter addressed to the US Congress.
The document calls for a closer look at industry claims that crypto assets — sometimes called cryptocurrencies, crypto tokens, or web3 — are innovative technology.
“We urge you to resist pressure from financiers, lobbyists and digital asset industry drivers to create a regulatory safe haven for these risky, flawed and unproven digital financial instruments,” the message reads.
And the actions don’t stop there.
The official conference in September will be a virtual event, with around 800 participants from around the world.
On the panel of speakers are Representative Brad Sherman; former US government attorney and law professor John reed ;stark British Member of Parliament Alex Sobel and actor Ben McKenzie.
The latter is even popular for being one of the most technology averse. The protagonist of series like “The OC” and “Gotham”, he wrote a book about crypto fraud.
Anti-crypto activism is gaining even more importance as authorities in several world capitals have started to move to regulate digital tokens. According to NBCNews, European Union representatives agreed to some new rules last month and US lawmakers may follow suit next year.
Fluctuation and the Future of Crypto
In recent months, cryptocurrencies have faced drastic price fluctuations. To give you an idea, in 2022 Bitcoin plummeted to less than half of its quoted value in 2021. Some companies even went bankrupt with these changes. Countries that jumped on the bandwagon, such as El Salvador, also had their economies affected.
Since the origins of digital currencies, skeptics of the technology have voiced opinion on social media — mainly pointing to Bitcoin as a “big bubble” of the market. But, apparently, the next step of this group is to organize itself in the long term to face the defenders of the digital currency.
About the future, there is still disagreement, even among skeptical activists. Stephen Diehl, a software programmer in London who is helping to organize the symposium, says there are two different schools of thought: “One says the cryptocurrency market is going to burn up and collapse, and the other thinks it needs to be actively reduced”.
*With information from NBC News