The subject of immense hope, hype and confusion, crypto has amassed countless headlines in recent years. Right now, one of crypto’s biggest names, Sam Bankman-Fried, is set to go on trial in New York, accused of having defrauded millions of investors at his FTX cryptocurrency exchange, stealing billions of dollars in the process. But with cryptocurrencies, NFTs and metaverse markets crashing, the underlying blockchain technology is still promised to solve global development challenges, and revolutionise every industry.
We are joined on the show this month by Peter Howson, author of the new book, Let Them Eat Crypto: The Blockchain Scam That’s Ruining the World. In the book, Peter cuts through the jargon and hyperbole to tell an alarming story of how right-wing libertarian crypto entrepreneurs – often aided by charities, politicians and philanthropists – have sought out and exploited conditions of poverty, oppression, corruption and conflict around the world, in a new front of ‘crypto-colonial’ extractivism. Far from ‘banking the unbanked’, saving the gorillas, or freeing people from oppressive governments, blockchain offers only false solutions, surveillance and hi-tech snake oil.
We discuss the obscene environmental footprint of crypto, why it endures in spite of a recent negative shift in public perception, and how we might go about getting rid of it.
Podcast listeners can get 40% off the book on plutobooks.com with the coupon PODCAST.