The surging string of unexplained socioeconomic phenomenon continues recruit 5-star mysteries with the officially untarnished and fervent presence of Nick Saban welcomed with open arms and a free meal to multi-cultural living rooms across the nation. As skeptics question the validity and squeaky Quaker-like cleanliness of the Alabama coach’s unprecedented sustained success, doubts are abound surrounding the win at all costs nature of Tuscaloosa boosters. Just Duckduckgo “Mike Price Alabama” to immerse oneself in a cultural of traditional fanatics removing the “student” from “student” athlete in a multi-billion dollar high stakes cutthroat game of implacable prestige.
The unknows perpetuated by the digital age are the sum of the whole equating to a thrilling environment of ambiguity and confusion leading to a series of pertinent questions. “Why are hot dog buns still sold in packs of 12? How does Stalinist Kshama Sawant still get elected by her hapless constituents? Despite no major retail partnerships, how has Bitcoin exploded to 9 times its worth in a calendar year? And finally, why are “No Parking” signs in Portland, Seattle, and other major cities coddling criminals always occupied by a decrepit vehicle that may or may not include a gnarly Webber satellite dish grill.
As the University of Alabama boosters are quite possibly taking advantage of the sketchy blockchain to fund Saban’s dynasty, the encryption algorithms within the NSA developed “hash” technology encourages anonymity and subversion. Unsettlingly, football is the least of the concerns of Bitcoin’s most wanted list, as the DOJ has deployed a team of hacking all-stars in attempting to decipher the money laundering of the who’s who of the ominous murky underbelly of espionage, the cartels, and a gaudy showing of prominent political groups foisting ascetic nationalism.
Unlike traditional currencies, the valuation of Bitcoin and its derivatives are not based on stable and classic commodities, such as rare precious medals. The cryptocurrency market is instead driven by the energy Bitcoin miners expend in deciphering an encrypted 64 string and characters and numbers called hashes in validating each transaction between users exchanging the digital money. In reaching a critical mass of accumulated hashes (three per separate transaction), a Bitcoin is deemed mined and the excavator receives a monetary award. Through the shear force of computation power, time and the subsequent electricity costs and expended in supplying energy to server farms, the currency attains its value.
If that is not complicated enough, the number of Bitcoin is limited to 21 million total units, with 18.7 million already in circulation. The pre-determined finite amount of the cryptocurrency is why the founders, and many experts believe that the Bitcoin and the surrounding dynamics, can remain stable, and continue to increase in price. However, cynics look at the absence of financial partnerships with the top of the retail food chain keystone performers Amazon, and Walmart, as a glaring red flag to an inherent crash that could likely pulverize the entire market.
While legitimate businesses have largely avoided interfacing the the blockchain, the existence of the Dark web (Tor Project), and the promise of no questions asked has attracted a swarm of ceaseless predators to the bloodbath of a feeding frenzy, and a glaring example of economic Darwinism. Masking IP addresses is the modern function of Caribbean banking ventures, or fixing the Florida lottery to launder money. Thank you, Tim Dorsey.
Instead of the average person donning a cyberwallet, rogue governments, and criminal organizations are taking advantage of the powerful technology to launder money with the only consequence of note existing as the major security issues at each terminus of the blockchain. Even with this known quantity, and the aversion of digital merchants to engage, Bitcoin has jumped from $6 thousand in 2020, to flirting with $60 thousand. The vulnerabilities in cybercurrency storage, and the lack of basic protections available to investors only adds to the intrigue of the meteoric rise.
Similar to the collective of internet gurus in peril, the cryptocurrency community put their faith in third party applications to clean up the perception of enabling the proliferation and growth of illegal activities, and tidy up the numbers. The simple answer came in the form of “cats”. Feline fanatic love spans the generations, and the arduous drag of Covid-19, has forced people indoors.
In a savvy marketing move, the site Crypto Kitties was literally born, a destination directly tied into the cryptocurrency exchange, where users can purchase digital furballs to raise or breed, without having to deal with the real life atrocities of the litter box. For around .00533 of an Ethereum coin, or $9.00, an account holder can purchase a pet, and engage in a game of trading digital collectibles, complete with a separate “cat stock exchange”, where strategy and guile are necessary in actually earning a profit, and achieving success. The website offers gamers advice on how to pick the optimal price point, and transforming oneself from a mere cat owner to bonified and certifiable crazy cat person, in buying, selling, and breeding felines for sale in auctions, with fractions of real money at stake. Like it or not, those playing are indirectly receiving a crash course in the plausible future of a world based on cryptocurrency.
Anime cats or investments? No one can tell the difference anymore.
The beauty in Crypto Kitties and similar applications, is that users are generating a mass amount of transactions left in the void of the Amazons of the world, and the exploding demand for related content is giving associated cryptocurrency tangible value as a result. The only requirement to participate is an obligatory age limit, and a cyberwallet.
Parent company Dapper Labs, has also unleashed NBA Top Shot to the world, and introducing a line of collectibles exclusive to the dream world of the internet. Buyers and sellers of Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFT’s, files that only exist online and are uniquely verified by the blockchain, are cashing in on the initial honeymoon phase of viral craze. A video clip of a Lebron James slam dunk recently sold on the domain for $200 thousand, indicating that the antiquated collectibles market has officially risen from the ashes in finding a suitable habitat within the electronic nexus. Each individual NFT, from a cat to the Rembrandt of sports memorabilia clips is branded with a hash and locked in, giving the token value, as it cannot be replicated, and only exists in a digital form.
While the innovative spirit of cryptocurrency gaming apps is compelling, can the recent ascension of applicable infrastructure justify the shortcomings and possible liabilities of a volatile monetary unit based almost entirely on speculation? As many Bitcoin rags to millionaires student loans paid off and then some stories emanate throughout the trending news, a proportional number of cautionary tales warn off fortunes being lost instantly through cyberattacks, or from a forgotten password. This merited stigma of mistrust is only supported by a recent story of a handful of investors, who have filed a lawsuit against cryptocurrency and financial outlet, Coinbase, for an apparent breach in ethics, and the non-existence of rudimentary security or acceptable customer service. The company, which helped initialize the Bitcoin explosion and is now riding the waves of unadulterated success, is expected to go public in the next few months, and follows the tiresome policy abomination of tech firms deliberately cutting corners in budgeting for support staff, and forcing a perpetual cycle of accountability being hidden through a confusing array of sites and Matryoshka doll-like corporate entities, almost as deftly as the ingenuity of the blockchain providing a covert safe haven for villains.
Much like the reasoning of the English language, Capitalism does not always make sense, and in the case of the free market, the beauty is, it does not have to as long as fortunes are being lost and made. While the Dot.com boom was a life-changing and valuable experience for Generation X in the ceaseless rigors dictated by economic principles, the dawn of the Information Age is a utopia of riches and incessant change for young people, a fantasy that is all smiles until the market decides to make a five year correction. Thus, Bitcoin is universally hip and nearing the stratosphere with the pied piper hysteria in coaxing a population being taught that “whatever goes up, transforms into an atmospheric diamond of peace and love”. Consequences or accountability have no place in this new world, unless they serve a specific agenda, a garish platitude that fits the creed of the cryptocurrency exchange like a leather glove.
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