John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ compares crypto to casino
Cryptocurrencies have been a whirlwind of excitement, innovation, and, unfortunately, scams. Last week, John Oliver tackled the volatile subject in the latest episode of “Last Week Tonight.”
Oliver revisited the crypto world and highlighted the implosions of Terra, Celsius, and FTX. The episode emphasizes that the main thing you can do with crypto is a gamble with most coins, equating it to a casino.
Scams, scandals and financial fiascos
Terra, a supposedly stable cryptocurrency, was launched in 2018 by South Korean entrepreneur Do Kwan. Kwan’s confidence game worked for a while, with Luna’s value ballooning to $40 billion.
However, several big trades in 2022 destabilized the price, with people rushing to sell Terra and Luna valued at essentially zero.
Celsius, a crypto bank founded by Alex Mashinsky, promised to be a friendlier alternative to traditional banks.
Mashinsky insisted that Celsius was “one of the least risky businesses regulators worldwide have ever seen.”
However, investigators found Mashinsky was making incredibly risky loans and using customer funds to pay high yields, resembling a Ponzi scheme.
Celsius owes customers $4.7 billion, with tens of thousands still having digital assets trapped on the platform.
FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange hyped by celebrities, collapsed in 2022, costing billions of dollars. Its billionaire founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, was arrested on charges of defrauding investors.
FTX’s bankruptcy exposed the complete failure of corporate controls and the lack of trustworthy financial information.
Oliver cleverly highlights the common denominator between these three companies: the facade of expertise that quickly crumbled, exposing the chaos that lay beneath.
The charismatic hosts behind Terra, Celsius, and FTX tried to maintain an image of control even as their companies spiraled out of control.
Despite the disastrous outcomes, these companies have a valuable lesson about cryptocurrencies: confidence is the most significant currency. In a financial system where trust holds immense value, it’s not surprising to see scammers flourishing.
Cryptocurrency: more than just a gamble?
The stories of Terra, Celsius, and FTX serve as critical reminders of the importance of due diligence and skepticism when navigating the crypto verse.
While it’s essential to recognize the pitfalls and scams that plague the space, it’s equally important to acknowledge the genuine projects that hold the potential to revolutionize the way we transact and engage with the financial system.
Yet, they also represent a stepping stone toward a more transparent and stable cryptocurrency environment. The lessons learned from these cautionary tales will pave the way for better practices, increased security, and enhanced trust in digital currencies as the industry matures.
Embracing a healthy dose of skepticism and staying informed will help us harness the full potential of this transformative technology, leading us into a brighter, more decentralized future.