👍 It's Illegal

China and crypto have a conscious uncoupling | please can we stop SPACing everything | build the metaverse 'responsibly'

👍 It's Illegal

Hello nerd pals — let's dive straight in, there's no time to waste.

This week was good! Finally 👍. And that's because...

  • China has gracefully chucked cryptocurrencies into oblivion — great! Or is it?
  • We're going to learn about SPAC's!
  • The metaverse intensifies

🦄 Shapeways has just SPAC'd for $605m

Okay but what is Shapeways and what is... SPAC? Sounds like very bad canned meat.

Shapeways = a company that does 3D printing on demand. 3D printing is just better because you only use the materials you need to make the thing, and you don't create unnecessary surplus. Shapeways can print parts for you within days.

SPAC = Special Purpose Acquisition Company. It's a shell corporation that does nothing but attract investment, so it can acquire other companies.

  • So people invest in a SPAC because they trust the person who runs it — that person has a great reputation so they will probably make really good acquisition choices, etc.
  • It's a mechanism to help companies (like Shapeways) IPO fast, and give rich investors a break from having to understand and/or pretend to care about what those companies do.
  • In case it wasn't obvious: SPACing is VERY POPULAR these days...

I've been trying to ignore SPACs for months because they really annoy me and the last thing I need is more stuff to get angry about. But anyway, here's why I'm talking about it now:

💰 Unfortunately, we live in a world where VC's decide which technologies are important — AI? Blockchain? Metaverse? Cubesats? Whatever! Shut up and sign that term sheet!

🚀 As soon as we see piles of funding get funneled into things like 3D printing by way of the greedy, desperate SPAC, I feel we can expect to see the technology filter down into consumer markets; that's what always seems to happen

🤤 Then, the human race will take instant gratification to fresh new levels. We'll be drowning in 3D printed guns and dildos — is that REALLY the world you want to live in? YoU wOuLdN't 3D pRiNt a HoUsE*

*actually that would be really cool...

😮 It is now illegal to mine or use crypto in China, what a twist

When I heard this news I cheered, and then a few minutes later my brain started working again and I began to appreciate what we intellectuals refer to as nuance. Here's the good and the bad, signalled with emojis so you know which is which, according to me.

Maybe now there will be less overall mining and GPUs will be affordable again? The GPU bit is selfish because I've been wanting to build a gaming PC for ages but the 'less overall mining bit' is great for the entire world (e.g. the place where we get all our atmosphere)

  • Until now, China was responsible for 53% of Bitcoin mining worldwide.
  • As we all know, Bitcoin is this thing where you get rewarded for how much electricity you waste, so it's nice to hear that over half of the mining will stop for a while.
  • I'm pretty sure I lose a subscriber every time I complain about how bad cryptocurrencies are for the environment — GOOD. Please share this and help me replace those subscribers with BETTER ONES who AGREE WITH ME.

China are doing this because cryptocurrency threatens their ability to control their citizens. As you may have read before, the Chinese government have developed the digital yuan partly because they're tired of using fiat currency which is pegged to the dollar — good for them! But also...

  • The digital yuan will be a great way for the government to track everyone's spending in real time, and regulate what they can spend money on. This wouldn't be possible if Chinese citizens had cryptocurrency (which is not traceable) to fall back on.
  • But why limit yourself to just China? This currency is digital after all. Westerners will also be allowed to use the digital yuan during their visit to the 2022 winter olympics — with borderless currency, everyone can be surveilled.

☝️ Please be the smartest person at the party and remember that the digital yuan is NOT cryptocurrency. You cannot mine it; it does not use blockchain; it is not decentralised; it is administered by commercial banks and controlled by a central authority — the Chinese government. It is a CBDC: central bank digital currency.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, crypto markets have largely been unaffected by this news — probably because everyone who cares already knew it was going to happen. Or, they were just copying Mr Goxx, a hamster who trades crypto and is currently up by 20%.

🌌 I end this post with the thing I assume will end the whole world: the metaverse

The other day Nick Clegg managed to summon a spine for long enough to help write a blog post about how Facebook are going to build a metaverse 'responsibly'.

Georgia's pro metaverse tips:

  • 'We're going to build it responsibly' is what people say about a thing that just should never ever be built in a million years
  • I want to say that no one will care about a thing that you have to explain this much, but who am I kidding, people will love it
  • They are going to spend $50m on researching how to build the metaverse in a way that looks like they aren't exploiting people/threatening the power of our governments

⚠️ Ultimate tip: if you think $50m sounds like a lot... it isn't. They spent $5 billion on an FTC fine a couple of years ago and didn't even feel it. I'm also curious about how much they spend a year on digitally colonising Africa with Facebook Free Basics??

Thank you for reading and do not forget to reprogram your boiler timer in time for winter...


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