How to talk to family members about crypto this Thanksgiving season

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This week in the Unit­ed States, mil­lions of peo­ple com­pris­ing var­i­ous polit­i­cal and finan­cial back­grounds are trav­el­ing to see fam­i­ly mem­bers for the first time in months to cel­e­brate Thanksgiving.

For cryp­to-mind­ed indi­vid­u­als, ques­tions about the mar­ket may come as quick­ly as “Why did you cut your hair?” or “Why didn’t you become a doc­tor?” — espe­cial­ly giv­en the very pub­lic col­lapse of major exchange FTX and soured rep­u­ta­tion of its for­mer CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried. The Coin­tele­graph team has put togeth­er a humor­ous “how to” guide for U.S. read­ers to ref­er­ence when inter­act­ing with cryp­to skep­tics and curi­ous peo­ple while at home, though hodlers in oth­er coun­tries may find a few help­ful tips as well.

“What’s an SBF?”

Despite all the three-let­ter acronyms they’ve heard on the news, fam­i­ly mem­bers might have a dif­fi­cult time believ­ing that the for­mer CEO of FTX is not, in fact, a tick­er sym­bol — though some­one did launch an SBF Goes to Prison (SBFP) token on Nov. 21 that has fared slight­ly bet­ter than the exchange and its lead­er­ship, drop­ping more than 66% in price. “SBF” stands for “Sam Bankman-Fried,” who led the now infa­mous FTX to become one of the most promi­nent com­pa­nies in the cryp­to space before its bankruptcy. 

Bankman-Fried resigned on Nov. 11, the same day FTX filed for bank­rupt­cy. He cur­rent­ly resides in the Bahamas, and there has been no short­age of sto­ries and rumors about the for­mer exec­u­tive and his rela­tion­ship with staff. SBF might be extra­dit­ed to the Unit­ed States to face ques­tion­ing by gov­ern­ment offi­cials and poten­tial crim­i­nal charges.

“Why didn’t you make money from those cartoon monkeys?”

Many in the cryp­to space and beyond have sug­gest­ed that the non­fun­gi­ble token, or NFT, mar­ket is in a bub­ble, but use cas­es for the tech­nol­o­gy go far beyond projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club — which is respon­si­ble for many of the images fam­i­ly mem­bers see when NFT sto­ries go main­stream. Explain­ing that NFTs can pro­vide authen­ti­ca­tion for dig­i­tal and phys­i­cal prod­ucts may seem less impor­tant than swip­ing the last of the sweet pota­toes from the din­ner table, but if read­ers are look­ing for a relat­able exam­ple to use at home, try this:

“I heard Elizabeth Warren say crypto is going to ruin the economy”

What­ev­er your polit­i­cal lean­ings may be, no one can deny that Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth War­ren is among the loud­est anti-cryp­to voic­es in Con­gress. In a Nov. 22 Wall Street Jour­nal op-ed, the Mass­a­chu­setts sen­a­tor said the sit­u­a­tion with FTX should be a “wake-up call” for reg­u­la­tors to enforce laws on the cryp­to indus­try in addi­tion to asso­ci­at­ing dig­i­tal assets with mon­ey laun­der­ing and ran­somware attacks. Many in the space have crit­i­cized the sen­a­tor for tak­ing an “all or noth­ing” approach to dig­i­tal assets, often fail­ing to dis­tin­guish between front-fac­ing cen­tral­ized exchanges and decen­tral­ized projects build­ing on the blockchain.

Despite the cur­rent cryp­to bear mar­ket, many indus­try pro­po­nents are not caus­ing their com­pa­nies to fold, cash­ing in all their dig­i­tal asset hold­ings and burn­ing any merch bear­ing the Bit­coin (BTC) logo. In fact, many experts agree that the state of cryp­to reg­u­la­tion and leg­is­la­tion in the Unit­ed States needs to be addressed soon. And had there been more reg­u­la­to­ry over­sight of Bankman-Fried and FTX, the result­ing mar­ket impact might have been less severe.

Politi­cians from across the spec­trum, includ­ing Texas Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz and for­mer Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Andrew Yang, have open­ly sup­port­ed cryp­to and blockchain, but their par­ents prob­a­bly don’t ask them when they’re going to “get a real job” over the holidays.

Sev­er­al Coin­tele­graph team mem­bers con­tributed to this article.



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