Crypto Critics' Corner
By Cas Piancey and Bennett Tomlin
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discuss historical moments in the Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and finance spaces, mainly focusing on frauds, exchange hacks, exit scams, and other malfeasance.
Bitcoin's Black Swans (Feat. Doomberg)
Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined by Doomberg - Twitter and Substack's favorite Little financial Chicken - to discuss Bitcoin's, and cryptocurrency in general's, biggest threats for maximum liquidations and pain (including, but not limited to: Microstrategy, El Salvador, and Tether). Follow Doomberg on Twitter @Doomberg or subscribe to their Substack at doomberg.substack.com If you'd like to subscribe to Bennett Tomlin's FUD Letter, please visit https://TheFUDLetter.com/#/portal/ for details. Note: This episode was recorded on Friday, January 21st, 2022
January 24, 2022
Poker's Black Friday (Feat. Jason Bral)
Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discuss online Poker's Black Friday - April 15th, 2011 - and it's everlasting effects with Jason Bral, a semi-professional poker player.
January 20, 2022
Energy Problem in Kazakhstan is an Energy Problem for Bitcoin
Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey talk about how Bitcoin mining works, why the Bitcoin miners have (mostly) fled China, why the Bitcoin miners moved to Kazakhstan, and how Kazakhstan's spike in in fossil fuel prices and political upheaval has effected Bitcoin.
January 13, 2022
Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos, and the Future of VC (Feat. Elizabeth Lopatto)
Today Bennett and Cas are lucky enough to have the opportunity to discuss the Elizabeth Holmes trial with Elizabeth Lopatto, Deputy Editor of The Verge, who was present for the entirety of the trial. Please read some of her eye-opening pieces written during and since the end of the trial here: https://www.theverge.com/2022/1/5/22867505/elizabeth-holmes-guilty-fraud-investing https://www.theverge.com/2021/12/9/22820995/elizabeth-holmes-theranos-trial-testimony-defense-abuse Also worth listening to John Carreyrou's podcast, available here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bad-blood-the-final-chapter/id1575738174
January 07, 2022
Craig Steven Wright is a Crier and a Flawed (individual)
Today Bennett and Cas talk about Craig Steven Wright, the self-proclaimed "Satoshi Nakamoto," and lawyer, doctor, ninja, and creator of Bitcoin Satoshi's Vision.
January 06, 2022
The Silk Road, Bitcoin, and Ross (Feat. Nicholas Weaver)
For the last episode of 2021 Bennett and Cas are joined by Nicholas Weaver (@ncweaver on Twitter) to discuss the history of the darknet marketplace The Silk Road, which was owned and operated by Ross Ulbricht, who is currently serving a double life sentence without parole, and its association with Bitcoin.
December 30, 2021
F*ck the SEC, all my friends hate the SEC
Today Bennett and Cas rant about the ineffectiveness of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and its mostly failure fraught 87-year history.
December 23, 2021
The World is a Ponzi Scheme, You just Live in It
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey talk about the history of Ponzi schemes, the definition of Ponzi schemes, and why they're both pretty tired of hearing everything described as a Ponzi scheme (hint: it's because most things aren't Ponzi schemes).
December 16, 2021
NFTs, the New Short Killer? No. Definitely Not.
Today Bennett and Cas talk about an idea being passed around that NFTs or non-fungible tokens will ruin shorts and change the market forever. The reality? No. Definitely not.
December 09, 2021
The El Salvador Bitcoin - Volcano - Bitcoin City Bond
Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discuss a really interesting and weird idea: the El Salvador Bitcoin Volcano Bonds offered by El Salvador in collaboration with Tether, iFinex, and Blockstream.
December 02, 2021
Stablecoins will Fork your Chain if they Want to Fork
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey talk about the concept that maybe stablecoins play an intimate role in how successful a fork of a major cryptocurrency is or whether the cryptocurrency forks at all.
November 18, 2021
The Tether Papers (feat. David Canellis of Protos)
Today we dissect The Tether Papers along with one of the main authors, David Canellis - also the head of the Protos newsroom. Please follow along at home by reading The Tether Papers here: https://protos.com/tether-papers-crypto-stablecoin-usdt-investigation-analysis/
November 11, 2021
The President's Working Group and Algo Stablecoin Woes
In today's episode Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discuss the President's Working Group, which recently released a report on stablecoins, and the issues that the creator of TerraUSD (an algorithmic stablecoin) is facing.
November 07, 2021
Tracking Tether and Working on Ethereum Layer 2 (with Daniel Goldman)
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined by a good friend and special guest Daniel Goldman, an engineer working on the Ethereum layer 2 solution called Arbitrum, but who is also a cryptocurrency critic. Daniel helped create a Twitter bot that allowed skeptics to follow any and all Tether prints for years, and without his work the chore of monitoring every large Tether print during the early days would've been an annoying errand.
October 30, 2021
Decentralization and Tribalism (featuring Oliver Beige)
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey talk with Oliver Beige, an engineer turned economist, who tell us whether decentralization is sustainable and how tribalism plays a role.
October 23, 2021
Taiwan and Tether (with Sam Reynolds)
Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined by Blockworks author Sam Reynolds, a Taipei-based reporter, who discusses the early history of Tether in Taiwan and what can be implied by their issues with their early banking partners.
October 16, 2021
The Pandora Papers
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey talk about a huge investigative drop from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists: the Pandora Papers. The leaks will help the public understand how the rich, famous, and politically connected are able to evade taxes and move money without anyone knowing. If you'd like to read about the Papers yourself, please visit https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/ If you'd like to donate to the ICIJ, please visit https://checkout.fundjournalism.org/memberform?org_id=icij&installmentPeriod=monthly&amount=10&campaign=701f4000001A4kF
October 09, 2021
Liberty Reserve: the first stablecoin
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey review Liberty Reserve - the first stablecoin and the first stablecoin shutdown by US regulators.
October 03, 2021
Evergrande with David Z. Morris
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined, once again, by David Z. Morris, the chief insights columnist at Coindesk, to discuss what's happening with Evergrande, why it matters for other regions and industries, and how the property market on the Chinese Mainland operates.
September 27, 2021
Cryptocurrency Lending is Too Good to Believe
Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey explore the incredible interest rates offered by centralized cryptocurrency lenders, how they likely make their money, and whether or not any of them are "risk-free."
September 12, 2021
Remembering Fraud: WorldCom
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey reflect on a fraud that began in the 1980s and ended when the Dot-Com Bubble burst: WorldCom. Are there applicable comparisons to cryptocurrency and securities markets of today? (Hint: Yes.)
September 06, 2021
C.R.E.A.M. Cumberland Rules Everything Around Me
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discuss the history and importance of DRW/Cumerbland Global, one of the top liquidity providers in the cryptocurrency space, and speculate on the influence the company exerts on the industry.
August 30, 2021
Binance: the Tai Chi Document
Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey talk about the Binance Tai Chi document (which you can read about here https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeldelcastillo/2020/10/29/leaked-tai-chi-document-reveals-binances-elaborate-scheme-to-evade-bitcoin-regulators/?sh=6dbafb302a92). This was recorded *before* Binance introduced full-KYC (know-your-customer) practices, but highlights previous issues with Binance, Binance US, and other Binance affiliated companies. If you're interested in the book by Evan Ratliff that we mention, it can be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/Mastermind-Drugs-Empire-Murder-Betrayal/dp/0399590412
August 20, 2021
Blockchain Terminal with Robert Green
Robert Green (@robogreen on Twitter), a marketing consultant who ended up doing contract work for Blockchain Terminal - a company claiming to be "the Bloomberg Terminal," but for cryptocurrencies! - joins us to discuss his time at the bold project. The main problem with the company? One of the biggest fraudsters in Canadian history was running things under a pseudonym, "Shaun MacDonald," and was planning his exit scam from day one (perhaps even laundering funds from a pervious scam to bootstrap the project). Tune in to hear the full story.
August 16, 2021
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discuss the history, function, positives, negatives, flaws, and potential benefits of Bitcoin.
August 08, 2021
Algorithmic stablecoins and regulation, Part II featuring Frances Coppola
The second part of the two-part discussion with Frances Coppola. On this episode, Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey ask about algorithmic stablecoins, overcollateralized stablecoins, regulation, and historical precedent for pegged-currency failures.
August 05, 2021
Inflation, deflation, and stablecoins with Frances Coppola (Part I)
Frances Coppola - "infamous" nocoiner and author - joins Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey to teach everyone a thing or two about inflation, deflation, hyperinflation, and stablecoin regulation.
August 02, 2021
Crypto Charity - where you donate to random people making promises and get nothing in return
Today's episode is guest-less! Just Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discussing how particularly egregious cryptocurrency-based charities tend to be. Examples include Jacob Kostecki, Binance's Pink Care Token, and Deltec Cares.
July 30, 2021
From Skeptic to Believer: Preston Byrne on the cryptocurrency ecosystem
Lawyer Preston Byrne joins Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey for a wide-ranging discussion that goes from his own crypto journey (of skeptic to believer) to regulatory and legal risks for stablecoin operators. Visit his Twitter to see more from Preston https://twitter.com/prestonjbyrne
July 26, 2021
Stablecoins, CBDCs, and the STABLE Act with Rohan Grey
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined by Assistant Professor of Law at Willamette University and one of the authors of the STABLE Act, Rohan Grey. We discuss how stablecoins operate, what he hopes to see from CBDCs and the problems he sees in all kinds of new(er) money markets. Find him on Twitter @rohangrey
July 21, 2021
Revisiting Enron with David Z. Morris
Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined by David Z. Morris to discuss what happened at Enron, the ramifications of its downfall, and how the climate during Enron relates to today. If you'd like to hear more from David visit his website http://www.davidzmorris.com/ his twitter profile https://twitter.com/davidzmorris or subscribe to his substack http://davidzmorris.substack.com
July 19, 2021
Behold the Brash Bunk from Bitfinex and Binance
Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discuss Cas' trip to Hong Kong in search of the ethereal Bitfinex headquarters, how and why exchanges continue to try to get away with existing nowhere, and what it means for consumers.
July 12, 2021
BitClout is Bad with David Canellis
Today Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey bring on David Canellis, the director of news at Protos Media (https://protos.com) and long time journalist covering cryptocurrency and fintech, to discuss the "decentralized" social media platform BitClout. We'll talk about its odd origin story, why David thinks it's probably destined to fail, and why it reminds us of so many other projects that never made it out of the 2017/2018 cryptocurrency bullrun.
July 05, 2021
Regulatory Capture and Regulatory Arbitrage: Sleeping with your Enemy
In this episode Bennett and Cas discuss the concepts of regulatory capture and regulatory arbitrage - systemic problems that aren't unique to any particular industry, but have helped dissolve public trust of regulators and enriched some of the worst companies and individuals.
June 30, 2021
El Salvador and Bitcoin
Bennett and Cas try to discuss an intensely complex and controversial topic: what Bitcoin being declared legal tender in El Salvador will mean for the small, Central American country.
June 28, 2021
This one weird trick will stop you from ever having a bank run!! (never let anyone redeem)
In this episode, Bennett and Cas discuss the confusing concept of what a "Tether redemption" would look like: an ever-shifting definition built on a stablecoin with an ever-shifting definition of what 1-1 backed by traditional fiat currency means. Though we haven't seen an actual Tether redemption shown on Twitter, or otherwise, for the world to see, we look forward to someone coming forward with one shortly!
June 21, 2021
Shillfluencers (and the unspoken financial epidemic)
In this episode Bennett and Cas discuss what's being termed "shillfluencers," or influencers, celebrities, and other individuals with wealth and power, who use their "influence" to "shill" their investments. There's plenty of people - including billionaires (Elon) and has-beens (Soulja Boy) - who continue to take advantage of their ability to manipulate markets, to the point where it feels like a societal sickness. But will there be consequences?
June 14, 2021
Coinbase Media and why Venture Capitalism Hates Journalism
Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discuss how Coinbase plans on creating a media company to confirm its own version of the facts and report its own version of the truth. Is journalism entering its final death spiral or are VC bros just losing their minds? Read more here: https://protos.com/coinbase-crypto-exchange-media-content-marketing-journalism/ https://bennettftomlin.com/2021/05/31/a-rant-about-coinbase-media-and-coinbase-fact-checking/
June 07, 2021
QuadrigaCX: the Canadian cryptocurrency exchange that just won't die
Bennett and Cas dive into what happened at QuadrigaCX - once the largest Canadian Bitcoin exchange. If you'd like to read a more detailed piece you can find "Death Fraud" here: https://medium.com/coinmonks/death-fraud-6920cc93d0a7
June 01, 2021
Crypto Capital Corp: the quiet billion dollar cryptocurrency scam
Cas and BT discuss Crypto Capital Corp, a defunct, fake, Panamanian money services transmitter that helped service almost every important cryptocurrency exchange, owned and operated by Reginald Fowler, Ivan Manuel Molina Lee, and Oz and Ravid Yosef.
May 26, 2021
Two Pie Charts and a $60 billion Stablecoin
Today Bennett Tomlin and I go over the recent disclosure by Tether of the make up of its reserves. If you'd like to read more, please visit: "For Every $1 in Tether there are $0.03 in Cash" https://bennettftomlin.com/2021/05/13/for-every-1-of-tether-there-are-0-03-in-cash/ or "Inside the Great Pie Chart giving Tether its dollar value" https://protos.com/tether-pie-chart-usdt-dollar-pegged-crypto-stablecoin-dollar-value/
May 15, 2021
Zhao Dong: A Summary
This episode, unfortunately, is absent Bennett. Quick summary of why Zhao Dong ended up being sentenced to prison time in China. If you'd like to read more: https://protos.com/renrenbit-zhao-dong-bitcoin-billionaire-pleaded-guilty-money-laundering/ https://medium.com/coinmonks/another-usecase-bites-the-dust-e64ba9b95c6 https://medium.com/coinmonks/zhao-dong-still-matters-heres-why-cff29d6089fd https://thecaspiancey.medium.com/zhao-dong-the-final-word-e3417eea12f
May 12, 2021
After going through the history and red flags behind Tether and Bitfinex, Bennett Tomlin and I go through some questions from the listeners.
April 16, 2021
Tether: A Stable Discussion Part II
In this part of our discussion, Bennett Tomlin and I go over the later problems Bitfinex and Tether encountered, why the New York Attorney General filed an injunction, and what the settlement between iFinex and the NYAG means for the companies and the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem.
March 08, 2021
Tether: A Stable Discussion
In this recorded conversation, Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey discuss the early history of Bitfinex and Tether and why Tether has outpaced Bitfinex as a growing concern. Another discussion concerning the NYAG settlement and ongoing skepticism will be addressed in the next conversation.
March 04, 2021