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Clown World is Here, and Bitcoin FUD is Soaring: Most Ridiculous News From 2022 

As we all know, Bitcoin has been trapped under $50,000 since the start of the year. It’s certainly been difficult – for the average investor – to maintain bullish optimism.

It’s gotten especially tough when the media spreads fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the asset class (aka ‘FUD’). See no further than Bitcoin obituaries for a taste of that.

Most infuriating, however, is when that FUD bears no resemblance to observable reality. Whether from ignorance or malice, journalists are strangely attracted to kicking Bitcoin while it’s down using outdated and exaggerated criticisms.

Theoretically, this ignorance should be declining with time – but its as prevalent as ever within the past few months.

The reason? That’s impossible to know. However, I have a feeling it has something to do with how the world is falling apart.

What do I mean? Well, I’ve already explained why Bitcoin could the remedy to a future totalitarian hell world, if we end up there. Yet it appears the warning signs of that unstable reality are already making themselves known.

Now stop – I’m not trying to pedal some hysterical doomsday nonsense. However, unless you’ve been living in the metaverse, you cannot deny that 2022 has seen some very strange headlines. In fact, that’s exactly what we’re gonna review right now.

Keep in mind that this is hardly some fleshed-out thesis statement. I have no bold predictions, grand claims, or conspiratorial dot-connecting on today’s menu. I’ve simply gathered some of this year’s most surreal news and placed them next to Bitcoin’s latest attacks. Only then might we tentatively examine what can be pieced together from the two.

For now, there are only two things I’ll say with confidence: clown world is here, and the Bitcoin FUD is soaring.

The Clown World Saga of 2022

There are more juicy headlines than I can remember, but I’ve identified enough to capture the ridiculousness of our year.

I’ve organized the news in chronological order, beginning in January and ending in mid-April (the time of writing).

I believe the content will speak for itself.

1. US Inflation Reaches 39-Year High (Jan 12th, BLS)

According to the US Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual CPI inflation rose 7% in December of 2021. That was the highest all-items index increase since June of 1982.

The increase was mostly expected and continued an ongoing trend of fast-rising inflation in recent months. Annual prices were up 6.8% in November, and 6.2% in October.

For context, the Federal Reserve’s target inflation rate is supposed to be 2% per year.

2. Bitcoin Is Just a Crappy Tech Stock Now (Jan 24th, Slate)

Slate ran an article in early January arguing that Bitcoin had devolved from a currency to digital gold, into a crappy tech stock. It cited its decline from its November all-time high down to $40k as proof that too volatile to be currency or an inflation hedge.

By contrast, the asset has seen a growing correlation with the NASDAQ. This means investors are trading it more like a high risk tech gamble than a safe haven. For that, the article states you can just “bet on tech stocks”.

“Unlike the Ethereum network, meanwhile, Bitcoin isn’t widely thought of as a useful platform for advanced financial services.” it reads.

3. Trucker Brigade Frightens Canada’s Leader With Loud Honking (Jan 29th, DailyMail)

In late January, a wave of truckers descended upon Canada’s capitol to protest nationwide vaccine mandates for drivers re-entering the country. The protestors were notorious for constantly honking throughout the day, though there were seldom reports of any violence.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau initially responded by abadoning Ottawa, citing “security concerns”. From a secret location, he then released a video statement calling them a “fringe minority” with “unacceptable views”.

4. Prices Rise Even Further (Feb 10th, BLS)

The Labor Department’s annual CPI metric rose to 7.5% for January 2022. Electricity saw its highly monthly increase in 16 years, while prices for cupcakes and cookies also contributed to the surge.

Mark Zandi – chief economist at Moody’s analytics – nevertheless stated that inflation was “at its peak”. He said it would wind down alongside the pandemic, and as “supply chains” iron themselves out.

As of this month, 80% of the M1 dollars in existence had entered circulation within the previous two years alone.

5. Trudeau Freezes Your Money (Feb 14th, CBC)

After weeks of non-stop protest, Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history to stop it. The act granted financial institutions the power to freeze the bank account of any Canadian suspected of donating to the movement.

The Department of Finance later clarified that even donations as small as $20 could result in a bank account being frozen.

A week later, the government used police force to remove the protestors from Ottawa. The Prime Minister immediately ended use of the act, once accomplished.

6. Crypto is a “Venereal Disease” (Feb 16th, MarketWatch)

American billionaire Charlie Munger doubled down on his hatred for Bitcoin in February. He said it was “beneath contempt” and compared it to a “venereal disease,” primarily used for extortion and tax evasion.

“I wish it had been banned immediately,” he said. “I admire the Chinese for banning it. I think they were right and we were wrong to allow it.”

This echoed his thoughts from last year when he said Bitcoin was “contrary to the interests of civilization”. His partner at Berkshire Hathaway – Warren Buffet – has similarly labeled Bitcoin as “rat poison”.

Strangely, news spread that Berkshire Hathaway had invested $1 billion in a crypto-focused bank the very same day.

7. The USSR Returns (Feb 24th, CNBC)

Following years of tension between both nations, Russia declared “military operations” in Ukraine in late February. The nation invaded and attacked several Ukrainian cities, including the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

Putin immediately issued a warning to other nations to not “interfere”, or face immediate consequences. Within hours, dozens of Ukrainian soldiers were killed in what Ukraine’s President called “Putin’s war against the world”.

8. Russia Gets Cancelled (Feb 27th, CNN)

Days after the invasion, the White House and various western countries jointly announced that select Russian banks were being expelled from SWIFT.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is the world’s largest financial messaging system. Without it, Russia was hence isolated from the international financial system.

A day later, Western nations also imposed sanctions on Russia’s central bank, freezing most of its $630 billion in FX reserves.

9. Ukraine Begs For Your Dogecoin (Mar 2nd, Twitter)

While defending against Russia, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov called upon the international crypto community multiple times for aid. He began soliciting worldwide massive donations in multiple virtual assets – even including Dogecoin.

Over $100M in crypto has been donated to support Ukraine’s military, as of today. The country’s public Dogecoin wallet holds nearly 1 million DOGE – worth $129,051 at the time of writing.

The same Vice PM also made some major call-outs against people involved with the crypto industry. One included Elon Musk, who the official told to provide Ukraine with a Starlink satellite service instead of trying to “colonize Mars”. The Tesla CEO complied within less than 12 hours.

Fedorov made a similar request to Mark Zuckerberg to ban Russian access to Facebook and Instagram, instead of building the Metaverse.

10. Gas Reaches Highest Price in History (Mar 8th, CNN)

With one of the world’s largest gas exporters expelled from the banking system, gas prices quickly rose to record highs. According to the Oil Price Information Service, costs in the US ran up to $4.17 per gallon about ten days later.

This broke the previous gas price record in the country at $4.11 in 2008.

Though Russian oil hadn’t technically been sanctioned yet, former buyers were already abandoning it for fear that it would be. On the very same day, President Biden made the ban official.

11. Inflation Breaks the 40-Year Barrier (Mar 10th, BLS)

Annual inflation in February clocked in at 7.9%, officially breaking the forty-year mark set in January 1982. The increase was especially driven by gasoline price increases, which were up 6.6% in the month alone. Food also rose by 1.4% from January.

Following the increase, the Federal Reserve rose interest rates up to 0.5% on March 18th to address the issue. When inflation was equally high in 1981 and 1982, the Federal Reserve raised rates as high as 19%.

12. Deathmatch: Elon Musk vs. Vladimir Putin (March 14th, Twitter)

About three weeks into the invasion, Elon Musk offered to personally duel Russian President Vladimir Putin to settle things. The “stakes”, he said, would be the fate of Ukraine.

He followed up later by tagging the President directly on Twitter, asking if he agreed to the “fight” (in Russian).

Though no response came from the account, the chief of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos did chime in. He replied with a passage penned by famed Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.

“You, little devil, are still young/Compete with me weak/It would only be a waste of time/Overtake my brother first,” it read, according to a Google translation.

Musk replied by calling the chief a “tough negotiator” and promising him “10% more pay per view money”.

13. Senator Proposes Trade War on All of Crypto to Stop Putin (March 18th, US Senate)

Senator Elizabeth Warren tabled a bill in mid-March aimed at preventing Russian use of cryptocurrencies to bypass US sanctions. Among its many proposed restrictions were secondary sanctions for “transaction facillitators” providing “technological support” for illegal transfers.

Crypto policy think-tank Coin Centre later determined that the legislation was “unconstitutional”. Its language implied that passive node operators, of which there are tens of thousands worldwide, could become sanctionable.

The bill also explicitly called for freezing the funds of developers of smart contract code that inadvertently supports Russian actors.

14. Stop Being Poor, Says Bloomberg (March 19th, Bloomberg)

Addressing consumers impacted by the rising of cost of living, one economics professor at Bloomberg tried offering some coping advice.

Her tips included not buying in bulk, selling your car, replacing meat with lentils, and skipping chemotherapy treatement for your dog.

Bloomberg later added that “inflation stings most if you earn less than $300k,” and that “Nobody said this would be fun”.

15. Quebec Fights Inflation by Printing Money (March 22nd, CBC)

Facing similar inflation struggles in Canada, Quebec decided to offset the issue by pumping more money into the economy.

Specifically, the government announced a $500 donation to everyone making less than $100,000, to assist them with rising prices. As 6.4 million taxpayers are eligible for the handout, the expenditure will be upwards of $3.1 billion for the province.

Low-income Quebecers will receive combined assistance of $775, when put together with their previously announced tax credit.

Opposition parties dismissed the measure as a political tactic, designed only to garner votes before provincial elections. Rather, they would have preferred to take a more targeted approach with the money, concentrating the funds towards the province’s poor.

16. Ripple Founder Funds Environmental FUD Campaign to Fork Bitcoin (Mar 29th, Wall Street Journal)

Chris Larsen put $5 million towards converting Bitcoin’s consensus mechanism to a proof of stake last month. As he argues, Bitcoin under proof of work is over-contributing to global warming and the current “climate emergency”.

In an earlier blog post, he suggested providing Bitcoin’s outstanding supply to existing miners based on the current hash rate distribution.

His campaign has recruited support from environmentalist organizations including Greenpeace, the Environmental Working Group, and the World Economic Forum. The former later claimed that Bitcoin alone could push the Earth beyond the threshold for runaway climate change.

17. No, Inflation Isn’t Over Yet (Apr 12th, BLS)

Inflation surged yet again to 8.5% for March 2022, breaking another record. It was up 1.2% on the month – the largest monthly increase since 2005, and 0.8% increase over January to February’s inflation.

Half of the increase was reportedly due to the gas price hike resulting from sanctioning Russia. Costs were up 18.3% from the previous month alone, and up 32% from a year prior.

Some economists – such as CIBC’s Katherine Judge – claimed that this month would nevertheless be the peak of inflation. “Indices will be lapping some strong year-ago readings starting in April,” she argued, “while gasoline prices have eased off lately.”

18. Inflation Becomes Putin’s Fault (Apr 12th, ABC News)

President Biden appeared in Iowa in mid April to announce measures addressing the rising gas prices across America. He termed the March increase the “Putin price hike” blaming Russia for gas and food price increases across the world.

“Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should on hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide a half a world away,” said Biden.

His press secretary has backed him up, referring to March’s elevated inflation by the same term multiple times. She warned that the CPI increase would be “extraordinarily due” to Putin’s invasion.

19. Bitcoiners are Narcissistic Psychopaths (Apr 12th, New York Post)

The New York Post shared a study in April reportedly indicating that average Bitcoiners are “psychopaths” with inflated egos.

Specifically, scientists at Queensland University of Technology identified “dark tetrad” traits as correlating with Bitcoin interest in a personality survey.

Of the 566 people asked, a quarter had invested in crypto, while two-thirds showed interest for investing. As gleaned from those respondents, narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy and sadism all correlated with crypto investing affinity.

Dr. Di Wang suggested that psychopaths may enjoy investing because they enjoy seeing other’s pain from missing out on profits.

20. Crypto Would Succeed if it Wasn’t for Bitcoiners (Apr 20th, CNBC)

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse blamed “tribalism” within the crypto community for holding back the industry on the regulatory front. He specifically blamed “maximalism”, a term used mostly to refer to Bitcoiners dedicated exclusively to the primary cryptocurrency.

“The lack of coordination in Washington, D.C., amongst the crypto industry, I find to be shocking,” he said.

Ripple is currently embroiled in a lawsuit wherein the SEC alleges it sold unregistered securities in XRP. Bitcoin, in contrast to other cryptos, is mostly agreed to not be a security. MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor often uses this to distinguish Bitcoin in his arguments, rather than to bring other cryptos into the fold.

21. Elon Musk Makes Twitter Surrender to His Money (Apr 25th, PR Newswire)

Earlier this month, Elon Musk revealed that he bought a 9.3% stake in Twitter. For a moment, he also planned to join its board of directors.

However, after realizing this would place an upper bound on his potential share in the company, he withdrew his entry.

Days later, he revealed his true hand. He offered to buy all Twitter shares for $44 billion, and to privatize it, according to an SEC filing.

In a letter within the filing, he made his intentions clear – which appear highly ethical. He claimed that Twitter could be a platform for free speech around the globe, if only he could change it.

“Twitter has extraordinary potential,” he said “I will unlock it.”

The CEO secured the funds necessary to make the buy in late April – including $21 billion of his own money.

On April 25th, Twitter officially accepted the offer. Independent Board Chair Bret Taylor called it “the best path forward for stockholders”.

22. Bank of Canada Says Bitcoin Isn’t an Inflation Hedge (Apr 25th, Global News)

While plagued by 6.7% annual inflation, Canada’s central bank still asserted that Bitcoin wasn’t a useful tool for fighting it.

“I think if Canadians are looking for a stable source of payment and a stable source of value, cryptocurrencies don’t really meet that test,” said Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Rogers. “We don’t see cryptocurrencies as a way for Canadians to opt-out of inflation or a stable source of value.”

Rogers did claim there was “some promise” in the technology backing cryptocurrencies. She noted that the adoption of a CBDC, which is in its “developmental phase” at the Bank of Canada, would ultimately be up to parliament.

Still, her fellow governor Tim Macklem shot down the notion that a cryptocurrency would ever replace the Canadian dollar.

23. New York Moves to Nuke its Mining Industry to Save the Planet (April 27th, Observer)

New York’s state assembly voted to place a moratorium on permit renewals for carbon-emitting mining operations in late April. The action would threaten to end mining for most of the state, which currently hosts 19% of the national hash rate.

The action comes following increased political pressure from Seneca Lake Guardian, a regional environmental activist group, to end the industry.

The legislation is still yet to be voted on by the state senate and governor. However, Chris Larsen – the man behind the anti- proof of work campaign – is a large donor to the governor’s re-election campaign.

Conclusion: Stop Browsing, Go Outside, and HODL

As alarming as all of this seems, it’s only a fraction of the lunacy of our world today, and the scaremongering about Bitcoin.

This list doesn’t even cover the entire crypto space. Did you know that the largest defi hack ever took place this year, stealing over $600 million in value? Or that a set of useless images of cartoon bears sold for $18 million in one day this week?

Yet for all the negative news we read, all that’s important is how we interpret and react to it. Should we take the skeptical claims about Bitcoin seriously in this topsy-turvy world? Should we change our investment strategy?

The answer, for the average HODLer, is probably not. After all, there’s an equally ample supply of good news for Bitcoin that’s just a bit harder to notice.

For example, while the CBC was Bitcoin’s role in funding big mean truckers, the cryptocurrency quietly became the official currency of a second country. How cool is that?

Not just that, but Americans will soon be able to spend their Bitcoin at America’s largest retailers for products and services. With this, the problem of Bitcoin being accepted for payment is finally solved.

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So don’t fret. The price is doing its thing. Adoption is progressing as planned. Ignore the FUD. Stop Browsing, go outside, and HODL.

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