Cryptocurrencies are re-entering popular culture, as demonstrated by the appearance of Ronny Chieng, a senior correspondent from the Daily Show at the Ethereum Summit on Saturday.
Chieng took to the stage alongside ConsenSys founder and CEO Joseph Lubin and Kavita Gupta, founding managing partner at ConsenSys Ventures. His opinions voiced were inherently suspicious of cryptocurrencies but humorous enough to entertain the crowd of Ethereum enthusiasts.
Truth in comedy
Several of Chieng’s comments touched on topics that are indeed garnering contention in the industry. Specifically, Chieng targeted the reasoning behind the resurgence of decentralized technology now, since it has been around since the file-sharing platform BitTorrent.
Responding to this criticism, Lubin interjected, saying, “BitTorrent was attacked in significant ways. It was stigmatized and didn’t come out at a time when there was popular sentiment… Trust is [now] lost in centralized institutions.” Lubin was clear that he thought now was the right time for peer-to-peer technology to succeed.
His sentiment was echoed from various speakers during the conference, several citing the recent Facebook scandal involving third-parties collecting personal data as a reason to decentralize institutions.
The volatile price of cryptocurrencies was also targeted by Chieng, as he stated the fluctuating prices should be a clear indication of a bubble, although he jested he would gladly invest to make money from it.
Speaking specifically on blockchain, Chieng said ”[it is] what dumb people like myself can make money off of in the short term”, although he admitted so far he has been unsuccessful in actually turning a profit on his cryptocurrency investments.
Lubin countered by talking up the benefits of a bear market, noting that they encourage funding and participation from investors and developers. “It’s great when the price goes up because it brings more resources into the ecosystem,” he said.
He also went on to describe the technology behind cryptocurrencies as more exciting and important than the actual value of the digital currencies themselves.
Still dubious, Chieng concluded, “This is either the biggest scam or the most undervalued asset in humanity. It could still be either way.”
Crypto in pop culture
Around 2013, when Bitcoin first began experiencing popularity, popular figures such as Ashton Kutcher used their platform to support the new cryptocurrency. Now, it appears to be re-entering pop culture.
Aside from Chieng’s roast at the Ethereum conference, a crypto-themed short comedy film was just released, entitled Buy The Dip. Written and directed by self-proclaimed cryptocurrency investor Sam Lucas Smith, the film takes a humorous look at a group of friends investing in crypto in the UK.
While making a comedic appearance at a cryptocurrency conference, or releasing a short film on the topic may not influence the market to such an extent as regulations might, it is a sign of the changing times. Entering pop culture is indicative of the sociocultural influence the cryptocurrency industry is gaining.
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