Oh those crazy kids!

Being a “hard-core” developer and being in the crypto space  I’ve learned two things

  1. Seeing is Believing
  2. Ignorance is NOT bliss

Let’s start with #1 and everyone’s latest favorite topic, the FTX fiasco. In all honesty, with all the years I’ve been in this business, did I ever think to see a 28 year old “kid” topple, not just the crypto financial world, but the “real” financial world as well is simply beyond me. It really is. As everyone who has anything to say about the matter just blames it  all on the wily, cunning and utterly ruthless “SBF”. But let’s face it, I don’t know about you but I know that when I was in my 20s and on Wall Street (coding trading systems not using them, unfortunately) if someone came along and offered to “invest”  a few hundred million my way…guess what,, I probably would do exactly what he did, why not…if it’s that easy! 

After all, when I was that age I was just as invincible, self-absorbed and yes,I’ll use the word..”immature” as the next 20-something…and proud of it. But back then there were “grown ups” around to keep me and my ego in check. Some as ancient as their 40s and 50s who would keep me down to earth with either sage wisdom or a swift kick in the pants. Don’t they make these people any more? Are we that enraptured with money-making schemes that the US financial and political world go to a “zoomer” for guidance and leadership?! Come on now.

That brings us to point number 2. Ignorance can only be bliss if you don’t know you’re ignorant. Once you do you automatically feel like you’re being cheated of something…knowledge, opportunity…whatever. And I guess, and I’m only guessing here, that if you’re one of the billionaire boys it’s 10x more annoying. To be one of the 1% you have to know everything 100% or at the very least, hire all the people who do. 5 years ago when SBF started his crypto trading ventures by simply coding trades instead of the old fashion wits, knowledge, experience and intuition, he simply used easy and reliable algorithms. Back then he was simply a backroom quiet little quant generating income for his quiet little firm. Nothing wrong with that..good for him. 

However, I’m sure when he brought up the fact that Bitcoin was a “crypto asset” there were more than a few uncertain, wary, even confused looks as to how all this code adds up to good, old-fashioned USD. I hold that it is next to impossible to understand code unless you’re a coder.  True, you don’t have to be on the top 10 sellers list to be a writer or hang in the Louvre to be a painter. Code is an artform just like these, but is different in one vital way. I can write “like” Hemingway or “paint” like Rembrandt but I can’t, no matter how hard I try…code like Sam Bankman-Fried or Vitalik Buterin. Don’t get me wrong, I could write the same applications (more or less) using the same algorithms, the same techniques…but the code itself can only come from my head, my imagination, my experience and my determination…most importantly my determination. This is the most vital factor and anyone who has ever written any working code at all in any environment in any language knows exactly what I mean. And that’s the point. So VCs, hedge funds and billionaires realize they can make even more billions with crypto hey..why not!? The catch is where do you find people that not only know what they’re talking about but can actually DO it?  Nerdy little quants sitting in quiet little investment bank offices. Fast forward just a couple of years and that quiet little quant is having orgies with his college buddies in his  Bahamian mansion wondering why everybody isn’t living the life. Can you blame him?

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