Selling Drugs to Buy Crypto
An interview with a person you would not normally hear from
Last time, I said that everyone who became a paid subscriber of this newsletter was now my boss. And the result was this: some more people paid $5 a month to become my boss.
I can report that the Many Bosses Experiment continues to go well. I got an email from someone saying the last episode was good and I could take the weekend off. I was planning to take the weekend off anyway, but it felt good to have permission.
I honestly think it might be funny, or fun, to have a meeting with everyone who is supporting the show? Like the check-in you do with your boss at the new job, when you are still feeling insecure as you’re learning the ropes. Or a Board of Directors meeting. You can give some feedback, ask questions, that sort of thing. Maybe I ask you all for a raise.
I was joking when I started that paragraph and I think by now I’m serious. I’ll send an email to paid subscribers soon with time and date.
Crypto Island is a listener-supported project. To become my boss and join the next board meeting, consider becoming a paid subscriber.
Alright, let us set aside the strange power dynamics of those opening paragraphs and talk about the show this week.
One of the hard-to-answer questions about crypto is just this — how much of it is being used for illicit activity?
The consensus seems to be — it’s probably a smaller proportion than in the past. But also, still probably still a lot.
Some numbers get tossed around, although there are people who have thoughtful critiques about the methodology behind those numbers.
Anyway, I had a chance this week to talk to someone who lives in one of those worlds. He sells drugs for a living. But he’s really passionate about making art and about trading cryptocurrency. He owns a lot of synthesizers.
One of the continually enjoyable surprises for me about this series is how much everyone I speak to seems to think about the world in ways that are funny, a little askew, and deeply philosophical.
Anyway, I hope you like it.
More on the Luna Collapse
Why would people put their money in something like this? I don’t know. Does that mean they won’t? We’ll see.
Here’s a text conversation I had with a friend today:
This person is an academic at a university so prestigious that people make fun of other people for saying they went there. I don’t know what to make of any of this.
I can say, on a macro level, the crypto market continues to be down. The people I speak to who love crypto are very sober and scared. The critics are still doing handstands and victory laps, sometimes victory laps comprised of handstands.
But … it’s crypto. Everything changes.
In Other News
Remember the TikTok I shared that was a deeply ear-wormy pop song about crypto?
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The artist, Salem Ilese, turned the song into an NFT.
I haven’t really talked about NFT’s on the show yet. I find them legitimately more confusing than other parts of crypto, in terms of their usefulness.
I do understand that it’s cool to be able to create a mechanism where an artist creates digital art and gets paid when it’s reproduced. But I’m a little more confused about why consumers would want to buy digitally scarce things.
That said — in this case — crypto people really love the song, and so it’s been minted as a music NFT. ~$161,688 was raised and donated to the Center For Reproductive Rights. So, there’s one use case for a music NFT.
Anybody can listen to the song, but by buying an NFT and getting their names on a digital wall, those people signified .. something. Maybe their desire to protect abortion rights, maybe their affinity for a burgeoning pop musician, maybe their enjoyment at co-signing a meme.
People are complicated, and they spend their money complicatedly. Maybe I’m more open to some of this eventually making sense because I spent a half-decade at a radio station funded in part by people spending $60 on tote bags that cost $5. Money is an interesting language, is all I mean.
I’m not sure people read the Crypto Island newsletter for music recommendations from me.
But if they do, the Rosalia album is so good. Lately I’ve been really drawn to music that gives me a specific feeling which is — you’re on an elevator, traveling up many floors, and every time the doors open, something differently absurd and unexpected is in front of you.
This album delivers that feeling in wheelbarrows. You could start with the opening track:
Or, you could start here:
Alright, that’s it from me today. Thank you everyone for reading and listening.