When even your dominatrix is talking about Bitcoin…

Yes, I am a pro domme. But I wasn’t always. I used to work as a software engineer, and BDSM was only in my personal life. Somewhere along the way, those roles flipped. Now I work as a dominatrix, and programming is more of a hobby.

When I get burned out from constantly beating men, I stay at home and do geeky things. Things I don’t need fake eyelashes and six-inch heels for. Lately, I’ve had my eye on a potential project involving blockchain technology.

This week I went to a “State of the Blockchain” event with some of my geeky friends and my wife, who is a professional geek. I was hoping I could get a clearer understanding of what blockchain technology actually is – how it works, potential problems, workarounds and solutions, and what the hell is an ICO? Then I was hoping we would dive deeper into the techy stuff and really get our hands dirty addressing issues such as bandwidth and energy consumption, scalability, centralization vs decentralization, governance, the risks of losing your wallet, and hackers stealing your money.

Boy was I excited! Boy was I disappointed.

I was immediately suspicious at the free drink tokens we were given as we entered the free event. Free entry. Free drinks. Who’s paying for the party? More to the point, who’s investing in this and expecting to make money from it? But surely that was just my knee-jerk reaction from having grown up in the kingdom of capitalism. This is Europe after all.

The venue was beautiful and we got there early enough to get great seats right in the middle toward the front. Perfect. So exciting. And packed. Sold out, in fact. Well, the tickets were free, so whatever the word for that is.

The event kicked off with a story about a previous event like this when Bitcoin was worth 40 cents. How rich are those people who bought in back then and held onto their Bitcoins? Aren’t you jealous? Huh. This sounds an awful lot like a penny stock tip. The standard is to introduce a stock that went from a few cents to over $10, and tally up the numbers. What if you were to buy just tiny amount and hold until then – you’d be a millionaire!

Wait, no. It was just a funny introduction before the first guests came on stage and the good stuff was going to begin. I got my notebook and pen out, and leaned forward in my chair…

“Blah blah Ethereum buzzword blabble buzzword problems but smart people in the future blee blee buzzword Ethereum wada wada blockchain etc etc”

I haven’t heard so much buzzword bingo since the onset of Web 2.0. And was it just me, or were they using some of these words interchangeably? Are people really this confused? Are we not here to talk about those really big problems they just seemed to glaze over? Is this not called “The State of Blockchain”? Is this intentionally confusing hype, or do I know far less than I thought?

OK. I’ll ask a question. I can’t remember exactly, so I’ll paraphrase:

“Could you please explain the difference between a cryptocurrency, a token, an ICO, and the blockchain? You seem to be using these terms interchangeably. Tee hee hee giggle giggle I don’t really know much about this.”

Meaning, could we please state what is obvious to half the people here, and not so obvious to the other half, who are just here to figure out if they should buy or sell their Bitcoin at this insane price? Perhaps this would be a helpful way to get everybody on the same page.

Maybe that free drink was really strong. Maybe the adrenaline from speaking in front of all those people confused me. But I didn’t hear an answer. At all.

As an investor, this was a serious red flag. I kept hearing Peter Lynch‘s voice in my head saying that when the key factors of a company are so complicated that it’s impossible to give a simple explanation to what it even is, it’s not a good idea. Furthermore, everyone is talking about Bitcoin. It’s on all the American TV networks 24/7. Some very experienced fund managers are calling it a bubble. Even my artist friend in South Africa, who once spray painted her cellphone to make it pretty without protecting the buttons so she could actually use it, knows what Bitcoin is. In other words, even the cab drivers are talking about it. Needless to say, I went home and sold my small Bitcoin position for a profit.

But as a geek, I was really hoping for a deep dive discussion into the actual blockchain technology. Maybe it’s my fault for not really reading the program. I guess I just saw “blockchain” in the title and assumed it would be a discussion on, you know, blockchain. Instead, the conversation degenerated further, and I think I left around the time CryptoKitties were first mentioned.

On my way out, I got a couple business cards and more confusion from people trying to answer my question. I was disappointed to say the least, but I did receive an email back from a guy who had been sitting next to us, in which my question was answered precisely. His chair was empty before mine. Why wasn’t he on stage?

So should you sell your Bitcoin? Well… There’s a saying in the markets that when even your barista is talking about it, it’s time to sell. The charts are just looking way too much like a pump and dump out of control, and it’s so confusing that even hardcore geeks (way smarter than me) are having a tough time wrapping their heads around it.

Sadly, whatever hopes I had of getting rich quick from Bitcoin have died. Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to continue doing strange things to men for a living.

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