The creator of meme-inspired cryptocurrency Dogecoin has launched a scathing attack on cryptocurrency technology, dubbing it “inherently right-wing”, “hyper-capitalistic” and dominated by a cartel of wealthy figures despite its claims to decentralisation.
In a Twitter tirade overnight, Jackson Palmer, an IBM software engineer who alongside colleague Billy Markus created Dogecoin in 2013 as a joke to reflect the rampant speculation in crypto markets at the time, said he believed crypto is “built primarily to amplify the wealth of its proponents through a combination of tax avoidance, diminished regulatory oversight and artificially enforced scarcity”.
“Despite claims of “decentralization”, the cryptocurrency industry is controlled by a powerful cartel of wealthy figures who, with time, have evolved to incorporate many of the same institutions tied to the existing centralized financial system they supposedly set out to replace”, he added.
Palmer went on to accuse the crypto industry of using “a network of shady business connections, bought influencers and pay-for-play media outlets to perpetuate a cult-like “get rich quick” funnel designed to extract new money from the financially desperate and naive”.
“Financial exploitation undoubtedly existed before cryptocurrency, but cryptocurrency is almost purpose-built to make the funnel of profiteering more efficient for those at the top and less safeguarded for the vulnerable.
“Cryptocurrency is like taking the worst parts of today’s capitalist system (eg. corruption, fraud, inequality) and using software to technically limit the use of interventions (eg. audits, regulation, taxation) which serve as protections or safety nets for the average person. Lose your savings account password? Your fault. Fall victim to a scam? Your fault. Billionaires manipulating markets? They’re geniuses. This is the type of dangerous “free for all” capitalism cryptocurrency was unfortunately architected to facilitate since its inception”, he said.
Debate is ‘impossible’
Palmer went on to say that the crypto investment community’s attitude towards scrutiny made “even the most modest critique” susceptible to “smears from the powerful figures in control of the industry and the ire of retail investors who they’ve sold the false promise of one day being a fellow billionaire”.
“Good-faith debate is near impossible”, he said.
As a result, despite the explosion in Dogecoin’s popularity in 2021, which has seen its value balloon 3,700% so far this year, Palmer said he will not return to the crypto industry or regularly share his thoughts on the topic again.
“It [crypto] doesn’t align with my politics or belief system, and I don’t have the energy to try and discuss that with those unwilling to engage in a grounded conversation. I applaud those with the energy to continue asking the hard questions and applying the lens of rigorous scepticism all technology should be subject to. New technology can make the world a better place, but not when decoupled from its inherent politics or societal consequences”, he concluded.
Dogecoin was down 4.5% in the last 24 hours at US$0.19 in late morning trading in London.