This is a post that I will probably come to regret writing and publishing in the future. The reason for that is simple. This post is going to make a lot of former, current and potentially future co-workers feel like idiots. That's because the topic for this post is scams being pushed by our friends in Big Tech.
So it gets somewhat awkward when you realize that I work in tech and plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. It gets way more awkward if you know that when it comes to tech scams / fads, nobody is more susceptible to falling for this stuff than people who work in tech. That's where all this stuff starts and builds momentum after all. Without buy in from the tech community, almost none of this garbage would exist.
Today we are going to briefly touch on three tech fads which are actually scams and I'm going to attempt to give you all a brief explanation as to why they are scams. So without further adieu lets get started.
We going are to start off by tackling the elephant in the room, cryptocurrency. The basic idea behind this tech is that fiat currency (the type of currency that basically greases the wheels of the entire world) is bad because its centrally controlled by a handful of powerful government entities that are not generally accountable to the public.
So while I agree that fiat currency certainly deserves its fair share of criticism, there is absolutely no problem posed by fiat currency that is actually solved by crypto. For starters crypto isn't private in any way as the US Government has repeatedly proven by tracking down a variety of individuals who have involved crypto with their illegal activities, regardless of how good their opsec is.
Secondly, if you are looking for a currency that is managed by some entity which is accountable to the average Joe, crypto isn't your savior. It's accountable to nobody. In addition because of its exceptional volatility, it actually sucks as a currency, the entire purpose of which is to serve as a stable store of value. Crypto is anything but that.
The real lesson here is that the best way you have of knowing almost immediately and with eerie accuracy whether or not something is a scam is when the asset in question is advertised as being able to make you rich overnight. That's a line used to reel in suckers. Plain and simple.
While I realize that from a tech perspective this is basically just the same blockchain tech with idiotic pieces of media instead of virtual coins, NFTs absolutely deserve to be on this list as I don't think much of the target audience has or will make this connection on their own.
Nevertheless, NFTs are a scam. In fact they are such an obvious scam that it's a wonder I have to talk about them at all. I'm not going to bother boring anybody with the tech details of what NFT stands for or what they actually are and instead we are going to go right for the jugular: They are absolute and complete shit.
Anybody selling an NFT is either a grifter or a victim looking to recoup on their idiotic "investment". There is nothing valuable about an NFT regardless of what anybody tells you or what the idiotic invisible hand of some fly-by-night scam NFT market website has "valued" it at. There is nothing unique about any NFT ever as they can all be infinitely copied by anybody and shared freely.
Basically when you buy an NFT, you aren't buying anything except the right to wear your stupidity on your sleeve and tout it around to your friends and family members (portions of which you'll undoubtedly try to suck into the scam as idiocy loves company).
This last part cannot be emphasized enough: The real lesson here echos the one of Cryptocurrency. NFTs are being pushed as an asset that can make people rich overnight. That is the easiest and most consistent way to tell whether or not something is a scam and NFTs are decidedly just that.
I've seen this term bandied about a lot lately and a large part of the credit goes to Facebook, who decided that the best way to shed their reputation as a festering boil on the ever widening ass of global society was to rebrand instead of ya know, cleaning up their act.
Look, I've read my fair share of William Gibson books. So I understand on some level why everybody is excited by this idea of the metaverse. But let's take a step back from those eloquent fictional representations of a dystopian global metaverse and look at the harsh reality of this thing.
Actually no, they want to build a dystopian global metaverse. That's it. That's the whole problem. But what they aren't telling you and what anybody with a brain should've already realized is that the more enmeshed we become in online only communities and adapt our behavior to those communities, the shittier we are becoming.
That's why Facebook had to create a feature that gives every user a default personal space of four feet in their Horizon Venues app. Because random people would just sexually harass other users. On a regular basis. People are shitty at their core. But for the most part in person interaction manages to keep a lot of these impulses in check. That all goes out of the window when it comes to online only venues.
Beyond that it's just crap. How does having a stupid avatar walk around a virtual office and interacting with other virtual avatars help us be more productive or personable? It doesn't of course. It's just VR Chat tech being recycled ad-nausea for the millionth time, only this time around this metaverse is going to mirror our actual physical universe and we'll all be able to buy and sell virtual versions of physical assets that we can't afford.
...and you gotta get onboard now so you can lock down ownership of your things in the Metaverse before somebody else snatches it up because... well you just do. They promise. It's a real problem created by a virtual world and they feel very strongly that one day non-uber nerds will want to strap VR headsets to their heads and interact with other people's avatars for reasons that have yet to be adequately explained.
This current iteration of the Metaverse idea is still relatively new, so nobody is pushing Metaverse assets as an overnight get rich quick scheme... yet. However they are pushing the FOMO aspect of it pretty hard and desperate to get as many suckers in line as possible. But I guess Facebook is betting their entire future on this idiocy so.... but it's not just them. Apple is getting ready to unleash an ultra expensive VR Headset next year sometime. Microsoft has been pursuing this crap for years via their Hololens product grouping.
The idea of the Metaverse is obviously idiotic and obviously a sham, but it isn't going away. At least not anytime soon. So consider this post a favor in that I'm letting you know up front that it is absolutely a scam.
Now if you've made it this far you are either smiling smugly as you have nodded along while thinking, "I didn't buy into any of this nonsense". If so, I'm proud of you, but keep your righteous indignation to yourselves. I brought enough of that to the table for everybody.
If you are part of the the group whose head is spinning because you honestly thought at least one of these things was the real deal, don't beat yourself up too much. It happens to everybody. It's easy to get caught up in the hype for some new fad and turn a blind eye to the glaring problems that the scammers behind it are constantly attempting to paper over and draw your attention from. The good news is that you can stop being sucker anytime you'd like. It happens to everybody at some point or another and how you bounce back and the lessons you learn are really the things you should be focusing on now.
Be skeptical. Don't buy into marketing hype. I don't care how many celebrity cameo Superbowl commercials there were for crypto, it doesn't change the fact that it's bullshit. The same thing goes for everything else mentioned and not mentioned here. Nevertheless you have to be open to new information and ideas. Don't fall into the trap of calling bullshit on everything, because then you will have just turned into a sucker of a different sort (anti COVID vaxxers, I'm looking squarely at y'all here).
Like many things in life, trends require us to walk a very fine line. Getting in too early can make you a sucker whereas in getting in too late or not at all can make you an antique. Exercise caution, do the research, call bullshit when its appropriate and be open to admitting you were wrong in the event that things change.