If you have paid any attention to non-Donald Trump-related news, you probably already know that bitcoin is the hottest new investment trend. Everyone is talking about how much it has grown, how you can invest 75 cents into bitcoin on Monday, and by Friday you’ll have enough money to qualify for the biggest tax cuts under the Republican Tax Plan for People Who Wear Boat Shoes, Monocles and Patagonia Sweaters (I think that’s the official name).
But what is bitcoin? Why has bitcoin exploded? And, more important, why has bitcoin become the darling of the white supremacist movement?
The Root put together this explainer to answer all of your bitcoin-related questions.
What is bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency.
That’s all you got? “Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency”? What the hell is a cryptocurrency?
So you know what a currency is, right?
Of course. It’s money.
OK, well imagine going to the bank, withdrawing all of your money in $1 bills, then writing down all of the serial numbers from each bill. What if there were someone who was willing to sell you things on the internet if you just gave them the serial numbers on your money?
Bitcoin is essentially a system for storing and exchanging digital units of currency whose “serial numbers” are encrypted, making them anonymous and unhackable. They are held in “wallets” on a decentralized network of computers. It is essentially a PayPal for nerds.
But I can hold a dollar in my hand. Is bitcoin real?
Not really, but neither is a dollar.
What do you mean dollars aren’t real? I can hold a dollar in my hand. I pay my rent with them. Tell Destinee the Diamond Goddess that dollars aren’t real when I make it rain at the strip club.
Before tuning them out, have you ever heard Hoteps talk about “fiat” money, the Federal Reserve and how it’s all a confidence game? Well, in this case (and probably only in this case), they are correct. In 1971, the U.S. dollar became the first national currency that was not backed by an actual commodity. Instead, the dollar is backed by “the full faith and credit of the United States.”
The reason you aren’t homeless and are still able to receive lap dances is that you, your landlord and Destinee have agreed that dollars are worth something. Bitcoin is the same as the dollar, your checking account information or your credit card numbers. People have agreed that bitcoin is worth something, so it is worth something, although the people at the strip club won’t let you into the champagne room if you try to pay them in bitcoin.
So why has bitcoin exploded lately?
Because bitcoin is the SZA of currencies.
Wait ... what?
Remember a couple of months ago, when you first heard about this underground singer named SZA? I honestly thought that people were talking about the putrid baconlike substance from the ’80s called “Sizzlean.” No one knew who SZA was or why she hated vowels so much.
Bitcoin has been around for quite a few years, just like SZA. Computer-savvy people used cryptocurrency to buy drugs, prostitutes and SZA albums over the internet. But, like SZA, bitcoin only became a superstar when mainstream white people “discovered” it. Now bitcoin is more than just a currency, it is a commodity.
Instead of using it to buy things, people trade it based on its perceived value, like oil, Microsoft stock or SZA albums. It is not harder to make a barrel of oil today than it was 20 years ago. Microsoft isn’t selling more software than it was two years ago. Their value increases or decreases based on popularity. SZA isn’t a better singer than she was six months ago, but she is worth a lot more money now. So is bitcoin.
Is that why white supremacists love it so much, because it’s popular?
Remember a few months ago, when internet companies began ousting white supremacist organizations? Well, when it comes to finding loopholes, white people are nothing if not resourceful. Mic reports that white supremacist organizations began using bitcoin to collect donations after they were banned from using sites like PayPal and GoFundMe.
One of the byproducts of cryptocurrency’s exponential growth is that Nazis have made a lot of money from the bitcoin boom. According to Mic, John Bambenek, a cybersecurity researcher, estimates that Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Storm, has made $250,000 off of bitcoin. On Oct. 1, the site withdrew $64,353 from its account, the site reports. Some speculate that bitcoin is what Anglin uses to stay on the run and avoid a lawsuit that may bankrupt him and his business.
So racists like it because it makes them rich?
White supremacists like bitcoin because it can fund the movement without the people who contribute being labeled white supremacists. The average, run-of-the-mill racists like it because they can donate without anyone knowing. Bitcoin is essentially a digital Ku Klux Klan hood.
Even the “alt-right” Richard Spencer gave it his nod of approval.
By the way—and this is not a joke—can you guess what the first item ever purchased with bitcoin was?
Well, you say cryptocurrency was an underground thing for white people, so I’m guessing it wasn’t seasoning. Crystal meth? A “Make America Great Again” hat? A Taylor Swift box set?
A pepperoni pizza from Papa Johns.
Seems about right. So, the Nazi thing notwithstanding, should I invest in bitcoin?
I am not a financial adviser, but most economists say you should buy low and sell high, and bitcoin is very high right now. You could jump on the bitcoin bandwagon, but when people realize that they’re paying $1,000 for $5 worth of bitcoin, the market could crash. If history teaches us anything, it’s that Caucasians will overpay for things. We saw it happen with the tech boom, the housing boom and marijuana.
You think the marijuana industry is going to crash?
Not as long as Snoop Dogg is alive. But before it became legal, very reliable sources told me that it was easy to convince white guys who wore boat shoes to buy an eighth of weed for $80.
The point is: Aside from racism and praise-dance performances, nothing lasts forever. All markets eventually self-correct. It is possible to make a lot of money in bitcoin, but it is also possible to lose money.
How do you know so much about bitcoin? :
Well, aside from ranting about white people on the internet, I’ve actually never taken a course in Caucasianology. I actually have a master’s degree in international business, and most of my professional career was spent in macroeconomics. Studying white people has always been my passion, though.
Also ... Google.
So, as a professional in both areas, in which market would you suggest I invest and know it won’t crash?
There are only two places I know you can put your money and get a guaranteed return:
- white supremacy
- Destinee the Diamond Goddess’ G-string