While I am normally a fan of the thoughtful, humorous pieces over at Cracked.com, this video feels like unfunny comedy at best, and anti-Bitcoin propaganda at worst.
"What Nobody Seems to Understand About Bitcoin" is the title of the sketch, which is about the most disingenuous title it could have. Let's go over some of the huge problems in this thoroughly inepet video.
1. The Character Trying to Buy Bitcoin is a Blithering Idiot
The sketch starts with a girl, who is ostensibly the man's financial advisor, saying that his life is falling apart in front of her eyes. Right off the bat, he's an incompetent moron saying things like "stock is money, right?"
Sure, people who are buying bitcoin don't know what stock is. People like the Winklevoss twins especially don't, since they basically came up with Facebook and have profitted some $20,000,000 from investing in Bitcoin. Yep, great criticism.
2. "Wait, You Wanna Take Your Virtual Money, and Convert it Into Fake Virtual Money [Bitcoin]?"
Sure, Bitcoin is "fake" money, insomuch as that it's not a conventional currency like American Dollars, but what about Bitcoin is fake if it can be traded for many real items, exchanged for any other currency in the world, and unlike "real money" can be instantly transferred ANYWHERE on planet Earth for very close to nothing.
That makes it seem better than "real money." Perhaps thats' why the price keeps going up, despite the currency's volatility.
Fox News says Bitcoin isn't going anywhere.
3. "People in Diablo 3 Stop Stabbing Each Other With a Hamburger and Suddenly You Die Penniless"
This story, from the New Statesmen, is just a thoroughly irrelevant thing, but it's a testament to how baseless and absurd Cracked's criticism is. Essentialy, a new feature in Diablo 3 allowed players to sell their items for real money in a virtual auction house. Among the prized items as a "hamburger dagger." The hamburger-dagger is very rare, but as it happens, about as effective as an actual hamburger in terms of stabbing one in the game. So, the item rapidly lost its value as players found it was about as useful as a "solid gold tennis racket."
What does this have to do with Bitcoin? Precisely nothing.
4. "Yeah 50 Years From Now, High Schoolers Are Going to Be Mining For Bitcoin on World of Warcraft"
This is obviously a completely baseless joke, but I'll take the time to address it just because people seem to be fundamentally confused on what Bitcoin mining is and how it works. First off, realize that mining is a colorful term. No one is mining for Bitcoins with a digital pickaxe, flying down a digital mine-shaft in a 3-D version of Donkey Kong.
Mining Bitcoins is the process of recording transactations that are done with Bitcoin into the public ledger of ALL bitcoin transcations, known as the Blockchain. The Blockchain confirms transactions so Bitcoin can never be double-spent.
If you mine, you are paid a small number of Bitcoin for your troubles, but it is not profitable and is mainly done by people who support the movement.
5. "You Are Free to Gamble With It"
This is fair enough, and it's not a great idea, in all likelihood, to burn your stock options (depends on the options) and/or throw your life savings into Bitcoin. Of course, it's not a good idea to do that with any investment vehicle. While BTC is a currency, the price will have to stabilize for it be a true currency, but in the meantime, at least get your facts straight, Cracked. Yeesh. Oh, also, if you have ever invested in BTC, you would also virtually be guaranteed a profit, as it's very near its highest high, so there's that.
6. You Are Betting that Bitcoins and Only Bitcoins Will Be The Future Currency of the Future
While it is plausible that some other currency could emerge and destroy Bitcoin, the same can be said of the Internet. "Really, you think the Internet is going to be the next big thing? It could be another thing, ya know."
But why? And how? What would enable an alternative currency to instantly be worth 4 billion dollars? Who is going to risk that much money and why? It's again, completely baseless, but not really all that egregious.
Sure, it is just a comedic sketch, but still, you can't really make fun of something without at least having a basic understanding of it, and the way Cracked approached this really just feels like baseless pandering to a public that's probably generally confused about Bitcoin, already.
In full disclosure, I own some Bitcoins, and I am fully ready for them to be worth $0, but I doubt it, and not just because I stand to benefit, it's because I think they're easily the currency of the future, or at least a force that will soon be something to reckon with.