Has crypto finally had its day?

If you run an organisation, there are some reporters you definitely don’t want around: Ronan Farrow asking for comment; Madison Marriage or Dan McCrum with a couple of questions; Michael Wolff hanging out on a sofa taking notes. Michael Lewis is not one of those reporters. If he wants to spend time with you, you are about to be lionised as a decent person who sees just a bit more clearly than the fools who run the system of which you are a part, which will make you wildly rich (unless you’re an academic or a public servant) and famous. When Michael Lewis calls, people answer. Lewis raises enough questions

The UK is right to keep faith in crypto

It will be a charter for fraudsters. It will usher in an open-season mindset for money launderers and criminals. And it will drag down the reputation of the City. There will be plenty of critics of today’s government decision to push forward with a regulated cryptocurrency market in London. In the wake of the FTX scandal, one of the largest in corporate history, many would rather see it banned completely. But crypto is more resilient than that – and the UK, if moves quickly, it can carve out a lucrative space as its leading hub.  No one could accuse Rishi Sunak or Jeremy Hunt of taking any risks with the

Crypto keeps bouncing back

This time it was surely all over. As inflation started to rise towards a 40-year high, as central banks started raising interest rates for the first time in more than a decade, and as the monetary printing presses finally stopped running, the cryptocurrencies crashed.  What a crash it was. Bitcoin, the best-known crypto, fell all the way from $61,000 last November to less than $19,000 in June, a spectacular drop of more than two thirds. Ethereum, Solana and other, frailer ‘coins’ – as well as the even flimsier digital collectors’ items known as NFTs – all tanked. This appeared finally to confirm what the doubters had said all along. Cryptocurrencies

Crypto is dead

When Britain voted for Brexit, Macron boasted that Paris would eat the City of London’s lunch. It didn’t quite work out that way, with most league tables continuing to put London as the number one or two financial centre, with not a single EU city in the top ten. Emmanuel Macron’s government has now announced that it has invited Binance, a crypto exchange site, to set up a European HQ in Paris. You have to ask: has Macron leapt on a bandwagon which has already started to lose its wheels?  The warning sign for cryptocurrencies is not so much that they have crashed – Bitcoin is down 50 per cent from its peak last

Rishi Sunak’s NFT gimmick is a step too far

We had got used to the expensive trainers. The carefully curated hoodies were just about acceptable. The Twitter feed was starting to grate on people’s nerves, and so were the stage-managed photo ops, such as filling up a borrowed Kia Rio at Sainsbury’s right after cutting fuel duty, but they were part of the package. But the Chancellor Rishi Sunak may finally have come up with a gimmick too far with the launch of the Treasury’s very own digital token. Sunak’s addiction to gimmicks is starting to undermine his credibility The Chancellor, between figuring out how to control inflation, pay for public services and reboot the economy found some time

Will our future lives be like a video game?

A few years ago, the software company Owlchemy Labs released a computer game called Job Simulator. Its premise was simple. Players find themselves in a future world, roughly 30 years from now, in which super-efficient robots have snaffled up all the jobs. No longer needed for work, humans entertain themselves instead by donning virtual reality headsets and reenacting ‘the glory days’ — simulating what it was once like to be an office clerk, chef, or shopkeeper. The gameplay, therefore, consists entirely of, well, yeah… carrying out endless mundane tasks: virtual photocopying, virtual cooking, virtual newspaper sales. Job Simulator is pretty tongue-in-cheek, crammed full of dry, self-referential jokes. In the game,

What Bitcoin’s crypto critics get wrong

What’s the truth about Bitcoin? Critics couldn’t be clearer: it’s a fad that can’t decide whether it’s a currency or a speculative investment. ‘You’re betting, essentially, on being the last person holding the bomb before it goes off,’ wrote Sam Leith on Coffee House. Many others agree. But Bitcoin’s critics are wrong: there’s nothing faddish about it. Bitcoin is a monetary revolution and is here to stay. Perhaps it’s no surprise that Bitcoin has attracted its sceptics. Understanding what it’s about isn’t easy. In short, Bitcoin is a monetary network, an incorruptible ledger, with the money supply fixed by code (there will only ever be 21 million Bitcoin). It allows

The free speech row tearing apart the tech community

Donald Trump’s Twitter suspension after the riot at the US Capitol made headlines around the world. What was less reported, however, was that as the then-President was suspended, so too were tens of thousands of right-wing accounts. Their social media refuge was Parler, another micro-blogging platform. Parler markets itself as a ‘free speech-focused and unbiased alternative to mainstream social networks’. Whatever its intentions, in recent years the platform has become a cesspit of extremist content. So extreme, in fact, that Amazon banned Parler from its hosting services earlier this month. The case is now going through the courts, after Parler launched a lawsuit. What makes Parler an interesting case is