Posts Tagged ‘Greed’

Cryptocurrency’s Cryptic Rise and Fall

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

By Bob Gaydos

The original cryptocurrency.

The original cryptocurrency.

   I admit it. I’m a crypto cynic. I didn’t get it from the start. Still don’t.

       Who created it? Why? What was the point? What was the need? I could already spend money in a flash on my phone. My bank and various other accounts were always urging me to access my money electronically. Cash was still cash, whether I folded it or used PayPal.

        Then there was the obvious question: How do I get some Bitcoin (the original cryptocurrency) and how do I know what it’s worth? There was all this “mining” of currency, basically some computer geeks spending thousands of hours on computers typing in digital codes to create algorithms that other geeks accepted as currency to conduct a transaction. To play a video game maybe or buy some cool electronic stuff.

      If you didn’t have the patience or skill to create your own currency and protect the codes, you could, eventually, “buy” some crypto. From a “bank” or “exchange” with, you know, hard cash. Money.

        Crypto turned into a major commodity, something to invest in, rather than an alternative monetary system.

         Why? Greed apparently. Having “invented” some kind of cool, alternative “money,” the geniuses behind crypto apparently figured that convincing people with a lot of real money that owning a lot of too-complicated and shakily supported “crypto” money was too good an investment to pass up.

      In other words, it was something to have, not to spend. The IRS, of course, had figured that out quickly, taxing crypto as a commodity, not income.

      Anyway, a lot of not-so-rich people have also been victimized by the current crypto meltdown and it all turns around trust, an important thing when you’re talking about money. Can you trust the bank that your money is there and available when you want it? Pretty much, yes. No real problems of late. The government keeps a watch.

       But who was watching crypto? And, more to the point, if it was supposed to be a one-to-one point of sale exchange program, as created, how did all the other people get involved?

      Again, greed.

      Cryptocurrency grew as an investment with no one really watching over it and, dare I say, with most people never really understanding it. It was “money” that was, in a practical sense, not really good for anything but having. Gold at least has some intrinsic recognized value.

      Perhaps not surprisingly, like a magic trick, as mysteriously as it was created, crypto started disappearing, along with the real cash money people had invested in it. But it wasn’t through some modern computer wizardry. Rather, apparently through some good, old-fashioned larceny.

        The folks who created one of the unregulated exchanges to buy and sell crypto apparently just stole their customers’ real cash (reportedly billions) to invest in some other stuff. Apparently they couldn’t use crypto to do it. You know, to get around the banks and all those annoying regulations. They’ve filed for bankruptcy. So the real money is gone, the astronomical price of cryptocurrency has fallen and no one apparently knows whom to trust in a field that relies entirely on trust.

       What’s the message here? I don’t know. Maybe to make sure there’s a need for something before inventing it. Maybe to make sure what you invent isn’t too complicated for most people to use. Maybe to make sure you can trust someone to whom you are giving lots of your money to invest and you understand what you’re investing in. Maybe, that greed finds its way into pretty much any enterprise that involves money, real or imaginary. Or just maybe that was the idea all along.

     Whatever, I still don’t get it.

 Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at

Soto, Trump, Ego, Greed: America

Monday, July 25th, 2022

By Bob Gaydos

Report: Washington Nationals Will Entertain Trade of Outfielder ...

For Juan Soto, is the sky the limit?

   Greed. Power. Ego.

    The fuel for the engine of America today. Some might say, with justification, thus has it always been. Perhaps. But in the here and now of 2022, it seems to be more prevalent, more inescapable, more baffling and depressing.

      I offer two recent examples, one a major sports story, the other a story for the history books.

— Juan Soto, a 23-year-old outfielder for the Washington Nationals, turned down a contract extension offer from the team of $440 million for 15 years. Now, that is enough money to guarantee that, even with a minimum of financial prudence, young Soto’s future children, grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, etc. will have a comfortable start in life. “That’s generational money,” as a friend of mine put it.

       So why did Soto reject the offer? Well, obviously he thinks he’s worth more. He’s already won a batting championship, after all. He’s a home run-hitting machine. Fans love him.

       Still, $430 million is not chump change. Even over 15 years. It’s more than any other ballplayer has ever been offered. But it’s a little less than $30 million a year and there are reports that this fact irks the young superstar. For those who don’t follow the inflated world of baseball salaries, there are  superstars on other teams with contracts that do not total as much as the one offered to Soto, but whose average annual salary is more than $30 million.

      What an insult! The nerve of the owners of the Nationals. Don’t they recognize his worth? Let’s see what other teams will offer.

       Ego. Greed. Power. 

       Apparently the Nationals’ owners know that Soto, who has two years left on his current contract, is worth a ton of money to put fans in the seats, but they also know they have to pay other people they employ as well. Fans always want teams to pay their favorite stars what they want. Owners always want to, you know, make a profit and win games without giving away the store. After all, if $430 million isn’t enough for today’s superstar, maybe a half billion won’t be enough for the next hot shot.

     And really, when is enough enough? I don’t begrudge special recognition for special talent in any field, including sports, but it’s not as if the Nationals went cheap on Soto. He’s doing what he loves to do and is being rewarded handsomely for doing it well. In many societies, this would be a reason for some humility. Gratitude even. 

      I know. I’m out of touch. Greed. Power. Ego.

     — The other example has been in our faces for months. The Jan. 6 congressional hearings have demonstrated beyond any doubt that there was an attempted coup, by force and other extralegal means, planned and promoted by Donald Trump and his cadre of fascist Republicans. Greed, power and ego at their worst.

       Ignore high gasoline prices. The fact that millions are still OK with what Trump et al attempted and that other millions agree with Soto’s line of thinking are proof that greed, power and ego are what really keep the engine of America running today. We need to find a new formula, and soon.

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at