After bitching repeatedly about how other people need to do something to help protect consumers from shitcoins and scamcoins before too many ICOs run off with people’s money (and seeing Bitcoin Silver do exactly that), I laid out a plan and got to work on Cryptocurrency Check / Crypto Check. I prefer CryptoCheck, which is the name I went with on Facebook (although the page URL is https://facebook.com/cryptocurrencycheck ). The website URL is https://cryptocurrencycheck.org.
What is this for?
There are a lot of scamcoins and shitcoins out there, and, as I detailed at length in my previous post, these pose a serious risk to the type of consumer that doesn’t look into things much before they buy them. I’m well aware that this won’t change simply because there’s a Wiki that explains cryptocurrencies in terms that ordinary people can understand, and if they’re not inclined to Google something before they drop $5,000 on it, then they won’t find my new project in the first place (note: I’m looking for help, because this is a massive undertaking). However, maybe we can get to a point where ICOs have “CryptoCheck Approved!” on their websites before they go live. Maybe we can get to a point where people responding to ICO news with “This ICO is marked as a scam by CryptoCheck” will prevent these ICOs from gaining traction in the first place. These people do it because there’s money in it. Bitcoin Silver ran off with nearly 400 ETH this month, and there is no indication that people who gave them Ethereum will ever see that money again.
I want the site to be useful. To that end, the main page features a list of currencies already investigated. As you see, I’ve yet to do Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ripple, DASH, Bitcoin Gold, and countless others. This truly is a massive undertaking, because it involves actual investigation. At the very least, the whitepaper has to be examined, carefully inspected, and judged impartially. The website has to be inspected and investigated. The developers, if possible, have to be reached out to. And then they have to convince me that it’s not a scamcoin or shitcoin. I haven’t even defined on the site yet what “scamcoin” and “shitcoin” mean, because there’s so much to be done. I’m working on it, though, as you can see on the site. Not all of the links are dead! lol
I want an ICO to be announced and to have people across the world immediately tag CryptoCheck to look into it, and I want people saying “I’m not giving you guys a single Satoshi until you’ve been cleared by CryptoCheck.” And I want CryptoCheck to have a sterling reputation for being reliable, fair, honest, and diligent–and for erring on the consumers’ side when we make mistakes. Because “scamcoin” and “shitcoin” are judgement calls–this is stated on the site. It’s something you can only decide after digging deep into the currency and getting a feel for what you’ve learned. It’s an art, not a science, and there will be mistakes. But my goal is to protect consumers. I do not care one tiny bit if we cost a legitimate ICO 1,270 Ethereum in investors.
One too many cries of “We sank our life savings into something that turned out to be a scam!” will get the government involved, and everyone will suffer for it. We can say until we’re blue in the face “Caveat emptor, dude, you should look into things before buying them lol,” but it won’t stop the government from getting involved. Nor will it do anything to get people to start looking into things. We have to be more responsible. That starts with CryptoCheck and things like it. We already know that some people out there will blithely walk right into a scam.
And the other thing?
The site has two purposes wrapped up in one larger purpose. The larger purpose is to help and protect the masses in regard to cryptocurrencies. This is not limited to simply checking out potential scams. That’s not the biggest problem confronting cryptos today. No, today the biggest problem is a reckless overabundance of jargon, technical bullshit, and complexity that serves only to intimidate people and keep them from getting involved. The premier website for all things Bitcoin, https://bitcoin.com, has fallen into this; in a recent article, they repeatedly referred to Bitcoin as “segwit.” This is not only unclear, unhelpful, and inaccurate, it’s intimidating to people who would otherwise make their first Bitcoin purchase, because no matter how hard they look, they won’t find “Segwit” listed on any exchange, and Bitcoin.com knows this. This is nothing more than a continuation of their insistence that “Bitcoin Cash is the real Bitcoin,” which evidently leaves them unable to simply call Bitcoin “Bitcoin.”
That sort of thing isn’t helping. It’s hurting. If people Google “Bitcoin,” they will almost certainly land on Bitcoin.com, where they will be treated to confusing articles and technical jargon, none of which makes sense to a person who isn’t already knowledgeable about Bitcoin, and the only explanation is buried deep in the archives from several weeks ago. It’s an absolute disgrace, and they should collectively be ashamed of themselves for fostering confusion and intentionally raising the barrier of entry to keep people out of cryptocurrencies.
This past week on “The Call to Freedom,” we had on Peter Ver (we also had on Janko33, a developer of Blackcoin), who alleged that the Bitcoin Core team is actively trying to kill Bitcoin. That may be, but so is he, whether he means to be or not. Raising the barrier of how much knowledge is needed to enter the cryptocurrency market means demand will not increase, and this was his camp’s side sowing this confusion.
Nothing is ever presented in plain language for ordinary people to understand. They don’t really need to know about Byzantine Fault Tolerances, you know? They don’t care about that, and such language will only chase them away. They need to know why cryptos are safe, secure, and reliable. They don’t need to know why you think cryptocurrencies are revolutionizing the world. They need it explained to them in terms they understand.
It’s not because they’re stupid that people need the technical bullshit ignored in favor of realistic, ordinary terminology that they actually understand. It’s because they’re unfamiliar with the subject, terminology, and (often) technology. The only context they have for understanding what a “wallet” is… is the leather thing they fold and put in their purse or pocket. So when you talk about “wallet addresses,” you lose them. Their wallet doesn’t have an address. “Its address is my back pocket!” they might say, roll their eyes at the absurdity and unfamiliarity of what you’re saying, and walk away from cryptocurrencies. Explaining crypto wallets with the analogy of a debit card, with the card number being the Public Key and the PIN being the Private Key, will make infinitely more sense to them (and it will actually be more accurate, since crypto wallets don’t actually hold any currency–they just access the places where that currency is held). They understand a wallet as something they take out of their pocket, put money in, and put back into their pocket. Tell them to download a wallet, and they’re smart enough to extrapolate the basic idea (it will be something that holds money), but they’ll misinterpret and misunderstand, coming to the conclusion that the software on their phone or PC actually contains their money.
As a culture, we don’t want this. I promise you that we don’t want this. Those trying to overcomplicate the matter and keep it so technically confusing that laypeople can’t enter do not have cryptocurrency’s best interests at heart; they are more concerned with their ego and their feeling of how much smarter they are than everyone else. We have to fight this culture of arrogant elitism if we want mass adoption, and that means putting an end to the unnecessary jargon and the intentional overcomplication and obfuscation.
If you take nothing else away from this article, let it be that Bitcoin Silver is a scam. If anyone offers to sell it to you, do not accept it. For one, they will probably never actually have the tokens. The last thing we’ve heard from Bitcoin Silver is that the ICO is “ending soon.” It ended 3 days ago. Their Twitter account did not announce the end of the sale, which is a concern since their Ethereum addresses are still active and accepting coinage. Compare that to Airswap, who regularly communicated with users during their ICO, used an automated system to accept payments that rejected payments outside of the allotted times, and announced the end of each sale on Twitter. These unnamed, mysterious people responsible for Bitcoin Silver almost certainly took the 390 Ethereum they made and ran. They didn’t even bother to announce the end of the ICO, for fuck’s sake.
And look at them contradicting their own whitepaper right here:
But Bitcoin Silver isn’t what motivated me to make the site. I’ve been going on about this problem for weeks, if not months, and laying the responsibility on Jaxx and Coinomi to fix. That’s true–they certainly should do more to fix it. But I can do something, too. There is a Blackcoin QR on the main page (it’ll be buried in the site in a few days), and the site will only ever accept Blackcoin, because it has the lowest fees of all the respectable coins. Why Jimmy Wales needs millions of dollars to operate Wikipedia is anyone’s guess. I need I think $9 a month. But I’ll pay that myself as long as I have to, because this is something that needs to be done. Information about all of these coins needs to be in one place. A Cryptocurrency Users’ Guide, if you will. A catalogue, perhaps. What is the word I’m looking for? A Buyers’ Guide. There we go.
I’m looking for help, but not employees. All work will be voluntary, and not paid. Maybe one day CryptoCheck will have the resources to pay people, but that day isn’t today. But if you believe in the ideas I’ve outlined, help me do it. Get in touch with me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. They both go to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which you use. Cryptocurrency is what WE make it. So let’s make it something awesome.