Those who question crypto’s purpose are constantly confronted with the argument that the sheer scale of the industry — at their peak, crypto assets were worth almost $3 trillion — and the amount of money true believers have made along the way proves the skeptics wrong.
Can we, the public, really be that foolish and gullible? Well, maybe the crypto skeptics are wrong. But on the question of folly and gullibility, the answer is yes, we can.
The bleakness of that pitch is startling. In recent weeks, while watching televised sports — where the Crypto.com spot airs repeatedly, alongside commercials for other crypto platforms and an onslaught of ads for sports-gambling apps — I could not shake the feeling that culture has taken a sinister turn: that we’ve sanctioned an economy in which tech start-ups compete, in broad daylight, to lure the vulnerable with get-rich-quick schemes....
We live in troubled times. The young, in particular, may feel that they are peering over the edge, economically and existentially. This ad’s message for them seems to be that the social compact is ruptured, that the old ideals of security and the good life no longer pertain. What’s left are moonshots, big swings, high-stakes gambles. You might bet a long-shot parlay or take a flier on Dogecoin. Maybe someday you’ll hitch a ride on Elon Musk’s shuttle bus to the Red Planet. The ad holds out the promise of “fortune,” but what it’s really selling is danger, the dark and desperate thrills of precarity itself — because, after all, what else have we got? You could call it truth in advertising.