Kim Dotcom’s Mega 3, with Bitcoin. Two bad ideas that go worse together.

Kim Dotcom is a crook and a scammer. I feel this claim is sufficiently backed for me to make such a bold statement in England. The amazing thing was that the Hollywood-industrial complex ever made a colourful racing identity like Dotcom look like the good guy.

(Though there’s at least one folk song about him, and his apparently Robin Hood-like ways. Yeah, me neither.)

I’m actually surprised he never got bigtime into Bitcoin before. Cryptocurrency is a land of fractal scams, where literally everyone still involved in 2016 is either a scammer, an aspiring scammer or a sucker who thinks he’s gonna be the scammer. Dotcom has the sort of experience to do really well in the field.

So this frankly disturbing imagery made my day:

kim dotcom tweet 2016-07-10

After the big raid on MegaUpload, he started Mega.co.nz (now mega.nz), which is apparently quite the success (though I’ve never used it … trying it now, and uploads are way slow), though Dotcom claimed last year he’d been sidelined by an investor and would be creating a third service, to be “open source”. He also claimed all users on the first MegaUpload would get their accounts (if not their uploads — all those lost rare rips!) back. But this one will be with Bitcoin, with microtransactions galore! With all those tawdry “computer science” problems with Bitcoin’s scalability eliminated!

(No, no actual details are available as to how any of this will make sense. But please let me assure you that so far, none of it does.)

Of course, dealing with Bitcoin will be interesting for you, the user. “No chargebacks” is a major fatal defect feature: if someone hacks your coins from halfway around the world, there’s no comeback; “be your own bank” whether you like it or not. Almost all exchanges are unregulated and operate as uninsured deposit banks, and there’s a major hack and collapse every month or two; one of the remaining halfway trusted ones, Bitfinex, collapsed last week from an alleged hack, none of the details of which have been revealed, and which they’re taking customer money to pay for — not company or investor money — in a manner that would be grossly illegal in any real financial environment. Even the financial press mostly treats Bitcoin as a cautionary example as to why financial regulations are actually quite a good idea.

Dotcom’s almost certainly bloody terrible idea, whatever it is, will launch in January 2017. Probably. Musicians should take note of his previous planned Bandcamplike thing never having quite eventuated.

If anyone in your workplace ever sends around breathless articles about the potential of Bitcoin and the blockchain, send them to Izabella Kaminska’s excellent Bitcoin series in the Financial Times. She understands economics, finance and the technology and has a keen nose for scammy BS. And if you are in music, don’t go near the fucking thing, these people make music industry people seem honest and competent.

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