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Zeke Faux on crypto’s wild ride and staggering fall

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Podcast & Video

This episode of Hub Dialogues features Zeke Faux, an award-winning investigative reporter for Bloomberg, about his must-read new book, Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall.

You can listen to this episode of Hub Dialogues on Acast, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Spotify. The episodes are generously supported by The Ira Gluskin And Maxine Granovsky Gluskin Charitable Foundation and The Linda Frum & Howard Sokolowski Charitable Foundation.

SEAN SPEER: Welcome to Hub Dialogues. I’m your host, Sean Speer, editor-at-large at The Hub. I’m honoured to be joined today by Zeke Faux, an award-winning investigative reporter for Bloomberg who spent more than a decade scrutinizing the dealings on Wall Street. His latest book turns his experiences and skills as a financial journalist to the world of cryptocurrencies. Number Go up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Ride and Staggering Fall, speaks to understand how digital currencies went mainstream, the role of high-profile figures like Sam Bankman-Fried, and the cost and consequences of their marked decline. I’m grateful to speak with him about the remarkable story and the lessons for investors, policymakers, and the rest of us. Zeke, thanks for joining us at Hub Dialogues, and congratulations on the book.

ZEKE FAUX: Thanks a lot for having me on.

SEAN SPEER: I want to start, if it’s okay, with some basic facts and vocabulary for me and listeners. What are cryptocurrencies? How many are there, and what are the key similarities and differences between some of the big ones?

ZEKE FAUX: I started off on this journey, which turned into like a two-year trip down the rabbit hole of crypto, much like everyone else. I was curious about crypto—or I don’t even want to say I was curious about crypto. I was hearing a lot about crypto, whether I liked it or not. There was Dogecoin, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Smooth Love Potions, and I was not someone who—this is where—we’re talking like 2020, it’s the pandemic. We’re all in lockdown. People are super bored, they’re on Robinhood, they’re trading like GameStop, AMC stock.

I came at this because, not because I was a real expert on all these things, but because a friend of mine started texting me about Dogecoin. And this is like—it is one of these really impenetrable things. It’s a cryptocurrency that’s a picture of a Shiba Inu dog, and it doesn’t do anything. It’s not like—this isn’t some like—this isn’t like AI where it’s, “This is some futuristic technology.” It’s just a coin that’s named after a dog. 

The idea was that it was silly and you could buy it, and it would go up. So people were really buying all these coins. They were going up, they were making tons of money and I didn’t really understand. Like I didn’t know the answers to these questions, like why would people buy it? What are the point of these currencies? And I decided that like, you know what? Even though I was turned off on the subject at first, so many people were getting involved, my friends were getting rich, or making big money, people were becoming billionaires. I just wanted to get to the bottom of it. So, asking those very basic questions ended up taking me on this two-year trip. And by the end of it, I was there with Sam Bankman-Fried at his penthouse in The Bahamas, just before the cops showed up. So those are dangerous questions to ask.

But what I will say, is that once I started digging in, I realized that yes, there are some complicated parts of cryptocurrencies, but the gist of it is really not so hard. It’s essentially like, you hear a lot about the blockchain. That’s basically a database—you can think of a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel, and it’s just keeping track of all the people who have money in column A, and then column B is how much money that they have. And I realized, that’s what a bank does. It’s just keeping this list of people and how much money they have. 

In crypto, it’s not like one central bank that’s keeping this list. There’s a new system where this list is kept on everyone’s computer, kind of like Google Sheets. And in column A, instead of everybody’s names, people have just a number. So it’s almost like a numbered bank account. And in column B, instead of saying how many dollars or loonies you have, it’s like, this is how many Cardano tokens you have. And there’s this whole technological edifice. But the gist of it is just like a new system of keeping track of how much everyone has. And there are these tokens like a Bitcoin or like a 1 ETH, the currency of Ethereum, it doesn’t really exist in any way except as a number on this giant spreadsheet. And that’s what this whole thing is. And that’s what’s creating trillions of dollars of value. It was really—once I got the gist of it, it was really wild to see how much had sprung up from this relatively simple concept.

SEAN SPEER: As you alluded, the book covers an extraordinary cast of characters in the industry, including a former child actor from The Mighty Ducks movies, to the co-creator of the old kid show, Inspector Gadget, to Samuel Brinkman-Fried himself, who will speak more about later. Talk about these people, Zeke. What drew them to cryptocurrencies? Are there any common characteristics or traits? What, for instance, is the role, if any, of libertarian ideas or effective altruism, or other normative or value-based sets of ideas that one seems to frequently find, or at least associate with, the crypto world?

ZEKE FAUX: Well, let’s take Brock Pierce, the child actor from The Mighty Ducks, as an example. This is somebody who was very open to new ideas. He had this really insane career where he went from being an actor as a teenager to working at this truly bizarre startup during the dotcom bubble—which you’ll have to read about in the book, I don’t want to even get into that one—to becoming a trader of virtual items in massively multiplayer online games like EverQuest or World of Warcraft. And this was someone who was just very unafraid of risk, would jump into new things. Early on, crypto, Bitcoin, it seemed like this kind of sketchy thing where that’s how you would maybe buy drugs on the internet, if you didn’t know much about it. And you know what? That was actually a pretty accurate assessment. In the early days, that was one of the main uses of Bitcoin and crypto, was buying drugs from Silk Road, the first dark net market. 

But this guy Brock Pierce, who fancies himself like an internet philosopher, for all his faults, he did see that this was an idea that was really powerful that lots of people would like. What I write about in the book, is that in these early days, there were— Bitcoin was for like a bunch of nerds. It was almost like if you think of it like ham radio operators. It’s a weird hobby for nerds. And there was this second wave of people around 2014, at which Brock Pierce was one of the leaders of this who was like, “Hey, we could use this. We could commercialize this, we could use this crypto idea and spread it in new directions.” One that he was instrumental in creating was called Tether. This is the one that I write about a ton in the book. It’s a stablecoin, which means that instead of having a price that’s supposed to go up and make you rich, the price is always supposed to be a dollar because each Tether token is supposed to be backed by $1 in the bank. And this Tether company is one of the main ones I investigated. It’s truly bizarre. In addition to Pierce, there’s another one of the key people was a former plastic surgeon. They worked with a banker who created Inspector Gadget, as you mentioned. 

But this simple idea of like a coin that was backed by real money actually I realized enabled the growth of the modern cryptocurrency industry because this was a key way that people were getting real money into this cryptosystem. And that is the one that I had found so much of crypto impenetrable, but I’m an experienced investigative reporter. And this Tether one was simple enough that I could wrap my head around it. They were—this company was like, “We take your money, we put it in the bank, we give you tokens.” By the time I came around to looking into it, they had something like 50 billion in the bank, supposedly, but they weren’t saying where it was. So that’s the mystery that took me through the story was like, where is this $50 billion? And by the end of the search, I was in Cambodia, at a compound run by human traffickers. But I mean, that—it’s a crazy story. I never could have known at the beginning where the search was going to take me.

SEAN SPEER: A key insight of the book as you allude, Zeke, is that cryptocurrencies aren’t merely the domain of eccentric tech types or internet philosophers. They are also involved in organized crime, human trafficking, and what you describe as “crypto scam compounds,” in parts of Southeast Asia. Talk about this dark side of the crypto world. How have digital assets come to attract criminal elements? And was it, in hindsight, somewhat inevitable?

ZEKE FAUX: So I feel like the crypto world is discovering lessons that the regular financial world has learned decades or even centuries ago. One of them is that there’s this whole system of securities regulation in every country designed to prevent people from just starting companies, making up tons of lies, raising billions of dollars, and running away with it. And crypto—a lot of crypto advocates had said, this was really unnecessary. It’s slowing down innovation. Then it turns out that so many crypto companies were scams and had taken advantage of the lack of transparency to raise all this money and run away with it. The other side of it too, is money laundering. Banks face all these regulations about knowing who their customers are, reporting suspicious transactions. And crypto companies, though most will say that they comply with those, they’ve created this new system where—like I was saying, if you go back to those two column lists, I’ve got—let’s say I’m entry number 3045, and it says in the spreadsheet that I’ve got 1 million Tethers, I can send those to you, and my number in the spreadsheet will go down by a million. Your number in the spreadsheet will go up, and no company has to know our name. It’s totally anonymous. 

There’s been this new talk of crypto being trackable because in some ways these transactions are public, but they’re pseudononymous, they’re not associated with our names. And you’ve created a system where money can be moved from one account to another without being associated with anyone. And like you said, unsurprisingly, I found that a lot of criminals are taking advantage of this. In one area where it seems to have become a big problem is that scammers are tricking people in wealthier countries. 

They run these—the one that I looked into most in the book was called pig butchering. And it’s a scam where a stranger will just send you a text message, befriend you, convince you that they are some great trader and that they’ll teach you their secrets, and then get you to send them lots of money using crypto. And then once they’ve figured they’ve got as much as you’re going to send, they just kind of run off with it. And it’s something that would never—if they used a bank account, they’d have to give you a name associated with that. They use a Visa card, you could complain to Visa. Scams do happen in traditional systems. But with crypto, it’s supercharged. It’s much easier. And the wild part of this particular scam is that the scammers themselves are often based in Southeast Asia, and they are victims of human trafficking. It’s kind of—it sounds like some QAnon conspiracy theory, but there are whole office towers that are just filled with floor after floor of people who’ve been lured to Southwestern Cambodia or Myanmar, and told that they’ve got to run scams, under threat of beatings, torture, underperformers can be sold to different scam compounds. The UN just came out with a report saying that more than 100,000 people may be trapped this way. Yeah, it’s really wild, and in my opinion, totally facilitated by the anonymous transfers that crypto makes possible.

SEAN SPEER: We’ll come back to that later in the conversation, but I want to turn now to the mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies in 2021. Why then? What happened to bring them into the world of popular investing?

ZEKE FAUX: So interest rates were down to near zero in a lot of countries, which meant that it’s easy to borrow money at low rates, and that other investments were not very appealing. A lot of people were getting stimulus cheques, and they were stuck at home, they were bored, and gambling’s fun. And I don’t know, it’s a perfect storm where people are bored, they’ve gotten some money, and these—there were plenty of people who were coming up with these appealing new crypto ideas for people to invest in.

One that I explored was around that time there was this crypto game that had been kicking around called Axie Infinity, and it looked kind of like a Pokemon-type game, but what made it crypto was that you had to buy your Pokemon, they were called Axies, and then in battles you could win tokens called Smooth Love Potions. And this took off in the Philippines, it became like a national craze. It was started to be promoted as like a new way to make money with a straight face. Crypto guides would say, “We’ve created the future of work. This is a new way that people around the globe are going to earn their livelihood.” But people in that country, people are out of work. If you were driving a motorcycle taxi, no one was going anywhere. So this idea that somehow there was this new magic internet money that could—and that for a time did actually work. Like you—people were playing in this game. They’re earning Smooth Love Potions, they’re selling them and they’re buying food. They’re building a second floor in their house, they’re upgrading their motorcycle.

So yeah, people were desperate. And for a while this bubble logic did work. Once the number—that’s where the title of the book comes from, Number Go Up. It became a mantra with Bitcoin in particular, where people would say, “Well, why does a Bitcoin, why does it cost 40,000? Why is it going to—why would it go up from here?” And they’d be like, “Well, it has been going up, that’s going to attract more interest. That’ll make it go up more. Then even more people will like it. Soon the big hedge funds will come in with even more money. Then soon it’s going to be at a million.”

And it sounds kind of crazy now and inevitable that it wasn’t going to work out. But for a time the numbers were all going up so high that even the craziest idea seemed plausible. And there was this really strong feeling of missing out. When I saw my friends making money on crypto, even though I was pretty skeptical—I wasn’t thinking that Dogecoin was going to become the future of finance. And I was skeptical that even a joke about dogs could attract lots of investors, but when I saw the price was going up and people were making lots of money, I felt it too, I was like, maybe I should get in on this. So it seems silly, but I think that that kind of logic, really the bubble just fed on itself and like grew and grew. It was truly crazy to see.

SEAN SPEER: Let me ask about a couple of contingent factors. What role did the pandemic play in your mind? And talk about the role of ideology, Zeke? What would you say to the notion that the crypto movement is, in some ways, shot through with a radical utopian ideal, which many found attractive?

ZEKE FAUX: Definitely the crypto movement’s heavy on libertarians. And I guess there is something kind of idealistic about that where they say that the government’s getting in the way, the government is screwing up the financial system through regulation, and if people are just free to do what they want, they will create an improvement on the U.S. dollar, or a new replacement for the bank. And freed from all these rules, it’s going to be more honest, it’s going to include poor people. That became a big talking point. “We’re going to help the unbanked.” But I think what the last couple years have shown is that, like I said, lessons that we’ve learned before in the traditional financial system, that if you’re free from the scrutiny of regulators, that’s going to make you more likely to run scams. That’s going to let you create a cryptocurrency exchange, make it seem super legit, and then gamble everyone’s money away when it’s out of sight. And now it seems like the lesson’s pretty clear that cryptocurrencies do need to be regulated, that securities, laws, and transparency are helpful for investors, that money laundering rules are there for a reason. 

But yeah, for a time it was, hey, we’re all in it together. There was also this big sense of community where it was like, that was a big part of the pitch where it was like, “We’re creating a new community. You can be part of it.” That was big with NFTs, the like digital art. It was like, “You can be part of the future, you’re getting in early.” I would not underestimate the role of Twitter. The crypto guys and girls are on Twitter all day long, tweeting about how great crypto is. And that brings in a lot of new people. It was just this bubble in both senses of the words, like a financial bubble, but also like a bubble of this crypto mindset. You’d go to these conferences and you’d hear people saying the craziest things, and there’d be thousands and thousands of people there just receiving it with a total straight face.

The first one I went to someone, they played a videotaped announcement by the president of El Salvador who said he was going to make Bitcoin an official currency in the country. And there was a Bitcoin guy on stage helping make this announcement. He was in literal tears, he was sobbing as he announced this. And I’m in the audience like, what is going on? Like, first of all, what do the people of El Salvador want with Bitcoin? The idea that this would somehow help them just seems bizarre, why is this guy crying? But the audience is just like—some of the audience, I looked around like I saw other people crying. They’re just such strong believers that they see anything is possible. 

But I write about it in the book, again and again, I would ask these people, “What’s really happening in the real world? Are you solving problems? Are people using your cryptocurrency?” I even went to El Salvador to check out what was going on there because it continued to be like a big talking point for Bitcoiners, especially like, “Wow, look at what’s happening in El Salvador.” I went down there, and even though the government had passed a law that all businesses had to accept Bitcoin, very few people were using it. I had trouble. Even lots of businesses would tell me they wouldn’t accept it, even though the ones who did, they seemed reluctant. They’d have to go get the manager and the manager would be like, “Oh, do you really want me to, I’ll get out like the special computer, the special point of sale terminal.” It was just, it was actually even hard to report on because so little was going on. To hear the Bitcoiners talk about it, they were like, “Bitcoin is saving El Salvador,” and you go there and it just wasn’t a thing at all. And yeah, I just found this again and again where I would like—I felt like I’d pull back the curtain on some crypto experiment and just see that there was nothing behind the curtain. There was nothing going on.

SEAN SPEER: You were working on the book in real-time as the industry faced various developments, including the collapse of FTX and criminal charges ultimately brought against Samuel Bankman-Fried. I went back and read some of the old reporting you did on him and others. You wrote as far back as April 2022 that Bankman-Fried seemed motivated by “getting rich quick.” Yet you’ve also said that you “missed a lot of red flags”. How early did you have a sense that there were these inherent issues in cryptocurrencies? Or did you find yourself swayed by the industry’s charismatic narrative?

ZEKE FAUX: So I was always pretty skeptical of cryptocurrencies, but when I met Sam Bankman-Fried, it was—we met first in 2021 in Miami. And he’s like super nerdy. He has got this big mop of curly hair. He’s in town to rename the Miami Heat’s arena after his company. He’s 29 years old, he’s worth like $20 billion. And it was hard not to be impressed.

What really got to me was he told me—you brought up effective altruism before—he told me that he had only gotten rich in order to give it the money away. Which sounds like, okay, lots of rich people say that they’re going to give money away. But I spoke to people from his past, when he was a teenager, he’s at MIT. He is giving out pamphlets promoting PETA, he’s a vegan activist. He meets this philosopher, the founder of the effect of altruism movement. Will McCaskill who says, “Hey, you’re pretty smart, you’re good at math. Anybody can give out pamphlets. How about you become a trader and get real rich? Then you could hire lots of people to give out pamphlets.”

Here I was sitting with him, it hadn’t even been a decade and he’s now one of the richest people in the world. So even though I was skeptical that Dogecoin was the future of finance, I found this pitch fascinating. This story of Bankman-Fried and why he’d gotten rich. I found that more interesting than looking at his company. When in hindsight, I should have been asking more questions about FTX, clearly. But I think that actually, I write about this in the book, in one of our first conversations, we talked about this. Which is he had this philosophy that if you think that you are getting rich in order to do good, it can become a justification for almost anything.

Because what I saw is FTX was a casino offshore where you could gamble on all these coins or whatever. There were a lot of other companies like this. And I felt like it was maybe a little—if he says he is trying to do good for the world, well, gambling can be bad for a lot of people. A lot of people will lose their money. And I asked him about that, like, “Hey, aren’t you potentially hurting a lot of people by encouraging them to gamble their savings on all these random coins?” And he was kind of evasive on that question. And then I also said, “Hey, by your philosophy, couldn’t we justify like almost anything? What if you just ran like a giant scam and made billions of dollars? And then—” one of the effective altruist-approved causes in the early years was buying bed nets for people in Africa to prevent malaria. So I was saying to him, “You’ve got all this credibility, you could run like a big crypto scam, you get billions of dollars, you could buy tons of bed nets. Wouldn’t that be net-net positive for the world by your logic? And when I asked him that, he had this funny way of like, he’d humour any question. It was impossible to offend him, unlike a lot of it executives you talk to. But he said something along the lines of like, “I could make more money running an honest business. There’s some limit to how much you could make on a scam. FTX could be a giant company. In the long run, I could make like hundreds of billions of dollars and do that much more good for the world,” which seemed kind of logical at the time.

But as I write, one thing that I missed was, if you run a scam, you don’t think you’re going to get caught. But yeah, I think ultimately this philosophy of effective altruism, that he was getting rich in order to do good, did justify any risk-taking or even unethical things. I feel like he really twisted it.

SEAN SPEER: You opened the book with a great line from him, “I’m not going to lie. This was a lie.” Talk about your interactions. Why do you think he sought you out for an exclusive interview soon after FTX’s collapse?

ZEKE FAUX: So he was somebody who was very accessible. I think that was why he was so successful with the media. It didn’t seem like he paid any special attention to me or other reporters. It was more that he’d pick up the phone.

So when things were going well, I called up his representative and said, “Hey, I want to come to The Bahamas and write a story about him. And I’m going to need to sit next to him for a couple days and see him at work.” And they were just like, “Sure.” And so I sat there, and he’s answering emails from like important people. He’s on Slack, managing his company. He’s pulling up spreadsheets that supposedly show his results. Stuff that most executives would never let you see. And I mean, usually when you deal with a CEO, they’ve got all these representatives in the room, they’re very careful with what they say. He didn’t really have any of that.

And at the end, it was similar. I sent him a message. FTX had failed. There was this open question of what had happened. I mean, to me it looked very clearly fraud, but he had yet to be arrested. It was in limbo. And I was like, “Hey, why don’t you tell me your side of it? I’m curious what happened.” And he said, “Sure.” And I said, “Alright, I’ll be in The Bahamas tomorrow.” Then it took like a couple more days to work it out, to get invited to talk to him at his house. 

But basically, what I saw was that—and I had no idea what to expect. It was very strange. I’m going to—this is somebody who’s essentially—it was clear that his life was ruined. His company had failed. He was potentially facing criminal charges. Things looked terrible. And I wasn’t sure what I would get when I went to visit him. But what I saw was he seemed almost exactly the same as the first time I met him. He had this strange way of being still very seemingly open, seemingly willing to talk about anything. And I did ask myself, why is this guy doing this? Why is he talking to a reporter? He could be—anything he says could be fodder for a criminal case in the future. But I realized talking to the press had gotten him this far, talking to everybody, creating this public persona that he was the boy genius of crypto, the only honest guy in the market, that’s part of what made him so successful. And it wasn’t that illogical for him to think, “Okay, it worked for me on the way up. Now I’m in trouble. Maybe I can talk my way out of it.”

SEAN SPEER: Yes.

ZEKE FAUX: But I don’t think it’s looking so likely that he’ll be able to now.

SEAN SPEER: What’s your final impression of him? Is he a run-of-the-mill financial scammer, or is he delusional, or did he merely lose control of the business as it grew beyond his capacity and experience?

ZEKE FAUX: I think that he’s someone who—he and his lieutenants there saw themselves as the heroes of their own sci-fi movie. I talked to someone who had spent the summer working with them just before the failure, and was like, “These guys were obsessed with essentially killer robots and out of control AI. And they’re talking about, ‘how are we going to save the world from a rogue AI and prevent a Terminator-type scenario?'” They really thought that with their billions, that they would be able to do things like this. There was a real chance that they might have a huge impact on the course of humanity’s future. And compared to that, when they were faced, without getting all into all the details, essentially it became where they’d taken crazy gambles, and there was a time when it really looked like they should have come clean and just been like, “We’ve failed. The company’s failed, the money’s gone.” And they, faced with that choice, I think that they were instead like “Let’s roll the dice. We can make it back. We’re geniuses and think of all the good we’re going to do in the future.” So that’s just my take on it. But I don’t think his public persona was a total put-on, but I do think that this belief in his own exceptionalism led him to take and really make bad decisions.

SEAN SPEER: To zoom out a bit to the sudden collapse in 2022, not just at FTX, but more broadly, talk a bit about what happened, and how is the story of Tether a precursor to these broader industry-wide issues?

ZEKE FAUX: So I kept looking into this Tether mystery. Tether was just getting bigger and bigger, and it was really unclear where they were keeping their money. But that just got me sucked into this whole crypto world. And I realized that there were other companies that were even more—I thought that I’d never see a company with more red flags than Tether, but no, they were topped immediately by Celsius, which is another one that famously failed. These companies all had business—a lot of them had business plans that just didn’t make sense. They would say that they’re paying huge interest rates, but they couldn’t really explain how they made any money. And so for a lot of the time that I was looking into the industry for the book, I was just wondering, how do these companies make money? 

Their explanations don’t make sense. And it turned out, they didn’t have a good plan for making money. In the summer of 2022, one of these companies that really got huge, it was called Terra Luna, it honestly it never made sense how it made any money, but it got to have some crazy number, like $50 billion. It’s unclear what really started its collapse, but once people started trading these tokens in for real money, there was a rush to get out. And even quicker than it all went up, the numbers went way back down. These companies just started toppling one after another. It just became clear how little there was supporting this giant ecosystem. If you buy the crypto people, a lot of them will say like, “Isn’t like the stock market all a scam too?” 

And yeah, there are scams on the stock market, but Apple, they make iPhones. The price of Apple stock may go up and down, but at some point, this is a real business that’s making tons of iPhones. It makes profits. When you buy a share of Apple, you’re going to get a little bit of money whenever they sell an iPhone. These crypto companies, a lot of them don’t do anything in the real world. People weren’t using the tokens for anything. So there’s really no floor. Once the numbers started going down, then there was just a rush to get out. And there wasn’t any inherent value that was going to keep the tokens from going down to near zero. So yeah, it all unraveled pretty quickly last year.

SEAN SPEER: Penultimate question: What are the public policy takeaways from your research? What should regulators be doing to bring greater accountability and transparency to the industry?

ZEKE FAUX: So the authorities seem to be just catching up now and bringing cases based on the last crypto bubble. I mean, people forget, but there was a big crypto bubble in 2017, 2018, and in the U.S., regulators are still bringing cases from that bubble. It’s going to take them until the statute of limitations runs out to bring cases in this one. I don’t know, I’m trying to think of a good analogy, but it’s like a store is being looted and it’s going to take a long time to go through the security camera footage and figure out each person who stole something, but still, each time you lie to investors, that’s a crime. I’m more in the camp that the existing laws cover a lot of the misbehaviour that was seen. And it’s just going to take the regulators a long time to sort out what happened and who’s to blame.

SEAN SPEER: Last question: Based on your work on the book, what do you think the future of cryptocurrencies will be?

ZEKE FAUX: I did not set out to give people advice about investing, but if you read Number Go Up, hopefully by the end you’ll realize that the title is kind of a joke and that the numbers have gone down, and absent some giant innovation and some new reason, some new use for crypto in the real world, I don’t see the bubble times returning. I actually feel really lucky that I was there for this two-year boom. I think it’s one of the craziest times in the history of finance, and I don’t think we’ll ever see something like this return. So that said, who knows, maybe someone will come up with some good cryptocurrency in the future.

SEAN SPEER: Well, for those insights and more, listeners should read Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Ride and Staggering Fall. Zeke Faux, thank you so much for joining us at Hub Dialogues.

ZEKE FAUX: Thanks, Sean.

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