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Blockchain, Cryptos & Web3

AfroBitcoin Conference 2022

₿itcoin for Africa, Africa for ₿itcoin

The 1st “Pan-African AfroBitcoin Conference” took place from December 5 to 7, 2022 in Accra, Ghana.

I wasn’t there (could I have endured being there…), but I followed the main speakers on a thread I had specially created on the Blue Bird site…

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, including “Bitcoin will save Africa?!“, you already know what I think about all this. In a series of posts on this blog (probably 3 as of today) I’ll try to synthesize the main messages heard during the conference and be a “myth killer” as much as possible.

The French version of this post is subtitled “le ₿al des vampires” (the Vampires’ ₿all or Dance of the Vampires), as it clearly fits the situation where we saw many wannabe or active crooks try to “innovate” in separating Africans from their meager savings or hard earned money.

At no time, during these 3 days, any concrete solution to a real problem was proposed, no real “use case” exposed. They just projected their “vision” based on false promises and a (deliberate) lack of understanding of the real world. As usual, they pushed vacuous “technological” proposals that don’t and won’t work (more later on Lightning for example) and only represent an Nth form of fraud, hardly masked by a forced trend of “digital solutionism”.

No effort, however pathetic or desperate, was made to “prove” anything. The audience was just asked to believe, and the journalists to relay, the fine words of the “Bitcoin” cult.

The economic, political and social situation of the African continent and its populations is disastrous. It is an undeniable fact and has been for a long time, has multiple origins, from the exploitation of colonialism to the impoverishment caused by neo-liberal capitalism after the Bretton Woods conference.
That cryptos, in all forms, are the future and the means to change everything in Africa is a shameless lie that has no foundation, neither financial nor technological.

There are never purely technological solutions to societal problems

Read: The Myth of the Technological Fix

Max Oelschlaeger, 1979

Neo-colonialism + crypto-capitalism

What is probably the most astounding, however, is that Bitcoin has basically become a project controlled by American white supremacists, for whom race is a fundamental point of segregation, especially since they consider blacks and other “non-whites” to have a lower IQ because of their “origins.” This position is commonly referred to as racism.

If this is what they think of African-Americans, imagine what they think of Africans…

HRF (Human Rights Foundation) for example, seems at first glance to be an organization dedicated to and committed to peace and freedom in the broadest sense. But this foundation exists around people, and their donations, like Brock Pierce or Peter Thiel whose libertarian positions I already mentioned in my post on Bitcoin and Africa and one comes to wonder if HRF’s “humanitarian” positions are not in fact a front for a far-right officine.
Some of the crypto-maximalists at the top of the “food chain” go even further in their fascist approaches, promoting eugenics, effective altruism (!), long-termism etc. and the place of Africa and Africans is very little considered, if not totally ignored.

Thus, the director of strategy of HRF, Alex Gladstein, under the guise of fighting against inequality and dictatorships, financial or military, is above all a maximalist of Bitcoin and the Austrian School of Economics his “masters” dream of.
Bitcoin is the currency of the people” says his profile’s banner on the Blue Bird site. He made his position clear in his multiple interventions at the AfroBitcoin Conference 2022.

When the fight against imperialism turns into crypto-colonialism, it would be appropriate for our African activists to start asking themselves some very serious questions. But, unfortunately, membership in the cult does not allow this type of introspection…

The Real Africa - colonialism
From “The Real Africa” in 2014

Summary

Note: except in exceptional cases, for “celebrities” or “notorious influencers” for example, I will not name anyone (some names can appear in screen captures). The goal here is not to criticize people, but the way of thinking, the “uncriticizable cult” tendency, in which they evolve and the implications in the real world which seem, voluntarily or not, to escape them.

Foreword

Generally, bitcoiners ask some good questions and come up with the worst answers:
– we could do with good peer-to-peer digital cash
> well obviously, this would be a very useful thing
– bankers should have gone to jail in 2008
> sounds reasonable and sensible, though it’s not clear how it follows from the first one
– *therefore* we need a new digital version of the gold standard with a fixed supply where transactions are irreversible, all the early adopters get rich for free and it ends up using more electricity than entire countries
> ?????

David Gerard

Why are cryptobros, including FTX and Alameda of course before the mid-November 2022 bankruptcy, but also Binance, Coinbase and many others, all rushing to Africa like wildfire, especially since Bitcoin was at its peak in late 2021?

The answer is easy: in a Ponzi scheme, like all those “digital assets” (tokens and coins, NFTs…), a constant flow of incoming cash is needed to allow the whales to get rich (through MLM manipulation, or via the intensive use of “Pump & Dump” schemes or pure “Rug Pull”). When the Western markets started to dry up with willing marks and “bigger fools”, it was necessary to look elsewhere for “hard” money.

The African continent thus became the Wild West for these “private bankers” and other budding “Madoffs“. They opened a battlefield where all tricks are allowed, because the 1.5 billion inhabitants had still been largely underused as cash cows.
The (young) Africans, eager for beautiful promises (“Cryptos, freedom and sovereignty?” – post in French), a bright future and easy money like everyone else, were more than receptive. Especially since pyramid schemes have always worked very well, with or without cryptos, even on a purely local level (for example, you should check the financial scams of Emile Parfait Simb, the “Cameroonian Madoff,” who was praised by AfroActivists on Prigozhin’s payroll).

To conquer the continent, every company put the means to propose attractive solutions, wrapped in academies, master classes and other field operations on campuses, or even in the countryside, with the same motto: cryptos will help the banking of the poor or excluded (the famous Bank the Unbanked or Underbanked).
Offers have blossomed in all directions, either directly (Binance or FTX for example), or via investment in “FinTech” startups and other “digital wallets” (as Coinbase, FTX again and many others have done).

All this, of course, with the support of institutions such as the World Economic Forum and the relay of a majority of media not always very enlightened…

FTX in Africa - World Economic Forum
WEF promoting FTX

Surfing on the various waves of discontent in increasingly young, unemployed and idle populations, but born with digital know-how, cryptos have taken on an air of revolution, both political and technological. The trap being well set, it was now necessary to attract the prey…

AfroBitcoin Conference

During 3 days, the 1st great “mass” of the Pan-African Bitcoin took place, a great collective delirium, under the auspices of his holiness Jaaaaack, presiding over the cult of digital gold, in order to save us all and open wide the doors to the future…

Conférence AfroBitcoin - Jaaaaack!
Jaaaaack

Note that neither Binance nor Mara (the wallet created between Kenya and Nigeria, funded by Coinbase and FTX) were present. Other well-known fintechs from the continent were also absent, although they are very connected to the African “crypto” ecosystem, directly or not.

But here, the objective was only to talk about Bitcoin and introduce the network of “friends” on the continent.

One of the strong and clear messages at the beginning of the conference was that we should not mix apples and oranges, Bitcoin and cryptos, because “Bitcoin NOT Crypto“. More on this later.

“Bitcoin has no future as a payments network, says FTX chief” – Bitcoin maximalists don’t agree…

Notable sponsors include Tether (Bitcoin’s “central bank”, where USD₮ keeps the whole pyramid going by pumping the price upwards for easier dumps), HRF, of course, probably more than a sponsor, since the organizer is part of the Gladstein stable, who himself had 3 solo talks [aka “keynotes“], Block (Jaaaaack!), Paxful (a P2P solution, I’ll come back to that later) and some others.

Fun fact, and I hope unrelated: right around the time of the AfroBitcoin conference launch, Binance Afrique announced a “Space.” The topic was “How to recognize a ponzi scheme?” I imagine that the organizing team had a very good understanding of the subject from the inside… and that SBF was not available to attend…

Binance Afrique -
Binance Afrique – “How to recognize a Ponzi scheme?”

During these 3 days of conference, I tried to note the important sentences from the various speakers.

My objective here is not to follow the program, but to organize the information according to the main themes: freedom and sovereignty for Africa, women and diversity, training and employment, communities at the heart of the action, Lightning for a bright future…
In fact, even if the interventions were about precise subjects, the contents tended to overlap quite regularly, and it is logical as, in reality, the subject is exhausted quickly…

To introduce you to the overall mood, you should check out this video on CNBC’s website, which was broadcast online at the launch of the AfroBitcoin conference. It sets the tone directly, with a journalist clearly under the influence…

[Kenzie Sigalos] reports on topics including:
– The Lightning Network disrupting legacy payment systems
– Bitcoin as a bank
– Bitcoin mining as a way to harness stranded renewable energy and create microgrids

Note that this famous “journalist” would also moderate a session called “Bitcoin in a recession economy.” Quite a program…

The only “profit” that can be expected from “investing” in Bitcoin must come from other “investors”, who will lose more than their “fair share” of the total and guaranteed loss of the billions currently at stake.
Jorge Stolfi

Bitcoin NOT Crypto

One of the messages that appeared at the beginning of the sessions was clear: “Bitcoin is NOT Crypto”.

SBF/FTX tweet announcing that XOF deposits are live in West Afrca on 11/3/22
SBF launches XOF deposits a few days before bankruptcy

Ten days after the official launch of XOF deposits in West Africa, FTX/Alameda had to declare bankruptcy. Morale was therefore potentially low in early December…

To motivate the troops, it was necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff, hammering home the fact that Bitcoin was not a “casino shitcoin”. And comments such as “FTX has torn the veil of the toxic crypto industry” (founder of Paxful) or “Only nihilists buy ‘shitcoins’ (SIC)” flourished.

Influencer at AfroBitcoin Conference
“The FTX collapse has created so many incredible teachable
moments that will make the next generation of Bitcoiners
so much smarter & resilient.”

According to the above maximalist influencer, the FTX storm should make the pro-bitcoin people smarter and more resilient…

It would be best not to tell them about other stablecoins or Tether (one of the AfroBitcoin conference sponsors), though, so as not to upset them…

AfroBitcoin conference  2022 - Tether sponsor
Tether was represented in Ghana – “We are P2P”

But, let’s be clear, FTX is just the tip of the iceberg…

Rep. Brad Sherman recently said: “My fear is that we’ll view Sam Bankman-Fried as just one big snake in a crypto garden of Eden. The fact is, crypto is a garden of snakes.”

africa - culture - stereotypes
From “The Real Africa” in 2014

Conclusion of Part 1

It may seem strange to certain persons, but “normal” people hate scammers and scams, even when they are not the direct victims.

When I hear all these young Africans, men (mostly cryptobros, developers and other “economic operators”) and women (mainly influencers and “activists”), I feel both sad and disgusted.

AfroBitcoin Conference - Bitnob influencer
“Sometimes, we endure economic and physical harm from people because we are afraid that we do not have what it takes to stand up against them.
I saw that Bitcoin could be a solution to this.
There is a need for great awareness, especially among women.
Looking at Bitcoin from the financial aspect of it is just one side of Bitcoin, we need to broaden our perspective a little more.”

Sadness, because, whether they realize it or not, they are being manipulated by forces beyond their control, while they search for a better future, which sinister individuals with hidden agendas, mainly non-African (but not all of them), are dangling in front of them.

Disgust, because, a priori under the auspices of good “liberating” intentions, they are only reproducing a pattern of predation against their African brothers and sisters.

And by pushing everyone to take the “orange pill”, some should be wary of ending up in the beautiful orange jumpsuit appreciated in some American prisons (for those who regularly sail there).

It’s also worth noting one important point: no one talked about prices and their volatility during the sessions, and only a few dared to talk about “value” for Bitcoin. Everything else was a set of fanciful projections about the financial future of Africa thanks to cryptos and their “liberating force.”

In the next post, I will try to “analyze” and react to the major talking points discussed at the AfroBitcoin Conference ’22.

To be continued…

Bitcoin is the greatest idiot-filter we might have ever seen. It is ruthless in exposing charlatans.

The Bitcoin maximalist who wrote this didn’t mean it the way it sounds. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t looking in the right direction: “When a wise man points at the Moon, the fool looks at the finger.

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