Normal winter may still be just arriving, but crypto winter has been here basically since last Christmas. The trading bubble that buoyed amateur gamblers into modest or extreme wealth had been losing air even before that, and then things got much worse.
To recap: In May, the algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD and its sister token Luna went into a death spiral that wiped out $45 billion in less than a week. In June, the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates, cryptocurrencies plunged, and Three Arrows Capital — a crypto hedge fund that had heavily promoted Luna — found itself unable to pay back its lenders, triggering multiple investigations, a forced liquidation, and sending some of those lenders into bankruptcies of their own. In November, crypto exchange Binance threw its competitor FTX under the bus, kicking off an implosion at the latter and sending its leader Sam Bankman-Fried to Bahamian jail — catching once-hyped crypto projects like BoredApes, the Winklevii’s Genesis, and eventually Binance itself in the crossfire.
Needless to say, this December, the degenerate Telegram users in your life are smarting. They put their life savings into FTX spot markets and that one Azaelia Banks NFT sex tape, and now they barely have two Funko Digital Pop! Game of Thrones virtual collectibles to rub together. So, in that spirit of generosity that the crypto community is known for, here is a gift guide to spread some non-fungible love this holiday season (much like how the crypto contagion spread financial insolvency).
MARTIN SHKRELI SUBSTACK SUBSCRIPTION, FREE
Martin is back from prison, single, and on Substack, where he is half-assedly hunting for anonymous Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto. This has so far involved a couple of short blog posts digging into old names that anyone with a passing interest in crypto’s original mystery has already looked up on Wikipedia. The newsletter is free for now, but get in quick, as he promised a “5000% price increase soon.” Or you could just get Evan Ratliff’s book on one of the names in question.
BORED APE NFT, $90,000+
They’re ugly, they’re expensive, and they were invented by two once-pseudonymous guys who self-identify as “literary nerds,” the sole substantiation of which seems to be that one of them used to write, the other thought about getting an MFA, and they met during a “big screaming match about David Foster Wallace.” But with an 80 percent crash in their floor price since April, these bad boys have never been more affordable. Get one for roughly the price of a home down payment.
FRAMED PICTURE OF JIMMY FALLON AND PARIS HILTON WITH THEIR BORED APES, $10 (GUESSING)
It will look great next to their life-size painting of Nick Szabo.
BETTERHELP DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER THERAPY, $240 to $360
The podcast community seems to really think it works.
EMSAM PATCH, 40 MG OF ADDERALL, ZYRTEC, PRICE VARIES
According to Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail hearing, the former crypto magnate’s medicine regime includes the MAO inhibitor Emsam patch, 10 milligrams of Adderall every four hours, and a daily 10 milligrams of Zyrtec for allergies. He may currently be in Bahamian jail awaiting extradition to the United States — where he’s been indicted on eight criminal charges relating to various types of fraud — but for a second there, Bankman-Fried was king of the world.
STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS, UNCLEAR
In all seriousness, many people I know who got into crypto trading were lured in by the possibility of cartoonish returns that could salvage them from decades in debt. That is admittedly a very bad idea, though at least one of those people did actually pay off their loans. Having their outstanding balances wiped would sincerely be a really great gift. But it will require a legal victory for the Biden administration, and/or the timely deaths of multiple Supreme Court justices. If you want something feasibly in your control, you could pay off their debt yourself.
SNOW CRASH BY NEAL STEPHENSON, $18
Honestly, a great book.
FUNKO DIGITAL POP! NFT VIRTUAL COLLECTIBLES, $9.99
I have to commend Funko Pop for reinventing NFTs as $10 playing cards. They have a whole line of Elf characters.