Opinion | Wealth Inequality Drives the Appeal of Crypto – The New York Times

While I may still be learning some of the intricacies of venture capital and blockchain, I understand wealth inequality just fine. We talk a lot about wealth inequality within the United States but the phenomenon is global. It was bad enough by 2020 but the pandemic has accelerated inequalities, between communities, states and nations. These patterns provide one macro answer to the question of what social problem blockchain solves. Blockchain transforms rising wealth inequality from a problem into an opportunity, for those willing to take the risk of investing.

The pull of any speculative bubble is based in a fact of the world: Somebody somewhere is making a lot of money, and you’re not one of them. A lot of people, like my cousin — a lifelong blue-collar worker with a good pension — believe this. And they are not wrong. That’s one thing my conversation with Dash brought home: There are a lot of people making a lot of money on crypto and NFTs. For those of us who aren’t among the extremely wealthy, the idea that we could join them is a seductive one that has become a cultural phenomenon. And in an atmosphere of economic precarity and wealth inequality, that pull is supercharged. But it is especially powerful among young people. “You talk to anybody under 25, and they’ve been told that crypto is their freedom,” Dash says. It isn’t hard to imagine why.

If you are younger than 45, the internet has been the most powerful institution in your life, hands down. It is more powerful than the government, more intimately experienced than voting, more tangible than a house or a car or a job. You cannot touch the internet but you can feel it. That’s where everything happens, from finding a job to building a social life. When blockchain comes along as schools are closing and then reopening and then kind of closing again, and governments are telling you to Google your closest coronavirus testing site, and your university tells you online orientation is the same as dorm life, and a large number of white-collar people are working from home, and your longest relationships have started on apps and in channels and chat rooms and DMs, blockchain is a reasonable solution to the most basic problems of “What am I supposed to do to survive?”

Dash calls it a big game of FOMO inflected with the chaos of economic anxiety. “Everybody again has a story,” he says. “This guy got in early on Bitcoin, and he made 50 grand. I mean, even I’ve had FOMO about that. I know a guy — he’s smart, but he’s not …….

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/31/opinion/crypto-nfts-inequality.html