Cryptocurrency Is Garbage. So Is Blockchain.

David Golumbia
25 min readJun 27, 2020

Overwhelming evidence shows that the blockchain/cryptocurrency space is mostly fraudulent


Note: Amy Castor and David Gerard provided extensive commentary, editorial help, and in some cases the actual words used in this piece.

I have been writing about cryptocurrencies since at least 2013. From the beginning it has been clear to me how pervaded the entire space is with false claims, conspiracy theories, muddled thinking, and outright fraud of many kinds. It is therefore remarkable to me how much academic, journalistic and popular writing on blockchain accepts at face value dogma that any dispassionate investigation shows to be false, and that has been repeatedly and clearly shown to be false. This dogma serves both those who fraudulently (or at best, out of excessive self-interest) advance blockchain as a solution for… something, and the far-right actors who gave birth to the ideas of cryptocurrency and blockchain in the first place. Repeating these claims only helps to promote their values, the values of those with the deepest vested interest in the “revolutionary” aspects of blockchain, the vast majority of whom span the ideological spectrum from the moderately far right to outright Nazis.

What is especially concerning to me about this is that the material that repeats these claims almost never engages with the clear, public, and what should at this point be very well-known critical work on these topics. I don’t particularly mean my work, although I have tried to show what is wrong with these claims many, many times. I mean the work of major journalists who cover the topic, and major independent commentators — people like Tim Swanson, David Gerard, Amy Castor, Cas Piancey, Bennett Tomlin, and Stefanie Schulte, legal scholars and lawyers Angela Walch, Karen Levy, and Stephen Palley, computer scientists Nicholas Weaver and Emin Gün Sirer, and the reporters for the Financial Times (especially Izabella Kaminska and Jemima Kelly), the global news source that has had by far the clearest-eyed and most detailed coverage of the matter. We could also add the numerous Twitter accounts (such as Trolly McTrollface, Bitfinex’ed, Shit /r/Bitcoin Says) and Reddit communities (especially r/Buttcoin) that routinely debunk blockchain propaganda. I often see…

David Golumbia

Professor, Writer on Digital Studies, Language, Theory