HBO's John Oliver Crypto Quips Touch A Nerve With Industry Affiliates

HBO Last Week Tonight commenter John Oliver’s take on the cryptocurrency world has spawned a reaction from those working in the field. Oliver had a somewhat cynical outlook on bitcoin’s recent troubles.

Some reactions:

Blockchain and cryptocurrency artist Cryptograffiti:

“The piece did a good job at summarizing some of the growing pains we’re experiencing as crypto goes mainstream. But I’d encourage viewers to remember that the roots of this nearly decade old movement are not in exotic Italian sports cars. A lot of media attention as of late has been devoted to a flashy “bro culture” that I think would surface in most industries undergoing a period of swift monetary gain. Crypto will have “bros.” But It also has librarians and artists and chefs and a huge community of people that are in the spaceto make the world better.”

Shyft Chairman & OECD Think Tank Special Advisor, Joseph Weinberg:

One thing that John Oliver mentioned was how blockchain is secure—but it isn’t. Bitcoin is secure and open networks are, but blockchain inherently isn’t. The way that John Oliver approached valuation is also not the correct way to look at it. Venture capital and public markets pigeon hole themselves by nature because they are linear paths to capital raising. This is a completely different type of market, which requires a different approach to finding pathways. Crypto is is open to all. Through blockchain and crypto, eight billion people will begin to have open access to funding projects. Because of this, the market size, amount of capital that can be raised, and investor demographics will look very different compared to traditional pathways.”

ZenCash Co-Founder Rob Viglione:

“Going from an obscure cypherpunk white paper in 2008 to the John Oliver show in 2018 is a massive accomplishment for Bitcoin! It has been such a meteoric rise for the industry that we all too often forget about some of its downsides. Oliver’s show did a great job focusing on some of the most outrageous aspects of the industry, including obvious scams like Bitconnect, the inflated optimism of #HODLGANG, and the seeming absurdity of startups raising billions of dollars without yet having released any products. It has been an insane 10years, but what Oliver missed out on are the legitimate success stories. For instance, universal currencies are making lives better in repressive parts of the world, particularly privacy coins that restore economic dignity to those living parts of the world that lack basic human rights. Meanwhile, smart contracts are significantly boosting efficiencies across industries, including incentive-aligned tokens that upend media content ownership. This technology is just getting started and will undoubtedly surprise us all. What rings true, though, is that we’d be better served with a healthy dose of cautious optimism and switching from the #HODLGANG to the #CRAEFULGANG!”

Gabriel Schillinger, CEO of Aura, creators of GammaNow:

When your industry has a 25-minute piece on Last Week Tonight – it shows how far it reaches and how a niche topic has gone mainstream. John dealing with crypto for over 25 minutes on This Week Tonight proves that crypto has more than just niche financial appeal – but is much broader – dealing with human welfare, and offering promise in a yield starved world”

Jake Brukhman, Managing Director & CEO at CoinFund:

“Naturally, the segment was hilarious. Especially the part about “blockchain not letting people chicken out your nuggs”. It’s great to see blockchain, even in the silly light it was presented in, in front of a huge mainstream audience. Overall, the piece was well-researched and Oliver definitely hit the key points about Bitcoin, blockchain, decentralization, ICOs, and many of the prescient issues of the space. Kudos to their team for good research. However, I was left with the feeling that Oliver came to the space with a measure of skepticism — fairly covering the issues of irrational exuberance, “joke” currencies like Dogecoin, and Bitconnect. Despite the somewhat tongue-in-cheek cynical view, I felt like he legitimized the concepts to a mainstream audience and that’s great publicity for the technology. As great as the segment was, I wish we had spent more time on truly exploring the disruptive possibilities of some of these technologies.”

The Oliver commentary:

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