Dogecoin creator says cryptocurrency is a right-wing 'funnel of profiteering'

Jackson Palmer says cryptocurrencies replicate the financial scams they're meant to sweep away.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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A coin with a dog saying "wow"

Dogecoin is just one of many cryptocurrencies, but is the cuddly image just a facade for an old-fashioned financial grift?

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Cryptocurrency is a purpose-built profiteering system funneling cash from the poor to the rich, according to the co-founder of a popular currency. Dogecoin co-creator Jackson Palmer argues that the virtual currency market is the same old grift as the financial sector it's supposed to replace.  

Palmer returned to social media Wednesday for the first time since 2019 to explain why he no longer wants anything to do with the newfangled form of virtual money. "After years of studying it," he tweeted, "I believe that cryptocurrency is an inherently right-wing, hyper-capitalistic technology built primarily to amplify the wealth of its proponents through a combination of tax avoidance, diminished regulatory oversight and artificially enforced scarcity." 

"Despite claims of 'decentralization', the cryptocurrency industry is controlled by a powerful cartel of wealthy figures," said Palmer, "who, with time, have evolved to incorporate many of the same institutions tied to the existing centralized financial system they supposedly set out to replace."

Dogecoin began as a meme-inspired joke in 2013 before becoming one of the most popular alternatives to market leader Bitcoin. Frequently referenced by Tesla founder Elon Musk , Dogecoin hit an all-time value in May. But cryptocurrency remains a roller coaster: Record highs in March for Bitcoin and altcoins like Dogecoin and Ethereum led to a corresponding slump in June.

Palmer argues that cryptocurrency's independence from mainstream financial systems also means it has no systems to protect the less wealthy. "Fall victim to a scam? Your fault," he said. "Cryptocurrency is almost purpose built to make the funnel of profiteering more efficient for those at the top and less safeguarded for the vulnerable... like taking the worst parts of today's capitalist system (eg. corruption, fraud, inequality) and using software to technically limit the use of interventions (eg. audits, regulation, taxation) which serve as protections or safety nets for the average person."

Palmer posted the thread to explain why he no longer wants to be involved in or even discuss cryptocurrency, as he doubts the good faith of those who benefit from the system.

Here's the thread:

If it is a scam, crypto has some high-profile fans: the likes of Musk and Kim Kardashian West have got involved, Facebook has planned its own currency, Libra, and Spike Lee just narrated an influencer-packed advert for CloudCoin crypto ATMs.

Watch this: Crypto Wallets Explained