Dylan LeClair is a Bitcoin and macro analyst working for Bitcoin Magazine. In this interview, we discuss the carnage in crypto in 2022 that’s bleeding into 2023. We talk about the clear signs of Ponzi schemes, the lost fortunes of crypto billionaires, and how Bitcoin regains its footing in the market.
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It has been 14 years since Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty to running the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. It should have been a defining moment, and yet, we’re now witnessing a tsunami of similar tragedies unfolding in crypto; a period Dylan LeClair is calling “a golden age of fraud”. The cruel irony is that the industry was inspired by Bitcoin, formulated in part as a technical correction to such scams. How did this happen?
Just 2 months after Bitcoin’s release in January 2009, Bernie Madoff stated at his plea hearing: “When I began my Ponzi scheme I believed it would end shortly and I would be able to extricate myself and my clients from the scheme.” This may be the fundamental psychology of those involved in Ponzi schemes: it is a short-term workaround that can be resolved, and investors will be made good.
We may never know the true intentions of anyone involved in 3AC, Luna, Celsius, FTX and other companies currently in the spotlight, but it’s hard to believe that anyone sane could think they could run a perpetual Ponzi. They must all have had an exit strategy in mind. A strategy where they and investors made good. But, time and time again, Ponzi schemes, bound by the realities of the market, fail.
So, what did we miss? In an industry that was built on the mantra of “don’t trust, verify”, how were so many people fooled? We can all in hindsight question FTX’s pitch of 15% returns with no risk. But, how many of us assumed the huge customer bases and political endorsements and A-list celebrity advertising had merit because we were not the smartest guys in the room?
Maybe it takes the cold logic of a fresh analyst, unencumbered by industry groupthink, to see the warning signs. Dylan LeClair has made a number of successful calls and trades on both sides of the market. He can sense BS, has the strength to call it out, and, as a result, he has witnessed a well-deserved meteoric rise. What’s his trick? Simple: don’t trust, verify.