Some decades ago when my youth was dominated by the Cold War and constant fears of nuclear war, I was in Sweden with the first ‘important’ girlfriend where I lived for a while.
One night, we went to the cinema in Helsingborg to see a film that I think was called Dagen After in Swedish, but what I knew to be The Day After in English because I was a member of CND then and it had already been shown in the UK.
It was a miserable and shocking film that portrayed the run-up to a nuclear war and the ‘day after’ that event; I watched it recently and it still chills to the marrow.
It terrified everybody who watched it and the images of it were always there until the Soviet Union collapsed and the fear went away; then we all went mad for hedonism and democracy. The End of History, somebody once wrote. How wrong they were.
As Europe runs out of iodine pills, re-terrified Swedes and those on the edge of Russia are cast in another film and the nutter portrayed by Peter Sellers in the film Doctor Strangelove. This is not a Cold War, it is a very Hot one and there is reasonable fear that there is not any good endgame here.
The pandemic seems like a picnic compared to what could happen. Lockdown with Netflix was bad, but a lockdown in your local bunker with the minimum of conveniences?
Such extraordinary global happenings after two years of the pandemic naturally have crypto as part of them. In spite of all the ‘when crypto goes mainstream’ tropes, there is no doubt it is the centre of our lives (and that also goes out to those who do not read Crypto AM).
Forget utility coins for now, the very utility of crypto is accelerating by the day. Sovereign countries and especially those in debt or at war know the value it can bring. Something that is volatile managing to cope with inflation is a powerful thing. And almost amazing by the way.
The amount of small and young investors who flocked to crypto because there was nothing much else to do in lockdown followed by the crypto and NFT campaigns for Ukraine, be that via donation or government direction only iterates this axiom.
If somebody had told me a week ago that Ukraine’s government would issue NFTs to fund its military as they defend the country against the Russian invasion, I would have spat my poncey coffee out across the poncey cafe I always seem to be sat in.
But, like humanity and the Manichean beings we appear to be, split between Good and Evil, more determinist than we ever thought and ruled by Nature and not Nurture after all, the war shows us that there is a similar schism in crypto and those who want to help/profit.
From the goodness of metaverse company Gamepay and its promise to donate 20 per cent of its Chickey Chik upcoming NFT sale to the Ukrainian Red Cross to the scammers who are profiteering by starting false donation campaigns, we seem to be split in half between goodness and badness.
Occasionally, there are devils such as Pol Pot, Hitler, Genghis Khan and Putin who represent one of those two halves and at other times major religious leaders, artists, writers and even politicians who represent the other half.
There seems to be little optimism except that an upcoming crypto bull market is entering a new cycle and that the super-rich, be they Russian or Lillliputian are going to get what’s coming to them. I particularly liked the story of the Ukrainian sailor who managed to sink his Russian patron’s superyacht in the Mediterranean.
It is time for straight thinking and to somehow dig ourselves out of this mess, be that with crypto donations, NFT donations or remittances that are not blocked by the powers that be and want things to be the same.
But things will never be the same again and for how long that lasts is anybody’s guess, rather like those who tell us what direction crypto prices are likely to take.
But there is one thing I do know, and that tonight might be the time to get lost, and not in a poncey coffeeshop. Another drink before the war anybody?
I’ll have a large one!
Monty Munford is a tech journalist and and advisor for the DeFi privacy organisation Sienna Network.
He is a keynote speaker/emcee/moderator/interviewer at prestigious events around the world and has spoken at more than 200 global events interviewing figures such as the late John McAfee, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak (twice in Beirut and Vienna), Kim Kardashian (once in Armenia), Amitabh Bachchan, Ghostface Killah, ZZ Top, Guns N’ Roses and many others.
He was previously a weekly tech columnist for Forbes in New York, the Telegraph in the UK and continues to write regularly for the BBC, The Economist, The FT and… City AM.