Categories
video games

Chess.com Becomes NFT Grifting Site

Users of the Chess.com were surprised today to find out that their previously played games could be minted on a blockchain as part of an NFT grift. Chess.com has an announcement about the scam, and the only way to opt-out of having previously played games minted is buried at the end of a support document linked from the announcement (that’s an archive.org link, the live page is here). According to the support page, users are required to contact Chess.com support to opt-out or their opponents can mint their games as NFTs. When I tried to opt-out just now for my Chess.com account, the button to “Contact Us” did not work in the Safari web browser, I had to use Vivaldi.

According to chess.com:

Treasure Chess is a place for chess and crypto fans to turn their games into unique “Treasures” to collect, share, trade, and sell. You can mint any of the games you played on Chess.com into a Treasure, which will then exist as an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) on the Polygon Network.

Any of these things could happen without engaging in cryptocurrency or NFT scams by using a technology invented decades ago called a database. By using a database you can also back up the system and protect against the scams and fraud which happen every day with cryptocurrency and NFTs.

The Chess.com support site says I’ll hear back in 1-2 business days about my request to opt-out of letting the games I played in the past become NFTs. I’ll be very surprised if they’re able to keep up with the volume of people opting out within that time frame. I didn’t play there much, but now I have no intention of ever playing a game using Chess.com again.

Categories
apple development

Homebrew Package Manager Founder Turns Crypto Grifter

There have been a variety of third-party command-line package management utilities for Mac computers that all really make the Mac’s terminal a good place to get things done with modern packages since Apple doesn’t provide a package management system for the command line like other Unixes do. MacPorts, Fink, and the newest and I think likely to be the most popular is HomeBrew. There are plenty more out there, but those are the ones I’ve used in the past. Some of these package managers can even run on top of other operating systems, HomeBrew can run inside of Windows 10 (and 11’s) Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

Max Howell was the original creator of HomeBrew and has now started a similar new project called Tea, announced with a blog post, Max calls Teabrew2” and points out the obvious problem of open source software projects not paying bills despite enormous companies relying on open source software and then turns that to Web3 (crypto currency grafting the web with the blockchain grift) as the solution:

While learning about web3 I bought and sold a few NFTs. The process was mostly uninteresting except for when I sold one and saw the automated, unavoidable 10% royalty enforced by a digital contract (with no need for a legal structure) that compensated the original creator for secondary sales. I felt the sting of inspiration.

web3 enables indirect compensation.

I wondered if we could apply this concept to helping distribute value to open source.

The Tea homepage claims that:

Like its predecessor, brew, tea is the base of the developer stack—seated beneath the tools that build the Internet.

This is a terrible mistake. Crypto currency grifters would no doubt love to turn desperate people like open source software developers into suckers to buy in so the grifters at the top of the pyramid can cash out. Fortunately, at least one member of the Homebrew team has indicated that Homebrew has no connection to this pyramid scheme. Hopefully Tea will fail to gain any traction after this initial round of 8 million dollars in the pump phase of the scam. The dump phase could be even sadder than open source developers getting screwed over by the companies that exploit their labor.

Note: All links in this post lead to archive.org so as not to encourage anyone to join the pyramid scheme that is Web3, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies. 

Categories
software

1Password Announces Cryptocurrency and NFT Heel Turn

1Password has been the password manager I’ve recommended to anyone who isn’t using one for years. It is relatively easy to use, seems reasonably secure, and available on most of the platforms you’d want it to be on. I won’t be recommending 1Password for much longer if AgileBits, the company behind 1Password, sticks with the plans that AgileBits’ Matt O’Leary announced support for today:

We’re making it easier for Phantom wallet owners to save their account password, secret recovery phrase, and wallet address in 1Password. Phantom is a digital wallet that lets you manage cryptocurrencies, tokens, and NFTs built on the Solana blockchain.
This is the first of many partnerships that we’ve been working on in the cryptocurrency space. It’s always been our goal to make it easier for everyone, regardless of their technological proficiency, to protect everything that’s important to them. And for an ever-growing group of people, everything includes digital assets.

[…]

Here at 1Password, we want to help secure everything that’s important to you, including your cryptocurrency wallets. We believe your keys and recovery phrases deserve the same level of protection as your credit and debit card numbers, medical records, and everything else you have stored inside 1Password.

Know someone who thinks crypto is too complicated or overwhelming? So do we. Most people don’t know what a recovery phrase is, or what will happen if they lose it. We know that getting started and securing your hard-earned investments should be simpler. That’s where 1Password comes in.

1Password has always been a place to store wallet addresses, private keys, and login credentials for cryptocurrency exchanges. But with the Save in 1Password button, it’s now easier than ever for Phantom wallet owners to gather and protect this information. We’ve also created a new item type for cryptocurrencies in 1Password, with clearly-labeled fields for everything you might want to store.

Let’s be clear: NFT’s and cryptocurrency are a grift that operate like pyramid schemes. They need fresh new buyers so that the people at the top of the pyramid can cash out. Once new users buy in they quickly become evangelists for the scheme because that is also the only way for them to cash out. Like regular capitalism, only accelerated to the point where there isn’t even the illusion of legitimacy and there is no purpose for these grifts except to provide a way to cash out for people higher up in the pyramid. Capitalism theoretically turns work into a roof over your head and food on a table. Cryptocurrencies and NFTs can’t pay rent or buy food, they have to be converted back into actual money which is going to be tough to do when the traded value of many cryptocurrencies have been tanking and will continue to be volatile and unreliable for everyone who is at the bottom and can’t afford to pump the market.

Even the ads during the Super Bowl didn’t help prop up the fraud to stop the slide and now that’s what AgileBits has decided to get behind. AgileBits are sinking their reputation alongside cryptocurrency grifters. There have already been other cuts that AgileBits have foisted upon their users like switching away from native applications to Electron web apps and pushing users towards toward subscriptions & AgileBits’ online password vault service instead of using another cloud file hosting provider. It seems like much of this is driven by the venture capital money that AgileBits took back in 2019 after operating for over a decade without giving up control of their business.

Support for grifts like cryptocurrencies and NFTs will likely be the final straw for my use of 1Password and I am going to stop recommending it if AgileBits don’t change course in response to the backlash they’re receiving.

Categories
software

“The entire crypto fantasy…” according to Jon von Tetzchner

The Co-Founder and CEO of the company behind the Vivaldi browser, Jon von Tetzchner, in a post on the Vivaldi blog:

The entire crypto fantasy is designed to lure you into a system that is extremely inefficient, consumes vast amounts of energy, uses large amounts of hardware that could better be spent doing something else and will quite often result in the average person losing any money they might put into it.

When you strip away the hype, these virtual currencies have very real repercussions for people, society, and the environment.  By creating our own cryptocurrency or supporting cryptocurrency-related features in the browser, we would be helping our users to participate in what is at best a gamble and at worst a scam. It would be unethical, plain and simple. 

We refuse to dress these scams up as opportunities. Instead, we encourage you to treat them with the skepticism they deserve. This may be a game for some curious crypto-investors and wealthy speculators, but for those unlucky enough to get caught out by the pyramid scheme, it could be devastating. 

You should read the full post for additional context, but there is a lot behind this blog post about Tetzchner and the Opera browser that Tetzchner also founded.

Tetzchner left Opera in 2011, the company behind Opera went on to not only fully embraced the crypto grift for years, including a crypto wallet in their browser they also got into, and I’m not joking, payday lending.

Opera subsidiary Opay has an usurious loan service called OKash that is for some reason still available in the Google Play store despite being banned from filing certain credit reports in Kenya for spamming the contact lists of borrowers who were unable to pay:

In recent months, for instance, consumers of mobile app Okash who delayed or defaulted on their loan repayments have had the unpleasant experience of having the service provider reach out to people in their contacts list in a bid to recover the funds.

“Hello, kindly inform XX to pay the Okash loan of Sh2,560 TODAY before we proceed and take legal action to retrieve the debt,” says a sample text message the service provider sends to people in one’s contact list. “We have tried calling in vain. This is the last reminder. Many thanks, Okash team.”

Opera’s disgustingly usurious subsidiary also used to have interest rates in the astronomical hundreds of percentages and short repayment periods, but they were forced to stop that by Google, supposedly.

There’s never been a better time to try out the Vivaldi browser. They probably won’t get involved in usury.