Even if you’re not deeply involved in the world of Cryptocurrency, you have likely encourtered James Altucher through his ubiquitous online banner ads or wide-ranging media presence. Maybe you’ve stumbled across his podcast or one of his many books. Maybe you’ve seen a few of his “inspirational” quotes (e.g. “Being fearless precisely when you are most scared is the best hack” or “The choices you make today will be your biography tomorrow”) that seem to blanket the prominent social media sites.
A self-proclaimed "crypto-genius" who has been described as “the face of “Bitcoin,” Altucher encourages his followers to invest in cryptocurrencies and risky small-cap stocks. And he certainly didn’t deviate from this standard message during a recent debate in a New York City comedy club.
In the eyes of many, this club was an ideal venue for a debate that might be readily labeled as a comedic farce. As Wired contributor Erin Griffith put it, the debate topic (Is gold or Bitcoin the better investment?) simply offered Altucher and his “opponent” James Rickards an opportunity to hook more poor souls in search of a quick buck. Griffith goes on to question Altucher’s carefully cultivated appearance and slick, catchphrase-laden pitches, adding “tonight, it’s just a room full of New Yorkers, but online the supply of suckers is infinite.
In fact, Altucher and Rickards agree with one another shortly after taking the stage: Both paper money and banks are universally bad, and alternative investments are certainly worth their considerable risk. Calling economics “boring” and technology “even worse,” Altucher was light on facts during the debate but, in Griffith’s opinion, heavy on buzzwords that connect to pat narrative arcs and get-rich-quick schemes.
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