On December 14, 2022, in Washington, DC, Ben McKenzie Schenkkan testifies before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs during a hearing on cryptocurrencies on Capitol Hill. Los Angeles Times/Kent Nishimura via Getty Images
Ben McKenzie, who is best known for his parts in hit TV shows like “The O.C.” and “Gotham,” has a goal. His objective? the challenging cryptocurrency market.
During the early stages of the pandemic, McKenzie began exploring the realm of cryptocurrency. He started reading about cryptocurrency out of curiosity when his TV production was put on hold and he had a lot of free time.
He became increasingly wary as he learnt more. He noticed parallels between the cryptocurrency enthusiasm and previous economic bubbles.
Despite having an economics degree, his background is in acting rather than finance.
But in 2021, as interest in cryptocurrencies and NFTs peaked in the US and around the world, McKenzie saw an opportunity to capitalize on his notoriety and establish himself as one of crypto’s most well-known detractors.
He understood the power of a fascinating story since he was a seasoned actor. He came to the conclusion that, like a Hollywood blockbuster, crypto was being promoted more for its story than for its actual content. “Crypto, at the end of the day, is just a story, or rather a collection of stories,” McKenzie said to CBS Mornings.
It was advertised as a way to increase wealth and democratize finance, but in McKenzie’s opinion, these claims were deceptive.
While telling his daughter a bedtime tale, McKenzie claimed to have experienced a sort of epiphany, as reported by The Guardian. McKenzie remarked, “I’d forgotten that the tailor’s trick is to appeal to ego and status worship.
The narrative was The Emperor’s New Clothes. That was McKenzie’s interpretation of the rapid increase of cryptocurrency in 2021 and the aggressive promotion and marketing strategies driving the spike.
McKenzie made a risky move as a result of his anti-crypto conviction. He essentially staked $250,000 that the cryptocurrency market would crash, according to The Guardian.
He wasn’t necessarily wrong, it turned out, but he misjudged the timing and suffered a significant loss that he would have to explain to his wife.
It was a costly lesson. But having the money to speculate with was a luxury. The marketing of this rubbish to people who cannot afford to lose their real money and the complicity of those who did it are what enrages me the most, said McKenzie.
Making Money From The Crypto Collapse
With her newly acquired knowledge and a sense of purpose, McKenzie began publishing articles in which she criticized celebrities who supported cryptocurrency businesses and cautioned readers about the dangers of investing in cryptocurrencies.
His appearance before the Senate Banking Committee in late 2022 marked the culmination of his efforts and marked an extraordinary turning point in his improbable career.
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 14: (L-R) American University Washington College of Law professor Hilary Allen,… [+] investor and television personality Kevin O’Leary, Jennifer Schulp, Director of Financial Regulation Studies at the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives of Cato Institute, and actor and author Ben McKenzie Schenkkan testify during a hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Cap and Trade on The subject of the committee’s hearing
“In my view, the bitcoin market is the biggest historical Ponzi scheme. In fact, when all is said and done, cryptocurrency may very well represent a scam that is at least ten times larger than Madoff.
We should all be concerned that it has drawn in hundreds of millions of people worldwide in addition to tens of millions of Americans from all walks of life, McKenzie stated.
In an interview with CBS Mornings, he stated, “The reason I used the term ‘Ponzie scheme’ in front of the Senate is that an investment strategy without value is a Ponzie scam.
That’s the definition, after all, and the Securities and Exchange Commission oversees Ponzi schemes.
From there, his momentum drove him to collaborate with writer Jacob Silverman to write the book “Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud”.
The book is marketed as a thorough examination of the development and demise of the bitcoin market.
The book is described by Kirkus Reviews as “A well-reasoned, occasionally shrill critique of the crypto universe.” The article notes, “Writing with financial journalist Silverman, McKenzie charges that because cryptocurrency behaves like a security, and an unregulated one at that, its price ‘jumps up and down like a rabbit on amphetamines.
Additionally, because it uses so much electricity to “mine,” the technology doesn’t scale well enough and it is surrounded by “fraudsters” and “con men.”
While McKenzie’s anti-crypto campaign is far from over, his journey from Hollywood to the center of the industry serves as a rallying cry for the community to fight back against these false narratives by being honest, open, and providing better information about decentralized finance and crypto’s expanded use in the finance sector.
On July 18, the book “Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud” will be released.