I know times are rough. I know everyone is looking to increase their net worth — perhaps for retirement, perhaps to buy a home, to finance education for their kids, the list goes on.
But whenever times are rough and people are looking for a financial edge, along come the scam artists. Snake oil, swamp land in Florida, phony hedge funds, Ponzi schemes— the list is legion. To my mind, people have become more and more sophisticated in developing scams as time goes on.
Whatever the scam, the idea is to come up with what is either a tangible or emotional product — one that costs little or nothing to create, and then get others to buy in and I reap the profit on the backs of others.
Schemes that don’t contain a truly tangible product are the best, for example— investment in a phony company that you buy shares in only to find out it was either was a paper company with no real assets, or one so oversold that could never reach the income level projected. Thus, what you paid for the shares can never be realized and the money was spent on the founders’ trips to a resort in Belize.
Another similar scheme is to come up with products that seem to have potential to rise in value and that will have huge popularity. In this case the story is true hype — the products don’t have any real value, but they appear to, thus buyers jump on the wagon, only to find out that what they thought had value was really valueless or was worth way under what one paid for it.
We can beat all the types of schemes to death, but the premise of all these scams is to get you to give people money with the hope that you’ll get a better return. The latest scheme is a twist off of the Bitcoin pitch — the NFT.
NFTs are best as a scheme because they are pure speculation. NFTs re a “non-fungible token”. “Non-fungible” means that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else. On the other side is a fungible token like a bitcoin — trade one bitcoin for another bitcoin, and you’ll have exactly the same thing.
A one-of-a-kind baseball trading card, however, is non-fungible. If you traded it for a different card, you’d have something completely different. “You gave up a one-off Louis Viton purse, and got a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner, which StadiumTalk…