Resuscitate your Spotify Wrapped with these 5 podcast episodes

Get ready: Spotify Wrapped is just days away. 

We get it, your number-one artist is likely Taylor Swift, and your top track is probably that one song you don’t know the name of that you’ve been playing on repeat since you discovered it on TikTok this summer. 

Nothing wrong with being a Swiftie. But if you wanted to diversify a bit, good news — you have a week or two to turn that around.

Let’s take a look at five podcast episodes — all available on Spotify — from the Blockworks archives so you can show your friends you have range (and a bit of crypto know-how):

1. ‘Bombshell’ testimony and ‘hard to watch’ cross-examinations: A firsthand account of the SBF trial

Blockworks reporter Casey Wagner appeared on the Empire podcast to discuss her time covering Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial in New York. (Yes, your friends will say, “Oooh, they like true crime!”)

Sure, the trial has come and gone. And yes, we all know the outcome. Spoiler alert: SBF is guilty.

But Wagner offers up an in-person perspective, which is highly unusual for crypto reporting. In an industry where most news gathering is done through a computer screen, the trial was an opportunity for color and character where often there is none.

She shares tales of jurors too sleepy to be bothered, the occasional collapse of Barbara Fried’s typical stony composure, and of the defense’s painful cross-examinations and frantic binder flipping.

This interview was released after the first week or so of the trial. Much of Wagner’s conjecture holds up to the test of the time.

“It’s looking bad for Sam,” Wagner said.

It’s almost as if she had a crystal ball

2. Solana ‘roast’ reveals painful truths

Throw some logs on the fire, and pass the bag of Jet-puffed: It’s time for a roast. (Your friends will say, “Oooh! They like respectful debate!”)

In this episode of Lightspeed, Superteam founding member Kash Dhanda and Framework Ventures principal Brandon Potts offered up their critiques of the Solana ecosystem — no holds barred.

Dhanda picks on Solana’s civil war — an “annoying and unnecessary” conflict between the ecosystem’s diehard builder types and the Web3 NFT folks.

“There are these two groups that don’t seem to talk that much, and they actually seem to not think very highly of each other.”

(Solana is not only fighting internally: The monolithic vs. modular blockchain dispute recently reared its head again.)

Another pet peeve of Dhanda’s: They may be divided, but the Solana community has a shared “culture of  entitlement.” 

Just because you survived the bear market doesn’t mean you deserve a gold medal, he said.

3. Crypto crackdown got you down? Historian Rosenthal says we’ll ‘get it right’ — eventually

History is doomed to repeat itself. 

Josh Rosenthal, historian and co-founder of The 6ixth Event, said on the Empire podcast that crypto has found itself in one of those repetitive narratives. (Your friends will say, “Oooh! They’re interested in history!”)

When limited liability companies first hit the scene in the early 1900s, Rosenthal said they were perceived as great evils that would be “the end of economics,” that would “undo the Renaissance,” and destroy “the spirit of capitalism.”

Lo and behold, the LLC would bring about the beginning of the American financial system as we know it today.

But the US government’s first reaction to the LCC? Ban it.

A similar situation is unfolding now — over a century later — with crypto. 

If you’re interested in financial history, listen to this episode. If you’re not interested in financial history, well, you should still listen to this episode.

4. Reaching a billion users is ‘the wrong goal’ for crypto, says former Tinder VP

Forget the next billion users. We need to focus on usability, Jeff Morris Jr. said on the Lightspeed podcast. (Your friends will say, “Oooh! They like smart commentary from business execs!”)

The former vice president of product and revenue at Tinder says “the benefit of Web3 is — everything is very monetizable. It’s one of the reasons why I actually think the space is really interesting as an investor.”

But before we bring more people into the space, he argues Web3 needs to improve the quality and ease of user experience.

Morris gives as an example. To most crypto-native users, the social media app is fairly accessible, he said. But what would users unfamiliar with Web3 have to say about the app? 

“We have a long way to go.” 

5. Proving ‘humanness’ is no easy task on the internet

This will lead to an immediate “Oooh! They’re plugged into the AI debate.”

On this episode of Empire, Worldcoin co-founder Alex Blania (yes, that Worldcoin) talks about increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence and the problems that arise from such developments.

Read more: Worldcoin hackable by cutting off someone’s face, draping it over your own

If computers are getting better and better at behaving like humans, how do we prove that we’re human? 

Worldcoin’s proposed solution? The iris-scanning Orb, of course.

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Gifts for the crypto lovers in your life (that aren’t NFTs)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — that “wonderful” misery you find yourself in as you frantically brainstorm thoughtful gifts for everyone in your life.

At least one of those people is into crypto (that’s why you clicked on this article, after all).

Maybe you have no idea where to start (“What is this bitcoin thing, anyway?”). Maybe you’ve already thought of the usual suspects: a hardware wallet (smart, but overdone), $25 worth of a random token sent to their wallet (well intentioned, but lazy and uninspired — the crypto version of a gift card), and an NFT (okay, but you’ll get decision fatigue from picking which one).

Either way, I’ve come up with a handful of options that are sure to bring a smile to their face, even if the markets take a tumble.

For the aspiring real estate mogul: 

Perusing Zillow used to be entertaining. But peeking at property prices these days has me weeping while I write another rent check (yes, a check). Instead of buying real property, give your loved one the gift of virtual real estate. Get them in on the ground floor of metaverse development. It’s more original than an acre on the moon, and at the very least it’ll probably be a first at your family festivities.

For the person who read every word of Blockworks’ SBF trial coverage:

They followed Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial from afar. Now, give them a piece of the action. Plane tickets to New York City and a few nights at a hotel are all they need to attend his sentencing hearing currently scheduled to start March 28, 2024.

(You might also need to gift a sleeping bag or collapsible lawn chair so they’re cozy and comfortable while they wait for a seat in the courtroom at 3 am.)

For the one that takes musical theater a little too seriously:

Speaking of New York, take your friend or family member to Broadway for the world’s first musical all about crypto. Rather originally dubbed “Crypto: The Musical,” the show is described as having “the comedy of Book of Mormon, the heart of Legally Blonde, the realism of Hamilton.” A tall order.

For the low, low price of $1,000 in USDC or USDT, you too can reserve 1 VIP ticket. The troupe is planning to make its Broadway debut in the spring of 2024.

For the one decorating for the holidays on Nov. 1:

This bitcoin ornament will help their tree sparkle a bit brighter for years to come.

For the self care-obsessed:

They’ve probably been to a spa before, but have they been to a day spa powered by Bitcoin

Bathhouse, located in Brooklyn, regulates the temperature of its thermal pools with byproduct heat from bitcoin miners. A day pass is $45-$70 and includes access to multiple Bitcoin-heated pools, saunas, steam rooms and a heated hammam. They also offer massage services.

Few things are better than unwinding in a vat of bitcoin juice.

For the page turner:

Skeptic musings, historical takes on SBF, and crypto smut: You’ve got plenty of options to choose from. The highlights:

  • Zeke Faux’s Number Go Up. An investigative reporter’s take on crypto. A skeptic of the crypto space, Faux starts the book off: “From the beginning, I thought that crypto was pretty dumb. And it turned out to be even dumber than I imagined.” Our opinion editor couldn’t put it down.
  • How the FTX Bankruptcy Unwound Crypto’s Very Bad Good Guy, by Brady Dale. A crypto history, focused on the tale of Sam Bankman-Fried prolific rise to Bahamas-penthouse stardom and subsequent tumble to despised industry villain. 
  • Going Infinite. Yet another postmortem of the FTX catastrophe, albeit one much more favorable to Bankman-Fried. Our opinion editor had some choice words for Michael Lewis’ SBF bootlicker prose.
  • My First Crypto Sex Party. Yes, the crypto erotica crossover your gift recipient has been waiting for. I would imagine the audience for this 27 page-book by Honey Justine is pretty limited, but who am I to judge? 

For the HODLrs who wants to evolve into their final form:

Can you imagine unwrapping anything more exciting than a subscription to Blockworks Research? (I’m a company woman, what can I say?) For the day traders of crypto, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Access to in-depth reports written by some of the brightest minds in crypto? Sign me up!

For your buddy who’s iced up: 

Diamonds are a degen’s best friend. There’s no shortage of crypto inspired jewelry out there, but this Crypto Punk necklace is a not-so-subtle nod to their fat bag and Web3 interests. (There’s also a cubic zirconia option if you’re looking for something a bit cheaper — no judgment, this cycle has been hard on all of us.)

For your friend at the office:

Socks. A tried and true classic. A little impersonal, but can you really go wrong with Ethereum socks? Nothing wrong with sticking to the basics.

Alternatively, give them SOCKS, an ERC-20 token that can be burnt to redeem an actual pair of socks. Only 315 SOCKS are still in circulation, going for a mere $35,000 a pair — you could give them the rarest (and most expensive) pair of socks they’ll ever own.

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Do you bleed enough BTC to pay $55 for Brooklyn’s bitcoin spa?

Forget caffeine, tobacco and any other stimulants the normies might be into. Nothing gets you going like the thrill of the shill. You’re not a whale, but you aspire to be. Your free time is spent instigating fights with ETH maxis on Crypto Twitter and praying the bottom is in. You bleed bitcoin.

And now you can level up your passion for the space and take a dip in water that, as far as I’m concerned, is from the Fountain of Youth: Bath water warmed by the blood, sweat and tears of hard-working bitcoin miners.

Oh no, this is no joke. Bathhouse in Brooklyn (a bathhouse in Brooklyn) is keeping its pools nice and toasty thanks to its bitcoin mining operation. 

Heat is a byproduct of the computing power required to mine bitcoin. The spa uses heat exchangers to transfer the heat from their ASICs to the water, according to Bathhouse. As water cools, it is circulated back to the miners to be warmed up again. Recycling at its finest.

The spa shared details of its joint mining-heating operation on social media this week, and some of their patrons were less than enthused, calling the project “unhinged,” “off-putting” and “so cringe.”

To be frank, get rekt. It’s bitcoin juice. If I lived in New York, I’d buy the $55 day pass just to drink the stuff. It’s just as silly to spend time worrying about these miners’ environmental and financial impact as it is to heat your pools with bitcoin in the first place.

But heating pools in Brooklyn isn’t the only way to make full use of your miners. Not everyone is a big public pool person, but the opportunities to maximize your miners’ true potential are only limited by the scope of your creativity. 

White noise machine — Having trouble sleeping? Look no further than the trusty Antminer. The incessant squeaking from a nearby train yard has me tossing and turning all night. I could run a rig on my bedside table, right next to my casual bedtime read — War and Peace. The constant din would give me some of the deepest REM cycles of my life.

I’d also imagine that a miner will work wonders lulling your fussy infant to sleep. Added benefit: The mechanical vibes will be right at home in the ever-popular cyberpunk-themed nursery.

Your favorite veggies, year round — Set up a few miners in your greenhouse, and the heat thrown by these suckers could take your little radishes to new heights. Your neighbors will start asking for your secret, and you can tell them the truth: “A little satoshi here, a little bitcoin there.”

Air Bitcoin — You’re reclined in first class, sipping on a glass of champagne. The plane engine, albeit loud, is moving you along at 500 miles an hour. You’re pondering your in-flight movie options. Should you go with a classic? They do have your favorite, the 2004 smash hit Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2. The person assigned to the seat next to you never showed up, and you have all the legroom you could want. 

Someone gently taps you on the shoulder, must be the flight attendant. You slide the silky face mask off of your eyes, and surprise! You’re not going to Bali. You’re in your living room, sitting in a lawn chair, clutching a sweating bottle of Miller Lite. The calming hum of the airplane you were enjoying just moments ago? Mining rigs, making your in-flight fantasies a reality.

No-no Ma — Tired of your neighbor kid practicing Für Elise on the cello? Point a couple of miners in the right direction, and show that kid who’s the real neighborhood noisemaker.

A quick list, but talk about real-world use cases! I’m starting to think you could use the heat to power an at-home foot spa. Frying an egg is a solid option, albeit uninspired. Maybe I’ll try jumping rope with the extra long cables? Through bitcoin, all things are possible.

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