PJ Vogt has been following Bitcoin (BTC -5.00%) since it was worth $10. He didn’t buy in then but is more than happy to keep following the story. Vogt is the host of the new limited-series podcast Crypto Island. Before that, you may have heard his voice on Reply All.

Motley Fool producer Ricky Mulvey caught up with him to discuss:

  • The recent crash in crypto.
  • What the “financialized version of the internet” can tell us about people.
  • What happens when internet strangers try to operate a McDonald’s (MCD -1.55%).

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool’s free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on June 12, 2022. 

PJ Vogt: But you had all these people who were saying, on some level, don’t trust the existing financial system, don’t invest your money there, put it here. Then, wandering the floor, just talking to conference-goers, it really felt like people were there because of FOMO. People were there because they felt like they’d been dealt a bad hand in the American economy. I think they understand they’re at a casino, but they don’t feel like this casino is rigged, they think they have a chance in that.

Chris Hill: I’m Chris Hill and that was PJ Vogt, describing his time at a bitcoin convention. Vogt is the host of the limited series podcast Crypto Island. Before that, you may have heard him on the podcast Reply All. He’s been someone who can help make sense of things on the Internet that is a little bit outside the mainstream. Ricky Mulvey caught up with him to talk about the recent crash in crypto, understanding Bitcoin’s true believers, and what happened to when Internet strangers tried to operate a McDonald’s.

Ricky Mulvey: Hey, Fools. I’m Ricky Mulvey, a producer for Motley Fool Money. Joining me today is PJ Vogt. He’s a host of Crypto Island, a limited podcast series about crypto. He’s doing shoe-leather reporting on crypto Web3 in for me a way that’s refreshing. Welcome to the show, PJ.

PJ Vogt: Thanks for having me.

Ricky Mulvey: For the uninitiated, what do you think the story of crypto has been for the past six months or so?

PJ Vogt: My limited series has basically started over the last six months which has been a very interesting time in crypto. When I got in as a reporter, it was a bull market. I like to cover both the sceptics of crypto and the evangelist. The evangelist were maintaining huge amounts of money. The sceptics were saying it was going to crash. The place where a lot of the money was coming in was this new stablecoin called Terra, and its twin currency, LUNA, which I can already feel the jargon pile up. But basically, they are a new cryptocurrency. People are making money on it, lots of money. Then, in the last month that cryptocurrency exploded, taking tons of value out of crypto, making a lot of people experience pretty a significant bear market. Now, the story of crypto has been people preparing once again for what they call a crypto winter where prices will be down for a long time, and a lot of people probably leave.

Ricky Mulvey: Let’s talk a little bit about Terra and LUNA, specifically its founder, Do Kwon. The idea was that you had this coin that was going to be easy to transact because it was backed by an algorithm, but it got caught with its pants down because it didn’t have the assets necessary to back it up. If you had more money, you were able to take down the stablecoin if you will.

PJ Vogt: Yeah. Crypto folks are really into this idea of stablecoins, which are basically the price of different cryptocurrencies that seem to be incredibly volatile, which makes it interesting for people to trade, and makes it difficult for people to actually transact with. Rather than holding the money, they want to later trade in dollars, a lot of them want to hold them in cryptocurrencies that are designed to equal usually one US dollar per coin. One way you can do that is by collateralizing it, which they are both coins that do that. They’re coins that claim to do that. People have questions about whether they’re actually collateralized. Algorithmic stable coin, the idea is, it’s supposed to always be worth a dollar, but it doesn’t have traditional assets collateralizing it. In this case, instead, it was like, hey, we have this stable coin, a type of money we’ve invented, and the thing that is going to back its value is another cryptocurrency that we have also invented.

Surprisingly, it did work for a while, and I do want to say, there are lots of things in crypto that sound a little bit ludicrous in function, and so I think for a lot of people, it’s interesting. There are people in the space, legitimate respected people who were pointing it they’re subtly and not so subtly and saying that Jenga tower is very wobbly. But I think that for a lot of people it’s like, well, it’s working, maybe it’ll keep working. It has stopped working. It stopped working very suddenly. The founder of the coin is this guy Do Kwon, who I’ve written this story about, he’s like if Elon Musk was less polite on Twitter, he’s constantly fighting with people. He’s constantly explaining that anyone who doubted his coin was an idiot, that they hadn’t done their research, they should have fun staying poor, and so part of what I find interesting about crypto. What’s interesting about the fall of this currency is that these are real stories about people, and in this case, I think it was a complicated financial instrument. A lot of people who were participating didn’t really understand it. But they think they had faith in this person and his confidence, and it turns out that faith was misplaced.

Ricky Mulvey: That does seem to be one of the driving themes of crypto. It’s just like if I don’t understand this, I’m stupid, and if you’re not investing in it, then you are dumb. But if you are investing in it, then you’re smart and you see the future.

PJ Vogt: My thing is like, I just have a hard time with anyone who comes out too hard on any side, so I would say there’s certainly a large and loud group of people online who are like, this is smart, this is the future, if you don’t understand it, you’re missing out on a chance to be very wealthy. There are also people who are happy to tell you you’re an idiot if you participated in it at all, or if you have any curiosity or you think there’s any value there. What I like about crypto, honestly, as a person who’s spent a lot of time reporting on the Internet is, that this is a place where all these arguments people are making, some of them actually get settled.

For instance, there was this investor analyst guy who went on a podcast and said that he thought that Terra and LUNA were great investments, that they were reasonably risk-free, and that it made sense for people to put a lot of money there. That turned out to be bad advice. Crypto Twitter has been having a field day just like playing those clips with classical music underneath, putting the clips on a chart of the price to show exactly when you said that, exactly when it dips. To me there is actually something refreshing about a world where sometimes, unlike most places on the Internet where people argue but you never really get closure, there’s a bit of closure in crypto, in terms of how these bets get settled.

Ricky Mulvey: That makes sense. I know you’re following this as a reporter, but do you personally invest in any cryptocurrency, NFT, and that sort of thing?

PJ Vogt: I don’t. I’m actually working on an episode about the ethics of it because the ethics are entertainingly complex. There are people in crypto who say, if you’re not even investing a little bit, you won’t understand these products. Because it’s a financialized version of the Internet, not investing or owning crypto is similar to not using Facebook but reporting on Facebook. Similarly, there are people who are like if you own any of it, it’ll corrupt you terribly. I’ve found so far that I think I cannot own it and understand it pretty well. I want to approach it with an open mind, and I feel like if I own it, I need to disclose it. If I tell people I own this stuff, and I’m open-minded about it, they could see it as that I’d be compromised, and so I feel like for me the best choice has been not investing.

Ricky Mulvey: Makes it easier as a reporter.

PJ Vogt: Yeah.

Ricky Mulvey: When you started your journey, you began with more of an idea than a place of the actual idea of Crypto Island. You can probably set this up better than me, but essentially it was this 10-minute or so animated video that was about building a private island retreat for cryptocurrency investors. It was an investment group that maybe had run some scams in the past and that had planned on buying a private island. We have a little bit of a clip describing it.

MALE_1: We organize a number of different crypto conferences and meet-ups year-round. Lots of crypto VIP is coming tomorrow. You can feel the entrepreneurial spirit here. You can work, get coffee, and when you get stressed you can hit up the de-stress room.

MALE_2: The de-stress room?

MALE_1: Yeah. The de-stress room.

MALE_2: A pool full of cars? That’s insane.

MALE_1: Don’t be shy. Go ahead and try. Everybody loves it. [laughs] If you like this just wait [laughs] until you see what’s next.

PJ Vogt: This is a lunatic video. [laughs]

Ricky Mulvey: I was going to say they set it up a little bit. I should probably said there are two characters speaking in that. There is a cryptocurrency investor who has bought a plot of land in this island and there’s also Connie the coin who is leading him along showing him the different retreats and the Scrooge McDuck-like de-stress room where you can jump into a pile of money.

PJ Vogt: Yes, it’s talking anthropomorphic, weirdly lascivious coin who is explaining to this person why they should absolutely want to live on essentially a desert island with other people who also fervently believe in crypto. I saw this video and just felt like I get a lot of joy out of bizarre, ludicrous Internet ephemera, the same as anybody else I guess. But this one I would just really felt like it was so clearly aimed. It was like watching a commercial for a product that not only would you never want to buy, you could never imagine anyone else who wanted to buy it. Even the people I know who invest in crypto don’t want to live on an island only with people who invest in crypto.

But it was so self-confident in its pitch and so dense in its jargon. I felt both like it was funny but also I really wanted to understand it. Then I launched my series with a little prologue about that video because I thought it was emblematic of something that I see happen with crypto a lot, which is that someone tries to do something relatively goofy. The crypto community thinks it’s goofy. But when those stories hit the mainstream they get treated as like this is what these guys think. This is what these guys believe. This is the future these guys want. I don’t think that most crypto people want to live on a desert island. I think every six months for whatever reason, someone tries to create a business plan, [laughs] whether that will work but I don’t think they want that. But it really made me want to know what do these people want? Why besides the desire to get rich, what is this movement technology moment really about?

Ricky Mulvey: It’s so easy to dunk on the video, and there was a part where it seems the animation budget went out.

PJ Vogt: Yes. [laughs]

Ricky Mulvey: There’s like an arcade/casino which does strike me as a pretty, not unfair representation of crypto. They actually had to put in footage of an actual pinball machine.

PJ Vogt: You can see exactly where they run out of money [laughs] in this insane animation project.

Ricky Mulvey: But I think it’s difficult too because there’s a part of my brain that goes people spend I think it was $500 million on virtual real estate in 2021 which are these just like, it would be like an apartment you found in Grand Theft Auto that you trade cryptocurrency for and people spend $500 million on that. That’s cool but crypto land or crypto island is a step too far.

PJ Vogt: Yes, I know what you mean. It’s interesting like one thing that I spoke to somebody pretty early on who said to me most of the critiques you would have at crypto. There are people in crypto with those critiques. It’s actually a pretty tribal world and so, for instance, there are lots of people who are like digital land doesn’t make sense, NFTs don’t make sense, this is crazy, but you should buy Bitcoin or whatever they think. I don’t know. I genuinely, a part of me, believe that a huge part of this is certainly just pure speculation and people thinking if I buy it for this I can sell it for that, and sometimes being right.

Part of it, another way of how to explain to me is you can think about this moment as the dotcom boom. But instead of betting on companies people are betting on protocols. People are saying the bet between say like Ethereum and Bitcoin or Solana is like betting on JavaScript versus I don’t know what’s opposed to JavaScript. [laughs] People saying like I think this architecture is what will survive and so I want to put my money on it. But what’s interesting about it and what we can’t know is nobody was betting on protocols. What is complicated here is that you have speculation in front of usefulness, and while there are some things that are useful, just the pure casinos of it makes you feel dizzy, honestly.

Ricky Mulvey: In the classic investor point of view is how can you invest in something that doesn’t generate cash flow and therefore it is not a stock bond. That’s where the comparison breaks down, and it’s a very important place for that comparison could breakdown.

PJ Vogt: Yes, I don’t know what you call it. Investment doesn’t necessarily feel like the word, gambling also doesn’t necessarily feel like the word. I read a great piece I thought by, you know Tyler Cowen?

Ricky Mulvey: I do not.

PJ Vogt: He’s an economist. I think he still has a blog called Marginal Revolution. But just a very eclectic thinker. He just looks at stuff from a slightly different angle. He wrote a piece for Bloomberg last week where he said that he thought that the appeal for investors in cryptocurrency they were not investing despite the volatility, they were investing because of it. I guess as I say it sounds obvious, but I think there are some people who buy it because they really have this political idea that the world should be different.

The world will be different whenever one is using Bitcoin or selling each other NFTs or whatever, and they just want to usher in whatever future they see. I think there are other people who are just like the stock market. There is one school of thinking that I always understood which has said if you have any money you put it in an index fund and you leave it alone. There’s another school of thinking which is like what if I buy an obscure cryptocurrency and Elon Musk plugs on Saturday Live and all of a sudden it goes to the moon? You don’t have the risk profile for these trades, but I have friends who do and I understand why they enjoy that. They tend to lose money. [laughs]

Ricky Mulvey: I think that’s an important note. [laughs] Sorry, I listened to your reply on an episode back in 2018, you guys did one called the Bitcoin Hunter. Essentially, it now feels like quaint and fun which was this idea that like, hey, this reporter had tried to buy drugs on the Internet years ago. Though she had some change in this Bitcoin wallet and now it would have been worth a lot of money. I’ll spoil if that’s OK but [inaudible 00:15:11]

PJ Vogt: That’s completely fine.

Ricky Mulvey: It’s not.

PJ Vogt: Yeah, she thought she had more pocket change than she did.

Ricky Mulvey: Now it feels like Bitcoin, crypto it was more fun and now it just seems significantly more serious and divisive. Have you seen the landscape shift in that way in your years of covering?

PJ Vogt: Absolutely. I’m not exactly sure. I can give you theories about why. But yeah, I think cryptocurrency, like almost everything else in America, whether it’s something, I’m not even getting any examples. Everything in America becomes a culture war. Every single [laughs] thing in America. Some things that are really important, I think to their detriment become culture war items, and some things that feel a little bit trivial become culture war items. I think I would put cryptocurrency, not that its impacts is necessarily going to be trivial. I don’t know.

But the idea that part of how you decide what kind of person you are is what your stances toward decentralized Internet [laughs] I think feels a little bit silly to me, but it definitely is happening. Part of why I think it’s so interesting to think about is there’s one way you could look at crypto and you could say, well, the idea of generating lots of wealth in a way that is hard for the government to tax, it’s a libertarian idea, it’s a conservative idea. I went to this Bitcoin conference where Peter Thiel was talking.

There is a way where that makes sense. You could be like, this is like a right-wing thing. But crypto is also about giving people like sex workers and drug dealers a way to transact outside the government. It’s also about people who don’t believe in institutions, which is a lot of Americans for a lot of different reasons. I’ve been surprised. As much as crypto itself is divisive and some people don’t like it because of what it represents to them, inside of crypto, I found a greater diversity of opinion and beliefs than I really would’ve expected. Which I think is part of why I find myself sticking around as a reporter. Just that question of what do people want out of this turns out to be super complicated.

Ricky Mulvey: I think FOMO, I would add to the list of one of the reasons people are interested in it.

PJ Vogt: Yes.

Ricky Mulvey: When you’re reporting at Bitcoin Miami, listening to the interviews, do you think that was one of the driving forces of the people you’re speaking with, were there stories where, hey, I sold Bitcoin back in 2011 and that could have been hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars that I could have now.

PJ Vogt: I think it’s a huge part. I think it’s also, I mean, actually to go back to your earlier question about why is this divisive, there are political reasons. I think FOMO is a huge driver for why people get in. I think weirdly FOMO is a driver for why people stay out. I know personally, I’ve been covering the Internet since 2009 basically. Bitcoin was on my radar. Bitcoin at $10 was on my radar, Bitcoin at $100 [laughs] was on my radar, and Bitcoin at $65,000 was on my radar. That’s why I think at a certain point, not only might you find the environmental effects of it troubling or the [inaudible 00:18:26] annoying. Something like an investment you didn’t make or a road you didn’t go down. I think FOMO is some of the things I forget to talk about because it’s so at the core of what drives crypto. Everybody I talked to in this space, it’s like one of the quickest ways to have a conversation is to just say, what was the worst trade you made? Then people lost millions of dollars or made it but held onto it for too long. The rollercoaster of it is thrilling to watch and would be terrible to participate in.

Ricky Mulvey: The culture around Bitcoin is particularly interesting to me. I think it was really well displayed in your Bitcoin Miami episode. It’s called Genesis. Let’s play a clip of your time at Bitcoin Miami, specifically at this music festival that is dedicated to money.

PJ Vogt: “Walk-in for the last day of the Bitcoin conference. It turned it into a music festival against everyone’s better judgment. Outside on the big lawn, warmongering and crypto shilling have given way to a music festival. Steve Aoki is playing later, but first, several hours of warm-ups. I’m seeing the most motionless music festival I’ve ever seen in my life. Somebody’s DJing. A white guy in a white t-shirt sitting on stage and no one is moving. They’re just some people sitting, and one woman. They’ve found one woman dancing and they’ve immediately put on the jumbotron. Because she’s a miracle.” Yeah, there’s a whole culture around it. [laughs]

Ricky Mulvey: But it’s not necessarily a rich culture.

PJ Vogt: No, I mean, it’s interesting. How do I put this? Well, first of all I should say, Bitcoin within crypto is very much its own thing. I think a lot of the critiques that people have of crypto or crypto bros. Well, I think crypto is complicated and Bitcoin is complicated. I think you find more of that in Bitcoin. It is like libertarians preparing for the end of the world. It’s just the hardcore, it’s the fundamentalist. It’s so weird being there because it’s like they are trying to definitely build a culture around money. But, how do you do that? It’s not like you would have Woodstock for the US dollar. It’s not like everybody would gather to discuss the dollar or have a party for the dollar. When they do, it’s interesting. The music element of it, not great.

There are no bitcoin comedians. There was an art gallery of some very interesting [laughs] Bitcoin art. It’s a mix of some pretty paintings, like the Bitcoin symbol. Then the most esoteric Internet conspiracy portraits I’ve ever seen, where it’s Marina Abramovic and Dave Chappelle conspiring together to bring about the new world order or whatever. It was very interesting. But yeah, it’s funny who it unites. It’s funny for me what was so interesting about that conference was, on stage you had Peter Thiel, who is one of the most powerful right wing funders in American politics. But also Serena Williams who was there telling people to invest. You had athletes, but you had all these people who were saying, on some level, don’t trust the existing financial system. Don’t invest your money there. Put it here. Then wandering the floor just talking with the conference goers, it really felt like people were there because of FOMO. People were there because they felt like they’d been a bad hand in the American economy. I think they understand they’re at a casino, but they don’t feel like this casino is rigged. They think they have a chance to that.

Ricky Mulvey: I think it is important to note that a lot of those celebrities have been noticeably quiet lately.

PJ Vogt: Yeah, there was actually a great times profile where, during the Super Bowl, there was all this advertising for crypto and all these celebrities in a very explicit way saying, not just visiting, you can investigate, but essentially the message was, you’re stupid if you’re not doing this. There are tons of first names I’m forgetting, he just called a bunch of those celebrities [inaudible 00:22:39] [laughs] None of them seem to want to talk.

Ricky Mulvey: Covering the Internet culture, I think one of the main drivers in the interest here too is this real need for community, which in my mind is impossible to create as long as generational wealth creation is at the forefront of what you want.

PJ Vogt: Yes.

Ricky Mulvey: I mean, in your reporting, have you been seeing people creating genuine connections in crypto and Web3? Listening to your series, there was a DAO setup to buy the constitution. That’s like a decentralized autonomous organization. It seems that in that scenario, people can create these genuine connections, but it’s hard otherwise.

PJ Vogt: Yeah. I mean, it’s tricky. People in crypto use the word community a lot. Oftentimes, it is when someone is trying to convince someone else to give them money. I think anywhere online when you hear that word, it should just alert you that something might be going on. That said, I do think there’s a lot of community in crypto. I think some of those communities are predatory. People being scammed, people being tricked, people following each other in bad directions. I think some of it is not. The places where I see where I think it does seem, for lack of a less judgmental word, a healthy community, most of people deciding where they will send their money in crypto, the people who seem to be doing it successfully there’s a lot of back-channel talking.

There’s a lot of Discords, there’s a lot of Telegram groups, there’s a lot of, I guess probably the way people trade stocks, I don’t do that either. But it’s a lot of like, well, my friend’s dad says this and blah-blah-blah. [laughs] That seems to happen and for some people, it seems to work. Then the other place is just, with the story of the constitution DAO where, like you said, these people had basically formed, it’s almost a temporary corporation that raises money and then the members get to vote on how the money is spent. They wanted to buy a copy of the Constitution. There’s ways in which I think crypto allows strangers to raise and direct money to affect things.

So far, the most successful ways they’ve done that have been jokes. Wouldn’t it be funny if? I don’t think it’s crazy to imagine that the next round of that might be more serious. To me, that looks like a community. The last thing to say about crypto and community is, that it’s one of the first places for me personally. I’ve been online in a while where a lot of the people with tons of power and money are pseudonymous; they have aliases. You know their reputation but you don’t know their real name. I don’t have a strong opinion about whether that is good or bad. I think you could argue it either way. But it’s just interesting. One of the big crypto Twitter accounts, I think it’s called BoredElonMusk, but it started out as an ElonMusk parody account, now it has I think half-million followers. The person seems to be pretty invested [laughs] in the space as an investor. It’s just interesting watching some CEO of a crypto company get into an argument with someone like a Guy Fawkes mask or whatever that everyone’s taking relatively seriously.

Ricky Mulvey: It’s incredible. I think there’s a certain amount of delight in seeing what happens when the Internet is allowed to build communities with money. Sometimes it’s high-stakes buying the US Constitution. Sometimes it’s a little bit more on the surface practical. You were turned into a Discord where there’s a gentleman, a few investors were pitching this fast-food franchise, and then they opened it up to a Q&A, and you had a great clip from a guy named Andy.

Andy: “Yeah. What other plans do you guys get for the future? What about some wild stuff like making it free or hiring ex-felons and such? Just to do a one-sentence shill, my idea is for a free restaurant via some art that’s going to have crazy models in it and illustrations and stuff. I’d like to help you all and then you release certainly and appropriately shelf reminds you as we go. Thank you.”

PJ Vogt: I can walk you through. [laughs] It’s amazing. [laughs] They’re having their fund-raising crypto because they think it would be a funny idea to get strangers Internet money and buy up a bunch of local fast food franchises like buy a single McDonald’s in Brooklyn and have it be run by Internet vote. That’s what they’re trying to do. They’re having to do an open Q&A [laughs] with their possible investors who were just random people, and this guy’s suggestion was that they should make the restaurant they buy free. They should staff it with, initially he says felons and then he changes it to ex-felons. I think he’s saying not people who are in jail [laughs] right now.

Which I say is really great. I agree with that. Then he says very bizarrely that the restaurants should be funded by pictures of models on the wall, which does not make sense, and it’s unclear if he means swimsuit models or a mathematical diagram of a rhombus. But in the real world, a person who is making a suggestion that is that unusual is not invited to the investor’s meeting. But in the crypto world, they are, and they have to be treated a little seriously because you need to get everybody on board with the project. Just as somebody who’s a student of democracy and the Internet and how much of a joyful mass those things are when they’re knocked into each other, I think moments like that are part of why I really enjoyed reporting on the space. That token, by the way, the friesDAO token is one of the few things that survived the crash [laughs] yet it’s doing really well.

Ricky Mulvey: It’s doing OK?

PJ Vogt: They’ve been doing fine. [laughs]

Ricky Mulvey: I mean, it’s something that will generate cash flow, which is a fast food restaurant, but it also strikes me is, they talk about how you need outsiders essentially to run the day-to-day operations and that is more of a backseat, and then at that point, why not just buy stock in McDonald’s or any other franchise, fast food restaurants?

PJ Vogt: There’s a lot of that in crypto where you’re like, yes, you could do this this way, but why wouldn’t you do it the traditional way? Sometimes they have a good answer, sometimes they don’t. I think sometimes the answer is, well, we think it’s more interesting to do it this way and will attract more capital because people want to participate in the experiment to have it. But there’s a lot of that where you’re like, can you just buy it on a stock?

Ricky Mulvey: In your reporting, I think there’s a lot of things to dunk-on, things to be pessimistic about. But what are you seeing that has made you are optimistic about the future, maybe not just crypto, but Web3, the future of the Internet?

PJ Vogt: I would say what I say to my most sceptical friends, if they’re like, make the case for me. Then what I say is, if no one has made a single valuable thing in crypto, if it’s all just like a bunch of hogwash, there’s still trillions of dollars and a lot of smart people who have money to try to build something, and you could make a bet that by the end of this, something we will get made. I think the slightly less pessimistic thing is just, I have an appreciation for their critique of the Internet as we have it.

As someone who grew up online, I’ve watched the Internet become heavily surveilled, ad-supported, highly monopolized, a few platforms get more and more power, and these power laws where the biggest fish accrue everything. Well, I think people should ask questions about whether crypto is actually a solution to those problems. I like the critique, and I think how you feel about it is partly based off what just happened. A bunch of tech people showed up and said they were going to change the world for the better, and I think very few people think that that really happened, or at least very few people I hang out with. While I understand people being like, why would we trust these guys, they’re the same as last guys except they are selling us monkey JPEGs. I don’t know. [laughs] I don’t know what it says about me that I’m like, well, I’ll hear them out. [laughs]

Ricky Mulvey: It’s the promise of ownership and sometimes those monkey JPEGs can get stolen and ruin your television show.

PJ Vogt: Yeah, I think it’s also I just find it all very funny. I find this new problem is very interesting to think about and funny to document.

Ricky Mulvey: As we wrap up, I got one serious-ish question and then one hopefully fun question. Recently, Reply All announced that it was ending the show, and you were there for some incredible episodes. You built it point in photo, long distance, and Snapchat thief, any reflections on your time there and the end of the Reply All era?

PJ Vogt: Yeah. What can I say? It’s really sad that’s ending. It’s sad how it ended. It’s not the end of the story you would want. I feel really proud of the stories we got to tell on the work we’ve got to do. I think I’ve loved so many publications and radio shows and just projects made by people that ended, and it always broke my heart. Having been inside one, [laughs] it’s still heartbreaking. I think the one thing I used to tell myself then and I tell myself now is, all those people will continue to make stuff in different configurations and with different teams. But a lot of the magazines I love that ended, those people went on and started new magazines, and those magazines were great too and new voices showed up, and I hope that there’s stuff we did that people can take the ball and run with and just like we imitated and ripped off and hopefully made some things around, I hope people do the same thing to us.

Ricky Mulvey: You guys did some incredible stuff. Anything delighting you? Maybe a random Internet rabbit hole right now?

PJ Vogt: A lot of things have been delighting me. A lot of them are pretty deep on crypto Twitter. You alluded to it, but there’s this hole, the Seth Green thing I’ve really enjoyed. A famous actor, very into NFTs, bought a bunch of Bored Ape Yacht Clubs, and one of the things about these particular monkey JPEGs is if you own the rights to the image, you own all the IP and derivative right. A celebrity could buy a picture of a monkey and then create a fast food restaurant or a television series or a musical about that thing.

Seth Green is the first person I know of who’s really tried to do it, and he has a trailer for a television show that’s sort of like Cheers except for half the characters are NFTs, and then someone stole his NFTs. He got phished. There’s this [laughs] huge startling legal question which is like, what happens now? No one knows. He tweeted that he’s in negotiation with the person who ended up with his NFTs. But it’s so complicated. I really just enjoyed it, and they’ve been like, I said in the interview today with somebody who had done […]. He’s a professional investigator, not normally interested in crypto, but he had followed the chain of theft and had made some headway into how did that happen, which hopefully will be an episode.

Ricky Mulvey: I’m looking forward to listening to it. How can people follow your work and support it?

PJ Vogt: Crypto Island. You can listen wherever you listen to podcasts. If you want to support it, I have a newsletter as well at pjvogt.com, and I did pay subscribers, but honestly, if people just want to listen, I’d be happy.

Ricky Mulvey: PJ Vogt, thanks for joining us on Motley Fool Money.

PJ Vogt: Thanks for having me.

Chris Hill: As always, people on the program may have interest in the stocks they talk about and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against them, so don’t buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear. I’m Chris Hill. Thanks for listening, we’ll see you tomorrow.