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Pointless Games

Posted on 2022-12-06

I used to work as a developer for a cryptocurrency. We were trying to solve the problem of scaling decentralized and trustless smart contracts, similar to Ethereum.

Constantly, I would focus on finding a single way that we could help someone in the real world. Funnily enough, the only uses I could think of were supporting other pointless games (online gambling, trading, etc).

I realized the work was pointless. None of the work would ever help anyone outside of the investors in the coin.

Here's a list of pointless games:

  • poker
  • chess
  • other professional sports
  • most asset trading
  • building cryptocurrency

Pointless games don't have much external effect on the world. All of these games consist players of the game competing against other players. The economic term for pointless is zero-sum. Someone has to lose for you to win.

Clearly, some of the items in this list are different than others. Sports, poker, and chess all provide entertainment to the player and observers. Nobody argues that poker isn't a zero-sum game.

As for the other two, part of the game is misleading others that the work will be useful to people, and many extremely smart people work on them.

Some would argue that cryptocurrency is not a pointless game. However, almost nobody uses cryptocurrency to do anything. If there was a valid use case, somebody would have found it.

Just because something is worth money doesn't mean it's useful. The free nature of money means that people will always play games.

The best thing to do is ignore these pointless games and build things that help people.