Thursday, February 13, 2020

Dammit, I'm The Blockhead, Not Them!!

First the background from Jemima Kelly at FT Alphaville, February 12:

Mr Blockhead wants to school us all on blockchain
It’s always difficult finding pictures for stories about blockchain and crypto. Does one use one of those quite frankly terrible stock images that show crypto tokens as actual coins and thereby feed the fallacy that these are in fact currencies? Does one use a picture of a crypto mine, which essentially just looks like any other data centre — ie, a room full of computers — and can therefore be a little dull? Or does one try to somehow illustrate the magic of blockchain with some kind of graphic, and if so, how does one come up with a graphic of something that is used in such an inconsistent way to mean so many things?

Luckily for us, our perpetual quandary appears to have been answered. Because we now have a personification of the marvel that is the distributed dream-ledger. And what’s especially lucky is that personification of the blockchain has given unto us a literal blockhead. (In case you don’t know, a blockhead is a word that dates back to the 1540s and means “a very stupid person”. Look, they did this, not us.)

Enter Figure, a Silicon Valley-based start-up headed up by Mike Cagney, former CEO of Social Finance Inc (SoFi) that says it provides lending on the blockchain. On Tuesday it launched a video ad campaign that hopes to “educate consumers” on the technology (h/t to Reuters’ Anna Irrera for drawing our attention to this one).

Here’s the main ad, in which we get introduced to this fun and disruptive dude. As you will see, Figure’s cartoon character is imaginatively just called “Blockchain”, but we’re sure you’ll agree that he suits Mr Blockhead much better....

Arrivistes! Parvenus!!
There should be no question about first use in this context:

September 27 2016
"Is an Editable Blockchain the Future of Finance?"
So the lady asked, "Inquiring minds want to know: can blockchain reconcile 200% institutional ETF ownership?".
Sure, why not.
Of course this is no longer blockchain, it's some sort of database combined with an eraser head. We'll call it 'blockhead'....
Granted, we posted a link to an article by Ms Kelly in October 2019 that we headlined:
Woman who Bought a £1.50 Bus Fare with her iPhone Has Uneventful Ride, Writes Excellent Piece on Blockheads

But this idea that "Figure" or Cagney should be Mr. Blockhead is preposterous.
See also:
"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money"
—Samuel Johnson
BOSWELL, James. The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D
 People, People "That Time The National Security Agency Invented Bitcoin"