A Possible Russian Crypto Ban and Vitalik’s Synthetic Womb: This Is 2022

This week on “Opinionated,” the gang dives deep into some big news out of Russia, looks at the issue of rampant intellectual property theft involving non-fungible tokens (NFT) and examines Vitalik Buterin’s idea for synthetic wombs.

(Yes, you read that last one right. The founder of Ethereum thinks babies should be made in Cosmic Cocoons.)

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Could Russia ban crypto? That’s a possibility raised by a highly critical Bank of Russia report this week. It said cryptocurrencies are volatile and widely used in illegal activities, such as fraud. The report called for the Kremlin to outlaw mining and issuance, if not the holding of crypto.

Anna Baydakova said banning bitcoin would be a “nightmare” if the West imposes further financial sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine.

Next up, we spoke with Sam Ewen, head of CoinDesk Studios, about an op-ed he wrote this week (“The Balance Between Art and IP Theft in NFT Culture”). Unauthorized NFT projects like MetaBirkins, The Squid NFT and Non-Fungible Olive Gardens have been making thousands of dollars. Ewen expects Web 3 to change the norms around IP online, posing headaches for brands and platforms like OpenSea.

Finally, the gang unpacked Buterin’s baby pod idea, which he floated as a means of female empowerment:“Disparities in economic success between men and women are far larger once marriage+children enter the picture. Synthetic wombs would remove the high burden of pregnancy, significantly reducing the inequality,” he wrote on Twitter.

While it might be admirable for a tech leader to care about gender inequality (everyone should care more about that!), the team didn’t rate the idea too highly. It smacks of techno-utopianism.

As we wait for pods to arrive, there may be more practical solutions, noted Baydakova. Like, say, paid maternity leave.

See Also: Bank of Russia Calls for Full Ban on Crypto

This episode was produced, announced and edited by Michele Musso. Our theme song is by Elision.

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