If someone’s offering free money the correct response is to take as much as you can and then ask the Oliver Twist question – May I have some more please, Sir? Which is exactly what one customer of a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange did last week. There was a 20 minute period when it was possible to order varied cryptocurrencies while offering zero yen (what you and I might refer to as real money) in return. Why not go all out with a truly significant order?

A cryptocurrency exchange in Japan reportedly experienced a temporary glitch last week that suddenly offered investors their pick of coins for the low, low price of zero dollars. Several customers took advantage of the opportunity, but one really ran with it.
According to Reuters, it was possible to buy cryptocurrencies for free on the Zaif exchange for about 20 minutes on February 16th.

Free might be what they’re worth in a moral sense, as at least one serious economist insists.

A slight change in tense is needed. Even if it seemed possible in the past, it is now almost universally conceded that Bitcoin can’t work as a currency

And if they cannot work as a currency then they’ve got no value. A view which I tend to, if I’m honest, but I’m not willing to declare the game over yet. There’s often enough something useful which comes out of a market mania and we just don’t know what it will be until the mania’s over. Whether anything will and what it is being the very cause of the mania in the first place.

But, given current facts and reality, what’s the correct reaction to being offered what is at least today money for free?

A system glitch at a cryptocurrency exchange site run by an Osaka-based firm enabled users to obtain digital money for free, with one apparently “purchasing” Bitcoin valued at 2,200 trillion yen ($20 trillion) and then attempting to cash in on it.

That might have been a tad ambitious, given that there’s only under $200 billion of bitcoin in existence. And that’s including the stuff stolen, that lost on hard drives at the bottom of dumpsters and so on.

But even given that, it’s still the correct response. Although if it were us doing it we would have perhaps asked for a smaller sum but then made damn sure we’d spent it or moved it before anyone realised.

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