I was scrolling through the interwebs the other day, and I came across a very interesting article on Sciencealert dot com. A certain Dr. Wang and colleagues from Queensland University of Technology (that's Down Under for the geo-illiterate amongst us) conducted a survey and found there was a substantial amount of "dark personality traits" that contribute to people buying cryptocurrency.
Now, before anyone goes ballistic (which itself would be not exactly a bright personality trait in itself, now would it?), let me take a minute to clarify that these traits the researchers saw signs of were not things like "wants to kill everyone," or "enjoys the occasional bout of light cannibalism," or even "makes their dogs wear homemade knit sweaters."
No, the traits they are talking about fall neatly into a category that has already been given a comic-book villain worthy name - "The Dark Tetrad." While this sounds like an awesome name for Vin Diesel's collected Pitch Black movies, it's actually a group of four sinister behaviorisms, which those of us in the crypto space may possess all or some of. Allegedly.
So let's go down the list, and if you see anything that appeals to you, please raise your hand.
If you're unfamiliar with this term beyond knowing it would make a killer response in the "Eight Syllable Words" category on Jeopardy! then let's break it down. Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian author, philosopher, and man-about-town who lived in the fourteen and fifteen hundreds. After he published The Prince, which espoused the idea that a leader's vile methods are justifiable if the results are beneficial to him, Little Nicky's last name because a synonym for deceptive, manipulative, and power-hungry.
So are those who wade in the ebbs and flows of crypto manipulative and deceptive? Well, SOME are, for sure. I can't spend two seconds on Twitter without someone promising they're giving away 354 ETH to whoever likes their posts, simply out of the goodness of their hearts. And I'm sure ol' Nico would have given his seal of approval to the rug pullers out there. But the average Joe Q Crypto, just trying to find a winner or two amongst the hundreds of shit-coins? I don't think I would apply the term "Machiavellian" to them...
Little known fact, Niccolo Machiavelli is a boss-level unlockable player in the original Super Smash Bros. game for Nintendo. Honest. No, really!
"Look at me, I am SO pretty!" Okay, so maybe there's a bit more to narcissism than that. I imagine crypto speculators run the spectrum from the guy/gal who puts themselves up on a pedestal that no one (in their mind) can ever match, all the way down to the Stuart Smalley type who has to start each day telling his mirror image, "You're good enough, you're smart enough, and dog gone it, people like you."
Is the suggestion that people who get into Bitcoin do it because they think they're superior to the lamebrains who are still surfing the fiat highway? That by opening an account over on Crypto.com, they're making themselves part of the coveted one percent?
The study says that narcissists tend to have positive outlooks on life and are thus more confident about the outcome of their investments. Bullish attitudes, I guess they mean. But that their overconfidence causes them to be willing to risk more, take bigger gambles. Sure, I could see that, but there's certainly nothing wrong with being positive/hopeful about your investments. I mean, not all optimists are narcissists, any more than all pessimists are pickleball players.
This is an interesting word. The "psycho" part really stands out, so my first instinct is to pronounce it psycho-path-ee. But it's just so much COOLER to pronounce it Sy-COP-uh-thee! Maybe that's just the narcissist in me, wanting to sound cool.
A psychopath is someone who is antisocial, who has trouble showing empathy, who is not remorseful for their actions. The study linked psychopathy to recklessness and risk-taking, with the person being less likely to feel stressed or anxious about the outcomes of their purchases. Conversely, they are prone to the FOMO that comes with others in their circle earning rewards on their own investments.
If we're being honest, most of us have probably done something psychopathic in our lives, whether it was a small action like shunning a friend or a more grandiose action like trying to buy out Twitter.
This is the one member of the Dark Tetrad I have the most trouble believing. Sadists are those who enjoy inflicting pain, whether it be physical, emotional, or psychological. Sure, there are some cruel bastards amongst us who enjoy seeing others' bags dwindle, but it can't be the norm.
No, I'm much more inclined to believe that most of us are masochists, people who enjoy RECEIVING pain. I mean, why the hell else would we do this to ourselves? I know whenever I buy a coin, it is guaranteed to drop in value within 30 seconds. And whenever I sell a coin, that crypto almost always rockets up the charts soon after. Pretty sure I'm not alone there, either.
So what say you? Do you resemble these remarks? Click here to see if you have any characteristics from the Dark Tetrad. And if you're a true masochist, take this Sadism Test.
See any/all of these traits in your fellow crypto crusaders? Want to share your results from the links above? Just want to say something nice? Sound off in the comments! Please? Pretty please, leave a comment? I'm not trying to be Machiavellian or anything, it's just that I love to hear people say great things about me.