This episode is sponsored by, NEAR and FTX US.

Crypto critics have been emboldened lately. The New York Times this week published an article seemingly meant to convince people that because early bitcoin mining was concentrated, bitcoin’s ideal of decentralization was somehow compromised. The newspaper also published a Paul Krugman op-ed saying that bitcoin hadn’t found any uses in 15 years. That op-ed happened to come out on the same day that 21 human rights activists from around the world wrote an impassioned letter to U.S. politicians about why crypto had been essential to their work.

“The Breakdown” is written, produced by and features Nathaniel Whittemore aka NLW, with editing by Rob Mitchell, research by Scott Hill and additional production support by Eleanor Pahl. Jared Schwartz is our executive producer and our theme music is “Countdown” by Neon Beach. The music you heard today behind our sponsors is “Catnip” by Famous Cats and “I Don't Know How To Explain It” by Aaron Sprinkle. Image credit: Vasil Dimitrov/Getty Images, modified by CoinDesk. Join the discussion at