A series of pump and dump schemes in the 1980s and 1990s are described in The Wolf of Wall Street ; they also proliferated during the dotcom bubble. But they also have a much deeper story that helps illuminate how cryptocurrencies create harm and impunity. The first international financial crisis, known in France as the Mississippi Bubble and in England as the South Sea Bubble, broke out in 1720. Both the Mississippi Company and the South Sea Company were joint stock companies that engaged in debt-for-equity swaps. , which involved persuading holders of French or English government debt bonds to exchange them for company shares.
France and England had spent 25 years waging costly wars against each other, so their governments were eager to get rid of some of their outstanding debt and debt holders were south africa phone number list willing to trade because these companies promised fantastic profits. The South Sea Company had the seat, the monopoly contract to deliver slaves to the Spanish colonies in the American continent. The Mississippi Company was even more ambitious. Led by its founder, John Law, a convicted gambler and murderer from Scotland, the company wanted to create a proto-central bank.
Law founded a bank and obtained permission to issue paper money. He used that money and the bank's profits to buy parts of the French government that were considered secret and bribable. He bought the tax system, the monopoly on foreign trade, and the company with the monopoly on settling the Louisiana Territory. That success led many people to buy shares in his company and the price of those shares went, in crypto language, "to the moon." The problem lay with paper money, which at the time was a cutting-edge financial innovation that Law claimed would free commerce and everyday transactions from a deflationary lack of cash. People were reluctant to accept him, so Law used his political influence (which was considerable: he eventually became France's finance minister) to demand that tax, salary, and contract payments be denominated in his name.