Digital asset traders FOMO’d into buying heavyweight tungsten cubes last year based on a joke by Castle Island Ventures partner, On The Brink podcast host, and Bitcoin mining apologist Nic Carter.
The fad benefited the largest direct-to-consumer tungsten manufacturer, Midwest Tungsten. It landed thousands of cubes onto the desks of Bitcoiners and crypto traders who likely have more familiarity with digital asset charts than metals markets. Tungsten Steel
They bragged about becoming “cubers.” They laughed about how tungsten was just as delightful to handle as gold.
A 4-inch tungsten cube, which cost just $2,500 last year in March, soared to $3,500 by December 20, 2021. The smallest 1-centimeter cube increased 50% from $20 to $30 during the same time frame.
It was a joke all along.
Although some members of the Bitcoin community initially thought Carter to be trolling gold bugs, waving the similar physical properties of tungsten in the faces of underperforming gold investors, Carter clarified that his tungsten advertisements were not making fun of gold. As he explained on his podcast, “I am simply a fan of the incredible density of the metal,” (our emphasis).
On October 12, 2021, Coin Center communications chief Neeraj K. Agrawal joined in on the fun, tweeting a fake Bloomberg headline.
probably nothing pic.twitter.com/OEaW4dztlr
Soon afterward, rumors of a tungsten shortage started to appear true as Midwest Tungsten’s website noticed a jump in sales.
Although there’s enormous supply of tungsten due to persistent industrial demand, Midwest Tungsten Service briefly sold out of some of its tungsten cubes on its Amazon storefront.
However, Midwest Tunsgsten Service denied any shortages in its actual factory. It simply clarified that it was working on delivering more tungsten cubes to Amazon’s warehouse.
Nic Carter played an endearing role in the pump of a global commodity with his frequent, tongue-in-cheek ads for the metal. He discussed it in numerous On The Brink podcasts and tweeted about it periodically.
When Midwest Tungsten General Manager Kevin Anetsberger appeared as a guest on On the Brink in November 2021, the company had begun work on accepting bitcoin as a payment method and had recently minted a cube NFT.
Midwest Tungsten still sells Bitcoin-engraved tungsten coins today.
the much-awaited tungpisode on @OnTheBrinkCIV: we learn the truth about midwest tungsten was a 14" cube really the largest they could go??? https://t.co/iHL3qGTyP5
Nic Carter admitted that he enjoys giving away tungsten cubes as holiday gifts. He says people like it because the metal is surprisingly heavy, with a density similar to gold.
If my new tungsten cube is covertly filled with equivalently dense gold I’m going to have a fit
Eventually, months after his initial pump of the commodity, Nic Carter might have capitulated into a seller.
for sale. tungsten cube. lightly used
The prices of finished consumer tungsten goods have not increased for months. Midwest Tungsten’s 4-inch cube still costs $3,500 today ⏤ the same price as last December.
If you’ve ever tried memorizing the atomic table of the elements, you might remember seeing the word tungsten. It has a chemical symbol of W and an atomic weight of 74. It also goes by the name of wolfram, which was derived from the name of its ore, wolframite.
Although the NIH’s National Library of Medicine says trace amounts of tungsten have use as a nutritional micronutrient, it’s dangerous and potentially fatal to ingest large quantities of tungsten metal. Protos doesn’t recommend eating nor licking tungsten metal.
Some people have expressed concern about toxins that could seep into human skin from simple handling of tungsten. However, Midwest Tungsten General Manager Kevin Anetsberger clarified on Carter’s podcast that generally speaking, it is safe to touch tungsten. He added that even after years of handling it, he has never heard of any tungsten-to-skin health incidents from his employees.
If Bitcoiners or other traders bought tungsten cubes intending to flip them for a profit, as usual, they missed out on far better opportunities. Nic Carter clarified that finished consumer products made of tungsten are typically priced at 10X the cost of the metal anyway.
The redeeming part of the story? At least the toys look and feel cool.
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