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Revelation Nation

Revelation Nation

Zombie

 


Introduction:

Above, is my newest “self-designed” ebook cover for my novelette on Amazon.

This is a break from myself — a novelette preview of mine.

I originally had this story on Hubpages. I’ve previewed it here minus most of the pictures.

For some odd reason I had a regular readership on this one.

Now onto the preview. I’m sure you just can’t wait for the bloody parts…

Has anyone ever told you that you are sick if you like this stuff?

 


The Horror is in our own heads.

— Jack Shorebird, July 2017 — as told to him by Slade East

 


 

Preview…the basic rough idea…

It wasn’t mass murder. Really, it wasn’t.

But I need to unload this anyway. Let you know where I am coming from. Then you can judge me. You can decide if I did the right thing or not.

Let me tell it the best way I can, while I burn one. My last one.

It all started sometime last year. I’m a little fuzzy about when exactly. I remember I was smoking my first of the day then. Letting the morning cancer clouds help me think. Sipping my Jesus Christ java. You know, just like any other day. A little “wake me up” and “chill-me-out.”

I was sitting there at my concrete pulpit — my table. The one with the cheesy red and white sun-bleached aluminum umbrella. Delaying the inevitable. Another day on the streets of sin. My beat. My chosen profession. A love-hate relationship at best.

Trying not to think about the cranks I would be dealing with in short order was tough. Not to mention my coworkers, the real cranks. The streets were lame by comparison, actually. I mean we brought he worst of the streets right into our offices. And it changed us. Made us better as cops, but worse humans. Suspicious. On edge. Screwed up hearts. Soft dicks. The works.

The real refuse was skulking around the police station in handcuffs, being escorted to the interrogation rooms. And yes, we had our share of bad cops. Sitting in their unmarked police units, in secluded places, with the windows rolled up, the air conditioning cranked all the way up and their gear sticks in their hand. We tried to weed those out fast. Too much of a liability. If we couldn’t weed them out we’d promote them and then ignore them.

I thought of a few choice adjectives for the few puds I worked with. A selection of egotistical cop hacks. Hawaiian shirt has-beens. Fake name-brand watches. Concealed weapons and knock-off “flea-market” sunglasses. Football fanatic, hunting crazed macho puds. We knew their types.

None of this really matters now.

How I’d like to tell them off now, grab them by their short hairs — but how that wouldn’t work either. Since they’re all probably dead.

I held my tongue back then. Back last year on that last good morning. Bided my time. Let my blood pressure build up its morning head of steam, so I could focus. Same as any other pisser morning in Miami, before work.

I puffed away on that first cigarette. Curls of blue death snaking between my knuckles. Pictured those chalk white knuckles and my fingers wrapped around the throat of this one coworker. I got problems. What can tell you? And it made me feel good. Better now, as I remember it.

I guess I had the cop gene like all the other puds or maybe something else. Some slow acting disease that ate you up from the gut, until you were a cynical dried-up, alcoholic, chain smoker. A divorced piece if crap just waiting for the melancholy years. The retirement home where they did the cooking, ass wiping and laundry, in that order.


 

If you’ve enjoyed this so far, please follow this link for the rest of the story…

Revelation Nation, by Slade East. At Amazon, Kindle ebook Edition.

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Cryptocurrency Predictions From Experts?

Cryptocurrency Predictions From Experts?

Ball


Expertise

Is anyone really — I mean really, really, really — an expert when it comes to cryptocurrency? Even the experts don’t agree what cryptocurrency means. Is it a tool? A convenient form of functional money — like a check with drawing rights. But rights to what?

This aside, what are the latest prognostications from experts? Try these:

  • Balaji Srinivasan, CEO of 21.co
  • Peter Smith, CEO of Blockchain
  • Kathleen Breitman, CEO of Tezos

Bitcoin, the Master

Like all “experts” in this relatively new field, the implication is that bitcoin and Ethereum have staying power is common-speak. A five to ten year future window of opportunity seems to be the consensus — even given the current problems associated with bitcoin. That belief — almost a religion — is nothing new. It is going to make these experts look like digital noobs, if on July 31, 2017 or even down the road a piece,  bitcoin forks anyway. By then I’m sure they will have edited their theories.

There can be only one — or something like that…

New cryptocurrencies will come along and become successful. Some currently unheard of technology could dominate the market. Again, this seems obvious. That’s why we have a thing called progress. Can we be less obtuse here and stop pandering to noob-ville.

Rich Man, Poor Man, Fraud Man?

People will become rich and poor as new cryptocurrencies enter this space. As a result of the people who lose money due to fraudulent enterprises, more regulation seems to be in the offing.

No kidding?

In fact, Ripple may be implying that markets are heavily regulated for a reason. This is yet another eyebrow raiser. Ripple went to the dark side early in the game and is no doubt leveraging its position against the “free” cryptocurrencies as they themselves struggle to become a meaningful player in the cryptosphere. One wonders if they will soon apply for monopolistic benefits. Perhaps become one with “Fedcoin,” in the United States of America.

The Cashless Prison

Cryptocurrency must not be private? Regulation will eventually take over.

The critical component required by governments is ultimately, a cashless system whereby — allegedly — everyone can be more secure. The problem is, one has no privacy in this scenario, no right to life, liberty and, in the end, no private property — even digital property. How can one be even remotely free if every personal transaction is cataloged by the state, controlled by bureaucrats and dictated by the political wind?

Benevolent Big Brothers

Speculation in cryptocurrencies will lessen as certain altcoins become more stable. That bitcoins are not just for drugs.

Right. Got it.

This bit of speculation is a bit disingenuous. In fact, it’s just a set up. Stated to entice the under-educated. The noobs. To hint again, that appropriate rules to unmask the users of cryptocurrencies will magically enable a virtual world-utilization of cryptocurrencies, especially when new “killer apps” come online. All will be well, so long as we obey.

Conversely, it can be argued that the instability of cryptocurrencies are in part, caused by the states themselves. Take China for example. That bastion of corruption on one hand implies that bitcoin miners will be heavily regulated and on the other, they are allowed to profit. Do you hear “payoff?”

Since China purportedly manages most of the bitcoin blockchain, is it any wonder that it bitcoin is inherently unstable? And we all see what happens when bitcoin catches a cold — almost all other relevant cryptocurrencies nosedive.

In support of the move away from state controlled cryptocurrency, things like Bytecoin, Monero and Aeon were born — and many others — in an ongoing attempt to remind the minders that well, all of the people have not rolled over and played dead — just yet.

The Silly Con

Silicon Valley will become a direct competitor to Wall Street. This seems straightforward. As computer technology advances, its underlying information infrastructure will continue lubricate the wheels of finance. All of the major trading floors, worldwide are already supported by the latest Fintech. But the assumption here is much deeper. That the technology itself will make Wall Street, for all practical purposes, passé.

Imagine that for a moment. Not that all the brokers and lawyers would be replaced by smart contracts, but that the wheels of finance themselves are replaced with cryptocurrency. Where paper money, fiat currency, the Federal Reserve, are at once, relics of a bygone age.

Do you take VISA?

Competition will force the old guard — say MasterCard and Visa — to step up. In other words, if bitcoin or any cryptocurrency, can one day compete with the current regulated entities then and only then, would the need arise for the old guard to “improve.” That or be ushered out.

The only problem is, bitcoin is currently too slow to compete with the current credit based entities, except where it comes to moving large amounts of money across borders cheaply. A point that is often ignored. They don’t want to remind anyone that there are inexpensive ways to do big business.

Micro-transactions are all the rage today — supposedly — but when it comes down to the “golden” tacks, if one can move 200,000,000 dollars in ten minutes or less, across 50 borders, without taxes or banking fees, well, who needs bitcoin “micro?” We have Iota for that anyway and they are cheaper — better at the small stuff. Maybe better at all the crypto stuff.

Quantum Query

One should remember that technology is advancing. Governments worldwide are working on systems — quantum computers — which, if true, can crack cryptocurrency addresses — take your funds — in about a minute. It might therefore behoove one, if cryptocurrency seems a lucrative investment, to study the next generation of altcoins which are resistant or even immune to the quantum “state” hackers. Maybe Iota, but there are others.

This being said, if governments cannot get what they want, if they cannot control the newest generations of non-state currencies, they would need to make them irrelevant by installing a better form of money, perhaps by privatizing the banking industry altogether or by controlling the internet, radio waves, WiFi etc. At last resort, Big Brother would require draconian laws, like those in North Korea, and the dismantling of technology altogether.

Absent a total crackdown against cryptocurrency, there are other more curious ways to thwart the ever growing popularity of the expanding cryptosphere: government sponsored hacks, thefts, 51% attacks and so on.

It is interesting of late, how many cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets, etc., are being hacked. The newest one today? Veritaseum, to the tune of eight million dollars.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Animals

The Animals

iota

The guys are discussing cryptocurrency today. Tom is traditional, Dick is confused and Harry always wants to be on the cutting edge.


 

 

Image: Wikipedia — By ravas51 (Flickr: IMG_3747) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin July 19, 2017 — Roundup.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin July 19, 2017 — Roundup.

An unbiased and quick look at some big players…

The good news:

  • Litecoin is undergoing major updates to Litecoin Core 0.14.2
  • John Mack, a former CEO at Morgan Stanley venturing into crypto
  • The “dean” has advised that crypto is replacing gold

The bad news:

The “other” news:

  • A rare look inside some of China’s bitcoins “mines

The videos:

  • Jeff Bewick continues his upbeat and wacky video series about bitcoin
  • Andreas Antonopoulos explains the current state of bitcoin

Based upon the last 24 hours of news, the cryptosphere is decidedly negative, with concerns over bitcoin and Ethereum, mounting.


Image: Flickr

Bitcoin to $2,000,000 in Three Years?

Bitcoin to $2,000,000 in Three Years?

 


How to make two million dollars in three years, by purchasing one bitcoin as soon as possible?

At that point you should only be required to pay long term capital gains taxes.

Why not 20 million — if the dollar devalues fast enough? In Venezuela, I estimate that bitcoins are are well over million Bolivares each. Let’s check that math.

The price of bitcoin this second, is about $2300 and dropping — again. This was expected. That is equivalent to 23,000 Venezuelan Bolivares (VEB) — at the official rate. Not bad you say, but wait, there’s less… The official rates are nonsense.

20 Million Boilvares per bitcoin?

The unofficial price you will pay for one bitcoin in Venezuela is about 19,555,000 VEB. Let’s just round that off. To buy a single bitcoin in that Socialist paradise will set you back about 20 million VEB. That’s a big stack of paper and the last I heard, the government there was having trouble obtaining enough paper to print money.

So already, in some countries, you are a rich. Not really. One US dollar is equivalent to about 8500 VEB — street value. (See here for realistic conversions rates.) So you would still have, realistically, about $2300 bucks US. That is if a Venezuelan could really afford to buy a single bitcoin. Bummer.

Maybe the Venezuelan dictator can ask the motorcycle gangs currently stealing sugar from moving trucks in broad daylight, Mad Max style, to swipe a few rolls of paper and pass it along to the printing office. You know, in order to print more money. Wait — bad idea — toilet paper is also at a premium there. Actually, I think they are fresh out — a year ago.

But talk about optimism. John McAfee tweeted that:

Bitcoin would reach $500,000 in value in three years.

…or he will eat his own privates on national TV. Sure he will.

But McAfee might stick to his 10 million dollar bet. Why? Because according to this piece, McAfee is betting on a bitcoin fork. Not bitcoin. Did you catch that? He’s betting on some new type of bitcoin.

I’d say McAfee is going to lose 10 mil and a part of his anatomy. Well, maybe the 10 mil, unless he’s insane. Come to think of it — not the insane part — I want to see that bet. Any evidence he actually made it? That anyone has excepted?

Whether it’s just a publicity stunt we might never know. McAfee does say some pretty relevant stuff though. Take his Google comments. He wants to take them out. Why? For very good reasons. The fact that Google tends to obtain too much information about us. Kind of a errant, business-like, “Big Brother.” One that shares information with Uncle Sam when politely asked.

Don’t worry, your smart phone, computer and talking toy robot are not really watching you…that much. They have no idea that you are a Crypto-Head. And I say this in all seriousness and sarcasm. (Did I mention that the FBI is now warning us about our children’s toy-spies?)

But back to the bitcoin news. Does McAfee have a point? Will he retain his privates? Let’s just take that first question, in general.

Will bitcoin continue to increase in value over the mid to long term — if it does fork?

McAfee — and this guy ain’t no dummy — says yes. In fact, McAfee puts his faith in Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu.

In case you are still confused about a fork or two, look over the graphic provided here. It’s a great way to understand the basic SegWit, SegWit2, and UASF issues is a visual way. Things are definitely confusing this time around. So let’s ditch the acronyms and get back to our $2,000,000 bitcoin. I’m salivating, aren’t you?

Back to Bitmain and Wu. McAfee says Wu is a sharp guy and that the market will follow him with his brand of “bictoin,” whatever flavor that happens to be. The old traditional bitcoin, the one that was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto and supposedly improved by the core teams over the years, will take a nose dive — back to 40 bucks each. At that point, would it even survive? Can you imagine the bag-holders?

But that’s not all. It’s why I brought up the Venezuelan comparisons. McAfee thinks that as a result of his research, this “new” bitcoin will reach prices north of one million dollars. Maybe more than two million each.

Jump Ship?

So how will we, as consumers, jump ship, if Wu forks bitcoin (original flavor)? I’m assuming, but please don’t hold me to this, that we would simply begin using his systems — his wallets —  with our old bitcoin. We’d sort of do a mini-fork.

I’m sure Wu will announce his fork plans and then us little people can then decide for ourselves, which way to go. With Big Daddy Wu or Old Bitcoin core. Maybe I’ll head over to Iota for spell anyway. I just like their style.

This brings up yet another question. Suppose we try Wu’s “New and Improved” Bitcoin (extra crispy flavor) and we don’t like it. Can we then switch our bitcoins back to original flavor? We’ll see.

In the meantime, keep your eyes on Crypto and maybe deal in Litecoin or Ethereum until this Wu thing settles down.

And one more thing — and this is where lowly little me differs with Master McAfee. I think he’s wrong. Why would anyone invest in Wu-Coin if the guy knowing exploited a flaw in bitcoin to speed up mining and make higher profits, at the expense of the community at large?

And one last thing. I hate McAfee’s Antivirus software. Always had trouble with it.

Until next my next post, have a Crypto day.


Image: Flickr

 

 

 

 

Will Bitcoin Miners Initiate “SegWit” Early?

Will Bitcoin Miners Initiate “SegWit” Early?

 


 

Bitcoin is not like the Titanic. The Titanic was on her maiden voyage when she struck that iceberg. Bitcoin has been sailing for years. It has been through rough seas before.

Thus far, the bitcoin community has not panicked about the upcoming SegWit updates. But preparations are being made by a few. It is possible that many in the community are wholly unaware of the SegWit icebergs now visible in the distance.

The 24 hour bitcoin outlook is currently positive, as of press time. The one hour trade display continues to blare “red” warnings on and off. Losses of up to three percent have been reported in the top ten most traded coins. You can see a current list of gains/losses here.

“…bitcoin is 33% off of its recent highs…”

Few cryptocurrencies are gaining value, if one has a seven-day measuring stick. Currently, bitcoin is 33% off of its highs posted in June of this year. If this was a stock, losing $1000 dollars per share, many would have initiated a sell order by now. Hint: cryptocurrencies are not stocks or bonds.

Bitcoin is once again flirting with $2200, which could serve to lull investors into a false sense of security. Ethereum’s volume also eclipsed bitcoin over the past 24 hours. This is happening more often now and yet bitcoin still has double the market cap at present. Iota and Veritaseum have also posted amazing gains in the last 24 hours.

But don’t let the “blips” fool you. Keep an eye out for the value spikes — the pump and dumps. And watch out for the sales pitches from all manner of used car salesmen. Make informed decisions. The SegWit icebergs are real. Either bitcoin slips by unscathed or it won’t.

Japanese bitcoin trade may halt.

The Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association  may recommend that its member exchanges stop processing all bitcoin transactions for as long as a week, as a result of the perceived crisis of faith. (See this Altcoin Today article for more details.) The concerns revolve around the legal ramifications if they take no action. Translated? If they lose money and customers come calling. The Japanese government could also change its mind about allowing their citizens to continue using bitcoin. They’ve already had experience with MtGox.

“…GDAX…taking similar actions.”

We also know that GDAX, a cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, is taking similar actions. Surely, for similar reasons. If SegWit results in US citizens losing money, you can bet the lawyers will start to circle. But the regulatory agencies will probably step in first.

This worse case scenario is always good to examine. But there are many other less problematic scenarios.

A consensus appears to be building. Get your bitcoins to safety and away from the exchanges.

“…ViaBTC…creating a separate token…”

ViaBTC, one of the largest mining operations in the world, with roughly 5% of the network, is taking steps to help ensure customer bitcoin holdings by creating a separate token based on BitcoinABC.

In a MarketWatch article out today, experts indicate that bitcoin has not yet bottomed. Other business gurus have concluded the opposite. The situation is fluid for sure.

$2888 bitcoin price?

On the positive, but unusual side, Clif High of Half Past Human has reported a probable bitcoin price of about $2888 in several months. You can check out his latest video here — if you are so inclined. In no way am I suggesting that he is accurate, I just like to give you all angles and some comedic relief.

Finally, it is rather ludicrous that some do not understand why merchants are not flocking to bitcoin. If you’ve been reading my blogs — well — I’m sure you have an idea. Heck, if you’ve been reading the bitcoin news in general, you should be feeling queasy — if you own any bitcoin.

Here is another optimistic viewpoint concerning the lack of merchant adoption:

“That is a very troubling development, even though there doesn’t appear to be a clear logic behind it.”

The above quote is from a NewsBTC article dated today. Do they get it? Bitcoin is not yet an easily adoptable technology. Debates about its core functions and who controls it, are major concerns.

How many other cryptocurrency exchanges are making preparations behind the scenes? And, are miners preparing to nip this thing in the bud? It appears to be true.

“…miners…signalling for SegWit early.”

CoinDesk has reported that miners are signalling for SegWit early. Here is the Countdown Clock they are referencing.

I’ll continue to keep you posted.


Image: Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

Bitcoin Billions at Risk

Bitcoin Billions at Risk

ball

If I had a tiny crystal ball, I could tell you if the 30 billion dollar bitcoin meltdown will continue. I could predict when to sell, when to buy and when to hold. But I don’t have even the tiniest of magical crystal balls — and neither does any other Bitcoin Jesus.

Bitcoin’s “potential” fork in the road is near. A few weeks, maybe sooner. Experts in the field are uncertain if bitcoin will survive in its current form — or any form. Traditional money-changers will shrug if it collapses. “We told you it was a bubble — it was funny-money.”

If bitcoin fails, billions of dollars could be forever locked away. Those who made their millions from the cryptocurrency will no doubt soldier on, creating new tech and innovating — all because bitcoin opened that door.

In the meantime, say in a few days, the large cryptocurrency exchanges might need to explain that all of their cryotocurrency accounts are okay, but they only have pre-SegWit bitcoins. Outfits like Bitfinex, Coinbase and Poloniex could freeze all bitcoin accounts until the storm blows over. Then the lawsuits would begin. If you think it won’t endanger your back-up crypto, think again. Think about saving your cryptocurrencies offline or in a wallet you completely control. Then hope. And wait. (I am.)

On the scale of things, bitcoin isn’t even a blip — when one focuses on the amount of money being flung around the world each day. It’s chump change compared to JPMorgan Chase or Barclays, but then they don’t get it do they? They don’t understand the idea behind bitcoin at all. The idea behind any cryptocurrency. If they do understand it and wish to keep their wealth, they are busily working to destroy it — or copy it. Thing is, they will always be behind. Innovators are even now working to improve fintech. In a few years the banking industry will again need to re-educate themselves or risk being heaped into the dust bin. Hundreds, if not thousands of years of traditional banking — the stuff that money is made of — is being rewritten.

At first glance, some might think that a back-up cryptocurrency is in order — another cryptocurrency to set aside, while bitcoin goes through its latest convulsions. Litecoin comes to mind. Maybe Ethereum. Perhaps instead, we should focus on the newest developments or what are called “Third Generation” crypto’s. Iota comes to mind. No doubt, the choices are difficult.

But the crypto-markets as a whole are deflating, suggesting that this isn’t over yet.

Colorful personalities such as Jeff Berwick have chimed it on the matter. Comedy seems to be the order of the day. Just another update. Don’t worry. Time to poke fun at the entire process. You can do that when you have loads of pre-halving bitcoin profits.

Berwick is apparently comfortable in the knowledge that all will be well — soon. That bitcoin is the “King of Crytocurrency” — period. At least for now. Oh, and if you do follow this “personality” you might want to check out his latest post about the Moon Landing having been faked. Great, comedy and conspiracies. Is he credible at all?

All joking aside, Bitcoin Magazine might be one of best sources of information. They delve into the specifics. Get in the weeds.

Here’s a recent article from Bitcoin Magazine that will fill you in:

Bitcoin miners at large have missed the first BIP 148 “deadline” to prevent a “split” in Bitcoin’s blockchain.

Source: Bitcoin Miners Miss the First BIP 148 “Deadline”

The article tells us that the first bitcoin deadline — when the miners should have taken action to show “solidarity” — has passed. “The miners at large” have not acted to install the recommended updates. This news helps us understand what is actually happening in the cryptosphere. Obtaining our news from CNBC, at the sound-bite level, can be annoying, if not misleading.

But the digital details may not matter to the “man on the street.” He just wants profits — stability — or a way to stick it to the real man. And that is just a side benefit, for now. Since bitcoin, for all intents and purposes is public and prying eyes are always a concern.

As a result of this apparent bitcoin “miner” inaction and other factors, the value of bitcoin is still dropping as of this posting. It is heading for the $1800 mark. The next psychological level — and you’ll hear about this soon — is the value of one ounce of gold. Once bitcoin touches that number, people will expect a reaction. Either a bounce of affirmation or the other thing. If the other thing occurs, then you will read about bubbles. About bitcoin diving to 30 dollars each, then pennies each, then you won’t hear about bitcoin any longer.

Right now, the 30 billion dollar question is, has the bitcoin community at large already signaled that Bitcoin Core is no longer in touch with the users themselves? If this is true, are we now staring at the “fork of failure?” Or are we reaffirming our trust in the backbone — the miners — of the bitcoin system?

If we follow the miners, where will they take us? Down commercial roads, where large corporations and their Nanny-State governments dictate policy? If we follow Bitcoin Core, will this latest software “patch” suffice until the next critical juncture? Still keeping the community safe from the ever growing centralization of control? It seems that we are damned either way.

What is curious about the article in Bitcoin Magazine is that if bitcoin does fork and the powers that be decide, belatedly, to go ahead and allow the updates to commence — they could reunite the blockchain. In other words, having bluffed and lost, the miners and Bitcoin Core could have a “coming to Jesus” moment after they look into their respective digital wallets and discover that they are holding worthless numbers. But they better not wait long to reunite, because every second they delay, trust is evaporating.

In the event of a temporary fork there will still be significant disruption for the users, of course. It would be like keeping two sets of books. Eventually, if the blockchain is mended, only one set of books would be accepted. And therein lies the problem. The other set of books — all of the transactions, purchases, trades and the like — would be nullified. Users could potentially lose millions. Maybe more. Again, trust would be seriously eroded.

I don’t even want to think what would happen if bitcoin permanently forks. The cascade effect would certainly push many other cryptocurrencies into an unrecoverable downward spiral. We couldn’t really say if both bitcoin blockchains would have value. In such a dual-bitcoin scenario, no doubt both bitcoins would attempt to retain the title of “bitcoin.”

And if bitcoin forks, would not every blockchain born cryptocurrency become immediately suspect? Risky.

The other side of that Crypto-Armageddon is that a new coin could be born. Meaning the old guard — Bitcoin Core — could be left behind as Bitcoin Unlimited, for example, moves on with all of the “customers.”

Eventually, blockchain tech will be replaced. All tech is updated. The question is when?

A prediction would be that bitcoin prices could be touching gold price territory within the week.

Thanks for stopping by.

 


Image: Flickr

 

 

Will Bitcoin Fork on July 21, 2017?

Will Bitcoin Fork on July 21, 2017?

Burn

 

Bitcoin has been steadily devaluing. In fact, most of the major cryptocurrencies on earth are also losing steam. Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Steem, and even Dash are suffering. In some cases losses have exceeded 25% in less than a week.

Is it the end of an era or a readjustment period? A shakeout, if you will?

Many have debated why, as bitcoin dips, does it seem to initiate a larger scale downward trend throughout the cryptosphere. Each time bitcoin sneezes, crypto in general, catches a cold. Today — this week — bitcoin has the flu.

Some have pointed to alleged “Civil War” between the Bitcoin Core Team and the Bitcoin miners as the culprit. Primarily, the accusations are being leveled against the miners who control most of the network. The Chinese.

There is also some bickering within the Bitcore Core Team itself. But the idea that all of the planned changes — the proposed updates — to the code, will cause a rift is also on the debate table. A debate about a potential bitcoin fork — a split of its blockchain. Or perhaps users will use another blockchain. (I will get to that in a moment.)

Let’s face it, most bitcoin users, investors, watchers, writers — do not give a bleep about large conglomerates of miners who are churning out bitcoins and making a tidy profit. They are charging the community for the privilege of using a peer-to-peer system, allegedly designed to reduce the financial friction between willing parties. That is now history. The price of doing bitcoin business is becoming more expensive to the small consumer. Still, aside from the slow processing times, sending large amounts of bitcoin internationally, is cheaper than using the antiquated banking systems of today. In other words, bitcoin seems to be helping those with lots of bitcoin. Not a good sign.

Many of us do care that the Bitcoin Core Team is working to keep the code “bug-free” and that they are attempting to update the system. However, they are not dictators. They do not have the final say. The community must accept the updates. The users of the system are voluntary. If they do not accept the changes — if the miners feel cheated by the prospect of having their profits reduced — we could see a fork. And this could mean the destruction of the most successful private money that has ever existed — maybe.

Such a thing would not only evaporate the wealth housed within the blockchain, but potentially all of the investments tied to the bitcoin ecosystem — worldwide. From ATM’s in Vegas to the Mom and Pop Dress Shops in Morocco. All of that seed money, those start-ups, YouTube preachers — you name it. Adrift in the cosmos of bankruptcy. It would be painful for some.

Is there a silver lining to all of this?

Antpool, the largest bitcoin mining operation on earth, does not want the updates offered by Core — “SegWit.” Bitcoin Core is pushing ahead anyway. It is a Goliath versus Samson battle — all over again. Core holds the sling (the keys to the original code) but Antpool can simply copy the code. If the Antpool Goliath does this, will anyone trust him? Actually, the last I read — and info can be sketchy here — Antpool had a back-up plan. They started mining Bitcoin Unlimited a few months ago. (That’s another story, but suffice it to say it solves many of the problems associated with the current version of bitcoin.)

Philosophical battles aside, the concerns over whether bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) must decide between the corporate world and somebody’s idea of traditional capital is a red herring. Any money ought to be neutral in that sense, if the developers/community so decide. And therein lies the problem. Any community of anything is going to debate, endlessly. Although, I am not speaking in support of Dash, their governance model does have advantages.

In any event, the fireworks begin in just a few days — July 21, 2017. If 80% of the bitcoin community adopts the updates — SegWit — all should be fine. On the other hand, if the community does not adopt the updates, it is likely that an alternative solution might be employed on August 1, 2017. That is the idea of a “soft fork” employing SegWit as user activated “choice.” By then, Antpool may be off the reservation — employing Bitcoin Unlimited. The tension is palpable.

Let’s add more fuel to that fire, shall we dear readers?

CNBC put out a panic article recently and it does have some rather prescient information. Namely, that the Bitcoin.org community has recommended that everyone — every user of bitcoin — take a “bank holiday” a few days before the proposed changes are to take place. Say on Friday, July 19, 2017 — you know — just to be on the safe side. Did you catch that? Turn off your bitcoin wallets. Now I’m as brave as the next guy, but don’t get between me and my cash. And yet, major players are notifying bitcoin users that they are doing just that. No deposits or withdrawals? No trading for a few days? Be prepared.

Do you know what happens during bank holidays? Panic. Users might find a substitute. Certainly trust will be eroded.

Hence, bitcoin is devaluing. People are cashing out. Waiting on the sidelines.

Now if you are confused, you should be. Hour by hour, bitcoin is still loosing ground. As of this writing, the price of one bitcoin just dropped below $2000, then popped up again. That is over a 30% value reduction in just over a month. Coming from just over $570 each last August (2016), which is amazing in itself, anyone holding the coin, if the blockchain forks, could be left holding thin air.

As some have put it, we are witnessing, once again, a sea of red. Let’s just hope that the entire thing does not go “bleeps up.”

You can check here for up to date valuations:

CryptoCurrency Market Capitalizations.

Thanks for reading. If you have any input, let me know in the comments section below.

(Oh, and thanks RK.)


Image: Flickr

 

Morgan Stanley…bitcoin…a poster child for speculation

Morgan Stanley…bitcoin…a poster child for speculation

It’s fashionable, right now, to bash Fintech — especially bitcoin. So get your blockchains while they are hot!

This is the latest on the banking/investment front. When bitcoin (BTC) loses value, the traditional financiers let it be known that it just will not work and, in all honesty, they might be right — in the long term. But so too will the US dollar devalue — probably sooner than we think — unless a rabbit is pulled from the proverbial hat, in the short term.

Bitcoin may be the reigning prima donna of the crypto market but Morgan Stanley is not impressed.

Source: Morgan Stanley thinks bitcoin is nothing more than a poster child for speculation – MarketWatch

In a nutshell, the Marketwatch article, by Reporter Sue Chang, at first tells us that bitcoin has soared by over 250% in the last year. “Great!” we say, but then she drops the bomb. She cites Morgan Stanley’s analysts and James Faucette in particular. Bitcoin is on a wild ride and it’s probably not a legitimate currency we learn. I guess that all depends upon how one defines legitimate, because nearly anything can be a currency — or as I have indicated in the past — “functional money.”

On the other hand and we need to face the music. There is, according to Faucette, virtually no merchant acceptance. Again, virtually is another one of those weasel words. And we are so surprised. Aren’t you surprised, dear reader?

Sure, I can’t buy a gallon of milk at the corner store with my BTC, but I can buy a TV or a chair or even bike, on Overstock.com. Microsoft, Virgin Galactic, Steam are other well known vendors and the list goes on. So are we really losing vendors? Yeah, probably. Okay then, why?

According to the article, bitcoin does not appeal to retailers — and that is one reason it is not so good. Let’s examine that objection. Why does bitcoin appeal to the country of Japan say, but not the local supermarket in New York City? Is it because we, as a nation are less technologically advanced? Probably not. Is it because the regulations in the United States, the tax laws, the trading laws, the money laundering laws — you name it. The short answer? It certainly puts the kibosh on the whole thing, does it not? Only the big players, such as Coinbase or Subway Sandwiches, with a bevy of lawyers and tax accounts, seem brave enough to wander into that quagmire. On the other hand, the small players and the hidden ones (not all criminals by the way) can also wade into that pond.

Hoarding was another objection. Sure, bitcoin has appreciated. People are holding it, but there is still a lot of BTC available. One can’t simply worry that there will only ever be approximately 21 million BTC’s in circulation. It would be like saying, if we put cash under our mattresses, hoarded large denomination fiat bills, we would somehow make it less usable. The thing is, there’s plenty of cash out there. Too much actually. In a manner, hoarding can serve to increase and stabilize bitcoin values.

The objection to bitcoin’s accelerating costs and slowing transactions time is a legitimate concern, however. We will know, probably within the next 30 to 60 days, if bitcoin will adopt new perimeters allowing for faster confirmations, but the applications — the coding — is still being hashed-out. And there are associated centralization of power risks as well. Only a few developers control the code, but don’t forget, anyone can copy (clone)  the code and “improve” it.

Surprisingly, the apparent objection that bitcoin’s own skyrocketing — I would say its volatility — worth, is somehow a minus, is ludicrous. Speculators are certainly present, but as I have submitted, the fact that regulators stand in bitcoin’s way, is the primary culprit. The Great American Regulatory Wall, against mass adoption — that it the goblin.

Government oversight is needed, they say. And that, my friends, is the big snow-job. It is not required at all. The real reason bitcoin cannot, in this environment, ever be allowed to function unhindered is that it threatens the dollar. It threatens all fiat currencies in existence. That is plain. When a digital currency, not printed into oblivion does that, no debt-based economy can abide it. Even Japan, mired in its eternal economic crises, probably hopes that cryptocurrencies can save their century.

Is bitcoin funny money? That’s another implied objection and it’s an ignorant one at best. If so, then the dollar is funny money. A reserve note that represents a slowly failing — bankrupt system. Most intelligent people know this already. We just have little choice. We are required, by law, to use this debt based system. Is it moral to force people to use a monetary system that has no real value? Even less of a perceived value than bitcoin? That’s a no brainer, right?

Morgan Stanley is the sixth largest bank in the United States. Banks take our fiat dollar deposits and create more fiat dollars — out of thin air. Now I’m not against honest banking services, where money is real — like gold and silver — and where fractional reserves are quaint memories, but to attempt stay the high road in a FED-made swamp? What magic is this? Answer? The emperor is naked.

And finally, we the people also know, us speculators and hoarders alike, that bitcoin could fail. The blockchain tech might fork. China might continue to build BTC mining farms and essentially own the network.  But, my Morgan Stanley late-comers, the Fintech field is just getting started. I’d keep an eye on the Fintech start-ups and the giant Cloud Servers owned not by the banking system, if I were you.

I’d hate to know what they think about Monero or Aeon. Kind of reminds me when the car replaced the horse. Many objected back then. It was certainly a learning curve.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if I bored the hell out of you.

 


Image: Wikimedia

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