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1 in 10 Americans Own Bitcoin?

1 in 10 Americans Own Bitcoin?

Dear Cryptocurrency Investors:

You are a big audience. That means we might get bigger?

We’ll start with a little speculation, John McAfee style.

If Bitcoins are $1,000,000 each by the year 2020, here is how the chart might look, if charts had straight lines.


MILLION - Copy


(Come back and look at this in a year.)

Curse McAfee if he’s wrong.

That will mean the total capitalization of bitcoin would be approaching 20 Trillion dollars – if bitcoin can go this high.

It would be a 100-fold increase if it did.

Talk about irrational exuberance. I think people would almost consider a McAfee diet if bitcoin does value at a million bucks per.

Currently, the US debt is about as much as what bitcoin would be worth, as a whole, in this year 2020 scenario: 20 trillion clams.

Let’s back track though. Get our bearings.

Bitcoins were about $400 each, two years ago. I got nervous then and sold some — after reading some bubbly stuff. Dumb mistake.

They grew 25-fold by 2017 – to more than $10,000 each. That has apparently surprised a lot of people and fresh bubble calls are in vogue again.

I mean seriously, did you expect this?

How about awareness?

Estimates put awareness of bitcoin (in the US) at about 80%. (Maybe.)

In 2013, awareness was half that number – in the US. Around 40%.

But awareness and ownership are different animals.

India is far more aware of cryptocurrency today, according to some reports.

Of Americans who are aware of bitcoin (cryptocurrencies) only about 14% actually own any.

That’s about 35 million Americans who own bitcoins(No wonder the IRS is complaining they can’t steal enough money!)

Translated? About 1 in 10 Americans owns crypto.

Now, using Joe Kennedy’s rationalization – listen to the shoeshine boy – for getting out of the stock market before it tanks, just prior to the Great Depression, are we near a bubble – now? But remember, Joe Kennedy shorted the markets back then. And he made a bundle. He did not get out of the markets.

So, the allegation today, that everyone is talking about bitcoin and this will be its downfall, seems to fall flat.

I’ve asked my financial planner (US-based) if anyone has asked him about bitcoin – really wanted to talk about it – and he sees the high dollar investor types all the time; and he said that virtually none of his clients talks about it. They may mention it in passing, but they are not serious about it. His investors are after real investments, he advised. Safer and better. Bitcoin is a confusing mess at tax time – in the US.

And if that is the “tell” – everyone is talking about it – then I’d have to ask you where you are. Because in my neck of the woods (Florida), few make mention of it. No clerks or cell phone sales guys. No neighbors or bus drivers.  I often ask them, just to have fun. Most just stare at me.

And bitcoin signs? Billboards? Darned few around here. Maybe some local radio announcer gives his take. Or maybe I should get out more.

Additionally, all the classic bubble burst models I’ve checked show 10 to 20% drops in value and then crashes – not to the floor, but maybe to the 20% – 40% level.

Bitcoin has been swinging like a drunken sailor since day one. And then recovering. It does not appear to listen to the bubblers. Or not yet anyway.

Do I think bitcoin is magic? Don’t be silly. But I do think we need some new bubble models on this one. All the old earmarks seem wanting.

And maybe the gurus of the bubble will need to rewrite the business books after a few more years of growth. This time, using a model that accepts that crypto is a money replacement and not a stock.

Oh, the shock.

But I could be wrong. Being a pessimist at heart – skeptical – I’ve been waiting patiently for the Great Bitcoin Crash, so I can tell all those nasty Bitcoin Rich guys that I told them so.

In the meantime, just on the outside chance BTC’s go to a million each, I don’t think owning a slice is a bad thing.

Sincerely,

 

Jack Shorebird

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Cryptocurrency: Dreams in a Bottle or a Bubble?

Cryptocurrency: Dreams in a Bottle or a Bubble?

Dear Cryptocurrency and Freedom Lovers of Earth:

We are just dreamers waiting for the big bad bubble. Lean over and kiss your bitcoins goodbye.


Bubble Trouble

Cryptocurrency is a bubble.

It’s the 2.0 try-outs, since we didn’t believe them the first thousand times.

We love Ponzi, they insinuate. We probably initiate chain-emails in our sleep, insert cryptocurrency miners on your webpages, and dream of pyramid schemes…as we pay our extremely reasonable .gov taxes.

Cardano (ADA) will surely explode.

Monero (XMR) will implode.

Electroneum (ETN) will evaporate.

Ethereum (ETH) will wither smartly, and die.

Cheaters and meanies are hiding in the dark corners of those ICO-laced cryptocurrencies.

Bad people, the lot of them.

Run back to gold?

“Hey! But we love the blockchains! Just not the ‘people’ running them.

“You see, us banks and .govs – we do a much better job popping fiat bubbles. We just go around, blowing them up, making you go broke and then we do it all over again!

“And us metallic mega-hoarders, well, we can dig it too! And hopefully, one day in the far-flung future, gold will become what it once was: money. And then us mega-hoarders will win the day. We will say, on that day, if that day ever comes again that — we told you so!

“We can’t wait. It’ll happen soon, we promise!”

At least some of the gold bugs are on board the crypto-train. Guys like Mike Maloney. He’s a forward thinker, unlike others…

The lesser numismatic gods, the ones still hoping to influence President Donald Trump – to take the US back to gold – are instead bashing away at crypto. Maybe they don’t realize that they are, at the same time, bashing away at liberty itself. Not such a brilliant tactic as it is a calculated risk.

“Tell these Millennial dolts that cryptocurrency not stamped IN GOD WE TRUST and FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE is NOT money. Jeez, the humanity of it all. Tell them gold is the answer – immediately.”

Is that the general feeling you get from some of the golden metal-heads? The ones who warn of crypto-bubbles and hope for altcoin death, in situ.

And the best gold bugs? The proud Sharia Law complaint versions of them? “Oh Canada!” they sing aloud on their days off, from those frozen roof tops.

I take you now, dear reader to the halls of GoldMoney. In Canada. There, the money (no not money yet) is GOLD! Actually, the company was called Bitgold before that, but cited regulatory problems and low demand, before shutting down.

These golden folks have allowed to be posted on their website (and I’m almost certain it will be taken down like another YouTube video that fled in haste — business is war, right?) are the illustrious words of one Bubble Attacker: Alasdair Macleod. For shame. (My opinion.)

Macleod is an apparent researcher for the company in question, hence not the best disinterested party, right? A mouthpiece? Hmmm.

Then there is a far more corrupt banking industry to consider. Finance houses practicing insider trading. A Fed that feeds the US with worthless notes. Just read the headlines. Wells Fargo. JPMorgan Chase. Bank of America. Quantitative Easing. (Not an opinion. Facts.)

Need I say more? Aren’t you sick enough yet?

It’s not the banks or the .govs this time, however. It’s gold. Or more precisely, a troubled offshoot of gold bullion pushers surveying the crypto-landscape and taking careful aim.

 

Crypto Kills Fiat

To talk of cryptocurrency bubbles that will occur and describe them as a dire menace to .gov fiat is pandering to the .govs of the world. Gold money is a far worse threat to the .gov machinery and they – the bullion dealers — know it.

If people were actually allowed to use gold, silver, copper – as money – the Fed would close its doors and the Military-Industrial Behemoth would most definitely become rather irritated, if not hungry.

The .govs would need to finance themselves with real money then. No longer could they pass on the costs via inflation taxation. They would need to beg, borrow or steal the gold – again – from their subjects.

And that is always a problem, isn’t it? Gold theft?

And why can’t some companies see that? Especially ones in North America? Don’t they understand that before gold can become money again – that the entire centrally planned economic model must be dismantled? That laws must protect the people from their .gov?

It appears that Our Golden Savior of Canada is sounding that alarm, however. Or at least helping to ring a few bells to scare the cryptocurrency birds away. Darned pesky eagles just won’t die. They want to fly at any cost, even if it means creating their own crypto-fiat money in a world gone money-subservient.

It’s also a way of diverting attention – heat – from them. And a way to “sell more gold!” Soon they might begin knocking on our doors. Or you’ll see them at flea markets, not buying gold, but selling it!

Congratulations bullion traders of the Great White Socialistic North. Not that the US is that far behind either, but strike while the bubble is hot! And the bubble attack is ongoing.

But we need new material, not tired old rinse-and-repeats.

It reminds me of Chicken Little when he yelled, “the sky is falling!”

I’ll call them, those Gold Money guys and gals, Our Golden Savior. The bell ringers, who are losing investors to cryptocurrency. And who only want to make sure you and I aren’t being swindled, right?

After all, gold is money. No, it’s not. Not yet anyway.

 

The Warning

One Macleodian article on their website (and also here) talks to us about bubbles. But this does not irritate me as much as the Canadian based Sharia Law Compliant company does.

I mean, gold and precious metals are no doubt great value keepers, but dear fellas, we do not live in a golden age. I swear. I just called my bank. They said that they can arrange to store any gold I might wish to purchase; however, I can’t use it as money. (No thanks.)

You can’t spend it, your gold – in the US – like money. The IRS wants an accounting of each transaction. Just like cryptocurrency.

We live in a fiat-currency age – in the US. We are jammed in tight. Well, there is one out. It’s called cryptocurrency.

Gold is taxed as property in the US, which makes it terrible to use as money – even debit card based. I believe Peter Schiff advised this long ago, but now – he has joined them. And now…these facts seem to have drifted away. Little tax bombs ready to go off in April, when you have that “awe shucks” 1040 moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I would rather use precious metals, as money. I’d love to have a sound money system, but this fiat thing is just going to have to burn itself out first. Venezuela style. A little Greek fire, as it were.

The article in question asserts that gold is on the minds of many. Granted. Any form of sound money ought to be. If gold was money today it would be on everyone’s mind. Well, most everyone. Some actually like the fiat money system and socialist governments.

The write-up also warns, yet again, about the pure and shiny new bubble. The cryptocurrency bubble that is sure to burst – someday.

The problem is the golden .gov wall, however. We are all looking at that wall and asking ourselves the same questions.

Is there an alternative to gold, since I can’t spend it like cash?

Should I buy a few pieces of a precious metal and store it myself or should I use a gold bullion dealer in Canada? A dealer with gold all over the world in nice vaults – all on the ‘up and up’ – but far away…?

 

Crypto is NOT Money?

The primary debate against cryptocurrency, that it is not money, ought to be jettisoned.

We know this. We know it is not money.

Gold can be money, but it’s not either. It’s just gold, for now.

Cryptocurrency is more closely related to a functional currency or a service money, but it is a form of fiat currency as well. But a far superior fiat currency, for many reasons. And rather crappy, as well.

That’s what we are living with. We can use cryptocurrency, with all the associated risks or we can obey. Now do you understand?

Why did people risk their lives to come across the oceans in hopes of a better life? By comparison, this rather low-key way of transferring wealth is lame by comparison. It’s an exercise in freedom, however frail. The thing is, the .govs need to crush it in order to stop the virtual and peaceful sit-in.

 

A Bridge to Sound Money

Cryptocurrency is a bridge. It is a way back to sound money over the river of .gov fiat systems currently in place. It is the bank waiting to store the gold, so to speak. Only, the .govs stand in the way, so there is an impasse.

Who will blink?

How could crypto bridge to gold?

View it as a check or a contract.  A voluntarily enforceable one for now, but one that would easily fit in as a legally binding instrument against a rare commodity, such as a precious metal. Banks could accept cryptos in exchange for silver coins in some enlightened future. That ‘backing’ would likely stabilize cryptocurrency values.

The problem is that precious metals are currently locked out of legal tender status. The same can be said of cryptocurrency, except it has many other advantages neither fiat money or gold has – at present.

A gold bullion dealer is no less vulnerable to .gov regulations, than are most public cryptocurrencies. There are more private cryptocurrencies, however.

 

Privacy

And that brings up the idea of privacy. The love-child of cryptography and blockchain services.

Unlike the bullion company in question, where I need to give my name, address, income, photograph, ad infinitum – let them dig into my personal life – I don’t need to do that with many cryptocurrencies. Not with CryptoNote versions; and I can find ways around those exchanges now asking for my goods, as well.

The argument that the cryptocurrency companies, promote their own coin – buy in, pump it up – is a given. This is also true across the spectrum of stocks and bonds, in the restricted .gov regulated trading houses – where the brokers take their cuts and fees; and slice the pie more often than the average cryptocurrency exchange. All at the pleasure of .gov.

 

Early Adopters

Certainly, early adopters could make the most profits in a cryptocurrency economy. Ground floor opportunities have that potential, but this does not validate that a bubble is on its way. This is unlike the fiat cash flowing into the stock market and extinguishing any semblance of a P/E Ratio.

The obvious measure that bitcoin, for example, is a self-verifying property mechanism, is difficult to ignore. The limited virtual supply of bitcoin can drive its price. It’s ability to maneuver unhampered is juxtaposed with the .govs’ desire to bring it to heel. There is no P/E Ratio here. It’s absorption of one unstable fiat by a stable one.

Can that be said of our bullion buddies? Not the ones who sell us gold and silver and we stash it elsewhere, but the one in question. The one that essentially keeps our metal safely locked away where we will never see it and where any wayward .gov can grab it.

You call that safety? Try and grab my fiat crypto. Go ahead.

How did that work out for you?

It didn’t, huh?

 

The Undermine

And the fact that cryptocurrency can “undermine” capital controls is not a weakness. Money, ultimately, should be private. Taxes, ultimately, should be voluntary.

Did you not read the word “controls?” Who is doing the controlling and why? By what right?

Why must I send my cash via banks, be over-charged, wait days, when I can zip crypto to my Aunt in South America in seconds and do it much cheaper?

Hence, cryptocurrency is pro-freedom, whereas the company under scrutiny is compliant. But it must be, right? It has chosen the obedient path.

And fiat currency issued by .gov, is, of course, fiscal subservience.

If allowed to go mainstream, those cryptocurrencies that wish to comply with the long list of rules and fees, could certainly see radical value booms and busts. Obedience will have its profits.  After this alleged legal adoption, when the investment houses flood in, the public will take notice, as the assertion goes. The bubble will come as a result.

 

Pre-Bubble

So, the article in question makes the assumption that the .govs will eventually acquiesce to the public cryptocurrencies. Ones like traceable Bitcoin, Litecoin or Cardano. Then it all goes pop!

Why are the bubblers so certain? Past comparisons?

The South Sea bubble, where corruption was rampant? Government granted monopolies are not comparable to voluntarily purchased, transparent cryptocurrencies.

The Tulip Mania bubble is often cited, but the fact that much of Europe was debasing their currency at the time, is not often explored. Interesting parallels, but tulips aren’t cryptos.

Additionally, since many CryptoNote based cryptocurrencies are not designed with regulations in mind, this bubble warning only seems to apply to the public blockchains, like bitcoin and family.

According to the assumptions in the article, this future flood of bubble wealth into public cryptocurrencies will also cause prices to rise. Another dire warning.

That’s the static world view. In other words, more money into crypto equals more spending, equals less goods available, equals higher prices.

The problem is, when demand increases, in a free trade economy, the supply is often increased, and everyone wins. Prices often come down, in such economies.

This static theory of rising prices also ignores non-spenders. Some will save and not spend.

 

Choking

Yet another bubble warning is the “choke-off fable.”

Once and if .gov fiat currencies begin to falter, interest rates will be raised to entice crypto-investors away.

One problem with that scenario is rising interest rates slows the economy and could explode the debt and pop the fiat bubble all the faster.

Another? That crypto holds far more promise of profit than bank certificates.

If .gov could lure the crypto enthusiasts away from their chosen altcoins; however, what would stop them from also confiscating all the gold? After all, gold does compete with fiat currency and it makes fiat devaluation clear. An embarrassment to be certain, but one that can be easily remedied with an official announcement of fiat currency to gold conversion. It’s happened in the US before. Quite a choke I would say.

And we are only talking about the US here. There would need to be an international effort to quash crypto. Raise interest rates all over. And suffer the consequences.

A credit crisis would be the least of our problems then. Fiat currency would falter and I’d posit that cryptos, absent a move to a sound money standard (gold) by .govs — would maintain their purchasing power, so long as .gov didn’t zap the internet. Then we’d need to use stored reserves (gold/silver), eggs, canned goods and wine.

 

Conclusion:

The upside is that gold is real money, but it is not legal tender. Until then, it appears rather sluggish.

To state that private cryptocurrency is a threat to .gov fiats, that they could hasten their demise, is a bit disingenuous. Fiat currency is a threat to all of us already. If crypto hastens its demise, so be it.

The company in question is no less a threat and perhaps even more dangerous to investors, when one considers all the precious metals under their private control and the ability of any one .gov to remove said stores on a whim – or a “trumped up” national emergency.

In short, to return to a precious metal standard will require new laws in the US and elsewhere. It will require the closure of the US Federal Reserve, unless they begin to issue gold backed currency. It will then open the doors for competition between banks, with real money in their vaults. Money that should also be in your country of residence and not Dubai, Toronto, or Hong Kong.

Until then I’ll risk a crypto-bubble and pass on the debit card of gold, from the company in question. While waiting for the laws to embrace sound money, I will grow old and I hope rich, on the only form of successful liberty-currency I have ever witnessed in my lifetime: cryptocurrency.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jack Shorebird

 

P.S. Don’t let the .gov buttheads get you down. And think before you buy into Bitgold GoldMoney.


The above is my opinion. Make sure to consult your gold bullion dealer, economist, attorney, accountant and hair stylist, before you chance the Greatest Crypto Bubble of all time!

Is Bitcoin in a Bubble?

Is Bitcoin in a Bubble?

The Big Question:

This seems to be the question of the day, if not the decade.

Can cryptocurrencies replace money or are they just another bubble?

The answers vary.

To the optimist, but not necessarily the realist, bitcoin is already money. So, yes, not only will it replace all government fiat cash, but it will free the masses from the tyranny of the state. It will never “bubble” and the way it’s designed, it will only become more valuable with time. Freedom for all forever and all the drugs you want. Gold? It’s a quaint idea. Caveman monetary policy, complete with pretty rocks.

Okay, maybe that was a bit overboard.

To the pessimist, no. Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme. It is a well-marketed fiat asset trick. Don’t fall for it. It will eventually bubble, crash and burn. In the meantime, it will benefit the criminal element. It must go and/or be regulated as soon as possible. The state should always be the final arbiter of monetary policy, after all.

To the middle-of-the-road folks? Bitcoin can exist along side the current fiat money systems. It should work within the current frameworks of nationalized  monies, however. It can improve things from there. We can create a sound money standard after we iron out all of the regulatory kinks within the new cryptocurrency technology.

Unfortunately, our governments, as they are now designed, will not be able to survive on a diet of sound money and that is why fiat money was created in the first place. To escape the bonds of reality with a legal fiction, all the while, kicking the inflation can down the road.

But why not stop inflation by connecting bitcoin with gold? Make each one represent a certain amount of some rare earth metal? Why not couple gold and cryptocurrency, privately? Because the political environment is fiscally destructive. That’s why.

We know that our centrally planned economies will not allow citizens to derail the inflation machine which keeps our governments in control. It is only when the puppeteers begin to loose control of inflation that the money strings of government unravel, resulting in a revolution against the “evils of money.” Such revolutions do not always end up with a population of free citizens, however.

Cryptocurrency Negatives:

So, let us be cruel to ourselves. Take it on the chin, like a good cryptocurrency enthusiast should.

What is often cited as the main reason that bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) can never serve as money? There are many reasons actually and here are a few:

  • Unstable Value
  • Trust
  • Fiat
  • Acceptance
  • Taxation
  • Bubble

Now, before we go off spouting all the great things about cryptocurrency, lets define money. I mean, what is this paper stuff we carry in out wallets and what are those electronically recorded digits in our banks? Better yet, let’s just define a good money.

Money:

  • A tool of humans
  • Used when high level of productivity is reached
  • Desire for long-range control over their lives
  • A tool of saving for delayed consumption and later production
  • A material commodity which is:
    • imperishable
    • rare
    • homogeneous
    • easily stored
    • not subject to wide fluctuations of value
    • always in demand among those you trade with

Source: Ayn Rand Lexicon

Few people ever go this deep, however. The dollar, euro, yen, dinar, peso, franc, pound, lira, rupee, krone, zloty, rand, and the shekel are, for all intents, legal notes. It’s money for the masses. Buts it’s not real money. It’s fiat money, which represents nothing but trust. I trust you, do you trust me? Besides, what choice do we have, right? It’s legal tender. It’s easier to use than chunks of silver, which the government wants to value in fiat anyway.

You can, at least in the US, pay your taxes with fiat currency and most of us trust that the currency is money.

We also know everything is becoming more expensive, but few of realize that the root cause of inflation is not the weather, the wealthy or our enemies. It’s simple math. The more fiat notes we print or e-print, the less valuable they become. This holds true for some cryptocurrencies as well. You simply divide the value, in fiat currency, by the current number of altcoins. This gives you a rough estimate of the fiat value of a particular cryptocurrency, at a given moment in time.

So, it’s easier to understand values with cryptocurrencies, since their creation is usually straight forward. There is no Federal Reserve to manipulate alleged M1, M2 and so on. There are no banks to create endless supplies of fiat. The only inflation regulators in bitcoin, for example, is its code base. It is currently programmed to create a finite number of BTC’s. It’s not manipulated to screw the masses, but to retain its spending value.

Paper money used to represent or hold title to gold or silver. That was why it worked. Why it functioned. Once the paper no longer held title to some form of property, it became fiat. It became dysfunctional. At that point, almost always, economies begin their decline. Some economies decline faster than others of course.

Perhaps if our governments set hard long-term limits on fiat numbers, then our fiat monies might stand a chance. But there are no such limits.

High Hopes:

Many hoped that bitcoin could save our failing economies, tame our ever growing governments, and usher in some new global paradigm of wealth, but not without effort.  If this is your thinking, you are guilty of being overly optimistic and just maybe, a bit naive. Don’t worry, I’m rooting for you because I’m a near-convert myself.

What holds us back from becoming “one with the crypto?” History. It is full of examples of ledger based monetary systems that ultimately failed. It is replete with evidence that all of the fiat based systems failed as well. And the gold-backed systems — failed, but after the decoupling of functional money (paper notes) from the metals. The governments enforced these failures, often by confiscating the one form of money that has never become valueless: gold.

So we have to ask ourselves why have all monetary systems failed throughout history? Now, I’m not asserting that gold became worthless–ever. Fiats did. Ledger systems were scrapped or forced out. Seashells were abandoned. But not a single monetary system transcended all governments, in any cohesive fashion. Bitcoin, though an asset, does.

Asked another way. Aside from gold and silver being an asset for thousands of years, what monetary system, fiat or otherwise, has ever existed beyond the constructive control of all governments, simultaneously?

Bitcoin as an Asset:

The latest thinking is that bitcoin (cryptocurrency) is not money, but acts as like an asset. That is Peter Schiff’s thinking. Schiff works with Goldmoney Inc., based in Canada and he lives in Puerto Rico. Goldmoney(tm) is a company that allows you to spend gold, via a debit card, in many countries, for a small fee. You can also store gold in various vaults around the word. And there are other benefits.

You can find out about more about Schiff’s views easily. He has his a radio show, owns several companies, is an author, but to sum up his financial views I would offer this:

He has repeatedly held bullish views on long-term investments in foreign stocks and currencies in countries with sound fiscal and monetary policies, as well as global commodities including physical precious metals and has expressed bearish views on the US economy and the US dollar.

Source: Wikipedia

So what is an asset?

An asset is anything of value that can be converted into cash.

Source: Investopedia

It’s a bit more complicated than this, but for the sake of argument, all cryptocurrencies are assets, since conversions to some other form of trusted money is the fundamental purpose to both buy and hold bitcoins. I mean, that is the allegation, right? Moreover, as Schiff asserts, companies that accept bitcoin in payment for services or products, ultimately convert it to either fiat currency or some other more trusted asset. Sure they do. After all, what real choice do they have? None.

In other words, the companies that will accept your bitcoins direclty just want to sell you stuff. Of course they do and they are held to the regulations requiring them to report their earnings in a nationalized fiat currency format. A government euro. A dollar. One wonders what would happen if companies and citizens were not required to convert to government fiat money? If they were actually free to use the asset of their choosing for all debts, public and private.

But we are not free in this sense. Not completely.

You Must Comply:

Are we to then shrug and comply? I don’t think so. The future is not made by those in the halls of government. That is not the purpose of government. They are present simply to protect and serve the people. They are peace keepers, not currency makers. Currency and money should be denationalized anyway. Things like bitcoin serve as a reminder of who should be in charge. Even if it fails. Even if it is a bubble.

Under the current circumstances, bitcoin, as asserted by Peter Schiff, is untraceable. This, I’m afraid is close, but not the complete cigar. All bitcoin transactions are public. You can see them zip around the network, but they can be obfuscated for privacy and criminal reasons. And your name is not attached to your account. Other cryptocurrencies are much better at retaining your privacy.

A Common Criminal:

Naturally, Schiff keys in on the criminal aspect. We’ve all heard it. A terrorist or crook will send his bitcoin, instead of carrying cash. At some point the bitcoin will be converted into cash to buy or sell something illegal.

One of the main problems with this criminal tactic are the fluctuations in bitcoin prices. The criminal might have a set price for his product and bitcoin is terrible for that reason. Perhaps it would be better to use what is called Tether ™. It’s a bank backed cryptocurrency that is almost pegged at the US dollar. Better yet, use paper dollars or digital fiats. That’s the routine.

I used to work in criminal justice field, just a few years ago. We rarely came across evidence of cryptocurrency use. Maybe it’s more prevalent now. What we did come across were stolen credit cards, emailed cash, fiat bill, drugs, debit card numbers and so on. Criminals wanted dollars just as fast as they could get them. Not gold or silver coins, but paper fiats. They used the banking system and filed false IRS refunds (very lucrative since the IRS does a terrible job of policing their own refund system) as a way to easily subvert the antiquated, government regulated, fiat monetary system.

This is not to say that cryptocurrency is immune to criminal exploitation, but cash is king — by law. And even criminals love to exploit that law. Some even print their own bills. This is next to impossible with bitcoin.

Bubbles:

The comparison of cryptocurrencies to the Dot-com bubble is also interesting, but old. The idea that investing in cryptocurrency is similar to a fad or is speculative, is certainly a strong argument, however. More and more people are becoming aware of the technology and as a result, more money is flowing in. Is this a new opportunity for those who are already versed in their use and speculation? Sure it is. The first comers are on top of that pyramid, right? But can’t this also be said of a new stock? The more people buy the faster the value of the stock increases, right?

One must realize, however, that as cryptocurrencies become more and more popular, they become more and more risky. They are not stocks. There are few barriers to entry and trades are nearly instant. There are few restrictions. You are free to lose and gain and panic. At least with stocks, you have a broker who earns very high commissions by comparison, and you can execute trades reasonably quickly, in most cases. Oh, and you have no privacy. Every transaction is logged for tax and regulatory purposes, to ensure that you are not being cheated. That never happens…

This new injection of funds into the cryptosphere, ostensibly from a broader base — regular people — and not simply from the brokerage houses that fueled the Dot-coms, serves to magnify the potential bubble. This is a given. If such a bubble bursts, the fallout could eclipse a standard market collapse…in the future. Not right now though. Which is why the heat is not all that hot.

Currently, the amount of money in the cryptocurrency system is peanuts compared to the banking sector. Sure, lawsuits and investigations happened after the Dot-coms, the housing bubble — after any number of market implosions. Bailouts are always an option for government to soften the blow of poor investment decisions. But when banks collapse, governments step in and the insurers pay up. Then the arrests come. Fines and Senate Hearings, when the circus comes to town.

Brokerage houses are known entities. The mortgage companies and banks are all around us. If bitcoin fails, the loss is real. It will hurt millions, but in the scheme of things, it will be very small. Currently, if all the cryptocurrencies listed on coinmarketcap here went to zero overnight, it would only be half as bad as the Washington Mutual insolvency in 2008. One bank compared to over 1000 cryptocurrencies.

Diversification:

Diversification may not help. One might be safer with a mutual fund or an ETF but not a cryptocurrency. Why? Because there are few, what I will call base-cryptocurrencies, bitcoin being one. When bitcoin drops in value, nearly all cryptocurrencies lose value. So, loses are often magnified. When bitcoin recovers, so do the others. Tether cryptocurrency is one exception. It usually hovers around one US dollar in value, but it has little upside. Conversely, if say Ripple (tm) devalues, bitcoin may not.

The tie-in with bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies happens because it was a first comer and trusted. If you want other cryptocurrencies you will often need to trade for them using your bitcoin. If you want to convert back to fiat, it is often best to use bitcoin. This is changing, however. Other coins are slowly earning a type of base-currency status.

Anti-Money:

The Fallout:

What do you suspect will happen to the hundreds of international cryptocurrency market exchanges, when (and if) the bubble bursts? Do we even know where they are? How about the US based exchanges? Will their doors be closed, their assets frozen? Will your bitcoins be stuck in Europe or Asia? Will you keep your BTC at home on your hard-drive or some other device. Will cryptocurrency developers in the US then be shuffled off to prison?

How about the giant bitcoin mining farms in China and the world over? Shut off? Scrapped? Bitcoins Confiscated? What about the cryptocurrencies that do not use the ‘farms?’ The ones like Peercoin ™, which is essentially PC based?

What of the decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges that exist only between you an unknown parties over the internet? Will these applications be shut down and their unknown creators sought?

The fact that Amazon ™ lost 90% of it’s stock value over as many years, as Schiff indicated, is his example of what can happen to bitcoin. The nearly constant ICO’s (Initial Coin Offerings), the new cryptocurrencies popping up like so much graffiti, will not survive, even if they use the latest blockchain technology or some variant of it. There will be a saturation point, no doubt. Already, there is talk that if you are in “blockchain” (your company invests or develops this type of new tech) you don’t make any money.

Some companies can exist in the red for years, but at some point they must turn a profit or fail. The only other option is to ask for a loan. In any event, even Amazon ™ has not failed, but it has real products as well as software. (Bitcoin is software. An intangible asset.)

The Beginning of the End?

Flipping houses before the market imploded was all the rage before 2007. It still happens today, in Florida, where I live, but not nearly at the pace of a decade earlier. When friends quit their jobs back then, bought huge homes, new cars and lived the life, only to be financially destroyed later, it was rough. The house flippers paid the price. After the building boom things slowed and housing prices dropped. We can argue all day about how and why the crisis began. One thing is certain, however, irrational exuberance was the norm.

Is that beginning to happen with cryptocurrencies now? In a sense, flipping cryptocurrencies doesn’t really happen. You can’t buy one, improve it, unless you are the developer, sell it and walk away. You can however, buy one at the bottom, when it’s cheap, then trade it for bitcoin or Tether, when it increases in value. Unfortunately, the tax headaches in some countries makes this type of arbitrage unprofitable. If you ignore the taxes, you are chancing fines or worse.

But what of the P/E Ration? I mean, we can calculate the price to earnings ratio of a stock, but how would you do that with bitcoin? Can we ever know when and if it is overvalued? We can see when underlying government fiat money is devaluing by comparing it to something like gold. When more fiat buys less gold we have inflation or more correctly, currency devaluation. When less bitcoin buys more fiat dollars, what is occurring? Is bitcoin becoming more popular or is it acting like gold? Is it becoming like a peoples’ barometer of their own fiat money — worldwide?

The Aftermath?

After this cryptocurrency bubble bursts, if it does, what might remain? Cryptocurrencies which offer a type of service, like Ethereum ™? Ones that offer fiat trading via third parties, and other services, like Stellar ™? Newer models, such as Iota ™ or Neo ™? It’s your guess.

Worse case? Your country outlaws innovation or co-ops it, then slowly destroys it.

The best case scenario, for now? Bitcoin keeps growing and more nationalized fiat  currencies fail. The cryptosphere becomes indispensable, trusted by people everywhere, and nations begin to compete by adopting sound monetary policies.

In the meantime, don’t fall for the hype. Do your homework if you are curious about cryptocurrencies.

And a parting thought. At some point, technology will be able to create physical items upon demand. If we are then able to create gold by recombining atoms and molecules, an abundant resource nearly everywhere where we look, on the cheap, how will we then design a voluntary, sound monetary system?

 

Good Day,

Jack Shorebird.


 

 

Five Reasons Why Bitcoin-is Here-to Stay???

Five Reasons Why Bitcoin-is Here-to Stay???

I am amazed at the hype put out by some of the so-called news sites about cryptocurrencies. COINTELEGRAPH for one. This came out recently…

“It is possible to make a relatively accurate prediction about the future of Bitcoin by analyzing five factors successfully used by technology adoption experts for decades.”

Source: Five Reasons Why Bitcoin-is Here-to Stay

If you follow the link you will find five reasons, given by a guest author, as to why bitcoin is here to stay. Dear writers of the hype, nothing is “here to stay.”

Not really. It’s just a way to get you to read the COINTELEGRAPH story. It worked for me. But I felt cheated afterwards. Why? Because the guest writer even tells us that well, “maybe” bitcoin is here to stay or maybe not. But here’s why is might be around for a bit.

Relative Disadvantage:

First, bitcoin is said to have the advantage of  being a “decentralized ledger.” We’ve been over that. Every crypto-noob gets it. But dude, it isn’t just about the ledger. It’s about the probable Chinese control of most of the bitcoin system. Now that tingles my funny bone.

Secondly, the next alleged advantage? It’s cheap. Not so fast, gumshoe. The transaction costs of bitcoin have been climbing steadily since its inception. Relentlessly even. Each and every cryptocurrency exchange, retailer, Tom, Dick or Harry — has a different darned rate. And I’ll be a sheep herder if they are easy to understand.

Okay, compared to banks, fees are probably lower — if the value of the BTC doesn’t free-fall during your transaction. So, unless your fiat is depreciating like cash in Venezuela, PayPal is probably cheaper for purchases, at least in the United States. And a hell of a lot easier to use.

And spare me about there only being a limited supply of BTC’s. That’s a gimmick. What is the supply? Numbers? Codes on a shared ledger? It’s information everyone agrees is somehow limited — until we all agree that we can use a better, newer, more secure, more private ‘coin.’

It’s not about the artificially limited supply of bitcoin. It’s about the code. The secret code we the users (those who are allowed to use bitcoin) agree represents a form of functional money, then and there. In that second of time. Because in the next second, this funky bubble might burst all over Beijing. Actually, all over the noob-world, with the Chinese scooping up the whale’s share of other cryptocurrencies in a continued effort bilk the average investor. To convince the unhinged happy-go-broke-today-guys to raid their 401k’s as soon as possible — before there’s bubble-trouble.

No, say you? No bubbles in bitcoin?

(And yes I know that if the dollar takes a roll, 401k’s will become worthless in the United States — but so will just about everything else.)

Third. Well, the “guest writer” didn’t use my ordering here, but the fact that bitcoin payments do not go through a third-party is a bit misleading. Sure, you can send your BTC from your desktop wallet to a retailer or your local coffee shop — and wait 24 hours sometimes — but often retailers want a third-party intermediary.

Even guys like me might want to set our BTC aside, until our socks arrive at our doorstep, before we  “release” the cryptocurrency to the seller. Why? because the standard BTC transaction is a one-way ride to someone’s decentralized ledger. Once I send it, it’s gone, unless I use a third party or a smart contract, such as Ethereum. Confused yet? Yeah? Now try to get your bitcoin back.

Dear “Bit-Con Bank,” Joe’s Sock Retailer in Japan screwed me on a pair of socks. What? There is no “Bitcoin Bank?” Wait a minute…who is in charge here? Me? But I can trace the bitcoin to a funny address in Japan, err maybe that’s Hong Kong…wait a minute the bitcoin transaction split…went through a mixer…

The lesson here? Buyer beware.

Incompatibility:

Another great thing touted as a plus, is bitcoin’s iPhone-like “idea.” It’s compatibility. Seriously? Even iPhone is taking steps — or was — to keep our information private. Not bitcoin. At least not yet.

But that was not the rub here. The cited advantage here was that bitcoin was easy to use. Let me repeat that: easy to use. Are you kidding me?

Yes, I know I can download an app and use a third-party bitcoin service, with fees, and send my bitcoin around, after I scan a bar-code thingy or type a freaking long alphanumeric code (and hope I get it right). It’s just so darned cool… Not.

Sending bitcoin can be dicey. Why don’t the gurus of Fintech ever fess up to that fact? User friendly? Hardly. But I can use most of the wallets and I have tried a variety of third-party apps. The operative word here is “tried.”

I have since dumped all the bitcoin apps from my dumb-phone. They are not all that secure. I don’t bank on my dumb-phone for the same reason. Paranoid I guess. And I don’t have too much to hide. I just don’t want to leave chum in the water.

Non-Trial-ability:

Not “trialability.” The idea that more and more bitcoin ATM’s are beginning to show up and that people will “try” the goods is a bit over the top. Sure, people will be curious, but not stupid with their money. Not adults anyway. Not in the semi-IRS-police states of America anyway.

I don’t want my identity spilled all over the bitcoin ATM grid. Besides, these ATM’s are pricey. Coinbase is cheaper and so are a dozen other outlets.

Why do you think a lot of the BTC ATM’s are showing up in shady internet cafes, overpriced malls, and gambling establishments — with ear-biting, ex-heavy weight boxer logos? I don’t know if those ATM’s are made in South America or Switzerland. I do know who to call when I see an extra charge on my debit card from Coinbase. I won’t be calling “Mike” for a refund of BTC if one of his ATM’s breaks — he might be hungry. Might chew my ear off — literally.

Complexity:

If something is complex, but easy to drive, people might buy it. True. I’d have to agree here. But is bitcoin easy to drive and easy to trust?

Sure, you don’t need to know how your car works to be a great driver. You just need to know some basics. Steering wheel, gas pedal, brakes and you are off.

On the other hand, if one day your car gets better gas mileage and the next day it sucks, then what? Would you trust your complex, easy to drive roadster? How about if the car is not so reliable? You try to start it and nothing happens? You try again three hours later and it works? Hello?

This is bitcoin today. You click on send and wait and wait and say, “oh crap, where in the hell did my crypto go?” And, “you charged me what? How and when did you add that fee?” And, later, “I’m sorry, Mike — I didn’t know you owned that BTC ATM at Jim Bob’s Internet Cafe and Boxing Shop.”

Observability?

Seeing bitcoin in action.

The thing is, as the cited article states, we don’t see bitcoin in use much the United States. In other countries, such Japan, you do. Well congratulations Japan, maybe you are about to get some payback from China, however. You might want to diversify into other crypto’s fast like.

You don’t see much news about BTC, unless you go looking for it — or unless someone makes a lot of money — or loses a lot.  This is true.

The Other Reasons:

Then there is that pesky regulation problem. Bitcoin is just so new that the poor old governments are simply stumped. What ever shall we do? FinCen asks. How on earth will we ever catch up? the IRS complains. How can we copy it, the banking industry says.

Let not the cryptocurrency promoters take your eye off the ball. The regulators (governments) are the money makers — literally. They want bitcoin to bite the big bubble, so they can copy it and outlaw the private use thereof — in the U.S.

All the warnings are there. Lawsuits. Imprisoned users. Audits. Fines and so on.

You might want to prepare — if you are a cryptocurrency enthusiast — with a better coin. A more private and secure one.

No, bitcoin is not a passing fad. It is certainly a learning process. It’s this process that tells us that there will always be improvements to the code, unless the human race checks out. And that someone or some group of them, will certainly find a better system than bitcoin.

And when I see articles like this, offered as high-brow Kool-Aid for the misinformed, I just gotta pipe in. Let people know that there is another not-so-bright-side to cryptocurrency. That you need to dig a bit, before you go riding the fast lane to success…like me…but not so fast.


Featured Image: Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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