Cardano (ADA) is NOT Money, but that’s Okay — neither is Bitcoin…

Dear Cryptocurrency Enthusiasts,

I heard the air just go out of the room. How can I dare say such a thing? I mean, why? Why challenge the Gods of Crypto? Because I listen to them when they say really dumb things and I’m a bad little sheep. I crap on their stage and bleat. It’s okay, I’m just a little sheep. Not much to worry about.

After reviewing several recent videos put out by the more vocal cryptocurrency developers and evangelists I wanted to reiterate a few things about what these pro-cryptocurrency, blockchain promoting, initial coin offering gurus and family, might be obfuscating: reality. (There. I just let one go. Plop.)

And this goes for nearly all cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Sexcoin, Ether-bum and Frogpennies included.

What? There are no Frogpennies? You mean I was scammed? Again? Dammit man!

I’m no newbie to this financial vehicle. I’ve been around the bend. Lost and gained. And I’m still here. Still playing the game. Still bleating and trading — and winning — for now.

“Freaking gambler!”

Hey…relax.

So, this a reality check, from a fan of cryptocurrencies. (That’s me. Don’t forget that part.)

Is cryptocurrency anything other than a speculative vehicle?

I mean, look at where most of the money is going in cryptocurrency markets.  Most of the investment is going into bitcoin. Currently, bitcoin’s market capitalization is nearing $100,000,000,000.  Each BTC is now (almost) worth – $6000 each. It kind of wobbles there — for now.  Certainly, another milestone for cryptocurrency at large.

But is bitcoin worth anything at all? Go ahead. Torture yourself about energy, electricity and nodes. What type of value, other than a service value, does any cryptocurrency have?

Tick-tock.

How’s the mental argument going? Feeling twisted up yet? Okay, I’ll let you off the hook. It’s better for your blood pressure that way.

Wait a minute… The older guys and gals take this crap in stride. It’s just the younger ones who need to chillax. We’ve — us elders — been around the apple cart a few more times.

“Oh, but times have changed!”

No. They have not. Crooks are always crooks, not matter the century. Dummies are always dummies. Blonds are…  Never mind.

In the cryptocurrency world, there’s a lot of conjecture about the nature of money itself.  So, I’d like to explore that a bit. Remind the wandering souls who left their gamer chairs and headed over the crypto-couchs for beer and saki.

Hopefully, these wandering post-gamer types (Vitalik?) will sober-up before it’s too late — for the rest of us broke investors.

So, let’s get to it.

One of my favorite definitions of money was provided by Ayn Rand. If you don’t know her, consider yourself — sorry — uneducated. Okay, maybe that was harsh. But if you are in the Fintech world, you ought to be ashamed.

If you go to aynrandlexicon.com and look up the word “money,” you will find the seeds of what I’m about to go over, there.

The Lexicon pulls this definition from a piece that Rand did titled “Egalitarianism and Inflation,” from the book titled Philosophy: Who Needs It, page 127. (Go ahead, look it up. You can google it. I’m tired of giving out shortcuts like candy.)

So, let me compare cryptocurrency to money. I think that a lot of people are disregarding this very important definition — to their own detriment.

According to Rand, money is a tool.  A tool that can be used to exercise long range control over one’s life. A tool that can be used for saving. A tool that permits delayed consumption. And, a tool that buys time for future production.

Think on that a moment. Pick up a wrench. Caress it. Did you just fondle money? Well, kind of.

Is cryptocurrency a tool? Can you fondle a crypto? Would you want to?

Certainly, crypto is a type of tool or at least an application, but it requires something a money-tool does not. Cryptocurrency requires energy. Electrical energy. It also requires a computer, software, regular updates, dedicated developers and user cooperation. These are only a few of the cryptocurrency requirements.

In other words, crypto is a “user of tools.”

Can a cryptocurrency be used long range, however? The apparent answer is that it cannot be used beyond a few years, without improvements. So, in this respect cryptocurrency cannot be used to exercise control, in a long-range manner.

Crypto is a shorty sporty.

Can cryptocurrency be used for saving? And by saving, I mean saving something of value (a tool — remember) that one can come back to in a week, a month, a year or longer — and pick it up, dust it off and say, “Wow, it’s still good as new.”

The simple answer, again, is no. Attempting to save cryptocurrency beyond one week might be very risky. Yes, I’ve heard about bitcoin. Probably, before you.

In this respect, cryptocurrency cannot be used to delay any consumption for greater than perhaps a few days. It cannot buy time for the future. Gold, for example, buys one “time” in a sense that one can delay using it for years.

Let’s look at another aspect of money that Rand indicated was a definite requirement.

Money must be a material commodity that is imperishable. Not a banana or pork bellies. Not energy or “trust.” Not nodes or networks. Material…and a commodity. A tough and tumble thing that just holds the fort and takes no prisoners — not even during “World of Warcraft.” (That should probably be Witchcraft. It just fits better.)

Now, you might ask what (exactly) is “imperishable.” And it is clear cut –  it is something that cannot perish or if it does perish it would take some serious effort. Computers and networks and games — they all go “bye bye.” Time kills them.

Cryptocurrency shall perish from this earth — I mean — eventually. Maybe in a few years. Maybe after Fedcoin awakens and the apparatchiks get going. Make a few arrests. Tax people into the poor house. A bit of insurance policy suicide.

So crypto is perishable, but for now, it’s a great fruit. Sort of like one of those irradiated, dehydrated apple chips. It’ll last for a few years on your counter, but once the dog finds it, yum-yum.

If the power goes out in your area, can you spend, save, and borrow a bitcoin? If your country makes cryptocurrency illegal, will you still use it? If, a few years from now, a newer and much better cryptocurrency is invented, what will happen to your preferred cryptocurrency? It just rotted. Perished into the doggy mouth.

Rare. Money should also be rare. Something that is abundant, easy to produce, easy to copy, easy to “fork,” does not meet the definition of rare. Think copy-machine. Think clones. Think, fiat-money.

Artificially reduced numbers on a digital ledger does not meet the definition of money, but it could be a type of functional currency. Reduced numbers of cryptocurrency atomic units do meet the definition of “limited,” but digital information is not in and of itself, rare.

Unless you print this — the words you are now reading (and why you waste you time here, I’ll not ask) — are born of code. Pixels instructed to turn on and off, by a bit of computer code, fed through a electronic processor. Okay, it’s not the best code. Not a crypto-code, but you catch my drift, don’t you?

Codes are not rare. They can be secure, however.

Money must be homogeneous too. Standardized. Similar. A dollar bill looks the same and spends the same all over the U.S. and many other places. (Yes, I know dollars suck — but they spend.)

Multiple kinds of functional money, i.e. cryptocurrencies, are not standardized. Although, many cryptocurrency technologies are similar they are not, for all intents and purposes identical. There is no standard. (Maybe that’s good, actually.)

Money must be easily stored.

Generally, this might mean that money is compact, perhaps stack-able, able to be placed in one’s pocket, transportable and able to be secured.

Yes, I know gold is heavy and past presidents in the US have stolen it from the people — and that it’s really hard to steal crypto.

But you know what’s even harder to steal than crypto? My thoughts. Electronic (and chemical) codes I can relay to you via spoken or written words.

I have secret thoughts too. Try and take them. On second thought, don’t — you might get sick. I’ve seen some pretty messed up things in my life.

Is cryptocurrency easy to store? In some sense, saving information on your computer is quite easy. But is that true storage in the physical sense? And isn’t that what we’re after? The ability to place money in a safe, under your mattress or in a tin can in your backyard?

Are my thoughts money? I think I have nodes too. My neurons are decentralized in my brain for sure. Billions of nodes, just humming along.

Money should not be subject to wide fluctuations of value, according to Rand. This seems straightforward. Sort of like, “Duh!”

My thoughts fluctuate. Crypto pops up and runs to ground often. I wonder, can I trade my thoughts on an exchange?

If you place a government issued coin in your pocket, unless you live in Venezuela, it will probably maintain its value throughout the day, perhaps an entire year.

On the other hand, if you stored a bitcoin on your computer hard drive, next week it could be worth twice as much or half as much.  And this goes for most other cryptocurrencies as well.

Not so for my thoughts. They are worth zilch, until I use them to develop something — say a crypto. There, I just did. Did you feel it? Wanna buy some thought-crypto?

So, fiat currencies are terrible, but they generally hold their value over longer periods of time – a stable value — when compared to cryptos. Especially my thought-cryptos.

What else is important about money?

Well, if you can’t go to the market and spend it, there’s a problem. If you can’t buy a cup of coffee, a soda, or a car – anywhere you normally go – there’s a problem.

Oh, please don’t bring out that BTC ATM map. Just go to the store and let them stare at you like you are a “nerd.” (Hint: you are. But it’s okay. They meet on Wednesdays, I think. Make sure to bring your pencils.)

So, if a cryptocurrency is to become a functional money it must be in demand among those you trade with. Not only the Wednesday “Nerd” Group. Currently, cryptocurrency also fails in this respect.  Let me repeat that, currently. Today.

(Note: Nerds may conquer the universe. Just look at Bill Gates. He’s got his own crypto now. “Way to go Bill, you copycat. No, I know you did not copy Apple…”)

Let’s get back on track, before Billy gets made and shuts this blog down. Really, I apologize Billy. I know you love crypto too.

Using Rand’s definitions, it seems that the only true money is gold.

“Oh not that rock thing again. You’re so retro, dude!”

Straighten up. Get a job, before your dad kicks you out.

Gold has a tangible value, but, as Rand states it, gold is “…a token of wealth actually produced.” Moreover, the transaction itself becomes much safer, much simpler, because it is like bartering.

Let’s recycle.

“No, Mr. Retro. I need to get back to War of the Witchs II!”

Money is a tool.  Cryptocurrency is an application that uses a tool – a computer.

“So.”

Tools can be used over long periods of time. We do not know how long cryptocurrencies will last.

“You mean it’s like a new modified game?”

No. Listen.

“Why?”

One can save a money-tool. If one saves a cryptocurrency application, it may be outdated within the year.

“Yep, just like my computer games. I sort of get it now.”

If you delay using your cryptocurrency, you may lose all your money – all your value.

“Right. You can’t sell used games for squat after a few months!”

The money-tool ought to be imperishable. Cryptocurrency is perishable.

“Games are dead soon after release!”

Right and a cryptocurrency is not a material commodity.

“True. I download my games now.”

Cryptocurrency is not rare, only mathematically limited.

“You got me there, grandpa.”

Cryptocurrency is not homogeneous in the sense that it is standardized among the persons with which you trade. If cryptocurrency were standardized, this might increase its demand.

“Yeah, a lot of dudes can’t stand War of Witchcraft at all! No demand. Puds.”

Cryptocurrency requires a stable value – if it is to escape the bonds of speculation.

“Hey, I made a few bucks with mining Piggycoin a few years back!”

Aside from the fact that cryptocurrencies do not meet the ‘Randian’ definition of a sound money, this does not mean that its value will not increase.

“Like I said, the Piggy was good to me. But my mom got tired of the high power bills and the gizmos making all of that noise.”

Even if governments choose to define cryptocurrencies in different ways, those jurisdictions with the least amount of regulations appear to be reaping the benefits of increased Fintech investments, for now.

“I heard that. But I’m not leaving America for some European paradise.”

Cryptocurrency is also voluntary. Fiat currency is not.

“That’s the point, right?”

Cryptocurrency is also trustworthy, in many cases. Many people trust the math, but some are concerned about the developers who write the code.

“Dude, you are confusing the hell out me. First you say they suck, now you say they don’t?”

Is fiat currency trustworthy? It depends upon the country, the economy and the leadership.

“Oh, yeah. Bummer.”

One thing is certain, however, even with two arms tied behind its back, decentralized cryptocurrency has captured the imagination of the people.

I think that any blockchain adoption by governmental entities, will only serve to solidify the people’s belief in the private use of the blockchain technologies.

I’ve also included a YouTube video of mine, highlighting some of the above issues.

“Dude, can I go back to my games now?”

Sure.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jack Shorebird

P.S. I’m selling my thoughts for one BTC each. Guaranteed to be far more awesome than any cryptocurrency ever mined, minted, spat out, staked, gassed-in or farmed-out. There is a limited supply of my thoughts because one day I’ll be dead. (Shut up, I heard that.) Just leave a reply and we can work out the details. I’m not going to leave my BTC address. That’s just tacky as hell, don’t you think? Hurry, this is a limited time offer — maybe less that 30 years before it ends and my decentralized network will cease to function.

 

(Disclaimer: The above is the opinion of this writer. Any appearance to reality is merely a coincidence. If it bothers you, mine some ‘coin.)

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Cardano (ADA): The Golden Hand?

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. The hard part is recognizing the opportunity.


The Cardano opportunity is a risk.

Life…is a risk.

The news today…the news any day…the last few crypto-days…is mixed.

From a layman’s point of view – one who has made a few good calls – I think that the next great cryptocurrency opportunity is here. The early cryptocurrencies were the introductions, the experiments and the tests.

A lot of people have made a lot of money in this space since 2009. Some of these newly minted multimillionaires have used this opportunity to push Fintech further. To create a second generation of cryptocurrencies with smart contracts and added tokens. To allow others to use their blockchains for good or ill.

From Bitcoin to Ethereum. Public blockchains that allowed innovators to dream and make their dreams into reality. The reality, the regulators, pushing back, but not yet winning.

From Bytecoin (stay away) to Monero (use at your own risk). And we must not forget the private angle. Others in this new space felt that the current governments obstructed the development of this technology as they, the Darknet users, actively created systems to hide behind a wall of code. Or give the user the choice to secure his accounts or make them public.

The principal problem with the private angle, is that we the users, do not often know who created these coins. We have no customer service. The risk, therefore, is great. To state otherwise is to be oblivious or perhaps to take that risk in hopes of a great return.

Is there a third way, however? A third generation of cryptocurrency? Not a compromise, as I have postulated before, but a “realist” coin? One that exists and uses the regulations to its benefit, rather than subjecting itself to the laws of all nations? In other words, can Cardano (ADA) use the law of nations to its advantage, while enticing a new breed of users?

We live in the real world after all. We earn and save and spend our money on real things in real stores, where real people stuff our groceries in real bags. We use fiat money, by and large, to do this. And there are many advantages to using fiat, except for micropayments across borders. Cryptocurrency handles the latter much better. But cryptocurrency has other problems.

Although, I’m no supporter of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) its current director made some interesting remarks recently.

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director at the IMF, indicated in her speech recently, “…this is not about digital payments in existing currencies—through Paypal and other “e-money” providers such as Alipay in China, or M-Pesa in Kenya…”

What does that tell you? Aside from the fact that she said it? Is Lagarde sounding the alarm or is she helping to clear the way for the banking industry to adopt the blockchain technology? If so, what type of cryptocurrency would governments accept? After all, the governments are the banks.

In the US, the company with the cheapest product wins the government business – a lot. Yes, there are affirmative action quotas (reverse discrimination policies) to follow, but the product used, needs to be under budget – until later, when the corruption and incompetence is discovered and the whole project exceeds the projected budget, plus some.

Would PoW cryptocurrencies be used by governments? Unlimited budgets are things of the past. Yes, China and Russia can offer inexpensive power (electricity) to cryptocurrency miners, having built the power stations on the backs of their subjects (tax and spend), however, freer countries cannot often hide such corruption for long.

PoS cryptocurrencies might fit the bill, however. In fact, Ripple is fitting the bill nicely now. More and more businesses and banks are signing on. But Ripple is not really PoS, is it? It does not encourage people to save and earn interest, it only entices them the buy, hold and sell. Perhaps to use their system. It is no longer user-friendly – if it ever was. But it is a pre-mined animal for the current financial system. Centralized and existing in the regulatory environs – and earning money for its investors.

Back to Lagarde. She also said, “For now, virtual currencies…pose little or no challenge to the existing order of fiat currencies and central banks…[b]ecause they are too volatile, too risky, too energy intensive, and because the underlying technologies are not yet scalable. Many are too opaque for regulators; and some have been hacked.” (Underlining emphasis mine.)

Volatility is a given with cryptocurrencies. They are not often pegged to a basket of goods or a fiat money supply. On the other hand, they are not – in theory – able to cause inflation.

Energy. There’s the big one. Bitcoin, for example, uses as much power as hundreds of thousands of homes, certainly. And there are worries, that continued unchecked, the blockchain beast might use as much electricity as entire countries.

That is a non-starter for whole countries, if they are constrained by objectivity and budgets. So, what is better? What kind of cryptocurrency would entice the average Joe, the high-power banker and, at the same time, dissuade governments from clamping down on the process? Where whole nations could participate?

It would need to be – IMO – a cryptocurrency (or more than one) with wide acceptance, ease of use, an international governance structure, economical, secure, and transparent under certain circumstances. (By that I mean, an objective set of published rules whereby the ‘coin’ would, under the circumstances outlined, provide identity information to third parties.)  Whatever else the cryptocurrency could add, given the needs and desires of the populace, would be up to them. Smart contracts. Machine to machine payments etc.

Naturally, the acceptable cryptocurrency would require scalability. In other words, be flexible enough to increase business in an efficient fashion.

Such a cryptocurrency, could become a new world reserve cryptocurrency, if it was not subject to the whims and laws of every separate bureaucracy – used a system of governance akin to Maritime Law – as has been suggested. It can be argued that Bitcoin is like this today.

This would be, as some have called it, the third stage in the evolution of cryptocurrency. And, perhaps, a stage in the re-development of a base or reserve monetary system, decentralized at its heart and beholden to its users, not its users’ users.

Efficient, secure, regulatable, sustainable and trusted, all based upon the original concepts of peer to peer networks. With the added benefit of creating a voluntary user base to extend the network.

Let’s face it, Bitcoin would be much faster if everyone connected and kept their computer on. But why waste energy? Why download the blockchain when cryptocurrencies like Cardano offer more efficient ways of participating – and obtaining PoS rewards?

The trick will be in the regulation. And how Cardano can manage what will certainly absorb much of their nest egg, that we the user must be willing to provide.

Can Cardano outpace Ripple and become a serious international player in short order?

Read between my lines.

 


The above should not be considered investment advice. It is solely the opinion of the author. The author who had DASH when it was wet behind the ears, Ethereum when the nerds were wrecking “DAO” havoc, Bitcoin too late and Aeon, at pennies on the dollar. Now it is the time for Cardano — methinks.


 

Cardano (ADA): “PoS”itive Outlook?

Updated October 5, 2017


Dear Cryptocurrency Enthusiasts,

Trust, trust, trust — or baloney?

In each other, we trust?

Trust, but verify…especially with cryptocurrency?

It seems that we have three developments occurring simultaneously, now — in the Fintech Crypto-World.

  1. Proof-of-Work (PoW) is moving to Proof-of-Stake (PoS).
  2. Public is moving to Private or “choice.”
  3. And governments are trying to regulate.

Did I tell you something you don’t know? I hope not.

PoW. It was the most trusted way to create and maintain a person-to-person (P2P) network. But what happened? Has the crypto-space evolved?

PoW has become labor intensive, energy hogging and increasingly centralized. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin etc. Ethereum is attempting to move to a PoS system or at least use some of its protocols. Really? Again, why?

Why was the PoS protocol developed in the first place? Peercoin, Blackcoin, Cloakcoin and others. Were there long term issues? Security disadvantages? They drew less power, were faster, but they were essentially a pre-mine. But they reward those who maintain balances – and help to secure the network, right? Reward with an ever growing supply of cryptos, unless that supply is fixed — which appears to be the plan for Cardano.

What were (are) the results of PoS? Marginal success. Can a new PoS protocol reverse that trend?

Peercoin, for example, had problems with their code early on. Their primary developer is anonymous. Cloakcoin has changed hands.

What was worse, these PoS coins were more vulnerable than PoW types – less secure. So, why is Ethereum attempting to move in that direction? Aside from the official reports, I mean?

Competition from Cardano?

We know Cardano was developed – at least in part – by a former Ethereum developer, turned Ethereum Classic developer/supporter. To, me, that smells of trust. That smells of new blood — underdog — PoS+ blood type.

But the underdog is only in name. Like Ripple, Cardano has removed the curtain to reveal that it too is willing, at some level, to cooperate with regulators. They are willing — and able — to compromise. If we look to Ripple, they are succeeding.

To roll back the blockchain, as Ethereum did, to stop one criminal – okay, one “advantage taker” – smacks of centralization. (See the DAO Incident.) At that juncture, no matter how benign a dictator, Ethereum lost its way. One cannot punish the whole, to catch one mistake.

So what stain does Cardano have? As a free market supporter, the stain is called compromise? Or is it realism. In other words, Cardano is not seemingly attempting to create a separate cryptocurrency and/or protocol, as much as it is attempting to “get along” with the regulators. It wants to identify you, at least on one level. KYC — know your customer. The smart contract-currency platform that might be too smart for its own good.

And, in my mind, Cardano, unlike Ripple, wants you to participate. Game changer?

Ethereum Classic is “righting” the wrong of Ethereum. Still, the system – the protocol – is slow. It devours resources. Energy for mining. Power hungry.

So, what is the solution?

A PoS Ethereum, with new math: Cardano?

Now, we must decide. Do we trust the PoS? The pre-mine with a large chunk of coins held back for the “company.” Do we trust corporations? They act in their own interests, right? They must make a profit to survive, certainly. How much is enough?

And they are willing to share profits if we support the system?

Many cryptocurrencies are headed by corporations today. Mining warehouses keep many coins alive – corporations regulated by their respective governments. Of course, letting governments create cryptocurrencies will be a cluster-fork, of enormous proportions. But it’s heading that way today, in many countries.

Bitcoin’s reality is that it is managed by people with differing points of view, but they must come to a consensus to move forward. Hence the slow-to-change mentality. Is it outliving its usefulness? Some will tell you it has.

It seems that the move to privacy coins, created by unknown players, is an accident waiting to happen.  We need – IMO – the human factor. The “part” in the virtual machine that is not virtual. To service the humans who use the crypto. Or do we?

Privacy coins obscure their process, as to be non-auditable (or having a choice to audit), in a way that gives many the willies. Not because we want cash-like privacy, but because we wonder who else is using the protocol and why.

So, what can we say. Cash has no feelings. It’s just cash. True. But if you have the protocol to trace the bad actor and you don’t? What does that make you? An accomplice?

The one weakness in that cash-privacy crypto, one which you might hold on your flash-drive, is the customer service angle. If the currency “forks” and you didn’t update in time, what then? Get on Reddit and start complaining? Really?

Where is the “Complaint Department?”

Grandma likes to call people, right? The old school likes warm voices, emails to real organizations, faces to names. The old school lives and saves, on trust. Is Cardano that trust? The new Savings and Loan of Fintech Crypto?

And isn’t that what it’s all about? If we strip away the layers of protocols, unload the software, and just listen – who do you trust to keep your money? I’m not talking about playing the crypto-markets, drifting from one coin to the other, riding the emotion-horse. I mean, the bare-bones of it.

It is not the machines we trust, yet. It’s the people.

Isn’t that what it boils down to?

The fact that governments want to regulate may not be the best reason to flee into the “dark” coins. They will chase any entity that threatens the fiat empire. The darkness only eggs them on.

Regulations change because of force. What is the force of millions of cryptocurrency wallets, worldwide? It is a wave. A tidal wave.

Put your ship in the deep water.

A cryptocurrency that is backed (or less regulated by whole countries), will place pressure upon the bankers of old – the money-changers of the past. Especially, when it is trusted by people everywhere.

How would the empires of old stop that?

Can they, ICANN?

I don’t know if Cardano is the answer, but maybe they are onto something.


 

Zcash v. Monero: The Friday Night Fights

Hello Crypto Dudes and Dudettes,

This is just a nightcap, a final bit of juice for the day.

Recent internet chatter pits Zcash against Monero. It seems that some Zcash supporters are citing or linking to an older evaluation of Monero. One that is not so glowing. Hints that Monero is/was traceable.

Is it? The question seems to hang like bad meat in a broken freezer – in South Africa.

Other allegations imply that Monero is Mickey Mouse, essentially.

Apparently, Edward Snowden has weighed in. Zcash it is.

The peanut gallery is crying foul. Snowden is a shill, a paid endorser…really?

But shouldn’t you at least consider a private cryptocurrency? Bitcoin is traceable. Why wait?

So, what’s in your wallet? Governments already know. And some hackers.

Choose wisely.

And if top academics did help to develop Zcash, who cares if they did not “implement” the actual coin?

That’s one lame argument.

If a rocket scientist shows you how it’s done and you build a brand new shiny rocket, it’s still a rocket. Even if you used old Nazi science – old V2 methods – for some of your “code.” (I’m hinting at the use of bitcoin code within Zcash.)

We know that bitcoin works. We have never seen Bytecoin take off like that. (Note : the Bytecoin link may not work.)

Monero has moved onto higher ground – as – I might say – it’s a “people’s coin.” Grass roots.

Zcash is beholden to their sponsors, right?

But that does not mean we cannot or should not profit from those who back Zcash and therefore “pump” the coin.

The continued success of Zcash – a very volatile coin – is still in the weeds. But judging by bitcoin’s success, is Zcash the best of both worlds? Private or public? You can show and tell or…not, right?

To defend Monero – that it too is based on the works of academia – is disingenuous.

We know those who developed the Zcash/Zerocash process. We cannot verify the existence of a single coder or developer of CryptoNote/CryptoNight – Bytecoin – not one.

And yes, I realize that we do not know Satoshi Nakamoto or his counterpart in the CryptoNote universe – Nicolas van Saberhagen.

That’s not my point.

This article helps to clear the air a bit.

Monero/Aeon, remain the underdog(s) – for now – as far as I’m concerned. And lately Aeon has spiked. We’ll see if it holds.

Certainly, Monero and Aeon are better at holding the line than Zcash. That’s a tell.

Apparently, Edward Snowden doesn’t have time to check the crypto-markets to verify this fact.

That’s all for now.

Poloniex v. Cryptopia?


Preamble:

Do you ever feel like the above picture. A primate looking at a bone trying to figure what it does. How it works.

It’s like that now. The more I learn about cryptocurrency “exchanges” — at least the friendly ones — the less I know. What the hell is this “bone” thing?

Perhaps, it is best to clear our minds of the extraneous nonsense dished up on the internet like so much fast food, no matter how good it tastes.

Maybe we should go to the source. Talk to the guys and gals on the front lines. Go to the exchanges themselves and just ask. So, that’s what I did. Like a smart guy. Really smart, I tell you.

I feel that I have implied things in a previous post that I should not have. So, in a sense, this post is my retraction and clarification. My bit of re-education. Hey, I’m not perfect, but neither is crypto, so bite me.

Here’s what I learned, after being contacted by a manager from a cryptocurrency firm. I learned that things are rather screwed up, to put it politely.


The Tables have Turned:

I questioned the Cryptopia Cryptocurrency Exchange’s decision to delist Bytecoin. I was not on about Cryptopia’s fees or trying to review their policies. And it was not specifically about Bytecoin. I don’t even like Bytecoin (BCN) — any longer.

I was after the reasoning behind the delisting process. In fact, given my suspicions, I thought that there was something more to this story. Something nefarious. And I was right that their was more, but wrong for suspecting foul play.

As it turns out, a manager at Cryptopia took the time to explain to me why BCN will be delisted there. I’ll not give a name, but I have obtained permission to use the information here.

This is my interpretation of Cryptopia’s dilemma, but a predicament all exchanges of this nature should be aware. If I’m off base here, I apologize – to Cryptopia.

If cryptocurrency experts have questions about the following, please let me know in the comments section below.


Payment ID’s:

So, here’s the scoop.

It is not so much that BCN has a “paymentid” issue. It has more to do with another well-known exchange.

An exchange which is quite large, but perhaps has outgrown its ability to serve the customer. I’m referring to Poloniex, of course. It is becoming a dinosaur.

There are all kinds of complaints against Poloniex. Poloniex scams people. Poloniex scalps investors. Poloniex delists or freezes coins for months at a time. It has been seized by unknown parties, banned users, been hacked, and the list goes on.

But we’re focused on one thing here: BCN. Why the delist?

For those of you who are unaware of how one sends BCN’s, it’s a bit more involved than sending bitcoin (BTC’s). One requires, in many cases, two pieces of information.

  1. A wallet address where the BCN is supposed to go
  2. A paymentid, to ensure your BCN is credited to your account.

And this is where the difficulties arise.

One can encrypt the “paymentid” and the fact that one did this is visible on the blockchain. Even on Bytecoin’s blockchain.

Knowing this, means one can exploit this knowledge.

So, how does it work?

Poloniex transfers cryptocurrencies to other exchanges. A large percentage of the CryptoNote transactions, especially the ones Poloniex sends to Cryptopia deposit with no problems. The “paymentids” are not encrypted.

Unfortunately, about 10% of the Poloniex transfers to Cryptopia were (are) transferred encrypted.

But here is the problem. Poloniex has not provided the “key” to unlock the encrypted deposits.

In other words, Poloniex sends the BCN, but Cryptopia is unable to clear the transaction – unable to credit the customers’ cryptocurrency account.

So, what happens?

Continue reading Poloniex v. Cryptopia?

Bytecoin: Don’t Mess with India


Playing With Fire

For those who follow the day-to-day docudrama that is Bytecoin, a CryptoNote derived cryptocurrency, it’s always great when the promoters get a little rankled around the collar. They play the victim even if many of us may refer to the “Bytecoin Scam.” Often becoming upset when the crypto-public asks a few relevant questions, like who they are or if they know anything about Bytecoin’s checkered past.

Let us focus on Bytecoin for a moment here. It’s the cryptocurrency of choice in India’s Temples these days, if we can believe the hype. And if this is true, it is probably an attempt by citizens in that country to retain their wealth. Recently their government announced that certain paper fiat currency bills were now worthless. But they gave the citizens plenty of time to convert larger denominations to lower ones. They gave them several hours. Thank you, Narendra Modi, you Grand Poobah Socialist, you.

Do you really think the average citizen in India is ready to get screwed by a bunch of crypto-jerks at Bytecoin.org after Modi bent them over?

Answer? Heck yes! Just go to Bytecoin.org.in and prepare to invest! And don’t worry about the Bytecoin delists. If Poloniex disables it again, I’m sure all will be well. And Cryptopia would never delist it. Just go to to the nearest empty Bytecoin faucet, read the boring entries in the Bytecoin Forum and feel good inside about your Bytecoin future. Bytecoin GPU or Bytecoin CPU miners welcome. Make sure to watch your graphs.

Forget Bytecoin history, just focus on the hashrate. Learn how to buy Bytecoins at your earliest opportunity. Make your Bytecoin investment today. Buy those Bytecoin logo T-Shirts and be the first on your street or in your tent, to hold Bytecoin long term.

Is Bytecoin legit you ask? Absolutely and not a soul in India would ever confuse it with bitcoin. No way. Just get your trusty Bytecoin mining calculators out. Look up the best Bytecoin mining pools. Buy the best Bytecoin mining hardware you can find. Keep up with all of the Bytecoin news and run your Bytecoin nodes. Set up your Bytecoin online wallet immediately. Keep an eye on those Bytecoin price predictions. Read your daily Bytecoin reviews. Know about Bytecoin solo mining. Burn that Bytecoin symbol into your skull. Make sure you do your Bytecoin Tweets. Make sure to check for Bytecoin updates and know about all the Bytecoin uses. Are there uses?

And always know in your heart, the Bytecoin value, even as it drops to zero. Even as the Bytecoin YouTube channel chats it up — pumps it madly.

Now back to the real world…

Community Manager Promo’s

The latest bitcointalk.org information from the purported Community Manager of Bytecoin or more specifically, from BCN_Official gives us some rather vague information:

Messages about a dev team require some clarification. Previously, it was reported that there were…4 full-time developers, freelance devs, cryptography expert a and a community manager.

Here, the sentence sort of dies. Given that statement, a reasonable person would ask if the original statement was false or unclear. If unclear, are we now receiving the clarification? So, there weren’t four full-timers etc.? Let’s move on. Surely, it becomes clearer.

There’s no “old” or “new” team at all, it’s not a relationships [sic] where you can have a lot of “ex” and “present”.

Do you understand now? There are no old or new team members, because there is/are no relationship(s). No relationships between members where you can even have “ex” and “present.” This is meaningless or lost in translation.

Bytecoin has a straight vector of development and none of those “old” and “new” once [sic] can change it.

Now we find that the old team and new team cannot change the “straight vector of development.” Why not? Isn’t there someone in charge of development? A vector can be a quantity having direction and magnitude. That is, if we are trying to determine a position of one point in space in relation to another point in space. It sounds fancy, but it’s pure snake oil.

To calm those of you who are still wondering about the team: we do cooperate with all of the previous devs and the main ones of them are still with us at a main cast.

Wait a minute. Why do we need to be calm? Have you ever told an irate person to calm down? What happens? They often become more belligerent. Implying that investors should calm down is ludicrous and unprofessional; and the Community Manager is a hack for stating it. It’s a way of belittling those who dare to ask questions and seek answers. “Just calm down, Chuck. Relax. Let us take care of your money…”

You just stated there are no old and new teams. You’re just one happy family now? If you, BCN_Official, still cooperate with them – the “previous devs and the main ones,” then who or whom is controlling what? How is this cooperation managed?

There’s nothing to worry about.

Spoken like a true charlatan. When anyone tells you there’s nothing to worry about, worry a lot. This kind of psychology may work for the masses, but not on anyone with their eyes open and their wallets closed.

Speaking about today’s temps of developing. Are those regular updates, releases and total quality of the project don’t prove the professional skills we have?

If there are such skills, where are the disinterested party code reviews? Releases of updates and such do not sit well when a project is founded in the way it was. In the manner, where all requests for clarity have been summarily ignored for years. Why would anyone buy a product developed in secret, released in an unverified manner and given a false mystery (Cicada 3301), which I believe Smooth has implied. Are we to ignore the past?

Please, don’t spread the panic, we’re working every damn day to make BCN better than yesterday. And the results of the last two months are reflecting our efforts.

No rational person ought to beg. Why on earth should we not spread the truth?

The Problem:

  • We don’t even know the truth
  • We don’t know when Bytecoin (BCN) was invented
  • We don’t know why the white papers were purposely pre-dated
  • We are concerned that a few big bag holders have about 80% of BCN
  • We wonder why Bytecoin has adopted Monero upgrades
  • We are worried when and if BCN becomes valuable that the newest team won’t retire to the beach and let the coin die — again
  • We don’t know how long this latest BCN revival will last

Another Word from Our Sponsor:

Then there is this part of BCN_Official’s blurb that is most troubling:

I think there’s no need to continue this discussion – there’ll always be some guys who wanna hate. We’ve got no time to pay attention on ‘em, we have to focus on the further development.

It tells me that we don’t matter. It also tells me that “Jenny” is scared. That she or they are now milking India and will soon disappear. I hope not. I sincerely hope Bytecoin.org does not have the gall to once again flake out.

Don’t Mess With India

Those guys and gals from from India are pretty sharp. Last I checked, they were not as enslaved as the Chinese and there are over 1.3 billion citizens of India. I’ll wager that there are more Indians with computer skills than the rest of the world combined. I wouldn’t screw with them. You will be found if you dare unload on a nation of computer nerds.

Now we play the waiting game. See if “Jenny” – BCN_Official or one of the other sock-puppets has the desire to continue the charade. A dangerous game now — IMO.

P.S. If you need a secure private crypto I suggest Monero or Aeon. Zcash and Nav Coin both have “developer” weakness. Meaning, the .govs can squeeze the human devs for info. Monero only has one known public person who can essentially be untied from the coin as necessary. Aeon has no public “weakness.”

Update:

Some have questioned where I obtained the news that temples in India now accept Bytecoin. Well, here are a few sources:

 


 

Bitcoin Cash and the Snake


So, I wake up at five, walk the dog, find a snake at my front door, which is why the dog won’t come inside now. I realize that I’ve crushed the snake when I opened the door and now the door is jammed open. I’m glad it was a snake actually, because at first I thought the door was all jinked up from the rain we’ve been having. It rains a lot in the summer in Florida. You can set your watch by it, but I haven’t worn one in years.

My wife is deathly afraid of snakes and so is the dog. Yochi, he’s half Chihuahua and half Yorkie, a big baby, and is not so stupid. He has warned me about snakes before. Barked and circled like a maniac. If he thought it was a lizard, well, all bets would be off.

This time he was saying, “hey man, I can’t come in right now, because, well, if you turn the porch light on, you will see this snake and he looks mad; and don’t worry, the neighbors aren’t awake and they won’t see you in your underwear. But before I come in, you need to remove that thing from under the door, capisce? And you know, I can’t bark right now because I will wake up the neighbors and that insane lady across the street will start cursing and screaming and hitting herself in the head with her fist and then I might roll over and pee myself. You know how I get confused.”

Next time I give you permission to bark at five in the morning, but only in emergency situations.

I try to work the snake out by moving the door back and forth, but I had already crushed him before I realized he was even there. Sorry snake. But I hate snakes as well. No hard feelings. Eventually I grab a fork and worked him out.

I took a photo of the snake, but he or she, is too mangled to display here. Orange and white splotches, black and white banded belly, about two feet long and half an inch thick. Just a baby. The head is too crushed to identify. Now he sleeps with the fish. In the lake — literally. (The photo above may be one of his buddies.)

Anyway, when I got up my brain was already saying that it was time to get a new mattress or maybe you hurt your back yanking that bush out yesterday. Then it shifted to twirling investments and not of the standard mold. I have a problem. I’m excited about the future of finance. Fintech and not snakes.

Then the snake sort of derailed that.

I mean, I have a few years experience in the real investment world and even educated myself professionally. And I hated most of it, especially taxes. So I stuck with law enforcement after college. Then I retired a few years ago. Well, sort of retired.

Now I live in snake land.

These days, as you might have noticed, I watch cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and family. And I do yard work, with the snakes, red ants, other insects that bite the crap out of you, a sun that is too darned hot and a lake that is beautiful. And I come up here to my den and type words on this screen. Maybe do a little trading.

Bitcoin Cash is really irking me though. I think it might be a snake. I did not expect it to be at $600 this morning. As I look now, it’s over $800. I had hoped it would pop. But it has refused to die. Apparently it’s more economical than old bitcoin. I really hope this does not end badly, because I could no longer resist the pull.

Don’t get me wrong. I fought it like any gambler would. I ignored it. Watched as bitcoin original struggled, as Ethereum is taking a beating, as Ripple drips and as Iota — I warned them — has lost a good chunk of value over the last few days.

But I don’t believe in omens. Killing a snake under my front door, in the dark, did not convince me to buy Bitcoin Cash. I awoke with that decision. Usually, those are my best ones. Maybe the snake was trying to distract me?

But, in the end, the giant vacuum cleaner has sucked up some of my funds. Some. Maybe I will be punished. So be it. I have strayed from the flock, Oh Lord. But I feel good about it a this moment.

Tomorrow, when I’m at the bowling alley for a birthday party, rubbing my arthritic knuckles and maybe having one or two beers  — at my age — I may be in a bad mood. Maybe the Chinese will be laughing over their American profits, but I don’t get that impression — yet.

And that’s why I wrote this. At times I need to take risks. That snake this morning was not poisonous. But I’ve run into a few bad cryptos out here.

That reminds me, I need to stop wearing flip flops and shorts out here. One of these days I might get bitten, but not so far.

And how high will Bitcoin Cash go? I think, right at this moment, it will blow past bitcoin very soon and leave everyone stunned. But, well, maybe not.

Incidentally, it was an Eastern Corn Snake.

Update: I think Jihan Wu likes Bitcoin Cash.

Have a good day.

Jack Shorebird.


 

 

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.


 

 

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