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Cardano (ADA) is the Next Bitcoin?

Cardano (ADA) is the Next Bitcoin?

Dear Crypto-Thinkers,

Keep your brain-caps on. It’s the time that we few long-haul penny investors outdo the professionals, since we have invested the time and sweat. And we can have our chocolate croissants too.

I often research how readers land on my relatively unknown and largely unread newsletter. I do this to both improve my information – I hope – but also to communicate what I think people are thinking. I mean Google Trends are one thing, but reading the fricking tea leaves is for the fools, like me.

I have more time to do this now, because I have spent countless hours, days, months, and now – years – with my nose to the computer screen looking at (investing in) cryptocurrencies. It all started before bitcoin, when I was looking for something like it…and now I’m here…and going slowly blind. (I’m old, what can I say. But I’ll bet I was in crypto before most.)

In some cases, I can pull the search phrases people use when they land on a post of mine. Lately, among a dozen other search phrases, someone asked a very odd question, but maybe it’s not so weird. Maybe I’m missing my own ship…again. And mind you, I’ve sailed a few rough seas and even the lake I live on in Florida.

It’s about Cardano (ADA).

The person who landed on my site, typed simply:

“cardano the next bitcoin”

…and that was it.

I thought, what? Replace bitcoin? Are you kidding me? A crypto that is still wet behind the ears, not fully tested in the crypto battle front and is split into at least three parts, a wallet maker, a marketer, and a coin/system coder?

And all the funny names associated with Cardano (ADA). A dead mathematician and the world’s first algorithm developer. Okay. That’s nice. Nostalgia.

The name of the new algorithm: Ouroboros. A tongue twister for us “ugly Americans.” The serpent eating its own tail. How nice.

And the name of the wallet?  Daedalus. Greek mythology. The skilled craftsman. Maybe a dead wallet?

This is all special, but the proof is in the dog, right? Will he eat it? And the answer is? Yes. Billions of dollars’ worth, in short order. That must be one hell of a shot in the arm. A vote of confidence. Trust. ADA is being consumed in hopes of gains and interest, in the Proof-of-Stake wallet for sure.

Cardano, as I understand it, is a system that is incorporating a new programming language. Like many crypto-projects, development is an ongoing process. With each roll-out, each new improvement, we often see a bump in value. A change in perception – as to what we think this system can accomplish. Then the lull, before the next bit of news. Perhaps a new exchange will list it. Great…then the bump.

I have watched Cardona climb from two cents. Wow. And few dumps. Incredible or telling? I’m pessimistic at present. I think – and I have been wrong – a dump is in the offing. And soon. Why?

Note: After I posted this,  ADA dropped almost 25% by January 6, 2018 — but so did a lot of other altcoins…

In my thinking, it becomes more difficult when your cryptocurrency is separated into parts, like Cardano. And when these parts are separated by borders, it’s even more difficult. Hence the idea of a Maritime Law system to anchor Cardano in the world of regulators, but not necessarily be owned by them. To say that this project is not ambitious, is an understatement.

Still, I was shocked, as I always am, when cryptos climb that first big wall. These days, with institutional investors about, banks going goofy over blockchains, governments seriously considering cryptocurrencies as fiat-replacements, and now “everyone” investing in this space – I am both happy and…worried.

When the dumps come now, they will be mythical in scope. As in, “remember when that altcoin dumped, and the government stepped in and shut down the…”

“…adding XRP…”

Coinsquare CEO Cole Diamond recently said something that made me wonder. Coinsquare is a well-known Canadian cryptocurrency trading platform, that by American standards, is light years ahead – as Diamond seems to imply. They are adding Ripple (XRP) next and there are more altcoins to come.

Diamond implied that they are now seeing a broader interest in the space. No longer are the younger investors about, but older ones – every kind of person and age.

That’s my take. They have arrived. And, they are still arriving.

This is good, but it could spell disaster. As in a Tulip disaster.

Which means what? It means, that there is still time to come aboard, but, as some have suggested, maybe not much time to magnify your investments. Unless you think in a different way.

And, I’m not saying that Coinbase, in the US, is slow on the uptake, given the draconian tax laws and regulations in the United States, not to mention their ongoing fight with the IRS, but they could end up in the doldrums, far from future trade winds, if they don’t act quickly to secure their place in the space.

“…Cardano (ADA), Iota (MIOTA) or Raiblocks (XRB).”

In any event, some refer to what is going on now as a “second tier” catch-up. In other words, as bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum appear to take a breath, there’s thin air up there, the next crew is making its move. Ripple, of course, being a first mover in this, but it is not really a new generation altcoin, like Cardano (ADA), Iota (MIOTA) or Raiblocks (XRB).

If you look, you will see that the old guard, such as Ethereum, are offering grants to help them scale – improve their products. Is this catch-up or forward thinking? A search for new blood? Isn’t it odd that Ethereum is considering a proof-of-stake concept, while Cardona works to implement same?

Seriously, I am enthusiastic about Cardona, but miss the idea behind bitcoin too. I feel that developers should be rewarded for their work, but we must remember how we got here. It was bitcoin. It was Satoshi Nakamoto. No matter how you bake it, split it up, rationalize it, the crucial core of it was bitcoin. And even bitcoin had its predecessors. But it was the proverbial “critical mass” and the saving grace. Almost nobody could control it. It was Pandora’s Money Box. And Pandora left only hope, if you remember your Greek Mythology – after she opened the “jar” of evils.

In the meantime, back here on earth, where Greek Gods are the names of sub sandwiches, let us man the lookouts, shall we? If we see a good target, even if it is moving, we need to take it out, bring it home, skin it, cook it and…eat it. Then think: “Next.” What other foods can we skin, before the big dogs eat?

Finally, as a side note, I have real heartburn with Peter Thiel’s idea that bitcoin, though nearly unmovable – considering the cost of transfers these days – is becoming the new replacement digital gold standard. A 20-million-dollar investment is peanuts for him, but a slight move to the downside wouldn’t hurt the Thiel profit margin, I guess. Is he coming late to the party? I hope so. My bets have been off bitcoin for months and I have profited

And I hope…like those who have contacted me…that you have also made a killing.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jack Shorebird

P.S. The above was advice. It meant: use your head and don’t let the nerds get you down.

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The Ghost of Crypto’s Future

The Ghost of Crypto’s Future

Dear Cryptocurrency Investors,

It’s about the money.

Lost in the lull and the bull, the chart readers and the screaming heads; and the comedians and the click beggars, the FUDsters and FOMO-kings, sock-puppets, trolls, you name it…is the truth.

And the hell if I know it, but neither does anyone else.

Two things that are influencing people deserve mention, however. Charlie Lee‘s revelation and Coinbase‘s inadequacy.

You can see bits of the potential future of cryptocurrency all over the net in real-time, but not necessarily in “past” time. The encapsulated version of why we are where we are. The rooting of the space, if you will.

Profits speak louder than purists, however and that answer lays ahead. Predictions that bitcoin will soar into the millions of dollars, seems to go beyond boundaries of common sense. We should not allow profiteers to reach into our collective pockets, as they sell into our greed.

Charlie Lee, who did not divulge the numbers of Litecoins he allegedy sold recently, did so for a reason and if you noticed, near the peak in price. That action speaks volumes, no matter the reasons he might give to the contrary. Even if Litecoin becomes the most popular cryptocurrency, the doubt will linger in the minds of investors.

And this doubt also injects its worry into bitcoin.

What is Charlie seeing that we do not?

If you haven’t made 25% to 50% returns this year (2017) then, I’d be surprised. Many have made far more than that…

What will happen in 2018?

In 2018, we could see a reversal trend. From bitcoin to Ripple. It seems to be on its way now, but this space is notorious for pumps and dumps and even I doubt Ripple XRP’s will climb to $10 each, as some have suggested, by mid-2018.

That bitcoin will drift lower, gradually, as it is polluted by the knock-off clones, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold and others is another “theory.”

The cryptocurrencies we have come to rely upon are taking hit after hit and they have not recuperated as of this writing. Many investors are paying an emotional cost, having bought in late. The faith that bitcoin has always recovered, is currently being retested.

What are a few weeks of losses, you say, as bitcoin works out its kinks?

…gamble a little…

These last few weeks of 2017 will embitter some of the newest investors, that’s why. The ones who have been watching and trying to understand and who have, after a time, decided to gamble a little. These are the retirees as well as the professionals, but not necessarily expert investors. They are conservative types and once burned, they may never return. These last few weeks have burned them. And they have lots of money to invest.

After the Thanksgiving chats, they went in. Thousands, if not billions of dollars. And what happened? They were cut off at the knees. Profit takers swept in. Exchanges could not handle the inflow. Bitcoin showed its flaws.

Ripple held the doors open, but few of the newest investors knew how to buy Ripple XRP’s. So, the late comers served to enrich the first comers…not unlike any good Ponzi Scheme, with the exception that the bitcoin scheme seems perpetual. It still has billions left…for now.

Already, I have spoken to those who, in the last few weeks invested thousands in cryptocurrencies and have already cashed out, with losses. This was after I had shown them what they could have made had they listened to me over the last five years.

…Cheap wine…

They were astounded then, but not now? Now they shake their heads at me. Not only do they tell me that they think that bitcoin will crash, because they have seen this sort of thing before and names like Ripple, reminds them of cheap wine.

“Cheap wine?” I ask. “The name bothers you?”

They say it does.

Personally, I can understand that. “Ripple is not a great name, but look at the returns,” I tell them.

“Doesn’t matter,” they say. “We got burned on bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, what the hell difference does it make? They are all the same.”

“Ripple has its pluses,” I tell them. “It’s doubled in value as others have sunk. Ethereum has a lot of pluses as well, but…”

“Just you wait,” they said. “The government is going to shut them all down.”

“Not Ripple,” I said. “It’s playing along with the regulators. It services the banks and now credit card companies and more good news is coming.”

“What about Dragoncoin,” one asked.

“Dragon what?” I replied.

“How about Raiblocks?” another asked.

“It’s too new — risky,” I replied.

“It’s got better tech than bitcoin,” came the rejoinder.

“Okay, but Iota said the same thing and they are struggling. Each coin argues with the other. The test for me has always been “use cases.” And bitcoin used to be used more, now Litecoin seems to be taking up some of the slack,” I said. “And Ripple…”

“Cheap wine?” one replied.

“Never mind,” I said.

Bought gold and silver…

So I wait, but for now, as these old investors have retraced their steps. Bought gold and silver and palladium. Dumped stocks and bonds, like they’re on fire. One was just ripped off when he failed to check out a gold dealer to see if they were legit.

And these conservative types, these investors who have accumulated wealth the hard way, do not like to lose a single dime. Time is far too precious now. I know, because I am one of them — we’ll almost.

This dip in bitcoin price, even if it recovers tomorrow, will, like Charlie Lee’s recent Litecoin cash-out, linger like rotten cheese. It’s like that fake gold dealer where one guy lost thousands dollars last month.

I asked that guy how he lost that money. He said he found the gold guy on the internet and sent him the money from his IRA and that was that. Didn’t check him out because he “trusted” the internet. Didn’t even tell his financial planner he was doing it, because he wanted to save on fees. He trusted that his internet service provider would not allow fake gold dealers to advertise via email. And it was easy to do, he said.

…knowledge gap…

It’s a knowledge gap. In years past, it was nearly impossible to send official looking mail to someone for free. If you received a chain letter of scam bank notice, you were not often fooled. Phone call scams were easier and they still are, but they are labor intensive. Since criminals are naturally lazy, they want the biggest bang for limited effort. Welcome to scam websites and emails. Welcome to webpage Monero miners.

…Coinbase…sucks…

There are legit cryptocurrency sites, however. Coinbase for one.

Now, here’s the thing. For these conservative money types, Coinbase’s newest web page look and feel sucks. Right there, they are losing millions of dollars in business. Why? Why would they intentionally allow their coders and website gurus make the site counterproductive? Counter-intuitive?

I recently sat down with several businessman, some retired folks, a Human Resources Specialist and a two company presidents. I showed them the Coinbase website, which has gone through several alterations over the years. This newest version, I’ll wager, has probably influenced the latest bitcoin losses. Why?

Navigation across the platform is slow and confusing, they said. For example, a lot of the web pages have various tabs you may click on, but no highlighting or help capsule to let you know they even exist. Bad business all the way around.

“And look at this,” one said. “Each tab on the left, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash etc., you click on them, the word, and then to the right you see all of your transactions. Why do the jam it all in like that, like those credit card websites now?”

I couldn’t understand why Coinbase would do that. “It was not like that before, but it was not great before either,” I said. I just got the glazed-eye look then.

“Can I just call them?” It was a elderly woman.

“I’m sure you can,” I said.

“Have you ever called them?” she asked then.

“No. I do everything online now.”

I hadn’t been on the Coinbase website for a while and it took me, without reading too many directions, about 30 minutes to see how they had changed it. How did I do this? I started clicking every damned word on the page and behold, it all came together. But newbies and oldies should not be turned off like this. It is clear that the age and knowledge gap is hurting their business.

But seriously, Coinbase, get your heads of out of the sky for a moment and hire some people who understand how to make things idiot-proof. Take a lesson from Amazon or Paypal, but get it together. That is, if you do not want to see competition scream right past you.

…Cryptocurrency Specialist…

But just another short look into future seems to show me that soon, you won’t be able to buy cryptocurrency without a broker. And those of us holding, in the US, will be required to report and then turn over those holdings to licensed crypto-managers. A Cryptocurrency Specialist at your local bank or money house.

Wouldn’t that be just peachy?

 

 

Sincerely,

Jack Shorebird


 

Electroneum (ETN) is Uber-esque?

Electroneum (ETN) is Uber-esque?

Dear Cryptocurrency Watchers and Dreamers:

The Crypto-Dream.

“So, do you want some Electroneum, dude? Just a taste? Yeah?

“Step into my dark alley.

“A little closer…”

Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?  If you’re going to create a cryptocurrency, would you not make that cryptocurrency interesting?

And thinking this way, allowing yourself that luxury, how many cryptocurrencies out there, are interesting? Have any pizzazz? Ones that don’t make you want to throw-up after you buy them?

Take bitcoin for example.  We know it started in 2009 or thereabouts. Satoshi Nakamoto and all that. Please.

We know that hundreds of other cryptocurrencies are under development, but none have ever been as popular as bitcoin.

Even Nicolas van Saberhagen got in the act. And CryptoNote was born. And it was about time.

We also know that the Chinese really like bitcoin? Bull. We know that the Chinese (people) aren’t stupid. Why would an entire nation of near-slaves like any type of cryptocurrency that is traceable? Think again, Shirley. The PBoC (.gov) needs compliant subjects.

And we know that there are hundreds of other cryptocurrencies out there with varying degrees of excitement…and sheer boredom. Dull, as in sleepy.

So, where is the real McCoy? The real back-burner stuff, that we can move to the front burner – at least for a while?

Explosive adoption. A tidal wave of fun. Electroneum?

Bitcoin fights for superiority.  It struggles against its competitors. Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and many more. Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Dash, Ripple and so on.

Crypto-creators are getting rich, but the investors are bilked – or is that milked? Why even try?

And the circus continues, right?  New processes, new promises, new wallets and basically the same old thing.

Download this PC app. Maybe we’ll have a cell phone miner – someday. For now, just wait. And wait some more. This takes time. More BS. More time. Meanwhile, we’re aging…

And zero “mass adoption.”

Wouldn’t that be nice? Mass adoption or “use,” in short order? A Pokémon GO routine. Uber-like.

Why?

Time.

Cryptocurrency can be very temporary.  Like the Hula-hoop or Fidget-Spinners.

And we know that hype can make people notice.  Or is it the other way around, if you build it, they will come. How about somewhere in between? How about if we sizzle it?

Is that the promise of Electroneum?  Having the same capabilities of Bytecoin, Monero and the CryptoNote protocol – but having some power behind it. Some excitement, but not hype. Some chutzpa? But not junk-coin.

And some live person to call and say, “Dude, like your coin but, well, I screwed up and forgot one freaking letter on the send address and now I have 1000 ETN’s in freaking stuck-like-pud-land. Can you help?”

“Electroneum here – we’ll get right on it, sir!”

Can’t do that with any other CryptoNote. Will we be able to with our ETN’s?

You’ve undoubtedly come across allegations from the Monero folks indicating that Electroneum is essentially a copy of Monero.  But was not Monero taken from BitMonero, by the alleged community?  Was not Monero taken from Bytecoin and the CryptoNote protocol, even if it has changed?

Sure.

Cryptocurrency is the land of clones and forks. In fact, the folks that brought us CryptoNote encouraged anyone to use their software protocol.

And now we have a Electroneum.

So, let’s get off our high horses, shall we?  Let the best man or woman, win.

I am sick of the purification schemes that never come to fruition. CryptoNote coins that never rise to the “user-friendly” environs, because, you see, the users are losers. The developers, lost in their own self-serving nodes, regale us with their genius, then crap on us with their half-baked excuses.

Maybe it’s time to let Electroneum give it a go.

If expert businessmen and marketers can combine their resources and use a product better than those who developed the original product, why shouldn’t they?

It sort of reminds you of ranching.  Once you voluntarily sell your cattle, the next rancher can do what?  He or she can compete with your business and sell more cows. You can go out of business for being less efficient or get to work.

Sure, people will like the privacy of Monero.  They like security, absolutely.  But if all you do is sell the steak, refuse to sell any sizzle, your business model may not succeed.

That’s what I think Electroneum is trying to do.  Trying to sell the sizzle and the steak, using the CryptoNote protocol, but centralizing part of the works. This certainly decreases the privacy part, but will it matter?  Will anybody care, if it serves to unseat the Fiat Gods of the Fed? Besides, we’re not talking about a coin that is being built in a third world communist regime.

Does anyone really think that cryptocurrencies are long term investment vehicles, though?  That cryptocurrencies are not temporary? Of course, they are. Things will change.

Come on, search your soul.  How many times have you deleted the bitcoin wallet from your computer?  How many other cryptocurrency wallets have you downloaded and deleted?

And I am not saying that I would rather have .gov fiat money. I think that .gov fiat sucks.  All I’m saying is we need to make some hay, while the crypto-sun is still shining.

Using that as a backdrop, anyone who invests in cryptocurrencies, might want one with immediate and powerful messages and a potential to rally — and rapidly expand.

Why? Is it not plain? Strike while the iron is molten, not after the .govs ramrod the innovators.

Less chance of losing money, right? More chance of making money, don’t you think? No more delay.

So, the key, is to recognize the next major expanding cryptocurrency.  That’s a tough job.

Looking back almost anyone can see how the new cryptocurrencies arrive on the scene. How they create some hype, suck in millions of dollars, plateau and then fade. More advertising is pushed out, more videos, professors, news guys, hot chicks — all talking-up the protocol while more investment money flows in; and then what happens?

“Adios, nitwits.”

Oftentimes you have a stationary thing.  A crypto-monster treading water until it disappears into the depths, with your cash. The crew and talk-bots shift to the next coin. Failures dot the crypto-landscape, but these coin-pushers thrive here. It’s too easy.

“Wanna taste for free,” they ask? “An air-drop maybe? This is some 3.0 stuff!”

So, you buy and cry.

The pushers call them tears of joy.

Zombie-coins. Churning coins. Incessant trading. Exchanges, feeding off the fees. Money tubes, full of lost labor. Math freaks gorging on code.

And it all sucks. And I’m tired of it, aren’t you? Way past day-trader mode and gambling. Now I want a contender, ready to show us the marketing stuff. Show the blockchain-lovers, how the hell it’s done.

Could Electroneum do that?

A few months later, after the next-newest cryptocurrency version has failed, no doubt the same guys will be back with the next great cryptocurrency. They’re trying again. ICO after ICO and dump after dump. They need millions more of your hard-earned money.  There is another rush to purchase, maddening pumps, spectacular dumps, and then the cryptocurrency is shoveled into that pit where our money burns. But they come again. Version 12. A new team. New protocols. New wallet.

Oh, just stuff it.

Cryptocurrencies are labeled as Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes, somewhat like the current .gov fiat money schemes we use today.  We are told that cryptocurrency exchanges are unregulated, and they can essentially cheat their own system.  We are told that private money can lead to more crime but the cash in our pockets, created by our governments, is somehow immune?

With all this bad news, maybe a Electroneum is the good news.

At any rate, cryptocurrency is a choice.  It’s a free choice. Government money is required money.  And gold and silver are not legal tender, for the most part.

If you can’t crap, CryptoNote progeny (you know who you are) then get off the pot.

Let’s watch Electroneum.

Sincerely,

Jack Shorebird


 

Bitcoin: Not a Value-Producing Asset?

Bitcoin: Not a Value-Producing Asset?

Dear Cryptocurrency Readers:

It’s good to keep tabs on the big picture while hoping for the good news. But don’t short change yourself if the time comes to make a choice between regulated or unregulated cryptocurrencies. It may be better to pay the tax, than pay the fine…or worse yet, be placed in a “political” prison cell.

Think long and hard about trying to hide your crypto stash and making your escape to some foreign island after you trade a chunk of it for some local fiat, gold or silver.

Things like crypto need to be won first in the courts, in countries where that is still possible. Political representatives must carry the banner and I feel that eventually, crypto needs an anchor. A hard currency. Only then will it be able to unhinge the fiat myth we have lived under for over half a century in these United States of America.

Is not that the ultimate dream of cryptocurrency?

It made many see, for the first time, that there is a way through this monetary nightmare we call government fiat currency. If it is only a pipe dream, that dream has had a lasting impact upon the minds of many – worldwide – I will posit. And dreams drive change.

Even if cryptocurrency dies, fifty years from now, people will remember, that for a brief time, the purse strings were almost given back to their rightful owners. The people. To you and me. We were almost back in control.

I write all of this in the hopes that I am dead wrong. That cryptocurrency, as it was meant to be, does not die, but evolves and helps to remake this decaying fiat world.

In short, this is not investment advice, it’s thinking advice. Education and speculation, is better than throwing the virtual darts at the virtual dart board.

For those who highlight cryptocurrency charts, citing all the technical reasons to “buy now,” know that the problem is a fundamental one. We need to look at the creators of these cryptocurrencies, why they make them, how they will work and so on.

Fundamental analysis is a must in the cryptosphere.

According to a MarketWatch article, Warren Buffet recently remarked that he thinks coin [cryptocurrency] offerings will end badly. “People get excited from big price movements, and Wall Street accommodates,” he said.

I don’t think Buffet gets it.

Buffet also advised that “You can’t value bitcoin because it’s not a value-producing asset.”

Now think on that a moment. “Not value producing.” That’s a fundamental issue, is it not?

So, it’s not a house or a farm or stocks. We know this. Buffet is not telling us anything new here, just couching it in investment terms. But remember, Buffet is also – if I can judge by his past statements – pro-big-government, pro-higher taxes for the wealthy…he’s a status quo kind of fellow. Rose colored glasses and all.

Guys like Buffet need what? They need the rules to remain “stable.” Capital gains taxes, income taxes, regulations, political support, all play into the scheme to use the system to earn more fiat money. Fiat money and other real assets, but all lubricated by a slowly crumbling (could be quickly) monetary system.

Bitcoin and company mucks up system, if they are seen as a currency replacement mechanism, say to the grand old investor types. So, they refuse to imagine the potential if such thinking requires them to start from ground zero. If it requires them to ask that burning question they refuse to hear: What is sound money? And the other one. Can we get along better without it if we pay off (buy) the bureaucrats and ask for special favors granted involuntarily, by the taxpayers?

But let’s compare.

Is digitized anything, say music, talk radio or even movies – are they value producing?

Yes, but they have an industry behind them. Singers, producers, directors, and labor unions. Companies with stock. Buildings, cars – the machinery of sight and sound.

Does bitcoin, specifically, have that same sort of structure? Or is it a bubble?

No. It has voluntary “assistance” right? Those who are willing and able to code and debug, right? There was no bitcoin creation company, as far as we know. Satoshi Nakamoto could be anyone or a group of communist sympathizers. We haven’t a clue.

Bitcoin is not an asset, in the traditional sense, only a service based upon secret codes, information exchange, shared data ledgers, miners, computers, internet use and so on. We know that bitcoin (currently) is very valuable, but subject to change, forks, political risk, clones, hackers and crowd sentiment.

Bitcoin is also subject to being replaced, at any time, by better technologies. Some new developer who can convince the world that this new bit of code is the cat’s meow.

Bitcoin is also subject to wide value fluctuations. Fluctuations, if you are risk tolerant, that can earn profits – or not.

So, bitcoin does not appear to fit any valuation model that I am aware of. Yes, it is anti-fiat, anti-capital controls, pro-personal banking, anti-inflation, anti-establishment, anti-tax, anti-status quo, and emotionally charged, probably a bit bubbly, but its asset value is, like Buffet contends – missing in action.

Is it just a numbers game?

Certainly, we are in new territory here.

Steve Wozniak of Apple fame thinks “cryptocurrency could become a better standard of financial value than gold or the U.S. dollar. Wozniak argued that Bitcoin is more stable and less prone to arbitrary supply changes.” This, according to a recent piece at Futurism.com.

If Wozniak does think, as the article suggests, that bitcoin is better than gold or the U.S. Dollar, he should qualify that statement.

Currently, the U.S. fiat dollar works, but into the future?

Gold? Well, it’s not used as legal tender in the United States in any huge way.

So, yes, right now, bitcoin appears to have a lot of advantages, except for what the article mentioned:  stability. You can’t depend on it.

Wozniak is a computer guy, not an economist. So, I would lean more toward the investor extraordinaire side – be a little Buffet-ish. But does not the truth land somewhere in the middle?

What seems to support Buffet’s words and may spell bad news for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general (maybe not Ripple or Stellar Lumens) is the recent news from AMD. AMD sells GPU’s which can be used for cryptocurrency mining. They are projecting losses now.

Does that mean cryptocurrency miners are no longer as interested as they once were? Or is it as this article explains, that the centralization of mining is requiring more than GPU’s? ASIC farms and other specialized processes, in China? Could it be a larger move away from mining altogether? A shift to Proof-of-Stake coins?

And then there’s the Russian angle to consider. Motherboard advises that the Russian Government is finally – if we can believe it – regulating these crowd funding mechanisms, i.e., cryptocurrencies. Taxation is coming to a miner near you – in Moscow. Wow, even America is past that part. Well, except for the registration part. “Papers please, Comrade!”

But what are the Russians really doing? Invading. It’s what aggressive regimes do. Take over other “countries.” This one is called “The Virtual Currency Country.” Dear Comrades, bend over and take it — be invaded.

Hey, don’t worry, America will probably join you soon. They will be a bit more coy about it, however. The bankers will hide behind the regulatory agencies, I’ll assert. Pushing them all the while to “register” all cryptocurrency related organizations, companies, and exchanges. Make them fall in line or suffer the fines, taxes and yes — Jail House Rock.

Just as Jamie Dimon hinted – arrests might be next. Oh, but they love the blockchain. Go figure. Wanna bet the bankers do not want a public blockchain — like bitcoin?

What does this tell you? That the banking industry will soon use the blockchain technology and then seek to outlaw all private cryptocurrencies? To monopolize cryptocurrency like they do fiat? With the blessing of the FED of course. Or maybe they will use a ready-made solution. Ripple? Hmmm.

Think again. Banking is about responsibility and control over the owned (official)  currency. They will want their own crypto’s. Crypto’s identified to their banks in some way. Ones that they control absolutely, if possible. If not, at least a Fedcoin, but then why would we need banks at all then?

Do you really think banks will outsource cash to Ripple? No, Ripple will be used to lubricate international transfers, until the banks figure out a cheaper system. A more profitable exchange mechanism.

If all this bad news continues, my concern is which non-establishment, unregulated cryptocurrency or system can survive and profit – long term – in such an environment? Will the ones which sought to comply with regulations early on survive in an anti-bitcoin world? Ones like Ripple? Ethereum? Stellar Lumens? How about Cardano?

And does this lack of backbone, a crypto’s desire to please the masters, only help to destroy a movement with the original intent to halt the devaluation of fiat currencies altogether? To replace the corrupt system, from the computer up?

Maybe so, but I still think that for now, one can profit if there are any major shifts from the dream – a private decentralized cryptocurrency – to the reality – soon to come “government regulated crypto.”

Not necessarily “state” created crypto, however. That wouldn’t be any different than the current fiat mess we are in now. In fact, it would be much worse. Every bit of your money could be tracked.

Welcome to a Brave New World.

That’s all for now.

In the meantime, you might want to store some coin on a Trezor.

Jack Shorebird


 

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

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 (noob) 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 is 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. (Which are both wonderful, I’ll admit.)

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.” Catch that? It’s a multi-tool. (Oh, that’s gross.)

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. Heck, so is my wife.

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. Maybe, if the governments did not control the price.

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.)

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.)


 

Cardano (ADA): Is Proof-of-Stake Unproven Tech?

Cardano (ADA): Is Proof-of-Stake Unproven Tech?

Updated November 20, 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?

Here’s a recent opinion from Charlie Lee about PoS.

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.


 

Bitcoin: Behind Enemy Lines

Bitcoin: Behind Enemy Lines

Is it possible…to invest in a cryptocurrency that is acceptable to governments, banks, investment houses and privacy seeking individuals? Not necessarily for the “purity” of the coin, but its potential to grow and thereby earn a profit for the average investor?

What I mean by “purity” is the desire by many for a cryptocurrency to be decentralized, subvert all government controls, be public (or private), and have nothing to do with banking. The farther the crypto is from what is seen by many as corporate corruption, the better.

But can we meet them halfway — and profit? Isn’t that the game plan? Or is this a “take-over-the-world plot?”

Let’s face it, decentralization and the acceptance of that philosophy are two different worlds. We should live in the real one, not the fantasy digital matrix.

So, what is the reality? Is it: “join them, then beat them?”

Let’s judge by the current lay of the land. There are enemies at the gates. One cannot ignore this fact.

No doubt many have read and continue to read about cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and clan. Good news and bad. Bubbles and troubles.

Here’s the recent news…

There are reports that China will essentially make all cryptocurrencies illegal by October of 2017. Large Cryptocurrency exchanges are reportedly reaching out to non-Chinese based businesses to circumvent these new capital controls. There is uncertainty in the crypto-markets as to how bitcoin will ride this out.

India may adopt a national cryptocurrency called ‘Lakshmi.’ The implication here is that the government there does not trust bitcoin. The tax authorities are concerned about money laundering, according to reports. This should also be a warning to Bytecoin users in India.

If you can’t beat them, copy the tech and take it over?

The European Commission is concerned about cybercrimes and cryptocurrencies. Regulation is sought. This implies, not a rejection of such currencies, but their tacit adoption or at least it’s a delaying tactic.

Russia – Leningrad Region – cryptocurrency ‘miners’ are being invited to the Leningrad region to create large industrial scale facilities. Cheap power is a selling point. The effort seems to have long legs, reaching to Moscow. Do you think they want a piece of the action?

On the downside, Bloomberg reports that Bitcoin might split again because the developers are in disagreement. Added risk for investors. More uncertainty.

John MacAfee announced that Pandora’s box has been opened. Government control over money is eroding. The reaction has been one of regulation in the US and in China, reportedly, Cryptocurrency executives have not been allowed to leave the country.

Ray Dalio, Hedge Fund Manager, has voiced his opinion: Bitcoin is a bubble.

Rainer Michael Preiss (Wealth Advisor) indicated that banks are likely afraid of bitcoin.

Is there a double-standard, however? As this article reports, the recent outspoken critics of bitcoin may in fact work for companies that actually invest in it.

Okay. So, what does all this mean?

Certainly, one cannot predict the future; however, behind the battle lines one can make some critical observations and ask the hard questions.

First, we must ask ourselves why are the most powerful financial houses on earth just now beginning to draw a line in the proverbial sand? Is it the pressure from the banking industry in general, as they watch the outflow of monies into crypto? Fear of losing profits?

Second, is it the threat to the social order via the potential bankruptcy of governments, by way of a dying banking empire? In other words, why do we need a banking empire at all if governments could essentially finance the economies of the world with a blockchain, directly? Surely, if this occurred, the governments would appoint large dominant information tech industries to head the effort. Can you think of a few?

Third, efforts are being made by the old guard (banks and investment houses) to both invest in cryptocurrencies and educate themselves in their use. These old guard types do not apparently like the fact that bitcoin is so public and many privacy-seeking individuals feel the same way.

Profit from their Greed?

Based upon these observations, we may be able to judge where the old guard might go. Where they might pour billions of dollars, making the rise of bitcoin appear as a blip on the screen of crypto.

If we could figure that out, determine where the vast sums of money sitting in retirement accounts and hedge funds might flow, could we then profit from them?

Or are we off the mark again? Will the banking industry utilize inhouse blockchains or will they contract out? My bet? They will contract out.

For some of us it will be difficult to let go of bitcoin. It has a cult-like following. Many will retain a few BTC’s even after a crash, on the outside chance of a resurgence. There is always a chance it can be fixed. After all, it has staying power.

So, what do privacy-seeking individuals and banks require when using money? Let’s just suppose for a moment, that the money is a cryptocurrency?

Well, individuals don’t want their account balances made public. They don’t necessarily want you to know where they spend and how much. So, let’s make privacy optional.

Banks are the same way. They wish to keep your balances between you and them – and regulatory agencies.

What’s the problem? Few if any cryptocurrencies are geared this way. They are most often, completely open to public inspection. Anyone, including criminals, could potentially find your money.

How about customer service? Name one cryptocurrency that you can call 24/7 and discuss a funds transfer or a lost deposit. If you have named one, congratulations.

Now, can you name a private/public blockchain with world class developers, a business plan, open source software, that is liked by the old guard and crypto-fans alike? An actual regulated and above-board company?

If you said Ripple, that’s not on the mark.

I want to profit from a crypto-coin that has few coins, relatively speaking, when compared to bitcoin, and good volume. Over 10 million dollars a day.

I would like a cryptocurrency that the old guard – remember them – is curious about.

I don’t want an ICO coin and I am not thrilled about pre-mines, but a shared tax to help support the coin would not put me off.

The newest and best tech is a must. A step ahead of bitcoin with the ability to add fast updates, if needed.

A staff of developers who are motivated by rewards, i.e., money, to continue to support the coin for as long as it remains successful.

Can you name this coin?

I think I might have a clue.

And it’s not Monero, Aeon or Bytecoin either.

Not NavCoin or Dash.

But it is listed in the top twenty here.

No, not NEM or Iota.


Please leave any comments below.

Note: this should not be considered investment advise.


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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.


 

 

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

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

An unbiased and quick look at some big players…

The good news:

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

The bad news:

The “other” news:

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

The videos:

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

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


Image: Flickr

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