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.


 

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Clif High: “The Charlatan”

Updated: September 19, 2017


Hello, crypto enthusiasts. Thanks for stopping by.

As usual, I’ve been scanning the net for the scoops. Watching the crypto-markets for the fizz and pop. And here’s the latest curiosity I’ve managed to dig up from the fintech ether.

And mind you, the people (person) I may cite herein may not have one of the cleanest resumes, but damned if he doesn’t get your spaz juices flowing.

He’s sort of like a preacher. Magnetic personality, but a bit high and mighty. That should warn you.

The personality I speak of is Clif High. And he’s a bit of a, how can I say this nicely — an unusual chap? But I’m not one for killing the messenger, even if he is a bit burnt, if you catch my drift. Actually, he is way past unusual and often his predictions are way off the mark.

And yet, he has a cult-like following. That should warn you — I repeat.

That’s why I’ve been chomping at the bit. Kind of mulling this whole thing over for months. Trying to align my belief in a gold backed (silver backed) monetary system with the alleged future facts (and ideas) Clif High is constantly bringing to the table.

Clif’s detractors are all over the spectrum, but many are simply fuming.

Years of $600 an ounce silver predictions, that have never materialized.

But I can’t really do it justice and I do not work for Clif. Don’t know him from Adam, as it were. Yet, the guy is able to explain, in words and ideas — in a few seconds — in a way that resonates with the listener.

  • Bitcoin (cryptocurrency) may, within the next 10 to 20 years, undo thousands of years of stagnant and centralized money control
  • This new world of crpyto can serve as a shot-in-the-arm for economies, for wealth, technological development and so on

But his often oblique remarks to explain why this is, are rather wanting. For example, why can bitcoin (or a particular cryptocurrency) succeed? Here’s what Clif implied:

  • The U.S. split from Great Britain when about 3% of the people wanted it
  • Only about 1% or less of people, now want bitcoin or cryptocurrency
  • If this margin reaches 10%, the governments of the world, which are always behind the times, will be unable to stop it

That, the iron is heating up and you may be able to make some serious cash, if you invest soon. That’s my crypto-take, but be careful of the pumpers. Clif has been accused of being a pumper many times.

These are very positive statements in a lot of ways, in my book. But based on zero facts, unless one considers a Webbot and ESP as factual.

Why does Clif seem to ignore the implications of the PBoC (People’s Bank of China)? They have been waffling for years, but recently they’ve turned over an accusatory leaf. Crypto is a financial threat, they say.

The suggestion here, and not only from me, is that Clif High or who ever he is — is a fraud. That he sells bunk and snake-oil to the hopeful people. That he mixes fact and fiction so well, the facts tend to lend him a sort of a credibility.

So we listen. Anti-gravity forklifts. They are coming.

Turkey will unleash a global financial meltdown, very soon.

Major earthquakes were suppose to have diverted rivers in North America and precipitated nuclear meltdowns in August of 2017. (Whoops, on that prediction.)

We listen to Clif’s hollow-moon babble. Just believe.

And we trust that just maybe he’s onto something about crypto’s? Swamp-land anyone?

Maybe, if you buy his reports, you’ll make millions. He appears to be rich, right? Have you seen any pictures or videos of his home(s)? His camper? His rented cabin(s)?

Maybe his Webbot thing was garbled by bad data like he said, which is why he currently focuses on cryptocurrency. Suspicious, don’t you think?

Wild and woolly nonsense. The lot of it.

I hope that Clif’s inexplicable descriptions, his references to the unusual and seemingly unproven, are not, in some ways, infecting his ability to maintain his rationality. But one needs to be rational in the first place.

As far as I can see, his “predictions” have raised eyebrows for several years now. But are his prognostications simply too general? Too crazy? Do you really need to ask yourself that question?

And his alleged Webbot? Where is it? In his brain? It’s not “open source.”

And yes, there are other experiments like the Webbot, predictive markets, and the wisdom of the crowd ideas. Estimations based upon predictions are akin to gambling, however. It is not like life a life insurance actuarial table predicting deaths per thousand, based on past data.

Clif talks about silver prices skyrocketing — for a time — constantly. This is not something new. Given the devaluation of fiat currencies worldwide, this scenario is possible, but is it probable? Could anyone with the ability to read and understand basic economics, also make this observation?

Gold is just sort of okay, as far I can judge by Clif’s statements. However, he’s not too enthusiastic about it.

New tech that will create matter from energy is only a few years away, Clif implies. So why mine gold or silver in say, 15 years — anyway? If we will be able to manufacture gold and silver with relative ease, why invest in any metal?

Potential limited nuclear wars are on the horizon. Really? Is anyone not worried that North Korea or some other rogue nation might push the button?

But by and large, the outlook is very positive, in Clif’s assessments? Really?

How can anyone be happy about earthquakes, nuclear bombs, market crashes and hollow-moons? One cannot — unless what? Unless one is not telling the truth. Unless one has created a  “Webbot” of lies.

Clif has apparently spoken about of Cloakcoin. Is he pumping it? Is he using his “cult following” to make money by influencing the crpyto-markets? That is the allegation. In fact, if you check Clif’s past, some have alleged that he has been practicing “pumping” for years.

Please — you be the judge. Give this guy a listen. Tell me that he does not, in some weird way, make you very positive about the future of our world and at the same time, make you feel that hell is about to be unleashed.

You’d better listen in and buy his reports to survive and profit — so he can. I think the reports are about $100.00 (US) each now. There are complaints about those too. Irrational babble.

Here’s a recent talk. It’s long — a YouTube interview with Clif.

The Interview.

Here’s a rebuttal video. It’s a bit abrasive.

Rebuttal.

Conclusion and my prediction without using a Webbot:

Clif’s popularity will remain among the wingnuts, but based on his continued irrational statements, the vast and silent majority, will begin to ignore his rants.

Clif has recently stopped posting his own videos, choosing instead to be interviewed. It is an effort to stop others from allegedly taking soundbites from his videos and twisting the message. Or is it something else? Perhaps pressure from video providers to stop reporting “fake news.”

Even his recent remarks about Carbon 60 consumption has been debunked by others.

And Clif mentioned that his brother had Schizotypal Personality Disorder.

Enough said.

Follow Clif at your own risk.


 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relative Disadvantage:

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

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

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

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

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

No, say you? No bubbles in bitcoin?

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

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

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

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

The lesson here? Buyer beware.

Incompatibility:

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

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

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

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

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

Non-Trial-ability:

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

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

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

Complexity:

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

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

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

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

Observability?

Seeing bitcoin in action.

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

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

The Other Reasons:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Featured Image: Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Coinbase Survive?

(Updated)

This seems to be the burning question…

Will Coinbase Inc. survive one of the most unprecedented moves by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in recent years — its overreaching and unreasonable attempt to search and seize millions of private financial records and kill bitcoin — our digital gold?

It’s nothing new. They’ve done it before. The IRS has gone after deep pockets. And they are doing it again.

Deep pocket in question: Coinbase. But not all that deep.

Coinbase – according to their website:

 

  • Founded in June of 2012
  • Digital currency wallet and platform
  • Merchants and consumers can transact with digital currencies
  • Currently offers bitcoin and ethereum
  • Based in San Francisco, California       

No doubt the IRS has been investigating cryptocurrency exchanges for some time. The Coinbase investigation is just another domino, in a long line of dominoes, from the United States to China, from Russia to Australia and beyond. The very public Coinbase investigation is meant to strike a very real financial fear into the hearts of the American cryptocurrency enthusiast.

According to the Coinbase website, they have about 5,000,000 users on their platform. These users have 11,000,000 electronic wallets, which may or may not actually contain bitcoin or ethereum cryptocurrencies. Add to that mix, 45,000 merchants utilizing their platform and thousands of software applications from developers.

Again, according to their website, over $5,000,000,000 in cryptocurrency has been exchanged on Coinbase. The number is high, but are we talking about fours years of exchanges?

Coinbase is also in over 30 countries worldwide. Which means that only portion of profits and losses were had by Americans. Which means that foreigners probably owe the IRS money for doing business with an American Company. Foreigners who will now likely ignore the IRS, but whose banks and financial houses will likely not.

Why? Just ask UBS Bank in Switzerland. No longer are Swiss banks the go to gurus for wealth management and privacy. The IRS went after those who failed to report their foreign bank accounts at UBS, cited them for filing false tax returns. The result? Millions of dollars in fines, federal probation and prison sentences.

And the list goes on. We’ve all heard of the Panama Papers, where another two trillion dollars sought a tax haven, but a data leak exposed the process.

But why did the IRS investigate such a small company? Coinbase Inc. and UBS are like the proverbial elephant and mouse. With over two trillion in assets, UBS had far deeper pockets. Look at the larger picture.

UBS took years to accumulate the wealth it managed. Bitcoin transactions or sent bitcoins in 24 hours, approaches about 1.5 million  — in bitcoin. In today’s dollars, it would take over two years, at that rate, to send a trillion dollars worth. Not even Panama Paper worthy.

What about the world’s biggest holder of bitcoin? It’s probably still the million bitcoin owned by Satoshi Nakamoto. Current dollar value? It fluctuates, but as of January 1, 2017 it approaches a cool billion dollars.

Eliminating the non-U.S. based cryptocurrency exchanges would certainly help plug the fund hole many banks are no doubt reporting. How many wealthy citizens are moving their money, not to foreign lands, not under the mattress, but on a ledger kept by millions of people the world over. Then going abroad to trade that cryptocurrency for local currency or other property? Maybe.

Another hint that things are not what thy seem? Constant dribbles of news about how companies like Circle are jettisoning bitcoin sales, but are also continuing to investigate the technology behind bitcoin. Whose on their side? Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Given just these brief snippets of information, can we assume that the IRS will also apply the foreign bank rules when American bitcoin users choose to hold their bitcoin in online wallets abroad?

In the end, if Coinbase continues to deny the IRS access to essentially all user records, expect a raid on the main offices in sort order and frozen accounts, as a result. It would be advisable for one to remove any cryptocurrencies stored at Coinbase. It would also be advisable that Coinbase encrypt all user account information and hand the keys over to their customers. At that point, only banks would have information as to who sent money to Coinbase.

Alas, the hope that Coinbase would keep customer accounts private and not allow the IRS access, is a mere pipe dream. People would need to go to jail or flee the country and be chased by the Feds for the rest of their lives. Not worth the sacrifice, unless these people have the backbone of Thomas Jefferson and pledge their freedoms — and fortunes.

If anyone thinks this is no big deal, think again. One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges on earth is about to go down — in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Next on the agenda? Bitstamp? Kraken? Poloniex? Just wait.

(Image compliments of flickr.)