Tag Archives: technology

The Blockchain Arms Race

Sometimes the news gets out. Ideally, you don’t want your competitors to know what you are doing until you have the upper hand. Until you secure your territory. It becomes more difficult to dislodge a successful business, once they have staked their claim. But is that really true today – on the internet?

In today’s digital world, the internet, controlled by the various governments, corporations, groups, and even individuals, the territory can change hands in seconds. One cannot build a toll road and collect digital gold forever. Services change and if the money managers, credit card companies, investment houses, medical records companies, identification services and so on, do not adapt, they could find themselves on the physical streets.

This news has been circulating. AMEX is hiring a Sales Coordinator…related to their involvement with Ripple? What does it mean? 

It means that soon, when AMEX comes clean, they will send out a press release. The major networks will confirm the story and create, whether they want to or not, more of a stir. The crypto-markets will react. Right now, only the secondary news outlets and bloggers have picked up on it. Oddly, the AMEX job advertisement was later edited to delete the reference to Ripple.

XRP Chat has this write-up. It suggests a linkage between a Chinese business (Lianlian Group), Santander Ripple, and AMEX. Further research confirms this linkage.

According to The Camping Canuck, that AMEX will be utilizing Ripple, is at least a week old.

But the Lianlian Group connection with AMEX is also (actually) older, Circa 2012. They served about 300,000,000 million customers with digital wallets – mobile phone accounts, according to AMEX. It also looks like Lianlian (some of their companies) are headquartered in the Cayman Islands as well as Hong Kong.

According to a Coindesk article Lianlian International adopted Ripple’s xCurrent platform on February 7, 2018. And xCurrent does not utilize XRP’s, says Coindesk. The idea then is to move these players into the XRP based systems. If these XRP based platforms save them money, increase profits, this next step seems to be a no-brainer.

But the competition is heating up…

Alipay is also in the digital wallet business. It has secured 14 billion for blockchain development according to CoinTelegraph. Interestingly, Alipay’s Ant International, run by one of Asia’s richest men, Jack Ma, indicated that Bitcoin is a bubble. We keep hearing that. Ant International may roll out its own “AI” blockchain platform soon.

Compare Alipay with VISA. VISA has apparently disdained the blockchain and recently suffered a major outage in Europe. The two issues are probably not connected. Notably, blockchains are not as fast as centralized payment systems, but they do seem to be more secure.

Meanwhile, Mastercard has been obtaining blockchain patents and boasts a working blockchain solution.

So, this is more than a simple Credit Card war. The implication here, as always, is a Blockchain Arms Race. It continues to heat up. Picking the winner might be like changing horses in midstream. Personally, I don’t think many nations will trust an Ant International AI Blockchain coming out of China or Asia, but it might be the one to beat.

Thanks for reading…

JS

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Will Caesar Assassinate Bitcoin and all Blockchains, This Time Around?

Dear Readers,

As the Ides of March approach, but this time Caesar lives?

In 44 BC Julius Caesar was assassinated. It was March 15th. Senators stabbed him to death next to a theater. Why? Because he dared to be king. He had it coming.

Bitcoin, in the sphere of crypto, has been a dominant force since its inception. It was the first “successful” mover. But it was never a bloody dictator. It never ordered you to buy it.

The ever-growing number of cryptocurrencies, vie for dominance. They want bitcoin dead. So does today’s Caesar. And you can name your own Caesar. Certainly, the selection of contenders is vast. And there appears to be no experts about. Yes, there are those who code. The programmers. The computer wizards. The black hat hackers. The financial gurus. YouTube personalities. Twelve-year-old millionaires. And there are the economists, bankers, government agencies, detractors and dictators.

Then the rest of us, holding onto our wallets, stocks and bonds, silver coins, collectibles, and homes. We are not the Caesars, however. We are the commoners – the Plebeians. Maybe, as Plebeians, we’ve placed our crypto bets. Maybe not.

We know the score. We know that the dollar markets are volatile. The debasement of our currency ongoing and long term inflation (fiat currency devaluation) the result. Gold and silver prices, manipulated. The Catch-22 of the modern era. Until the “catch” breaks.

The only real markets left – with some measure of freedom – are the cryptocurrency markets. All others, to my knowledge, are regulated. Even my local flea market is regulated, somewhat.

In February of this year (2018) cryptocurrency bounced off a new low. I wondered then, if it was a reset of some sort. Now, over a month later, it appears to be doing it again. I fear another reset is looming. A much deeper one.

Some like to look to the past.

In 2013, bitcoin increased in value from a hundred dollars to over a $1000. It sparked the imagination of millions. Do you doubt it? After three years, as a nerdy plaything, suddenly, it was here. But you ask – what exactly was here?

Then bitcoin sank in value. Giving back half and more. Yes, it could have been speculation. Mt. Gox. Whales. FOMO. Take your pick.

In 2014, bitcoin seemed like it was dying. It lost over 60% of its value. Fluctuated. Maybe they were worth $300 by years end. We wondered. Was it over?

Then 2015 came. Bitcoin gained at least 25% by years end. It was looking to match the latter part of 2013’s values. Could it once again hit $1000?

Many of us reinvested.

Then June of 2016 came. Bitcoin decided to go up. By years end, it was once again looking at the $1000 mark. People – investors took notice. Would it pop again?

What if?

That was the biggest question. What if this thing keeps on going? Where will it stop? Will the snake-oil salesman come out and paint the rosy pictures? They did. Millions each, they shouted.

In 2017 everything changed. The banner year – so far – for bitcoin. Exchanges, as bad as they were, slow, cumbersome — lit the fire. Bitcoin took off. Over 19 times in value. Almost holding at $20,000. But before the year was over…shaking.

And 2017 was like 2013 all over again. By the end of the year, bitcoin was off almost 25% from its highs. The banner year was over. We felt deflated. Betrayed. We looked for scapegoats.

They were easy to find…

The financial world, which had been ignoring it, at least publicly, began kicking it steadily – and copying the technology. They were to blame. And the tax men. And the regulators. And China, Russia…and the endless bitcoin debates…and the bitcoin clones…and stiff competition from other altcoins…crypto-assets…tokens…

Now 2018 arrived. From the highs of late 2017, bitcoin nosed over. No longer treading water, it sank. It halved and then some. Percentage-wise, 2018 – so far – has eaten bitcoin’s lunch and its supper…

If you hold (or hodl) you should be concerned. No other altcoin has yet to muscle in on BTC’s turf. There is no trusted replacement. Not yet. And this time, Caesar is sharping his sword.

If anyone can honestly say that bitcoin is not the touchstone of the cryptosphere, even as its “dominance” fades, beware. Fake news?

Anyone can see the wag of that bitcoin’s tail. But he is a free dog. He survives in the wild. The Plebeians are his friends, but he has no master. Whether that dog lives, is the question. For Caesar hunts.

To those altcoins that ‘joined him’ – you know who you are – you have not solved any problems. You have merely profited from the Plebeians who serve the Caesar. But Caesar is bankrupt, and you live in his kennel.

The joiners are like loyal dogs. They will serve any Caesar. Drink from any poison fountain, so long as it is sweet. When it sours they pack their bags full of cash and wait for the next opportunity.

For now, I hope the joiners succeed, that I may profit from their folly. Then plow that money into the honest cryptos, if any still exist. Have they ever really existed?

Caesar has sent his troops in. His tax collectors. His regulators. One by one. In plain sight. Brazenly. He knows not to attack the Plebeians directly. He attacks the places they frequent, instead. The watering holes, the bazaars, the money tables.

Right now, Caesar is cutting the supply lines. The flow of water — crypto. The great cisterns – exchanges – are being brought to heel. Banks cut off the life-blood one by one.

Back to the kennels now, you Plebeians. No more dreams of roaming free. Nay, you pigs of the trough, stick your snouts in low. Grovel as you may. Dream the farm animal dreams and know that you are such tasty pork chops.

Perhaps it’s time for the wolf. But even a good wolf needs his Spartacus.

 


Media Source: William Darby

Avoid the GNU Taler “Manifesto” Blockchain?


 

This is an open letter to those who slave at the coding machines, whilst Richard Stallman drinks the Kool aid. Get up from your machines. Awake from your fantasy.

Burn the manifesto. The Taxable Anonymous Libre Electronic Reserve Manifesto.

Avoid Taler, like a Bit-plague.


Dear GNU Taler and Family,

Idiots are made, not born. Until now? Leave your Communes. Lay down your laptops.

I urge you, if you have ever entertained, for a second, buying Taler. Snuff that thought from your mind. Eliminate the code from your systems, before it’s too late. Politicians lurk herein.

GNU Taler could replace things like SWIFT and even Ripple, if they ever get off the ground.

Without going into the details, suffice to say that Taler (Taxable Anonymous Libre Anonymous Reserves) does have promise. Not everyone wants to hide their money, just secure it. But can Taler deliver?

I hope not. I don’t live in a commune. I will not support any form of subservience, even in the name of “Social Responsibility,” which is another name for “Socialism,” which is another name for “slavery,” which is what “Taler” is to money. Control and servitude. Vile, are the merchants?

I’ve been watching Taler’s cheesy vids for a few years now. Odd, the German laced rhetors are. Like they stipulate, it’s just a cash substitute. Is it? A token of state money, which has already failed us. But, not really. You will need to buy Taler at the going rate, from what I can see. That is, whenever they can lift off, which I hope is NEVER.

In that sense, would it not be volatile?  Or are they simply going to designate the equivalent cash? How then, will the exchange rate be calculated? Will one U.S. dollar buy me one or ten Talers? And, given the new tax laws in the United States, would it not behoove Taler to indicate how much I paid for my Taler and how much I sold it for, to buy a soda? So, I can keep track of gains and losses – and required taxes? Or will Taler help me hide that? Like a good Communist? Like an Anarchist? Which is it?

If I want to spend my Taler in a foreign country, will the exchange rate be dictated? Or do I estimate what I think the item should cost, based upon the fiat cost of my Taler, in my country? Will Taler rise and fall in value, according to the amount purchased, globally? Will my Taler be inelastic, holding its original fiat value or elastic – dipping and spinning like a herd of crazy sheep? Who knows?

Their website – after all these years – seems absent the basic stuff needed for any serious investor to make a decision. (Don’t worry, I’ve emailed them for more.) How many ‘coins’ will they print? Just the 100,000,000? Who decided that? Why? How are the “T’s” associated with fiat cash? Will they offer them for sale on cryptocurrency exchanges, even if Taler is NOT a crypto? Will they offer hardware wallets? Cell phone apps? Or must we keep them on our very safe computers (PC’s)? Make back-ups?

Unlike Ripple XRP’s, however, you must deal in TaL or “T” or whatever their ticker symbol is today. With XRP’s or even Stellar Lumens (XLM), I can send you any currency and you can receive any currency, but we’re all visible. Capisce? That’s good and bad.

Taler, as I understand it, can be spent like cash – your identity is private – but the merchant must report the income. Big deal. You are still screwing the economy (Richard) – the evil shopkeepers. The shopkeepers are the economy! If it wasn’t for them we’d all be wearing Stallman tie-dyes, tilling the fields, and sipping monkey juice. Stand up and smell the ozone, buddy – before the Global Cooling starts.

Like Ripple, like Stellar, Taler is centralized, but even more so. Is that a bad thing – if it is secure? And, if it becomes successful, could not a large company or government simply buy them out – and use their system? Or simply copy it? I understand it is ‘open source.’

I feel like I’m watching the old “Moron Movies” where the guy takes his log for a walk and it pisses on a tree.

How about the “premine?” From what I can see here and elsewhere, Taler holds 49% of Taler. Fine. If the value appreciates and I can profit, I don’t care. I might even like to use the system to help keep my identity safe. Help me save money too. And I can bring my own rope too. Hang myself out by the shed, as the sun sets on my freedom and the merchants all quit. We’ll all hang together, is that it?

It seems that Taler is an underdog. It is sneaking in under the radar, with a political agenda. Possibly able to unseat the old guard, with code. A manifesto of money? Taste not, Dear Bankers, for the libation is death — figuratively speaking.

At the same time, the developers of Taler don’t seem to understand that governments (police) will, on occasion, require the identities of “spenders.” That fact alone will create a push-back mechanism they may not comprehend. Or, if they do, they already have plans in place to reveal the tax-evader citizens, the wannabe-terrorists. After all, privacy is only a human right, until you harm others or anger the wayward bureaucrat, right?

Let’s move on.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, I argue, was created to combat a dying fiat monetary system. The world over. Taler says — capitulates — that there is a way to use the fiats of finance – cheaply.

Great message. Taler supports the cat-houses. It is NOT socially responsible. Or, put another way, it supports inflation, social slavery and has no guts — no shame.

Did you here that Richard? I say you have no cojones. Please program Ethereum Kitties. Do you, like Cardano ADA — really expect people to purchase Talers? Premined altcoins to make you rich?

I hope Taler, Ripple, Stellar all fail. In the meantime, I will profit from their success. Not unlike Schindler.

Correction: I hope to hell, I will never profit from Taler.

The old system must die. I await the new. But not the GNU way.

And a simple browse will uncover the plot. Check here. Richard Stallman, oh guru of gurus, supports the US Green Party. He, Richard of riches, is the “creator” of Taler. The Green Party is essentially a Neo-Marxist party. A slavery Party. The antithesis of a freedom-loving people.

Beware the hippies in the red tie-dyes.

Die Taler, die. A natural death.


Your Friend,

— JGS

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): The Golden Hand?

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


(Updated 7/6/2018 — based on developments)

The Cardano opportunity is a risk and maybe a pickpocket.

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 thought that the next great cryptocurrency opportunity was 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?

It does not look promising.

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 micro-payments 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. And it has been accused of being an ongoing ICO.

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. Many Cardano-like coins are potentially inflationary, however. PoS coins often have set rates of constant “production” — i.e., printing.

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, regulate-able, 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. Probably not. Why?

Cardano was created by Charles Hoskinson and others, who also helped to create Ethereum Classic or ETC. ETC said, essentially, that the manifesto (the code as immutably written) was more important than humans who were harmed in the DAO Hack of Ethereum. Ethereum made it right (moral) by forking away the problem — “arresting the thieves.” ETC said “no, let the thieves steal” and here is free ETC to steal again. The immutable blockchain must be obeyed — like their God. And you think Cardano is not “jaded” by that same nonsense? That statements from Hoskinson’s blog about having “hardcore socialists” (more thieves) working for him on this project should make anyone on Earth, aside from other thieves, feel good?

Advice? Get thy money out of ADA. Too many red flags.

 

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.


 

Bytecoin: Crypto Coin Daddy


Who’s Your Daddy?

To call yourself a news agency is one thing, but to push “coin” is another. A crack-cocaine dealer pushes cheap coke. A purported news agency ought to have the guts to wade into the honesty category now and again. It should not be a front for “iffy” coins, unless it does not mind being called on the carpet. Being exposed.

We all want to know: Is Bytecoin legit? Is Bytecoin worth it? Is Bytecoin a scam? These are all honest questions. Questions that continue to linger as Bytecoin advertising begins — again — to trickle into the internet.

This old line is really old: Bytecoin – anonymous cryptocurrency, based on CryptoNote.

On August 23, 2017, CryptoCoin Daddy released a “news” article, but like the blogs I hammer out, when I’m in the mood, the “Daddy” – a far more popular website than mine – dished out the good “news.”

Not so fast.

“Bytecoin BCN is the first crypto currency that is making its way in Temples in India.”

That’s how the blog begins. It then goes on to tell us that many temples in India are accepting Bytecoin payments. Great. But like someone reminded me yesterday, which temples are they talking about? Can they name one? Can we confirm one? Why would a “news” agency write such a piece, without a bit of evidence? Without a single source. No names. No exact places. No interviews. Just hot air?

Are they simply reporting what an Indian Bytecoin Community Manager told them or are they feeding us the line and helping to pump Bytecoin. I really want to know, because this BCN business is getting rather deep in the muck.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

Who are the CryptoCoin Daddy people? The ones who broke the story or got paid to write it? I’m glad you asked. ScamAdviser.com is a great resource. They give it to you straight. So, what does it tell us about the “Daddy?”

As of today, CrpytoCoin Daddy is 57 days old. In other words, it’s still suckling. It shows that the site is in the United States, but ScamAdviser says, well, it’s in India – maybe. Why are they not sure? Maybe it’s because the website is labeled as “slow.” Slow, but popular.

Additionally, the registered email address is a “free” one. A business with a free email address? Okay, I use a free email, but my website email (one I don’t use) is a pay address. I’ll give them this.

And it’s not so much that I hate new websites. I think newbies with such popularity are awesome. What bothers me is the lack of research. There are no caveats here. No concerns about the underlying coin. But are they needed? Should a blog report the past? Should a news agency, if it were a legitimate one, cite the potential problems? Or – should they just take the payment and print the “news?” Does a purported news blog have to tell the whole truth or are they just information pushers?

Information without substance is noise, but even noise droning on long enough can appear to be true. It’s almost like hypnotism. Say it enough and let the blogs clone it enough – well then – it must have substance, right? No. Not at all.


Ominous Parallels

About one month after CryptoCoin Daddy made its debut, Jenny Goldberg appeared on Reddit here. Coincidence? A one month old Redditor being treated like a money goddess. Are people that gullible?

Just in case the Reddit goes missing, here is Jenny’s statement – from @BCN_Official – about one month ago:

Dear BCN community,

My name is Jenny Goldberg and I’m the official BCN community manager

From this moment on, the official Bytecoin team will be making an effort to be more transparent to the community. We’ve been following all the activity in the community and we know you’ve been waiting for us to make a public statement. We see that there are lots of questions and we are now here to answer.

But firstly let me express my gratitude to all those enthusiasts who have made such valuable contributions to the development of BCN. We are so grateful for all the work put in by @Leogheo and BFB program team, @kinlakinla for the Bytecoin info page, @GaboCarranza and @sydney40 for Bytecointalk activity, @july for the Telegram channel, @boomworking for help with the design and @Camilo_Gil for your sincere appeal to our team. Thanks to the entire community for your trust and support even when you didn’t hear from us. Only with your support we were able to keep up our strength and continue working.

Just a few words about our history, Bytecoin is the first coin developed under the cryptonote protocol, but due to the fragmented nature of the community, BCN was forked a million times. You know that sometimes we were criticized for “slow development”, but the truth is that when the others were spending time on marketing, we were putting all our effort into enhancing the already existing cryptocurrency ecosystem.

In any case, we’re still here and we’re looking to grow. We would like to invite the best cryptographers, developers, bright minds and passionate hearts to join our BCN team to create absolutely new and exciting developments – get ready for the BCN of the new era. To ensure our success in this new era, we’ll need to support and trust each other and make our community even stronger.

Starting now, we are open for communication. Feel free to share your thoughts, bugs and features with us. Please send all feedback to contact@bytecoin.org and we’ll get back to you asap. We will do our best to bring the best ideas to life.

Let’s start a new chapter of Bytecoin together!

I put this all here to have a record. I want to refer to it in a couple of months (probably just days) when all the Bytecoin investors (bag-holders) wake up broke.

And if I’m wrong? Heck, I’ll own up to it. (Just remind me.)


In Other News

Bitnewsbot.com also carried the same story that CryptoCoin Daddy offered about a week later. On August 30, 2017, they gave essentially the same report. Bitnewsbot.com is a whopping 139 days old, according the ScamAdviser.com. They are out of Cyprus.

Bitnewsbot.com cited their news source as: CoinReport.net. This website, again according to Scamadviser.com, is based in the U.S, but the owner’s location is “hidden.” At least it has a better reputation and is over three years old. But where did they get their news?

Could it be from Crypto Reader? I found a reference on Google to an article about the temples in question, but when I clicked I got the big “404 Error.” Same deal though. Hidden owner, maybe from abroad – meaning not in the U.S. A site about 106 days old.

And the story has now been cloned over and over.


The Goods

If this story turns out to be false or over-blown, I have taken the liberty to cite the main ones for reference later.

Here they are:

CryptoCoinDaddy.com

Bytecoin now accepted in Indian Temples: Bytecoin added as a donation method in the Indian Temples

Bytecoin BCN is the first crypto currency that is making its way in Temples in India. They are now happy to accept donations in Bytecoin. This started when the Sikh gurudwaras in major cities of India started accepting bytecoin. Report says that the temples are happy accepting the donations in bytecoin. The cash generally sits idle with them which served no purpose. Being a non-profit organization, the government prohibits them investing the donation funds. By making use of Bytecoin wallet, they can benefit from price increase.

ByteCoin is a cryptocurrency where transactions are impossible to traceback. It allows very fast international remittances worldwide and sender remains completely anonymous as well. Biggest benefit neither donor nor temple has to pay any charges on the transaction. Temples in India today simply generate a QR code for their wallet address and send it to their follower’s community using Whatsapp, Telegram, Facebook and other instant messenger applications. It is further shared and spread among the community members. Now donors can easily scan the QR code using their phones and in the blink of an eye can send donations to the temple. For centuries mankind has been associated with some or other religion. No matter what race, color or ethnicity a human being is born, his or her brain start learning the religion from the very moment when parents thank’s the god. Religion has developed a like a belief system and where human capabilities fail, they have the option to resort back to God or Allah or Bhagwaan.

Donations are equally important for any religion to survive and flourish as religion is to human beings and in last few months Hindu Temples in India have found out a way to accept donations from their domestic as well as international followers. “Gupt Daan” (Anonymous Donation) was already considered a supreme deed in Hindu religion and ByteCoin, one of the most secure and anonymous cryptocurrency is making it possible for followers to donate to the temples from anywhere.

There have been times in the past when temples were in the constant fight with the science. There has been blood shedding from the religious institutions to stop or halt the scientific advancements but today technology has emerged as the biggest support to these religious institutions. CryptoCurrencies like Bytecoin are not only amazingly cost effective and fast option to serve your belief but also do not allow the distance to be a barrier between God & Followers.

(Retrieved 8/31/2017)

Bitnewsbot.com
“Bytecoin” 30 Aug 2017

CoinReport Temples in India increasingly accepting bytecoin donations

Temples in India are increasingly accepting bytecoin (BCN) as donation, according to a press release CoinReport received from bytecoin’s team, which received the news from BCN’s Indian community manager, Pundit Pawan Sharma.

The trend started with gurudwaras, which are places of worship in the Sikhism religion, in the cities of Delhi, Cochin, Madurai and Amritsar, says the release.

Temples are reportedly happy to accept bytecoin donations because cash usually sits idle with them, and being not-for-profit organizations, they are prohibited by the government to invest the donated funds. Bytecoin carries a liberation, as even if the temples save it in their wallets, they will see the price rise as others trade the digital currency on exchanges.

The biggest benefit that donors as well as the temples receive is no charge on the transaction. All that temples must do is generate a QR code for their wallet address and send it to their followers’ community using Facebook, Telegram, WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps. Community members share and spread the QR code with more followers.

Bytecoin is a digital currency where transactions are impossible to trace back. It enables very fast international remittances the world over, with the sender staying completely anonymous. “Gupt Daan” (Anonymous Donation) is already considered a supreme deed in the Hindu religion.

Hinduism is the main and majority religion of India, with over 79.8% of the population identifying themselves as Hindu, that accounts for roughly 966 million Hindus in India as of the official 2011 census report.

Images via the Logo Page of Bytecoin’s website

Source link


Have a good day,

Jack Shorebird


P.S. For those of you leaving garbage responses, know that this is just a small blog. I don’t have many readers. I do this for fun and it sure is fun to watch your responses. The fact remains, however, when relatively new websites pop up — and I’ve been at this since Prodigy days, probably before most of you were born — to promote alleged news, Inquiring Minds want to know. That’s an inside joke. You probably don’t get it.

Bytecoin is still kicking…


Just a quickie, before you throw yourself under the bus…

Today, I received a response to one of my blogs about Bytecoin. It was a link to a video, an audio actually, of an interview with the mysterious Jenny Goldberg. Goldberg is the new Community Manager, if we can accept this — of Bytecoin.

(Hi, Jenny.)

The connection seemed to skip or warble at times and Jenny herself, to an American, had a strange accent. I’m no ‘world traveler’ and I could not place it.

I also checked Reddit and the video was also posted there.

As some of you may recall, I often blog about various coins, especially the more anonymous ones, because I think at some point, many in the cryptosphere will actually desire a more secure and less public coin. Meaning, a cryptocurrency that is usable by anyone but not visible to everyone all the time — like bitcoin.

It’s a move simply waiting to happen. The developers have been gearing up for it.

In the meantime, there will be a large number of people who will desire the services of an anonymous coin network now. They come in several flavors of dishonest, but the bulk I feel, will be derived from the honest. Those simply trying to find a way to move and/or store value (money) in a place where others, including governments, cannot get to it.

Think on that for a moment. Let me name a few places. China. Russia. North Korea. The United States of Taxes. Cuba. Greece. Cyprus. Venezuela. Planet Earth.

The thing is, I don’t want people to get screwed. That’s why this video I mentioned is important to hear. First, do a little homework. Learn about Bytecoin. Determine for yourself, if Monero is simply trying bash a good system. And I have spoken highly of Monero in the past. Now I’m more neutral.

Secondly, make your own educated decision. Is Bytecoin good to use? Can you send value over the internet in a secure fashion, with Bytecoin. The quick answer is yes, you can. The system does work, but be fast about it. Transfer and get out of it as fast as possible — if you must use it at all.

You want to retain as much value as possible, after all. Let someone else take the risk of “holding” any cryptocurrency. It’s like holding a greased pig on crack cocaine, while drinking a beer and talking to your wife about painting the downstairs — again. It is nearly stupid, for now. Even bitcoin holders might find themselves in a world of poop, if the market decides that crypto is “old hat.”

I’m not saying to stop making money. Go for it. Spin that dial and laugh. I am. For now. Just know that the next idea is just around that dark intersection — where the bus is coming.

And listen to regular people. Too many times we gravitate to the news fed to us. I even cite them in my posts. This magazine or that financial expert. Know that in this vein, the blood that runs herein is not necessarily blue. The value if these things is transitory as hell. And the last time I looked, Satan’s Pit of Boiling Mud (think Yellowstone National Park) is still looking for permanent tourists.

And for the record, I’m curious as hell about NAVCOIN these days.

Have a good day.

Jack Shorebird

 

 

 

 

Is Bitcoin in a Bubble?


The Big Question:

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

Can cryptocurrencies replace money or are they just another bubble?

The answers vary.

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

Okay, maybe that was a bit overboard.

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

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

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

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

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

Cryptocurrency Negatives:

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

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

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

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

Money:

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

Source: Ayn Rand Lexicon

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

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

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

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

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

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

High Hopes:

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

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

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

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

Bitcoin as an Asset:

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

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

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

Source: Wikipedia

So what is an asset?

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

Source: Investopedia

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

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

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

You Must Comply:

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

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

A Common Criminal:

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

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

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

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

Bubbles:

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

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

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

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

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

Diversification:

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

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

Anti-Money:

The Fallout:

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

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

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

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

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

The Beginning of the End?

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

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

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

The Aftermath?

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

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

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

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

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

 

Good Day,

Jack Shorebird.