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Upon the Fortune of this Present Year | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - November 2019
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted, Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate Upon the fortune of this present year Therefore my merchandise makes me not sad Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (1596) This is my thirty-sixth portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goals. Portfolio goals My objectives are to reach a portfolio of:
$1 598 000 by 31 December 2020. This should produce a passive income of about $67 000 (Objective #1) - Achieved
$1 980 000 by 31 July 2023, to produce a passive income equivalent to $83 000 (Objective #2)
Both of these are based on an expected average real return of 4.19 per cent, or a nominal return of 7.19 per cent, and are expressed in 2018 dollars. Portfolio summary Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $797 618 Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $45 218 Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $81 294 Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $109 367 Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $158 769 Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $28 471 Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $268 114 Telstra shares (TLS) – $2 057 Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $9 996 NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $8 100 Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $98 376 Secured physical gold – $15 868 Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $16 915 Bitcoin – $128 630 Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $17 535 Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 377 BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 418 Total portfolio value: $1 793 753 (+$33 713) Asset allocation Australian shares – 43.2% (1.8% under) Global shares – 22.9% Emerging markets shares – 2.4% International small companies – 3.2% Total international shares – 28.4% (1.6% under) Total shares – 71.6% (3.4% under) Total property securities – 0.2% (0.2% over) Australian bonds – 4.8% International bonds – 9.8% Total bonds – 14.6% (0.4% under) Gold – 6.4% Bitcoin – 7.2% Gold and alternatives – 13.5% (3.5% over) Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. [Chart] Comments This month the value of the portfolio increased again by around $33 000 in total, building on the previous two months of growth. [Chart] The equity part of the portfolio has grown by around $50 000 to now reach over $1.25 million for the first time. This increase includes new contributions and the last part of the previous June distributions being 'averaged into' equity markets. The equity component of the portfolio has increased by around 40 per cent this calendar year. The only other major movement in the monthly value of the portfolio has been a sharp downward movement in the price of Bitcoin, and a small increase in the value of bond holdings. [Chart] The contributions this month went entirely into the Vanguard Australian shares ETF (VAS.ASX), to reduce the gap to both the overall target equity allocation, and to achieve the target split between Australian and global shares. From this month onwards I expect more regular variations in whether new contributions go to either Australian or global shares, based on keeping this target allocation constant. Charting errors and wrong bearings - the nature of long-term returns Over the last month, as the end destination starts to appear a little clearer in the distance, the issue of the nature of long-term returns has been front of mind. There is a strong literature and body of academic work around long-term equity return expectations. Much of this has informed my thinking, and has over time found its way into the corners of financial independence movement through the avenues of the so-called Trinity and Bengen '4 per cent' studies (pdf), and a range of calculators that use historical data to help guide investors expectations around feasible future returns. Yet, as I have noted before, future states of the world are not drawn from the same distribution as the past - or as the British writer G K Chesterton evocatively put it - 'wildness lies in wait'. Most often this issue is glided over neatly (including by myself) with assured sounding phrases such as 'based on history'. The works of Nassim Taleb, most particularly Fooled by Randomness, and The Black Swan, provide a fuller perspective on these issues. Recently though, reading a 2017 paper Stock Market Charts You Never Saw provided a unique and arresting view of their application to long-term return projections. The paper is long and detailed, but makes some fundamental points for consideration. It provides a challenging perspective on investment returns that falls almost completely out of mainstream discussions of the topic in the financial independence arena. To summarise, the paper highlights that:
Long-term average equity returns are just mean averages - While they have a stable property over the long-term, this is an inherent statistical property of these values being long-term averages of diverse sets of returns. They are not a reliable forward-looking promise of likely returns. In the words of the paper: 'history documents, but does not constrain'.
Time (in the market) does not always heal all wounds - Investors who spend their dividends and avoid market timing - in other words an average FI investor - can reasonably expect to encounter 30 year periods of low real returns, with US investors facing three such periods in the twentieth century alone.
Typical charts of long-term equity returns can be misleading - Through behavioural finance findings it is clear that presented with a chart showing a seemingly inevitable rising line of equity returns over a long-time frame, an impression of safety and inevitability can be created. The paper highlights a range of ways in which standard charts on equity returns can obscure important facets of investors actual experiences.
No investor actually experiences the longest set of historical returns - While it is comforting to know that equity returns have averaged (for example) six per cent over a century, or two, this information is not as relevant for an investor who is more likely to be invested in a discrete 30-50 year period in which deviations from historical averages can be significant.
One-off events should not be dismissed - While the temptation is continuously present to believe that events like the Great Depression could never happen again, careful review of equity returns yields some distinctly similar periods of sustained low or negative real returns.
Comparisons of bond and equity returns are often oversimplified - It is not an immutable truth that equities outperform bonds, at least when the US historical record is considered. Rather, a more complicated picture emerges of returns over long periods. Sometimes, equities have outperformed bonds, but at other times, bonds have out-performed equites.
As the paper notes: "When investment advisors counsel that stocks are the best bet for a long investment horizon, they should append the acknowledgement: “if my market timing is good.” When advisors argue for stocks over bonds, they should append the caveat “as long as you are not French, or Italian, or Japanese, or Swiss, and provided that the 20th century is a better guide to the future than the 19th century.” For real investors with their limited time horizons, who may reside anywhere in the world, there have been times when both stock recommendations were bad." The issue of the primacy of total returns, compared to income returns is also bracingly challenged with reference to the drawdown phase: Once portfolio accumulation ceases with retirement, portfolio income must be spent to live. Under those circumstances real price return, over short periods lasting two or three decades, becomes an important metric. By that measure, an investment in stocks has been dicey indeed. Usefully, the paper sets out (at the end) both conventional charts, and alternative representations of the same returns data, aimed at illustrating the hidden biases and properties of standard charts of market returns. In short, the paper poses challenges to many conventional investment tenets assumed to be true and widely repeated within financial independence discussions. Often these tenets are promoted with the sound and well-meaning goal of reducing new or existing investors caution or level of worry around possible falls in equity markets. The question this work implicitly poses is, in the process, are distorted expectations unintentionally being promoted? Drawing out the lessons - understanding and responding to risks What are the practical implications of this? The most obvious is to look closely at how data is presented and to think carefully about how the assumptions implicit in that presentation line up against ones own situation. Some other implications include:
Projections based on earning stable and uniform returns should be undertaken with caution - Multi-decade periods of low returns can happen, and mathematical models of compounding smooth returns don't capture their impacts.
By taking an equity position an investor is simply undertaking a probabilistic bet, with no guarantees - That is, equity investment over the long-term usually pays offs, but some risk is inescapable.
Diversification across markets and time represents a workable response to risk - Investing regularly and across geographic markets can help current investors capture some of the positive 'survivorship' bias that was denied to individual investors in many countries across the twentieth century.
In other words - to paraphrase Shakespeare's Antonio - not trusting ones ventures to one ship, place, or a fortune upon the present year. Progress Progress against the objectives, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below. Measure Portfolio All Assets Objective #1 – $1 598 000 (or $67 000 pa) 112.2% 153.0% Objective #2 – $1 980 000 (or $83 000 pa) 90.6% 123.5% Credit card purchases - $73 000 pa 103.0% 140.4% Total expenses - $89 000 pa 84.5% 115.1% Summary As the year begins to draw to a close, a restlessness to see its final outcomes, in dividends and portfolio growth presses itself forward. It is in fact a small echo of one of the strong temptations of the middle of the FI journey - a desire to wish away time itself. Some potential upcoming changes and uncertainties in work situation have added force to this temptation, forcing some thoughts about different potential balances between work and other elements of daily life could be. By distance, the intended journey is around ninety per cent over. At times this introduces both an elegiac quality to, and a premature desire to mark, possible 'lasts' along the journey. Yet the extraordinary current state of financial markets gives pause. Policy makers and advisors casually discuss negative rates and their implications, even as Australian and US equity markets hit new highs. In a sense, it feels a more psychologically testing time to be closer to my higher target allocation for equities than any time before. The diversification in the portfolio can be thought of as a series of small hedges against different potential futures playing out. By far, the largest probability (or potential future) at 75 per cent, is that the historical dominance of equity as a generator of real returns continues to function. The remainder of the portfolio can be seen in some ways as a offsetting hedge against large equity market falls, or some other disturbance in financial markets with negative implications for equity. At base, however, I remain comfortable with the 'balance of probabilities' implied in the target asset allocation. This month saw a new (v)blogger Mx Lauren join the Australian FI scene, as well as the suggestion by Money Magazine of a new 'simplified' retirement rule of thumb to consider. A further piece of fascinating reading was this piece by Ben Carlson in Fortune Magazine, explaining the key role of earnings growth in recent US market return. It posits that the recent strong performance of US equities is attributable to fundamental earnings growth, rather than simply an unjustified expansion in the price investors are willing to pay for that growth. This - in addition to Shakespeare's pre-modern enjoinment to diversify - is potentially another reason to not confine considerations to one market, and one place, as December distributions slowly drift into sight. The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
Mitch McConnell's Brother-in-Law One of the Masterminds of Trump-Russia
Jim Breyer, Mitch McConnell's brother-in-law, Facilitates Russia’s Takeover of Facebook through Yuri Milner In 2005 Jim Breyer, a partner at Accel Partners, invested $1 million of his own money into Facebook and gained a seat on the board (1). In Feb 2009 Jim Breyer visited Russia with a number of other Silicone Valley investors. While there, Yuri Milner, a Russian tech entrepreneur who founded DST with close ties to the Kremlin, hosted a dinner to cap the entire event (2). As one Moscow source put it:
DST has the backing of the big boys at the top in the Kremlin, which is why it will go from strength to strength (5)
Milner found out Breyer liked Impressionist art and took him to Russian’s Hermitage Museum to view Matisse paintings otherwise closed off to the public. Three months later Yuri Milner’s DST invested into Facebook at a bloated value. (2)
Mr Milner dismissed suggestions that at a valuation of $10bn he overpaid for his stake in Facebook, especially given that the social networking site has yet to prove it has turned to profit. (3) it’s seen as a desperate and rather vulgar deal on the one hand—Milner buying a small stake in Facebook, valuing the entire company at $10 billion—and, on the other, Facebook debasing itself by taking Russian money. Russian money! In fact, it seems rather like a desperate deal for both parties (in the midst of the banking crisis, Facebook has only two other bidders for this round—and none from the top VC tier) (4)
By the end of 2009, DST would own 10% of Facebook. Later revealed by the Paradise Papers, DST’s investments into Facebook were financed by the Russian government through state-owned Gazprom. That’s right, in 2009 Russia owned 10% of Facebook. (6) Soon after, the two continued to work together on other investments. Breyer introduced Milner to Groupon, and Milner helped Breyer’s Accel invest into Spotify (7). In 2010 an Accel representative joined a gaggle of Silicon Valley investors to Russia and signed a letter promising to invest into the country (8).
Jim Breyer and Rupert Murdoch Then in Nov 2010 Jim Breyer invested into Artsy.net, run by Rupert Murdoch’s then-wife, Wendi Deng, and Russia oligarch Roman Abramovich’s then-wife, Dasha Zhukova. Jared Kushner’s brother, Josh, also invested in the fledgling company (1). At the time Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation had a joint venture with the Russian mob-linked oligarch Boris Berezovsky, called LogoVaz News Corporation, that invested in Russian media (4). It was Berezovsky’s protege close to Putin, Roman Abramovich, who tied Berezovsky to the mob.
According to the Mirror Online, Abramovich paid Berezovsky tens, and even hundreds, of millions every year for "krysha", or mafia protection. (5)
In June 2011, Rupert Murdoch ended his foray into social media by selling Myspace to Justin Timberlake (2) and elected Jim Breyer to the board of News Corp (3).
Jim Breyer invests in Wickr with Erik Prince In 2012 Breyer invested in a encrypted messenger app, Wickr. Other investors include Gilman Louie and Erik Prince. To understand the connection, we need to go back to 1987. Breyer, newly hired to Accel Partners, made his first investment with Louie’s video game company that owned the rights to the Soviet Union’s first video game export, Tetris (1). Louie went off to become the founding CEO of the CIA-backed In-Q-Tel which invested in Palantir. Palantir’s founder, Peter Thiel, sat on the board of Facebook with Breyer (2)(3). On the board of In-Q-Tel is Buzzy Krongard (7), the man who helped Erik Prince’s Blackwater receive their first CIA contract, who also joined the board of Blackwater in 2007 (6). Around that same time, 2012-2013, Prince met Vincent Tchenguiz, founder of Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL (8), and was introduced to Cyrus Behbehani of Glencore, one of the purchasers of Rosneft stock detailed in the Steele Dossier (9). Cyrus Behbehani sat on the board of RusAl with Christophe Charlier, who is also Chairman of the board at Renaissance Capital (10), an early investor of DST (11).
Jim Breyer and Yuri Milner invest in Prismatic That same year, 2012, Jim Breyer invested in Prismatic, a news aggregate app, with Yuri Milner.
Prismatic’s technology works by crawling Facebook, Twitter and the web (“anything with a URL”) to find news stories. It then uses machine learning to categorize them by Topic and Publication. Prismatic users follow these Topics and Publications, as well as Individuals and the algorithm then uses these preferences and user-activity signals to present a relevant Newsfeed. (1)
Sounds like the beginning of what could be a propaganda dissemination tool. That goes in-line with Yuri Milner’s vision of Social Media. Milner’s theory:
“Zuckerberg’s Law”: Every 12 to 18 months the amount of information being shared between people on the web doubles... Over time people will bypass more general websites such as Google in favor of sites built atop social networks where they can rely on friends’ opinions to figure out where to get the best fall handbag, how to change a smoke detector, or whether to vacation in Istanbul or Rome. “You will pick your network, and the network will filter everything for you,” Milner explained. (2)
So how does Milner intend to utilize the data gathered through social media? Let’s see what Milner did to Russia’s top social media site, VK:
In January 2014, Durov sold his 12 percent stake to Ivan Tavrin, the CEO of major Russian mobile operator Megafon, whose second-largest shareholder is Alisher Usmanov, one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs, a man who has long been lobbying to take over VK. Then, in April 2014, Durov stated he had sold his stake in the company and became a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis back in February after "coming under increasing pressure" from the Russian Federal Security Service to hand over personal details of users who were members of a VK group dedicated to the Euromaidan protest movement in Ukraine. (3)
The Euromaidan protest ousted the Russian-backed president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, whom Paul Manafort had worked to install. (4)
Facebook talks US Elections with Russia In Oct 2012 Zuckerberg traveled to Moscow and met Dmitry Medvedev where they had a very interesting conversation:
Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Medvedev talked about Facebook’s role in politics, though only jokingly in reference to its importance in the American presidential campaign, according to Mr. Medvedev’s press office. (1)
While there he also visited Victor Vekselberg's Skolkovo, who’s currently under investigation by Mueller for donations to Trump (2).
As Obama’s effort to reboot diplomatic relations [with Russia] sputtered, federal officials began raising alarms about the Skolkovo Foundation’s ties to Putin. “The foundation may be a means for the Russian government to access our nation’s sensitive or classified research, development facilities and dual-use technologies” (3)
And took time to teach Russian's how to hack Facebook friend data, the same hack used by Cambridge Analytica, Donald Trump’s campaign data firm.
In a 2012 video, Facebook's Simon Cross shows the Moscow crowd how they can "get a ton of other information" on Facebook users and their friends. "We now have an access token, so now let's make the same request again and see what happens," Cross explains (YouTube). "We've got a little bit more data, but now we can start doing really interesting stuff. We can get my friends. We can get some more information about one of my friends. Here's Connor, who you'll meet later. Say 'hello,' Connor. He's waving. And we can also get a ton of other information as well." (4)
Facebook later hired the individual who hacked Facebook and sold the data to Cambridge Analytica (5). A month after that visit, Putin propaganda mouth-piece Konstantin Rykov, claims he began helping with Trump’s presidential aspirations (6). Days later, Trump registered “Make America Great Again” (7). The following year, Russia's Troll Factory, the Internet Research Agency, was created as was Cambridge Analytica.
Andrei Shleifer and Len Blavatnik Len Blavatnik, a US-Russian oligarch currently under investigation by Mueller, graduated from Harvard in 1989 and quickly formed Renova-Invest with Viktor Vekselberg, another oligarch under Mueller’s investigation (7)(8). Since then Blavatnik has maintained close ties to the university. In 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Andrei Shleifer led a consortium of Harvard professors to assist Russia’s vice-president, Antaoly Chubais, with the privatization of Russia’s state-run assets. Scandal broke when it was revealed Shleifer, through Blavatnik’s company and with Blavatnik’s guidance, invested in the very companies he worked to privatize. (6) Years later, Shleifer continued to fund loans to Blavatnik for Russian ventures through his hedge fund, managed by his wife, Nancy Zimmerman (9), and created the Russian Recovery Fund which bought $230 million of Russian debt from Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management (10), who’s seed fun, Tiger Global, later invested in Milner’s DST. Len Blavatnik and Viktor Vekselberg are major investors in Rusal (11). Schleifer is still a professor at Harvard.
Breyer and Harvard On April 2013, two months after Breyer was elected to the board of Harvard (1), Len Blavatnik, donated $50 million to the school (2) and joined the Board of Dean’s Advisors (3)(4) and Harvard’s Global Advisory Council (6) alongside Breyer. The next month Breyer announced plans to step down from the board of Facebook with an intention of focusing on his latest Harvard appointment (5). In 2016 Len Blavatnik donated over $7 million to GOP candidates, including $2.5 million to Mitch McConnell himself (7).
Breyer invests in Russian Companies In 2014 Breyer’s Accel Partners invested in Russian hotel booking site, Ostrovok, along with Yuri Milner, Esther Dyson (1), Mark Pincus, and Peter Thiel (2). Accel Partners also invested in Avito.ru in 2012 (3) and KupiVIP.ru in 2011 (4).
Jim Breyer, Blackstone Group, and Saudi Arabia In 2011 Schwarzman was named to the board of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (2), headed by Kirill Dimitriev. In June 2016, during Trump’s presidential campaign, Jim Breyer met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin-Salman, or MBS (8). The next month Breyer joined the board of Blackstone Group (1) alongside Stephen Schwarzman and Jacob Rothschild (3). In the past Blackstone Group had loaned Kushner Companies a combined $400 million over multiple projects (7). In the 2018 election cycle, Schwzarman donated $5 million to the pro-McConnell superPAC, Senate Majority PAC (13). Jacob’s brother, Nat, is business partners with both Oleg Deripaska (4), Rupert Murdoch, and Dick Cheney (5). Nat is also a major investor in Glencore, one of the purchasers of Rosneft stock detailed in the Steele Dossier (6), and RusAl. In January 2017, Breyer’s business partner at Wickr, Erik Prince, was introduced to Dimitriev by MBS’s emissary, George Nader, and the Crown Prince of the UAE (10). On October 22, 2018, three weeks after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, when most American investors were spooked away from Saudi Arabia, Jim Breyer showed up at an MBS-hosted Saudi business summit alongside Kirill Dimitriev of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (9). That same day, MBS pledged $20 billion for Blackstone Group's new infrastructure fund (11) to fund Elaine Chao's $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan (12). Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnells wife and Jim Breyer's sister-in-law, is Trump's Secretary of Transportation.
Imagine if there was one desk that all stories could cross so that, at 4am, a media plan could be decided upon and disseminated where all news outlets coordinated to set the goalposts of debate and hyper focused on specific issues to drive a narrative to control how you vote and how you spend money; where Internet shills were given marching orders in tandem to what was shown on television, printed in newspapers and spread throughout articles on the World Wide Web. https://i.imgur.com/Elnci0M.png In the past, we had Operation Mockingbird, where the program was supremely confident that it could control stories around the world, even in instructions to cover up any story about a possible “Yeti” sighting, should it turn out they were real. https://i.imgur.com/121LXqy.png If, in 1959, the government was confident in its ability to control a story about a Yeti, then what is their level of confidence in controlling stories, today? https://i.imgur.com/jQFVYew.png https://i.imgur.com/ZKMYGJj.png In fact, we have a recent example of a situation similar to the Yeti. When Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch met on the TARMAC to spike the Hillary email investigation, the FBI was so confident it wasn’t them, that their entire focus was finding the leaker, starting with searching within the local PD. We have documentation that demonstrates the state of mind of the confidence the upper levels of the FBI have when dealing with the media. https://i.imgur.com/IbjDOkI.png https://i.imgur.com/NH86ozU.png The marriage between mainstream media and government is a literal one and this arrangement is perfectly legal. https://i.imgur.com/OAd4vpf.png But, this problem extends far beyond politics; the private sector, the scientific community, even advice forums are shilled heavily. People are paid to cause anxiety, recommend people break up and otherwise sow depression and nervousness. This is due to a correlating force that employs “systems psychodynamics”, focusing on “tension centered” strategies to create “organizational paradoxes” by targeting people’s basic assumptions about the world around them to create division and provide distraction. https://i.imgur.com/6OEWYFN.png https://i.imgur.com/iG4sdD4.png https://i.imgur.com/e89Rx6B.png https://i.imgur.com/uotm9Cg.png https://i.imgur.com/74wt9tD.png In this day and age, it is even easier to manage these concepts and push a controlled narrative from a central figure than it has ever been. Allen & Co is a “boutique investment firm” that managed the merger between Disney and Fox and operates as an overseeing force for nearly all media and Internet shill armies, while having it’s fingers in sports, social media, video games, health insurance, etc. https://i.imgur.com/zlpBh3c.png https://i.imgur.com/e5ZvFFJ.png Former director of the CIA and Paul Brennan’s former superior George Tenet, holds the reigns of Allen & Co. The cast of characters involves a lot of the usual suspects. https://i.imgur.com/3OlrX7G.png
In 1973, Allen & Company bought a stake in Columbia Pictures. When the business was sold in 1982 to Coca-Cola, it netted a significant profit. Since then, Herbert Allen, Jr. has had a place on Coca-Cola's board of directors. Since its founding in 1982, the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference has regularly drawn high-profile attendees such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller, Michael Eisner, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Johnson, Andy Grove, Richard Parsons, and Donald Keough. Allen & Co. was one of ten underwriters for the Google initial public offering in 2004. In 2007, Allen was sole advisor to Activision in its $18 billion merger with Vivendi Games. In 2011, the New York Mets hired Allen & Co. to sell a minority stake of the team. That deal later fell apart. In November 2013, Allen & Co. was one of seven underwriters on the initial public offering of Twitter. Allen & Co. was the adviser of Facebook in its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in February 2014. In 2015, Allen & Co. was the advisor to Time Warner in its $80 billion 2015 merger with Charter Communications, AOL in its acquisition by Verizon, Centene Corporation in its $6.8 billion acquisition of Health Net, and eBay in its separation from PayPal. In 2016, Allen & Co was the lead advisor to Time Warner in its $108 billion acquisition by AT&T, LinkedIn for its merger talks with Microsoft, Walmart in its $3.3 billion purchase of Jet.com, and Verizon in its $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo!. In 2017, Allen & Co. was the advisor to Chewy.com in PetSmart’s $3.35 billion purchase of the online retailer.
Previous conference guests have included Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren and Susan Buffett, Tony Blair, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Allen alumnus and former Philippine Senator Mar Roxas, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Quicken Loans Founder & Chairman Dan Gilbert, Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, financier George Soros, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, BET founder Robert Johnson, Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons, Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight, Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell, NBA player LeBron James, Professor and Entrepreneur Sebastian Thrun, Governor Chris Christie, entertainer Dan Chandler, Katharine Graham of The Washington Post, Diane Sawyer, InterActiveCorp Chairman Barry Diller, Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman, entrepreneur Wences Casares, EXOR and FCA Chairman John Elkann, Sandro Salsano from Salsano Group, and Washington Post CEO Donald E. Graham, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and Oprah Winfrey.
https://i.imgur.com/VZ0OtFa.png George Tenet, with the reigns of Allen & Co in his hands, is able to single-handedly steer the entire Mockingbird apparatus from cable television to video games to Internet shills from a singular location determining the spectrum of allowable debate. Not only are they able to target people’s conscious psychology, they can target people’s endocrine systems with food and pornography; where people are unaware, on a conscious level, of how their moods and behavior are being manipulated. https://i.imgur.com/mA3MzTB.png
"The problem with George Tenet is that he doesn't seem to care to get his facts straight. He is not meticulous. He is willing to make up stories that suit his purposes and to suppress information that does not." "Sadly but fittingly, 'At the Center of the Storm' is likely to remind us that sometimes what lies at the center of a storm is a deafening silence."
https://i.imgur.com/YHMJnnP.png Tenet joined President-elect Bill Clinton's national security transition team in November 1992. Clinton appointed Tenet Senior Director for Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council, where he served from 1993 to 1995. Tenet was appointed Deputy Director of Central Intelligence in July 1995. Tenet held the position as the DCI from July 1997 to July 2004. Citing "personal reasons," Tenet submitted his resignation to President Bush on June 3, 2004. Tenet said his resignation "was a personal decision and had only one basis—in fact, the well-being of my wonderful family—nothing more and nothing less. In February 2008, he became a managing director at investment bank Allen & Company. https://i.imgur.com/JnGHqOS.png We have the documentation that demonstrates what these people could possibly be doing with all of these tools of manipulation at their fingertips. The term for it is “covert political action” for which all media put before your eyes is used to serve as a veneer… a reality TV show facade of a darker modus operandum. https://i.imgur.com/vZC4D29.png https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol36no3/html/v36i3a05p_0001.htm
It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever costs. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the US is to survive, longstanding American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated means than those used against us. It may become necessary that the American people be made acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy.
Intelligence historian Jeffrey T. Richelson says the S.A. has covered a variety of missions. The group, which recently was reorganized, has had about 200 officers, divided among several groups: the Special Operations Group; the Foreign Training Group, which trains foreign police and intelligence officers; the Propaganda and Political Action Group, which handles disinformation; the Computer Operations Group, which handles information warfare; and the Proprietary Management Staff, which manages whatever companies the CIA sets up as covers for the S.A.
…Those operations we inaugurated in the years 1955-7 are still secret, but, for present purposes, I can say all that’s worth saying about them in a few sentences – after, that is, I offer these few words of wisdom. The ‘perfect’ political action operation is, by definition, uneventful. Nothing ‘happens’ in it. It is a continuing arrangement, neither a process nor a series of actions proceeding at a starting point and ending with a conclusion.
CIA FBI NSA Personnel Active in Scientology: https://i.imgur.com/acu2Eti.png When you consider the number of forces that can be contained within a single “political action group” in the form on a “boutique investment firm,” where all sides of political arguments are predetermined by a selected group of actors who have been planted, compromised or leveraged in some way in order to control the way they spin their message. https://i.imgur.com/tU4MD4S.png The evidence of this coordinated effort is overwhelming and the “consensus” that you see on TV, in sports, in Hollywood, in the news and on the Internet is fabricated.
Under the guise of a fake account a posting is made which looks legitimate and is towards the truth is made - but the critical point is that it has a VERY WEAK PREMISE without substantive proof to back the posting. Once this is done then under alternative fake accounts a very strong position in your favour is slowly introduced over the life of the posting. It is IMPERATIVE that both sides are initially presented, so the uninformed reader cannot determine which side is the truth. As postings and replies are made the stronger 'evidence' or disinformation in your favour is slowly 'seeded in.' Thus the uninformed reader will most likely develop the same position as you, and if their position is against you their opposition to your posting will be most likely dropped. However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings, you can then 'abort' the consensus cracking by initiating a 'forum slide.'
When you find yourself feeling like common sense and common courtesy aren’t as common as they ought to be, it is because there is a massive psychological operation controlled from the top down to ensure that as many people as possible are caught in a “tension based” mental loop that is inflicted on them by people acting with purpose to achieve goals that are not in the interest of the general population, but a method of operating in secret and corrupt manner without consequences. Notice that Jeffrey Katzenberg, of Disney, who is intertwined with Allen & Co funds the Young Turks. He is the perfect example of the relationship between media and politics.
Katzenberg has also been involved in politics. With his active support of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, he was called "one of Hollywood's premier political kingmakers and one of the Democratic Party's top national fundraisers."
Last week, former DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new mobile entertainment company WndrCo was part of a $20 million funding round in TYT Network, which oversees 30 news and commentary shows covering politics, pop culture, sports and more. This includes the flagship “The Young Turks” program that streams live on YouTube every day. Other investors in the round included venture capital firms Greycroft Partners, E.ventures and 3L Capital, which led the round. This brings total funding for Young Turks to $24 million.
Hollywood activism long has been depicted as a club controlled by a handful of powerful white men: Katzenberg, Spielberg, Lear, David Geffen, Haim Saban and Bob Iger are the names most often mentioned. But a new generation of power brokers is ascendant, including J.J. Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath, cited for their personal donations and bundling skills; Shonda Rhimes, who held a get-out-the-vote rally at USC's Galen Center on Sept. 28 that drew 10,000 people; CAA's Darnell Strom, who has hosted events for Nevada congresswoman Jacky Rosen and Arizona congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema; and former Spotify executive Troy Carter, who held three fundraisers for Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous (Carter also was a fundraiser for President Obama).
Viacom, after splitting off from Les Moonves Les Moonves ' CBS , still holds Paramount Pictures, and that movie studio in December agreed to acquire DreamWorks SKG, the creative shop founded by the Hollywood triumvirate of Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg (a former exec at The Walt Disney Co.). DreamWorks Animation had been spun off into a separate company. Now it's time for Freston to make back some money--and who better to do a little business with than George Soros? The billionaire financier leads a consortium of Soros Strategic Partners LP and Dune Entertainment II LLC, which together are buying the DreamWorks library--a collection of 59 flicks, including Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, and American Beauty.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are the new trend market today almost everywhere people are talking about Bitcoins, particularly with examples that someone has made millions in only a couple of years by smartly investing in bitcoins. It is decentralized, which means it isn't controlled nor backed up by any administration, nation, or an individual element. Unlike traditional currencies, such as dollars and euros, bitcoins are issued and managed without any regulation from any central government. Thus, it is more resistant to inflation and corruption. A Bitcoin derives its value basically from the demand and usage of bitcoins, similar to a stock. With this kind of innovation, everyone is thinking about how Bitcoin started and who created this kind of technology? The name "bitcoin.org" was registered on 18 August 2008. While on the 31st of October 2008, a link to a paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System was posted to a cryptography mailing list. Nakamoto implemented the bitcoin software as an open-source code and released it in January 2009. Then on the 3rd of January 2009, the bitcoin network was created when Nakamoto mined the first block of the chain, known as the genesis block. Embedded in the coinbase of this block was the text "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks". This note references a headline published by The Times and has been interpreted as both timestamp and comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking. With all these groundbreaking accomplishments of bitcoin, Nakamoto's identity remains unknown. Several speculations and theories were made, but all of these speculations don't have concrete evidence to prove their speculations are true. One of the first and most easily dismissed claims was that of Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. The 68-year-old Japanese-American living in California, was identified in a 2014 Newsweek article as the elusive Bitcoin creator. Despite his work as a systems engineer on classified US defense projects as well as his background in digital finance, the homonymous nature was sheer coincidence. While one of the most intriguing speculations is the announcement made by Craig Wright that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. As said to this article, Craig Wright is an Australian academic who was brought into the spotlight of Satoshi when Wired Magazine published an article in 2015 claiming Wright “either invented Bitcoin, or is a brilliant hoaxer”. Shortly after the Wired article was released, Gizmodo released their article stating they were contacted by a supposed hacker that had gained access to Wright’s emails and claimed that Satoshi Nakamoto was a pseudonym for Wright and his accomplice, the deceased cybersecurity expert David Kleinmen. However, when asked to provide evidence a list of addresses associated with the Tulip Trust, said to hold almost 1 million BTC the documents were highly redacted and shed little light on the true nature of Wrights involvement in the birth of Bitcoin. Still the story is not yet and finish and there is still no enough evidence in this proclamation of Craig Wright. The man behind the empire of bitcoin is still unknown, but it'll just be a matter of time till someone claims that he, she or they, are the people behind Bitcoin.
A reminder of who Craig Wright is and the benefits to BCH now he has gone.
This needs to be repeated every so often on this subreddit so new people can understand the history of the fork of BCH into BCH and BSV From Jonald Fyookball's article https://medium.com/@jonaldfyookball/bitcoin-cash-is-finally-free-of-faketoshi-great-days-lie-ahead-bb0c833e4c5d Craig S. Wright (CSW) leaving the Bitcoin Cash community is a wonderful thing. This self-described “tyrant” has been expunged, and now we can get back to our mission of bringing peer-to-peer electronic cash to the world. The markets will rebound when they see the chaos is over, but regardless of the price, we will keep building. Nothing will stop the sound money movement. Calling Out Bad Behavior As Rick Falkvinge recently explained, there is a difference between small-minded gossiping about personalities and legitimately calling out bad behavior. CSW’s bad behavior must be called out, because he has done tremendous damage to Bitcoin Cash (and possibly even the entire cryptocurrency sector). The brief history is that he gained his reputation by claiming to be Bitcoin’s creator (Satoshi Nakamoto). He said he would provide “extraordinary proof” but he has never done so. Supposedly, he did some “private signings” to a few people, and this allowed him to gain influence in the BCH community. The destruction he has been causing was not widely recognized until after a huge mess had been made. Thanks to u/Contrarian__ for the following compliation of CSW’s misgivings: Some background on Craig’s claim of being Satoshi, for the uninitiated:
He faked blog posts He faked PGP keys He faked contracts and emails He faked threats He faked a public key signing He has a well-documented history of fabricating things bitcoin and non-bitcoin related He faked a bitcoin trust to get free money from the Australian government but was caught and fined over a million dollars.
And specifically concerning his claim to be Satoshi:
He has provided no independently verifiable evidence He is not technically competent in the subject matter His writing style is nothing like Satoshi’s He called bitcoin “Bit Coin” in 2011 when Satoshi never used a space He actively bought and traded coins from Mt. Gox in 2013 and 2014 He was paid millions for ‘coming out’ as Satoshi as part of the deal to sell his patents to nTrust — for those who claim he was ‘outed’ or had no motive
Caught Red Handed Plagiarizing No respectable academic, scientist, or professional needs to stoop so low as to steal and take credit for the work of others — least of all Satoshi. Yet, CSW has already been caught at least 3 times plagiarizing.
His paper on selfish mining has full sections copied almost verbatim from a paper written by Liu & Wang. His “Beyond Godel” paper which purports to claim that Bitcoin script is turing complete, is heavily plagiarized. A paper on block propagation was blatantly and intentionally plagiarized.
Can’t Even Steal Code Correctly CSW was also caught attempting to plagiarize a “hello world” program (the simplest of all computer programs). He apparently does not understand base58 or how Bitcoin address checksums work (both of these are common knowledge to experienced Bitcoiners), and has made other embarrasing errors. So How Did Such an Obvious Fraud Gain So Much Power and Influence? There are no easy answers here. It seems that as humans, we are very susceptible to manipulation and misinformation. The greatest weapon against sinister forces is a well-educated populace. This is something that can only improve over the long run. The “Satoshi factor” is a powerful one and appeals to the glamorization of a mythical figure. Even people such as myself, who are technically astute, gave CSW all benefit of the doubt until the evidence staring us in the face could no longer be denied. The seduction of the BCH community was also facilitated by CSW becoming a strong advocate for the on-chain/big-block scaling movement at a time when the community was dying to hear it. This message, delivered with a brazen, in-your-face style, was a sharp contrast to anything seen before. In addition, CSW was able to find obscure topics (“2pda”), network topology, etc, that seemed to establish him as an expert with esoteric knowledge above and beyond anyone else. Basically, he was using technobabble, but it wasn’t immediately obvious except to very technical people… who were then attacked and discredited. Eventually, as more and more of the community began to realize his technical claims were bogus, CSW banned those people from his twitter feed and slack channel, leaving only a group of untechnical “believers”, which the larger BCH community referred to as “the church” AKA the Cult-of-Craig. Finally, if some believed that CSW possesed Satoshis’s stash of 1M BTC, then they may have been gnawing to get a piece of it. But it may turn out that these are the coins that never were. Broken Promises If this article so far seems like an “attack piece” on CSW, remember it is important to get all the facts out in the open. We’ll get to the silver lining and bright future in a moment… but let’s continue here to “get it all out”. One of the biggest ways that CSW has damaged the community is to make an endless series of broken promises. This caused others to wait, to waste time on his unproven ideas and solutions, and to postpone or drop their own ideas and initiatives.
He said he was building a mining pool to “stop SegWit” He said he was bringing big companies to use the BCH chain He said that he was providing a fungibility solution based on blind threshold signatures He said he was providing novel technology based on oblivious transfers He said he was providing a method where people could do atomic swaps without using timelocks He said he was going to show everyone how we can do bilinear pairings using secp256k1 He said he was going to release source code for nakasendo He said he was releasing some information that would “kill the lightning network” He said he was going to show everyone how the selfish mining theory is wrong He said he was going to show everyone how we can tokenize everything in the universe squared He said a few times “big things are coming in 2 months”
How CSW Has Damaged the BCH Community In addition to the broken promises, the BCH community was wounded due to:
The division of the community (with classic divide and conquer tactics) Loss of focus. Huge amounts of drama and distraction from building and adoption Investor confidence has been shaken due to uncertainty and chaos. BCH is a laughing stock to outsiders due to CSW’s antics Gemini deployment of BCH and other rollouts paused Loss of developer talent due to toxic and abrasive personality Various patent and legal threats
The Hash War Event and Split into BitcoinSV Every 6 months, BCH has a scheduled network upgrade. This is technically a “hard fork” but a non-contentious fork does not result in a split of the chain — it is simply new network rules being activated. Bitcoin Cash has multiple independent developer groups including Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitcoin XT, Bitprim, BCHD, bcash, parity, Flowee, and others. The nChain group, led by CSW, introduced an alternate set of changes a week before the agreed cut-off date, intentionally causing a huge controversey. These changes were incompatible with the changes being discussed between the other groups. nChain objected to the changes being proposed (cannonical transaction ordering) despite specifically agreeing to it almost a year earlier. The last minute objections were in my opinion, an attempt at sabotage. An emergency meeting was held in Bangkok to attempt to resolve the differences between the nChain group and the rest of the community. Not only did CSW refuse to listen to the other presentations, he walked out of the meeting after his own speech had been given. The other nChain people refused to discuss the technical issues. After this, nChain built their own software (“BitcoinSV”) to attempt to compete for the Bitcoin Cash network. But rather than split off to follow their own set of rules, they threatened to attack Bitcoin Cash. Their attitude was “you follow our rules or we burn it all down”. The CSW sycophants adopted a strange interpretation of the Bitcoin whitepaper and proselytized the idea that if nChain could “out hash” everyone else, the market should be obliged to follow them. This faulty thinking was eloquently debunked by u/CatatonicAdenosine. As it turns out, nChain was unable in any case to win at their own game. But Here’s the Obviously Good News… CSW is gone. It’s over. He can do whatever he wants on the BitcoinSV chain. He will never be allowed to influence Bitcoin Cash again. And all the negative things and negative people that were a consequence of his involvement in Bitcoin Cash are gone with him. As a community, we will redouble our efforts and get back to our mission of peer-to-peer electronic cash. We will learn to work together better than ever, and we will learn to detect and punish bad behavior sooner. The attempted attacks with hashpower also sparked innovation and a focus on the problem of how to stop such attacks in the future. This is only making Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and the entire class of Proof-of-Work coins stronger. Nothing will stop us. The reason why millions of dollars were spent to attack and also to defend Bitcoin Cash is because it’s something truly worth fighting over. It’s sound money. It’s permissionless. It’s what Satoshi Nakamoto wrote about in 2008. It’s Bitcoin, a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.
Go to the profile of Jonald Fyookball Jonald Fyookball More from Jonald Fyookball Jimmy Song Tries to Claim Bitcoin Cash is “Fiat Money”… Seriously? Go to the profile of Jonald Fyookball Jonald Fyookball Related reads 600 Microseconds Go to the profile of Awemany Awemany Related reads The scams in Crypto Go to the profile of Craig Wright (Bitcoin SV is the original Bitcoin.) Craig Wright (Bitcoin SV is the original Bitcoin.) Responses
Price of Bitcoin AMA: I’m Emiliano Pagnotta, Assistant Professor of Finance at Imperial College Business School. I have recently published a research paper titled ‘Bitcoin As Decentralized Money: Prices, Mining Rewards, and Network Security’. AMA! (Live at 10am ET, Wed 28 Nov 2018)
Hi Reddit! I’m Emiliano Pagnotta, Assistant Professor of Finance at Imperial College Business School. I have recently published a research paper titled ‘Bitcoin As Decentralized Money: Prices, Mining Rewards, and Network Security’. About the paper: In it, I address the determination and evolution of bitcoin prices and propose a simple monetary model that, unlike traditional ones, captures salient features of a decentralized network. In the framework I propose, network users forecast the transactional and resale value of bitcoin holdings and consider the risk of a network attack. Miners contribute resources that enhance network security and compete for mining rewards received in units of the same token used by consumers. In equilibrium, the overall production of network security and the bitcoin price are jointly determined. Put simply, price does not follow the system hashrate and the hashrate does not passively follow the price either. I develop several empirical predictions that show how the characteristics of network technologies and participants, users and miners, affect the number and dynamic stability properties of equilibria. Regarding reward halvings, I find that the relation between bitcoin prices and the supply growth rate is not monotonic: the same price is consistent with different rates. The model’s outcomes demonstrate how intrinsic price–security feedback effects can amplify or moderate the price volatility effect of demand and supply shocks. I find rational patterns of price momentum with frequent booms and crashes and that small and large bubbles can exist in equilibrium and show how the probability of bursting decreases with the bitcoin price. Earlier this year I published an article on the ‘Value of Bitcoin and Decentralized Network Assets’. I held an AMA on the topic, which can be seen here: https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/8c05vhi_rbitcoin_im_emiliano_pagnotta_assistant/ About me:
My research focuses on the exchange and valuation of financial assets and the organization and evolution of the markets where those assets trade in.
Recently, my work analyzes the consequences of speed and fragmentation in financial markets, the identification of private information in stock and derivatives markets, and the valuation of Bitcoin and other blockchain assets. This research is regularly presented in leading academic and professional conferences and published in academic journals such as Econometrica.
Before joining Imperial College, I was at the New York University Stern School of Business. I hold a Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University.
The format of this post has been modified to be more reddit friendly. Apologies for any momentum lost. This piece was written in collaboration with u/beerchicken8. He deserves a massive amount of credit and our thought experiment could not have been generated without him. We wrote this piece to remind the community and new investors that we are incredibly early to this investment, and also to demonstrate that ETH is massively undervalued even if viewed as a network utility token. We meant for this to be as simple, yet impactful as possible. We are not in the practice of writing academic papers, but the narrative is clearly demonstrated. all data is accurate to May 22, 2017 A Crude Valuation of ETH Pundits and the media will look at the recent price graph and will likely tell you that cryptocurrencies are in a bubble. Sure the recent price action looks aggressive and may appear unsustainable, but it is hardly a bubble. In fact, it is likely that ETH is significantly undervalued. ETH Price Graph Crypto skeptics attempt to value bitcoin or ETH using conventional stock market metrics like P/E ratio or by comparing market capitalizations of crypto versus blue chip companies. These metrics do not fairly translate to cryptocurrencies. We can improve on that. Metcalfe's Law Image Description A close friend of mine stumbled across Metcalfe’s Law in an effort to properly value the market price of ETH, the cryptocurrency of ethereum. We can think of ETH as a demand-driven digital asset, since it is converted to gas to execute the smart contracts on the blockchain. It provides a vital network function: incentivizing miners to secure the blockchain. Therefore we should attempt to value ETH by attempting to value the ethereum network itself. We can use the daily transactions as our tool. Metcalfe’s Law aims to value the network effects of communication technologies like the Internet or social networking. The premise is that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system. To determine a fair market price of ETH, we can compare the ethereum network transactions squared (or the network value) versus the market cap of ethereum. In the following chart, we chose to graph the log of our inputs for a better visualization of the correlation. Log graph of Transaction2 and Marketcap The scale is misleading, but when we look back at the ETH market cap and see that it fell below the network valuation around the time of the DAO hack. The market cap languished as the ETH price suffered from a lack of investor confidence. But as investors licked their wounds and Bitcoin maximalists cheered, the ethereum transactions have steadily increased; they even outpaced the price correction. Yet, that was just the log graph. This is the actual Metcalfe’s Law graph demonstrating that network value of ethereum vs the market cap: Metcalfe's Law for Ethereum We can see clearly that the market cap is significantly lagging the network effect. Theoretically, the network valuation calculated by transactions squared should equal the market cap. So here we are. We can conclude ETH appears cheap. But this is probably far from the truth: If the current network value equals the current market cap, we are completely discounting the future growth of the network. Stock investors will buy stocks on their future earnings and growth potential years in advance. The Tesla stock has outperformed every incumbent metric due to tantalizing growth projections. But Tesla will likely not generate profits for years. In the case of ETH, this growth discount is significant. Not only does it not appear to exist in the price, but we can make 3 safe assumptions to forecast the opportunity for incredible growth:
The corporate adoption of ethereum is ramping up: the current EEA onboarding of 86 companies last weekend and 100 more coming in June will accelerate the network transactions in the coming months. The sheer marketing network from these corporates should also draw additional attention to the burgeoning blockchain space. This will likely snowball into more corporate memberships as these companies aim to keep up with the joneses.
The EEA plans to standardize the basic smart contract functions. The collaboration between EEA Members using this enhanced functionality will provide more momentum to roll out of more dapps and use cases. This will further increase the network transactions.
The synergy of the dapps will exponentially increase ethereum’s network transactions as they stack protocols to change the world.
Also, there are additional factors accelerating the scarcity of ETH:
The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) auctions lock up ether for at minimum one year. These have only just begun as investors are claiming their naming rights for their wallet addresses.
The looming ‘Ice Age’ essentially reduces the daily issuance, or supply, or eth tokens. This decrease in supply should be price supportive as well.
The 3 Kinds of Cryptocurrency Traders that are Kicking Your Ass
The 3 Types of Cryptocurrency Traders that are Kicking Your Ass
For an investor to outperform the market, someone else must underperform.That is a simple arithmetic fact. In a fair and regulated environment, investors have equal access to information. Winners and losers are determined by whoever can make a better prediction. But cryptocurrency is the wild, wild west. Market participants don’t play fair and they can profit at the expense of others. Here are the three types of traders that are kicking your ass Insider Traders Under Rule 10b5–1, the SEC defines insider trading as “any securities transaction made when the person behind the trade is aware of nonpublic material information.” Insider trading is illegal in almost all traditional markets. In a research paper published in 2010, Qin Lei found empirical evidence that insiders were able to consistently beat the stock market. Over the last year, we’ve seen many high-profile cases of insider trading in the cryptocurrency market. Coinbase** — The Bitcoin Cash Incident** On December 19, 2017, Coinbase tweeted it would add Bitcoin Cash to its exchange. But before the announcement was made public, both the trading volume and the price of Bitcoin Cash suspiciously surged. On March 1, Coinbase was hit with a class action lawsuit. The full court document is available here. South Korea Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Even regulators are being investigated for insider trading. Korean FSS officials knew ahead of time that new cryptocurrency trading restrictions would be put in place. Yet, they still made trades before the announcement. The chief of the FSS, Choi Hyung-sik, confirmed on Jan. 18 that trading violations had occurred. Despite being caught red-handed, another FSS official responded that there was technically “no code of ethics or conduct for virtual currencies and therefore difficult to issue any punishment.” The examples mentioned above are just a few high-profile cases. Insider trading runs rampant in the cryptocurrency space. Very often, prices and trading volumes will pump right before an exchange announces a new coin. To many, insider trading is no longer a surprise but rather something that “just happens” in an unregulated market. Whales A whale is simply a colloquial way to describe an investor who is able to manipulate markets by mobilizing large amounts of capital. Most crypto investors treat whales like the boogeyman. They’ve never had a personal encounter, but swear that whales are responsible for large market swings everywhere. In some cases there is strong evidence indicating that they are right. Recently, academic research has come out showing that large-scale price manipulation does happen. Here’s an example from 2013, where a single entity was largely responsible for pushing the price of Bitcoin from $150 to $1,000 in two months. Another paper that came out last week shows how large amounts of USDT was used to manipulate Bitcoin prices. Here are a few techniques whales use to manipulate price. Stop-loss hunting Whales intentionally push the price down in order to trigger stop-loss orders.Then they turn around and buy coins from these stop-loss orders for cheap and wait for the market to recover. This strategy works well for coins with low trading volumes and small order books. With enough coins, whales can push down the price by introducing a slew of market-price sell orders. To show how this works, let’s imagine a scenario:
There is a coin trading at $150
There are 10 BTC of buy orders between $110 and $150
There are 10 BTC of buy orders between $90 and $110
The goal is to drive the price down past $100, which may be a psychological breaking point for some people and therefore a likely place for stop-losses. One can do this by:
Placing a market sell order totaling 10 BTC, to drive the price down from $150 to $110
Keeping the sell pressure on, as investors naturally start selling their holdings.
Watching people’s stop-losses go off at $100 without their knowledge. This drives the price down further.
Buying up all the stop-loss orders at $90 and under.
Waiting for the market to recover before selling the coins.
Short/Long Hunting This is another form of market manipulation, but one that only exchanges can pull off. Let’s see how this works on Bitmex for BTC.
A trader puts up $100 as margin for a 100x leveraged long position of $10,000.
The bankruptcy price is set at $9,900 which is the market price minus the margin.
However, Bitmex forces a liquidation if the price falls to $9,950, just $50 (0.5%) from the initial entry price.
When the market price reaches the liquidation price, Bitmex forces a sell at the bankruptcy price ($9,900).
At liquidation, investors lose their entire margin and pay the high fee at the 100x leveraged rate.
The price just has move slightly in the wrong direction to trigger a liquidation. When liquidations happen, the investor loses their entire margin and pays a big fat fee. Because exchanges know exactly what prices will trigger these liquidations, they have both the capability and financial incentive to engineer price movements using bots. To be clear, there is no evidence implicating Bitmex. But it is suspicious that low volume trading periods are followed by a furious uptick in volume. When this happens, liquidation tears through leveraged positions, leaving traders with nothing other than a fistful of trading fees. BitmexRekt tweets these liquidations in real time. You can follow them here. Spoofing Another common strategy whales use to manipulate the market is called spoofing. It means to bid or offer with intent to cancel before the orders are filled.The goal of spoofing is to send false signals to investors. Here’s an example of using this strategy to profit:
A spoofer places a large buy order right underneath a smaller buy order with the intention of sending a bullish signal to the market.
After filling a few trades, poof, the spoofer cancels the entire buy order.
When the price starts to rise, the spoofer starts to sell his coins.
Manipulate prices on markets with small order books
Usually wash trading is extremely hard to prove, as washed trades look very similar to real trades. On July 27, however, Bitfinex unknowingly baited wash traders during the Bitcoin (BTC) fork to Bitcoin Cash (BCH). At the time of the fork, all BTC holders were to receive BCH commensurate with the amount of BTC they held. To accommodate for BTC held in margin positions at the time, Bitfinex had to finesse the numbers. To quote the announcement:
BCH will be distributed to settled bitcoin wallet balances as of the UTC timestamp of the first forking block, which is expected to occur on August 1st, 2017. The token distribution methodology will be:
All BTC wallet balances will receive BCH
Margin longs in BTC/USD and margin shorts in XXX/BTC will not receive BCH
Margin shorts in BTC/USD and margin longs in XXX/BTC will not pay BCH
BTC Lenders will receive BCH
Due to the net amount of BTC committed in margin positions at the time of the fork, the above methodology may result in Bitfinex seeing a surplus or deficit of BCH. As such, we will be resolving this discrepancy in the form of a socialized distribution coefficient. For example, currently, there are more longs than shorts on the platform, causing a distribution coefficient of ~1.091 (Meaning that for each qualifying BTC a user will receive 1.091 BCH). The actual coefficient will be calculated at the moment of the distribution.
These rules turned out to be game-able. Because Bitfinex did not charge BCH to open short positions leading up to the split, one could simply purchase 10 BTC and short 10 BTC. This way, you could collect free BCH without any exposure to BTC price volatility. If BTC drops, the shorts cancel out any loss. If BTC soars, the profits cancel out the short positions. On July 27, there were more longs than shorts on the platform and the distribution coefficient was 1.091. However, on August 1, the distribution coefficient moved to 0.7757. Leading up to the fork, an enormous amount of short positions were created. And instead of prices going down, which is what usually happens when shorts increase so dramatically, prices actually went up. To make matters even more dubious, shorts dropped by 24,000 on a single tick right after the fork. The manipulation here was so obvious that even Bitfinex had to acknowledge it. They issued an official statement about the wash trading here. Pump & Dump Group Executives So we’ve talked about insider traders and whales. The final type of traders we’re going to talk about are the pump & dump group executives. Pump & dump (P&D) is a form of market manipulation that involves purchasing a cheap asset, artificially inflating its price, and then dumping the asset a higher price. The cryptocurrency market is rife with such groups. Here are just a few:
Big Pump Signal (82,184 members)
VIP Signal Strategy (24,138 members)
PumpKing Community (11,124 members)
Crypto4Pumps (13,954 members)
AltTheWay (8,350 members)
Here’s howPump & Dumps work
P&D executives find a coin that is easy to manipulate and easy to sell. I.e. A coin with a strong community, advertising potential, small order book, and low trading volume.
Executives secretly accumulate the coin over time while trying not to affect the price.
These executives spread their pump signals to their inner circle members who pay upwards of $300 for the privilege of hearing early signals.
The first wave of pumpers start shilling on signal groups. They tell gullible investors that a pump is about to happen because of “new website updates”, or “new partnership announcements”, generally whatever angle they can spin.
As the price rises, the P&D executives start dumping their coins.
Once the executives are spent, they spread the signal to their paid members to begin dumping the coin.
The price starts falling and like a game of soggy cookie, the slowest players lose.
So you’re telling me the game is rigged and I’m boned, what should I do?
The simple answer is to stop actively trading.The more you try to time the market, the more you open yourself up to opportunities of getting screwed over. Speculative trading is a zero-sum game. In order for investors to outperform the market, they require others to underperform the market. In an unfair market, the average investor will more likely lose to people who have an unfair advantage and are gaming the market. This is why I genuinely believe the average investor should just index the entire market. If you’re in it for the technology and the long-term growth, why bother speculating at all? Just hold a small piece of the entire cryptocurrency market. Indices has been proven to beat 95% professional traders in equity markets over a 15 year-period. This is why I built HodlBot. It’s an easy way to diversify across the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap. It indexes 87% of the entire cryptocurrency market. Every week, your portfolio automatically rebalance so you’re always tracking the top 20 coins. It helps you get some quiet sleep while active traders lie awake, staring at their phones. You can read more about it here. The best thing about a total market index is that it can guarantee market performance. Active trading, on the other hand, cannot. I don’t mean to spread FUD by pointing out all the different ways traders are ripping investors off. I just want investors to know what exactly free and unregulated markets really mean. We’re not protected by the SEC or any other sanctioning bodies. While this comes with unbridled freedom and breathing room for rapid innovation, it also means all foul play is fair play. It’s a brave new world out there filled with all kinds of splendor and danger. If you’re going to take your chances, please make sure you’re prepared.
Best Quotes from Saifedean Ammous book "The Bitcoin Standard"
"Bitcoin can be best understood as distributed software that allows for transfer of value using a currency protected from unexpected inflation without relying on trusted third parties"
"While Bitcoin is a new invention of the digital age, the problems it purports to solve - namely, providing a form of money that is under the full command of its owner and likely to hold its value in the long run - are as old as human society itself"
"People’s choices are subjective, and so there is no “right” and “wrong” choice of money. There are, however, consequences to choices"
"I like to call this the easy money trap: anything used as a store of value will have its supply increased, and anything whose supply can be easily increased will destroy the wealth of those who used it as a store of value"
"For something to assume a monetary role, it has to be costly to produce, otherwise the temptation to make money on the cheap will destroy the wealth of the savers, and destroy the incentive anyone has to save in this medium"
"The monetary media that survived for longest are the ones that had very reliable mechanisms for restricting their supply growth - in other words, hard money"
"The choice of what makes the best money has always been determined by the technological realities of societies shaping the salability of different goods"
"Human civilization flourished in times and places where sound money was widely adopted, while unsound money all too frequently coincided with civilizational decline and societal collapse"
"Whether in Rome, Constantinople, Florence, or Venice, history shows that a sound monetary standard is a necessary prerequisite for human flourishing, without which society stands on the precipice of barbarism and destruction"
"History shows it is not possible to insulate yourself from the consequences of others holding money that is harder than yours"
"Some of the most important technological, medical, economic, and artistic human achievements were invented during the era of the gold standard, which partly explains why it was known as la Belle Epoque, or the beautiful era, across Europe"
"World War I saw the end of the era of monetary media being the choice decided by the free market, and the beginning of the era of government money"
"Government money is similar to primitive forms of money and commodities other than gold: it is liable to having its supply increased quickly compared to its stock, leading to a quick loss of salability, destruction of purchasing power, and impoverishment of its holders"
"With the simple suspension of gold redeemability, governments’ war efforts were no longer limited to the money that they had in their own treasuries, but extended virtually to the entire wealth of the population"
"Had European nations remained on the gold standard, or had the people of Europe held their own gold in their own hands […], history might have been different. It is likely that WorldWar I would have been settled militarily within a few months of conflict"
"The cause of the Great Crash of 1929 was the diversion away from the gold standard in the post-WWI years, and the deepening of the Depression was caused by government control and socialization of the economy in the Hoover and FDR years"
"All spending is spending, in the naive economics of Keynesians, and so it matters not if that spending comes from individuals feeding their families or governments murdering foreigners: it all counts in aggregate demand and it all reduces unemployment!"
"In essence, Bretton Woods attempted to achieve through central planning what the international gold standard of the nineteenth century had achieved spontaneously"
"Hyperinflation is a form of economic disaster unique to government money. There was never an example of hyperinflation with economies that operated a gold or silver standard"
"With government money, whose cost of production tends to zero, it has become quite possible for an entire society to witness all of its savings in the form of money disappear in the space of a few months or even weeks"
"Hyperinflation is a far more pernicious phenomenon than just the loss of a lot of economic value by a lot of people; it constitutes a complete breakdown of the structure of economic production of a society built up over centuries and millennia"
"Even if the textbooks were correct about the benefits of government management of the money supply, the damage from one episode of hyperinflation anywhere in the world far outweighs them"
"Hanke and Bushnell have been able to verify 57 episodes of hyperinflation in history, only one of which occurred before the era of monetary nationalism, and that was the inflation in France in 1795, in the wake of the Mississippi Bubble"
“The constantly increasing supply means a continuous devaluation of thecurrency, expropriating the wealth of the holders to benefit those who printthe currency, and those who receive it earliest. This is termed the CantillonEffect”
“Whether it’s because of downright graft, “national emergency,” or an infestation of inflationist schools of economics, government will always find a reason and a way to print more money, expanding government power while reducing the wealth of the currency holders”
“It is ironic, and very telling, that in the era of government money, governments themselves own far more gold in their official reserves than they did under the international gold standard of 1871–1914”
“A sound money makes service valuable to others the only avenue open for prosperity to anyone, thus concentrating society’s efforts on production, cooperation, capital accumulation, and trade”
“The twentieth century was the century of unsound money and the omnipotent state, as a market choice in money was denied by government diktat, and government-issued paper money was forced on people with the threat of violence”
“Sound money is an essential requirement for individual freedom from despotism and repression, as the ability of a coercive state to create money can give it undue power over its subjects, power which by its very nature will attract the least worthy, and most immoral”
“Sound money is a prime factor in determining individual time preference, an enormously important and widely neglected aspect of individual decision making. Time preference refers to the ratio at which individuals value thepresent compared to the future”
“Economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe explains that once time preference drops enough to allow for any savings and capital or durable consumer-goodsformation at all, the tendency is for time preference to drop even further as a“process of civilization” is initiated”
“Microeconomics has focused on transactions between individuals, and macroeconomics on the role of government in the economy ; [...] the most important economic decisions to any individual’s well-being are the ones they conduct in their trade-offs with their future self”
“The better the money is at holding its value, the more it incentivizes people to delay consumption and instead dedicate resources for production in the future, leading to capital accumulation and improvement of living standards”
“The move from money that holds its value or appreciates to money that loses its value is very significant in the long run: society saves less, accumulates less capital, and possibly begins to consume its capital”
“Civilizations prosper under a sound monetary system, but disintegrate when their monetary systems are debased, as was the case with the Romans, the Byzantines, and modern European societies”
“What matters in money is its purchasing power, not its quantity, and as such, any quantity of money is enough to fulfil the monetary functions, as long as it is divisible and groupable enough to satisfy holders’ transaction and storage needs”
“The best form of money in history was the one that would cause the new supply of money to be the least significant compared to the existing stockpiles, and thus make its creation not a good source of profit”
“Had government money been a superior unit of account and store of value, it would not need government legal tender laws to enforce it, nor would governments worldwide have had to confiscate large quantities of gold and continue to hold them in their central bank reserves”
“The fact that central banks continue to hold onto their gold, and have even started increasing their reserves, testifies to the confidence they have in their own currencies in the long term”
“Sound money is money that gains in value slightly over time, meaning that holding onto it is likely to offer an increase in purchasing power”
“Unsound money, being controlled by central banks whose express mission is to keep inflation positive, will offer little incentive for holders to keep it”
“With unsound money, only returns that are higher than the rate of depreciation of the currency will be positive in real terms, creating incentives for high-return but high-risk investment and spending”
“Savings rates have been declining across the developed countries, dropping to very low levels, while personal, municipal, and national debts have increased to levels which would have seemed unimaginable in the past”
“One of the most mendacious fantasies that pervades Keynesian economic thought is the idea that the national debt “does not matter, since we owe it to ourselves”
“Only a high-time-preference disciple of Keynes could fail to understand that this “ourselves” is not one homogeneous blob but is differentiated into several generations -namely, the current ones which consume recklessly at the expense of future ones”
“The twentieth century’s binge on conspicuous consumption cannot be understood separately from the destruction of sound money and the outbreak of Keynesian high-time-preference thinking, in vilifying savings and deifying consumption as the key to economic prosperity”
“It is an ironic sign of the depth of modern-day economic ignorance fomented by Keynesian economics that capitalism - an economic system based on capital accumulation from saving - is blamed for unleashing conspicuous consumption - theexact opposite of capital accumulation”
“Capitalism is what happens when people drop their time preference, defer immediate gratification, and invest in the future. Debt-fueled mass consumption is as much a normal part of capitalism as asphyxiation is a normal part of respiration”
“The only cause of economic growth in the first place is delayed gratification, saving, and investment, which extend the length of the production cycle and increase the productivity of the methods of production, leading to better standards of living”
“This move from sound money to depreciating money has led to several generations of accumulated wealth being squandered on conspicuous consumption within a generation or two, making indebtedness the new method for funding major expenses”
“As H. L. Mencken put it: “Every election is an advanced auction on stolen goods””
“As politicians sell people the lie that eternal welfare and retirement benefits are possible through the magic of the monetary printing press, the investment in a family becomes less and less valuable”53.“The majority of the technology we use in our modern life was invented in the 19th century, under the gold standard, financed with the ever-growing stock of capital accumulated by savers storing their wealth in a sound money and store of value which did not depreciate quickly”
“The contributions of sound money to human flourishing are not restricted to scientific and technological advance; they can also be vividly seen in the art world”
“In times of sound money and low time preference, artists worked on perfecting their craft so they could produce valuable works in the long run”56.“Modern artists have replaced craft and long hours of practice with pretentiousness, shock value, indignation, and existential angst as ways to cow audiences into appreciating their art, and often added some pretense to political ideals, usually of the puerile Marxist variety”
“As government money has replaced sound money, patrons with low time preference and refined tastes have been replaced by government bureaucrats with political agendas as crude as their artistic taste”
“The Use of Knowledge in Society, by Friedrich #Hayek, is arguably one of the most important economic papers to have ever been written”
“In a free market economic system, prices are knowledge, and the signals that communicate information”
“Prices are not simply a tool to allow capitalists to profit; they are the information system of economic production, communicating knowledge across the world and coordinating the complex processes of production”
“Any economic system that tries to dispense with prices will cause the complete breakdown of economic activity and bring a human society back to a primitive state”
“The fatal flaw of socialism that #Mises exposed was that without a price mechanism emerging on a free market, socialism would fail at economic calculation, most crucially in the allocation of capital goods”
“In an economy with a central bank and fractional reserve banking, the supply of loanable funds is directed by a committee of economists under the influence of politicians, bankers, TV pundits, and sometimes, most spectacularly, military generals”
“Creating new pieces of paper and digital entries to paper over the deficiency in savings does not magically increase society’s physical capital stock; it only devalues the existing money supply and distorts prices”
“Only with an understanding of the capital structure and how interest rate manipulation destroys the incentive for capital accumulation can one understand the causes of recessions and the swings of the business cycle”
“The business cycle is the natural result of the manipulation of the interest rate distorting the market for capital by making investors imagine they can attain more capital than is available with the unsound money they have been given by the banks”
“Contrary to Keynesian animist mythology, business cycles are not mystic phenomena caused by flagging “animal spirits” whose cause is to be ignored as central bankers seek to try to engineer recovery”
“Economic logic clearly shows how recessions are the inevitable outcome of interest rate manipulation in the same way shortages are the inevitable outcome of price ceilings”
“Monetary history testifies to how much more severe business cycles and recessions are when the money supply is manipulated than when it isn’t”
“A capitalist system cannot function without a free market in capital, where the price of capital emerges through the interaction of supply and demand and the decisions of capitalists are driven by accurate price signals”
“The central bank’s meddling in the capital market is the root of all recessions and all the crises which most politicians, journalists, academics, and leftist activists like to blame on capitalism”
“Imagining that central banks can “prevent,” “combat,” or “manage” recessions is as fanciful and misguided as placing pyromaniacs and arsonists in charge of the fire brigade”
“Central planning of credit markets must fail because it destroys markets’ mechanisms for price-discovery providing market participants with the accurate signals and incentives to manage their consumption and production”
“It is typical of the #MiltonFriedman band of libertarianism in that it blames the government for an economic problem, but the flawed reasoning leads to suggesting even more government intervention as the solution”
“Only when a central bank manipulates the money supply and interest rate does it become possible for large-scale failures across entire sectors of the economy to happen at the same time, causing waves of mass layoffs in entire industries”
“In a free market for money, individuals would choose the currencies they want to use, and the result would be that they would choose the currency with the reliably lowest stock-to-flow ratio. This currency would oscillate the least with changes in demand and supply”
“It is an astonishing fact of modern life that an entrepreneur in the year 1900 could make global economic plans and calculations all denominated in any international currency, with no thought whatsoever given to exchange rate fluctuations”
“The combination of floating exchange rates and Keynesian ideology has given our world the entirely modern phenomenon of currency wars”
“Hard money, by taking the question of supply out of the hands of governments and their economist-propagandists, would force everyone to be productive to society instead of seeking to get rich through the fool’s errand of monetary manipulation”
“Under a sound monetary system, government had to function in a way that is unimaginable to generations reared on the twentieth-century news cycle: they had to be fiscally responsible”
“For those of us alive today, raised on the propaganda of the omnipotent governments of the twentieth century, it is often hard to imagine a world in which individual freedom and responsibility supersede government authority”82“. The fundamental scam of modernity is the idea that government needs to manage the money supply. It is an unquestioned starting assumption of all mainstream economic schools of thought and political parties”
“Having the ability to print money, literally and figuratively, increases the power of any government, and any government looks for anything that gives it more power”
“By placing a hard cap on the total supply of bitcoins, Nakamoto was clearly unpersuaded by the arguments of the standard macroeconomics textbook and more influenced by the Austrian school, which argues that the quantity of money itself is irrelevant”
“Societies with money of stable value generally develop a low time preference, learning to save and think of the future, while societies with high inflation and depreciating economies will develop high time preference as people lose track of the importance of saving”
“With sound money, the government’s war effort was limited by the taxes it could collect. With unsound money, it is restrained by how much money it can create before the currency is destroyed, making it able to appropriate wealth far more easily”
“Unsound money is a particularly dangerous tool in the hands of modern democratic governments facing constant reelection pressure. Modern voters are unlikely to favor the candidates who are upfront about the costs and benefits of their schemes”
“Unsound money is at the heart of the modern delusion believed by most voters and those unfortunate enough to study modern macroeconomics at university level: that government actions have no opportunity costs”
“It is no coincidence that when recounting the most horrific tyrants of history, one finds that every single one of them operated a system of government-issued money which was constantly inflated to finance government operation”
“Unsound money makes government power potentially unlimited, with large consequences to every individual, forcing politics to the center stage of their life and redirecting much of society’s energy and resources to the zero-sum game of who gets to rule and how”
“In the world of fiat money, having access to the central bank’s monetary spigots is more important than serving customers. Firms that can get low-interest-rate credit to operate will have a persistent advantage over competitors that cannot”
“Banking has evolved into a business that generates returns without risks to bankers and simultaneously creates risks without returns for everyone else”
“In a world where central banks allocate credit, the larger firm has an advantage in being able to secure funding at a low rate which its smaller competitors cannot get”
“Bitcoin was the first engineering solution that allowed for digital payments without having to rely on a trusted third-party intermediary. By being the firstdigital object that is verifiably scarce, Bitcoin is the first example of digital cash”
“Whereas in a modern central bank the new money created goes to finance lending and government spending, in Bitcoin the new money goes only to those who spend resources on updating the ledger”
“Difficulty adjustment is the most reliable technology for making hard money and limiting the stock-to-flow ratio from rising, and it makes Bitcoin fundamentally different from every other money”
“Bitcoin is the hardest money ever invented: growth in its value cannot possibly increase its supply; it can only make the network more secure and immune to attack”
“The security of Bitcoin lies in the asymmetry between the cost of solving the proof-of-work necessary to commit a transaction to the ledger and the cost of verifying its validity”
“The Bitcoin ledger of transactions might just be the only objective set of facts in the world”
“Bitcoin is the first example of a digital good whose transfer stops it from being owned by the sender”
“Bitcoin presents a tremendous technological leap forward in the monetary solution to the indirect exchange problem, perhaps as significant as the move from cattle and salt to gold and silver”
“Without a conservative monetary policy and difficulty adjustment, Bitcoin would only have succeeded theoretically as digital cash, but remained too insecure to be used widely in practice”
“Bitcoin’s volatility derives from the fact that its supply is utterly inflexible and not responsive to demand changes, because it is programmed to grow at a predetermined rate”
“As the size of the market grows, along with the sophistication and the depth of the financial institutions dealing with Bitcoin, this volatility will likely decline”
“As long as Bitcoin is growing, its token price will behave like that of a stock of a start-up achieving very fast growth. Should Bitcoin’s growth stop and stabilize, it would stop attracting high-risk investment flows, and become just a normal monetary asset”
“Bitcoin is the cheapest way to buy the future, because Bitcoin is the only medium guaranteed to not be debased, no matter how much its value rises”
“The strict digital scarcity of the Bitcoin tokens combines the best elements of physical monetary media, without any of the physical drawbacks to moving and transporting it. Bitcoin might have a claim to make for being the best technology for saving ever invented”
“Any person who owns Bitcoin achieves a degree of economic freedom which was not possible before its invention”
“For the first time since the emergence of the modern state, individuals have a clear technical solution to escaping the financial clout of the governments they live under”
“Bitcoin, and cryptography in general, are defensive technologies that make the cost of defending property and information far lower than the cost of attacking them”
“If BTC continues to grow to capture a larger share of the global wealth, it may force governments to become more and more a form of voluntary organization, which can only acquire its “taxes” voluntarily by offering its subjects services they would be willing to pay for”
“Contrary to popular depictions of anarchists as hoodie-clad hoodlums, Bitcoin’s brand of anarchism is completely peaceful, providing individuals with the tools necessary for them to be free from government control and inflation”
“The invention of Bitcoin has created, from the ground up, a new independent alternative mechanism for international settlement that does not rely on any intermediary and can operate entirely separate from the existing financial infrastructure”
“Bitcoin can be seen as the new emerging reserve currency for online transactions, where the online equivalent of banks will issue Bitcoin-backed tokens to users while keeping their hoard of Bitcoins in cold storage”
“Bitcoin’s advantage is that by bringing the finality of cash settlement to the digital world, it has created the fastest method for final settlement of large payments across long distances and national borders”
“Bitcoin can be best understood to compete with settlement payments between central banks and large financial institutions, and it compares favorably to them due to its verifiable record, cryptographic security, and imperviousness to third-party security holes”
“BTC, having no counterparty risk and no reliance on any third-party, is uniquely suited to play the same role that gold played in the gold standard"
“If Bitcoin continues to grow in value and gets utilized by a growing number of financial institutions, it will become a reserve currency for a new form of central bank"
“The first central bank to buy BTC will alert the rest of the central banks to the possibility and make many of them rush toward it. The first central bank purchase is likely to make the value of BTC rise significantly"
“While central banks have mostly been dismissive of the importance of BTC, this could be a luxury they may not afford for long. As hard as it might be for central bankers to believe it, BTC is a direct competitor to their line ofbusiness”
“The modern central bank business model is being disrupted. Central banks now have no way of stopping competition by just passing laws as they have always done. They are now up against a digital competitor that most likely cannot be brought under the physical world’s laws”
“If the modern world is ancient Rome, suffering the economic consequences of monetary collapse, with the dollar our aureus, then Satoshi Nakamoto is our Constantine, Bitcoin is his solidus, and the Internet is our Constantinople”
“Should it achieve some sort of stability in value, Bitcoin would be superior to using national currencies for global payment settlements, as is the case today, because national currencies fluctuate in value based on each nation’s and government’s conditions”
“Bitcoin is the only truly decentralized digital currency which has grown spontaneously as a finely balanced equilibrium between miners, coders, and users, none of whom can control it”
“After years of watching altcoins get created, it seems impossible that any coin will recreate the adversarial standoff that exists between Bitcoin stakeholders and prevents any party from controlling payments in it”
“It is high time for everyone involved in BTC to stop concerning themselves with the question of the identity of Nakamoto, and accept that it does not matter to the operation of the technology, in the same way that the identity of the inventor of the wheel no longer matters”
“No single altcoin has demonstrated anything near Bitcoin’s impressive resilience to change, which is down to its truly decentralized nature and the strong incentives for everyone to abide by the status quo consensus rules”
“Contrary to a lot of the hype surrounding Bitcoin, eliminating the need for trust in third parties is not an unquestionably good thing to do in all avenues of business and life”
“A non-Bitcoin blockchain combines the worst of both worlds: the cumbersome structure of the blockchain with the cost and security risk of trusted third parties”
"“It is no wonder that eight years after its invention, blockchain technology has not yet managed to break through in a successful, ready-for-market commercial application other than the one for which it was specifically designed: Bitcoin”
“The most common potential applications touted for blockchain technology - payments, contracts, and asset registry - are only workable to the extent that they run using the decentralized currency of the blockchain”
“All blockchains without currencies have not moved from the prototype stage to commercial implementation because they cannot compete with current best practice in their markets”
“Any application of #blockchain technology will only make commercial sense if its operation is reliant on the use of electronic cash, and only if electronic cash’s disintermediation provides economic benefits outweighing the use of regular currencies and payment channels”
Systemic liquidity resistance. Many people who buy bitcoin aren't professional investors who set a "sell corridor", always sell at 90% or 110%, for example. the "HODL" meme that flies around here is a good example. some of these bitcoin investors are dreamers that want exponential payoffs and will hold onto the bitcoin despite the fact that they bought it at around 4.9k and it dropped to 3.2k (in September, 2017). some of these coin investors are people who bought or mined 10~50 bitcoins when they were cheap/easy to mine back then, when they were in their teens, and never looked at its price until they heard about it in the news again. some of these people probably have lost access to these bitcoins to be honest. some are people who went all in with their investment. these people have always wanted to buy stocks or derivatives but any exchange would require quite a bit of paper work so they never got around to it. you can imagine if they haven't even bothered to go through the exchange paperwork, they probably never bothered to get a lot of "financial expertise" through reading "professional investment guides". now bitcoin comes along and anyone can buy, they go all in, they simply can't afford to realize their loss when bitcoin dives, but when bitcoin rises, they are being rewarded for their "irrational behavior", they are gamblers. these people have a common characteristic: an unsymmetric risk profile, they don't care if the price drops to 0, but they believe the price will go to something like 10,000, so any new historical high reaffirms their belief and any dip is just a temporary setback in their opinion and some of these irrational investors would simply purchase more during the dip if they have the money. this isn't the case in the financial world where a lot of trades are automatically executed because unlike these bitcoin investors, computers aren't biased, AI and seasoned investment managers are almost completely unbiased and they are the product of "traditional financial theory", they don't believe in sustainable exponential growth. These people and their bitcoins provide a minimum liquidity threshold that not a single other investment instrument has: a healthy company can default for attracting too many short sellers, a bond can default, an exchange can default, a bank can default from a bank run, even a country can default. bitcoin will always retain some value, as a "systemic bank run" is simply impossible to achieve in the bitcoin world.
"The People / Anti-establishment" movement. the success of bitcoin is closely resembled by a recent event: the election of Donald Trump. you know what would people say to you if you said "I think the POTUS will be Trump in 2017" at the end of 2014? people will laugh at you and call you a lunatic. well, the same would happen if you said "i think bitcoin will be over $6000 in 2017" at the end of 2014 (when bitcoin dropped like a rock to 300ish from almost 1k). Trump's success is a direct result of him tapping into "the people", i.e., people who are sick and tired of being governed by political figures who they perceived as crooks. Trump comes along and says things that no other politician dare to say, guess what, people wanted a change and voted for him over the establishment that Hillary represented (if Bernie had won the Democratic nomination, Trump would have lost in a landslide). You see how far people would go simply for "a change"? they would even vote Trump! (don't get me wrong, I support Trump myself but I am trying to illustrate a point). Bitcoin is a currency that is not regulated by any government, but simply by an algorithm. And to use the Trump example again, the exponential climb of bitcoin to its supporters is equivalent to, "Trump gets elected, and every person that elected Trump suddenly finds themselves richer by $10,000", guess who would easily get elected again in that scenario? Trump! Elections happen once every four years, but bitcoin is traded/used every single second, and people vote by buying/using bitcoin.
Money laundering. The sad truth is, every bitcoin investor is indirectly helping out a criminal (e.g, terrorism, drug lord, hacking group) or an exile (e.g., Julian Assange) in some way. but rest assured, some anti-money laundering rules will be set soon i think. even though i think anti-money laundering rules will be set, i also realize that some academic opinions on this issue is interesting, for example, Dr.Rahn says that "In a world largely without “money,” the notion of money laundering as a crime becomes absurd."
Resistance to hyperinflation, weak GDP growth and war. guess who buy bitcoins in addition to first world country "geeks"? people from war-torn countries or countries that are struggling/collapsing. before bitcoin, people from those places would buy gold but it is hard to purchase in bulk. bitcoin appears to be the equivalent of gold in terms of the "limited quantity" feature, however, bitcoin can be bought in a much easier / more discrete fashion.
Resistance to negative news due to its value being proportional to the number of people know about it. Because even negative news means someone somewhere is talking about bitcoin. contrary to other investments in the market where any regulation restriction or "negative news" would bring down the price. But for bitcoin, it will be the opposite, because for example, if an authority(e.g., IMF or the US government) comes up with an anti-money laundering regulation against bitcoin, many bitcoin investors will not see it as a restriction, but the exact opposite: they will see it as an affirmative message that says "bitcoin is a real currency, and it will be huge, which is why governments are starting to set up rules around it, this means more and more regulated companies will have no choice but to accept it". a classic example is when China banned bitcoin, for any other public company that has operations in China, this would have been a huge blow that would have required monthly, if not years to recover from, but for bitcoin, it did drop for a bit, but it quickly recovered and made some more exponential jumps shortly afterwards. the bottom line is, the more people know about bitcoin, the more potential value it carries. But of course, once its popularity passes a certain threshold, negative news such as "Country XYZ bans bitcoin" would cause a dip that is a lot harder to recover from.
Precious-metal-and-liquid-currency 2-in-1. look at any precious metal, or diamond, the resale opportunity is extremely limited for average investors, the bid-ask spread, and the limited ways to carry them around make them illiquid. but the upside is, precious metal will always carry a value so they have inherent resistance to inflation, sure the value can drop, sometimes significantly, but there will never be a time when people say a 2 carat diamond is worth nothing, because it is nice looking piece of object that is worth at least something. next, let's look at any currency, they don't last forever like precious metal, but the government behind any currency can simply print more money whenever they feel the need to, to not only cope with inflation, but also replace existing bills that can no longer physically circulate due to various reasons. with that being said, any currency would have an inherent insolvency risk associated with it, because countries, like companies, can just say "f*** it, we declare bankrupt". sure the chance of the USA or Japan does that is extremely slim, but there is still a chance that a $100 country XYZ bill will be worth nothing some day (to a non-collector of course) because country XYZ is no longer in existence due to natural disaster, war, debt, or some other reason. bitcoin has the best of both worlds: it doesn't have inflation, it will always be worth something and you can spend it easily.
Digital circulation, i.e., smart. with more and more people carrying digital devices / smart phones, bitcoin taps into the digital revolution wave with its unique "no transaction cost" feature. once bitcoin's price stabilizes and becomes better regulated, all stores will welcome it. if you think the growth you have seen so far is unbelievable, imagine what would happen when bitcoin finally becomes a wide accepted currency, well, i mean, during the months that lead up to it. because maybe its price would have stabilized by the time walmart starts accepting bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a company that is 100% owner's equity with 100% operating efficiency. no asset, no liability, no overhead cost, no pension plan, no retiree health plan. it is a company that doesn't have any accounting/administration/consulting expenses. it generates revenue through non-traditional means, such as forks and inherent deflation, it will also generate revenue through fees after all 21 million bitcoins have been mined. right now it is a startup that is going through high volatility, but once its price is stabilized, it will be the new Apple/google/microsoft, i.e., a large-cap company with steady income stream.
In addition: there are some other minor reasons behind bitcoin's rapid rise, such as security, flexible denomination (you can't get 0.005 dollar), natural resources based wealth redistribution, and lastly, it is somewhat decentralized due to being boarderless, but i would imagine a small group of people has the majority of bitcoin, some may have lost access to their bitcoins however. Edit: I wrote this in a rush and I know I incorrectly combined liquidity risk and credit risk, but I think you get my point. TLDR, i encourage you to read it but here is a good picture from the FAQ, the picture is nice but bitcoin may not be fungible: https://i.imgur.com/wkTyyaV.png
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