BITCOIN: CURRENCY OR FOOL’S GOLD?: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

The Great Bitcoin Bull Market Of 2017 by Trace Mayer

By: Trace Mayer, host of The Bitcoin Knowledge Podcast.
Originally posted here with images and Youtube videos.
I just got back from a two week vacation without Internet as I was scouring some archeological ruins. I hardly thought about Bitcoin at all because there were so many other interesting things and it would be there when I got back.
Jimmy Song suggested I do an article on the current state of Bitcoin. A great suggestion but he is really smart (he worked on Armory after all!) so I better be thorough and accurate!
Therefore, this article will be pretty lengthy and meticulous.
BACKGROUND
As I completely expected, the 2X movement from the New York Agreement that was supposed to happen during the middle of my vacation flopped on its face because Jeff Garzik was driving the clown car with passengers willfully inside like Coinbase, Blockchain.info, Bitgo and Xapo and there were here massive bugS and in the code and miners like Bitmain did not want to allocate $150-350m to get it over the difficulty adjustments.
I am very disappointed in their lack of integrity with putting their money where their mouths are; myself and many others wanted to sell a lot of B2X for BTC!
On 7 December 2015, with Bitcoin trading at US$388.40, I wrote The Rise of the Fourth Great Bitcoin Bubble. On 4 December 2016, with Bitcoin trading at US$762.97, I did this interview:

As of 26 November 2017, Bitcoin is trading around US$9,250.00. That is an increase of about 2,400% since I wrote the article prognosticating this fourth great Bitcoin bull market. I sure like being right, like usual (19 Dec 2011, 1 Jul 2013), especially when there are financial and economic consequences.
With such massive gains in such a short period of time the speculative question becomes: Buy, Hold or Sell?
FUNDAMENTALS
Bitcoin is the decentralized censorship-resistant Internet Protocol for transferring value over a communications channel.
The Bitcoin network can use traditional Internet infrastructure. However, it is even more resilient because it has custom infrastructure including, thanks to Bitcoin Core developer Matt Corrallo, the FIBRE network and, thanks to Blockstream, satellites which reduce the cost of running a full-node anywhere in the world to essentially nothing in terms of money or privacy. Transactions can be cheaply broadcast via SMS messages.
SECURITY
The Bitcoin network has a difficulty of 1,347,001,430,559 which suggests about 9,642,211 TH/s of custom ASIC hardware deployed.
At a retail price of approximately US$105/THs that implies about $650m of custom ASIC hardware deployed (35% discount applied).
This custom hardware consumes approximately 30 TWh per year. That could power about 2.8m US households or the entire country of Morocco which has a population of 33.85m.
This Bitcoin mining generates approximately 12.5 bitcoins every 10 minutes or approximately 1,800 per day worth approximately US$16,650,000.
Bitcoin currently has a market capitalization greater than $150B which puts it solidly in the top-30 of M1 money stock countries and a 200 day moving average of about $65B which is increasing about $500m per day.
Average daily volumes for Bitcoin is around US$5B. That means multi-million dollar positions can be moved into and out of very easily with minimal slippage.
When my friend Andreas Antonopolous was unable to give his talk at a CRYPSA event I was invited to fill in and delivered this presentation, impromptu, on the Seven Network Effects of Bitcoin.
These seven network effects of Bitcoin are (1) Speculation, (2) Merchants, (3) Consumers, (4) Security [miners], (5) Developers, (6) Financialization and (7) Settlement Currency are all taking root at the same time and in an incredibly intertwined way.
With only the first network effect starting to take significant root; Bitcoin is no longer a little experiment of magic Internet money anymore. Bitcoin is monster growing at a tremendous rate!!

SPECULATION
For the Bitcoin price to remain at $9,250 it requires approximately US$16,650,000 per day of capital inflow from new hodlers.
Bitcoin is both a Giffen good and a Veblen good.
A Giffen good is a product that people consume more of as the price rises and vice versa — seemingly in violation of basic laws of demand in microeconomics such as with substitute goods and the income effect.
Veblen goods are types of luxury goods for which the quantity demanded increases as the price increases in an apparent contradiction of the law of demand.
There are approximately 16.5m bitcoins of which ~4m are lost, ~4-6m are in deep cold storage, ~4m are in cold storage and ~2-4m are salable.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/lost-bitcoins-1.jpg)
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/lost-bitcoins-2.jpg)
And forks like BCash (BCH) should not be scary but instead be looked upon as an opportunity to take more territory on the Bitcoin blockchain by trading the forks for real bitcoins which dries up more salable supply by moving it, likely, into deep cold storage.
According to Wikipedia, there are approximately 15.4m millionaires in the United States and about 12m HNWIs ($30m+ net worth) in the world. In other words, if every HNWI in the world wanted to own an entire bitcoin as a 'risk-free asset' that cannot be confiscated, seized or have the balance other wise altered then they could not.
For wise portfolio management, these HNWIs should have at least about 2-5% in gold and 0.5-1% in bitcoin.
Why? Perhaps some of the 60+ Saudis with 1,700 frozen bank accounts and about $800B of assets being targetted might be able to explain it to you.
In other words, everyone loves to chase the rabbit and once they catch it then know that it will not get away.
RETAIL
There are approximately 150+ significant Bitcoin exchanges worldwide. Kraken, according to the CEO, was adding about 6,000 new funded accounts per day in July 2017.
Supposedly, Coinbase is currently adding about 75,000 new accounts per day. Based on some trade secret analytics I have access to; I would estimate Coinbase is adding approximately 17,500 new accounts per day that purchase at least US$100 of Bitcoin.
If we assume Coinbase accounts for 8% of new global Bitcoin users who purchase at least $100 of bitcoins (just pulled out of thin error and likely very conservative as the actual number is perhaps around 2%) then that is approximately $21,875,000 of new capital coming into Bitcoin every single day just from retail demand from 218,750 total new accounts.
What I have found is that most new users start off buying US$100-500 and then after 3-4 months months they ramp up their capital allocation to $5,000+ if they have the funds available.
After all, it takes some time and practical experience to learn how to safely secure one's private keys.
To do so, I highly recommend Bitcoin Core (network consensus and full validation of the blockchain), Armory (private key management), Glacier Protocol (operational procedures) and a Puri.sm laptop (secure non-specialized hardware).
WALL STREET
There has been no solution for large financial fiduciaries to invest in Bitcoin. This changed November 2017.
LedgerX, whose CEO I interviewed 23 March 2013, began trading as a CFTC regulated Swap Execution Facility and Derivatives Clearing Organization.
The CME Group announced they will begin trading in Q4 2017 Bitcoin futures.
The CBOE announced they will begin trading Bitcoin futures soon.
By analogy, these institutional products are like connecting a major metropolis's water system (US$90.4T and US$2 quadrillion) via a nanoscopic shunt to a tiny blueberry ($150B) that is infinitely expandable.
This price discovery could be the most wild thing anyone has ever experienced in financial markets.
THE GREAT CREDIT CONTRACTION
The same week Bitcoin was released I published my book The Great Credit Contraction and asserted it had now begun and capital would burrow down the liquidity pyramid into safer and more liquid assets.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/Great-Credit-Contraction-Liquidity-Pyramid.jpg)
Thus, the critical question becomes: Is Bitcoin a possible solution to the Great Credit Contraction by becoming the safest and most liquid asset?
BITCOIN'S RISK PROFILE
At all times and in all circumstances gold remains money but, of course, there is always exchange rate risk due to price ratios constantly fluctuating. If the metal is held with a third-party in allocated-allocated storage (safest possible) then there is performance risk (Morgan Stanley gold storage lawsuit).
But, if properly held then, there should be no counter-party risk which requires the financial ability of a third-party to perform like with a bank account deposit. And, since gold exists at a single point in space and time therefore it is subject to confiscation or seizure risk.
Bitcoin is a completely new asset type. As such, the storage container is nearly empty with only $150B.
And every Bitcoin transaction effectively melts down every BTC and recasts it; thus ensuring with 100% accuracy the quantity and quality of the bitcoins. If the transaction is not on the blockchain then it did not happen. This is the strictest regulation possible; by math and cryptography!
This new immutable asset, if properly secured, is subject only to exchange rate risk. There does exist the possibility that a software bug may exist that could shut down the network, like what has happened with Ethereum, but the probability is almost nil and getting lower everyday it does not happen.
Thus, Bitcoin arguably has a lower risk profile than even gold and is the only blockchain to achieve security, scalability and liquidity.
To remain decentralized, censorship-resistant and immutable requires scalability so as many users as possible can run full-nodes.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/ethereum-bitcoin-scability-nov-2017.png)
TRANSACTIONS
Some people, probably mostly those shilling alt-coins, think Bitcoin has a scalability problem that is so serious it requires a crude hard fork to solve.
On the other side of the debate, the Internet protocol and blockchain geniuses assert the scalability issues can, like other Internet Protocols have done, be solved in different layers which are now possible because of Segregated Witness which was activated in August 2017.
Whose code do you want to run: the JV benchwarmers or the championship Chicago Bulls?
As transaction fees rise, certain use cases of the Bitcoin blockchain are priced out of the market. And as the fees fall then they are economical again.
Additionally, as transaction fees rise, certain UTXOs are no longer economically usable thus destroying part of the money supply until fees decline and UTXOs become economical to move.
There are approximately 275,000-350,000 transactions per day with transaction fees currently about $2m/day and the 200 DMA is around $1.08m/day.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-transaction-fees-nov-2017.png)
What I like about transaction fees is that they somewhat reveal the financial health of the network.
The security of the Bitcoin network results from the miners creating solutions to proof of work problems in the Bitcoin protocol and being rewarded from the (1) coinbase reward which is a form of inflation and (2) transaction fees which is a form of usage fee.
The higher the transaction fees then the greater implied value the Bitcoin network provides because users are willing to pay more for it.
I am highly skeptical of blockchains which have very low transaction fees. By Internet bubble analogy, Pets.com may have millions of page views but I am more interested in EBITDA.
DEVELOPERS
Bitcoin and blockchain programming is not an easy skill to acquire and master. Most developers who have the skill are also financially independent now and can work on whatever they want.
The best of the best work through the Bitcoin Core process. After all, if you are a world class mountain climber then you do not hang out in the MacDonalds play pen but instead climb Mount Everest because that is where the challenge is.
However, there are many talented developers who work in other areas besides the protocol. Wallet maintainers, exchange operators, payment processors, etc. all need competent developers to help build their businesses.
Consequently, there is a huge shortage of competent developers. This is probably the largest single scalability constraint for the ecosystem.
Nevertheless, the Bitcoin ecosystem is healthier than ever before.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-ecosystem.jpg)(/images/bitcoin-ecosystem-small.jpg)
SETTLEMENT CURRENCY
There are no significant global reserve settlement currency use cases for Bitcoin yet.
Perhaps the closest is Blockstream's Strong Federations via Liquid.
PRICE
There is a tremendous amount of disagreement in the marketplace about the value proposition of Bitcoin. Price discovery for this asset will be intense and likely take many cycles of which this is the fourth.
Since the supply is known the exchange rate of Bitcoins is composed of (1) transactional demand and (2) speculative demand.
Interestingly, the price elasticity of demand for the transactional demand component is irrelevant to the price. This makes for very interesting dynamics!
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-speculation.jpg)
On 4 May 2017, Lightspeed Venture Partners partner Jeremy Liew who was among the early Facebook investors and the first Snapchat investor laid out their case for bitcoin exploding to $500,000 by 2030.
On 2 November 2017, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-02/blankfein-says-don-t-dismiss-bitcoin-while-still-pondering-value)said, "Now we have paper that is just backed by fiat...Maybe in the new world, something gets backed by consensus."
On 12 Sep 2017, JP Morgan CEO called Bitcoin a 'fraud' but conceded that "(http://fortune.com/2017/09/12/jamie-dimon-bitcoin-cryptocurrency-fraud-buy/)Bitcoin could reach $100,000".
Thus, it is no surprise that the Bitcoin chart looks like a ferret on meth when there are such widely varying opinions on its value proposition.
I have been around this space for a long time. In my opinion, those who scoffed at the thought of $1 BTC, $10 BTC (Professor Bitcorn!), $100 BTC, $1,000 BTC are scoffing at $10,000 BTC and will scoff at $100,000 BTC, $1,000,000 BTC and even $10,000,000 BTC.
Interestingly, the people who understand it the best seem to think its financial dominance is destiny.
Meanwhile, those who understand it the least make emotionally charged, intellectually incoherent bearish arguments. A tremendous example of worldwide cognitive dissonance with regards to sound money, technology and the role or power of the State.
Consequently, I like looking at the 200 day moving average to filter out the daily noise and see the long-term trend.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-price-200dma-nov-2017.png)
Well, that chart of the long-term trend is pretty obvious and hard to dispute. Bitcoin is in a massive secular bull market.
The 200 day moving average is around $4,001 and rising about $30 per day.
So, what do some proforma situations look like where Bitcoin may be undervalued, average valued and overvalued? No, these are not prognostications.
(http://www.runtogold.com/images/bitcoin-price-pro-forma.png)
Maybe Jamie Dimon is not so off his rocker after all with a $100,000 price prediction.
We are in a very unique period of human history where the collective globe is rethinking what money is and Bitcoin is in the ring battling for complete domination. Is or will it be fit for purpose?
As I have said many times before, if Bitcoin is fit for this purpose then this is the largest wealth transfer in the history of the world.
CONCLUSION
Well, this has been a brief analysis of where I think Bitcoin is at the end of November 2017.
The seven network effects are taking root extremely fast and exponentially reinforcing each other. The technological dominance of Bitcoin is unrivaled.
The world is rethinking what money is. Even CEOs of the largest banks and partners of the largest VC funds are honing in on Bitcoin's beacon.
While no one has a crystal ball; when I look in mine I see Bitcoin's future being very bright.
Currently, almost everyone who has bought Bitcoin and hodled is sitting on unrealized gains as measured in fiat currency. That is, after all, what uncharted territory with daily all-time highs do!
But perhaps there is a larger lesson to be learned here.
Riches are getting increasingly slippery because no one has a reliable defined tool to measure them with. Times like these require incredible amounts of humility and intelligence guided by macro instincts.
Perhaps everyone should start keeping books in three numéraires: USD, gold and Bitcoin.
Both gold and Bitcoin have never been worth nothing. But USD is a fiat currency and there are thousands of those in the fiat currency graveyard. How low can the world reserve currency go?
After all, what is the risk-free asset? And, whatever it is, in The Great Credit Contraction you want it!
What do you think? Disagree with some of my arguments or assertions? Please, eviscerate them on Twitter or in the comments!
submitted by bitcoinknowledge to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

A Look at DCG & Bitfury's Incestuous Ties With the U.S. Government

Peter Todd Tweet in 2014: https://archive.is/vKZ9C
[email protected] I gotta say, looks really bad legally how Austin Hill's been negotiating deals w/ pools/etc. to get control of hashing power.
Board of Digital Currency Group
Glenn Hutchins
Advisory Board
Larry Summers
DCG of course is an investor in both Blockstream and BTCC.
DCG's money comes from:
DCG also owns Coindesk.
BTCC and Bitfury are the only two large mining pools who are outspoken in their support of Bitcoin Core.
The Bitfury Group Leadership to Present at Clinton Global Initiative (https://archive.is/MWKee)
Full Video (Begins at 32:00)
“The Bitfury Group is proud to be the world’s leading full service Blockchain technology company, we are deeply honored to represent this innovation to an audience of extremely dedicated game-changers, and we look forward to highlighting our company’s groundbreaking ‘Blockchain for global good’ work at such an important event, said Smith. “From the White House to the Blockchain, I know this technology has the power to deliver inclusion and opportunity to millions, if not billions, of people around the world and I am so grateful to work for a company focused on such a principled vision.”
Bitfury Lightning Implementation
  • In partnership with a French firm called ACINQ (http://acinq.co)
  • ACINQ is a subsidiary of the larger ACINQ Financial Services
  • CoinTelegraph: Bitfury Lightning Network Successfully Tested With French Bitcoin Company
  • TEAM: https://archive.is/Q5CNU
  • ACINQ’s US Headquarters is in Vienna, Virginia, a small town of only 16,000. Why would a global financial firm choose to locate here? -- Feeder community into Washington, D.C. Has an orange line metro stop. -- Located in Fairfax County, VA. -- The US Federal Government is the #2 largest employer -- Booz Allen Hamilton (NSA front company) is #6 largest employer -- In fact, most of the top employers in Fairfax County are either US Federal Gov’t or companies that provide services to Federal Government -- The county is home to the headquarters of intelligence agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and National Reconnaissance Office, as well as the National Counterterrorism Center and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Chairman: Avinash Vashistha
CEO: Chaman Baid
CSO: Nandan Setlur
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/nandansetlur https://archive.is/wp3L0
  • From 1986-1993 he worked for Information Management Consultants (imc) Ltd as a Technical Consultant with various federal government agencies. McLean, Virginia
  • 1993-2000 Technical Consultant for Freddie Mac, in McLean Virginia
  • From 2000-2007, President of InterPro Global in Maryland
  • From 2011-2012, Director of VibbleTV in Columbia, Maryland
  • From 2008-Present has been Executive Director at ACINQ and Managing Partner at Vine Management, both in Vienna, Virginia.
BitFury Enhances Its Advisory Board by Adding Former CFTC Chairman Dr. James Newsome and Renowned Global Thought Leader and President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy Hernando de Soto (Businesswire)
Bitfury Board of Directors
Robert R Dykes
The other board members include two Bitfury founders, and an investor.
Bitfury Advisory Board
James Newsome
  • Ex-chairman of CFTC
  • Dr. Newsome was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate to be at first a Commissioner and later a Chairman of CFTC. As Chairman, Newsome guided the regulation of the nation’s futures markets. Additionally, Newsome led the CFTC’s regulatory implementation of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA). He also served as one of four members of the President’s Working Group for Financial Markets, along with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairmen of the Federal Reserve and the SEC. In 2004, Newsome assumed the role of President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) where he managed daily operations of the largest physical derivatives exchange in the world. Dr. Newsome is presently a founding partner of Delta Strategy Group, a full-service government affairs firm based in Washington, DC.
Hernando de Soto
  • Hernando de Soto heads the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, named by The Economist one of the two most important think tanks in the world. In the last 30 years, he and his colleagues at the ILD have been involved in designing and implementing legal reform programs to empower the poor in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and former Soviet nations by granting them access to the same property and business rights that the majority of people in developed countries have through the institutions and tools needed to exercise those rights and freedoms. Mr. de Soto also co-chaired with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, and currently serves as honorary co-chair on various boards and organizations, including the World Justice Project. He is the author of “The Other Path: the Economic Answer to Terrorism”, and his seminal work “The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else.”
  • Frequent attendee at Davos World Economic Forum
  • Frequent Speaker @ Clinton Global Initiative http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2ytfrs https://archive.is/MWKee
  • Criticisms: -- In his 'Planet of Slums'[104] Mike Davis argues that de Soto, who Davis calls 'the global guru of neo-liberal populism', is essentially promoting what the statist left in South America and India has always promoted—individual land titling. Davis argues that titling is the incorporation into the formal economy of cities, which benefits more wealthy squatters but is disastrous for poorer squatters, and especially tenants who simply cannot afford incorporation into the fully commodified formal economy. -- An article by Madeleine Bunting for The Guardian (UK) claimed that de Soto's suggestions would in some circumstances cause more harm than benefit, and referred to The Mystery of Capital as "an elaborate smokescreen" used to obscure the issue of the power of the globalized elite. She cited de Soto's employment history as evidence of his bias in favor of the powerful. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2000/sep/11/imf.comment http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/hey_wait_a_minute/2005/01/the_de_soto_delusion.html
Tomicah Tilleman
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomicah_Tillemann
  • Dr. Tomicah Tillemann is Director of the Bretton Woods II initiative. The initiative brings together a variety of long-term investors, with the goal of committing 1% of their assets to social impact investment and using investments as leverage to encourage global good governance. Tillemann served at the U.S. State Department in 2010 as the Senior Advisor on Civil Society and Emerging Democracies to Secretary Hillary Clinton and Secretary John Kerry. Tillemann came to the State Department as a speechwriter to Secretary Clinton in March 2009. Earlier, he worked for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he was the principal policy advisor on Europe and Eurasia to Committee Chairmen, Senators Joe Biden and John Kerry. He also facilitated the work of the Senate's Subcommittee on European Affairs, then chaired by Senator Barack Obama. Tillemann received his B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University. He holds a Ph.D. with distinction from the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) where he also served as a graduate level instructor in American foreign policy. http://live.worldbank.org/node/8468 https://archive.is/raDHA
  • Secretary Clinton appointed Tomicah Tillemann, Ph.D. as the State Department’s Senior Advisor for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies in October 2010. He continues his service under Secretary Kerry.
  • Mr. Tillemann and his team operate like venture capitalists, identifying ideas that can strengthen new democracies and civil society, and then bring together the talent, technology and resources needed to translate promising concepts into successful diplomacy. He and his team have developed over 20 major initiatives on behalf of the President and Secretary of State.
  • Mr. Tillemann came to the State Department as a speechwriter to Secretary Clinton in March 2009 and collaborated with her on over 200 speeches. Earlier, he worked for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he was the principal policy advisor on Europe and Eurasia to Committee Chairmen, Senators Joe Biden and John Kerry. He also facilitated the work of the Senate's Subcommittee on European Affairs, then chaired by Senator Barack Obama. Mr. Tillemann’s other professional experience includes work with the White House Office of Media Affairs and five U.S. Senate and Congressional campaigns. He was a reporter with Reuters New Media and hosted a commercial radio program in Denver, Colorado. http://m.state.gov/md160354.htm https://www.newamerica.org/our-people/tomicah-tillemann/ https://archive.is/u2yF0
  • Director of “Bretton Woods II” initiative at New America Foundation Bretton Woods was an international summit that led to the creation of the IMF and the IBRD, one of five members of The World Bank
Jamie Smith
Jason Weinstein
Paul Brody (no longer appears on site, and his LinkedIn has no mention of Bitfury, but he is mentioned in a Press Release
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/pbrody
  • Ernst & Young since 2015 as “Americas Strategy Leader”, “Global Innovation Leader”, and “Solution Leader”
  • Prior to E&Y, he was an executive at IBM since 2002
New America Foundation
Muskoka Group
[note: this is worthy of much more research]
  • https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-29/blockchain-s-backers-embark-on-campaign-to-improve-its-image
  • Don Tapscott, co-author of the book “Blockchain Revolution,” hosted the meeting with his son and co-author Alex Tapscott at his family’s summer compound in Lake of Bays, Ontario. The group included some of blockchain’s biggest backers, including people with ties to IBM and JPMorgan. They considered ways to improve the governance and oversight of the technology behind the digital currency bitcoin as a way to fuel the industry’s growth. They included Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation; Brian Behlendorf, executive director of the Hyperledger Project, a blockchain supporter group that includes International Business Machines Corp., Airbus Group SE and JPMorgan Chase & Co.; and Ana Lopes, board member of the World Wide Web Foundation. Participants with blockchain industry ties include former deputy White House press secretary Jamie Smith, now chief global communications officer of BitFury Group Ltd., and Joseph Lubin, founder of startup Consensus Systems.
Blockchain Delegation Attends Democratic National Convention https://archive.is/k16Nu
Attendees:
Jamie Smith — The Bitfury Group & Blockchain Trust Accelerator Tomicah Tillemann— New America Foundation & Blockchain Trust Accelerator Alex Tapscott— co-author: Blockchain Revolution Brian Forde — MIT, Digital Currency Initiative
Brian Forde
  • Was the founding director of the MIT Digital Currency Initiative -Left his 4 year post as White House Senior Advisor for Mobile and Data Innovation to go directly to the MIT DCI
  • Brian Forde has spent more than a decade at the nexus of technology, entrepreneurship, and public policy. He is currently the Director of Digital Currency at the MIT Media Lab where he leads efforts to mainstream digital currencies like Bitcoin through research, and incubation of high-impact applications of the emerging technology. Most recently he was the Senior Advisor for Mobile and Data Innovation at the White House where he spearheaded efforts to leverage emerging technologies to address the President’s most critical national priorities. Prior to his work at the White House, Brian founded one of the largest phone companies in Nicaragua after serving as a business and technology volunteer in the Peace Corps. In recognition of his work, Brian was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of the ten most influential people in bitcoin and blockchain. https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianforde https://archive.is/WjEGU
Alex Tapscott
World Economic Forum
  • Strategic Partners: https://www.weforum.org/about/strategic-partners
  • Includes Accenture (See Avinash Vashistha), Allianz, Deloitte (Scaling Bitcoin platinum sponsor, Blockstream Partner), Citigroup, Bain & Company (parent of Bain Capital, DCG investor), Dalian Wanda Group (working on blockchain technology), Ernst & Young (see Paul Brody), HSBC (Li-Ka Shing, Blockstream investor, used to be Deputy Chairman of HSBC), IBM, KPMG International, Mastercard (DCG Investor), PwC (Blockstream partner, also sponsor of Scaling Bitcoin)
  • Future of Financial Services Report [PDF] The word “blockchain” is mentioned once in this document, on page 23 (http://i.imgur.com/1SxyneJ.png): We have identified three major challenge areas related to innovation in financial services that will require multi-stakeholder collaboration to be addressed effectively. We are launching a project stream related to each area, with the goal of enabling tangible impact.... Decentralised systems, such as the blockchain protocol, threaten to disintermediate almost every process in financial services
  • The Steering Group who authored the report is a who’s who of the global financial elite. (Pages 4 & 5) http://i.imgur.com/fmYc1bO.png http://i.imgur.com/331FaX6.png
Bitfury Washington DC Office
Washington DC Office 600 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite 300 Washington, D.C. 20003
http://bitfury.com/contacts https://archive.is/ugvII
Bitfury Chosen for Ernst & Young Blockchain Startup Challenge
Deloitte Unveils Plan to Build Blockchain-Based Digital Bank http://www.consultancy.uk/news/12237/deloitte-unveils-plan-to-build-blockchain-based-digital-bank https://archive.is/UJ8Q5
submitted by 5zh8FoCiZ to btc [link] [comments]

Krugman and Bitcoin and Me: Radical Thoughts on Fixed Supply Currency

My dad asked me how I reconciled Bitcoin's fixed supply with the Keynesian model of supply. I understand that most people around here don't hold much stock in what Paul Krugman has to say. But much of the real world actually does, what with his Nobel prize and all. So I put some serious consideration into what he had to say about deflation, how it relates to Bitcoin, and other vague currency questions. What follows is my email back to my pa. Many of these ideas have come from my time spent in this forum, so feel free to chop it up, edit, and distribute away if you find any of it worthwhile.
Thoughts from a liberal after reading Paul Krugman's 2010 NYT piece: Why is Deflation Bad?
Krugman and Bitcoin and Me
Krugman's argument against deflation is built with a dependency: that there is a central authority which controls the money supply. So in a sense he has two core points.
(1) Krugman prefers that a centralized authority control the currency supply in order to manipulate the economy.
I'll allow that this tool can be a good, stabilizing force. But if that's the case, I want to be able to vet that institution from the bottom up before handing them the keys to the kingdom. And I want that institution to unequivocally work for society, not for Goldman Sachs. If I thought the current system worked well, I wouldn't be exploring other options in the first place.
(2) Krugman prefers that that centralized authority manipulate the economy such that it encourages spending and lending. In other words, manipulate toward small inflation.
This could be a good thing. And maybe the economy it creates is more fluid than a deflationary one. But when you bake into the system incentives to spend now and borrow from the future now, you get exactly the problems that you'd expect: over-consumption and a society largely ridden in debt.
Control of the supply of the currency carries tremendous power. It can be used to smooth natural economic cycles and encourage specific consumer and producer behavior. This supply-manipulative ability is not in and of itself a bad thing. The question is whether it is necessary- because with Bitcoin (as it stands) it is impossible. Within the theoretical bounds of crypto-currency, the abilities for algorithmic, "smart" money-supply, one that rests on mathematics rather than the banking elite, are endless. There are truly exciting developments to come in this space.
A First Consideration on Currency
Think, for a moment, of the unit of currency as sort of a creditor's note. It is an IOU from society; a placeholder for some unit of production. It says, "I produced something valuable (for someone else who takes part in this system). In return I got this note. I have reasonable assurance that one day I can cash this IOU in for something that I'll need in the future."
The unit of currency acts as a placeholder for its owner. Under this system, people trade their current productivity for the placeholder, and later (given the system still has integrity) they can trade that placeholder for something that raises their standard of living. It allows us to "time-shift" our production with respect to our consumption.
But don't forget!: A unit of currency as "just a thing". It only carries value if it is actually valued by somebody else you want to do business with. The dollar, the gold bar, the Bitcoin. the Euro, all work the same way: they are nothing but numbers or paper or metal. They are just atoms arranged in a way that make them valuable to a group of people only because they trust in the future of their common system.
Currencies are a subset of commodities. Commodities are things (oil, clothing, food, televisions) that are valuable to humans because they have useful properties. Like we said above, a currency's use is to "time-shift" production and consumption. The properties of the object that afford this advantage are usually a combination of irreproducibility, fungibility, scarcity, ease of transport, and securability.
Why is Deflation Bad?
In his 2010 NYT piece, Krugman argues that deflation hurts the economy due to three factors:
(1) People become less willing to spend, because sitting on money becomes an investment. Your dollar tomorrow will buy you more than what it can today, so why spend today? Therefore, spending goes down.
(2) Those in debt get into serious trouble awfully quickly, because the nominal amount-owed appreciates in value. As a result, they spend significantly less. At the same time, creditors have been shown to not spend enough such that it make up for this difference. Therefore, borrowing (and spending) goes down.
(3) Psychologically, people hate nominal wage decreases. With a fixed supply currency, year over year, wages will have to decrease in name. Even if the value of your wage rises, the amount written on the paycheck is lower. Therefore, people freak out.
These are troubling scenarios, though I think the first two are more substantial than the third. I don't mean to underestimate the psychological factor- in economics psychology is everything- but we'll talk about this later.
Krugman presents the first two points as bugs in a deflationary system. I see them as features.
"Your dollar will buy you more tomorrow than what it can today."
I think this is natural. We are a rapidly advancing species; through technology we are becoming more efficient, automating crappy tasks, raising the standard of living for less work, of course a dollar (that placeholder for your unit of production) is going to go further tomorrow than it does today.
Personally, I find this appealing. It provides every incentive to work now and spend later. That falls very much in line with good ol' American hard-working values and non-consumptive ethics.
Krugman finds this worrying though. If people have less incentive to spend, their is a crisis in demand. Hello liberals?! When was the last time we complained about lower consumption? In a country wracked with hyper-consumption that has put an unprecedented load on Earth's environment and ignited a climate crisis, I see a drop in demand as a breath of fresh air! Furthermore, you don't have to worry about people never spending. People will always spend now- but only on the want/need products, rather than the maybe-want-need-this-now-really-might-as-well-because-my-currency-is-losing-value-and-all-these-things-meet-my-zillion-useless-ephemeral-wants products.
I do believe there are much higher economic principles at work here. The United States is the world's default consumer. The global economy needs us to consume as much as it needs the million child laborers to produce. The economy would come crashing down if we stopped consuming immediately. But if we're trying to aim for a more sustainable economy, one that is compatible with the Earth's environment, let's move slowly and use a deflating currency as an incentive!
"Deflation rewards creditors and hurts debtors. Debtors spend less and creditors don't spend more enough to offset."
The impassive Krugman is beating around the bush. There is a problem when debtors suffer at the expense of creditors, and it's more than just a net loss in consumer spending. If you're concerned about a reduction in spending, see my previous point. But the remaining ethical problem is glaring- a power imbalance already exists in a creditor-debtor relationship, and it seems that deflation only widens this gap, crucifying the debt class on a cross of deflationary coin.
There's no doubt that this is a problem. And wealth redistribution may ultimately be easier with an inflationary currency- again, a word on that later. But there is also an incentive here: borrow less. Credit card debt is at an all-time high, up 1200% in the US since 1980, all while student loans have ballooned out of control. But neither of these problems even compares to the $7.8 trillion of mortgage debt our country has dug itself into.
Now debt is not a bad thing. The right combination of debt and saving, that is- using both capital previously earned with capital borrowed from future earnings- indicates a healthy economy. I don't want to have to work my entire life only to afford a house at the very end. I want to be able to borrow from my future economic output, buy the house now, and live in it while I work to pay it off. The same goes for student debt, corporate debt-financing, etc. Access to credit is crucial to a healthy middle class.
But ever-increasing debt is not sustainable. Nobody lives- and produces- forever, so you cannot always borrow from your future economic output. In the end, regardless of the money tricks you play, you have to produce enough value to cover your consumption. The world recently found out, in a mild manor, what happens when a currency's incentive and a nation's culture favors borrowing. When given the opportunity to build houses they never could have dreamed of paying off in their lifetime, millions of people took the offer and the biggest lenders took the risk. The echoes of their mass default still burden the global economy 6+ years later.
The point is, if Krugman says "inflation promotes borrowing", I say, "is this debt-ridden wreck what we really want our economy to look like?"
"People would freak out when their paycheck goes down."
I say get over it. Other possible proclamations in a deflationary world:
Better yet, this reflects reality! Technology makes everything cheaper every day. You should be paying lower phone bills tomorrow. Has the infrastructure gotten less efficient?
Here it feels like Krugman's grasping for straws. He pounces on people's reaction to their one source of income rather than their many expenses. This point also invokes that ugly liberal side: "The people don't know what's best for them."
The Central Authority as a Tool for Wealth Redistribution
Now we're talking. As a Liberal, I consider this to be a most important necessary evil. But let's call it what it is: stealing from the rich to give to the poor. (Unless we reject the modern notion of property- stay tuned...)
In an inflationary economy, value is constantly leaching out of everyone's savings. Those who control the monetary supply have a means of reaching into every dollar, and skimming off a little bit of value. We can choose to do a lot of good with this. Right now the skimmed dollars are "lent" to banks- the theory is that they then have more to lend to the general public and everyone benefits. Lending is good right? It introduces liquidity. But continue this cycle ad infinitum and all the spending in the economy starts in the form of bank debt! It is no coincidence that Americans households are more in debt than ever before.
If wealth redistribution is the only benefit of a central supply authority (which can fall out of trust at any time), this is a weak foundation. We already have a mechanism for wealth redistribution: taxation. Let's be proud of it, call a duck a duck, raise taxes on the wealthy, and introduce that liquidity with massive infrastructural programs, education spending, science spending, etc, rather than in the form of bank loans.
One last point- inflation appears to be a flat tax. That's already bad. It affects every dollar proportionally, rich or poor. Worse, the middle class and poor have a higher percentage of their net worth in USD- so inflation then becomes a regressive tax... given to banks... to be lent out to again to the middle class. All in the name of wealth redistribution?! In the name of kick-starting the economy?! Something's fishy here, and "you wouldn't understand, it's more complicated" doesn't cut it as an answer for these practices.
Bitcoin
So. What are we even doing here?
In 2009 a great mind developed a tool, the first in the history of human civilization, for "minting" a currency according to a fixed and open sourced algorithm. Without the involvement of any third party, you can now send an irreproducible digital object of fixed supply to anyone with an internet connection. The implications are mind-boggling. But the first such currency, Bitcoin, happened to be fixed-supply and ultimately deflationary, which has re-sparked the deflation vs. inflation debate.
This is happenstance. The protocol that gives rise to these digital currencies- the bitcoin protocol (small b)- could easily implement a different supply model. Paul Krugman can start a currency, KrugCoin, with any supply model that he likes! Which begs one last question.
Let's say I'm presented with an option: I may collect my paycheck in a currency that deflates- that is, my paycheck will gain value over time. Or I may collect my paycheck in a currency that inflates- it loses value over time. Why would anyone choose the latter? Must a population be forced into using an inflationary currency? Are we?
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I Shut Down My Bitconnect Account And Cashed It All Out At The Bitcoin Atm

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