Tag Archives: Blockchain

BOE and Fed Continue to Advance Digital Currency Agenda, by Steve Guinness

Anything the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve like should make the rest of us quite wary. From Steve Guinness at steveguinness2.wordpress.com:

Over the past three years a popular narrative has sprung up in the independent media, which says that the UK’s decision to leave the EU and Donald Trump’s rise to U.S. President is somehow evidence of globalists (and by extension central banks) ‘losing control‘. From what I’ve observed this belief is cultivated in large part by those who are ideologically disposed in favour of Brexit and/or Trump, rather than it being indicative of reality.

The suggestion that central banks in particular have ‘backed themselves into a corner‘ on monetary policy is often where attention is focused. But there is a great deal more to central banks than just their stance on interest rates and stimulus measures.

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IMF Reveals That Cryptocurrency Is The New World Order End Game, by Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith is probably right on this one. From Smith at alt-market.com:

There are two kinds of globalist schemes: First, there are the schemes they spring on the public out of nowhere haphazardly in the hopes that the speed of the event along with some shock and awe will confuse the masses and make them psychologically pliable. This strategy loses effectiveness quickly, though; the longer the plan takes to implement, the more time the people have to reconsider what is actually happening and why.

Second, there are schemes they slowly implant in the collective psyche of the citizenry over many years, much like subliminal messaging or hypnosis. This strategy is designed to make the public embrace certain destructive ideologies or ideas as if these ideas were their own.

The cryptocurrency scam is of the second variety.

I have been suspicious of the cryptocurrency narrative of a “decentralized and anonymous monetary revolution” since 2009, when I was first approached by people claiming to be “representatives” of bitcoin and asked to become a promoter of the technology. After posing a few very simple questions and receiving no satisfactory answers, I declined to join the bandwagon or act as a frontman.

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Conflation of Bitcoin and Blockchain, by John R. Skar

While you may not know all the in and outs of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, it’s important to realize that they are distinct concepts. Blockchain, while used in many cryptocurrencies, also has uses entirely separate from them. From John R. Skar at lewrockwell.com:

There it is again! That smooth, subtle and seamless transition conflating cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, with the blockchain technology. There are thousands of blog posts and news articles about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, but the great majority fail to clearly distinguish between the technology and the digital currency that is created and transmitted by it.  In a “Bitcoin Primer” published by Coinlab, “The term Bitcoin refers to both the digital unit of stored value and the peer-to-peer network of computers transmitting and validating transactions of these units.”

In another bitcoin primer, we read “Bitcoin is a decentralized peer-to-peer payments network and a virtual currency that essentially operates as online cash.”

To some degree, it is understandable.  The original bitcoin white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto described a digital currency produced on a unique-to-bitcoin blockchain platform.  They were as inseparable as Siamese twins and many bitcoin enthusiasts share exactly that view of the world.

Conflation creates confusion, however, particularly when discussing valuation.  Allowing bitcoin to ride the coattails of the blockchain technology is misleading at best. A typical example of conflation comes from trying to compare the valuation of bitcoin to the franchise value of Mastercard and VISA.  “Quite simply, Bitcoins have value because a growing group of people believe that the underlying Bitcoin technology has value.”

Bitcoin as “coin” does not equate to VISA as transmittal medium.  Blockchain is the proper comparison.  I think that might be what Warren Buffet and Jamie Dimon are getting at when they call bitcoin a fraud.  They certainly are not referring to blockchain technology, which they know has potential to improve their businesses in many ways.  They just aren’t falling for the conflation.  In fairness, some people do try to clearly distinguish between cryptocurrency and blockchain. My point is that in most cases we should strictly confine the discussion to one or the other or at least clearly try to avoid the conflation.

To continue reading: Conflation of Bitcoin and Blockchain

Bitcoin Is Ridiculous. Blockchain Is Dangerous, by Paul Ford

Paul Ford looks at Bitcoin and blockchain technology through the lenses of prior tech manias. From Ford at bloomberg.com:

The true believers won’t stop until they’ve remade the world. Some of it will be thrilling. Some of it will keep us up at night.

On the days when Bitcoin crashes, a holiday atmosphere takes over in my corners of the internet. People tweet screengrabs of Reddit fights. It’s always good fun to watch strangers grieve as their digital nonsense nickels melt into slag.

It’s not that I want Bitcoin holders to suffer, really. As a technologist and entrepreneur, I’m sympathetic to and admiring of risk takers. But as a writer, I enjoy the sheer human-condition-revealing sport. I’m happy to watch other people play video games without playing myself. I’ll watch poker, but I’ve never bought a deck of cards—and when I watch football, I keep the official NFL rulebook open on my phone. For whatever reason, I tend to like the rules more than the game. Bitcoin is at some level just a set of rules, defined by software, that has become one of the world’s weirdest games. And people who invest in an unmanageable abstraction, then panic when it underperforms, are very entertaining.

Everyone’s so excited and having such a good time, the sort of time you have right before they invade Paris. Watching the world of initial coin offerings over the past few years has been like watching popcorn pop. Everything rattled around in the hot air for what seemed like forever and then pop! Mastercoin! Ethereum! Bancor! Tezos! Then other kernels started popping, and now we’re eating popcorn for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Blockchain startups visit our software agency and promise to pay in dollars, then add, “There are, however, other ways to get paid.” Everyone is smart and well-funded. And, yes, some blockchain startups (but never, ever the ones that visit us) seem comical—so many graphs! Some are even deliberately so, like Useless Ethereum Token, whose logo is a raised middle finger. “There will be no expectation of gains,” says the UET website. Naturally, buyers have taken on about $300,000 worth.

 The people tossed around by the cryptocurrency tempest—their only sin is belief. (Well, and greed.) But here I can only smile warmly and sigh. I know what it’s like to believe.

“Blockchain” Stocks Completely Disintegrate, by Wolf Richter

For some, this may be like closely examining a fatal car crash. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Black Friday for them. Meet the OTC’s “skull and crossbones.”

I’ve never seen a sector skyrocket and totally collapse this fast – in four months – as these newfangled “blockchain stocks.” Now they’re surrounded by debris and revelations of scams. These fly-by-night or near-failure outfits used the hype of “blockchain” and the whole media razzmatazz about cryptocurrencies to manipulate up their stocks, sometimes by several thousand percent in a matter of days.

I vivisected some of these outfits and their stock manipulation schemes on the way up. And on January 25, I documented Phase One of the collapse. This is now Phase Two of the collapse. And dip buyers are still not through getting crushed.

UBI Blockchain International got totally mangled. When I last wrote about UBIA on January 25, it was down 93% from the peak six weeks earlier. Since then, all heck has broken loose. On Friday, OTC Market, where the shares had been demoted to, slapped a “skull-and-crossbones” icon next to the ticker and no longer displays a quote.

It started out so promising: Over the course of a few days in mid-December, UBIA skyrocketed 1,500% to $115 a share intraday.

  • December 28, I tarred and feathered the company, its executives, their shenanigans, and their Chinese connection [for details, read, I’m in Awe of How Far the Scams & Stupidities around “Blockchain Stocks” are Going].
  • January 9, the SEC halted trading in UBIA, for two reasons: lacking “accuracy” in disclosures and funny trading activity. The trading halt froze the share price at $22.
  • January 23, when trading resumed, shares plunged further.
  • January 25, when I last wrote about it, they were at $8.25, down 93% from the peak.
  • February 9, the company disclosed in its quarterly SEC filing that it had zero revenues and a quarterly loss of $1.24 million. It repeated that its ability to go on as a “going concern” depended on getting new financing and its “ability to achieve and maintain profitable operations.” Fat chance.
  • February 15, shares closed at $6, down 95% from the peak.

Friday, February 16, OTC Markets Group stopped displaying quotes of UBIA, labeled the shares “Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware),” and placed the skull-and-crossbones icon next to the stock symbol. It told investors to “exercise additional caution and perform thorough due diligence before making an investment decision in that security.”

To continue reading: “Blockchain” Stocks Completely Disintegrate

Welcome to Bitcoin’s “Trough of Disillusionment”, by Mark E. Jeftovic

Mark Jeftovic sees similarities between cryptocurrencies in 2018 and the internet in 2000. The market crash in 2000 wasn’t the end of the world for the internet, and the current crash in cryptocurrencies won’t be the end of their world, either. From Jeftovic at guerrilla-capitalism.com:

The Gartner Group is widely credited with formulating the “Hype Cycle”, a trend curve that is said to model the adaptation of a new technology or paradigm.

Simply put it looks like this:

(read on Medium)

It certainly seems to have held sway regarding the Internet revolution, where the Peak of Inflated Expectations culminated in the Nasdaq blow-off-top of 2000 and the ensuing “Tech Wreck” crash. I remember that well, for a number of reasons including that my co-founders and I were still in “start-up” mode with our company, easyDNS.  I remember profoundly misunderstanding what was happening in those final few months.

I remember thinking, literally “this is an entirely new economy, it’s not about running profitable businesses anymore, it’s about running up your stock price.” There was a Sun Microsystems commercial that was near music video length, set to the soundtrack of the iconic rock track “Hocus Pocus” whose sole call-to-action at the end of the ad was the “SUNW” ticker symbol. And then it all imploded. That was when I started seriously learning about economics, history and finance.

I remember sitting in a diner one night having a coffee with a friend, mere months before the crash. Bullshit .COM’s were getting funded all over the place and everybody else, except me it seemed, were becoming millionaires overnight.

“I suppose if we hit the jackpot and got rich tomorrow, I’d probably think I was a master of the universe and crash and burn with drugs and booze”, I conceded (having recently gotten clean and sober). He said “For that reason alone it’s probably best for you if you don’t become wealthy until your sobriety can handle it.” Then he told me the story of the Roman Triumphs, which I never knew about beforehand.

To continue reading: Welcome to Bitcoin’s “Trough of Disillusionment”

 

Bitcoin, by Nassim Taleb

Why Bitcoin is good. (SLL has also posted articles about why Bitcoin is bad, and why Bitcoin is a mixed bag. SLL has not yet made up its mind. Needless to say, SLL hasn’t made a dime on bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.) SLL is not qualifed to argue with Nassim Taleb on cryptocurrencies, but would fight to the death on Taleb’s notion that markets are rational. From Taleb at theburningplatform.com:

Foreword to the book by Saifedean Ammous

Let us follow the logic of things from the beginning. Or, rather, from the end: modern times. We are, as I am writing these lines, witnessing a complete riot against some class of experts, in domains that are too difficult for us to understand, such as macroeconomic reality, and in which not only the expert is not an expert, but he doesn’t know it. That previous Federal Reserve bosses, Greenspan and Bernanke, had little grasp of empirical reality is something we only discovered a bit too late: one can macroBS longer than microBS, which is why we need to be careful on who to endow with centralized macro decisions.

What makes it worse is that all central banks operated under the same model, making it a perfect monoculture.

In the complex domain, expertise doesn’t concentrate: under organic reality, things work in a distributed way, as Hayek has convincingly demonstrated. But Hayek used the notion of distributed knowledge. Well, it looks like we do not even need that thing called knowledge for things to work well. Nor do we need individual rationality. All we need is structure.

It doesn’t mean all participants have a democratic sharing of decisions. One motivated participant can disproportionately move the needle (what I have studied as the asymmetry of the minority rule). But every participant has the option to be that player.

Somehow, under scale transformation, emerges a miraculous effect: rational markets do not require any individual trader to be rational. In fact they work well under zero-intelligence –a zero intelligence crowd, under the right design, works better than a Soviet-style management composed to maximally intelligent humans.

Which is why Bitcoin is an excellent idea. It fulfills the needs of the complex system, not because it is a cryptocurrency, but precisely because it has no owner, no authority that can decide on its fate. It is owned by the crowd, its users. And it has now a track record of several years, enough for it to be an animal in its own right.

To continue reading; Bitcoin