Bitcoin: Move +$160 million for 67 Cents

Imagine what sirens would go off if you walked into your bank and asked to move $160,000,000. What do you think that would cost? How long do you think it would take? What body tissue samples would they ask for in the name of terrorism or the IRS?

Not with Bitcoin. Someone moved $160 million for 67 cents. It only took a few minutes.

Large Bitcoin Transaction
Large Bitcoin Transaction

This image is not mine – I unfortunately lost the link. If its yours please contact me.

Government Making the Case for Regulation

It seems clear that the US government is making the case for Bitcoin regulation. It seems they’ve kept it in their periphery, but as of late they are more dialed in. Government headlines are coming “fast and furious” as of late. They probably figure that they will float ideas and statements out to the public to prepare everyone.

This all syncs up with the big arrest of the Russian guy who stole untold sums from his Bitcoin exchange, and is allegedly tied to Mt Gox.

So they point the finger at some possible shenanignas, make a move on some bad guys and say “See, we told you so! Now we’re coming to clean it up!”

Regulation and government intrusion is sure to make many “purists” in the crypto community upset. These are the guys who fled to bitcoin to flee their oppressors.

But for regular investors I think the regulation further paves the way for larger investments from Wall st and the like.

More Evidence That Wall Streets Coming to Bitcoin

We wrote the other day that Wall Street and its vast capital is headed towards the crypto space. More evidence piles up daily, but I found one that was prescient.

ReformedBroker.com posted a note on his blog explaining how and why he purchased his first Bitcoin. I’d summarize it as “Bitcoin doesn’t seem to be going away so I best try it out.” He doesn’t offer much insight or new perspective, just seems to be capitulating and accepting that there just could be a future in cryptocurrency.

This guy is a financial advisor with a large blog following. This is how he describes himself:

I’m a New York City-based financial advisor and the CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management.

We help people align their investments with their financial goals and manage portfolios for them. Our clients range from high net worth households to corporations to retirement plans to charitable foundations. For younger investors and those just getting started, we’ve created the Liftoff automated advisor – a simple, low-cost way to access a professionally managed portfolio selected just for you.

I am also the author of the books Backstage Wall Street and Clash of the Financial Pundits from publisher McGraw-Hill.  In addition, I serve on the advisory board of financial technology firm Riskalyze as well as CNBC’s Financial Advisor Council.

In 2015, I was named to the Investment News “40 Under 40” list of top financial advisors.

Here is the full article, from Reformed Broker:

So you are now free to dump all of your crypto-currencies because this surely marks an all-time top.

But I thought I’d mention it anyway.

For those who are curious about why and how, I’ll just say the following…

I’m old enough to realize that just because I don’t see a use for something, that doesn’t mean I won’t be proven wrong by others who do. At the current moment, I don’t see the financial industry use for Bitcoin other than some marginal activities like settling commodity trades that are very far divorced from my day to day existence. I understand the benefits of these things – the blockchain acting as verification that the counterparty has made payment instantly, etc. I’ve probably read all the stuff that you have. I’m skeptical.

I also think it’s hard to imagine the IRS, Treasury etc allowing anonymous transactions without any reporting becoming a global standard for US persons.

But I’m willing to look beyond that because the goddamn thing won’t go away. I was talking with Justin Paterno (StockTwits) the other day and his attitude toward it is pretty much where I am – “Anytime something just refuses to die, you probably have to pay attention to it.” Bitcoin, if it were complete and utter nonsense, probably should have died already. But 7 years since it burst into the public consciousness – with all of the attendant volatility and criminal activity you’d expect to come along with something so new and unproven – and it’s still here. Despite the hacking and stealing and malfunctions and crashes, it’s still a thing. It’s the f***ing rooster. Ain’t found a way to kill me yet…

Anyway, I’m not a disruption hippie or an early adopter or a visionary or an evangelist. But I’m too curious to not experience Bitcoin ownership for myself. Oh, by the way, I don’t see myself trading it on price swings, more on that in a second.

So I used Coinbase, which from what I gather is the “safe” way to buy, sell and store. We’ll see. I began with a small amount of money so if they hack the site tonight and empty everyone’s wallets, I won’t feel it. The process was fairly simple.

First you create an account and connect it to your phone and email. They text you a code to verify and send you an email to confirm. No big deal. Then you connect a bank account, which only takes a second. From there, Coinbase makes two small deposits into your bank (pennies, don’t get excited) over the next 48 hours. You log back in and report what those tiny deposits were so it can verify the connection to your bank. Once that’s done, you can transact.

I bought some BTC, although ethereum and litecoin were also on the menu. I look at those other two like silver and bronze to Bitcoin’s gold. But I’m just making that up. Ethereum (ETH) might one day be better because it allegedly has some technological advantages, but I’m a newb so I’m starting with the more established fake thing rather than the less established fake things.

Anyway, I expect a lot of volatility and I really don’t know what I will ultimately do with my digital thing. Maybe I will add to it or maybe I will buy ETH also at some point. It went up 8% today I think so already I’m a genius 😉

I think at this stage in the game, it’s important to be open-minded and not afraid to lose money or look foolish. I’ve invested into way dumber things in my life. And as far as what the future holds – if the disruption hippies turn out to be right, and the 21 million BTC that will eventually be the limit are out there in public hands, it’s hard to imagine them not appreciating in price. Especially if they become more institutionalized and embedded into enterprise scale transactions – which is what the banking industry seems to be leaning toward from what I read and hear. I like the idea of scarcity and owning something that is finite by design.

And yes, I am aware of the possible split in the community, I have no opinion about it and nothing worthwhile to add. I’ve factored this risk in mentally. The resolution of this scaling problem may turn out to be a powerful upside catalyst just as easily as it could lead to a panic. Brexit-esque.

One other thing. On the Silk Road two thousand years ago, you needed gold to settle transactions. Because from Korea to the Asian Steppe to the Mediterranean, there had to be one thing whose value was never questioned. Gold facilitated trade and liquidity from one end of the known world to the other. My opinion is that this property of the element – it’s universal acceptance – remained in force for centuries…until it was disrupted by the internet. Once computers arrived, we had instant access to values and prices of goods around the world. Gold’s role in global liquidity and verification suddenly mattered less. No one realized it at the time, but gold as a currency had been permanently disrupted by the microchip and the operating system.

The Information Technology Revolution began in the early 1980’s when the computer became first a ubiquitous business tool and then eventually a household appliance. It should come as no surprise when I tell you that this moment also was the inflation-adjusted high for gold, still unsurpassed almost 40 years later.

Blockchain technology may have just permanently disrupted traditional currencies. It’s obvious to me that even if this is true, we will not know it for sure until decades have gone by.

World Economic Forum Pumps Blockchain

The World Economic Forum [WEC] released a report entitled ” Realising the Potential of Blockchain” yesterday, after which Ethereum gained 30%. The WEC was very pleased with themselves and posted this on their website:

WEC Blockchain Report

Curiously, they didn’t take credit for the flat price of Bitcoin. Read all 46 pages here if you’d like. There is some provoking information in there.

The authors are Don Tapscott, his website is here. Interestingly he is writing a book about the “BLOCKCHAIN REVOLUTION”.

The paper does point to issues with Bitcoin and eludes to the upcoming forking issue and states that Ethereum “is about to eclipse Bitcoin in value.”

Countless times they point to the “lack of governance” in Bitcoin as a hindrance and that is part of why they like Ethereum. The paper is all about “governance” and “stewardship”. Its about what needs to be done to guide Bitcoin and Ethereum along.

My question is: Why try to come in and govern something which you have no rights to govern? This sounded to me like a takeover. “We need to build this framework and step in to make Bitcoin right.” Well, why not just make your own currency then? If the WEC is so pervasive and powerful then copy the Bitcoin code and launch your blockchain.

Vitalik Buterin co-Founder of Ethereum is a brilliant man who launched a revolutionary product. Fortunately, he seems like a pretty stand up guy. Very, very easily he could flip and then the whole Ethereum game is over. Yes, concise leadership can be a great thing when the leader is making the right calls.

Bitcoin doesn’t have that head coach. But why does bitcoin have to be the final answer? If you just closed your ears to the blocksize debate I’d say Bitcoin is and will probably be an incredible success. I would also say that Bitcoin was the first major global launch of a blockchain product. Since when has the first launch of anything been the final answer?

Too often it seems that people want one answer in the crypto space. “We need to take over Bitcoin” or “Ethereum will replace Bitcoin”. Why? Whats wrong with 10,000 different blockchains and currencies? One answer means its easier for governments or large players to step in and control the game. If you want that then just keep your fiat at your bank down the street.