Bitcoin

Insider

Estimating Bitcoin's Fair Value

Spoiler alert: It's much higher than its current price
Friday, January 6, 2017, 11:13 AM

Executive Summary

  • Why No Nation Truly Has Full Control Over Its Currency
  • Why Sovereign Efforts To Control Currencies Is Driving Capital Into Digital Currencies
  • The Driver's Of Digital Currency & Value
  • Calculating Bitcoin's Fair Value

If you have not yet read Part 1: Why The U.S. Dollar And Bitcoin Keep Rising available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we reviewed the dynamics of demand and utility that drive the valuation of any tradeable good, service, commodity and currency.  We established that it’s impossible to understand how a fiat currency such as the U.S. dollar can retain a value above its tangible value of zero unless we accept its utility value and its non-tangible sources of value, i.e. the wealth and wealth generation of the issuing nation and state.

We now turn to the second half of the question posed in Part 1: Why isn’t the market value of a digital currency such as bitcoin zero?

Or perhaps more interestingly: How high might the price of bitcoin go?

To answer this question, we must investigate another question: Can any state control the value of its currency and its place in the global economy? I suggest the answer is no. Beneath a surface veneer of status quo continuity, nations and states are losing the ability to control their role in the global economy and thus the utility of their currency.

To understand why, we turn to socio-historian Immanuel Wallerstein.

Who Controls a Rapidly Changing World-System?

Wallerstein is recognized for advancing the concept of world-system, his term for what I call a global Mode of Production, i.e., the political, social, financial and economic system that governs the relations of power, labor, capital, trade and resources (broadly speaking, our understanding of Nature and the extraction of its resources).  In a recent essay China is Confident: How Realistic?, he observed that "countries (have lost the ability) to control what happens to them in the ongoing life of the modern world-system."

These two paragraphs get to the essence of his analysis... » Read more

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Why The U.S. Dollar And Bitcoin Keep Rising

Understanding utility-driven demand
Friday, January 6, 2017, 11:12 AM

Capital migrates to where it flows with the least resistance, i.e. to forms of capital that are liquid and offer low transaction costs—what I call ease of flow. Capital also migrates to relatively safe havens that are liquid and offer low transaction/holding costs, and to forms of capital with global utility. And it also flows to the highest yield/return with the lowest perceived risk.

Given these fundamentals, it isn’t difficult to understand why capital is flowing into USD-denominated assets and bitcoin.

So what do the fundamentals suggest about the valuation uptrends in the USD and bitcoin? Have they topped out and due for a crash, or have they just started their appreciation cycle? » Read more

Insider

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Off The Cuff: The Global Flow Of Money

It's determining the price of everything right now
Thursday, January 5, 2017, 6:42 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • Cultural Capital
    • How will those around you react during a crisis?
  • The Fragility Within Our Centralized System
    • Lots of dependencies that can fail & bring the entire system to a halt
  • Musical Chairs
    • Who will have to eat the bad debts when the can can no longer be kicked?
  • The Importance Of Global Capital Flows
    • They're determining the price of everything

As 2017 kicks off, Chris sits down with Charles to discuss some of the big themes likely to drive events in this new year. The two focus on the growing instability of our centralized systems -- economic, energy and otherwise -- and pay particular attention to the impact that the huge pool of money sloshing around the world is having on prices everywhere. Right now, that flood of capital -- out of bonds and into stocks, the dollar, etc -- is the primary driver of prices. Of course, this should make us ask: what will happen when those flows change direction? Or instead of continuing to grow, start receding?

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today. » Read more

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Fortunes Will Be Made & Lost When Capital Flees To Safety

As safe havens are tiny markets
Friday, June 24, 2016, 4:46 PM

Little did I realize when creating the short video below how prescient it would quickly become in the wake of last night's Brexit vote...

It's message is simple: there's a preponderance of data that shows the world's major asset markets are dangerously overvalued. And when these asset bubbles start to burst, the 'save haven' markets that investment capital will try to flee to are ridiculously small. Investors who do not start moving their capital in advance of crisis will be forced to pay much higher prices for safety -- or may find they can't get into these markets at any price. » Read more

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An Everyman's Guide To Understanding Cryptocurrencies

What are they exactly? Why consider owning them?
Friday, June 10, 2016, 5:51 PM

When an asset rises by almost 30% in a few weeks, it tends to attract attention.  Recently, that asset was bitcoin (BTC). The price of BTC in dollars rose from $454 on May 23 to $590 on June 6th.

When an asset doubles in a matter of months, it tends to attract attention.  The cryptocurrency Ether (part of the Ethereum platform) doubled from around $7 in April to roughly $14 in early June.

Are these cryptocurrencies mere fads? Or are they potentially game-changing alternatives to the conventional currencies such as the U.S. dollar, Chinese RMB, Japanese yen or European Union euro? » Read more

Insider

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Will Cryptocurrencies Soar as the Global Economy Falters?

The reasons why they very well may
Friday, June 10, 2016, 5:50 PM

Executive Summary

  • How will increasing capital controls around the world affect demand for cryptocurrencies?
  • The big banks and corporations are embracing the blockchain. Will that make it harder to ban cryptocurrencies?
  • With far less than 1% of the population holding cryptocurrencies, how large is the remaining updside?
  • What the future may hold for bitcoin and its digital brethren

If you have not yet read An Everyman's Guide To Understanding Cryptocurrencies, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we sketched a brief overview of cryptocurrencies and their potential role as a means of transferring and thus preserving capital from depreciating currencies in destabilized economies to more secure currencies/assets elsewhere in the world.

The Rise of Capital Controls Fuels the Use of Cryptocurrencies

As governments actively devalue their currencies (thereby making everyone using the currency poorer), their citizenry with financial capital are forced to seek ways to move their at-risk wealth into other currencies or assets.

China is a prime example of this trend. As the U.S. dollar has soared 20+%, China’s currency has strengthened along with the USD due to the yuan being pegged to the USD. In response, China must devalue its currency to maintain the global competitiveness of its export sector.

Faced with a massive loss of purchasing power, China’s wealthy class has moved their wealth and their families out of China. This flood of capital has pushed up housing prices in favored markets such as Vancouver B.C. and west coast cities in the U.S.

The sums being transferred abroad are non-trivial. Estimates range into the trillions of dollars. Many observers see the rise of capital controls as... » Read more

Podcast

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Mike Maloney: The Rollercoaster Crash

An updated look on the coming global currency re-set
Sunday, November 22, 2015, 12:53 PM

Precious metals sank to 5-year lows during this past week. The long painful price decline that began at the end of 2011 still continues unabated. Holders of gold & silver are understandably wondering if their faith in precious metals has been misplaced. » Read more

Insider

The Future of Money

Which new systems will rise from the ashes?
Thursday, April 9, 2015, 2:02 PM

Executive Summary

  • Money functions as a store of value and a means of exchange, but it's possible to have 2 forms (or more) of money simultaneously serving as each
  • Having complementary forms of money can provide more resilience to a monetary system - history has a number of examples of this
  • A key success factor of such systems is that the forms of money are NOT issues and controlled by the State
  • Which new forms of money will arise when the current State fiat money regimes fail

If you have not yet read Part 1: The Fatal Flaw Of Centrally-Issued Money available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Separating Money’s Two Functions

Money has two basic functions: it is a store of value (that is, it holds its purchasing power long after you obtain it in trade for goods and services) and it is a means of exchange: there has to be enough in circulation to grease the exchange of goods and services.

Though we are accustomed to one form of money playing both of these roles, there is no reason why each function can’t be served by separate kinds of money—that is, one for exchange and one as a store of value.

This is precisely what we find in the historical record, where bills of exchange, letters of credit (in essence, credit money), paper chits from retailers and other ephemeral means of exchange greased trade while gold and silver or other scarce materials served as stores of value.

As anthropologist David Graeber established in his book Debt: The First 5,000 Years, money arose not from barter—the usual assumption—but from the rise of credit-based exchange and debt recorded on clay tablets, notched sticks or parchment.

In Graeber’s view, the key feature of money used for exchange is that it always has an end buyer.  The intrinsically worthless chit issued by a retailer can serve as money through dozens of transactions because everyone trusts that the issuer—the retailer—will accept the chit as being worth an established amount of goods, i.e. purchasing power.

If Joe’s Market issues a chit that can be traded for a can of beans, you and I can exchange that chit as payment of debt or purchase of some other good or service because we know we can always exchange the chit for a can of beans.  The chit serves as money.

When gold and silver were scarce in... » Read more

Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 2/2 - Realtor Accepts Bitcoin for Property, Western U.S. Fears Worst In Drought

Sunday, February 2, 2014, 12:36 PM
  • Canadian Realtor Accepts Bitcoin Deposits for Residential Properties
  • N.C. startup develops a way to turn sand into bricks with bacteria instead of heat
  • Dr. Craig Roberts Interview
  • Spurred by Global Crises, Germany Weighs a More Muscular Foreign Policy
  • Severe Drought Has U.S. West Fearing Worst
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The Wisdom of Looking Like an Idiot Today

Now is the time to act with the courage of our convictions
Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 10:42 AM

Perhaps you still remember the speed and depth of the 2008 credit crisis' arrival, and its toxic impact on asset prices, jobs, and overall trust in the financial system. Maybe you took notes during the preceding tech and housing bubbles and their aftermath. If so, you likely swore that "Never again!" would you put your wealth at risk during such obvious times of public mania.

So, if this sounds at all like you, five years after the 2008 crisis, how is the "prudent" strategy looking today? » Read more