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Is Karatbit and Karatbars a scam?
On Tuesday 16th July, just a few weeks ago I was invited to attend a Karatbit, Karatbars/Karatbank presentation. The presentation was touting everything including a blockchain mobile phone. Someone had approached me over the weekend to investigate an investment, they had made with Karatbit/Karatbars. I attended the presentation with some research which, to be honest, was not that favourable to the company but nevertheless still went with an open mind. KaratBank, a Singapore-based financial organization, has propelled another digital currency that it claims is bound to real physical gold. Is this a progressive thought – or a trick? KaratBank, an organization located in Singapore, has quite recently declared the dispatch of KaratBank Coins (KBC), another digital currency it said is attached to gold. Be that as it may, not just the cost of gold, as different monetary forms — to real bits of gold: they're embedded in plastic cards or banknotes. In any event, that is the way it appears upon first sight. KaratBank is a sister company of KaratBars International, located in Germany. KaratBars really sells gold in exceptionally small quantities (like 0.1g to 1g bullions), inserted into plastic cards (Karatbars) or money like notes (CashGold). The notes are famously overpriced: back when 1 gram of gold was $40, the 1g CashGold note cost $65. As per KaratBank whitepaper, 10,000 KBC can be traded for 0.1g CashGold notes. The initial coin offering kicked off earlier this year and proceeded until March 21, with the ICO starting March 22 (1 KBC = $0.05), Coin Telegraph reports. Be that as it may, KaratBars International as an organization is emphatically connected with scams. A basic search for KaratBars on Google returns three connections with the word "scam" in them on the first page. KaratBars was prohibited in Canada in 2014 over an Autorité des marchés agents (AMF) with a Scam warning. The Canadian government found that KaratBars executes some kind of multi-layered marketing (MLM), or "pyramid" scheme organisation that urged individuals to get new recruits and profit from their sales, promising a return of $15,000 to $136,000 every month. In any case, Is KaratBank is a different story? All things considered, yes and no. Upon a more intensive look at the organization's whitepaper, one finds the following: "United States of America citizens, residents (tax or otherwise) or green card holders, as well as residents of Canada, the People's Republic of China or the Republic of Singapore, are not qualified to partake in the KaratBank ICO." As indicated by the Behind MLM site, the explanation behind this may lie in the way that those nations have actualized strict regulation on ICOs, and KaratBank does not have any desire to have anything to do with them. "ICOs are not unlawful in the US or Canada. In the US, however, ICOs are ordinarily viewed as securities and require registration with the [Securities and Exchange Commission]," the site reads. "Singapore hasn't prohibited ICOs however it is one of the nations KaratBars International works in through the shell companies KaratPay and KaratBars Singapore. Singapore regulators closing those organizations down would cripple KaratBars International. The board most likely figure it's best not to take any risks." To work lawfully in any purview, KaratBars International would need to register itself with the proper securities regulator in that jurisdiction, which the organization appears to need to abstain from, raising doubts. From one's point of view what is disheartening is that blockchain is a great new technology and companies like this seem to mix their existing business with cryptocurrencies. Knowing full well that the general public does not really understand cryptocurrencies, let alone blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). As a blockchain consultant, one feels obligated to pose some questions anyone thinking of getting involved should be asking. At the presentation, I heard the presenters say “ Karatbars is giving its members the opportunity to buy gold in small quantities. They also encourage you to save in gold instead of paper money. This can easily be done by buying as little as 0.1 gram of gold or 1 gram - 2.5 gram or 5 grams.” They said members can keep their gold in Karatbars' vault or ask them to send it to you. Cash gold is the most popular form of buying gold as the gold is embedded in a banknote. 24kt gold 99.9% pure makes it easier for anyone to accumulate wealth. Karatbars is also involved in cryptocurrency and got their own coins, namely KBC and KCB coins. I'm going to get very deep into this, but the main thing to remember is that they say, “these coins are increasing in value and that it is backed by gold”. whereas and another Cryptocurrency is backed by nothing. As a self-proclaimed proponent of blockchain and a graduate of Digital Forensics, I feel obligated to say a few words about this presentation on Karatbit or at least as a conscious citizen of this global world of technology users. Blockchain is a magnificent emerging technology that can be harnessed to do so many things. But most importantly it is a technology that provides one single source of truth. If groups are using this single source of truth technology to spread untruths, someone concerned must come out to say something. Blockchain is a technology that can put everyone on an even playing field but it seems very few understand it. The individuals with even the fleeting basic understanding can influence the general public perception of cryptocurrencies. This leads me to ask a great quote from a book called Richest Man in Babylon …. “if you want advice on investing in expensive jewels, why would you go to a butcher?” The following is what the masses are being manipulated to attach their hopes and dreams. It is that “a further drop in the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has recently left investors nursing heavy losses. Many proponents are holding out for a new breakout “if their digital assets can go mainstream.” The most important part of that statement is “if their digital assets can go mainstream”. This made me ask some questions about Karatbit and this is what I came up with. Something is fishy!! Can someone clarify the following? Claim 1: Gold mine worth $900 million provides security. Can’t find any official source as proof. Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyKQIckXyIU Claim 2: Backed by a gold mine in Africa Can’t find any official source as proof. Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5Q3ZvR4b04 Claim 3: Audit report by MM Revisors for a gold mine in Madagascar Can’t find proof that MM Revisors exists. Not sure if this report was published by Karatbars Int (can’t find it on their official website), but this is being circulated by some investors as if it were. Reference: https://karatbars-me.webnode.es/\_files/200000070-01d6002d18/audit.pdf Claim 4: Karatcoin Bank is a fully licensed crypto bank and is situated in Miami Can’t find proof that they are registered as a licensed financial institute in Miami, Florida. Can’t find Karatcoin Bank as a registered corporation, but found Karat Coin Corp. Reference: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResults?inquiryType=EntityName&searchNameOrder=KARATBANK&searchTerm=Karatbank Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXip2Fizz5U&t=152s Claim 5: Not a pyramid scheme Karatbit describes this as an affiliate program but clearly is a pyramid scheme at best, see links below; Canada: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/karatbars-quebec-activities-covered-by-prohibition-orders-514201571.html Namibia: https://economist.com.na/43874/extra/karatbars-international-is-a-scamsays-central-bank/ Netherlands: https://www.afm.nl/en/nieuws/2014/mei/waarschuwing-karatbars Claim 6: 100KBC = 1g of Gold at $40 per gram (1 KBC = $0.40) (guaranteed) Total supply = 12,000,000,000 KBC (can’t find figures of circulating, so using supply instead) Total gold needed to cover buy back of all coins: 12,000,000,000 / 100 = 120 000 000g = 120 tons (South Africa as a whole produced 139.9 tons of Gold in 2017). Total money needed to buy back all the coins: 120 000 000g x $40 = $4.8 Billion Can’t find proof that they have 120 tons of gold in storage (or backed up by the mines as claimed) or that they are at least worth $4.8 Billion to buy the gold? Taking a more conservative approach: According to icobench.com, they raised $100 000 000 with their ICO from 60% of the total supply. Let’s assume the 60% of 12,000,000,000 is in circulation. This equals to 7,200,000,000 KBC. Total gold needed for the buyback of 7,200,000,000 KBC: 7,200,000,000 / 100 = 72 000 000g = 72 tons Total money needed to buy back all coins: 72 000 000g x $40 = $2.88 Billion Loss for buying back the KBC that were sold during the ICO: $100,000,000 - $2,880,000,000 = - $2,780,000,000 A potential loss of $2,78 Billion!!! Or am I taking crazy pills? Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgeHjhlMfn0 Reference: https://icobench.com/ico/karatgold-coin Claim 7: This Forbes.com article gives credibility to the KBC coin This article was written by a Contributor. Reference: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joresablount/2019/05/31/10-blockchain-companies-to-watch-in-2019/#308b507e543f There is no traditional editing of contributors’ copy, at least not prior to publishing. If a story gets hot or makes the homepage, a producer will “check it more carefully,” DVorkin said. Reference: https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2012/what-the-forbes-model-of-contributed-content-means-for-journalism/ “Blogging for Forbes requires being what is commonly referred to as a "self-starter." So far, nobody has said, "Um, you can't do that," or, "Oh, my God, no!" Reference: https://www.forbes.com/sites/susannahbreslin/2011/04/06/how-to-become-a-forbes-blogge#231bb9972862 “Warning over 'scammers paradise' as watchdog reveals victims lost £27m to bitcoin, cryptocurrency and forex frauds last year” • Some 1,850 cases were reported to Action Fraud, a 250% increase on 2017-18 • Victims lost an average of £14,600 - with fewer than 1 in 20 getting money back • Investors are often initially told they've made a profit • They are then encouraged to put in more money - at which point the fraudsters run off with their cash Potential victims have been warned over bogus online 'get rich quick' schemes as it emerged people lost more than £27million to cryptocurrency and foreign exchange scams last year. Fraudsters promise high returns to those who invest, according to Action Fraud and the Financial Conduct Authority. Victims lost an average of £14,600 in 2018-19 and stand little chance of getting their money back. Reports of cryptocurrency and forex investment scams increased by nearly 250 per cent in 2017-18, from 530 to nearly 1,850. The scams work by criminals promoting get-rich-quick online trading platforms through social media. Posts often use fake celebrity endorsements and images of luxury items like expensive watches and cars. Beat the scammers: These then link to professional-looking websites where consumers are persuaded to invest. Often investors are led to believe their first investment has successfully returned a profit, and are then enticed to invest more money or introduce friends in return for greater profits. But the returns stop, the customer account is closed, and the scammer disappears with no further contact. 'Anyone handing over their hard-earned cash should make sure they understand what they're getting into, they've checked it's a legitimate investment, and not rely on hype and excitement from friends or social media. 'Investing isn't a get-rich-quick scheme - and anything that uses fear of missing out or requires you to invest before thinking is best to be avoided.' Those considering an investment to check the following for tips on how to avoid investment fraud at www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart. Scammers can be very convincing so always do your own research into any firm you are considering investing with, to make sure that they are the real deal. 'It's vital that people carry out the necessary checks to ensure that an investment they're considering is legitimate. UK consumers are being increasingly targeted by crypto asset-related investment scams. Certain crypto assets, like Bitcoin and Ether (also known as cryptocurrencies), are not regulated in the UK. This means that buying, selling or transferring these crypto-assets falls outside FCA remit. The same is true for the operation of a cryptocurrency exchange. However, some types of crypto-asset products may be or may involve regulated investments depending on their nature and how they are structured. For example, firms that sell regulated investments with an underlying crypto asset element may need to be authorised by the FCA to do so. In recent months, the FCA claims it has received an increasing number of reports about crypto-asset investment scams. Some of them may involve regulated activities, others don’t, but all use similar tactics. How crypto-asset investment scams work Cryptoasset fraudsters tend to advertise on social media – often using the images of celebrities or well-known individuals to promote cryptocurrency investments. In this case, laughably they said KaratBit was endorsed by Barak Obama’s sister. Who is she and what does she know about cryptocurrencies and blockchain? The ads then link to professional-looking websites. Consumers are then persuaded to make investments with the firm using cryptocurrencies or traditional currencies. The firms operating the scams are usually based outside the UK but will claim to have a UK presence, often a prestigious City of London address. Scam firms can manipulate software to distort prices and investment returns. They may scam people into buying the non-existent crypto asset. They are also known to suddenly close consumers’ online accounts and refuse to transfer the funds to them or ask for more money before the funds can be transferred. Action Fraud has also issued a warning on cryptocurrency scams. How to protect yourself Be wary of adverts online and on social media promising high returns on investments in a crypto asset or crypto asset-related products. Most firms advertising and selling investments in crypto-assets are not authorised by the FCA. This means that if you invest in certain crypto assets you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong. The FCA doesn’t regulate crypto assets like Bitcoin or Ether which are vastly the most recognized cryptocurrencies, let alone KBC, they do regulate certain crypto-asset derivatives (such as futures contracts, CFDs and options), as well as those crypto assets I would consider securities. A firm must be authorised by FCA to advertise or sell these products in the UK – check FCA Register to make sure the firm is authorised. You can also check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid. You should do further research on the product you are considering and the firm you are considering investing with. Check with Companies House to see if the firm is registered as a UK company and for directors' names. To see if others have posted any concerns, search online for the firm's name, directors' names and the product you are considering. If you’ve already decided you want to invest in gold, this might not be a bad company to side with. But if you’re just looking for an opportunity to earn a sustainable income and become financially independent, there are better options out there.
There are several potential tipping points, but my favorite one is a large corporation accepting Bitcoin.
Amazon has an incredibly small operating margin, less than 1% - They have more than that in transaction costs, so if they were to accept Bitcoins for product and offer Bitcoins as payment to their affiliates it would cause a rush of other companies to jump onboard for the same reasons.
Once that happens with one large company, it sets a precedent. Doing something new is scary, and when the regulatory environment is uncertain like it is with Bitcoin the choice to accept could potentially cost you a lot of money later if it's retroactively made not OK and the value of the currency plummets.
But once a company like Amazon or Google jumps in, they have enough political swing and momentum that attacking Bitcoin becomes attacking them, and they'll fight that tooth and nail if it's saving them money.
Another example of a tipping point would be a country, ANY country, adopting it as their formal currency OR issuing a new currency with Bitcoins as the transparent backing of it. With bitcoin you can have a functional gold standard, because the gold doesn't need to be hidden from sight.
It is the hiding that makes gold standards dangerous - The people who issue currency with the gold as backing have no reason to issue the correct amount when only they know how much is out there, and how much gold they have.
There are already really small niche sites you can trade Bitcoin at leverage with, but it's just a bad idea. With a "normal" commodity market, like say chickens, if you think chickens are undervalued and want to profit from them you can buy forward production of say, a million chickens. Then when the option comes due, if you're on the profitable side of the trade you can essentially sell it for cash and the chickens never need to be delivered. In that way, it almost doesn't matter if the chickens ever existed to begin with because you never intended to take posession. With Bitcoin, it's different - Converting a bitcoin options contract into US dollars, yen, whatever actually is more expensive and time consuming than just "accepting delivery" of the bitcoins themselves. You can still sell them for whatever currency you want, but it is at the time of your choosing rather than at the point of settlement. What that means is that if you sell an option and the Bitcoins don't really exist, you could be screwed. You either default or buy them at market price which can be very painful given how volatile the pricing is right now. It is a bad idea to play with leverage in Bitcoin because if you lose, you potentially lose very big. Additionally, it's bad to buy an option because you introduce the possibility of the counterparty (supply) not being able to deliver, whereas if you just bought Bitcoins you have the Bitcoins.
Cryptocurrencies (of which Bitcoin is the most prominent) are the first real competition to the types of money we've used all our lives. With Dollars, Yen, Whatever - Ultimately there are a handful of people who get to decide how and why the currency should be managed.
If they did a good job, it might be fine - But the reality is the decision made affecting all users of the currency are to the benefit of a very few , at the cost of the many.
Bitcoin is different - The rules that govern it, are the rules that govern it. Nobody can break them, and if they're ever broken it's because more than 51% of the distributed power in the system (anyone can buy a mining rig and join this group). For me, that's incredibly important. Rules should apply evenly to everyone because otherwise they're not rules at all.
Local communities can benefit because it removes payment processors from merchant relationships, removes chargeback risk, and basically acts like Cash on the internet.
Discounts :) We've been talking about the deflationary business model, and during this period where the value is going to go up pretty fast (over the next several years) as adoption ramps up, businesses are going to be giving major discounts to those who choose to spend them.
From the merchants perspective, this is actually a huge win - They get to have lower prices than their US Dollar (or local currency) competitors, and the value of the Bitcoins they receive goes up over time instead of going down with printed currencies. Once this becomes pervasive in the Bitcoin economy, it will mean that even at those discounted prices they are STILL profitable because their suppliers are also offering them discounts to pay in Bitcoin.
Right now we're at the beginning of this cycle, you can see BitcoinStore.com is attempting it (Disclosure - They have sponsored us in the past, we run a 30s advertisement for them per show) but it's hard to be the first one doing it because it looks like you're sacrificing yourself when really it's just the model that makes the most sense.
I put out a call for staff several months ago, Andreas found me through that and joined the team initially as a correspondent providing expertise and commentary while Mt.Gox was having a lot of problems. Once we re-started the show as a twice-weekly, he graciously offered to join the hosting staff and gladly took him up on it.
I found Stephanie through her show Porc therapy, and a listener named Justus - He mentioned she did voicework, and I hired her to do some of our early introductions and advertising spots. When we went through the re-organization I offered her an occasional hosting role, and never bothered finding other hosts because I was so happy with our dynamic and varied viewpoints.
Both of the other hosts on the show are real professionals, and it's been my distinct pleasure to work with them.
We started off using Skype, Virtual Audio Cables (VAC) and Adobe Audition (creative suite)
Now we use Mumble instead of Skype, but the rest is the same.
I edit the host segments for content (sometimes we go on and on and on) and I edit the interviews for presentation, rarely removing any content. Many times the skillset that enables you to have a really smart idea is not the same skillset that lets you present that idea, perfectly, the first time. Our interview subjects tell me all the time "I love how smart I sound" and I get to say "You are smart, I just removed the brain processing noises"
Is there outrage against people who bought Apple stock at $30? Bitcoin is a currency that right now, and for the next few years, acting like an IPO. People who got in early got in cheap, but there was a whole lot of risk because people weren't using it much, there wern't vendors accepting it, so the use case is much more speculative.
We're very much still in the early adoption phase right now - Less than %.01 of internet users are Bitcoin users, as that number grows while the number of coins being added to the total pool grows at a much slower rate, the price per coin has to go up. If Bitcoin fails and everybody abandons it, this works the opposite way - but it actually solves a number of problems (microtransactions, fees, international money transfers, automated payment systems) so I'm not super concerned about that.
One of my favorite quotes, by Douglas Adams.
>It is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto non-existent >blindingly obvious. The cry 'I could have thought of that' is a very >popular and misleading one, for the fact is that they didn't, and a very >significant and revealing fact it is too.
China has lots of restrictive controls on their local currency, so Bitcoin has a real use case there. This is one of many scenarios where given even 1% adoption, the price must go very much above where it is now.
Yes, if you already have the specific betting addresses it doesn't matter where you are in the world. It is only the website that does not allow US IPs, they did this to be very clear they were trying to respect the US gambling laws.
I spoke with Erik Voorhees about this among other things at the conference, you can find that interview here Link to letstalkbitcoin.com
But the development team has made it clear they're moving towards a market-based mechanism where Miners set the minimum transaction fee they will accept, and process on a first-come/highest-fee model. People who want their transaction to process fast will put a higher fee and it will be prioritized, while people who don't care about delivery time will be able to send no fee and be subsidized by those paying higher fees.
In the same way the automobile changed the horse-and-buggy system as they knew it. If you play out the logic, one functionally obsoletes the other. I was talking with a financial reporter the other day who has been coming around to bitcoin, and he said to me "You know, if they were building the banking system from scratch today I think this is pretty close to what it would look like"
Andreas answered a question below about bitcoin and self driving cars, fixing spam on the internet by using Bitcoin addresses with tiny amounts of BTC in them to prove you're a real person and not a single-use bot, there are so many crazy and impossible things that become actually probable when you're talking in the context of a world built on decentralized, rules-based, cryptographically secured, instantly transmittable, person to person internet cash.
I have never been so hopeful for our future as I am now that I've thrown my days into bitcoin. Bitcoin 2013 was a fine conference and a wonderful experiance, so many very smart people have quit their jobs or left their studies to do the same thing I have.
We know we're building the future, and it's a better one than we have today.
I would agree with you. Until recently it's been impossible to use Bitcoins on a "dumb cell phone" - That changed recently with Link to phoneacoin.com and others.
Bitcoin solves problems that the world has had for decades, it takes the power to destroy the currency away from government so they cannot do it no matter how much they want to, or how desperately they think they need to.
No government wants to destroy a currency, they just don't want to acknowledge they've trapped themselves with debt and have no way out.
The true creator is not known, he went by a false name "Satoshi".
He actually holds about 250,000 coins if I recall correctly because he was the first miner. Bitcoin is a protocol, a set of rules. It's open source, and anyone who wants to look at it can see that there is not a mechanism to just create more coins by typing in a magic word. There are no commissions, although there are fees that go to the miners who process and verify transactions.
It depends on the mesh. If the mesh was never connected to the internet, it would be a parralel Bitcoin network able to transact with itself but if it was ever connected to the larger network any conflicting transactions would be "lost" as the two ledgers (the big one, and the disconnected one) try to reckon their differences. Only one winner, so that means there is a loser.
More interesting might be disconnected communities running their own fork or version of Bitcoin, that way if they're ever connected it can be an exchange process (trading their coins for "bitcoins" rather than a reckoning (Seeing who has a bigger network and canceling out transactions on the smaller one that conflict)
1 - Yes! Once everyone who has purchased Bitcoin has purchased them, the price will stabilize. In practice this will start happening long before absolute stability, and as soon as people start thinking about prices in terms of BTC instead of their local currency it almost doesn't matter.
2 - "The Feds" are not the only ones who can issue currency - They have legal tender laws which mean people MUST accept their money, but nothing prevents you from circulating a voluntary currency like Bitcoin.
No. Paypal again is the proverbial horse-drawn-buggy manufacturer- Sure they might go to the worlds faire and while observing the new fangled automobiles say to themselves 'we might integrate this into our existing machines!' when the fact is that it obsoletes those existing machines.
Paypal makes their money by standing in the middle of transactions collecting fees, Bitcoin serves its function by connecting people who want to do commerce directly to one-another, and what fees are paid are a tiny fraction of what Paypal does. If paypal accepted Bitcoin, it would not be Bitcoin any more because they would have mechanisms to freeze accounts at the very least to mitigate risk. That is not possible with Bitcoin by itself.
Mostly Bitcoin 2013 was an opportunity for people building the future of Bitcoin to meet each other and network. There were speakers talking about a wide variety of issues, and vendors of Bitcoin services who were showing their latest innovations and systems.
For people brand new, www.weusecoins.com is a good place to start For people who want to learn how it works, www.letstalkbitcoin.com/learn will direct you to the Bitcoin Education Project, which is a series of free and very high quality lectures that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know and more about Bitcoin, How it works, and all the little sub-topics that you'll eventually want to learn about.
The pitch is "It's like cash that lives on the internet, and is as easy to spend on the internet as buying a candybar in a store with a dollar"
Bitcoins are your property, it's illegal for someone to steal your property whether it is money or not. Right now there is little that can be done about theft, but eventually I expect a class of "Blockchain Forensic Investigators" to emerge who will track down your stolen coins for a % based fee.
Because you can't divide a gold coin into .0001 without incurring cost and expense. That's not the case with Bitcoin, so the deflationary aspect of it is largely moot.
There is a tendency to listen to modern "economics" which makes this arguement, saying that the money supply must expand because otherwise it drives down profitability in a race to the bottom.
I think in practice we'll find that people don't work against their own best interest, and while during the initial adoptions stages of Bitcoin there will be significant discounts offered to those who pay with Bitcoin vs. legacy currency, once the market becomes saturated and the price levels out those discounts will be scaled way back.
Right now it makes sense to heavily discount, because the expectation is that the value of the Bitcoins will go up during this period of adoption, that won't always be true and the discount is a reflection of anticipated future returns.
Was it bad when people saved money in banks that paid 10% interest? No, that's called capital formation. There is a thought that given a deflationary currency nobody will spend any money, that's nonsense. Just because your currency gains value over time doesn't mean that you no longer have costs that must be paid for. What Deflationary currencies do is say "Ok, you could spend it on that, but is it worth it relative to what you'll gain by not?"
That's a good thing. Our system right now works on the opposite theory - Spend money NOW because if you're dumb enough to keep it in the bank it will actually lose value over time between the couple points of "official" inflation and less than 1% artifical interest rates. The situation is like this now because the fed is trying to make people spend as much money as possible with the hope that the flows will "restart the economic engine"
Too bad this isn't how things work, not that it'll stop us from trying it over and over again.
Honestly? No. Bitcoin would be great in this role, but governments around the world rely on their ability to expand the money supply (print money, or sell debt) in order to fund their deficits. They also manipulate interest rates to be low so that debt is very inexpensive.
Bitcoin doesn't have a central control mechanism, so there is no group or person who can say "OK - the interest rate is 1%" - If that's really what the interest rate wants to be based on market forces, it'll be that - But if not, there isn't much anyone can do to stop it.
We use Basecamp, and it really depends. Right now we have a show prep thread that has 30+ posts in it for episode 11, we'll probably use 5 of those.
The agenda is really basic - As we get near recording time topics are selected (generally by me, but I like to get the other hosts to do it since they provide most of the commentary in Host segments) and I form a schedule, then we run through the recording session hitting each topic.
Over the last weeks we've brought two researchers onto the team, so that has helped a TON.
Not having seen it but knowing TV, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say "not very well" Satoshi has not been identified, was a throw-away identity that was cryptographically secured, so probably never will.
I'll be speaking at an event in NYC on July 30, there will be one or two meetups while I'm there. There is also an event in October in Atlanta. I remember talking with a guy at Bitcoin2013 wearing a shirt that said "BitcoinChicago" so I'd suggest looking for a user-group.
We're planning on doing Q&As often, but none of us are really near Chicago so it's tough. Happy to do virtual Q&As over skype, live or recorded.
There are two camps. Some people think that regulation is inevitable, and since it's going to happen anyways it's better to participate in the process and try to make it less bad. The other side thinks that by participating, you accept their authority to regulate it when really they have no right to regulate money and have proven to do a very bad job at it now for quite a number of years.
As a wild guess number I'd say $1000 or less than a dollar. Very little middleground because if it's regulated out of existence it will still exist, but be hard to find and cheap - If adoption continues to path the price should accelerate with wild spikes up and down.
Don't panic, invest for the long term, and don't buy any more than you can afford to lose 100% of because there are still things that could dramatically reduce the price of bitcoin (mostly regulatory stuff, I answered this elsewhere in the thread)
I'm really excited to be able to be a journalist in such an exciting field in a time when journalism is under attack. Not sure if you've been following the so-called "AP scandal" but now is a weird time to be trying to report the truth in this world, and we couldn't have picked a more controversial topic to the global macro picture.
Because the pie is only so large, the more people who have computers devoted to the work just each get a smaller and smaller piece.
The rate of issuance for Bitcoin is currently 25 bitcoins every 10 minutes. Only one person or pool gets the whole 25 bitcoins, it's a race to find them. If there are 10 people looking, chances are pretty good you'll find some. If there are 100,000,000 people looking, chances are much less good that you'll find them first, but if there are that many people looking those 25 coins are probably worth a whole lot more.
The system is self balancing in this way, unlike the government currency system where they create 65 billion USD worth of new value every month to buy mortgage backed securities for face value to try and prop up the market. With more than a trillion USD being added in this way each year, how can a government currency retain its value?
JPMorgan Bitcoin Analyst Report Part 2 - Full Text (sorry, no graphs)
Part 1: http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1xmo61/jpmorgan_bitcoin_analyst_report_part_1_full_text/ Part 3: http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1xmoax/jpmorgan_bitcoin_analyst_report_part_3_full_text/ MAKING MONEY THE OLD FASHIONED WAY A discussion of bitcoin should begin with an Economics 101 refresher on money – what it is, how it is created and why we hold it. The classic definition of money is anything that serves as medium of exchange, unit of account and store of value. A medium of exchange can be anything deliverable for a good or service, whether a mundane object, a precious metal or piece of paper. In allcases, users value the medium because employing it is more efficient than bartering. A unit of account is a way of measuring value from a common reference point, thus also facilitating commerce because goods can be compared more easily. (Recall the euro’s usefulness in this regard since now prices in Europe are comparable across 18 countries.) A store of value is just a way of holding wealth until it is exchanged for goods and services or lent or given to someone else. For centuries precious metals, or paper currencies convertible into metal at a fixed rate, served these three functions. But followers of financial history know the limitation of a system based on a fixed or slow-growing money supply: it imposes uncomfortable financial discipline on governments, households and corporates. Hence the progressive debasement of pure gold coins with alloys; the global abandonment of the gold standard during the financial strains during World War I; and the US government’s suspension of the dollar’s gold convertibility given fiscal and balance of payments pressure from the Vietnam War. Today most countries employ fiat currencies, or paper and coins with no intrinsic worth whose perceived value stems from government declaration (or fiat) collective belief. The government creates demand for a currency by declaring it legal tender, meaning it must be accepted as payment for all debts and it will be used in any transactions between the government and other agents. Consumers and corporates accept this fiat currency because it is a requirement for settling all debts public (paying taxes) and private. The government attempts to guard the value of money by maintaining a monopoly on its production to avoid counterfeiting, and by establishing a central bank with a mandate to manage its supply responsibly over time. While this system may sound like blithe existence in The Matrix, this relationship amongst government, central bank, households, corporates and fiat currencies is much more efficient than an alternative like barter. It also makes macroeconomic shocks much easier to manage than an alternative like the gold standard (recall the deflation of the Great Depression and more recently peripheral Europe). BITCOIN AS BETTER MONEY Bitcoin proposes an alternative, however. If – despite their mandates – the world's biggest central banks risk inflation and currency debasement via the rapid expansion of their balance sheets, and if even European governments still impose capital controls (Cyprus), couldn’t a non-state entity more responsibly supply a fiat-like currency to the world? And if this currency were created and exchanged digitally amongst peers of consumers and corporates, it would have the additional advantage of avoiding the fees imposed by financial intermediaries as well as the loss of privacy inherent in third-party payments systems. Hence the purported appeal of a virtual currency: a medium of exchange, a unit of account and a store of value without the alleged recklessness, capriciousness, siphoning and snooping inherent in traditional systems. Even leaving aside this caricature of bitcoin's underlying philosophy, there is something compelling about the idea. Simple in theory, but more complex in practice. Consider the infrastructure of a traditional monetary and payments system to highlight what bitcoin attempts to replace. A traditional financial system is a national network comprising a central bank owned by a government, which creates money by physically printing currency and minting coins, or by electronically creating bank reservess. That money is used by households, consumers and the government to facilitate trade and investment via a payments system of banks and other financial intermediaries (think PayPal, Visa, Western Union and in some countries, the post office). Financial intermediaries provide numerous services of varying complexity, but their role in the payments system is simple: verify that Customer A has sufficient funds to pay Customer B, then securely transfer ownership of that money between accounts. For assuming that verification and transfer risk, intermediaries levy a fee. Bitcoin performs these functions of money creation, payment verification and fund transfer quite differently. Its network is international and comprises miners who create the currency and users who obtain the currency to buy goods and services. There is no central monetary authority or regulator. There is also no financial intermediary for exchanging bitcoins for real products. The closest to an intermediary is an exchanger who will swap bitcoins for traditional fiat currencies like dollars, euros, yen or renminbi, like a forex dealer or futures exchange.7 Miners create bitcoins electronically by solving a mathematical algorithm released in 2009 by an unidentified programmer (or perhaps group of programmers) known by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Anyone can be a miner; they simply need to download the software required to interact with others on the network, and acquire hardware powerful enough to run the multitudinous calculations to solve the algorithm. Since the technology required to solve an increasingly complex algorithm grows over time, miners will probably be programming specialists rather than the average consumer or businessperson. Any individual or business can be a bitcoin user, however, by establishing an electronic account know as a wallet. This wallet is associated with a user's electronic address but not to any other identifying information such as their name, phone number or physical address. Thus bitcoin is a pseudonymous system rather than an anonymous one in that every user is known by something other than the legal names associated with traditional banking. To provide security as well as transact with other users, bitcoin employs cryptography which assigns two keys (alphanumeric codes) to each account – a private one known only to them and a public one known to all other users in the network. When two users wish to transact, they send a message to the network using their public keys signed by their private keys. This transaction forms part of a block chain or bundle of transactions entirely in the public domain along with all other historical bitcoin transactions performed in the network. Miners compete to verify that this trade is authentic via algorithms to confirm that indeed a user possesses the bitcoin and did not previously spend it. Programmers (miners) who solve the equations to authenticate a block of transactions receive 25 bitcoins increasing the money supply. Whenever the algorithm is solved, it becomes computationally more difficult so that the next attempt requires more time an effort (i.e. computing power). This feedback mechanism limits the growth rate of bitcoin supply, so is somewhat analogous to the production constraint on gold. The more that is mined, the greater the requirement to dig deeper pits, the greater effort required to extract the marginal ounce and the higher the price of the marginal ounce (or coin). The stock of bitcoins is arbitrarily set at 21 million units to be mined by 2140, 12 million of which have already been mined. At early-February market prices of about $700 per unit, the current bitcoin money supply has a value of about $8.5bn, equivalent to the market capitalisation of the Mauritius Stock Exchange. As complicated as this process is, it begins to address several acknowledged deficiencies of fiat currencies. It provides steady, predictable growth in the money supply. It eliminates the risk of capital controls because the network lacks a central authority. It provides verification of fund balances to avoid fraud. And it eliminates or at least significantly reduces transaction costs for payments because verifiers are rewarded through bitcoin creation. As fanciful – and indeed Matrix-like – as this bitcoin creation system sounds, perhaps it requires no more suspended disbelief than the traditional fiat system in which a government declares paper to have value and a central bank or national mint thus issues the specie. One doesn’t need to be the caricatured miscreant, Austrian economist or anarchist to appreciate the appeal of such a system.
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