Tag Archives: cryptocurrencies

Diary Blog, 14 June 2022, with developments re. Bitcoin and Ukraine

Morning music

On this day a year ago

Bitcoin

More or less what I predicted, 4-5 years ago, would be the ultimate outcome: see https://ianrobertmillard.org/2017/12/10/thoughts-about-bitcoin/.

Ukraine

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-61786949

All bridges to the embattled Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk have now been destroyed, the local governor says.

With the city effectively cut off, Serhiy Haidai says delivering supplies and evacuating civilians are now impossible.

Reports suggest that about 70% of the city is now under Russian control.

[BBC News].

The Russians will eventually control at least a third, maybe a half, of that part of Ukraine that lies east of the Dnieper river. If so, it will have been a victory bought at a tremendous cost in human and animal suffering and death. Few if any (on any side of the conflict) will be untroubled by what has happened. It could have been accomplished quicker, and in a far less brutal way. Too late now. The Russians have no choice but to continue to the bitter end.

On the above premises, it may be possible for Russian forces to take (or besiege, until surrender) Kharkov, Zaporozhye, and Dnipro. That would leave the Kiev regime ruling over only Kiev itself, Odessa, and Lvov, together with mainly rural western Ukraine.

More music

Tweets seen

Late tweets

What happens when a part-Jew clown and poseur lies and cheats and blags his unmerited way into the office of Prime Minister? What do you get? That’s right— a circus.

Britain 2022: imprisoned for a joke (in this case about a black who was never even in the UK), or for speaking in Whitehall to the effect that Britain should be cleansed of Jews (Jez Turner), or for lampooning Jewish behaviour in funny songs and animations (Alison Chabloz).

Meanwhile, serious real crimes are commonly dealt with by way of non-custodial sentences, or even by formal police caution.

Mad. The country is just going mad. Fast.

Seems that the USA is even more mad than the UK.

Eventually a complete purge of the West and East will be necessary.

Late music

Diary Blog, 9 June 2022

Morning music

On this day a year ago

The Bar continues to dig its own grave

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/legal-regulators-pledge-to-stamp-out-non-inclusive-misconduct-/5112701.article.

This (read that report) is a trend that has been going on for 2-3 decades now. I could recount numerous examples from my own experience. One of the least egregious would be that involving a pupil in my own chambers in Exeter (in the early/mid 1990s, I was practising in London, but after working and living in various places overseas from 1996-2002, returned to the practising Bar in SW England in mid-2002).

The pupil to whom I refer (and who shall be nameless, partly out of courtesy but equally because I have actually forgotten her name), was from Northern Ireland.

Now I have to say that I find the Northern Irish accent one of the most difficult in the UK to understand easily but, in addition to that, the girl in question had a pretty bad speech impediment.

You might ask why on Earth someone with a bad speech impediment wanted to go to the Bar in the first place, or was not sidetracked into other career options at an earlier stage, but there it is. Of course, not all barristers spend much of their time in court.

Now, said girl pupil was, like many Bar pupils, far more obliging and pleasant when a pupil (and no doubt trying to get along pleasantly with members of chambers) than she was once taken on as a tenant or —as I think she was, cannot now recall exactly— squatter (a quasi-tenant but with no rights of tenure). I myself only saw her in passing, really, but did note that, once she was actually working as barrister, she seemed rather abrasive, judging admittedly by the very few times I saw her at (though not in) court. I never had any trouble with her myself, and in fact saw little of her.

Now the interesting thing was that not only did chambers (notably in the person of the main Clerk to Chambers) champion that young woman, but claimed that instructing solicitors loved her. Well, maybe. Seems strange to me that someone with both a speech impediment and an accent that was more like a gargle could be at the English Bar doing court work, but there we are.

I harbour a suspicion that people tend to bend over backwards to be nice, so to speak, to the physically-disabled, as many do also to some of the ethnic minorities. That is fine as far as it goes, but not when it amounts to a kind of lie.

Incidentally, I seem to remember that the person noted above returned, in the end, to her native Ulster, and maybe left the practising Bar.

Digressing further, I happened, out of curiosity today, to look at the website of the successor chambers to the one to which I belonged in Exeter from 2002-2008 (and which, an amalgam of two or three sets, is now the largest in the South West outside Bristol). I saw that several people that I liked are still there, and I saw that not only (as I knew already) is my old head of chambers now “His Honour” (a Circuit Judge) but that someone else I knew in chambers, a former magistrates’ clerk, with an encylopaedic knowledge of some aspects of (in particular) criminal law, is now also “His Honour”. Unless it is just someone with an identical name, but I think not.

That last was a nice little man, very polite and pleasant, who wore his considerable knowledge lightly. I seem to recall that he had written a well-received book on sentencing. Glad to see that his knowledge and diligence has been rewarded.

I was amused to see that two people who had rather more than a spat in chambers are now both members of that set. I liked both of them. One was a then-young man who was very eager to progress chambers (my wife called him a “Young Turk” for his enthusiastic diligence, but in these dumbed-down times, I suppose I shall have to explain that he was not a real Turk!). He was married to a pretty young woman whom I believe I met once at some chambers reception or other.

The other barrister, also young, was an ex-solicitor whose grandfather had founded one of the largest firms of solicitors in the South West. A very pleasant person.

Those people, with others in chambers, used to go shooting together, an activity of which I thoroughly disapproved. I disapprove of all hurt done to animals, particularly for sport or “fun”. I even disapprove of shooting humans, under most circumstances. Ironically, most of those I liked best in chambers were the shooters.

Anyway, one day, those two members of chambers were out shooting when a pheasant fell onto the head of the wife of the “Young Turk” and knocked her out in the field. Whether that preceded or not the affair that she apparently had with the other young barrister, I know not. It later transpired that, after much bad blood, I was the only member of chambers to be unaware of the feud that ensued, my mind being occupied by other matters (or as my wife would say, “in the clouds”) and, also, the fact that I was, by then, only spending half the month in the UK, the rest in France and some other countries.

I suppose that the two former antagonists have either buried the hatchet or (and/or) come to the realistic conclusion that that set is more or less “the only game in town” (in Exeter) now. Time heals all wounds, they say (though I remain doubtful of that, speaking generally). The events in question were after all some 15 or 16 years ago now.

Tweets seen

and no need to mention the War (I mean ‘the vaccines‘)”…

Did that apply to freeloading “charity” bod Brendan Cox, and/or barrister and former scribbler Rupert Myers, or did their offences not even get to the stage of being investigated by police? See https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5404241/Jo-Coxs-husband-admits-sex-pest-resigns.html; https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/rupert-myers-being-publicly-shamed-pushed-me-to-the-edge-a3702711.html; https://london-post.co.uk/sleazy-journalist-rupert-myers-sacked-by-various-outlets-amidst-sexual-assault-allegations/.

At last, a reality check in the otherwise useless and in fact often deliberately untruthful UK msm.

I was blogging months ago that the forces of the Kiev regime would soon be running short of military resources, particularly fuel and ammunition.

J.H. Brennan

I discovered today that J.H. Brennan, whose early 1970s books Astral Doorways and Experimental Magic I owned from 1978 (when I was 21-22 y-o), is still alive, now aged 81: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Herbert_Brennan.

A pretty good writer, in my opinion, with an easy-reading style (judging by the few books of his that I have read).

More tweets seen

Interesting analysis, and I can agree with much of it, though I do not accept that neurotic bighead, Gordon Brown’s, bailout of the bank swine was right at all— better to have let them go bust, imprison the wealthy bankers, then step in to help those with say £200,000 or less on deposit; and let the affluent and wealthy go smoke.

I agree that the “austerity” nonsense of the part-Jews David Cameron-Levita and George Osborne was disastrous, causing misery to millions without in any way dealing with the real problems of the financial sector and “national debt”.

As to cryptocurrencies, it is true that they are “without intrinsic value“, but that is also true of conventional currencies. I took a look at all that years ago on the blog: see https://ianrobertmillard.org/2017/12/10/thoughts-about-bitcoin/.

If a sustained recession/slump/depression is around the corner, there yet might be time for social-nationalism to triumph. Remember 1929-1933…

Late tweets seen

That creature is Canada’s Minister of Justice?! He looks more like a refugee from the 1950s Phil Silvers Show.

Get Trudeau Out! Alternatively, just get Trudeau.

Late music

[Vladimir Volegov, Reading a Novel]

Thoughts about Bitcoin

First Remarks

I am not an economist; neither am I, at least in terms of occupation and/or formal training, an historian. I say that from the outset simply because it may be objected that, especially in terms of economics, I have no intellectual locus standi, despite the fact that most predictions made by economists turn out to be inaccurate. Also, “two economists, three opinions”…

Bitcoin

So, Bitcoin. Bitcoin was invented in 2008, possibly in Japan, by someone (or a group) whose provenance and even real name or names remain unknown:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin

What is Money, in any case?

Money is an almost metaphysical thing. Different societies have used seashells, precious metals etc as money, the key characteristic being the relative rarity of the commodity used. In China (in the 7th Century under the Tang dynasty), paper currency was invented, and later more widely introduced in the 11th Century (Song Dynasty), where it was encountered by Marco Polo and others, who introduced the idea to Europe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banknote

Paper currency was, at first and for a long time, backed or notionally backed by precious metals, notably gold. Paper money only became generally acceptable in Europe a thousand years after its invention in China. The natural scepticism of the people was overcome both by its convenience and by its credibility, that credibility not only bolstered by its supposed convertability into gold or silver but also by the draconian penalties visited upon those who counterfeited the notes.

These factors underpin all money, credibility or popular belief in its value being the core.

Speculative Bubbles

One could go wider and say that credibility and belief underpin all valuation of assets, whether money assets, real property or other property in which the population is impelled to invest. Time and again there have been speculative bubbles: in currencies, in shares, in housing, in undeveloped land, in metals and even in such things as tulip bulbs (17thC Holland).

A good history of these bubbles and other mass events of the sort was penned in 1841 after the South Sea Bubble and was reprinted after the Wall Street Crash of 1929: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (and reprinted since, eg in the early 1980s)..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_Popular_Delusions_and_the_Madness_of_Crowds

Since that book came out, since its 1930s reprinting, other bubbles have come and gone. Among the more noteworthy was the “Silver Bears” bubble of the 1970s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Thursday

and also many and various real property bubbles across the world.

Bitcoin Goes Viral

At first, back in 2008, Bitcoin was valueless, worth nothing at all. It was just electrical impulses on a machine, effectively. It was still of small value three years later:

“The price of bitcoins has gone through various cycles of appreciation and depreciation referred to by some as bubbles and busts.[129][130] In 2011, the value of one bitcoin rapidly rose from about US$0.30 to US$32 before returning to US$2.[131] In the latter half of 2012 and during the 2012–13 Cypriot financial crisis, the bitcoin price began to rise,[132]reaching a high of US$266 on 10 April 2013, before crashing to around US$50.[133] On 29 November 2013, the cost of one bitcoin rose to a peak of US$1,242.[134] In 2014, the price fell sharply, and as of April remained depressed at little more than half 2013 prices. As of August 2014 it was under US$600.” [Wikipedia]

Wikipedia continues:

“Ponzi scheme and pyramid scheme concerns

Various journalists,[79][144] economists,[145][146] and the central bank of Estonia[147] have voiced concerns that bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme. In 2013, Eric Posner, a law professor at the University of Chicago, stated that “a real Ponzi scheme takes fraud; bitcoin, by contrast, seems more like a collective delusion.”[148] A 2014 report by the World Bank concluded that bitcoin was not a ‘deliberate’ Ponzi scheme, but that it did thus far meet the “standard definition of a speculative bubble”.[149]:7 The Swiss Federal Council[150]:21 examined the concerns that bitcoin might be a pyramid scheme; it concluded that “Since in the case of bitcoin the typical promises of profits are lacking, it cannot be assumed that bitcoin is a pyramid scheme.” In July 2017, billionaire Howard Marks referred to bitcoin as a pyramid scheme.[151]

On 12 September 2017, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, called bitcoin a “fraud” and said he would fire anyone in his firm caught trading it. Zero Hedge claimed that the same day Dimon made his statement, JP Morgan also purchased a large amount of bitcoins for its clients.[152]

Speculative bubble dispute

Bitcoin has been labelled a speculative bubble by many including former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan[153] and economist John Quiggin.[154] Nobel Memorial Prize laureate Robert Shiller said that bitcoin “exhibited many of the characteristics of a speculative bubble”.[155] Journalist Matthew Boesler in 2013 rejected the speculative bubble label and saw bitcoin’s quick rise in price as nothing more than normal economic forces at work.[156] Timothy B. Lee, in a 2013 piece for The Washington Post pointed out that the observed cycles of appreciation and depreciation don’t correspond to the definition of speculative bubble.[131] On 14 March 2014, the American business magnate Warren Buffett said, “Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically.”[157]

Two lead software developers of bitcoin, Gavin Andresen[158] and Mike Hearn,[159] have warned that bubbles may occur. David Andolfatto, a vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, stated, “Is bitcoin a bubble? Yes, if bubble is defined as a liquidity premium.” According to Andolfatto, the price of bitcoin “consists purely of a bubble,” but he concedes that many assets “have bubble component to their price”.[53]:21 Speculation in bitcoin has been compared to the tulip mania of seventeenth-century Holland. Comparisons have been made by the vice-president of the European Central Bank, Vítor Constâncio, by JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon,[160] by hedge fund manager Ken Griffin of Citadel,[161] and by former president of the Dutch Central Bank, Nout Wellink.[162] In 2013, Wellink remarked, “This is worse than the tulip mania […] At least then you got a tulip [at the end], now you get nothing.”[163] On 13 September 2017, Jamie Dimon compared bitcoin to a bubble, saying it was only useful for drug dealers and countries like North Korea.[164] On 22 September 2017, a hedge fund named Blockswater subsequently accused JP Morgan of market manipulation and filed a market abuse complaint with Financial Supervisory Authority (Sweden).[165]

The Guardian, CNBC, Forbes and Evening Standard compared bitcoin to bubbles such as the South Sea Bubble, the Wall Street Crash, the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the Dot-com bubble.” [Wikipedia]

Current Situation

Bitcoin started to reach escape velocity in late 2016, going from hundreds of U.S. dollars to thousands. At time of writing (December 2017), a single Bitcoin is valued at over $14,000 [USD], or £10,500 [Pounds Sterling]. People who “invested” less than £100 several years ago have seen their stock suddenly rise to be “worth” as much as £100,000. Those who have risked more (in some cases a million pounds or more) now find themselves in theory able to buy small or even medium-size nation-states lock, stock and barrel.

What Do We Know About Bitcoin?

  • Bitcoin’s origins are obscure, to the extent that journalists and others have researched, investigated and written about the names of possible founders and organizers without having come to a definite conclusion;
  • Bitcoin is almost useless as a popular currency: its explosion in “value” has made it unusable for any transaction not involving, at the least, tens of thousands of pounds;
  • Bitcoin, though supposedly limited in overall amount or number, has seen security breaches which, at the push of a button (putting it simply), have at least briefly increased the supply of Bitcoin.

Conclusion

Bitcoin is a classic speculative bubble or, alternatively and perhaps even better put, pyramid scheme. The people who got in early and stayed in are sitting on mirage-fortunes; those who have “invested” more recently will probably lose everything they put in. At the moment of writing, Bitcoin is probably nearing its peak. When it starts to fall rapidly, the panic will probably wipe it out entirely.

The surely inevitable collapse of Bitcoin will take down more than just Bitcoin itself. It may affect the stability of the economy more generally. Beyond that, if (as Bitcoin proponents and/or “investors” say–and their anger at any criticism is perhaps born of subconscious desperation), Bitcoin is as “credible” as any “ordinary” currency (and that is Bitcoin’s strongest point), then the upcoming crash of Bitcoin could take with it much public confidence in the value of the world’s major currencies too. Our major currencies are no longer backed by gold or silver and have only the value we put upon them. We exchange stones for bread. Our currencies are themselves castles in the air and “such things as dreams are made on”.

We recall the hyperinflation of early 1920s Germany, and I myself saw, on several visits to 1980s Poland, how the slide of the zloty affected that country politically and socially. The fate of Bitcoin is not just about Bitcoin.

Update, 23 November 2018

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/bitcoin-price-crash-cryptocurrency-mining-bankrupt-china-bitmain-giga-watt-a8646821.html

Update, 18 February 2019

The course of Bitcoin trading in 2017 is examined (below)

https://www.coindesk.com/900-20000-bitcoins-historic-2017-price-run-revisited

At the time of writing of my own 2017 blog article, a single Bitcoin was “worth”, i.e, valued at, about £10,500 pounds sterling. At time of writing today, 1 Bitcoin is worth just over £2,853 pounds sterling, somewhat above a quarter of the former figure, and only about a sixth of the 2017 peak.

Update, 19 November 2020

I update my post purely because, in the uncertain conditions of 2020, I see that the article is receiving more hits. Sign of the times?

I have nothing to add to the article itself, but as of today, Bitcoin is trading at just under £13,398 (pound sterling) and at USD $17,730.

Update, 26 November 2020

Update, 20 February 2021

Radio 4 Today interviewed an expert in cryptocurrencies, who himself has made tens of millions of pounds from them. He expects a crash. I expected one three years ago. Never happened, though the value did plummet before recovering and climbing further.

As of today, 20th February 2021, 1 Bitcoin is valued at not far short of £40,000!

I notice that Alison Chabloz accepts Bitcoin donations; I hope that she got some before the price rocketed, and still has them. If so, she may have a windfall. https://alisonchabloz.com/how-to-donate/

Update, 8 September 2021

Today, Bitcoin recovered from USD $44,000 to USD $46,000 after having fallen from USD $52,500. An indication of the underlying volatility.

All the same, I am wondering whether, so far from being somehow “anti” the international money system, Bitcoin might not in reality be controlled by it…

Certainly, the genesis of Bitcoin has the feeling of “legend” (in either sense) about it (supposedly created by a Japanese whose identity has never been confirmed. Perhaps…).

Update, 14 December 2021

Update, 14 June 2022

14 June 2022 saw Bitcoin at around USD $22,000.