Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Trumponomics Stock Market 2018 - The Manchurian President (1/2) - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Yield Curve Inversion a Remarkably Accurate Warning Indicator For Economic & Market Peril - Dan_Amerman
3.China is Now Officially at War With the US and Japan - Graham_Summers
4.Markets Pay Attention Moment - China’s Bubble Economy Ripe for Bursting - 16th Jul 18 - Plunger
5.Stock Market Longer-Term Charts Show Incredible Potential - Chris_Vermeulen
6.U.S. Stock Market Cycles Update - Jim_Curry
7.Another Stock Market Drop Next Week? - Brad_Gudgeon
8.The Death of the US Real Estate Dream - Harry_Dent
9.Gold Market Signal vs. Noise - Jordan_Roy_Byrne
10.The Fonzie–Ponzi Theory of Government Debt: An Update - F_F_Wiley
Last 7 days
Moving Averages Help You Define Market Trend – Here’s How - 14th Aug 18
It's Time for A New Economic Strategy in Turkey - 14th Aug 18
Gold Price to Plunge Below $1000 - Key Factors for Gold & Silver Investors - 14th Aug 18
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast 2018 - Video - 13th Aug 18
Stock Market Downtrend to Continue? - 13th Aug 18
More Signs That the Stock Market Will Rally Until 2019 - 13th Aug 18
New Stock Market Correction Underway - 13th Aug 18
Talk Cold Turkey Economic Crisis - 13th Aug 18
Which UK Best Theme Park - Alton Towers vs Thorpe Park vs Lego Land vs Chessington World - 12th Aug 18
USD is Rising. What this Means for Currencies and Stocks - 12th Aug 18
Hardest US Housing Market Places to Live - Look Out Middle Class - 12th Aug 18
America’s Suburbs Are Making a Comeback - 12th Aug 18
Stock Market US Presidential Cycle, Seasonal Analysis and Economy - Video - 12th Aug 18
Yield Curve Inversion and the Stock Market - Video - 11th Aug 18
Land Rover Discovery Sport 1st Dealer Oil Change Service - What to Expect - 11th Aug 18
How to Setup Webinars and Use Them to Overcome the Barriers in E-Learning - 11th Aug 18
Big US Stocks’ Q2’18 Fundamentals - 11th Aug 18
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast 2018 - 10th Aug 18
SPX Testing Its First Support Level - 10th Aug 18
Dreaming of a "Comfortable Retirement" on a Public Pension? - 10th Aug 18
The Forrest Gump of All Future Democrat Election Losses - 10th Aug 18
More Uncertainty as Stocks Got Closer to January Record High - 10th Aug 18
Gold and Silver Kill Zone - 9th Aug 18
Even More Cracks in the Gold Dam - 9th Aug 18
Ignore the Stock Market “midterm election year”, Which is “supposed” to be Weak - 9th Aug 18
Stock Market Trend and Volatility Analysis - Video - 9th Aug 18
Tips on Maximizing Small Serviced Offices Space - 9th Aug 18
VIX’s Collapse is Bullish for VIX and the Stock Market - 9th Aug 18
Vestles Platform Offers Several Key Trading Tools - 8th Aug 18
US Stock Markets Higher Until November 2018 - Part 2 - 8th Aug 18
US Stock Markets Higher Until November 2018 - Part 1 - 8th Aug 18
Stock Market US Presidential Cycle and Seasonal Analysis - 8th Aug 18
Is the Stock Market Correction Over? - 7th Aug 18
Yield Curve Inversion and the Stock Market - 7th Aug 18
Stock Market Elliott Wave Analysis and Forecast - Video - 7th Aug 18
Trade War! Win the Economic Hostilities Against the Chinese - 7th Aug 18
Technical Analyst Sees Silver as 'Oversold' - 7th Aug 18
Alex Jones Banned! Will Unapproved Opinions Be Censored Off the Internet? - 7th Aug 18
Gold and Silver Stocks On the Verge of the Next Major Decline - 7th Aug 18
First Time Buyers Need to ‘boost the affordability’ of Their Move Alone  - 7th Aug 18
Long Term Care Homes as an Investment are Heating Up! - 7th Aug 18
The Exponential Inflationary Stocks Bull Market - Video - 6th Aug 18
Land Rover Discovery Sport Oil Change Service Dash Warning Message - 6th Aug 18
Restructuring of Western Economic Power - 6th Aug 18
Stock Market Trend and Volatility Analysis - 6th Aug 18
Stock Market and Economy False Narratives That are Just Wrong - 6th Aug 18
VPN – Is It Worth It? - 6th Aug 18
All You Need to Know About Umbrella Companies - 6th Aug 18
Why China Lost the Trade War Before it Even Began - SSEC Stocks Index - Video - 5th Aug 18
Dow Stock Market Elliott Wave Analysis - 5th Aug 18
Iran's Rial Currency Is In A Death Spiral, Again - 5th Aug 18
IMF Produces Another Bogus Venezuela Inflation Forecast - 5th Aug 18
Gold & Silver Precious Metals Monthly Charts - 5th Aug 18
Time to Position for a Decade-Long Bull Market in Natural Resources - 5th Aug 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Trading Any Market

Bitcoin Is Just a Bit Player

Currencies / Bitcoin Aug 27, 2016 - 06:05 AM GMT

By: MoneyMetals

Currencies

Over the last few years, so-called "crypto-currencies" – digital equivalents of a monetary exchange unit, have been all the rage. The most well-known in the category, Bitcoin, has had quite a run.

Starting out as a "virtual penny stock" it rose in 2014 to the elevated height of $1,150, before crashing back to earth. This "electronic currency" is created and stored in a computerized "wallet." Purchases and sales are made via a "blockchain" which keeps a memory of every transaction conducted. Private keys (supposedly) provide assurance that a Bitcoin holder's account is safe.


Text Box: Warning: Bitcoin is NOT a tangible asset; we’re only using this image because it’s pretty!

In less than three years, two seminal events have served to give bitcoin users financial heartburn. They give Inquiring Minds (readers of this column?) a serious reason to put on their thinking caps, before jumping to the conclusion that crypto-currencies can be viable challengers to what history teaches us is real money – gold and silver.

In February, 2014, the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, which at the time handled 70% of all bitcoin transactions, suspended trading and filed for bankruptcy after 850,000 bitcoins went missing. Then in early August 2016, 119,000 bitcoin worth $70 million were stolen from a Hong Kong exchange – one of the world's largest.

These two events alone should fully justify safety concerns. More important than the theft itself was what the exchange decided to do about it. They decreed that account users who bore no responsibility for the loss, would still be subject to a 35% "bail-in" (exchange-approved theft) to make up for it.

Hackers Are Unleashing Sophisticated Malware to Rob Bitcoin Owners Blind

In what turned out to be prophetic comments, less than two years before the events discussed above, Nadeem Walayat, Editor of The Market Oracle, stated he believed that “thieves have been busy producing a whole host of bitcoin wallet malware that seeks to steal any wallets that they find on infected computers.” As new bitcoins are "mined" and the blockchain becomes more complex to operate, Walayat warned:

“...what bitcoin holders are going to be increasingly exposed to, is ever more sophisticated malware that are aimed at the theft of their bitcoin holdings at every stage of the process, starting right from their internet connected desktop PC’s to the interception of transactions between servers to the wild west bitcoin exchanges that can disappear with all of their customers bitcoin holdings overnight, to the highly sophisticated bot net infected mining pools that seek to target all bitcoins in existence by seeking to rewrite who owns what.”

Yet crypto-currencies do have a few things going for them, and maybe someday they will find acceptance and utility among the general population. They offer a certain amount of financial privacy. Funds can be transferred to any point on the globe.

A few businesses already accept Bitcoin in payment (including Money Metals Exchange). Their volatility means that holders have upside potential – BT recently traded as high as $788 (currently trading at $575.)

But are these benefits enough if you wake up some morning to find out that the site who you've entrusted with your BT has been hacked (robbed) and you're informed that you're going to be "bailed-in" to help restore the funds of other site holders?

Cash in the Bank Could Actually Be Safer Than Bitcoin

If this kind of risk appeals to you, why not just continue to keep all your liquid assets in bank CDs, non-interest bearing savings accounts, or money market funds? Soon enough you'll have to pay them to hold your money via negative interest rates (NIRP). You'll have new fees added to your non-interest-bearing accounts, and "redemption gates" – limitations on how much of your own money you can withdraw.

It brings to mind the exchange between two peasants, in the classic film The Magnificent Seven. They were discussing whether or not they should resist the continued thievery of the Mexican bandit Calvera and his gang, or just put up with their periodic depredations. "But they never steal all our corn!" responded one campesino who voted not to resist.

Eventually if/when your bank gets into trouble – even through no fault of your own, you may be "volunteered" to give up 20-30% of your account in a "bail in" to help cover their mismanagement. A few years ago, a Spanish bank took it a step further – forcing account holders to convert their cash to the bank's stock... which promptly lost 90% of its value!

This fall, regulatory agencies will no longer require money market funds to promise that your shares will drop no lower than $1. In the past, his sacrosanct rule served as a guarantee that you could never lose your principal.

Now, that can change at any time, allowing the net asset value of the fund to close below $1 and stay there – in the trade called "breaking the buck." Thus, on any business day of the week, you may lose some of your money market funds on deposit.

In 2010, the SEC voted 4-1 to authorize the 'legal' suspension of money market redemptions. They wrote "We understand that suspending redemptions may impose hardships on investors who rely on their ability to redeem shares." Translation: You are in their thoughts and prayers, but they can still decide to prohibit withdrawals from your own account.

As the checkered history of upstart "money substitutes" like Bitcoin has shown, those who have control over the disposition of funds of any second party will sooner or later find a way to debase (steal) some if not all of it from the person who thinks he/she "owns" it.

Over two years ago, David Morgan wrote the following in an article titled "My Two Bits about Bitcoin," which you can read on his blog here:

Looking at what has taken place, especially over the last year or so, I must conclude with this simple – and to my thinking – self-evident statement. Whereas Bitcoins can vanish, Gold cannot. Just remember for all who read this, the timeless advice of – caveat emptor! And may the Free Market Reign.

It's likely Bitcoin will go through more "jury trials" – efforts at sustaining public acceptance – before it is either fully approved of, or tossed into history's waste bin. But while we wait to find out, I'd say that, in some very important ways compared to gold, Bitcoin has so far proven itself to be nothing more than a two-bit interloper.

David Smith

MoneyMetals.com

David Smith is Senior Analyst for TheMorganReport.com and is a regular contributor to MoneyMetals.com. For the last 15 years, he has investigated precious metals mines and exploration sites in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Mexico, China, Canada, and the U.S. and shared his findings and investment wisdom with readers, radio listeners, and audiences at North American investment conferences.

© 2016 David Smith - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules