Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Our Infinite Internet - Help Me!



 Our wonderful internet has enabled us to access a wealth of information and entertainment. It’s an infinite resource of data. But how much choice and information do we need?

Do you sometimes feel a subtle excitement and eagerness just before you switch on your smart phone or power on your laptop? Who has e-mailed me? Who has said what on Twitter? What’s the latest bad news stories from around the world?

At first, feasting our mind on all of these nuggets of information is very satisfying and stimulating. However, after a while we get a bit restless and bored. What started off being a satisfying experience soon turns into an unsatisfying one.

Nearly every aspect of our lives has been transformed into an infinite digital universe.

Music

Before the internet, we were limited to how much music we could listen to by the size of our record collection. Everyone now has access to, at the touch of their fingertips, nearly every piece of music ever recorded in the history of the world. Where do you start?

Gambling

Thousands of online gambling websites exist and it’s oh so easy to get in. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, come on in and win some money! Twenty years ago we would have needed to travel to a casino or a bookmaker in order to gamble.

Pornography

This is the biggest fix on the internet and potentially the most toxic and damaging one. In comparison, a pornographic magazine has a beginning and an end.

News

We can read hundreds of articles on the same event or story. Whatever you are interested in, it’s there. Subjects you didn’t think you were interested in, well you are now! Each of us has a virtual library of a billion books!

Crypto Currencies

Many people have heard of Bitcoin but are stunned when they find out there are 1500 other digital currencies in existence. If one then becomes interested and involved in the crypto space, it soon becomes completely overwhelming and potentially addictive. I honestly didn’t intend to be a forex trader!

Charities and petitions

Many people are passionate about causes that matter to them. You start receiving e-mails from a couple of organisations but over the course of a few months you wonder how it is that you are now receiving five new petitions a day and updates from twenty organisations every week!


In contrast to being passive or reactive on the internet, we should also be proactive. Create something; music, photography, a story. When something authentic is created to the best of our ability, it is more rewarding and meaningful for us. If we receive positive feedback or even earn money from it, even better!

We must balance how much time we spend online with contrasting activities. I think switching off our phones for a few hours, an afternoon or even a whole day is extremely beneficial. Balance is key; we must strive for balance in our lives which ultimately derives from a balanced mind.

The infinite nature of the internet presents a huge challenge to our mental health. It has the potential to draw us into areas that fixate us. Many people are vulnerable to addictive tendencies and the internet acts as a catalyst for addictions to manifest.

Are the negative side effects that the infinite internet creates, one of the challenges humanity must overcome in order for us to be more consciously aware?

One thing is for certain, the internet is rewiring our brains.


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Bancor Protocol will enable community currencies to thrive.



 Many of us have read the news reports about high levels of inequality in the world today and many have experienced the adverse effects of unfettered globalisation. Economic analysis clearly shows that since the financial crisis of 2008/09, the major fiat currencies of the world have been manipulated and devalued because of central bank interference.

When fiat currency is spent locally, much of it’s value disappears from the community and into the hands of multinational corporations.

In response to this centralised manipulation, a few paper based local currencies have been born. Whilst some of these have had a moderate uptake, their use is limited by a lack of community awareness, small scale business adoption and the fact that they remain outside of the digital domain.

Cryptocurrencies are, by their nature digital and decentralised (peer to peer). They are free from manipulation by centralised authorities. What if there was a platform that allowed decentralised trading of cryptocurrencies and smart tokens without having to rely on a counter party for liquidity? What if this platform also allowed communities to easily create their own digital currencies and smart tokens by simply using a chat bot?

Such a platform exists and it is called the Bancor Network. Once registered on the Bancor Network one has access to a unique decentralised trading environment. The growing range of smart tokens on the Bancor Network are fully liquid for each other due to the Bancor Network Token (BNT). What this means is that the availability of a smart token for trading is not dependent on other parties selling the same quantity of the smart token.

The number of potential use cases for community currencies that will be created on the Bancor Network is huge. Bancor can revolutionise the way money is created and how it is used and therefore change the world economy for the better.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Does investing in Ripple make any sense?




 It’s been one of biggest cryptocurrencies by market cap for a long time and many of us are familiar with Ripple and it’s cryptocurrency XRP. However, what use does it have for the individual investor? Is anyone actually buying anything with Ripple? Are there any businesses out there that accept XRP as a means of payment?

The Ripple network is basically a cryptographic layer over the traditional banking system. It facilitates faster and cheaper interbank payments and remittances. XRP provides the liquidity for these transactions.

Ripple frequently announce that they have signed agreements with major financial corporations which boosts sentiment and drives more investment in XRP. However, some of these large financial institutions will use the Ripple system to transfer fiat currencies and commodities without having a requirement to use XRP. Ripple looks like a great company with excellent technology but what can XRP really be worth if there is no requirement for their corporate clients to use it?

I think that many small investors are buying XRP as a speculative trade because they hear Ripple partnering with major financial institutions and therefore believe that the currency will rocket in value at some point in the future. That may well be true but I am becoming a bit sceptical.

Another important point to mention is that 100 Billion XRP were created but only 38 Billion have been released so far. Releasing billions more XRP in the future will no doubt have an impact on it's price. Just recently Ripple placed 55 Billion XRP into escrow to ensure certainty of total supply.

The price of XRP is less volatile than many other cryptos but after a recent climb to $0.25, it has started to drop back. Is it time to move out of Ripple and into some higher growth alt-coins?


Sunday, 3 December 2017

Big potential for Potcoin


 


 There hasn’t been much coverage of Potcoin (POT) on the YouTube channels or the marijuana themed cryptos in general. I think commentators are missing out on some big news here and I would like to prompt a discussion on the developments in the marijuana industry and the various cryptocurrencies that have been developed to utilise a functioning and legalised hemp based economy.

Firstly, both Canada and numerous US states are starting to legalize recreational marijuana use in addition to medicinal use. The state of California and it’s huge economy is looking to legalise recreational use in 2018. This will mean massive business growth and many new jobs will be created as new customers flock to the dispensaries.

Marijuana based businesses based in the United States require banking facilities which are often difficult to obtain because federal law still considers cannabis an illegal drug. The use of Potcoin as a currency for trading is an obvious solution to this problem.





There have been many cannabis themed cryptocurrencies that have come into existence over the last few years. HempCoin (THC), DopeCoin (DOPE) and CannabisCoin (CANN) have all failed to establish themselves beyond small scale use.

Potcoin by comparison has by far the biggest market cap, trading volume and community of users. What is great about investing in Potcoin is that the consensus algorithm is proof-of-stake (POSV) meaning that you can gain interest of up to 5% a year by staking your wallet balance on the network. Payments on the Potcoin network are much faster compared to Bitcoin and the network fees are extremely low (0.01 POT). The current value of each Potcoin is $0.41.

The Potcoin blockchain is still only 3GB and the QT wallet is not very demanding on computer resources. As Potcoin does not use a proof-of-work (POW) consensus, the network therefore does not require much energy and so it is environmentally friendly.

If you look at Potcoin’s continued growth and the massive potential growth of the legalised marijuana industry, then investing in Potcoin would appear to be a win win decision. 




Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash. What really happened?

 When Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was created as a result of the hard fork on August 1 2017, many investors did not expect this new cryptocurrency to compete with Bitcoin (BTC). Despite an initial price rally in August, the value of BCash declined during September and October, eventually being worth just 0.052 BTC by October 21.

After the Bitcoin hard fork (SegWit2x) was called off on November 8, the price of BCash started to rally. There were many claims on social media that BCash was the new Bitcoin, that this was the start of the “flippening” and that many loyal Bitcoin holders were heading for the exit because Bitcoin would now not scale due to it’s high fees and slow transaction times.

Was there really a mass exodus out of Bitcoin for these reasons? Certainly the price of Bitcoin declined by approximately 20% over the next few days. However, the massive surge in the BCash trading volume and price could not be explained solely by investors moving out of Bitcoin. There was clearly new money piling into BCash, mostly through the South Korean exchanges.

I would argue that there were also some underhand tactics by the BCash team in order to attack the Bitcoin network. On November 9 the Bitcoin mempool started to increase in size dramatically, eventually reaching 160,000 unconfirmed transactions (the mempool stores Bitcoin transactions that are waiting to be confirmed). Was this huge increase in unconfirmed transactions due to investors desperately trying to get out of Bitcoin or had the network been a victim of an attack involving many tens of thousands of small spam transactions? Once the mempool was congested, BCash and it’s supporters were able to make substantiated claims that Bitcoin was now dysfunctional, useless and a sinking ship.


I realise that the BCash team are doing their utmost to promote their digital currency, but do they really need to obtain validity by launching network attacks on Bitcoin and then pointing to the damage caused in order to claim that Bitcoin is finished and is no longer a functioning system.


At present BCash does have much lower fees and faster payments due to it’s 8mb block size. However, many people have overlooked the fact that the Bitcoin improvement proposal (BIP148) user activated soft fork (UASF) took place on the Bitcoin network back in August and as a result the block size has increased slightly beyond the previous 1mb limit.

The weekend of November 11/12, 2017 was certainly an historical and pivotal moment in the Bitcoin story thus far. My guess is that there will be more battles between the current and future Bitcoin hard forks as we journey on through the ever expanding crypto universe.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Just shut up about interest rates!

…because you don’t really know what you are talking about!

After six years of endless predictions for when interest rates will start to rise, a lot of people are now gradually realising that many economists and central bankers don’t really know what is going on. Banks and investors have been pencilling in rate rises for years.

We have had Forward Guidance from the Bank of England which has proven fairly useless at giving anyone a clue when interest rates will begin to rise. There is always an excuse not to raise rates; inflation is too low, volatility in Chinese equities, a central banker wears a strange tie, etc. Will there ever be a right time?

In the six years that rates have been held at near zero in the UK, US and Europe there has been an additional $57,000,000,000,000 of debt added to the world economy. Debt which can never be repaid. We see bubbles around the world, from property to stocks.

By keeping interest rates so low for so long and injecting trillions of dollars of liquidity into the banking system, central banks have sown the seeds of the next financial meltdown. They seem so out of their depth that they spend their time reacting and adjusting to the rapidly changing developments in the markets and are incapable of making real assertions about the right policies for the future.

In the U.S. the reaction of the markets to positive employment data has been negative. Good news is bad news. This shows how dysfunctional things have become. Banks are addicted to cheap money and the highly leveraged want rates to stay low forever; they know that their debt is unaffordable if rates should return to the long term average.

Recently there has been two conflicting comments from the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. Kristin Forbes said that if you linger too long in the sun you could get burnt. She was concerned that if rates did not rise soon it could undermine economic growth. Meanwhile Andy Haldane has indicated that the next move for interest rates could be downwards! He is so concerned about another economic crash that he would consider making rates negative and even the abolition of cash to stop people hoarding. Good luck everyone!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Will the debt monster eat your savings?

 With house price growth and house sales slowing down; I sometimes begin to wonder what other crazy plans the government could invent in order to prop up the housing market. If house prices still begin to fall after Help to Buy, Funding for Lending, bailing out the banks, printing £375,000,000,000 and holding interest rates at 0.5% for six years; what would they do? How bad would things have to get before we would see even more extreme market manipulation?

They could reduce interest rates even further so that they become negative. This would reduce the cost of servicing debt but I suspect that savers would have something to say about paying a bank to hold their money! There could well be a mass exodus of capital out of UK banks and possibly social unrest.

As the whole fiat monetary system is based on growing levels of debt, maybe the debt monster will soon consume all bank deposits. The following scenario may seem extreme but we now live with a western economy that already has unsustainable debt levels, increasing volatility and signs of currency wars.

Savers deposits are replaced by debt of equivalent value due to a collapse in economic growth and deflationary pressures. This helps keep mortgage rates low because an artificially engineered demand for the debt would have been created. Savers are paid a small amount of interest (yield) for holding the debt but would never be able to draw out any of their original capital as it would no longer exist! Virtually all money in existence represents debt and savers become mini bond traders. Capitalism without the capital.