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Investments in Bitcoins
I bought round 30 bitcoins 4 months ago, and with my new found wealth I decided to imitate rich people and start compounding my money. 30 Bitcoins isn't much, but it has become enough to make me seriously consider investment options. Instead of just holding bitcoins and waiting for them to appreciate you can buy equity in bitcoin stocks and bonds and get paid interest in bitcoins! To me, this is a no brainer. You get paid interest on the bitcoins you hold, your stocks have potential for growth, and the bitcoin exchange rate has potential for growth. And you are contributing to a growing bitcoin economy by doing something slightly more productive with your coins (instead of hoarding). Here are some I considered, if you know of any more please post! HavelockInvestments: Have some nice funds. HIM is mining fund, KCIM is a bond. Site is relatively easy to use, transfers are easy and I have not heard of anyone having any trouble with it yet. SDICE is a fund that pays out dividends from S.DICE (satoshi dice stock) on MPEX, currently paying out 30 percent. MPEx: Claims to be the only bitcoin service that has not been hacked. One problem with this exchange is that they require 30BTC to set up an account, and I dont really have that kind of cash to squander. It would be a better idea to buy S.DICE through this exchange since there are no management fees. They have quite a few listings, some with fairly low volume, a lot of them mysterious to me. BTC-TC: Bitcoin Trading Corporation. This one actually looks really interesting. They are marketing their site as a "Virtual Currency" trading platform, most likely to get around some laws regarding registering exchanges and such. They feature options, a ton of stocks, Bonds, and Funds. Similar to Havelock, they also have an SDICE fund.
Stocks on the NYSE do not float against a wildly fluctuating and generally deflationary asset (BTC), in an unclear regulatory environment where many participants are anonymous. Furthermore, and I have Counterparty in mind in particular when I say this, stocks on the NYSE are not possible to liquidate without a trusted third party. This makes them censorable. They are additionally hardly portable across borders, and NYSE stocks certainly cannot be traded directly P2P. Buyer beware. After what has happened with MtGox and Neo & Bee, I'm genuinely fearful for the bankroll of hapless investors, and I'm fully convinced crypto equities will adversely affect Bitcoin's image and even lead to BTC ultimately being banned in many Western countries. This is because at its core, IPO rounds are the most powerful way of aligning the interests of the public with the interests of an organization. Organizations can be political. This is why Wall Street is so heavily policed and controlled. They do not want certain political organizations to have an easy time garnering public support and they certainly don't want some political organizations to have an easy time raising money from anonymous investors with no accountability to anyone. I'll also add, the downsides to crypto equities are by far the most damning flaws in the Bitcoin ecosystem itself. Short of purely idealogical investments, it almost NEVER makes sense to invest your BTC in anything but the most liquid and stable of markets, and even then it's highly suspect. If you believe in the future of Bitcoin, you naturally believe its price will increase. This is actually horrible news for most Bitcoin companies, because it means their BTC profits decrease in the long run. If Bitcoin is successful, companies selling products in exchange for BTC will receive less and less BTC in exchange for their products. Dividends will go down, and stock prices will go down. What I've ultimately realized is BTC is simply too powerful for authorities not to try to undermine it. We have in our hands a system that makes terrorist financing easier than ever before, and if it ever gains widespread adoption there is going to be some degree of pandemonium. In some sense if you believe in BTC, you also believe it will be eventually McCarthy'd. You are really stepping into a jungle with crypto equities, and I certainly would advise AGAINST it for almost anyone. That being said, there are avoidable mistakes I see crypto equity investors make over and over again, and it's my goal to make you slightly better at avoiding them or at the very least scare the shit out of you. As more of you begin to wise up to the debauchery that goes on, I hope to see better public offerings. Without further ado, here are the top 3 mistakes crypto equitiy investors make:
1. Pretending Crypto Equities Are Like Normal Equities
Satoshi Dice has been in the news lately. It was purchased from Erik Voorhees for roughly 100,000 BTC. This one is simple. Just ask yourself if you would want to buy Satoshi Dice for 100,000 BTC knowing what you know now. For example: Assume the new owners of SDICE were early miners, and paid 100,000 BTC for SDICE when BTC was selling for $10. In this case, the owners paid $1,000,000 for SDICE. But instead of buying SDICE, the owners could've just purchased 100,000 BTC on an exchange and kept their original 100,000 BTC. This way they would've ended up with 200,000 BTC in total. Don't know about you, but I'd much rather have 200,000 BTC and have nothing to do with SDICE than have 0 BTC and ownership of SDICE. I'd rather have 100,000 BTC and nothing to do with SDICE. Importantly, for every IPO you see, and with every new "appcoin" launch, someone is trying to make YOU into the sucker who buys SDICE. Consequently, you should only be investing in most BTC companies if you believe that BOTH: A) Bitcoin will be made illegal in most jurisdictions, and B) the given company will survive the outlawing of BTC In other words, there's a perverse incentive with crypto equities to only invest if you believe the price per BTC will crash, or otherwise only invest in fully anonymous companies doing something illegal in the first place and can survive the aftermath of a Bitcoin ban. If you totally reject this scenario, and believe BTC will stay legal, it's likely for dividends to be drowned out over time by BTC appreciating in price.
2. Not Understanding the Technology Landscape
If your ear is not permanently affixed to the train tracks; if you're not constantly listening to the future direction of cryptocurrency, you are going to be hit by a train eventually. What does the world of technology look like in a year or two? What projects are changing the landscape, and what is it doing to the path of least resistance? I can't begin to tell you how many people resort to bamboozling others with fancy sounding protocols and what ultimately amounts to vaporware or software nobody in their right mind has the intention of using aside from the investors in the technology itself. As an illustrative example, take Bitcoin. Countless new projects are attempting to do far more complex things than Bitcoin has ever done, and half of these projects aren't even proven to have a real world demand assuming they can ever be completed. Distributed pseudonymous currency in a time when every government is corrupt and endlessly printing fiat? There's a demand for that. "Decentralized Dropbox"? That is far from simple and far from being proven to have any real world demand. General rules of thumb: are people out there dying for the solution this software provides in a simple and actionable way? Are they dying for it in every country? If not, avoid. If so, analyze in the context of a rapidly changing technology landscape. If Satoshi had premined Bitcoin and wrote it in Brainfuck code, we would not be having this conversation about Bitcoin right now. Someone else would've followed the path of least resistance and provided an actual solution people are dying to have.
3. Not Doing Proper Due Diligence
Who is behind the company?
If they are anonymous, do you have any indication of their technical competency? proficiency in anonymizing technologies? Are they well-spoken, well-written? Where do they communicate? Are they respected members of any particular community?
What are the company's sources of revenue?
What are all of the assumptions you're making about the company's revenue sources?
If the company is fee-based, is the fee expected to decrease over time? Is there a limit to the decreases?
If the company is providing a service, does the service scale? What happens to the revenues if the price of BTC goes up, or down?
If the company is providing a product, does the product scale? What happens to the revenues if the price of BTC goes up, or down?
Who are the competitors? How does the company compare to the competitors in terms of: sales, marketing, finance, supply chain, and organizational structure?
What are the company's sustainable advantages? IP secrets? Banking or political connections?
Where are the company's opportunities for growth?
Are there any legal risks? to the company? to the shareholders?
What are the other important variables?
The vast majority of crypto equities should be avoided. I can think of no more than a handful of ideas that make it past points 1 and 2 as outlined above. Of those, far fewer than 20% will have a business model worth its salt. Of those, fewer than 20% will succeed in the face of adversity. That it's so extremely difficult for any crypto equity to be a good bet for investors speaks volumes about the pitfalls of a deflationary economy. My experience investing so far has led me to believe Bitcoin is destined to be relied on primarily by staunch individualists, rebels, criminals and the disenfranchised as it doesn't make sense to do anything with one's time and money but acquire and hold BTC directly. Would love to hear your comments and concerns.
Has the bitcoin ecosystem ruined more lives then it has benefited? A serious discussion.
This isn't a post about the technical aspect of bitcoin, which many agree is superior to any other payment platform. Because of this superior efficiency, the bitcoin ecosystem makes it extremely easy to prey on victims. How many new bitcoiners became gambling addicts from sites like blockchain.info directing them to Sdice? How many people are facing prison time because of bitcoin? How many people became drug addicts from bitcoin related services? How many bitcoiners have lost money in failed after failed exchanges, ponzi schemes etc? Even wallstreet investment firm Fortress is sitting on over 20% losses. In 2014 it is still very difficult and costly to obtain bitcoin. That is simple fact for 99% of the people. The bitcoin atms are a big joke with enormous fees and extremely intrusive AML/KYC systems. Any cost benefits the network provide quickly vanish. My question is this. What is the total monetary + psychological damage that the bitcoin ecosystem has inflicted upon people VS. any percieved savings? With the Mt. Gox debacle, combined with all previous schemes we are now in the hundreds of millions in financial damage to people at least. It seems in bitcoin 0.0001% are living lavishly traveling the world, living in exotic locations while the remainder are in misery.
Earlier today I sold a TF2 hat for some fractions of a Bitcoin. A couple minutes later, I threw 0.05 at sdice. The second that the transaction went through, my wallet reported that I had received an additional 0.047 from the guy that paid me, even though it came from sdice. All transactions have been confirmed. Thinking this was a glitch or something, a couple hours later (after the previous two transactions were confirmed) I threw another 0.01 at sdice and 0.009 came back, again from the guy that I sold the hat to. I think I know what may be going on, but I'm not sure. It seems the bitcoin-qt client doesn't let you specify what address you actually send the coins from, I can only assume it uses the last-used (sending or receiving) when you go to send. I use a different address for all incoming coins, as per the FAQ/best practices. Blockchain shows the transaction for the hat as coming from the same ID as I used to send the entry to sdice, and that ID was generated about two minutes before we traded the hat. tl;dr: with bitcoin-qt, is there a way you can specify which account you send coins from? If not, is there another desktop wallet app (Mac preferred) that will let you do so that can import bitcoin-qt's pub/privkeys?
I've just started to get into bitcoins (and oh how I regret not buying in when I first heard about it). I'm mostly just playing around with it. I amassed just over 0.003BTC using the faucets. Decided to have a go at btct.co. I wanted to buy a few shares in SDICE and calculated I needed 0.0288BTC for what I was going to buy. I looked around and didn't see anything about fees. So I fired up my blockchain wallet, went to send money, used quick send, put in my btct address, and put in 0.0288BTC. But my transaction log says it's 0.0298BTC while btct is saying I've got 0.0288BTC. What'd I miss/mess-up?
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