Hello community, I come to share my bitcoin analysis. For that I put the dollar prices in the daily period, another important indicator that I used was google trends, I did the research using the word bitcoin, in the last 5 years, all over the world I made a graph combining the values.
The huge increase in the value of Bitcoin over the last few years means that it has basically failed as an alternative to conventional currency.
The point of a currency is that it is transactional. It is a fairly good representation of a given amount of wealth, and therefore you're comfortable using it to pay for things you want and receiving it for things you sell. One of the reasons that you don't see people using gold for basic transactions is because the price of gold varies so greatly. If you try to pay for something in gold, the amount of gold you pay will be entirely dependent on the seller's opinion of the market for gold. With currency, this problem doesn't exist. Everyone has a fairly similar opinion of what the value of a dollar is, what it's value will be a year from now, and what its value will be every day in between. Sure, it fluctuates with inflation, but no one seriously expects it to suddenly halve or double in value. So people are comfortable using it to pay for things. No one in their right mind uses Bitcoin to actually pay for things. And only businesses who think its value will continue to rise will accept it. It is, therefore, not functioning as a currency. It has failed as a currency.
I mined this last year with 2 computers over at least a month. How do I get the bitcoin value I earned?
http://eligius.st/~wizkid057/newstats/userstats.php/17td8F8PXVnBboTVRtq4Er3LYQj92sS9Le I mined this last year with 2 computers over at least a month. Along with this stats page, I used the bitcoin-qt software in Windows to check my balance. I had 0.3 bitcoins due to 2 payouts from Eligius' pool. Now, after not having looked at this for over a year, I tried loading bitcoin-qt.exe and it crashed when trying to update my wallet and it said I have 0.00 BTC. I updated that program and now it shows a different address. How do I get my money back?
Putting $400M of Bitcoin on your company balance sheet
Also posted on my blog as usual. Read it there if you can, there are footnotes and inlined plots. A couple of months ago, MicroStrategy (MSTR) had a spare $400M of cash which it decided to shift to Bitcoin (BTC). Today we'll discuss in excrutiating detail why this is not a good idea. When a company has a pile of spare money it doesn't know what to do with, it'll normally do buybacks or start paying dividends. That gives the money back to the shareholders, and from an economic perspective the money can get better invested in other more promising companies. If you have a huge pile of of cash, you probably should be doing other things than leave it in a bank account to gather dust. However, this statement from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor exists to make it clear he's buying into BTC for all the wrong reasons:
“This is not a speculation, nor is it a hedge. This was a deliberate corporate strategy to adopt a bitcoin standard.”
Let's unpack it and jump into the economics Bitcoin:
Is Bitcoin money?
No. Or rather BTC doesn't act as money and there's no serious future path for BTC to become a form of money. Let's go back to basics. There are 3 main economic problems money solves: 1. Medium of Exchange. Before money we had to barter, which led to the double coincidence of wants problem. When everyone accepts the same money you can buy something from someone even if they don't like the stuff you own. As a medium of exchange, BTC is not good. There are significant transaction fees and transaction waiting times built-in to BTC and these worsen the more popular BTC get. You can test BTC's usefulness as a medium of exchange for yourself right now: try to order a pizza or to buy a random item with BTC. How many additional hurdles do you have to go through? How many fewer options do you have than if you used a regular currency? How much overhead (time, fees) is there? 2. Unit of Account. A unit of account is what you compare the value of objects against. We denominate BTC in terms of how many USD they're worth, so BTC is a unit of account presently. We can say it's because of lack of adoption, but really it's also because the market value of BTC is so volatile. If I buy a $1000 table today or in 2017, it's roughly a $1000 table. We can't say that a 0.4BTC table was a 0.4BTC table in 2017. We'll expand on this in the next point: 3. Store of Value. When you create economic value, you don't want to be forced to use up the value you created right away. For instance, if I fix your washing machine and you pay me in avocados, I'd be annoyed. I'd have to consume my payment before it becomes brown, squishy and disgusting. Avocado fruit is not good money because avocadoes loses value very fast. On the other hand, well-run currencies like the USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, etc. all lose their value at a low and most importantly fairly predictible rate. Let's look at the chart of the USD against BTC While the dollar loses value at a predictible rate, BTC is all over the place, which is bad. One important use money is to write loan contracts. Loans are great. They let people spend now against their future potential earnings, so they can buy houses or start businesses without first saving up for a decade. Loans are good for the economy. If you want to sign something that says "I owe you this much for that much time" then you need to be able to roughly predict the value of the debt in at the point in time where it's due. Otherwise you'll have a hard time pricing the risk of the loan effectively. This means that you need to charge higher interests. The risk of making a loan in BTC needs to be priced into the interest of a BTC-denominated loan, which means much higher interest rates. High interests on loans are bad, because buying houses and starting businesses are good things.
BTC has a fixed supply, so these problems are built in
Some people think that going back to a standard where our money was denominated by a stock of gold (the Gold Standard) would solve economic problems. This is nonsense. Having control over supply of your currency is a good thing, as long as it's well run. See here Remember that what is desirable is low variance in the value, not the value itself. When there are wild fluctuations in value, it's hard for money to do its job well. Since the 1970s, the USD has been a fiat money with no intrinsic value. This means we control the supply of money. Let's look at a classic poorly drawn econ101 graph The market price for USD is where supply meets demand. The problem with a currency based on an item whose supply is fixed is that the price will necessarily fluctuate in response to changes in demand. Imagine, if you will, that a pandemic strikes and that the demand for currency takes a sharp drop. The US imports less, people don't buy anything anymore, etc. If you can't print money, you get deflation, which is worsens everything. On the other hand, if you can make the money printers go brrrr you can stabilize the price Having your currency be based on a fixed supply isn't just bad because in/deflation is hard to control. It's also a national security risk... The story of the guy who crashed gold prices in North Africa In the 1200s, Mansa Munsa, the emperor of the Mali, was rich and a devout Muslim and wanted everyone to know it. So he embarked on a pilgrimage to make it rain all the way to Mecca. He in fact made it rain so hard he increased the overall supply of gold and unintentionally crashed gold prices in Cairo by 20%, wreaking an economic havoc in North Africa that lasted a decade. This story is fun, the larger point that having your inflation be at the mercy of foreign nations is an undesirable attribute in any currency. The US likes to call some countries currency manipulators, but this problem would be serious under a gold standard.
Currencies are based on trust
Since the USD is based on nothing except the US government's word, how can we trust USD not to be mismanaged? The answer is that you can probably trust the fed until political stooges get put in place. Currently, the US's central bank managing the USD, the Federal Reserve (the Fed for friends & family), has administrative authority. The fed can say "no" to dumb requests from the president. People who have no idea what the fed does like to chant "audit the fed", but the fed is already one of the best audited US federal entities. The transcripts of all their meetings are out in the open. As is their balance sheet, what they plan to do and why. If the US should audit anything it's the Department of Defense which operates without any accounting at all. It's easy to see when a central bank will go rogue: it's when political yes-men are elected to the board. For example, before printing themselves into hyperinflation, the Venezuelan president appointed a sociologist who publicly stated “Inflation does not exist in real life” and instead is a made up capitalist lie. Note what happened mere months after his gaining control over the Venezuelan currency This is a key policy. One paper I really like, Sargent (1984) "The end of 4 big inflations" states:
The essential measures that ended hyperinflation in each of Germany,Austria, Hungary, and Poland were, first, the creation of an independentcentral bank that was legally committed to refuse the government'sdemand or additional unsecured credit and, second, a simultaneousalteration in the fiscal policy regime.
In english: *hyperinflation stops when the central bank can say "no" to the government." The US Fed, like other well good central banks, is run by a bunch of nerds. When it prints money, even as aggressively as it has it does so for good reasons. You can see why they started printing on March 15th as the COVID lockdowns started:
The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals.
In english: We're going to keep printing and lowering rates until jobs are back and inflation is under control. If we print until the sun is blotted out, we'll print in the shade.
BTC is not gold
Gold is a good asset for doomsday-preppers. If society crashes, gold will still have value. How do we know that? Gold has held value throughout multiple historic catastrophes over thousands of years. It had value before and after the Bronze Age Collapse, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and Gengis Khan being Gengis Khan. Even if you erased humanity and started over, the new humans would still find gold to be economically valuable. When Europeans d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ c̶o̶n̶q̶u̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ g̶e̶n̶o̶c̶i̶d̶e̶d̶ went to America, they found gold to be an important item over there too. This is about equivalent to finding humans on Alpha-Centauri and learning that they think gold is a good store of value as well. Some people are puzzled at this: we don't even use gold for much! But it has great properties: First, gold is hard to fake and impossible to manufacture. This makes it good to ascertain payment. Second, gold doesnt react to oxygen, so it doesn't rust or tarnish. So it keeps value over time unlike most other materials. Last, gold is pretty. This might sound frivolous, and you may not like it, but jewelry has actual value to humans. It's no coincidence if you look at a list of the wealthiest families, a large number of them trade in luxury goods. To paraphrase Veblen humans have a profound desire to signal social status, for the same reason peacocks have unwieldy tails. Gold is a great way to achieve that. On the other hand, BTC lacks all these attributes. Its value is largely based on common perception of value. There are a few fundamental drivers of demand:
Means of Exchange: if people seriously start using BTC to buy pizzas, then this creates a real demand for the currency to accomplish the short-term exchanges. As we saw previously, I'm not personally sold on this one and it's currently a negligible fraction of overall demand.
Criminal uses: Probably the largest inbuilt advantage of BTC is that it's anonymous, and so a great way to launder money. Hacker gangs use BTC to demand ransom on cryptolocker type attacks because it's a shared way for an honest company to pay and for the criminals to receive money without going to jail.
Apart from these, it's hard to argue that BTC will retain value throughout some sort of economic catastrophe.
BTC is really risky
One last statement from Michael Saylor I take offense to is this:
“We feel pretty confident that Bitcoin is less risky than holding cash, less risky than holding gold,” MicroStrategy CEO said in an interview
"BTC is less risky than holding cash or gold long term" is nonsense. We saw before that BTC is more volatile on face value, and that as long as the Fed isn't run by spider monkeys stacked in a trench coat, the inflation is likely to be within reasonable bounds. But on top of this, BTC has Abrupt downside risks that normal currencies don't. Let's imagine a few:
A critical software vulnerability is found in the BTC codebase, leading to a possible exploitation.
Xi Jinping decides he's had enough of rich people in China hiding their assets from him and bans BTC.
Some form of bank run takes hold for whatever reason. Because BTC wallets are uninsured, unlike regular banks, this compounds into a Black Tuesday style crash.
Blockchain solutions are fundamentally inefficient
Blockchain was a genius idea. I still marvel at the initial white paper which is a great mix of economics and computer science. That said, blockchain solutions make large tradeoffs in design because they assume almost no trust between parties. This leads to intentionally wasteful designs on a massive scale. The main problem is that all transactions have to be validated by expensive computational operations and double checked by multiple parties. This means waste:
BTC was estimated to use as much electricity as Belgium in 2019. It's hard to trace where the BTC mining comes from, but we can assume it has a huge carbon footprint.
A single transactions is necessarily expensive. A single transaction takes as much electricity as 800,000 VISA transactions, or watching 50,000 hours of youtube videos.
There is a large necessary tax on the transaction, since those checking the transaction extract a few BTC from it to be incentivized to do the work of checking it.
Many design problems can be mitigated by various improvements over BTC, but it remains that a simple database always works better than a blockchain if you can trust the parties to the transaction.
Honestly, the more I read into buttcoin the more sketchy and brilliant it comes across. The points have already been stated here (wanna buy some 1s and 0s with no intrinsic value, not protected by any financial institution, not backed by any government?) so I won't dwell on that. What I wanted to post about was how it's such an ingenious scam: a perpetual, decentralized, headless, slow-boil pyramid scheme. A few frenzied libertarians and nerds sniffing their own farts put money into a genuine (if unscalable and inefficient) technology. This makes news, which attracts some speculators. Amount of money going in generates hype, more news, and brings in normies and more speculators. Value begins to go up, larger entities (companies/wealthy entrepreneurs) invest. Value goes up further. Pyramid reaches final stage as last wave of suckers buy bitcoin at ridiculous prices, convinced this slow, insecure, power-hungry, uninsured, volatile, awkward, unregulated digibuck is gonna replace existing financial systems that answer all bitcoin's shortcomings. The faster and savvy companies and entrepreneurs pull the rug out from the rest of the userbase and the pyramid collapses. Digibuck loses nearly all its value. But, a few frenzied libertarians and nerds sniffing their own farts put money into... Aaaaand on and on. If you look back at the first time the pyramid collapsed, there was a decent progression until around September 2017 when things went fucking crazy leading to the massive price in December 2017, at which point the pyramid scheme winners took their cash and run. So, around three months. People bought into the pyramid scheme again around March 2019, but were a bit more conservative - the price didn't shoot up nearly as high or as fast. Three months later, the pyramid started to topple again, but more slowly and not as devastatingly. It fluctuated after that until a low in March this year. Since then people have been pumping money into the scheme. People are anticipating a big spike, I guess soon we will start to see a big influx of people because it's been "relatively stable" lately, with the pyramid people patiently waiting for a payoff rather than chipping away at the foundation. Of course, as soon as the spike happens it will be a massive plunge down as the pyramid collapses, similar to what we saw in Dec 2017. But, it seems to be an unkillable scam. Even though there's nothing of actual value behind this con, it seems to have really good staying power because it is really hitting some powerful buttons in people's brains:
Get Rich Quick: Yes, even though it is a scam, there are going to be those successful few who walk away with other people's money. If people want to literally gamble by playing chicken with "currency" exchanges, then that's fine (maybe they'll even get luck and win big), but these people need to admit to themselves that bitcoin is only that - gambling. Not an asset, not a currency.
Ideology: It's not just your standard con, it's also bundled itself up with ideals and religiosity. It's an idea! The Internet of money! Libertarianism, utopia, revolution!
Technology: It comes with a veneer of authenticity because it has some real technology supporting it (even if the technology is just...not that great). People are really blown away when they hear vague descriptions of blockchain, words like "node" and "mining" and "private keys".
Hatred: Buttcoiners can be really motivated by hate and bitterness. Their hatred of "greedy banks" and "thieving governments" (legitimate or otherwise, your mileage may vary) seems to really move money.
Fear: If you don't invest in buttcoin, all the money in your bank account with inflate and wither away to nothing! Because inflation is real and not a fabricated boogeyman makes the scam seem more appealing.
In looking over those points, I'm not sure whether it's the technology or ideology that's what's really keeping people from seeing through this con. I mean, anyone could start their own super-duper-coupon company that will only ever produce 21 million coupons. Ok, so the coupons are actually worthless, but if I tell people that one day everyone will use the coupons then suddenly they must have value right? Sounds ridiculous, but if I then say that the super-duper-coupon will be using revolutionary new digital protection, and be supported by a distributed database all over the world, and no government can forge or steal your coupons because of this new zipity-zoop-21 protocol I just developed, suddenly it sounds slightly more appealing. Could just as easily be the ideology though that keeps this con running even after each blow. The amount of purple prose bullshit about freedom and brave new worlds and unlimited prosperity is just crazy. Anyway, I've rambled enough, but wanted to get some thoughts out there after bitcoin enthusiast friends were encouraging me to invest and I did the research. https://preview.redd.it/ucvix7hwwju51.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=220789d26b6f564783dbaef8044e88ca238f0f76
In September, this decentralized exchange (DEX) overtook Coinbase in trading volume:
A) UniswapB) AaveC) CompoundD) Both A and B Scroll down for the answer.
Ranking and September Winners and Losers
2020 Top 10 Rank Lots of movement this month: six out of the Top Ten changed positions in September. BCH climbed one from #6 to #5 and BNB made a big move from #10 to #6. Going the opposite direction were BSV, EOS, and Tezos, dropping one, two, and four places respectively. The big story though, at least for anyone who’s been watching crypto for a while, was the ejection of Litecoin from the Top Ten. In just 30 days, LTC fell five places from #7 to #12. For some context, Litecoin’s absence from the Top Ten is a Top Ten Experiment first. It is also the first time since CoinMarketCap has tracked crypto rankings that Litecoin has not has not held a spot in the Top Ten. Drop outs: after nine months of the experiment, 30% of the cryptos that started 2020 in the Top Ten have dropped out. LTC, EOS, and Tezos have been replaced by ADA,LINK, and most recently, DOT. September Winners – Winner, singular: BNB was the only crypto to finish in the green, finished up +25% for the month, and gained four places in the rankings. A very good month for Binance Coin. September Losers – Tezos was the worst performing crypto of the 2020 Top Ten portfolio, losing nearly a third of its value, down -31% for the month. LTC also had a bad month, losing -24% and dropping out of the Top Ten. Since COVID-19 has hammered the sporting world, let’s be overly competitive and pit these cryptos against each other, shall we? Here’s a table showing which cryptos have the most monthly wins and losses nine months into the 2020 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment: Wins/Losses ETH is in the lead three monthly Ws, followed by Tether and Tezos with two wins each. Even though it is up +79% since January 1st, 2020, BSV has the most monthly losses: it has been the worst performing crypto of the group four out of the first nine months in 2020.
Overall update – ETH maintains strong lead, followed by BNB. 100% of Top Ten are in positive territory.
Ethereum remains firmly in the lead, up +187% on the year. Thanks to a strong month for BNB and a weak month for Tezos,Binance Coin has overtaken XTZ for second place, and is now up +109% in 2020. Discounting Tether (no offense Big-T), EOS (+4%) is the worst performing cryptocurrency of the 2020 Top Ten Portfolio. 100% of the cryptos in this group are in positive territory.
Total Market Cap for the cryptocurrency sector:
The overall crypto market lost about $35B in September, ending the month up +85% since the beginning of this year’s experiment in January 2020. Despite a rough month, this is the second highest month-end level since the 2020 Top Ten Experiment started nine months ago.
Monthly BitDom - 2020 BitDom ticked up slightly this month, but is still lower than it has been for most of the year. As always, a low BitDom reflects a greater appetite for altcoins. For context, the BitDom range since the beginning of the experiment in January 2020 has been roughly between 57% and 68%.
Overall return on investment since January 1st, 2020:
After an initial $1000 investment on January 1st, the 2020 Top Ten Portfolio is now worth $1,536, up +56%. This is the best performing of the three Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Portfolios, but not by much: the 2019 Top Ten came in at +54% in September. Here’s the month by month ROI of the 2020 Top Ten Experiment, hopefully helpful to maintain perspective and provide an overview as we go along: Monthly ROI - 2020 Top Ten Even during the zombie apocalypse blip in March, the 2020 Top Ten has managed to end every month so far in the green (for a mirror image, check out the all red table you’ll find in the 2018 experiment). The range of monthly ROI for the 2020 Top Ten has been between a low of +7% in March and high of +83% in August. So, how does the 2020 Top Ten Experiment compare to the parallel projects?
Taken together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line for the three portfolios: After a $3000 investment in the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Top Ten Cryptocurrencies, the combined portfolios are worth $3,340 ($238+ $1,538 +$1,564). That’s up about +11% for the three combined portfolios, compared to +31% last month. Here’s a table to help visualize the progress of the combined portfolios: Combined ROI - UP +11% That’s a +11% gain by buying $1k of the cryptos that happened to be in the Top Ten on January 1st, 2018, 2019, and 2020. But what if I’d gone all in on only one Top Ten crypto for the past three years? While many have come and gone over the life of the experiment, five cryptos have started in Top Ten for all three years: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC (Big L, no pressure, but if you don’t claw yourself back in the Top Ten by January 2021, you’re out of the club). Let’s take a look: Three Year Club At this point in the Experiments, Ethereum (+104%) would have easily returned the most, followed by BTC (+77%). On the other hand, following this approach with XRP, I would have been down nearly a third at -31%. So that’s the Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiments snapshot. Let’s take a look at how traditional markets are doing.
Comparison to S&P 500
I’m also tracking the S&P 500 as part of my experiment to have a comparison point to traditional markets. The S&P slipped a bit from an all time high in August and is now up just +5% in 2020. Over the same time period, the 2020 Top Ten Crypto Portfolio is returning about +56%. The initial $1k investment in crypto is now worth about $1,563. That same $1k I put into crypto in January 2020 would be worth $1050 had it been redirected to the S&P 500 instead. That’s a $513 difference on a $1k investment, one of the largest gaps in favor of crypto all year. But that’s just 2020. What about in the longer term? What if I invested in the S&P 500 the same way I did during the first three years of the Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiments? What I like to call the world’s slowest dollar cost averaging method? Here are the figures:
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2018 = $1260 today
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019 = $1350 today
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020 = $1050 today
So, taken together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line for a similar approach with the S&P: After three $1,000 investments into an S&P 500 index fund in January 2018, 2019, and 2020, my portfolio would be worth $3,660. That $3,660 is up +22%since January 2018, compared to a +11% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios over the same period of time. That’s an 11% swing in favor of the S&P 500 and breaks a two month mini-streak of wins from the Top Ten crypto portfolios. For those keeping track or unable to see the table above: that’s seven monthly victories for the S&P vs. two monthly victories for crypto. The largest gap so far was a 22% difference in favor of the S&P back in June.
September saw losses for both traditional and crypto markets, but crypto got hit harder. What can we expect for the rest of 2020? The Neverending Year is entering the final quarter and is not finished with us yet: a lot can and will happen in the remaining months. More volatility is no doubt to come as we enter the final stretch of a truly unpredictable and exhausting year. Buckle up. Stay healthy and take care of yourselves out there. Thanks for reading and for supporting the experiment. I hope you’ve found it helpful. I continue to be committed to seeing this process through and reporting along the way. Feel free to reach out with any questions and stay tuned for progress reports. Keep an eye out for the original 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment and the 2019 Top Ten Experiment follow up experiment.
First one to find the three hidden cultural references gets some moons.
What's this all about? I purchased $100 of each of Top Ten Cryptos in Jan. 2018, haven't sold or traded. Did the same in 2019 and 2020. Learn more about the history and rules of the Experimentshere.
September - BTC, although -8%, outperforms the field this month.
Overall since Jan. 2018 - Bitcoin miles ahead of the pack, and only one close-ish to break even point.
Combining all three three years, Top Ten cryptos underperforming S&P if I'd taken a similar approach.
Month Thirty Three – Down 76%
2018 Top Ten Summary for September After a rough start to September, crypto spent the month trying in vain to claw back ground. While a few coins rebounded quite a bit from the monthly lows, most ended up finishing the month significantly down. Out of the 2018 Top Ten group, Bitcoin lost the least, down -8% in September. NEM followed it’s winning August (yes, you read that right) with the poorest performance, down -26%.
Question of the month:
Which cryptocurrency exchange won approval to create America’s first crypto bank in September?
A) Binance B) Binance.us C) Kraken D) Coinbase Scroll down for the answer.
Ranking and September Winners and Losers
Rank of 2018 Portfolio - 50% no longer in Top Ten A lot of shuffling in September. On the upside, Bitcoin Cash and Cardano gained one place each landing at #5 and #10 respectively. Cardano gets special mention for re-entering the Top Ten. Heading the wrong direction were IOTA, NEM, Dash, and Stellar each falling two or three spots. The big story though, for long time crypto watchers, was the ejection of Litecoin from the Top Ten, down five places from #7 to #12 in just one month. For some context, Litecoin’s absence from the Top Ten is a Top Ten Experiment first. It is also the first time since CoinMarketCap has tracked crypto rankings that Litecoin has not been in the Top Ten. Drop outs: After thirty-three months of this experiment 50% of the cryptos that started 2018 in the Top Ten have dropped out. NEM, Litecoin, Dash, IOTA, and Stellar have been replaced by Binance Coin, Tether,BSV, LINK, and most recently, DOT. September Winners – Although it lost -8% of its value, this month’s W goes to Bitcoin. ADA gets second place, down -15% and climbing back into the Top Ten. September Losers – As most probably expected after an extremely out of character victory last month, NEM came back down to earth in September, bigly, down -26%. Litecoin finished right behind, down -24% and dropping out of the Top Ten. For the overly competitive, below is a tally of the winners of the first 33 months of the 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment. Bitcoin still has the most monthly wins (8) and Cardano in second place with 6 monthly wins. With its poor September performance, NEM now has 7 monthly losses. Ws and Ls - One clear winner Every crypto has at least one monthly win and Bitcoin is unique as the only cryptocurrency that hasn’t lost a month yet since January 2018.
Overall update – BTC solidly in the lead, followed by ETH. Dash in the basement, LTC drops out of the Top Ten.
Even though BTC took a bit of a detour on its way back to break-even point, it is still far ahead of the field, down -17% since January 2018. The initial investment of $100 thirty-three months ago is now worth about $83. Second place Ethereum is down -49% over the same time period. At this point in the 2018 Top Ten Experiment, Dash is at the bottom. It is currently worth $70.49, down from a January 1st, 2018 starting price of over $1,000. That’s a loss of -93%. The initial $100 invested in Dash 33 months ago is now worth $6.77. The big story this month is LTC’s departure from the Top Ten, the first time since I started the experiment back in January 2018. Whether or not it will eventually fend off the new generation of coins remains to be seen, but it certainly is noteworthy to have one of the most well known and long standing cryptos drop out of the Top Ten. Consider pouring one out for Litecoin.
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
The crypto market lost over $35B in September and is down -39% since January 2018. The value of the overall crypto market is near where it was in August of this year, just a few months back. As painful as the beginning of the month was, looking at a table like this helps with perspective, especially if you’re panic prone.
After steadily dipping for months, BitDom increased a bit in September, up to 57.5%. For some context: since the beginning of the experiment, the range of Bitcoin dominance has been quite wide: we saw a high of 70% BitDom in September 2019 and a low of 33% BitDom in February 2018.
Overall return on $1,000 investment since January 1st, 2018:
The 2018 Top Ten Portfolio lost -$50 this month. If I cashed out today, the $1000 initial investment would return about $238, down -76% from January 2018. September broke an encouraging upward trend, but at least the portfolio is taking a break from the -80% range. Here’s a look at the ROI over the life of the experiment, month by month, for some context: 33 Monthly ROIs on Top Ten since Jan 2018 The absolute bottom was -88% back in January 2019. So the Top Ten Cryptos of 2018 are down -76%. What about the 2019 and 2020 Top Tens? Let’s take a look:
So overall? Taking the three portfolios together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line: After a $3000 investment in the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Top Ten Cryptocurrencies, my combined portfolios are worth $3,340 ($238+ $1,538 +$1,564). That’s up about +11% for the three combined portfolios, compared to +31% last month. Here’s a table to help visualize: Combined ROI on $3k over 3 years - UP +11% That’s a +11% gain by investing $1k on whichever cryptos happened to be in the Top Ten on January 1st for three straight years. But surely you’d do better if you went all in on one crypto, right? Depends on your choice. Let’s take a look: ETH for the win Only five cryptos have started in the Top Ten for all three years: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC (unless Litecoin can make a comeback by the 1st of Jan. 2021, it’s not going to make the four year club!). Knowing what we know now, which one would have been best to go all in on? Ethereum, by a pretty good margin: the initial $3k would be up +104%, worth $6,118 today. The worst choice of a basket to put all your eggs in at this point in the experiment is XRP, down by almost one third.
Comparison to S&P 500:
I’m also tracking the S&P 500 as part of the experiment to have a comparison point with other popular investments options. The S&P 500 Index fell from an all time high in August, but is currently up +26% since January 2018. S&P since Jan. 2018 The initial $1k investment into crypto on January 1st, 2018 would have been worth about $1260 had it been redirected to the S&P. But what if I took the same invest-$1,000-on-January-1st-of-each-year approach with the S&P 500 that I’ve been documenting through the Top Ten Crypto Experiments? Here are the numbers:
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2018 = $1260 today
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019 = $1350 today
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020 = $1050 today
Taken together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line for a similar approach with the S&P: After three $1,000 investments into an S&P 500 index fund in January 2018, 2019, and 2020, my portfolio would be worth $3,660. That is up +22%since January 2018, compared to a +11% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios. That’s an 11% swing in favor of the S&P 500 and breaks a two month mini-streak of wins from the Top Ten crypto portfolios. S&P vs. Top Ten Crypto Experiments That’s seven monthly victories for the S&P vs. two monthly victories for crypto. The largest gap so far was a 22% difference in favor of the S&P in June.
September was a tough month for both traditional and crypto markets. What’s next for the rest of 2020? More volatility is no doubt to come as we enter the last quarter of a truly unpredictable and exhausting year. Buckle up. Thanks for reading and for supporting the experiment. I hope you’ve found it helpful. I continue to be committed to seeing this process through and reporting along the way. Feel free to reach out with any questions and stay tuned for progress reports. Keep an eye out for my parallel projects where I repeat the experiment twice, purchasing another $1000 ($100 each) of two new sets of Top Ten cryptos as of January 1st, 2019 then again on January 1st, 2020.
And the Answer is…
C) Kraken According to an official announcement in September, Kraken is “the first digital asset company in U.S. history to receive a bank charter recognized under federal and state law.”
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I like moons, I like music. I also like burying musical references in crypto reports. First one to name the two musical references gets some moons.
Remember the panic in early Sept? Despite a tough month, the 2019 Top Ten are +54% and still well ahead of the stock market.
What's this all about? I purchased $100 of each of Top Ten Cryptos in Jan. 2019, haven't sold or traded. Did the same in 2018 and 2020. Learn more about the history and rules of the Experimentshere.
September - all cryptos in the red, so I guess Tether wins the month.
Overall since Jan. 2019 - ETH loses lead to BTC which is +189%. Only 2 out of the Top Ten in negative territory.
Combining all three three years, Top Ten cryptos underperforming S&P if I'd taken a similar approach.
Month Twenty One – UP 54%
2019 Top Ten Summary for September Although crypto recovered a bit from an early September dive, the 2019 Top Ten Portfolio ended the month completely in the red, similar to what we saw in June. Litecoin dropped out of the Top Ten this month, the first time since these Experiments began.
Question of the month:
In September, Tether moved 1 billion USDT coins from TRON to this blockchain:
A) Ethereum B) Neo C) Polkadot D) EOS Scroll down for the answer.
Ranking and September Winners and Losers
2019 Top Ten Ranking Here come the new coins: with the exception of BCH (up one place from #6 to #5) every crypto either remained in place or dropped. BSV, down one place, EOS and Tron down two, and Stellar fell three. Litecoin dropped a massive five places to land itself outside of the Top Ten, the first time since I began the Experiments back in January 2018. Due to Litecoin’s expulsion from the Top Ten, 40% of the crypotos have dropped out of the Top Ten since January 1st, 2019: Tron, Stellar, Litecoin and EOS have been replaced by BNB, DOT, ADA, and LINK. September Winners – With all cryptos in the red, stablecoin Tether outperformed the rest. BTC finished second, down -8% in September, followed by BSV, down -10%. September Losers – LTC had a truly horrible month, losing nearly a quarter of its value (-24%), falling five places in the ranking, and falling out of the Top Ten. Close behind was Stellar and ETH, down -23% and -22%. For overly competitive nerds, here is a tally of which coins have the most monthly wins and losses during the first 21 months of the 2019 Top Ten Experiment: 2019 Ws and Ls Depressingly, Tether is still far ahead with seven monthly victories, more than twice as much as second place BSV and ETH. And although BSV is up 87% since January 2019, it dominates the monthly loss count: it has now finished last in eight out of twenty-one months. Swing trade anyone? And XRP is still the only crypto that has yet to notch a win.
Overall update – BTC takes lead from ETH. Stellar now worst performing since Jan. 1st, 2019
After briefly pulling ahead of BTClast month, ETH gave up its overall lead in September. The top two are up +189% and +169% respectively followed distantly by BSV, up +87% since January 2019. The initial $100 investment in BTC is currently worth $295. Twenty-one months into the 2019 Top Ten Index Fund Experiment, 80% of the 2019 Top Ten cryptos are either flat or in the green. The other two cryptos are well in negative territory: last place Stellar (-33%) and second to last place XRP (-32%) have each lost about one third of their value since January 2019). At +54%, the 2019 Top Ten Portfolio is just behind the 2020 Top Ten Portfolio’s +56% gain and both are far, far ahead of the 2018 group (much more on that below).
Total Market Cap for the entire cryptocurrency sector:
Monthly total market cap, since Jan 2019 Since January 2019, the total market cap for crypto is up +176%. The overall market fell around $35B in September, ending the month around $351B. Despite the tough month, this is the second highest month-end level since the 2019 Top Ten Experiment started 21 months ago.
BitDom ticked up slightly this month, but is trending lower than the last year or so, where it had remained in the mid-60s%. As always, a low BitDom signals a greater appetite for altcoins. Zooming out, the BitDom range since the beginning of the experiment in January 2019 has been between 50%-70%.
Overall return on investment since January 1st, 2019:
The 2019 Top Ten Portfolio lost nearly $300 in September. After the initial $1000 investment, the 2019 Top Ten Crypto Portfolio is worth $1,538. That’s up about +54%. Here’s a look at the ROI over the life of the first 21 months of the 2019 Top Ten Index Fund experiment, month by month: Monthly ROI on Top Ten since Jan 2019 Unlike the completely red table you’ll see in the 2018 Top Ten Experiment, the 2019 crypto table is almost all green. The first month was the lowest point (-9%), and the highest point (+114%) was May 2019. At +54%, the 2019 Top Ten Portfolio is now the second best performing out of the three but just barely (the 2020 Top Ten is up +56%). Speaking of the other Experiments, let’s take a look at how the 2019 Top Ten Index Fund Portfolio compare to the parallel projects:
Taking the three portfolios together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line: After a $3000 investment in the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Top Ten Cryptocurrencies, my combined portfolios are worth $3,340 ($238+ $1,538 +$1,564). That’s up about +11% for the three combined portfolios, compared to +31% last month. Lost in the numbers? Here’s a table to help visualize the progress of the combined portfolios: Combined ROI on $3k over 3 years - UP +11% To sum up: 11% gain by dropping $1k once a year on whichever cryptos happened to be in the Top Ten on January 1st, 2018, 2019, and 2020. But what if I’d gone all in on only one Top Ten crypto for the past three years? While many have come and gone over the life of the experiment, only five cryptos have started in Top Ten for all three years: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC (Litecoin, no pressure, but if you’re not back in the Top Ten in the next few months, you’re out of the club). Let’s take a look at those five: ETH leading the three year club Ethereum (+104%) would have returned the most at this point, followed by BTC (+77%). On the other hand, following this approach with XRP, I would have been down -31%. Alright, that’s crypto. How does crypto compare to the stock market?
Comparison to S&P 500:
I’m also tracking the S&P 500 as part of the experiments to have a comparison point with traditional markets. Although the S&P fell from an all time high the month before, it is up +35% since January 2019. The initial $1k investment I put into crypto 21 months ago would be worth $1,350 had it been redirected to the S&P 500 in January 2019. +35%, not bad at all. But the 2019 Top Ten Portfolio is up +54% over the same time period. That’s 2019. But what if I took the same world’s-slowest-dollar-cost-averaging $1,000-per-year-on-January-1st crypto approach with the S&P 500? It would yield the following:
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2018 = $1260 today
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2019 = $1350 today
$1000 investment in S&P 500 on January 1st, 2020 = $1050 today
Taken together, here’s the bottom bottom bottom line for a similar approach with the S&P: After three $1,000 investments into an S&P 500 index fund in January 2018, 2019, and 2020, my portfolio would be worth $3,660. That is up +22%since January 2018, compared to a +11% gain of the combined Top Ten Crypto Experiment Portfolios. As you can see in the table below, that’s a 11% swing in favor of the S&P 500. September breaks a two month mini-streak of wins from the Top Ten crypto portfolios. S&P takes the lead in Sept.
After a strong August, both the stock and crypto markets fell in September. In a year that feels neverending, a lot can and will happen in the remaining months of 2020. Be safe and take care of each other out there. Thanks for reading and for supporting the experiment. I hope you’ve found it helpful. I continue to be committed to seeing this process through and reporting along the way. Feel free to reach out with any questions and stay tuned for progress reports. Keep an eye out for the original 2018 Top Ten Crypto Index Fund Experiment and the 2020 Top Ten Experiment.
Out of the top 20 altcoins, 2/3 performed worse than BTC in the last 3 months
Not sure if this is of interest to anyone, but I thought I'd share. In August 2017 I started with crypto and got burned thinking I was a daytrader. Burned through sats, but didn't get entirely burned in fiat because I got in before the end of year madness. Since then I've just DCA'd occasionally into BTC and ETH, and kept a tiny bit of play money for trying swing trading on alts. For those that were around during these times, we all remember alts bleeding on BOTH the up and down volatility of bitcoin. This experience made me pretty weary of alts, not just from trading, but from long term holding as projects died over the last couple years. Ultimately, everyone is hoping for a 1000x small-cap project, but the reality is that most projects have a peak and then fizzle and you have to be okay with that risk. I picked an arbitrary timeline (3 months) to check out the performance of the top 20 alts against BTC measured in sats (ignoring DOT because it's too new):
Number of alts that gained value compared to holding BTC: 7 Average gain of positives: 24% Number of alts that lost value compared to holding BTC: 13 Average loss of negatives: -27% Average if you had invested evenly across top 20: -10% For me, this has been my experience with alts. Long term holds of alts usually leads me to pain. I enjoy playing around trying to increase my sat stack with some spare cash, but in general am now sticking to BTC/ETH. Picking a winning project seems to be more luck than anything, as (in my opinion) it's more about short term hype, and most good projects STILL fade in sats as people lose interest in making a quick buck. I totally understand that I picked an arbitrary date range, but it's just food for thought, and maybe some of you guys have some interesting perspectives on how you feel about alt trading.
At this point, the chances of Bitcoin dying are next to impossible
The worst that could happen to Bitcoin was that it would become some obscure decentralized internet network with no real value. But at this point in the game, it's too big to shrink away into infamy. Wall Street is buying, hospitals are starting to accept it, banks are accepting it, stores are accepting it, PEOPLE are accepting it. It's too far adopted at this point for the dominos of adoption to stop falling. We're on a path that leans in an overwhelming direction towards Bitcoin's continued growth and adoption in this world. It was always a Binary equation when it started, and at this point, it's only got 1 way to go. Do you think Grayscale's clients who own the over 450 thousand Bitcoins are going to want to let them go? MicroStrategy who bought over 250 million dollars worth of Bitcoin as it's primary treasury financial reserve asset? Any of these guys who are, and will adopt in at the pro level of the financial world? We're at the brink of another parabolic run, and even if Bitcoin repeats history and 1000% jumps, then dumps 80%, do you think these guys would sell? Even after the drop, they'll still be over 200% on whatever they owned pre ATH(All-Time High Price). AKA, 20k$. These guys are going to see what we all saw after our first parabolic runs. They're going to see what happened, look at the history, and see that it does this every halving, realizing as we all did once, what Bitcoin truly is, and where it is headed. And these are hodlers who are already experienced in holding over 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, 100+F'ing years. These are the same institutional buyers pumping the stock market right now despite this pandemic. Once they get a taste of Bitcoin, they won't stop doing everything they can to get more. The volatility will slow down, the growth will become more consistent, boring, and predictable even, just as the stock market is today. But the math holds true; once these guys are fully adopted, and all the adoption dominoes have fallen; Bitcoin will be over 10 million per coin. By then, growth will probably be as boring and predictable as the stock market. The math will dignify it to still grow faster than the stock market does today, but boring, with no massive price swings as we see today; where you can buy Bitcoin at a 50% discount just 1 day, or 1 week later. By then, most companies will probably have already converted their stocks into their own cryptocurrencies of sorts. It's the only logical next step; cuts out the stockbroker middlemen, just like Bitcoin cuts out the banks. But, regardless of all that stuff that is likely to come with this path that we're on now, the one thing I know for most certain is, before this next run happens, you'll want to get in. Like now. Before this next run even starts pricing over 20k$. Because, after this whole next run up and drop is said and done, you'll be lucky if we ever see a 20k$ Bitcoin again. The best chances will be a drop to 30k$ if we break just over 100k$, or 70k$ if we break just over 300k$. That's if we even get the 80% drop that history has shown this time around, now with these old school investors joining the game before the parabolic run up even starts. Buy now, before we break 20k$. Hell, keep buying whenever you can until we hit 20k again. I can guarantee you; after 8 years of buying through these markets, there is no better time to buy than right before the start of a parabolic run. Sure, you'll wish you'd have bought when it was at an all-time low price period, but then, you'd have to wait potentially up to 4 years for the next parabolic run to start after a halving, in order to experience any of the crazy historical price run action you've heard so much about. Buying 6 months after a halving like now; puts you on the financial rocket ship that is Bitcoin, right before takeoff, making you able to experience the ride that has made thousands of people addicts to this decentralized network over the last 10 years. IN the next 10 years, it will be millions of addicts; in the next 30, it will be billions. And the price, well the price will be numbers we think today as impossible. Because if you think 10 million is where this bad boy is stopping, then you really don't understand what will happen when the owners of quadrillions in value, become addicted to a decentralized network that's capped out at 21 million coins, and those owners of those quadrillions in value begin to move their asset holdings into Bitcoin; in order to feed their addiction to this decentralized network that many of us have grown to know. Once they know what Bitcoin is, and they have experienced the supply shock that Bitcoin's halvings have on it's value, then they'll begin to move their assets into Bitcoin's network like a crackhead selling their mom's TV just to score an ounce of meth after experiencing its financial ride. Buy every chance you can, every paycheck; hop on this boat before it's too late and you miss another opportunity of insane ROI. Don't get me wrong, even in buying in on the next cycle, you'll still be exponentially profitable if you hold for the long run. But every time we have a parabolic run, that exponential potential becomes less and less. Although exponential none the less. The 10k$ dollars per Bitcoin range will be looked at in 30 years, just like we look at the days of Bitcoin being worth less than a penny per Bitcoin today. Hell, 10 years from now will be looking at a 10k$ per Bitcoin price range like we look at buying Bitcoin at 20$ a coin today.
MicroStrategy's $425M BTC investment thesis - "buy something that can either get cut in half or 10x"
Amidst all of the DeFi volatility, drama and excitement, Bitcoin has started to seem rather boring. Its price is more or less flat to where it was a year ago and you can’t even farm Yams with it. While some have started to view Bitcoin as a useless digital rock, someone did find an interesting use case for it. This week, more details surfaced around how MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor convinced the board of a publicly traded company to allocate nearly all of the company’s $500M cash position to bitcoin. Michael Saylor Saylor graduated from MIT in 1987 and founded Microstrategy at the age of 24. MicroStrategy is a “Business Intelligence” company, which basically creates software that allows companies to use their own data to drive decision making. Interesting side note - Saylor, like any good 90’s internet entrepreneur, also bought a bunch of internet domains and was the guy who ultimately sold Voice.com to Block.One (EOS) for $30M. MicroStrategy’s’ $500M Problem To most people, having $500 million in cash doesn’t sound like a problem. Up until recently, it wasn’t for large corporations either. There was a time before the ‘08 financial crisis when the risk free rate of return on cash was 5% a year. This means a company could sit on $500M, earn $25M a year for doing nothing, and have cash on hand for a rainy day. Fast forward to today, when the risk free rate of return has plummeted to 0.69% due to loose fiscal policies (money printer go BRRRR) alongside inflating asset prices, and it’s a different story. In Saylor’s own words, “we just had the awful realization that we were sitting on top of a $500 million ice cube that’s melting.” Cash is Trash So what’s a corporation to do with a $500M melting ice cube? It turns out it’s not that easy to unload half a billion dollars in a short amount of time. You could buy back half a billion of your own company’s shares. For a company like MSTR, Saylor estimated that would take 4 years. Time MiscroStrategy didn’t have. You could buy real estate. However, commercial real estate prices have collapsed post COVID while property owners still believe their assets are worth what they were in January. In other words, good luck getting a fair market price. You could buy blue chip equities. Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook. However, your risk is symmetric. They can each fall 50% just as easily as they can go up 50%. That left Saylor with silver, gold, Bitcoin, and other alternative assets. A move the company announced it was exploring on a July earnings call. A Bold Purchase Saylor ultimately wanted something that could either get cut in half, or go up by a factor of 10. An investment akin to what buying Amazon or Apple in 2012 was. In other words, asymmetric risk. As a student of technological history, Saylor observed that the winning strategy over the last ten years has been to find some kind of “digitally dominant network” that dematerializes something fundamental to society. Apple dematerialized mobile communications. Amazon dematerialized commerce. Google dematerialized the process of gathering information. Something Saylor noted was common to all recent 10X opportunities is buying when they’ve achieved $100B+ marketcaps and are ten times the size of their next biggest competitor. As Bitcoin is the dominant digital network dematerializing money that’s 10x the size of any cryptocurrency competing to be a store-of-value (not counting ETH here), it fit the bill. Making the purchase With the thesis in place, the next thing Saylor had to do was get everyone at MicroStrategy to sign-off on the unorthodox decision. To do this, he simply made everyone go down the same Bitcoin rabbithole that most people in the industry have gone down. He made everyone at the company watch Andreas Antonopoulous videos, read The Bitcoin Standard, watch Eric Vorhees debate Peter Schiff and listen to Pomp and NLW podcasts. With no strong detractors, MicroStrategy turned to execution. They first put $250M to work purchasing 21,454 BTC in August and another $175M (16,796 BTC) in September for a total $425M and 38,250 BTC. What’s fascinating is that MicroStrategy was able to open such a large position without really moving the market or anyone even taking notice. This speaks to just how liquid of an asset BTC has become. To acquire the September tranche of BTC, Saylor disclosed that they traded continuously for 74 hours, executing 88,617 trades of .19 BTC every 3 seconds. One for the history books Skeptics noted that shares of MSTR have been on the downtrend since 2013, as the real reason behind MicroStrategy’s bold move. Regardless, the move has interesting implications for the company’s shareholders. As TBI observed, MicroStrategy is now both a software company and with ⅓ of its marketcap in Bitcoin, a pseudo Bitcoin ETF. At the time of writing, MSTR is up 20% on the week. Only time will tell if history looks back on this move as a brilliant strategic decision or a massive corporate blunder. In the short term, it scores a massive win for Bitcoin’s digital gold investment thesis. Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones is in. A publicly traded corporation has made Bitcoin it’s primary treasury asset. As CFOs and fund managers around the world undoubtedly take notice, one has to wonder, who’s next? PS - I based a lot of this article on Pomp’s interview with Michael Saylor, which I recommend giving a listen. Original article Source
Bloomberg strategist explains key macro drivers for price growth of gold and bitcoin
Senior Bloomberg strategist Mike McGlone has predicted that the BTC price will reach $100K by 2025 in an interview with Kitco News. McGlone pointed out that Bitcoin still has more than enough space for price growth, citing that the cryptocurrency had previously jumped from $1000 to $10000/bitcoin over the last 3 years. As for gold, even gold's uptrend has been somewhat slow compared to Bitcoin, but will not stop appreciating vs. the US dollar – and it may spike again. McGlone argued that if bitcoin can repeat its past bullish momentum, it could return to its 2019 high of $14,000 by the end of 2020. Why it matters: There are a number of factors supporting the Bitcoin price, and mainstream investors are beginning to enter the space. With so much buying interest in Bitcoin, as well as some of the major altcoins, we are likely to see higher prices over both the medium and long term. Despite its technical limitations, Bitcoin has become the go-to alternative digital asset, and these seem to be few reasons to doubt its ability to continue to attract capital. As an alternative to central bank issues fiat currency, Bitcoin can be used anywhere these is an internet connection, and has been an excellent store of value since its inception. Source https://btcpeers.com/bloomberg-strategist-explains-key-macro-drivers-for-price-growth-of-gold-and-bitcoin/
A common sentiment is brewing online; a shared desire for the internet that might have been. After decades of corporate encroachment, you don't need to be a power user to realize that something has gone very wrong. In the early days of the internet, the future was bright. In that future, when you sent an instant message, it traveled directly to the recipient. When you needed to pay a friend, you announced a transfer of value to their public key. When an app was missing a feature you wanted, you opened up the source code and implemented it. When you took a picture on your phone, it was immediately encrypted and backed up to storage that you controlled. In that future, people would laugh at the idea of having to authenticate themselves to some corporation before doing these things. What did we get instead? Rather than a network of human-sized communities, we have a handful of enormous commons, each controlled by a faceless corporate entity. Hey user, want to send a message? You can, but we'll store a copy of it indefinitely, unencrypted, for our preference-learning algorithms to pore over; how else could we slap targeted ads on every piece of content you see? Want to pay a friend? You can—in our Monopoly money. Want a new feature? Submit a request to our Support Center and we'll totally maybe think about it. Want to backup a photo? You can—inside our walled garden, which only we (and the NSA, of course) can access. Just be careful what you share, because merely locking you out of your account and deleting all your data is far from the worst thing we could do. You rationalize this: "MEGACORP would never do such a thing; it would be bad for business." But we all know, at some level, that this state of affairs, this inversion of power, is not merely "unfortunate" or "suboptimal" – No. It is degrading. Even if MEGACORP were purely benevolent, it is degrading that we must ask its permission to talk to our friends; that we must rely on it to safeguard our treasured memories; that our digital lives are completely beholden to those who seek only to extract value from us. At the root of this issue is the centralization of data. MEGACORP can surveil you—because your emails and video chats flow through their servers. And MEGACORP can control you—because they hold your data hostage. But centralization is a solution to a technical problem: How can we make the user's data accessible from anywhere in the world, on any device? For a long time, no alternative solution to this problem was forthcoming. Today, thanks to a confluence of established techniques and recent innovations, we have solved the accessibility problem without resorting to centralization. Hashing, encryption, and erasure encoding got us most of the way, but one barrier remained: incentives. How do you incentivize an anonymous stranger to store your data? Earlier protocols like BitTorrent worked around this limitation by relying on altruism, tit-for-tat requirements, or "points" – in other words, nothing you could pay your electric bill with. Finally, in 2009, a solution appeared: Bitcoin. Not long after, Sia was born. Cryptography has unleashed the latent power of the internet by enabling interactions between mutually-distrustful parties. Sia harnesses this power to turn the cloud storage market into a proper marketplace, where buyers and sellers can transact directly, with no intermediaries, anywhere in the world. No more silos or walled gardens: your data is encrypted, so it can't be spied on, and it's stored on many servers, so no single entity can hold it hostage. Thanks to projects like Sia, the internet is being re-decentralized. Sia began its life as a startup, which means it has always been subjected to two competing forces: the ideals of its founders, and the profit motive inherent to all businesses. Its founders have taken great pains to never compromise on the former, but this often threatened the company's financial viability. With the establishment of the Sia Foundation, this tension is resolved. The Foundation, freed of the obligation to generate profit, is a pure embodiment of the ideals from which Sia originally sprung. The goals and responsibilities of the Foundation are numerous: to maintain core Sia protocols and consensus code; to support developers building on top of Sia and its protocols; to promote Sia and facilitate partnerships in other spheres and communities; to ensure that users can easily acquire and safely store siacoins; to develop network scalability solutions; to implement hardforks and lead the community through them; and much more. In a broader sense, its mission is to commoditize data storage, making it cheap, ubiquitous, and accessible to all, without compromising privacy or performance. Sia is a perfect example of how we can achieve better living through cryptography. We now begin a new chapter in Sia's history. May our stewardship lead it into a bright future.
Today, we are proposing the creation of the Sia Foundation: a new non-profit entity that builds and supports distributed cloud storage infrastructure, with a specific focus on the Sia storage platform. What follows is an informal overview of the Sia Foundation, covering two major topics: how the Foundation will be funded, and what its funds will be used for.
The Sia Foundation will be structured as a non-profit entity incorporated in the United States, likely a 501(c)(3) organization or similar. The actions of the Foundation will be constrained by its charter, which formalizes the specific obligations and overall mission outlined in this document. The charter will be updated on an annual basis to reflect the current goals of the Sia community. The organization will be operated by a board of directors, initially comprising Luke Champine as President and Eddie Wang as Chairman. Luke Champine will be leaving his position at Nebulous to work at the Foundation full-time, and will seek to divest his shares of Nebulous stock along with other potential conflicts of interest. Neither Luke nor Eddie personally own any siafunds or significant quantities of siacoin.
The primary source of funding for the Foundation will come from a new block subsidy. Following a hardfork, 30 KS per block will be allocated to the "Foundation Fund," continuing in perpetuity. The existing 30 KS per block miner reward is not affected. Additionally, one year's worth of block subsidies (approximately 1.57 GS) will be allocated to the Fund immediately upon activation of the hardfork. As detailed below, the Foundation will provably burn any coins that it cannot meaningfully spend. As such, the 30 KS subsidy should be viewed as a maximum. This allows the Foundation to grow alongside Sia without requiring additional hardforks. The Foundation will not be funded to any degree by the possession or sale of siafunds. Siafunds were originally introduced as a means of incentivizing growth, and we still believe in their effectiveness: a siafund holder wants to increase the amount of storage on Sia as much as possible. While the Foundation obviously wants Sia to succeed, its driving force should be its charter. Deriving significant revenue from siafunds would jeopardize the Foundation's impartiality and focus. Ultimately, we want the Foundation to act in the best interests of Sia, not in growing its own budget.
The Foundation inherits a great number of responsibilities from Nebulous. Each quarter, the Foundation will publish the progress it has made over the past quarter, and list the responsibilities it intends to prioritize over the coming quarter. This will be accompanied by a financial report, detailing each area of expenditure over the past quarter, and forecasting expenditures for the coming quarter. Below, we summarize some of the myriad responsibilities towards which the Foundation is expected to allocate its resources.
Maintain and enhance core Sia software
Arguably, this is the most important responsibility of the Foundation. At the heart of Sia is its consensus algorithm: regardless of other differences, all Sia software must agree upon the content and rules of the blockchain. It is therefore crucial that the algorithm be stewarded by an entity that is accountable to the community, transparent in its decision-making, and has no profit motive or other conflicts of interest. Accordingly, Sia’s consensus functionality will no longer be directly maintained by Nebulous. Instead, the Foundation will release and maintain an implementation of a "minimal Sia full node," comprising the Sia consensus algorithm and P2P networking code. The source code will be available in a public repository, and signed binaries will be published for each release. Other parties may use this code to provide alternative full node software. For example, Nebulous may extend the minimal full node with wallet, renter, and host functionality. The source code of any such implementation may be submitted to the Foundation for review. If the code passes review, the Foundation will provide "endorsement signatures" for the commit hash used and for binaries compiled internally by the Foundation. Specifically, these signatures assert that the Foundation believes the software contains no consensus-breaking changes or other modifications to imported Foundation code. Endorsement signatures and Foundation-compiled binaries may be displayed and distributed by the receiving party, along with an appropriate disclaimer. A minimal full node is not terribly useful on its own; the wallet, renter, host, and other extensions are what make Sia a proper developer platform. Currently, the only implementations of these extensions are maintained by Nebulous. The Foundation will contract Nebulous to ensure that these extensions continue to receive updates and enhancements. Later on, the Foundation intends to develop its own implementations of these extensions and others. As with the minimal node software, these extensions will be open source and available in public repositories for use by any Sia node software. With the consensus code now managed by the Foundation, the task of implementing and orchestrating hardforks becomes its responsibility as well. When the Foundation determines that a hardfork is necessary (whether through internal discussion or via community petition), a formal proposal will be drafted and submitted for public review, during which arguments for and against the proposal may be submitted to a public repository. During this time, the hardfork code will be implemented, either by Foundation employees or by external contributors working closely with the Foundation. Once the implementation is finished, final arguments will be heard. The Foundation board will then vote whether to accept or reject the proposal, and announce their decision along with appropriate justification. Assuming the proposal was accepted, the Foundation will announce the block height at which the hardfork will activate, and will subsequently release source code and signed binaries that incorporate the hardfork code. Regardless of the Foundation's decision, it is the community that ultimately determines whether a fork is accepted or rejected – nothing can change that. Foundation node software will never automatically update, so all forks must be explicitly adopted by users. Furthermore, the Foundation will provide replay and wipeout protection for its hard forks, protecting other chains from unintended or malicious reorgs. Similarly, the Foundation will ensure that any file contracts formed prior to a fork activation will continue to be honored on both chains until they expire. Finally, the Foundation also intends to pursue scalability solutions for the Sia blockchain. In particular, work has already begun on an implementation of Utreexo, which will greatly reduce the space requirements of fully-validating nodes (allowing a full node to be run on a smartphone) while increasing throughput and decreasing initial sync time. A hardfork implementing Utreexo will be submitted to the community as per the process detailed above. As this is the most important responsibility of the Foundation, it will receive a significant portion of the Foundation’s budget, primarily in the form of developer salaries and contracting agreements.
Support community services
We intend to allocate 25% of the Foundation Fund towards the community. This allocation will be held and disbursed in the form of siacoins, and will pay for grants, bounties, hackathons, and other community-driven endeavours. Any community-run service, such as a Skynet portal, explorer or web wallet, may apply to have its costs covered by the Foundation. Upon approval, the Foundation will reimburse expenses incurred by the service, subject to the exact terms agreed to. The intent of these grants is not to provide a source of income, but rather to make such services "break even" for their operators, so that members of the community can enrich the Sia ecosystem without worrying about the impact on their own finances.
Ensure easy acquisition and storage of siacoins
Most users will acquire their siacoins via an exchange. The Foundation will provide support to Sia-compatible exchanges, and pursue relevant integrations at its discretion, such as Coinbase's new Rosetta standard. The Foundation may also release DEX software that enables trading cryptocurrencies without the need for a third party. (The Foundation itself will never operate as a money transmitter.) Increasingly, users are storing their cryptocurrency on hardware wallets. The Foundation will maintain the existing Ledger Nano S integration, and pursue further integrations at its discretion. Of course, all hardware wallets must be paired with software running on a computer or smartphone, so the Foundation will also develop and/or maintain client-side wallet software, including both full-node wallets and "lite" wallets. Community-operated wallet services, i.e. web wallets, may be funded via grants. Like core software maintenance, this responsibility will be funded in the form of developer salaries and contracting agreements.
Protect the ecosystem
When it comes to cryptocurrency security, patching software vulnerabilities is table stakes; there are significant legal and social threats that we must be mindful of as well. As such, the Foundation will earmark a portion of its fund to defend the community from legal action. The Foundation will also safeguard the network from 51% attacks and other threats to network security by implementing softforks and/or hardforks where necessary. The Foundation also intends to assist in the development of a new FOSS software license, and to solicit legal memos on various Sia-related matters, such as hosting in the United States and the EU. In a broader sense, the establishment of the Foundation makes the ecosystem more robust by transferring core development to a more neutral entity. Thanks to its funding structure, the Foundation will be immune to various forms of pressure that for-profit companies are susceptible to.
Drive adoption of Sia
Although the overriding goal of the Foundation is to make Sia the best platform it can be, all that work will be in vain if no one uses the platform. There are a number of ways the Foundation can promote Sia and get it into the hands of potential users and developers. In-person conferences are understandably far less popular now, but the Foundation can sponsor and/or participate in virtual conferences. (In-person conferences may be held in the future, permitting circumstances.) Similarly, the Foundation will provide prizes for hackathons, which may be organized by community members, Nebulous, or the Foundation itself. Lastly, partnerships with other companies in the cryptocurrency space—or the cloud storage space—are a great way to increase awareness of Sia. To handle these responsibilities, one of the early priorities of the Foundation will be to hire a marketing director.
The Foundation Fund will be controlled by a multisig address. Each member of the Foundation's board will control one of the signing keys, with the signature threshold to be determined once the final composition of the board is known. (This threshold may also be increased or decreased if the number of board members changes.) Additionally, one timelocked signing key will be controlled by David Vorick. This key will act as a “dead man’s switch,” to be used in the event of an emergency that prevents Foundation board members from reaching the signature threshold. The timelock ensures that this key cannot be used unless the Foundation fails to sign a transaction for several months. On the 1st of each month, the Foundation will use its keys to transfer all siacoins in the Fund to two new addresses. The first address will be controlled by a high-security hot wallet, and will receive approximately one month's worth of Foundation expenditures. The second address, receiving the remaining siacoins, will be a modified version of the source address: specifically, it will increase the timelock on David Vorick's signing key by one month. Any other changes to the set of signing keys, such as the arrival or departure of board members, will be incorporated into this address as well. The Foundation Fund is allocated in SC, but many of the Foundation's expenditures must be paid in USD or other fiat currency. Accordingly, the Foundation will convert, at its discretion, a portion of its monthly withdrawals to fiat currency. We expect this conversion to be primarily facilitated by private "OTC" sales to accredited investors. The Foundation currently has no plans to speculate in cryptocurrency or other assets. Finally, it is important that the Foundation adds value to the Sia platform well in excess of the inflation introduced by the block subsidy. For this reason, the Foundation intends to provably burn, on a quarterly basis, any coins that it cannot allocate towards any justifiable expense. In other words, coins will be burned whenever doing so provides greater value to the platform than any other use. Furthermore, the Foundation will cap its SC treasury at 5% of the total supply, and will cap its USD treasury at 4 years’ worth of predicted expenses. Addendum: Hardfork Timeline We would like to see this proposal finalized and accepted by the community no later than September 30th. A new version of siad, implementing the hardfork, will be released no later than October 15th. The hardfork will activate at block 293220, which is expected to occur around 12pm EST on January 1st, 2021.
Addendum: Inflation specifics The total supply of siacoins as of January 1st, 2021 will be approximately 45.243 GS. The initial subsidy of 1.57 GS thus increases the supply by 3.47%, and the total annual inflation in 2021 will be at most 10.4% (if zero coins are burned). In 2022, total annual inflation will be at most 6.28%, and will steadily decrease in subsequent years.
We see the establishment of the Foundation as an important step in the maturation of the Sia project. It provides the ecosystem with a sustainable source of funding that can be exclusively directed towards achieving Sia's ambitious goals. Compared to other projects with far deeper pockets, Sia has always punched above its weight; once we're on equal footing, there's no telling what we'll be able to achieve. Nevertheless, we do not propose this change lightly, and have taken pains to ensure that the Foundation will act in accordance with the ideals that this community shares. It will operate transparently, keep inflation to a minimum, and respect the user's fundamental role in decentralized systems. We hope that everyone in the community will consider this proposal carefully, and look forward to a productive discussion.
Just for discussion: what percentage of your net worth is in cryptocurrency?
Sitting there today, looking at the dip, and thinking "is there any coin you want to buy currently?" I started to look in earnest how much of my "net worth" is in crypto, and whether it's a comfortable amount (spoiler: it is). I'm 37, with about $40,000 (Australian dollaridoos) to my name. No mortgage or assets, basically I pays my rent and my bills, and my salary comes in each month. Probably getting used to the idea I won't be able to get on the property ladder. Anyway, I pondered this today. I have about $11k in Cryptos (probably half in bitcoin, and the rest scattered around altcoins where I believe the technology is good), which makes it about 25% of my savings. That's probably right by me. It's below the threshold "I could afford to lose", and below the threshold I might need to convert it to Fiat out of need or emergency. Frankly, I figure it's the comfortable level, for the money I have. I exited the stock market in June (sorry Buffet, although I'm sure my small contributions did not send shockwaves through the economy), and other than adding a small amount ($100) each week, I don't think it's the right time to invest that way. As I said, no mortgage or appreciable asset to my name. Or kids! And so the rest (let's call it $25,000) is in my bank account earning 1%. (Edit: This is only a temporary affair after pulling out of stocks, and deciding where to go next as the world wobbles). Anyway, that's my story, and I've decided I'm comfortable with 25% (no more) of my savings in crypto - again largely because there's no compelling alternatives, and bank interest is very bland. I wouldn't go much higher, but I am fairly comfortable to have moved that amount over in the last two years, and on the whole it's appreciated as a store of value by about (napkin maths) 10%. Just curious on other people's thoughts?
There are signs that a major Bitcoin miner (who was liquidating stored Bitcoins to keep power going) has officially gone busto.
Here you see major hash decline: https://www.blockchain.com/charts/hash-rate Here you can see '1st spends' of Bitcoin https://terminal.bytetree.com/bitcoin (I can't verify the accuracy of this). I've been watching 1st spends a while, averaging like 15,000 more Bitcoins spent than mined for the last year. That's like $180 Mil. First spends can only be done by miners. Spending more than mined basically means they are spending from old blocks (like blocks that paid out 50 BTC, 25 BTC, 12.5 BTC etc). There is some bonus value to first spend coins that I don't quite understand, but basically you get 10% or 20% more than the Bitcoin value when you spend them, because they are completely untraceable or something like that. You can sort of trace Bitcoins, but it's very, very hard to trace newly mined Bitcoins until they are spent and linked up with other assets of said individual. So over the last year, someone has been liquidating these reserve Bitcoins, while hash power of Bitcoin has gone up like double from where it was and payouts have fallen in half, so mining is paying like 25% of what it was this time last year, when BTC was $10k (presuming you stay on old equipment, etc.). I could imagine a situation where a BTC bull holds these first spend coins for a long time, planning on a rapid price jump which takes a long time to materialize. And then combine that with he $3.5k Corona / Oil dip, which basically forced liquidated everyone on margin position (which Bitcoin bulls tend to do), and I could see a scenario where someone had a wonderfully huge Bitcoin position, and mining op, and then got all their free coins liquidated by margin call, and spent their '1st spend' coins to keep ops going, hoping for rapid price acceleration. This is all conjecture but I've been expecting something like this to happen. Maybe it's just a blip, and I'm totally wrong, and hash climbs back up, but if it stays down and the BTC price goes up, then I'm thinking a miner went busto, who had be applying $10's of Millions of sell pressure monthly onto the system.
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