After an interesting discussion with those in my laboratory, I've decided to apply the forensic analysis team from BoomBustBlog to the privately funded companies in the Bitcoin space. See my post from yesterday for much of the reason why.

As clearly predicted yesterday, the better funded of the payment processors will initiate a pricing blood bath they'd likely kill for...

From PayPal's subsite on Mass Payments:

Paypal Mass Pay Site Screenshot

 As you can see, PayPal has already imbued its service with much of the attributes that are being offered by the Bitcoin payment processors. They also have a material advantage as of right now, a massive installed base.

I also cannot emphasize enough how damaging the all too necessary customer service option is to margins. You see, the problem is most service companies don't put enough into customer service and handholding of the customer. From an optimal perspective, this should actually be part of the marketing and sales process, but it's often either non-existent or implemented as an after thought after enough customers start bitching and complaining, or worse yet (and likely most often the case) leaving!

As a company with mature management, it appears as if PayPal is trying to head this off at the pass as it attempts to change consumer behavior and prod them into adopting its new electronic currency payment system...

Paypal Mass Pay Site Support Screenshot

 Now, let's compare PayPal to the newly funded Bitcoin payment processors...

Bitpay

Funding Rounds (3) - $32.50M

- See more at: http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/bitpay#sthash.yvlqpNtr.dpufBitpay prices

An interesting departure from the per transaction/fee model, Bitpay implemented a subscription system which benefits those customers who perform a large quantity of relatively small transactions moreso than those who process large orders.

I calculate Bitpay's most recent $30 million series A round to have been at around 9.2x sales, valuing the company at $160 million. This is a guestimate, of course, since I do not have access to internal numbers.  

Next we have Coinbase...

Funding Rounds (3) - $31.70M

- See more at: http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/coinbase#sthash.CD8IPTp6.dpufCoinbase 

There's also Circle, founded by Mr. Allaire of Coldfusion fame (sold to Adobe Systems).

Funding Rounds (2) - $26M 

- See more at: http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/nfc-direct#sthash.dd0DaxHc.dpuf

Circle has not publicly launched yet but promises to bring a new level of simplicity and user-friendliness to the bitcoin payment ecosystem, concentrating more on a banking paradigm then the technical bent that bitcoin is known to represent. This is all you need ot know about the Circle business model as it relates to this discussion of impending margin compression...

Circle

Free=Margin Compression!

Let's see how this plays out for customers. The most lucrative segments for this industry is the SME (small and medium business enterprises) who process anywhere between 10 and 1,000 transactions per month. Why? Because there are simply more SMEs than they are big companies in the world. Let's see what the two biggest bitcoin processors look like when stacked up against PayPal's Mass Pay product for the SME market...

image019

image027image028image029

Of course, the Bitcoin transactions are likely a loss leader for additional, value added services for many companies in the not too distant future. As a matter of fact, I feel that the payment space will quickly become commoditized by Bitcoin technology - forcing these companies and many more (I'm talking about you Mastercard, Visa and Western Union) to innovate and offer significantly and materially better value for the buck.

Imagine what this competitive landscape will look like when Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover and Western Union jump into the fray. Of course, before that a much greater portion of the VC and private equity community will wake up and realize the opportunity in Bitcoin to pour more cash into it than sugar into a Bubble gum machine (emphasis on "Bubble"). The key is to get in early, and get in right. But how does one do that and where will this tale of uber margin compression end?

Well, the research report from which this info is being prepared will be offered to accredited and instituional investors starting next week, at least those who have an interest in UltraCoin. 

My next article on this topic will explicitly illustrate how UltraCoin can assist ALL players (that's right, including PayPal, Bitpay, Circle, Coinbase, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover and Western Union) as well as their direct customers, in climbing up both the food chain and the value proposition ladder - thus rapidly repairing the margin compression damage they are about to bring upon thier business models.

 image014

 

Published in BoomBustBlog

picsay-1400512647

Reggie Middleton discussion UltraCoin at the 2014 FinTech conference at Dechert LLP.

Coindesk asks "Do Patent Filings from eBay and Western Union Pose a Threat to Bitcoin?" I feel  the question is in and of itself missing the point. To explain this fully, I have to share a little bit about myself, particularly my weaknesses. I'm the type of person who is very knowledgeable about his strengths and his weaknesses, but sometimes I don't see my strength for what it is, and that is tantamount to a weakness in a highly competitive environment.

Case in point, in discussing whether or not competing patents have been filed for smart contract transacion processes by those who seek to be in my space with my contract engineer (a very skilled software architect and IP attorney), I displayed what I considered a healthy level of paranoid concern. I found it hard to believe that no one bothered to patent the most innovative, disruptive and groundbreaking aspect of this new crop of digital currencies - the ability to program them. As those who follow me know, I've spent a lot of resources developing, designing, refining and patenting advanced smart contracts (see How Reggie Middleton's Start-up Patented The Future of Global Finance!). I actually found it highly unlikely that no one had come up with this idea before me. Matt (my contracts engineer) said, "You know, it actually takes an uncanny amount of vision to have seen the scope of this stuff and act upon it, not to mention to have done so 6 months ago. Not many people are like you." Right then and there, it hit me. People really do not see things the way I do! 

Most know me from my prescient calls in banking, finance, real estate and tech (see Who is Reggie Middleton?). I've demonstrated a knack for seeing future trends and determining when things (such as valuations and opportunities) are out of whack. With that being said, the big media interest in Bitcoin combined with the increasing VC interest in Bitcoin companies (reference BitPay Gets $30 Million in Venture Capital Funding) is a very good thing for the industry, but also illustrates shortsigtedness in both the investment community and many practitioners.

The problem with the processors...

When bitcoin is as easy as PayPal to use then it will be on the path to mass adoption, but to assume that’s the most lucrative path to take in bitcoin company private equity investment begs the wrong question. Here’s the strategic landscape as I see it.

Bitcoin is very inexpensive to use as a transfer agent. A transaction may be safely sent without fees if these conditions are met (this is excerpted directly from the Bitcoin Wiki, verbatum):

  1. It is smaller than 1,000 bytes.
  2. All outputs are 0.01 BTC or larger.
  3. Its priority is large enough

Otherwise, the reference implementation will round up the transaction size to the next thousand bytes and add a fee of 0.1 mBTC (0.0001 BTC) per thousand bytes. Note that a typical transaction is 500 bytes, so the typical transaction fee for low-priority transactions is 0.1 mBTC (0.0001 BTC), regardless of the number of bitcoins sent.

Bitcoin as of 5/18/2014 is $444.74m, thus the fee for this transaction is roughly 4 cents, if not outright free. If a processor is transferring $10,000 on behalf of a customer, whether at one time or 100 times throughout the course of a month, the processor’s fee cost would range from $0 to $4, while the processor would likely charge (as of the date of this writing, $0 to $100). The traditional processors such a Visa or Paypal  would charge hundreds (as in up to 50x more!) for the same deal!

That 25x markup on the high end is significant (even for the Bitcoin companies), and ripe for disintermediation itself (that's right, the disintermediaing agents are poised for disintermediaion). Particularly once the UX of Bitcoin evolves, as email and web browsing did, and users realize how easy and cheap it is to jump onto the blockchain and do this stuff themselves.

Even assuming users don’t follow the historical model of those that left proprietary walled gardens (think AOL) and jumped directly into the open World Wide Web themselves, there are no material barriers to entry to enter into the processing business other than potentially a money transmitter license. The only material barrier, hence the business opportunity, is that Bitcoin is cumbersome to use. As the UI/UX polish increases and the amount of competitors in the space increase, the lower the prices charged - hence the margins - will be.

With such low barriers to entry and potentially humongous markups to exploit, what do you think happens next? The wild, untamed hordes of competitors swoop down upon the masses, and we have a concerted race to zero, and likely negative margin as competitors attempt to make processing a loss leader to draw users into the folds of richer, higher margin services!!!

 The race to marginal zero, then negative, does not make a strong business plan. So, what do these companies such as BitPay, Coinbase, etc. do once that point is reached (rather quickly)? They look to value added (high margin) services on top of their low margin, utility-like payment infrastructures.

Enter smart contracts and the true use of programmability in the crypto-currencies. The easiest and the likely first implementation of such will be multi-sig operations which allow multiple parties to share funds without having to worry about trusting and single party in a transaction. Our ZeroTrust Letters of Credit (patent pending) is just such a product. It allows for multiple parties to tranfer payment for simple and complex transactions contingent upon the mutual agreed upon successful execution of said transactions. This is done without the parties having to:

  1. Know each other
  2. Trust each other
  3. Have any form of proximity to each other;

and can be done using micropayments all the way up to multi-million dollar macro payments. The barriers to this business are much higher. For one, it takes more than just programming code. You have to be able to congeal the legal logic of the conventional law in equity contract into code. You have to be able to congeal the business logic into code, and you have to be able to implement it into the blockchain or whatever other underlying transmission mechanism you choose to utilize.

Once the race to negative zero is in full swing, a few of the wiser companies will wake-up and say "Hey, there has to be a better way, and we think we found it!". It is at that point Reggie Middleton's UltraCoin products and assets will shine. It is not hard to foresee that the entrenched companies (Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Western Union) may enter a bidding war with the new comers armed with material VC warchests (much more than we're seeing with $30 million investments of today - all over the guys who had the foresight to see the next evolutionary step in plain vanilla payments - smart transactions and self-executing digital contracts and transactions.

We're actively looking for financial and intellectual capital. If you, as an accredited investor, are looking for an opportunity in the higher end of the digital currency space, I think we should talk. In addition, if you are a higher level Java/C++ developer willing to take risk, we need to talk. I'm available at reggie at ultra-coin.com.

 
Published in BoomBustBlog

Bloomberg ran a story earlier this week illustrating the human capital flight out of the Wall Street machine and into tech:

At elite universities, fewer MBA and finance candidates are willing to even consider a life of missed weddings, busted romances and deep-into-the-night deal negotiations. The percentage of Harvard Business School graduates entering investment banking, sales or trading dropped to 5 percent last year from 12 percent in 2006, while those entering technology almost tripled to 18 percent during that period.

At the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the percentage of MBAs entering investment banking dropped to 13.3 percent last year from 26 percent in 2006, while those entering tech more than doubled to 11.1 percent.

 Those of you who have been following finance from the Wall Street/Bay Street/Canary Wharf perspective realize that this is a cyclical occurence. Basically, Wall Street falls out of favor with MBA whiz kids every ten years of so. But!!!! This time is different. This time around, Wall Street, et. al. is about to succumb to the destructive forces of technology that transformed, revolutionized, disintermediated, gutted and absolutely reinvigorated the media, news and retail industries. 

That's right! The Internet Paradigm Shift has finally hit Global Finance... and it's going to hurt, and hurt a lot!

As many know, the I've poured my time and resources into a start-up by the name of UltraCoin. Many have been clamoring for white papers and details, and I have been purposely secretive about such. The reason? I needed to entrency protection from my competition - the money center banks. How did I do this? Well...

I patented the future of Global Finance!

patent to the Future of finance big

This video illustrates my presentation to both the mainstream and alternative media as I start my capital raising rounds from venture capitalists and strategic investos alike. Check it out!

We're looking for financial and human capital as we prepare to expand globally. Financial capital is self-explanatory. On the human capital side...
We're seeking a full stack contract developer. Must be proficient in: Java or C#; git, bzr, or similar. Must have a solid understanding of: race conditions and how to avoid them; scalable concurrency and data integrity architectural concepts (replication, sharding, etc.); software development processes and best practices. Proficiency in some CRUD technology (*SQL, NoSQL, etc.) as well as and some scripting language (Javascript, PHP, Python, etc.) is highly preferred. Experience with the Bitcoin protocol is a huge plus. Your first interview is to e-mail your resume along with a response to this challenge: https://gist.github.com/mbogosian/28815ae606c663c983c3

Must be willing to sign an NDA. You should be knowledgeable and competent, but we prefer grit to genius. Prima donnas need not apply.

Published in BoomBustBlog

called the Apple short before it became vogue! I called the Blackberry short beforethey became the industry whipping boy! I warned about Nokia and made clear that Samsung Will Be Ready To Do That Fruit Thing! How'd I know all of this? It's quite simple, I explained it all in 2012 - Smartphone Hardware Manufacturers Are Dead. Well, now the chickens continue to come home to roost, as per CNBC:

In order to deal with such pressures, Samsung appears to be pricing the Galaxy S5 lower than its predecessor S4, according to Kang, who has collected pre-order prices for the device from around the world.

"It reflects the trend of smart phone commoditization – Samsung will have to learn to create profits at a lower price point," Kang said.

Earlier this week, Samsung said it's on track to post its second straight quarter of profit decline, as slowing smartphone sales growth continued to weigh on earnings.

Samsung Electronics 1Q profit view just shy of estimates

The South Korean tech giant estimated that its January-March operating profit fell by 4.3 percent to 8.4 trillion won, slightly below an average forecast of 8.5 trillion won, according to Reuters.

I've created an infrastructure that significantly expands these investment markets by allowing anyone, anywhere with an Internet connection (of almost any speed) to participate in almost any of the world's public financial markets. Taking the subject matter of this article into consideration, we can short Samsung on its own home exchange of Korea for nearly any amount, from $10 million US down to $8 ...

The Family 2095-2097 - Copy

These same young investors can even hedge thier currency translation risk with a Korean Won US dollar forex pair, for 55 basis points!

manage currency risk in Ultracoin while using it to short Samsung

Armed with the information from simply reading my blog posts, your brothers from Haiti or Botstwana can now take short positions in these (margin)doomed hardware manufacturers - taking the other side of the trade from these big name financial institutions that don't seem to read my writings.

 DSC08625DSC08627

These are kids that I taught UltraCoin to during my trip to Haiti a couple of weeks ago. Before you assume, the kids are actually quite bright and adept at math, and yes - kdis can easily trade with UltraCoin. My kids have been doing it for months!
thumb Slide16

My UltraCoin project will nearly double the available potential investors able to profit from these markets. By making the ability to participate in multi-asset class prices moves bi-directionally (that's right,  long and short) I will be increase the liquidity of said markets by almost 2 billion people, as per McKinsey:

  • 2.5 billion adults, just over half of the world’s adult population, do not use formal financial services to save or borrow.
  • 2.2 billion of the unserved adults live in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
  • Of the 1.2 billion adults who use formal financial services in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, at least two-thirds, a little more than 800 million, live on less than $5 per day (purchasing power parity adjusted).
  • Regulatory and policy environments, as well as the actions of individual financial services providers, affect usage levels in a way that is, to a large extent, independent of countries’ socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.

I just had the pleasure of meeting this young lady from Botswana who's trying to spearhead Bitcoin adoption in her country. I've made friends and I'm going to supply her with the means to have the whole country trading a whole variety (UltraCoin can trade more than 10,000 tickers - stocks, bonds, options, futures, indices) of financial assets very soon. 

I'll leave it up to you to determine who'll win those trades. These are interesting times indeed. For those who are not aware of how far I've come in transforming the way value is traded across geo-political and socio-economic lines, I urge you to view the following video and/or peruse the embedded presentation below it.

 

Samsung Follows Footsteps Of Apple, HTC, Nokia - Wasn't ...

Sep 6, 2013 - Smartphone Hardware Manufacturers Are DeadNov 29, 2012 - Two and a ... BoomBustBlog Mar 7, 2013 - applecutsabreandriod3d Two and a ...

Sep 27, 2013 - Here I go again – Hardware is Dead & Samsung Agrees Featured ... raw fundamentals and margins, let's look at the newest crop of hardware.

Jan 25, 2013 - A Glimpse of the BoomBustBlog Internal Discussion Concerning the Fate of Apple - This ... So, you ask, "How is it that hardware is dead?" Well.
 

Nov 29, 2012 - Two and a half years ago I declared in my mobile computing wars series that Google would commoditized the mobile computing space, thereby ...

Dec 10, 2012 - Last week I told the world that hardwarevendors are DEAD! At least the fat margin business modelhardware vendors (like those whose name rhymes with Snapple). ... Related BoomBustBlog Subscription-only Research:.

 
Published in BoomBustBlog

The Turkish government has exercised its censorship chops in banning Twitter in an attempt to quell distribution of anti-government recordings, and in the process has materially popularized the service, to wit: Forbes - Streisand Effect Takes Hold As Turkey Bans Twitter

In an attempt to halt widespread allegations of corruption, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shuttered Twitter – but so ineffectively that the number of tweets sent in the country has remained unaffected.

Last night, Erdogan announced that, following a court order, Twitter was now disabled in the country. “We’ll eradicate Twitter,” he said. “I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic.”

The Washington Post reports,Turkey bans Twitter — and Twitter explodes.
Of course, the Islamic leaning Aljazeera.com‎ says "Twitter users ridicule Turkey ban".
Leaked recordings shared on Twitter include one in which Erdogan allegedly instructs his son to dispose of cash [AP]

Turkish and global social media users have mocked moves by Turkey's government to restrict access to Twitter.

The hashtags #TwitterisblockedinTurkey and #Turkey blockedTwitter became the top trending topics globally on Friday, just hours after the Turkish government imposed the ban.

The number of tweets from Turkey reportedly rose by 138 percent as savvy Internet users, including the country's president Abdullah Gul, found it easy to circumvent the shutdown.

"The whole world is laughing at you #ErdoganBlockedTwitter," users tweeted, as dozens of images mocking the ban - including one showing Twitter birds covering Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's head in droppings - were shared on the platform.

Another popular tweet shared a poster of the prime minister on a Barack Obama campaign poster with the message, "Yes, we ban".

Erdogan on Thursday night promised to "root out" and wipe out" the social media platform after users published claims of corruption against him.

Leaked recordings shared and linked on Twitter include one in which Erdogan allegedly instructs his son to dispose of large amounts of cash from a residence amid a police corruption probe.

One method of ridicule was to go around the the blocking if the Twitter domain name by using Google's DNS (Domain Name Server) services which allowed anxious and potential Twitter users to find the Twitter website through Google's machinations. So, what does the Turkish government do? They blocked Twitter at the IP level and then went so far as to bank Google's DNS. This means that Turkey is attempting to block out a portion of the Internet, to wit: Turkey Blocks Google DNS as Erdogan Defends Twitter Action 
 
Now here comes a quick education for the old fogey-type folk that declare Bitcoin is a bubble, ponzi scheme currency with no intrinsic value. If you recall my many videos that declare the value of Bitcoin is in the protocol, and not the unit of account that everyone is calling a currency, then you may realize that the Bitcoin technology can literally take the Turkish government down. 
(go to time market 1:10 in the video for the explanation)
Those that know the Bitcoin protocol well know that it is an ideal method of overcoming centralized control in regards to value transfer. Well, it's easily assumable that website data access is value transfer as well. If anybody in Turkey is reading this, then email me and I'll show you how to step around even Erdogan's Google DNS ban using the Bitcoin derivative known as Namecoin - A peer-to-peer, censorship resistant, alternative DNS root and data storage technology. Using that "tulip" technology with "no intrinsic value", Namecoin facilitates cryptographically secure decentralized name and data storage.
 
According toWikipedia: Namecoin (sign: ℕ; code: NMC) is a cryptocurrency which also acts as an alternative, decentralizedDNS, which would avoid domain namecensorship by making a new top level domain outside of ICANN control, and in turn, make internet censorship much more difficult, as well as reduce outages.[3][4][1][2][5][6][7][8]
Now, we all know that Krugman and Roubini and all of the not so technologically inclined macro economists may not believe that Bitcoin, et. al. has any intrinsic value, but if somebody like me led a "Coin" revolt in Turkey, do you think Erdogan would believe the economists or me in regards to the intrinsic value of this technology.
If you think Namecoin can be disruptive to the status quo, you aint't seen nothin' yet. Wait until the launch of UltraCoin, when those little Haitain kids in shacks out trade the Goldman prop desk on that BTC/AU pair trade.
That's right, I'm teaching 3rd world children how to trade using cryptocurrency derivatives and plain old fashioned derivatives. I'm comfortable pitting them against the names that the developed world worships, as long as its using this new tech. Let's see how they fair...
I just love the smell of creative disruption in the air. These pics were taken after some training sessions in Port au Prince, Haiti this weekend.
20140322 124403
DSC08625DSC08627
Read more...
 
Published in BoomBustBlog

On or about February 23rd, 2014, Mt. Gox (on of the larger bitcoin exchanges) collapsed. The MSM (mainstream media) had a field day...

kapre

LA times on btc

yhoo on btc

I warned everybody that the fall of Mt. Gox was simply a poorly managed small business getting its just dues. To correlate the fortunes of Mt. Gox with the fortunes of the Bitcoin ecosystem is akin correlating the fortune of the World Wide Web with that of Pets.com or Alta Vista in the 1990s. Sounds silly doesn't it? Well, fast forward 3 weeks from the Gox'd experience and this is what we find... BTC volatilityThe week after the media frenzy regarding Mt. Gox started to fade, the price of BTC (bitcoins) started a dramatic phase of price stabilization. This apparent price stabilization was verified by the very dramatic drop in standard deviation.

If we drill down to the weeks in question, we find... BTC volatility1

This price stabilization has occurred even before the wide scale adoption of UltraCoin. 

As always, I'm looking for:

  1. financial capital
  2. intellectual capital
  3. developers, management and sales/marketing expertise.

If you have any of this in abundance, hit me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in BoomBustBlog

thumb Slide7

Let's quote some of the last lines of my last article on Bitcoin: "Witness the drivel that comes out of the the analyst's reports (and yes, I thoroughly ridiculed each one):

  1. Theres' Something Fishy In The House Of Morgan, Pt. 2: Bitcoin Fear, Envy & Loathing
  2. Does the Mainstream Media Assist Wall Street In Hypocritical Hypothesis For Fear Of The Next Paradigm Shift?"

You see, first JP Morgan threw baseless fear tactics, then Citibank jumped into the fray. Well, guess whose next? Goldman Sachs, of course. Everybody's favorite fair game player. As excerpted from Business Insider today:

"Dominic Wilson and Jose Ursua of the firm's markets research division are first up. They argue that Bitcoin fails to meet both basic criteria of a viable currency: while there remains an outside chance for widespread acceptance as a medium of exchange, as a stable source of value, it has so far failed. That undermines the premise that Bitcoin could serve as a way of short-circuiting exchange rates in inflation-prone countries."

 And Reggie, Chief of Bullshit Patrol & Related Crimes Division chimes in with a Google search on promintent "failed" currency processors:

Bitpay user growth google searchcoinbase user growth google search

But wait a minute! Goldman's business business is growing at a fraction of this pace, and actually negative in some areas. So, if Bitcoin as a currency and payment system is a failure, what the hell is Goldmam? Of course, Business Insider goes on to report...

For most users what matters is not the comparison with other currencies, but a comparison with the volatility of the currency that they hold (dollars in the US for instance) in terms of the things that they need to buy. The volatility of consumer prices (in dollars) has been even lower than FX rates, even if measured over a period including the 1970s. Put simply, if you hold cash today in most developed countries, you know within a few percentage points what you will be able to buy with it a day, a week or a year from now.  

This is Bullshit! Say it to the more mathematically challenged, my bonus hungry friends. Let's run the math using theusinflationcalculator.com:

Dollar as a store of value

As you can see, if you measure things from the '70s as the esteemed, erstwhile Wall Street aficiaondo from Goldman recommended, then you would have less than 17% of your buying power left. Yes, bitcoin is volatile, but its volatility stems from the price going up and down, while the USD has primarily just went down. You know that saying about the frog in the slowly heated boiling pot of water, right?

In addition, both of the largest Bitcoin payment processors absorb the exchange rate volatility for their customers, or did the best of breed Goldman analysts somehow overlook this pertinent fact?

 

Eliminate the bitcoin volatility risk with BitPay's guaranteed exchange rates. ... Import your BitPay sales into QuickBooks, to report and reconcile your bitcoin  ...

 

In addition, there are cutting edge products being introduced by tall, handsome, charsimatic and highly intelligent entrepeneurs who have a long track record of out gunning Goldman et. al. that allow anyone to hedge Bitcoin volatlity against any prominent fiat currency.

Back to those Goldman guys...

Wilson and Ursua include this graph showing volatility of Bitcoin versus the Argentine peso, the yen, the euro, the pound, and U.S. inflation. It's not even close. 

bitcoin volaitlity

But wait a minute! If the largest payment processors absorb the volatility and market risk of their customers, then Goldman must assuredly be referring to the currencies above from an investment perspective, no?

Yes! Bitcoin is truly volatile, indeed, but the guy at Goldman are cheating, hoping that the rest of us don't know our finance and/or basic common sense. You see, they are looking at just one side of the equation - the side that favors fiat currencies and disfavors bitcoin. You see, risk is the price of reward. For every reward you seek, you pay a price in risk. The goal, as a smart investor, is to pay little risk for much reward. Goldman is trying to make it appear as if you are paying nothing but risk for bitcoin and getting little reward in return. Let's see how that pans out when someone who knows what they're doing chimes in. From the BoomBustBlogresearch report File Icon Digital Currencies' Risks, Rewards & Returns - An Into Into Bitcoin Investing For Longer Term Horizons:

Bitcoin risk adjusted returns

You see, with high volatility (aka, risk), it's hard to earn your cost of capital, not to menton surpass it. Isn't that right, employess of Goldman Sachs? Let me jog your collective memories, as excerpted from the BoomBustBlog post on When the Patina Fades… The Rise and Fall of Goldman Sachs???

GS return on equity has declined substantially due to deleverage and is only marginally higher than its current cost of capital. With ROE down to c12% from c20% during pre-crisis levels, there is no way a stock with high beta as GS could justify adequate returns to cover the inherent risk. For GS to trade back at 200 it has to increase its leverage back to pre-crisis levels to assume ROE of 20%. And for that GS has to either increase its leverage back to 25x. With curbs on banks leverage this seems highly unlikely. Without any increase in leverage and ROE, the stock would only marginally cover returns to shareholders given that ROE is c12%. Even based on consensus estimates the stock should trade at about where it is trading right now, leaving no upside potential. Using BoomBustBlog estimates, the valuation drops considerably since we take into consideration a decrease in trading revenue or an increase in the cost of funding in combination with a limitation of leverage due to the impending global regulation coming down the pike.

gs_roe.jpg

 

 Now that we see how hard it is to truly produce Alpha, I query thee... What do you think would happen if a financial maverick, an out of the box thinker who's different from all of those other guys, got a seed round of funding for the most disruptive product to hit the finance world since the printing press? What if that seed round was for $8 million dollars, with a preferred A series coming right behind it? What would such a cash flush company do, being one of the most cash flush Bitcoin companies in the world? Hmmmnnn!!!

Speakin' of Goldman Sachs...

I anticipate being in the market very soon for (I'm not thier yet, but hopefully very soon):

CTO - Chief Technology Officer

COO - Chief Opertating Officer

General Counsel

CMO - Chief Marketing Officer 

CFO - Chief Financial Officer

As well as skilled Java and Blockchain developers.

Hit me via reggie at ultra-coin.com if you have an interest in coming on board.

Published in BoomBustBlog

With all of the brouhaha over Bitcoin and the downright irresponsible reporting by the mass media, I've decided to reveal the progress of my "UltraCoin: The Future of Money!!!" venture. What you see in the next few paragraphs should elucidate even the most blinded to the prospects and potential of the Bitcoin protocol and why I've always said that the price of the actual cryptocurrency is absolutely irrelevant (much as the price of AOL was highly irrelevant to the prospects of the Internet in 1993).

 thumb Slide1

 I know I said the MSM has simply butchered accurate coverage of Bitcoin, but this piece in Fortune Magazine was right on the money: 

 "[UltraCoin] is a shot directly across the bow of the financial industry. Still in early development, BTC Swap is planned to facilitate a variety of what Middleton calls "Zero-Trust Digital Contracts," which recreate financial functions in software code by matching offered and desired transactions between parties without the need for intermediary institutions. Because these contracts are automated, instantaneous, and executed with assets already represented in the Bitcoin blockchain, Middleton says they eliminate counterparty risk while also subtracting conventional banking and brokerage fees.

The most immediate function Middleton envisions for his system is for hedging bitcoin against existing national currencies. With bitcoin's valuation still showing huge volatility, Middleton claims the availability of distributed hedging will both ensure the value of bitcoin for individuals holding the asset and provide systemic stability. (Given persistent skepticism, there should be plenty of takers to short bitcoin against the dollar.) And the entire system relies on decentralization for its security and integrity: "My contracts are peer-to-peer," says Middleton. "If you hack my servers, there's nothing to get."

Find it hard to believe? Even children can do it...

thumb Slide16

So, how does this work? Well, let's start from the beginning.

thumb Slide2

The vast majority of the world does their spending out of a wallet like this, or using currency-like instruments such as these (both physical and digital) contained in the wallet. The problem is all of these devices are "dumb" and rely on central authority figures (government, servers, banks, etc.). So...

Along comes Bitcoin with its decentralized currency that solves many of these issues. Bitcoin is also kept in wallets, like these...

thumb Slide3

These Bitcoin wallets give you considerably more freedom with your money, sending it faster, cheaper and with more privacy than the conventional wallet above. Of course, the typical Bitcoin wallet hasn't even scratched the surface of what's possible with this new technology. As a matter of fact, the tech is so over-encompassing and transformative that the mass media and even much of the specialized media simply CANNOT wrap their minds around what's about to happen to the worlds of money, finance and investment!

I've taken a radical step with this tech that makes even the newest Bitcoin wallets look old hat in comparison. What makes UltraCoin different from everything else?

thumb Slide7

So, what is UltraCoin?

thumb Slide8

Unlike Bitcoin wallets, it allows you to literally take control of both your money and gain exposure to financial assets such as stocks, bonds, forex, options, futures, oil, gas, commodities and precious metals. 

thumb Slide10

You can even design your own "smart contracts" directly within the wallet itself.

thumb Slide11thumb Slide12thumb Slide13thumb Slide15

This stuff above is a pretty big difference from... this, eh?

thumb Slide2

And that's how we come round robin back to that first graphic with my kids trading currency exposures.

thumb Slide16

Of course, Wall Street is fearful. Why shouldn't they be? If the public realized the extent of the middleman markup they pack into otherwise low value-add services and product margin, there would be a mass revolt. When you create these products and services on a peer to peer basis, it's extremely hard to overcharge to the extent a recent MBA recipient with little to no real world experience can recieve 7 or 8 digit compensation. Don't believe me and my proclamations of fear? Witness the drivel that comes out of the the analyst's reports:

Theres' Something Fishy In The House Of Morgan, Pt. 2: Bitcoin Fear, Envy & Loathing

Does the Mainstream Media Assist Wall Street In Hypocritical Hypothesis For Fear Of The Next Paradigm Shift?

I'm looking for:

  1. Financial Capital
  2. Intellectual Capital
  3. Active and prolific traders to help beta test my wallets. 

If you are or know of any of the above, hit me up with a link to your LinkedIn and/or Wikipedia profile via reggie AT ultra-coin.com. You can also join me to trade live Bitcoin and currency exposures at 40 Broad Street, Friday at 6 pm if you wish. Equities, Silver and Gold exposures will be available next week and possibly by Friday as well. 

Published in BoomBustBlog

Cryptocurrencies have been on a tear over the last 2 years, both in terms of mindshare and returns. This is particularly true of the last year, in which Bitcoin (the de facto proxy for cryptocurrencies) has heaved from $13 to $950, making a pit stop at $1200 along the way. This 7,308% return looks to be outrageously delectable to many a speculator and has even caught the eye of an institutional fund or two. The problem is, and what many novice investors have a problem conceptualizing, that astute institutional “investment” funds actually have a problem dipping their toes in the wilding appreciative yet hyper-volatile world that is cryptocurrencies.

The reason is because “investment funds” as opposed to beta chasing “trading” or “hedge" funds seek a measured return on investment. The raw returns that you see spouted for Bitcoin and the various alt.coins are actually not what the smart institutional money is looking for.

Put another way, you tend to get what you pay for. Risk is the price of reward, with risk being defined as deviation from expected return. You nearly never get a reward without bearing some risk to attain said reward. On the flip side, you should always demand a commensurate reward for the risk that you take. Measuring reward without taking into consideration the risk paid to attain such reward is akin to jumping out of the top floor of a 50 story building to revel in the exhilaration of the drop without taking into consideration what happens when you reach ground level. All in all, it tends to end ugly.

My clients are told that if you assumed $1 of risk to reap $1 of reward, then you effectively made nothing from an economic, risk adjusted reward perspective. This is difficult for the layperson to understand since those who reaped said dollar are left holding one dollar of nominal returns which looks, smells and spends like a dollar. They don't seem to get it until that third or fourth go around when they get 30 cents back for the dollar they invested (versus an amount over a dollar, hence a negative return). You see, probabilistically, you can reap more than you sow over the short term simply out of dumb luck. Realistically, the law of averages will catch up to you and eventually (and most likely close to immediately) you will reap what you sow, or... you get what you pay for!

Similarly, if bitcoin investors/traders believed they are doing well when bitcoin jumps from $13 to $950, they may be mistaken. The reason? Bitcoin has a modified beta of roughly 673! That means that it is volatile. Very volatile! More volatile than practically any basket of currencies or stocks you can think of. This volatility means that in a short period of time it's just as easy to be on the losing side of the trade of this asset as it is to be on the winning side. So, you're lucky if you bought at $500 and rode it to $950, but you could have just as easily bought at $1,200 and rode it down to $500.

With these concepts in mind, you should always adjust for risk before attempting to measure reward. By doing that you will find that you can compare disparate assets, ventures and opportunities that have different reward propositions and even different horizons by measuring the risk (or the economic cost) of the investments and then adjusting the actual or expected reward desired to compensate for said risk commensurately.

Notice how, if one were to take this approach, one can see the different risk adjusted returns between the top two cryptocurrencies by market value. Bitcoin is the most popular, but Litecoin is the most profitable - even when fully adjusted for risk.

ridk reward

The UltraCoin team has run these calculations, among many other currencies, on every cryptocurrency with a market value over $1 million. In addition, these currencies have been aggregated to form what we have coined as the "UltraCoin Cryptocurrency Composite Index" - a basket of cryptocurrencies upon which our custom UltraCoin derivatives can trade, hedge, invest and speculate.

These indices and calculations (not to mention a bevy of other calculations to assist in trading) are part and parcel of the UltraCoin client.

CryptoCurrencyComposite Index

The graph below depicts the outrageous raw returns had by holders of bitcoin. It also denotes the extreme volatility experienced therein, particularly from late 2013 onward.CryptoCurrencyComposite Index graphIf one were to place a hurdle rate of required return to compensate for said volatility, the return curve will look somewhat different.CryptoCurrencyComposite Index graph - adjusted

As you can see, all that glitters is not necessarily gold! I will be pushing for the beta release of the UltraCoin client quite soon, quite possibly at the Berlin Bicoin conference. In the meantime, for those of you who have not had a chance to play with the software, here are a few screen shots.

currency transalation errortest 

Published in BoomBustBlog

picsay-1391158820

This is a very educational show put on by Kim Greenhouse of "It's Rainmaking Time". She is one of the very few who eschew the soundbite driven media economy and chooses the long format, deep dive approach. While it may be too long for ADD crowd, it digs deep into a not so simple subject to foster understanding and comprehension. This was a pretty good show with an interesting cast of guests:

  • Reggie Middleton - brash blogger, entrepenurial investor and founder of UltraCoin ZeroTrust financial contracts
  • RootEleven founder, visionary, and Bitcoin programmer Andreas Antonopolous, who will explain why Bitcoin is like "the internet for money".
  • Bitcoin trader and programmer Dave Scotese will provide deep thinking about what makes Bitcoin so important, and why the public should be involved in its development.
  • Sam Guzik, one of the most sophisticated and knowledgeable SEC lawyers regarding crowdfunding and investment, will cut through the hype, misinformation, and wrong perceptions surrounding equity crowdfunding to highlight current SEC conditions and real opportunities in the crowdfunding arena.

This show is over an hour and a half long and I don't want the contet to be avoided simply because of its length, so I have included a hyperlinked menu below to assist in navigating to the topcis of your individual interests.

Published in BoomBustBlog
Page 3 of 5