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

thumb Fortune Front Cover 

A few days ago I was waxing poetic over the abilty of David Z. Morris' ability to grasp rather complex, intangible concepts and loquaciously lay them forth in the written word via the pages of Fortune magazine. After all, what creative destruction advocate wouldn't get all mushy after reading "Reggie Middleton, currently building a client called BTC Swap. Middleton, gravelly voiced, dapper, and businesslike, doesn't fit the stereotype of woolly young bitcoin developers. But he slyly describes himself as "not quite an anarchist," and BTC Swap is a shot directly across the bow of the financial industry"...

Or "Middleton sounds a bit like an 18th-century pirate striking back against the Empire when he declares that "what I'm doing right now is a direct threat to fiat merchant banking." For him, excitement over value fluctuations in the bitcoin currency is missing the point: "It's not a threat as people sit there and ponder whether bitcoin is a bubble or not. But if people go through the protocol and use their imagination, the existing system is threatened."

Alas, nothing lasts forever. Fastforward 72 hours and Fortune publishes... 

thumb Icahn on PayPal

As exerpted:

FORTUNE -- Carl Icahn, the billionaire activist investor, has been interested in technology lately. Wednesday, he made several TV appearances to reiterate his call for tech giant Apple (AAPL) to engage in a massive $150 billion share buyback. As usual, he demonstrated that he was willing to put his money where his mouth was, revealing that he had upped his stake in the company by $500 million to $3 billion, causing Apple's stock to jump 1%.

Well, my subscribers (click here to subscribeknow where I stand on Apple, reference:

Then, after the bell, eBay (EBAY) revealed that Icahn had built up a stake in the online auction retailer and was pushing for some radical changes. But in this case, though, Icahn wasn't interested in buybacks -- he was looking for a breakup. Ebay said Icahn wanted the company to spin off its online payment arm, Paypal, and had requested two seats on eBay's board. eBay rejected both of Mr. Icahn's proposals.

... Paypal has grown from its roots as a small payment processor helping buyers and sellers of Beanie Babies feel safe to do business on eBay, to a full-on payment alternative for thousands of merchants with millions of members. Its advantage in many cases is simply speed and convenience -- how many times have you clicked the Paypal button while checking out of an e-commerce store just because you didn't want to get off the couch to grab your credit card?

Does the author mean like this?

thumb bitpay website

...eBay is also lagging when it comes to valuation. The company as a whole trades on a multiple of nine times next year's enterprise value divided by earnings (or ev/ebitida), which measures a company's return on investment. Meanwhile, the payment operators, like Visa and Mastercard (MA), trade roughly at 15 to 17 times next year's ev/ebitda, or around 40% higher than eBay. E-commerce sites also trump eBay's numbers with Amazon trading at around 33 times next year's ev/ebitida and Groupon (GRPN) trading at around 17 times.

But Visa and Mastercard are about to face the same double whammy that PayPal is staying at. Let me show you with video...

or pretty pictures...

You see, the payment processors are very soon to be subject to...

Disintermediation 

Why? Because P2P solutions such as UltraCoin easily allow for such, and at dramatically lower prices to boot...

  send payment costs 

If we were to look at this graphically, it would be comical to compare...

  send payment costs visual

On the commercial macro payments side...

macropayments

So, what happens when your competitors offer a competitive product for between 1/1000th and 1/3rd the price? 

margin compression

Now, back to the Fortune article and the apparent strawman argument...

... As a part of eBay, Paypal is run by people who know tech and know retail, not by people who necessarily know payment networks. As such, Paypal's growth beyond the web may not be as successful as it could be if it was led by people who worked at a credit card company like American Express (AXP) or a global payment provider like First Data Resources.

Again this seems to ignore the coming wave, alas... I digress...

... eBay's aggressive international expansion is helping to grow PayPal's global presence, especially in countries like Brazil and Russia, where eBay is taking off. If the cord is cut too early the fear is that PayPal's international growth may stall.

Stall or stagnate? 

As my readers recall, I've developed a cross currency swap system that allows holders of BTC to dance around two dozen or so sovereign fiat currencies with ease. Combine this with dramatically lower costs and ease of transmission and I see either a material change in business model or... Margin Compression!!!

 This really makes one think... Is eBay a short play in and of itself? I know Carl Icahn would likely get a large bang for his investment buck backing UltraCoin than he would calling for a PayPal spinoff. Then again, what do I know? Those who wish to discuss the merits of an UltraCoin investment by Icahn can feel free to ping me at reggie at ultra-coin.com. 

Published in BoomBustBlog

DSC07926

I'm rapidly unveiling what's been brewing in the BoomBust labs over the last few months - UltraCoin an intelligent derivative layer of smart financial contracts that sit on top of the Bitcoin architecture. In short, the recreation of the banking industry in software - without the trust and counterparty risk issues!

For those of you who are still skeptical re: cryptocurrencies, I please read the most excellent article by David Z. Morris, which also happens to grace the front page of Fortune magazine today.

Fortune Front Cover

I'll excerpt some choice snippets:

Some still doubt bitcoin's usefulness and durability, but 2014 may leave skeptics even further behind -- developers and entrepreneurs are already hard at work building features on top of the Bitcoin protocol that will allow for the decentralized execution of financial services, from currency hedging to loans to stock issuance to rental and purchase contracts...

In the long term, peer-to-peer finance threatens to weaken banks and other financial agents just as peer-to-peer file sharing did the music industry -- and some of the architects of this financial Napster seem gleeful about the possibility.

Ya damn skippy!!!

 That means loans without banks, contracts without lawyers, and stocks without brokers, executed and recorded across hundreds of servers at all corners of the earth.

__________________

Independent entrepreneurs are also working to build this infrastructure. One of these is Reggie Middleton, currently building a client called BTC Swap.

This will be marketed as UltraCoin! Wasn't completely ready for the interview, but will be shown live at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami Beach this weekend!

Middleton, gravelly voiced, dapper, and businesslike, doesn't fit the stereotype of woolly young bitcoin developers. But he slyly describes himself as "not quite an anarchist," and BTC Swap is a shot directly across the bow of the financial industry.

Believe it!

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.

David was correct in that it was in early development when he saw it, but we've been busting our collective asses (analysts, financial engineers, software engineers, programmers, website designers, the whole crew) and we'll not only be demonstrating live but will be trading risk down in Miami, right in front of your eyes!

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." Somebody call Target (TGT).

Somebody? Anybody? Target, drop me a line at reggie.middleton at ultra-coin.com if you want my assistance in getting in on this distributed, peer-to-peer bitcoin thingy. My next post will show how my UltraCoins can add 15% to Overstock.com's bottom line. That's pretty damn good if you ask me! As a matter of fact, it's pretty damn good even if you didn't ask me :-)

Such hedging functions have particularly unique promise because of the extremely low transaction costs of peer-to-peer currency. Bitcoin makes microtransactions ranging down to fractions of a cent viable, but Middleton says that "right now, if you do micropayments, the volatility of bitcoin can really take you out." Because of the low cost of Middleton's swaps, "I can let [payees] manage risk and decrease volatility at the micro-level."

Please pardon me for the heavy excerpts taken from this article, but it is really... just.. that.. good!!! And it gets even better. Check it out:

The functions that advocates say could be automated through the Bitcoin network seem nearly endless, including peer-to-peer investment funds, Kickstarter-like crowdfunding, binding arbitrations, and even non-financial transactions such as naming rights management and encrypted communication.

I actually have much of this stuff oven already. All I need is the funds to help accelerate development becuase "you know who" is likely to get their bonus pool panties in a bunch and start coming after me :-)

And all could be executed without a cut for intermediaries. Bitcoin partisans, from developers down to rank-and-file users, often seem to revel in the idea that they are threatening the control and profits of Wall Street institutions, who they see as rent-seeking fat cats. If it were limited to the loss of fees on payments and transfers, bitcoin's threat to existing financial institutions would still be substantial. But with a full array of commission-free financial services on the horizon, there is even more reason to take heed.

Oh, and I love this part...

Middleton sounds a bit like an 18th-century pirate striking back against the Empire when he declares that "what I'm doing right now is a direct threat to fiat merchant banking." For him, excitement over value fluctuations in the bitcoin currency is missing the point: "It's not a threat as people sit there and ponder whether bitcoin is a bubble or not. But if people go through the protocol and use their imagination, the existing system is threatened."

And here comes the rain on the parade :-(

However, there is a substantial obstacle to this coming revolution. Despite the emergence in 2013 of entities like Coinbase that have drastically streamlined the process, it is still difficult to exchange bitcoin for national currencies in a quick, reliable manner. It's unclear how Middleton's automated dollar-bitcoin hedging will work without a lightning-quick and reliable dollar-bitcoin exchange platform.

UltraCoin was in early beta stage when David saw it. It'll be ready to strut much of its stuff in Miami, making things much clearer.

So, the true "automation" of bitcoin functions that integrate with the economy as a whole may require a reconciliation with existing trading platforms.

Oh, I wouldn't bet the farm on that one.

 Untitled

Published in BoomBustBlog

Reggie Middletons UltraCoin

As should be obvious to many, I'm quite serious about recreating today's financial system. I'd like to introduce what some in the media have coined (no pun intended) Bitcoin 2.0 (which is actually just the true implementation of bitcoin), otherwise known as UtlraCoin. UltraCoin is the derivative layer that we're writing on top of Bitcoin to enable Bitcoin holders, buyers and sellers to do some pretty amazing things.

Here's the latest Max Keiser in which he and Stacey Herbert to a good job of explaining what I have in mind. Of course, I get to speak my mind in the second half of the show.

I am pushing very hard to have the Zero Trust Currency Contracts, the first implementation of UltraCoin, to go into open public beta by the end of next week. That means you will be able to short, leverage, go long and arbitrage BTC. The strategies I and my analysts and developers have come up with will blow... your... mind! Here's a screen shot of the early beta trading desk:

Untitled

Published in BoomBustBlog

Brand spanking new research is available to all paying subscibers, with a super bonus to my professional and institutional subscribers. To excerpt from said pages...

Bitcoin cryptocurrency report page 1Bitcoin cryptocurrency report page 2

The professional and institutional versions of this report contain over 30 pages of data and analysis. These trades are for big boys (and girls), or at least those who can think like big boys (and girls). It is my intent to have traders, investors, companies and speculators use our Zero Trust Digital Contracts often, and knowledge of opportunities such as these do a lot to foster such use. Click here to subscribe.

Paying subscribers, download here:

Published in BoomBustBlog
Thursday, 09 January 2014 12:32

More Doubts About "Liking" Facebook

Nearly one year ago, I warned yet again of the trend starting to turn against Facebook. For those who don't follow me, I was most bearish on Facebook - even before its IPO. This was not because I doubted the company, but because I doubted the Goldmans Sachs/Morgan Stanley snakeoil salesman valuation. To wit:

pre-IPO - Facebook Registers The WHOLE WORLD! Or At Least They Would Have To In Order To Justify Goldman’s Pricing: Here’s What $2 Billion Or So Worth Of Goldman HNW Clients Probably Wish They Read This Time Last Week!

at the IPO - The World's First Phenomenally Forensic Facebook Analysis - This Is What You Need Before You Invest, Pt 1 as well as The Final Facebook Forensic IPO Analysis: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

and post-IPO - On Top Of The 2x-10x Return Had Off Of BoomBustBlog Facebook Research, Our Models Show How Much More Is Available... as well as...

These reports and articles saved my subscribers a ton of money and making those few braver souls another ton in shorts and puts. I cautioned about Facebook again, not so much on valuation but on future growth prospects as FB actually encountered negative subscriber growth likely caused by competitors stealing potential market share during a period where it was supposed to be experiencing rapid growth (see I Don't Think Facebook Investors Will "Like" This ...). Of course, nearly all sell side analysts and financial pundits in the media somehow overlooked this. 

Well, while on the topic, let's peruse this infographic by Finance Degree Center. Please note this is a very large graphic, so click it to enlarge and see the whole thing (it is big!).

thumb finance center on facebook 

How the Facebook story got started...

Facebook started its institutional investment life as a very popular, very well known company. Goldman took this story (private) stock and went bananas with it, as meticulously illustrated in the following blog posts:

  1. Facebook Registers The WHOLE WORLD! Or At Least They Would Have To In Order To Justify Goldman’s Pricing: Here’s What $2 Billion Or So Worth Of Goldman HNW Clients Probably Wish They Read This Time Last Week!
  2. Facebook Becomes One Of The Most Highly Valued Media Companies In The World Thanks To Goldman, & Its Still Private!
  3. Here’s A Look At What The Goldman FaceBook Fund Will Look Like As It Ignores The SEC & Peddles Private Shares To The Public Without Full Disclosure
  4. The Anatomy Of The Record Bonus Pool As The Foregone Conclusion: We Plug The Numbers From Goldman’s Facebook Fund Marketing Brochure Into Our Models
  5. Did Goldman Just Rip Its HNW and Institutional Clients Once Again? Facebook Growth Slows Pre-IPO, Just As We Warned!

I issued private research to my subscribers while publicly warning that Facebook at, or anywhere near, its IPO price was a blatant bald faced SCAM & RIPOFF!!!

  1. The World's First Phenomenally Forensic Facebook Analysis - This Is What You Need Before You Invest, Pt 1
  2. The Final Facebook Forensic IPO Analysis: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

As the actual IPO arrived, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, etc. piled on the Bullshit, basically espousing how great an investment this was at $38, screaming that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Basically, they took the opposite stance of yours truly. And how did that worked out??? BoomBustBlog Challenges Face Ripping Facebook Share Peddlers That Left Muppets Faceless And Nearly 50% Poorer After IPO.

Here is a full year of free blog posts and paid research material warning that ANYBODY following the lead of Goldman, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan on the Facebook offering would get their Face(book)s RIPPED!!! Could you imagine me on a reality TV show based on this stuff??? Well, it's coming...

  1. Facebook Registers The WHOLE WORLD! Or At Least They Would Have To In Order To Justify Goldman’s Pricing: Here’s What $2 Billion Or So Worth Of Goldman HNW Clients Probably Wish They Read This Time Last Week!
  2. Facebook Becomes One Of The Most Highly Valued Media Companies In The World Thanks To Goldman, & Its Still Private!
  3. Here’s A Look At What The Goldman FaceBook Fund Will Look Like As It Ignores The SEC & Peddles Private Shares To The Public Without Full Disclosure
  4. The Anatomy Of The Record Bonus Pool As The Foregone Conclusion: We Plug The Numbers From Goldman’s Facebook Fund Marketing Brochure Into Our Models
  5. Did Goldman Just Rip Its HNW and Institutional Clients Once Again? Facebook Growth Slows Pre-IPO, Just As We Warned!
  6. The World's First Phenomenally Forensic Facebook Analysis - This Is What You Need Before You Invest, Pt 1
  7. The Final Facebook Forensic IPO Analysis: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly
  8. On Top Of The 2x-10x Return Had Off Of BoomBustBlog Facebook Research, Our Models Show How Much More Is Available...
  9. Is Time For Facebook Investors To Literally Face the Book (Value)?
  10. Facebook Bubble Blowing Justification Exercises Commence Today
  11. Facebook Options Are Now Trading, Or At Least The PUTS Are!
  12. Reggie Middleton breaks down "Muppetology," Face Ripping IPO's, and the Chinese Wall!
  13. Facebooking The Chinese Wall: How A Blog Has Outperformed Wall Street For 5 Yrs
  14. Why Shouldn't Practitioners Of Muppetology Get Swallowed In A Facebook IPO Class Action Suit?
  15. Shorting Federal Facebook Notes Are Not Allowed Today ?
  16. As I Promised Last Year, Facebook Is Being Proven To Be Overhyped and Overpriced!

It would seem that Facebook Finally Faces The Fact Of BoomBustBlog AnalysisProfessional and institutional BoomBustBlog subscribers have access to a simplified unlocked version of the valuation model used for this report, available for immediate download - Facebook Valuation Model 08Feb2012. I just nominally input some very generous numbers and the best case scenario chart (see the chart tab after your own individual inputs) is quite revealing, indeed! The full forensic opinion is available to all subscribers here FaceBook IPO & Valuation Note Update, and the latest iteration can be found here FB IPO Analysis & Valuation Note - update with per share valuation 05/21/2012. It is recommended that subscribers (click here to subscribe) also review the original analyses (file iconFB note final 01/11/2011).

 

Published in BoomBustBlog

Bitcoin is highly volatile. It also experienced astonomical returns. That we all know. What I wanted to know was the true source of those returns. Some say it's speculation, some say is fundamentally derived. Most say things they have no business saying. I believe it's fair to say that bitcoin adoption will increase, and increase rapidly. It makes sense to believe said adoption will increase bitcoin's price. It's interesting in that history doesn't necessarily support that assumption though, as trading volume and daily returns have a low (or sometimes even negative) correlation.

Bitcoin trading Volume vs return correlation copy copy

I believe I have amassed one of the biggest libraries of bitcoin investment and financial data available in a very short period of time. I will start distributing this data via forensic reports to all paying subscribers as of tomorrow. Professional and Institutional subscribers will recieve some very, very advanced trading strategies that I have discovered that appear to still be making some pretty big short term returns as well. They are not simple, they proffer more than a little risk, but they are capable of some very material returns.

On a different front, it is also widely known that bitocoin's high volatility hampers its use by many would be vendors and institutions. I have created a solution, which I have illustrated in the following video - a brief demo of the early code of our Zero Trust Currency Contracts and an explanation of what they do.

Those who are interested in getting in on our closed beta, please email me at reggie at boombustblog dot com. Paid subscribers to my blog (click here to subscribe) get first crack, then those who are influential in the business, corporate finance guys, etc. and/or the high net worth crowd. I'm trying hard to get the beta rolled out today, but you know how this software development stuff goes. As of now, we're right on schedule for a beta release last week. :-)

Although this is a mere introduction, paying subscribers can catch a preview with File Icon Digital Currencies' Risks, Rewards & Returns - An Into Into Bitcoin Investing For Longer Term Horizons

Published in BoomBustBlog

BoomBustBTC contract

Note: New subscriber content available below.

I have created derivatives for Bitcoin that work exclusively on the Bitcoin network. They are capable of literally replacing the role of the large money center and investment banks. YES! This is a big thing. I will hopefully have a limited use beta example of the first product for the viewers of the show to experiment with. These products have been designed as zero trust contracts (meaning it was designed to eliminate the human judgment factor, thereby nearly completely automating the entire transaction). Currently, trust issues that the conventional OTC banking system products incur severely hamper free flowing capital markets. Greed begets inefficiencies. Digital zero trust contracts (as opposed to physical legal contracts) “theoretically” eliminate litigation and court involvement and expensive dispute resolution through means of the legal system. My BoomBust contracts allows anonymous parties to swap exposure in and out of Bitcoin from many widely traded currencies. (USD, EUR, YEN, CNY, etc.).

The state of the capitalist union today is ripe for Bitcoin activity to explode if knowledge of the platform spreads. Just to list a few catalysts:

  1. The lack of trust in the world’s reserve currency, the USD.
  2. The financial controls in the world’s most populous nations, India and China.
  3. The Pan-European sovereign debt crisis
  4. The confiscation of bank deposits in Cyprus (EU Bank Depositors: Your Mattress Is Starting To Look Awfully Attractive - Bank Risk, Reward & Compensation) and Ireland (As Forewarned, Irish Savers Have Just Been "Cyprus'd", And There's MUCH MORE "Cyprusing" To Come) and eventually anywhere banks are overleveraged and/or undercapitalized.
  5. The billions of the great “unbanked” of the world, in both 3rd world nations and even in the most developed nations on earth, ex. right here in the US.
  6. The paltry returns on loans and bank deposits as well as the unsubstantiated bubble returns on risk assets – all stemming from the Fed’s unprecedented 6 year global ZIRP real time experiment. I commented on this back in 2008 (A real life, real time example of the Great Global Macro Experiment)and it’s still running strong.

Possible uses for the BoomBust contracts:

Simple investment/speculation

Those who want to gain exposure to a foreign or digital currency can easily enter into a swap to gain said exposure without actually having to purchase said currency (other than BTC, of course).

Hedging

The swap can be used as a simple hedge for any party that has large exposure to BTC, USD, EUR, etc., such as a retailer with low margins and high volume, ex. Chinese widget manufacturer or smartphone OEM, that accepts bitcoin but wants to hedge out the volatility and market risk. The BoomBust contracts can be layered, levered and/or compounded to make more complex hedges as well.

Capital flight/mobility & Banking System Bail-in protection

Parties who are domiciled in free flowing capital hostile states that have tight capital controls, ex. China, India, and now France with its 75% effective wealth confiscation scheme, etc. that have banned or limited BTC trading by banks and/or individuals can take advantage of the BoomBust contracts to gain multi-currency exposure without explicitly violating the law. Take note that the systems with the tightest capital controls have been the one’s exhibiting the most aggressive stance to bitcoin. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to understand what Bitcoin is and what it can do. I stand to educate the masses. See below…

Cyprus banks closed on a Friday and announced confiscation of assets over the weekend. These BoomBust contracts could have been used to move monetary value outside of the Cyprus banking system assuming the participants had a store of Bitcoin (it is rumored that this is how some of the Russian money was removed over the weekend). Let’s assume a small businessman would like to purchase $1M euro worth of bitcoin, yet is concerned that the BTC volatility may cause more of a loss than the Cypriot capital controls. He buys the BTC then hedges his large BTC position into EUR. He proceeds to do that with a quarter of his monthly cashflows, building up a sizeable, fully hedged position in cyberspace (thus, effectively offshore) and outside of the fragile Cyprus banking system. The Cyprus banks pull the trigger to confiscate funds and the Russian bank depositor has significant funds mobile and ready to deliver anywhere in the internet connected world within minutes, even on a Sunday afternoon.

Another example of dealing with a company with tight capital controls would be India. India has extremely tight capital controls that have (IMHO) hampered its economic progress relative to China, despite having similar populations and the advantage of a large indigenous English speaking population stemming from British occupation (easier to do business with the larger capitalist nations when more of your constituents speaks the native tongue).

India has effectively outlawed trading in bitcoin, but Indians can still participate in the evolution of money by taking advantage of the liberalised remittances scheme of the Central Bank of India, a person can remit up to 75,000 USD offshore annually. These monies can end up in a Bitcoin friendly jurisdiction (amazingly enough, like the US), and be used to purchase BTC hedged, via BoomBust contracts, back into rupees or the currency of choice.

indian BTC program

This can also work the other way around, which would actually be quite advantageous to the Indian government and potentially make them rethink the real world practicality of capital controls. Even in a country that has capital controls and fears Bitcoin may threaten its banks, a decentralized near friction free currency exchange would be beneficial solely do to international remittances from expats in foreign workers. A real world example are Indians that I know who lose significant money because of PayPal and Western Union fees (not to mention bank wire fees). Indians can send BoomBust digital contract rupee locked BTC home on a deferred basis. The registered exchange or ATM in India however could only be one-way so that it only accepts BTC from the Indian general public in exchange for rupees and not the other way around.

Spread Arbitrage

On Dec 13th, the EUR/USD exchange rate was roughly .78x, thus if one were to have sold 1 BTC into EUR than purchased USD, a $10.66 spread could have been realized over buying the USD with EUR directly.

arbitrage opp 

Notice the differences in prices throughout the SAME MARKETS, contingent upon exchange.

BTC markets 

I am happy to discuss this with institutional and professional subscribers whenever possible.

All paying subscribers (click here to subscribe) can download this introduction to our institutional level report on investing in cryptocurrencies: File Icon Digital Currencies' Risks, Rewards & Returns - An Into Into Bitcoin Investing For Longer Term Horizon. There will be much more to follow in the upcoming days. Below is the brief summary as how we have computed the following ratios:

Excess Risk Adjusted Return

Excess Risk Adjusted Return is defined as returns over and above the required return on asset based on its risk characteristics. BITCOIN being a very volatile asset, the required return of the currency has been computed using the CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model) approach. CAPM equation requires a variable known as Return on Market Portfolio (a portfolio comprising of all risky assets, conventional as well as alternative assets like antiques, currencies, private equity investments, etc.). For equity investments, general Market Index shall suffice but in our case the investment is altogether different (Digital Currency) and the conventional market index will be a bad proxy. Best Proxy in our case shall be a diversified Currency Portfolio – comprising all global as well as digital currencies. As such there exists no known proxy/Index consisting all Currencies, We have approximated it by using MSCI – EM Currency Index. The Index comprises a basket of 25 emerging market currencies. 

Excess Risk Adjusted Return = (Return on Asset) – (Required Return on asset based on its risk characteristics)

Return on Asset (Ra) = Return on B ITCOIN for different periods like 3M, 6M 12M, etc.

Required Return on Asset = RFR + β * (Rm – Ra)

RFR = Current US I year Treasury Yield

Beta = Covariance of (Returns on Asset & Returns on comparable Index) divided by Variance of (Index Returns)

Rm = Long term return on comparable Index, (in our case which is the Currency Index return comprising 25 Emerging Market currencies)

What's so eery is that now even Ben Bernanke and I actually agree upon something... 

“Digital currencies may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system. 

US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

Published in BoomBustBlog

So, what is money? According to Wikipedia

Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given socio-economic context or country. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past, a standard of deferred payment. Any kind of object or secure verifiable record that fulfills these functions can be considered money.

When currency is stable, money can serve all four of the functions above. Things get trickier when currencies are not stable. If we were all to be honest with ourselves, we'd have to query, "What fiat currency is truly stable over time?".

When unstable currencies or engineered forms of financial capital are brought into play the fourth aspect of defined money (and the least addressed) gains significantly in importance. Here we must differentiate and distinguish between true capital (economic capital) which comprises physical goods that explicitly and directly assist in the production of other goods and services, e.g. hammers for carpenters, paintbrushes for painters, wrenches for plumbers, tooling for factories, etc., and financial capital. Financial capital is funds provided by lenders and/or investors to businesses and entrepeneurs to purchase economic capital (ie.equipment) for producing real goods and services.

To explain why the 4th aspect of money's definition is important, yet often and in my opinion purposely ignored, let's examine the three concepts of capital maintenance in terms of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS): (1) Physical capital maintenance (2) Financial capital maintenance in nominal monetary units (3) Financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power.

  1. Physical (economic) capital - We have covered already.
  2. Financial capital in monetary units is best described as basic accounting. It's how most financial reporting is done in the states (and in Europe). It fails to take into consideration the constant destruction of value of the fiat currencies, an aspect of the definition of money that is a foundation of money itself!
  3. Financial capital measured in constant purchasing power - something that effectively never happens. It is the "Real" value of money, adjusted for destructive aspects, ex. inflation, particularly purposeful inflation brought upon by a banking system that attempts to adjust and control the prices of goods and services for its own end (as opposed to the end that will benefit the masses) through the artificial manipulation of the value of the means of exchange, the currency.

Financial capital is provided by lenders for a price, commonly known as interest. This  price to attain financial capital is not the only cost though, for the price of the financial capital provided by lenders through things such as debt does not take into account the cost of currency maintenance destruction, or the purposeful manipulation of the currency value by the lender or lending system to which the lender belongs to to further its own means. This is why the prudent may wish to identify a single standard of deferred payment to avoid purposeful manipulation (otherwise known as cheating) by transacting in a denominator of debt that the participant believes to be dropping in value, ie. fiat currency!

Relation to debt-based society

A debt in any form is essentially a deferred payment. The fourth definintion of money, standard of deferred payment,  is usually what the debts are denominated in. The value of any and all money – including the most liquid and deep, ex. dollars or euros, or the oldest and revered, ex. gold and silver, or the newest and least understood, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies – may fluctuate over time via inflation and deflation and often through direct manipulation and unforeseen results that stem from the same. The value of deferred payments (the real level of debt) likewise fluctuates.

Money, as Leading Economists Such As Paul Krugman Appear To Know It, Is Obsolete - There's a New Sheriff In Town

The definitions of money mentioned above are predicated upon the assumption that money must be dumb! What I mean by this is that money was defined in a time when the store of value was an inanimante object designed to represent a simple binary concept of buy or sell, that had no abilities other than to look or appear as if it had the value believingly bestowed upon it by society - or at least two of the participants in a particular transaction. What if money in this digital day and age was smart? What if money was able to do things besides just sit there and be called money?

Here's an example...

Historically, and up until now, deferred payment was/is based on enforceability of debts and rule of law. The rule of law, particularly engagement within the legal system is destructively expensive, time consuming and essentially the antithesis of friction free commerce, ex. capitalism. The rule of law is generally not relied upon when debts are unlikely to be collectable. For illegal transactions, or for low or zero trust transactions, gold or diamonds may be preferred as the medium of exchange and in those circumstaces there is no recourse in case of counterfeit currency (bogus, bank peddeled Mortgage Backed Securities, fake US dollars, etc.) is being used. — and there is rarely any deferral of payment: if there is, it will most likely be stated in dollars - which brings us back to where we started.

What if currency was smart enough to act upon a predetermined set of parameters, even after being released to the payee? What if trust never had to be a factor in negotiation fo payment, even in a negative trust environment? What if the highly ineffecient legal system could be wholly avoided in the risk/reward calculation of a monetary transaction? Would the existence of this possibility, in essence, demand a 5th definition for money - intelligence and/or malleability? You see, the cryptographic digital currencies are smart as compared to the dumb dollar or euro, or yen or yuan! It is this intelligent ability to control money during a transaction and even post transaction, the abilty to instruct money to disburse iteslf only open mutual agreement by all parties present, that appears to elude the prominent MSM economists of today. 

Furthermore, dumb money as purely fiat is truly without physical value or utility value as a physical or digital commodity. It derives its value by being declared by a government to be legal tender; that is, it must be accepted as a form of payment within the boundaries of the country, for all debts, public and private - including taxes, where in the US, it is the only currency accepted. Laws in place such as these essentially imbue fiat money with the value of any of the goods and services that it may be traded for within the nation that issues it. The fact remains though, the value of fiat money is held in belief and belief only, enforced by the whims of government. With this being the case, there is no true utility argument to be made for fiat currencies, including the USD.

Digital cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, however, have an implicit edge on the fiat currencies in that its utility (or use value) is dramatically leveraged as compared to fiat because it comes part and parcel with its own, virtually unassailable transmission system. In essence, this means that if Bitcoin, the USD and the EUR were cars, BTC would be the only one that comes with its own international roads open 24/7 that were able to bypass all of the toll roads and bridges, everywhere there was an Internet connection - not to mention power itself with a virtual fuel that was limitless and had no costs. Now, if one were to think of it, such an aspect is so valuable and useful (as in utilitarian) that not only does it qualify for significant use value, but in the very near future one could wonder how the world ever got along without it. Does this mean that a sixth aspect of the definition of money needs to be added - autonomous transferability!

This is why I say there's a new sheriff in town and the old schoolers whose eyes are not yet open should recognize that the future of money is here!

According to famed economist and NY Times pundit Paul Krugman, "To be successful, money must be both a medium of exchange and a reasonably stable store of value. And it remains completely unclear why BitCoin should be a stable store of value."

I counter these widely believed assumptions with the fact that the USD, the world's reserve currency, has not been a stable store of value. As a matter of fact, from its underpinnings (as described in the BoomBustBlog link below) and throughout its history, the dollar has consistently lost its value over time to inflation. Thus, as per Krugman, the USD is not successful!

As per Wikipedia:

To be widely acceptable, a medium of exchange should have stable purchasing power (Value) and therefore it should possess the following characteristics:

  1. Value common assets
  2. Constant utility [I have explained the constant utility of Bitcoin above, a utility which trumps the relatively dumb dollar]
  3. Low cost of preservation [the cost of preservation is a fraction of that of the dollar, with constant reprinting of physical dollars and coins and the power, machinery and labor required to do so; as well as the recircutlation of those new bills, not to mention the destrcution of the old bills]
  4. Transportability [This is moderately difficult with large amounts of physical bills, but much easier with the digital manifestation of those physical bills that most institutions deal with. The mere existence of the banks as necessary intermediaries and middlemen add signficant, and in this day and age of P2P technology, unnecessary costs and frictions and rules. This hampers portability significantly - no transfers on weekends and bank holidays, no low margin business models due to artificially high transaction costs, big up Visa, Mastercard and Paypal!)
  5. Divisibility
  6. High market value in relation to volume and weight [Bitcoin can't be beat in this regard]
  7. Recognisability
  8. Resistance to counterfeiting [A currency based on cryptography, need I say more?!]

As quoted from the Wikpedia link above:

"fiat money is the root cause of the continuum of economic crises, since it leads to the dominance of fraud, corruption, and manipulation precisely because it does not satisfy the criteria for a medium of exchange cited above. Specifically, prevailing fiat money is free float and depending upon its supply market finds or sets a value to it that continues to change as the supply of money is changed with respect to the economy's demand. Increasing free floating money supply with respect to needs of the economy reduces the quantity of the basket of the goods and services to which it is linked by the market and that provides it purchasing power. Thus it is not a unit or standard measure of wealth and its manipulation impedes the market mechanism by that it sets/determine just prices. That leads us to a situation where no value-related economic data is just or reliable.[3][4]" 

I will continue this missive in part 2 of the series wherein I will announce my efforts in bringing the beneftis of smart money to light. I'm sure these concepts and products will blow your socks off, even if you are an old school economist! For those who don't follow me, this is who I am. - Who is Reggie Middleton? I believe track record speaks louder than Op-Ed columns, degrees or TV show appearances. Let me know if you agree...

Published in BoomBustBlog