Factor Update, December 30, 2017

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These fish are for trading, not eating (the parable of Bitcoin)

There once was a fisherman from a small Mediterranean coastal village in Malta.

He sailed out one day and had great luck, catching 300 pounds of bass and rock cod.

That evening he sold the fish to a fish broker in exchange for hard currency.

The next morning the broker, in turn, sold the fish to a wholesaler, in exchange for future credit.

The wholesaler, in turn, sold the fish to several merchants in exchange for building products.

One of the merchants sold some of the fish to a farmer in exchange for grain.

The next day, the farmer, who bought more fish than his family could eat, sold several of the fish to a neighbor in exchange for labor.

The neighbor ate the fish, and got sick.

The neighbor went back to the farmer and said, “I recant my promise for labor, the fish were not healthy for eating.”

The farmer went back to the merchant and said, “I want my grain back, the fish was spoiled.”

The merchant went back to the wholesaler and said, “Please return my building products, the fish were not suited for consumption.”

The wholesaler went back to the broker and said, “I am cancelling your credit, the fish were not eatable.”

The broker went back to the fisherman and said, “I want my hard currency back, the fish you sold me made people sick when they ate it.”

The fisherman just shrugged his shoulders and replied ….”No, you cannot have your money back. Who ever said they were ‘eating’ fish. They were just ‘trading’ fish.”

Moral of the story: There are grand claims being made about the extraordinary future for Bitcoin and other cryptos. Just consider some of the claims of the cryptomaniacs: Cryptos are going to take over the world; the future of global finance/commerce belongs to Bitcoin and (name your favorite 8hitcoin); cryptos will bring governments to their knees; Bitcoin will become more valuable than all the Gold that has ever been mined; and, cryptos will replace all fiat currencies. To some degree these claims may become true. But for now Bitcoin has gained almost no traction as a functional medium. In fact, Bitcoin (and the other cryptos) have almost entirely been a vehicle for price speculation. As such, at least at this time in history Bitcoin and its distant cousins are very little different than a pile of dead fish.


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Factor Update, December 24, 2017

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Special Factor/Real Vision Report, December 18, 2017 — What’s Next for Bitcoin?

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The Factor Service welcomes Cryptomaniacs

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Factor Update, December 17, 2017

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Structural and functional problems with the Cryptocurrency markets

The cryptocurrency markets are in their infancy – and accordingly suffer many problems that time and technology will resolve. Some of the problems include:

  • Despite the claims of blockchain’s revolutionary technology, it takes far too long for transactions/trades to clear the chain.
  • Opening an account with many crypto exchanges can be a time consuming and frustrating experience.
  • It takes an excessive period of time for deposits to be posted to an account.
  • While coins can be safely held in hard wallets, hard wallets can become lost, stolen or damaged.
  • While coins can be sorted securely on hard wallets, what protects the flat balances at the various exchange from hackers or exchange bankruptcies?
  • Hard wallet depositories are akin to burying Gold in the backyard. It is an irony that cryptos represent the most advanced internet/financial/commercial technology, yet crypto traders are storing millions of dollars on a USB device. REALLY?
  • The bid/offer spreads at many exchanges are far too wide. It is often difficult and time consuming to “cross the spread” (buy at the offer or sell at the bid).
  • The price of the same coin varies considerably from exchange to exchange. This makes charting extremely difficult.
  • Good luck receiving guidance from an exchange’s help desk. In fact, has anyone even spoken by phone to a support person at any exchange?
  • The transaction fees at some exchanges would add time to Bernie Madoff’s sentence.
  • It can take forever to withdraw funds from an exchange – many exchanges limit the amount of each withdrawal and intentionally hold customers funds as long as possible.
  • Moving coins from one exchange to another (either directly or with a hard wallet as the pivot) can be a time consuming activity, preventing aggressive arbitrage operations.
  • The web site/trading platform of some exchanges crash when a trader most needs to place an order.
  • The cryptos are far too volatile. The volatility will prevent wide commercial/institutional acceptance over the long haul.
  • The lack of unified price settlements will also prevent commercial/institutional acceptance.

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