Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies

I first encountered bitcoin in 2009 when it was released. However, at the time, the only software was Bitcoin-Qt, the mining software, and it used up vast amounts of space and CPU cycles on my machine, so I deleted it.
Every few years I did the same thing - tried it out, got irritated, deleted. Of course I now regret it because apart from the recent crash with the Chinese banning ICOs (basically the creation of new coins), it’s increased drastically.
I went to a Singularity Summit conference and they were advocating Bitcoin and Blockchain as future technologies.
So I thought I’d summarise my views here.
1. I suggest it is worth buying into the system. It seems to me to be the correct “next step” of money and fintech.
Look at it this way. Make three assumptions: (a) that all money will ultimately be based on the major crypto currencies. (b) that there’s a limited supply of cryptos. (c) that most working-age people will use them. From this you can calculate the rough maximum trading value of the major cryptos. Assume everyone ONLY buys bitcoin. That means that 21 million bitcoins have to be shared amongst 5.5 billion working-age people. Or that on average, most people will only have 0.0038 btc. If you assume that all people have some earnings, e.g. $ 1500 monthly salary, you can then work that as the equivalent of 0.0038 btc. Which is about 393 000 USD as a maximum value for one btc.
Another way to work it is to assume that the entire wealth of earth gets recorded as btc transactions in the blockchain when btc is accepted as the de-facto standard currency. I see that various sites estimate a value between 241 and 250 trillion USD as the net wealth of earth. So, take the maximum amount and divide by the number of btcs. The answer is 11.9, almost 12 million USD, per bitcoin.
Think about it another way. If there are 21 million btcs, and 5.5 billion working people, it means that anyone who holds just 2 btc in currency is one of the 11.5 million richest people on earth, or the top 0.21% of earners/rich people. You won’t just be the one percent. You’ll be the 0.21%.
2. One has to diversify ones portfolio - that is, buy other crypto currencies. However, with the China crash, all the cryptos devalued!
3. One should save paper wallets - that is, transfer the coins to desktop-only (non-cloud) wallet apps, and then use the “export keys” function to back up the keys literally to a printout (or encrypted disk image). This is in case you store all your cryptos in a cloud system and it gets hacked - like the Mt Gox case.
More here.

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