A lot of money is flowing into the digital currency market, and certain exchanges such as Bitfinex, Bittrex and Coinbase are having a hard time keeping up with all the orders.
Bitfinex has quickly implemented deposit fees for deposits under $1,000, and withdrawal minimums of $250 or more. They’ve also increased the confirmations required for deposits, for example, Dash deposits now require 9 confirmations instead of 6, and sometimes even when the 9 confirmations are reached, the funds are still not available. Withdrawals can now take 24 hours to process – a long time to sit and sweat wondering if your money will ever come out.
Perhaps these are just symptoms of a market expanding, with infrastructure not fit to deal with increasing demand. However, it’s possible that they’re indications of greater problems. When it comes to money, it doesn’t hurt to be careful.
If you got into Bitcoin early, it was probably because you saw the long-term potential of a platform that could disrupt the banking and central banking industries, holding governments accountable and limiting their power. You were probably a starry-eyed idealist who believed that real change was possible, by changing the systems that we all use, and hopefully, those stars have not yet left your eyes. If you got in more recently, you might hold the somewhat less principled position of “We’re all getting rich off this Internet nerd money!”
If you’re the second kind of speculator, you might fold as soon as times get tough, your position torn out easily like the shallow roots of a clover. If you’re the first kind, you might persist even when things are looking bad, because you knew that you had very good reasons to enter the market in the beginning.
Conditions have changed for Bitcoin, with high transaction fees from $1-$3, which rule out the microtransactions, small transactions and use for developing nations which idealists once believed made it unique. According to Mike Hearn, the Bitcoin developer who quit in January 2016, there are people on the team who don’t believe in the fanciful visions of its creator, and never saw it as anything more than a potential platform for large settlements. Hearn declared the experiment over, a statement that was easy to overlook for many, considering how often Bitcoin has been pronounced lost.
The team remains prudent and risk-averse, which makes sense for a multi-billion dollar project, but it also means the programmers on the team who are excellent are not free to innovate, which makes Hearn’s departure seem much more sensible in retrospect. With transactions that can take hours and fees 100x its competitors, the project is already years behind. In today’s world where invention and innovation are common, playing it safe can be a death sentence.
In this episode, Kurt presents the case that the Bitcoin experiment is on the path to ruin, likely being sustained by all the points in its favour, such as brand recognition and network effect, but eventually falling further into inutility, and likely causing misery for many. Join me on this value-investing tail of hope, disillusionment and suspense in the next episode of … The Paradise Paradox!
The Story: Why to sell cryptocurrency when the price is exploding
Bitcoin is over $9000 USD and people are going bananas. In cryptocurrency discussion groups, there are rumours that mass adoption is finally taking hold, that everyone’s grandma is buying BTC, or even that the dollar is crashing against Bitcoin. Meanwhile, using cryptocurrency remains more difficult than programming a VCR, and addresses continue to look like computer errors. Mainstream interest has piqued, but as long as the user experience remains poor, mass adoption is unlikely.
Nevertheless, people in the community are going crazy over the rise in price. It’s tempting to believe it will go up forever, a mistake many have made in markets and paid dearly for it. The longer the mania over the price continues, the more likely a correction – but nobody can say exactly when, how, or how much.
As many have made small (or large) fortunes in this market, and people are so hyped, that’s a sign that now is the time to be prudent, and to consider how much of your net worth you really want to have sitting in volatile space age Internet nerd money. Times like these can be good to put some money into more stable assets, such as cash, or perhaps precious metals. Selling small amounts at a time means you can be adaptive to changing market conditions – remaining open to selling more if the price keeps going up, and having the chance to buy if the price slips.
Life is about risk management. You can’t make the perfect move, but you can be flexible enough to prepare for different scenarios, and you certainly can be humble enough to see the possibility of different scenarios. Nobody knows how high Bitcoin or other cryptos will go, and nobody knows when it will crash. Accounting for the lack of knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article or video is intended to be financial advice. I don’t want to tell you what to do with your money and I don’t know what you should do with your money.
Many fools have wasted many hours arguing with people on the Internet, myself included. If you are passionate about politics, or some other controversial subject, you’ve probably got yourself into some awkward conversations. If you’re a real hard case, you might have even incited such conversations on purpose. For arguers, those interactions are enjoyable, an exercise in intellect or rhetoric. For others, they’re emotionally taxing, and can even end friendships. When a discussion becomes an argument, you start to view the people you’re talking to as objects, and that’s especially common on the Internet, when you can’t see their faces.
It’s truly a shame when people stop being friends because of a disagreement over politics, dividing ourselves, removing the possibility of human connection in favour of an abstraction, or even a politician whom you’ll never meet. We can always make the decision to see the humanity in people, recognising their consciousness even in moments of disagreement.
In customer service, you learn to handle people even when they’re emotional, and many of the lessons of customer service can apply in our everyday communications – seeking to understand before seeking to be understood, paraphrasing to confirm comprehension, apologising more than is normally expected, finding common ground with our fellow humans, and being grateful for friendly interactions.
In this episode, Kurt describes how feeling compassion during your arguments can quickly transform them into discussions, discovering more about the perspectives of others, and using understanding to be more persuasive. Join us in another heart-opening episode of… The Paradise Paradox!
The Story: Delicious food and beautiful ladyboys in the Kingdom of Thailand
Depending on what type of person you are, you might know Thailand for its beautiful Buddhist temples, its tasty food, ladyboys, ping-pong shows, or just its happy, humble people. And it’s true, Thailand has all these things and more.
In this episode, Kurt explains a traveller’s perspective on Thailand, the pad thai and basil stir-fries, the gorgeous and prolific sex workers, the ubiquitous transgender women, and the Thai people’s love for the late king, his majesty Rama IX. Kurt also talks about south east Asians fascination with sugary drinks, and some tips on how to spot a shill.
Join us on the next pad krapow scarfing episode of … The Paradise Paradox!
The Story: The dream of cryptocurrency and what to do about it
Most people hear the word “Bitcoin”, they don’t think much of it, or they think only about drug markets on shady parts of the web. Bitcoin, Dash and digital currency in general are similar to the Internet itself in some ways. If you can think back to 1995, you might remember people saying how the Internet was full of paedophiles, pornography and other undesireable material – a place for nerd and perverts, but certainly not for regular people. Today, almost everyone who has the resources to access the Internet uses it on a regular basis, from shopkeepers in London to monks in rural Thailand. A technology which was once only for a few, quickly became a necessity for everyone.
Free digital currency – currency not controlled by any government – may be the greatest breakthrough in monetary technology since coins were first minted. However, just as with the Internet, the benefits are not obvious to most, unless they have a need to escape the restrictions of normal money. Farmers in Argentina use these currencies to escape the will of banks telling them how to grow and what to grow. Activist organisations such as Wikileaks use it to accept payments when governments try to block them. Impoverished Venezuelans use it to smuggle in food to feed their families, as the national currency collapses before their eyes. If you want to send money across the world cheaply, or to find a way to save money so it isn’t eroded by inflation, or you have a desire to see a better world where everyone has a chance to live comfortably, could a currency such as Dash or Bitcoin help you?
In this episode, Kurt discusses the dream, the highest ideals of digital currency – ending war and providing a means for the masses to escape poverty and reach prosperity, removing power from central banks and holding governments accountable to the public they are supposed to serve. He also gives an overview of how to acquire Dash or Bitcoin, some pitfalls to avoid losing your money, and some ways you can earn this currency.
Join us in an industry-disrupting episode of … The Paradise Paradox!
Disclaimer: Nothing in this video or podcast is to be construed as financial advice.
The Story: Have a little faith that things will be okay
Many people have an aversion to the word “faith”, because they think it refers to a superstition. However, it’s perfectly rational to have faith – at least a little bit, and you will see for yourself if you look back over your life, examine your experiences, and project the likely future.
Every day of your life, or almost every day of your life, you have woken up once more. Every day of your life you have faced your challenges, in one way or another, by yourself or calling on the support of loved ones, and helping your loved ones face their challenges. I know this is true, because you wouldn’t be reading this if you hadn’t. You might not have always found a perfect solution, but without a doubt, you did find a solution.
You might have gone through dark times, and you might even be going through dark times. Even so, when you look you can find things to be grateful for. If you’ve lost your house, you may still have your family. If you’ve lost your family, you may still have your health. If you’ve lost your health, you still have your life, perhaps even surviving against terrible odds. So, in one way or another, things have worked out for you.
In all probability, your life is much better than that worst case scenario. You may even have had the fortune of finding a partner to share your life with, or been blessed with children whom you adore, who inspire you to previously unknown purpose and resolve, or perhaps you have found some wealth by well-timed investments, or even just managed to get by, day after day – even when it seemed that fate was against you.
Think about when you were a child of 5 or 10 years old. You probably had many ideas of how your life would turn out. Your life probably turned out very differently to how you expected, and when examined, you may well find that it turned out much better than expected – with intricacies finer than the finest painting, and details that you never anticipated which delight you. So, things generally do work out, and you can expect that things will continue to work out.
Whether you think of it as a metaphor or a literal expression, putting your worries in the hands of Providence, expecting things to work out – providing you take all reasonable steps to protect yourself and your loved ones – makes sense. If you take that first step towards faith, opening the curtains just a chink to let some light shine in, who is to say exactly what it might illuminate, what courage it might grant, what change it might bring. Go ahead. Find out for yourself.
When travelling, it’s expected that sometimes you might not have all of the luxuries of home. You might not have a hot shower, or a clean towel. You might not have a western style toilet. You might not even have a toilet at all, or toilet paper, or even the expectation that that bus ticket you paid for would get the driver to wait for two minutes while you ran off into the woods.
Our hero Kurt found himself in a similar situation on the road from Cox’s Bazar to Dhaka in Bangladesh. In this episode, he relates the details of a spiritual experience, gaining insight into his character and exactly what a human is capable of. Join us on another bowel-rumbling, digestive-system-crumbling, existence-questioning episode of… The Paradise Paradox!
The Story: Feel gratitude for the peace around you
We took an uncomfortable 10 hour bus ride from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar, which every Bangladeshi will tell you is the longest beach in the world. Technically, that’s not true, that honour goes to Praia do Cassino in Brazil at 250km. The rightful title of Cox’s Bazar is the longest *natural sand* beach in the world, at 120km, which is probably more impressive.
Looking around on the beach, or wherever you are, you might notice the lack of something. The lack of violence and intimidation. We are constantly bombarded with messages from the media telling us how dangerous the world is, how murder is waiting around every corner. They tell us so often, sometimes we forget to look around us and see that it’s absolutely not true – most of the time, things are peaceful. It’s good to connect with that peace every once in a while, and remember how lucky we are to live in a world where we can enjoy freedom from attack, where we can just sit silently alone or with friends.
Join me on a tale of gratitude on the next exciting episode of … The Paradise Paradox!