I’m not sure why I went to watch Michael Moore’s latest film. I knew it would make me feel like crap. I knew it would activate terrible emotions. I knew it would re-open the big hole in my soul which used to contain love for my country and then pour battery acid on it. It didn’t disappoint. If you want to feel crappy, if you want to feel pessimistic, if you want to feel angry about racism, gun violence, tyranny, sexual assault, the death of American democracy, genocide and more – this is the film to go see. Plus if you are a combat veteran, a survivor of sexual assault, a victim of racism, or a person who had a pleasant Saturday in Hawaii turned into a moment when you thought everyone you love would be incinerated by a nuclear bomb in thirteen minutes you will be activated. If you have PTSD, anxiety disorder, or suffered huge emotional trauma watching Donald Trump win in 2016 you will be activated and you will suffer. If you or your loved ones survived the Nazis or the Holocaust you will be activated and suffer. If none of that applies to you, you should watch this film but you probably won’t. If any of it applies to you, you shouldn’t watch this film but you probably will. Be prepared to have all your trauma activated. Fuck you Michael Moore.
I’m excited about a couple of sectors right now…I think that a couple of them are going to change our world before we even notice that our world has changed. I’m not sure which of these will hit – if any – but I’m putting the little bit of speculative investment money I have on these bets.
1) Industrial Automation. These two words sound simple but they represent some of the most complex changes in the history of human civilization. The industrial revolution changed the face of the globe. This was a massive shift in human civilization as humans went from hand produced items in the late 1700s to items produced by chemical, mechanical, machine, and factory production about sixty years later in the 1830s and 1840s. Everything changed and it changed because the way we make things changed. And then the second industrial revolution took place from the 1870s to the 1910s bringing railroads, electrification, telegraphs, sewage systems, and road systems. The Third Industrial Revolution was the digital wave. Now, I believe we are on the cusp of a Fourth Industrial Revolution – which can be summed up with the two words I started with – Industrial Automation. Artificial Intelligence combined with advanced robotics and machine learning are eliminating human beings from the production process. Not only the production of goods, but also the production of food, the driving of trucks and cars, legal work, medicine, and more. All the industry that has been created in the past 250 years is on the edge of running itself. In ten years, we won’t recognize most of the jobs that the labor force will choose from because most of the old jobs will be gone. Three companies that I have my eyes on are Brookstone Automation $BRKS Hollysys Automation $HOLI and ABB Ltd $ABB.
2) Gene Editing. There are already parents paying to have genetic disorders corrected in unborn children or even picking the sex of their future child – that’s old news. The near future of gene editing is much more sci-fi and it’s coming very quickly. Gene editing and splicing allows for the repair or replacement of faulty genes – and on a purely crazy note – might even allow for defeating the debilitating effects of aging. I’m not saying people will be able to live forever – but they may soon be able to live their lifespan without their bodies falling apart on them. Not to mention genetic disorders will be able to be fixed in living patients. They might even be able to turn a switch that would turn off the hair that grows on my back and turn on the switch for hair on the top of my head. There are a lot of companies working in these areas but I’m watching CRISPR Therapeutics AG $CRSP, Editas Medicine $EDIT, Intellia Therapeutics $NTLA and Sangamo Therapeutics $SGMO
3) Electric Cars. The world is going to go electric. Elon Musk saw it and unfortunately, he may have fucked himself and Tesla Motors for a while – but I still believe his company will pull through – still, I’m not putting my money there. Instead, I’m looking at Volkswagon$VWAGY, GM $GM, and Chinese upstart NIO $NIO. While the electric cars themselves are going to be taking the world by storm – the components and materials they require are also worth looking at – lithium and cobalt for batteries, new poly and nanofiber materials for bodies and tires. These are not going to be your grandfather’s Oldsmobile…and going back to industrial automation – they aren’t going to be produced on human assembly lines. Also, they will have self driving technology – Tesla already has it, VW isn’t far behind and GM is spending huge amounts to get there. Google and UBER are already running their cars – and it won’t be long before Amazon jumps in the game. Amazon is definitely going to make a car – they’ve just announced an auto enabled Alexa – the cars are next.
4) Cryptocurrency is coming back. If you haven’t already BUY BITCOIN – you won’t regret it. You may have to wait a couple of years – but it will become the defacto reserve currency if not the official reserve. Tokenization of major industries may or may not happen but block chain finance is happening and there is no going back. Overstock $OSTK and Square $SQ are the two main crypto plays I see in the stock market. IBM $IBM is the number one blockchain play that I see – not to mention a company that is rapidly developing artificial intelligence solutions, cloud computing and storage, and quantum computing.
5) Marijuana stocks (speaking of Elon Musk…)These are pure speculation at this point. There are some interesting prospects but the wild bubbles are too hard to pin down. Personally, I like Cronos Group ($CRON) and Neptune Wellness ($NEPT) but this is anyone’s guess…I’ve stayed away from Tilray and bought a little bit of Canopy Growth but these are like putting money on zero and double zero on a roulette wheel….nice payout if they hit. No payout for Elon’s hit though….
So there you have it…that’s the future I see. If a friend asked me which three companies to invest in out of the whole market my advice would be Amazon, IBM, and AliBaba – Everything else is a gamble but I feel like those three are the literal future of everything – but for you, dear reader, I suggest that you recognize that past results do not guarantee future returns and that this is not financial advice but only an opportunity for me to suggest where you might find some value if you do your own research.
Good luck. Always bet on black.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who I am and why I’m that person. While it would be nice to say that I was born the person I am and nothing would have changed that – I don’t believe that is the whole truth. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into a ‘nature vs. nurture’ debate here. I’m firmly in both camps. I believe that we are who we are from the moment of conception but that how we express that is determined by our early influences to a great degree and by our later influences to a lessor degree.
So, it makes sense that when you know the early influences of a person, you will more accurately be able to determine how that person will behave in a given circumstance. I have a relative who grew up in a very racist household where the N-word was used frequently. His father was an abusive alcoholic and his mother was an abusive religionist.As a child, he was cruel to animals (often killing them) and he liked to light fires and destroy things (on a disturbing note, he was also a bed-wetter. The combo of animal cruelty, fire setting, and bed wetting according to many sources are three common traits of serial killers.) So, you might guess that he is not the most pleasant person to be around. He’s a bully, a womanizer, and a sociopath. He’s also very successful at what he does and constantly has worshipful followers around him. Women love him and guys think he’s cool. Who would he have been with a different childhood?
He and I watched many of the same shows on Saturday mornings (He-Man, Bugs Bunny, Superfriends) but the shows we watched when our parents were around were quite different. And, today, we watch very different things too – I’m sure of that even though we have never compared notes.
I’ve kept journals through most of my life. So, I’m my own best case study. One of the amazing things I’ve discovered is that even though I’ve changed my jobs, my location, my education, my friends, my entire external world over and over – and even though I’ve grown and changed as a person as I’ve experienced new things, new people, new places, new ways of living – the core foundational structure of who I am is almost exactly the same as it was when I was ten or twenty or thirty or forty. I’m the exact same person I was but with new skills, knowledge, habits, and other external trappings that change the way I interact with the world…and so is my relative.
I’ve laid out all of this for a reason. My relative and I and the people that came before us and the people in the generation after us – we all have a very private core that was allowed to grow and develop in privacy. For the most part, there was no one cataloging our choices and determining who or what we were and then using that to build upon us – or sell to us. That last bit is the crux – think about a child today. On their electronic device in the home or in school or using the smart TV or watching streaming on-demand programs.
The child has a profile. Does the child like violence? Does the child like unicorns? Does the child like shows about boys or boys about girls? Does the child like superheroes? Does the child like animals? Nature programs? Which youtube toy videos does the child watch? And the list of choices the child makes gets larger and larger and feeds the core of that person or feeds the worst nature or the best nature of that person – not for any particular moral purpose – but simply to discover how to sell to that person and to make profits for the corporations that only want to sell to that person. These corporations rarely, if ever, have altruistic intentions – the child is a product and the client is the shareholder.
My journals are not public and cannot be used to sell me products or to shape my belief system – but the habits of our online profiles, our smart TV profiles, our digital radio choices, our Amazon browsing, our online vices or guilty pleasures, our online political donations or political reading habits – these are all owned by someone. This is how Cambridge Analytica handed the election to Donald Trump. They looked at the demographics of neighborhoods (because we tend to live in the vicinity of like-minded people) and they used that information to target ad campaigns which either encouraged people not to vote, encouraged people to vote for a certain candidate, or encouraged people to not vote for a certain candidate. The Russian ad campaigns, fake social news, and shady financial donations were an extension of all of this.
So, if the shadowy powers that exist on the other side of our computer screens were able to manipulate the adult population to such a degree – think what this means for the future. Think back to what I wrote above – they didn’t have all the information I gave about myself or my relative, only the information that we willingly revealed on social profiles – and yet – they managed to sway wide portions of the electorate. Imagine the power they will wield in ten years or twenty years – they will have all of the data about where we go, who we know, what we watched, what we read, where we shopped, who we worked with – and by we – I mean all of us – but for those who are going to become adults – they will also know which television program they watched when they were five and much much more.
The control mechanisms we have in place now are Orwellian and frightening. China’s new social credit schema, smart speakers, smart televisions, smart watches, smart phones. All of it is frightening. However, it is nothing compared to what is coming in the next decades.
Know thyself! This advice is perhaps more important than ever before. In fact, I think that this could easily become a multi-billion dollar business – to help people understand what their entire profile is and how it is interpreted. Knowing yourself is the only way that you will understand the difference between what you want and what you are being sold. It’s the difference between freedom and bondage.
I read something the other day that was very interesting. It was talking about how the trade war and tariffs and political scandals that should be rocking the market daily – simply aren’t. The reason, this article said, was that the money in the market which was scared or nervous had already left.
Think about that for a second.
It means that the money that is still in the market is either sure that the markets will recover from negative news or that it is not concerned with negative news and holding on with a longer term perspective. I’d like to offer a different and much more dangerous perspective: the violent rises and falls of the stock markets since Spring of 2018 have made many investors more gun-shy about losing out on gains following dips, than on losing out on dips. It means that the risk tolerance for the market as a whole has gone much higher. Personally, I think that the Robinhood App and the violent rise and fall of Bitcoin have a lot to do with it.
Robinhood and Bitcoin in tandem have brought an entire new generation of investors into the markets. I remember hearing a seasoned trader in January say something like “I don’t know where this volume is coming from, but these traders are absolutely stupid” because the conventional rules were being broken by a large number of traders.
Let me break it down. Bitcoin bubbling in late 2017 and early 2018 brought millions of mom and pops, college kids, mechanics, builders, waiters, house cleaners, and other non-traditional investing types into an ultra-high-risk trading environment where dreams of becoming debt free, financially independent, or filthy rich were born and crushed. For those who took part in the 80% rise and 90% fall of Bitcoin over the past year – seeing a stock swing 7% is nothing. Seeing a stock swing 20% is almost nothing.
Those same bitcoin losers (and I’m a bitcoin loser as well, but time will tell if that stays the case) probably found the Robinhood App the same way I did – through the fact that Robinhood opened up to trading cryptocurrency AND stocks on the same phone app. So, where is the money the Robinhood traders are trading with coming from…there are a few possibilities.
1) From their bitcoin gains
2) It’s what is left after their bitcoin losses
3) They have borrowed, used student loans, taken out mortgages
4) They have closed down other broker accounts, 401ks, IRAs, or are using savings
Any way you look at it – this is not the same conservative money that looks to build 6% annually and sells a loser after 7%. Because they are in the market (along with trading bots) those strategies are no longer as effective as they once were. The massive market swings trigger buy and sell orders, sweep through stop losses, and leave traders who aren’t paying attention with overpriced shit on their hands or with selling at a loss and then watching a 250% wild upward swing…which brings me to the bots.
The vast majority of trades on all of the markets today are conducted by trading bots which conduct millions of trades each minute (or faster). There is no human way to beat the bots except through playing it safe and getting lucky.
So, with all of that, what scares me about these markets?
It’s the human traders using the app with their finger on the trigger. They may be exhibiting a strong risk tolerance, but they are human and eventually…somethinig is going to collectively set them off…when it does, the bots will take over and the losses will be massive and nearly instant. Yes, the markets will shut down…but as we saw with Tilray yesterday…that doesn’t necessarily solve things. Imagine what happened there, happeneing on a market wide scale.
These markets are terrifying…but honestly, there are huge gains to be made – despite that.
I’ve shifted my investing strategy. I’m not day-trading or trying to lock in short term gains. I look at a company and try to imagine where it will be in twenty years. I look at what it offers in growth between then and now and what it currently offers in dividend and yield. That’s where my money goes. At the moment there are three very exciting places I have my money parked.
1) IBM – big blue has become a world class innovator while the innovators like Google and Facebook have become boring and conservative. IBM offers one of the best dividends out there and is constantly innovating in new areas of growth.
2) Gene editing. There are three companies leading the charge here. Crispr Therapeutics, Editas Medicine, and Intellia Therapeutics. This is the area where disease gets solved, aging gets set aside, and humans potentially take the next step in evolution
3) Industrial Automation. The workplace is being automated. There is nothing that can be done about that. Brookstone, Holisys Automation, and ABB Group are the three companies currently leading the charge on this world changing shift.
I also believe that Amazon will continue to dominate and grow like the Borg and that electric cars with self driving technology will take over the automotive industry. Tesla may be a dead man walking but GM, Volkswagon, and Toyota are stepping up and newcomer NIO out of China is one to watch closely.
I’m putting my money in these areas now and in twenty years, I expect that I won’t be disappointed.
Now, a word about Bitcoin and blockchain. I still believe in Bitcoin. I think any money put into it before 2020 will see massive returns. I also believe that there are a number of great use cases for blockchain technology – but the more I’ve learned about the current run of projects – the more I believe that there is better coming and the money I’ve put into them may never be recovered. The hype got me…now, whether I get lucky from that – that’s just a matter of luck and fortitude. I’m not going anywhere with my losses…and it would be nice to see them turn into winners. Only time will tell.
Recently, from several different sources, I have become aware of a flaw in my thinking. Ultimately, this flaw comes down to something economists call ‘Time Preference’. My own revelation came about through coversations with family and friends, watching the action of news and technology and culture on the stock and cryptocurrency markets, and then the final blow came from The Bitcoin Standard (read my review here – the book is worth reading but has some issues).
So, what is time preference?
It can be called a variety of things such as time discounting or long term vs short term world view. Ultimately, it is how much you value the present versus the future. A high time preference means you value the now most of all and a low time preference means that you value the future more than the present.
I have ALWAYS been a high time preference individual. Not just high time, but highest time. I’ve always been a grasshopper that worries about tomorrow when it comes and enjoys the present as fully as possible when it is here. As a result, I’ve spent my life hearing other people say “How have you done all you’ve done and you’re only X years old?” And all of that is pretty cool. I’m glad I’ve done the things I’ve done but lately, I find myself regretting that I didn’t have at least a little bit of low time preference. I didn’t invest, I didn’t work for the future, I didn’t save. Ultimately, I’ve been living for the now for thirty years (My adult life).
I’ll turn 47 in a few months and the funny thing is that it was right around my 46th birthday that I started investing a little bit. Since then, I’ve started a couple of IRAs, a college fund for my daughter, I have a small portfolio of stocks, and a few minor investments. The problem before was always that something would come up and I would discount the future to pay for the present. I did it with jobs. I did it with a bunch of gold coins I was buying back in the 1990s (which I sold for a loss – ouch), I did it with my education, I did it with my relationships, I did it with just about everything in my life.
My high time preference (hehe High Times) came from an early awareness of my own mortality, an early reading of Ram Dass classic Be Here Now, and a sense that was imbued in me that the destruction of the world and our civilization was imminent. Let me give an example of a high, low, and average time preference person so that you will understand.
Low Time Preference: Doesn’t go to prom because he has to study for SATs
Average Time Preference: Goes to prom and studies for SATs
High Time Preference: Doesn’t even bother going to school because they might get hit by a bus tomorrow anyway.
So…here I am. Assuming I was 16 when I began my high time preference lifestyle – I spent thirty years living like there was no tomorrow. It makes sense (now) that my worldview didn’t make sense to the women I was involved with, my family, my teachers, my employers, my friends, my co-workers. My life was seriously like this for thirty years: ‘that girl is interesting and attractive, I better fall in love now before one of us dies’, ‘I better cash in these savings bonds now because the government will probably collapse before they mature’ ‘I’d better tell this jackass boss to go fuck himself or else I may not get another chance’ ‘I’d better get rid of all my shit and travel the world before world war III happens’ “I want to learn how to do this fun thing instead of focusing on something else until I’m really good at it’ and it goes on. If it doesn’t make sense to you, that’s okay, it probably means your normal.
Anyway, at 46 it finally makes sense to me to slow down a little bit. The reason is – I can see my future and suddenly it’s becoming pretty clear what it cost me to live such an amazing life for thirty years. While other people were working towards retirement, I was trying out new careers almost yearly. While other people were buying houses, I was moving around the world. While other people were investing for retirement, I was spending my retirement. That’s what it is. My retirement might have been in the millions of dollars right now, but instead, I’m $100,000 in debt with no real material assets.
However, what I lack in assets – I feel like I make up for in experience and understanding. I’ve developed a broad understanding of this world, the cultures in it, the economic and political forces that shape it, and the interpersonal relationships that make it run. And…as a result, I’ve seen the light in regards to a lower time preference than I was running on.
Now, moving on to actuary tables. I found myself recently thinking I was getting old. A big part of that is because I am older than most people who are at this building stage of life where I find myself. I’m economically sitting where recent college graduates sit but I’ve got a wife and young child so family wise, I’m where people in the mid to late thirties are. These are the people around me who I relate to – people in their late twenties to early forties. I’m not officially in my mid-forties and usually one of the older people in the room when I attend conferences about cryptocurrency, go to school functions, or apply for jobs at start-ups (which does not work in my favor at all). So there I was, feeling old.
I began thinking about how much time I actually had left before I can’t work anymore. Before illness and death come knocking. How much time I have to prepare for retirement – since I’ve done nothing. So, having worked in insurance, I decided to look at some actuary tables. According to the Social Security Actuary Tables….I can expect to live to be 82 years old as an American. That leaves 36 years. Now here’s the thing…that means, I can actually live the same amount of time I lived high preference (30 years) an still have six years to be retired, old, or what have you.
The actuary table I used though, is flawed. I live in Hawaii, so my life expectancy is actually higher. On my father’s side upper 90’s is the norm. So, I probably (barring accidents, disease, or disaster) have closer to 46-50 years and since technology is helping people to live longer – it might be longer.
Chances are though – I probably won’t get the opportunity to try out a third time preference. So, I’d better get this right. Here is what I am going with. High time preference for letting the people I care about know that they are important to me. Low time preference for spending the money I earn. I’m loving for the moment and saving for the future. I recommend it, but not having tried it yet – you may have to experiment to find a balance which works for you.
We have officially entered a September that no one saw coming. The entire cryptocurrency market is in a serious bloodbath with Ethereum taking the hardest hits. The Tech sector of the stock markets (along with the continued bleeding of emerging markets) are getting pummelled. The core of the US Government, the White House and the US Presidency have been bombed by a New York Times anonymous editorial that tells us that not only is Trump bat shit crazy and as badly informed about world events as a fifth grader – but that there is also a cadre of people he thought were loyalists who are actively working against his bad ideas and protecting us from within.
Knowing Trump, this means he is about to go on an insane witchhunt and start beheading his minions on the least cause. The US government is going to be shaken by this – even more than it already is. Meanwhile a senate confirmation hearing for a young, dangerous, and authoritarian leaning Supreme Court judge is underway at the same time as hearings on social media giants are being grilled about Russian meddling in US elections.
The markets are in turmoil already and the worst is yet to come. Trump is just getting started on the crazy train. Knowing that there are people working against him is going to take him further over the edge. Bad decisions will follow.
The worst part of it is that given what we already know about the Russian meddling in the US election – he shouldn’t have been allowed to run in the first place – but since he has been in office, he has completely reshaped the US judiciary, the tax code, and more in ways that cannot be reversed. The damage has already been done and frankly, I don’t really see a way back from the precipice. Authoritarianism looms large in the US future.
The stage has been set for a massive financial collapse. I’m not saying that it is coming today or tomorrow or next week or even next year – because the masters of finance have become very good at juggling the bills back and forth. But the bill is going to have to be paid. At the moment, we are like a bad credit risk with fifteen credit cards who is using balance transfers and cash advances to keep the bill collector from coming. As long as they keep issuing him new credit cards, he can keep up appearances. The U.S. is this person. The U.S. markets are the balancing act.
In terms of the cryptomarkets and the stock markets – if I had more money, I would put it into both. I would watch top companies like Apple, Netflix, Amazon and IBM take nosedives and I would do my best to catch those falling knives. One thing for sure, I would stay away from bank stocks right now. I would stay away from car companies and luxury brands. I would stay away from real estate and I would stay away from anything that needs a booming economy to survive. Staple foods, dollar stores, bargain markets, and things that people won’t do without. And, since you know me – you know that I would also put money in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Digibyte and I’m taking a chance on this one but Ethereum Classic.
I think that Ethereum is on it’s last legs – it’s already dropped more than 20% in the past day. Regulation and attacks from all sides have beaten it down to the point that it may not recover. It will bring thousands of tokens down with it. I’m not rooting for this – but it seems to be happening and I can see more ways for it to fail than to succeed.
If Ethereum does fail, something will move into it’s place. Ethereum Classic ($ETC), Tron ($TRX), Neo ($NEO), Stellar ($XLM), EOS ($EOS), and when it is completed Cardano ($ADA) all offer platforms which could replace Ethereum – or maybe it will be something else entirely. Nobody knows.
That’s the thing with the crypto space, nobody really knows what it will do – it’s a brand new frontier and there are no rules, there are no precedents. Because of that, there are also big uncertainties in traditional finance and banking and big uncertainties in politics which arise from that. Throw all of that into the pot with Trump, trade wars, nuclear disarmament talks, Chinese global expansion, and more and what you have is a big messy September.
I hate to say it – but Gold and Silver are probably the safest bets right now. Not the most profitable, but the most stable.
The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous
Published by Wiley Publishing. April 24, 2018
I had seen quite a few quotes from this book on #cryptotwitter (just go to Twitter and type in that hashtag) and most of what I had seen or heard had been broadly favorable. I’d avoided reading any in depth reviews because I knew that I would get around to reading it. When the book came out there was quite a bit of buzz – most of it positive – and also a fair amount of grumpy grumbling from non-Bitcoin-maximalists and those who see a future for other coins and tokens besides Bitcoin. It took me a while to get around to ordering it but finally in late August of 2018, I had a copy in my hands and dove in. I didn’t want to rush so spent about a week going through it.
My first impression. It’s a dog’s breakfast. What a mess. I’m not talking about the contents per se, but more about the lack of a bibliography, the lack of sourcing, the confusing mixture of history and opinion, and the several passages that are repeated word for word in different sections of the book. While I didn’t see any glaring grammar, spelling, or syntax errors – there was a decided lack of professional editing. I’m not sure what Wiley’s editing process is, but they need to improve it.
Professor Ammous needs an editor and he needs one badly. A good editor would have fixed the issues above and also forced Ammous to declare whether he wanted to publish a rambling opinion manifesto or a scholarly work on bitcoin and the history of money. Unfortunately, because that decision was never made – The Bitcoin Standard ends up being simply a rambling opinion manifesto masquerading as a scholarly work. The design of the book is masterful. The cover, the typeset, the layout. It simply lacks anything resembling authority.
It’s hard to take anything Ammous says seriously after reading his scathing and ignorant attacks on Mark Rothko and modern art (not to mention music) or when he calls Milton Keynes, an important economist, a homosexual pedophile as a way of discounting his work. A good editor would have removed those passages and in the process given Ammous some much needed credibility and authority. As it stands, by the time he starts describing Bitcoin and how it can be used, the threats to it, and why it is important – the reader is fatigued and ready to take anything Ammous says as opinionated bullshit – which is unfortunate.
The last three chapters of the book are quite good. Ammous shows why Bitcoin has survived, why it will continue to survive, and why it is the prime candidate to eventually be the world’s main digital currency. Unfortunately, these are just three out of ten chapters. These three chapters would make a good afternoons reading in a quiet place with no distractions. There will be several things repeated (DAO for instance) but overall, that is simply more bad editing.
If I were to guess what happened with this book it would be that Professor Ammous got an advance on a book deal after writing these three chapters and then he was scratching his head wondering how to get the other 80,000 words he needed. He started with the history of money (which is incomplete, but still quite good) and then moved on into his belief in a gold based currency (Austrian School of Economics) and how Bitcoin could become the new ‘Gold Standard’ for the planet. After this, his publisher was pushing him for the other 30-40,000 words and after months of pushing and prodding (because I’m betting the deal was signed near the end of 2018) they finally managed to get him to start submitting more writing and rather than throwing more money into a project that had already passed it’s prime (during the crypto boom from November to February) they just took whatever he sent, had a copywriter go over it, and then published the book. It just has that Frankenstein sort of feel to it – and I don’t mean in a timeless classic sort of way.
I don’t want to mislead anyone. I’m a Bitcoin Maximalist. I think Bitcoin will eventually become our species’ main store of value – on that Professor Ammous and I agree. I also think that centralized banking, the birth of the military-industrial complex, and fractional reserve banking are all three great evils which Bitcoin has the potential to disrupt. The point where we diverge is on whether history is actually a collection of facts or a collection of interpretations. I would go with facts. Ammous tends to go towards interpretations.
On the positive side – I enjoyed his history of money sections and his great explanations of sound money and time preference. Time preference might be the most important concept this book goes into. His explanations about why and how Bitcoin has survived are worthwhile.
On the negative side – the whole middle of the book where he is trying to show he is right by showing that Keynes was wrong. Totally misguided and almost unreadable. Also, despite his obvious expertise on Bitcoin – Ammous demonstrates time and time again that he knows almost nothing about other cryptocurrency and blockchain projects – he simply dismisses them out of hand without naming anything besides Ethereum. I would have enjoyed a deeper dive into the technical aspects of the code.
My recommendation: Read it but get it from the library. Read the first three chapters and then skip to chapter eight and read the last three chapters. Don’t bother looking for a decent bibliography and don’t worry about keeping this as a reference for the future.