Category Archives: Geopolitics

Is Bitcoin Becoming Too Entrenched To Fail?

 In the analysis of things, there’s always this pseudo-intellectual tendency of subscribing to the seemingly ‘objective’ or safe bet. Ironically, this tendency is precisely what makes it difficult for people to perceive things objectively. To the pseudo-skeptic who is not skeptical of his own skepticism, Bitcoin is obviously ‘in a bubble’ and ‘it will be stopped by governments and banks’. This isn’t an objective perspective, it’s an appeal to the establishment’s power and capacity to crush any innovation that usurps its authority.

If we’re speaking objectively, the expected volatility will decrease over time and the legal framework around cryptocurrency suggests that governments and banks actually aren’t trying to prevent its use, at least not to the extent commonly implied. Instead, what we’re seeing is simply caution but positive reception to potential innovation.

Shifting Tides 

When Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, said that Bitcoin is a fraud, he wasn’t met with applause. Instead, he was systematically attacked and overwhelmed with disagreement, even from the mainstream media.

New York Times: What Jamie Dimon Is Missing About Bitcoin
Forbes: Jamie Dimon, Here’s Why You’re Wrong About Bitcoin
Bloomberg: What Jamie Dimon Got Wrong About Bitcoin and Tulips
The Guardian: Don’t Let The Bankers Fool You: Bitcoin Here To Stay
CNBC: Why JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Is Wrong About Bitcoin

Dimon was scrutinized by various sectors, from Zerohedge pointing out that JPMorgan’s ‘Bitcoin-alternative patent was rejected 175 times, his former head of global macro at JPMorgan telling him to “STFU”, media outlets reporting on JPMorgan handling Bitcoin-related trade, Dimon facing a market abuse claim over ‘False, Misleading’ Bitcoin comments, the CEO of Morgan Stanley refuting Dimon, saying it’s ‘not just a fade’, an analyst ‘firing shots’ at JPMorgan and Dimon for calling Bitcoin a fraud, etc…

What I’m getting at is simple. If Bitcoin is becoming entrenched enough to be systematically defended, it’s going to survive and it’s going to succeed. The more interdependent relationships, the more entrenchment into the lives of individuals and nations, the better. On that front, there are countless examples of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency becoming increasingly entrenched.

Escaping Failing Fiat 

 There’s a global shift into cryptocurrency, especially among countries with failing currencies. Specifically, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, UK, Belarus, Ukraine, Brazil, Germany, Egypt, and Russia, are all utilizing Bitcoin. In fact, in Venezuela, we could be seeing the first ‘Bitcoinization’ of a sovereign nation.

Legal Framework

The majority of countries allow the use of cryptocurrency, besides Bangladesh, Bolivia, Kyrgyzstan, and Ecuador. These bans aren’t exactly effective, either. In Ecuador, for example, use has growth despite illegality.

Use of cryptocurrency is legal and-or unregulated in Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada, United States, Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Bosnia , Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Australia, China, Lithuania, and New Zealand.

This idea that governments and banks will launch a systemic crackdown on cryptocurrency has no basis in objective reality, nor is it even remotely feasible. In fact, it’s actually absurd to believe such a thing because no technical legal consensus of that nature would ever manifest in reality across various nations systematically.

Most countries have already addressed the matter and just want to assure that it’s legally defined and properly regulated. Despite this, any regulatory motion is regularly viewed as the beginning of the big ‘crackdown’, even though most of it is to dismantle the ICO scams, which are a completely legitimate concern. It’s a possibility regulatory bodies eventually move against Bitcoin to an extent but even then, this won’t be the end of Bitcoin and it will not be regulated out of existence.  In the worst case scenario, Bitcoin suffers some significant losses due to other innovations and-or regulations but survives as a reserve cryptocurrency. Bitcoin’s status as a reserve is unlikely to go challenged for quite some time but even when that challenges comes, it will survive.

Mining

Mining has gone from the activity of enthusiasts to that of giant enterprise.

Recently, Abigail Johnson, CEO of Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest investing firms, said the company is actively mining cryptocurrencies.

In Japan, Tokyo’s GMO Internet Group is spending millions to develop mining operations. In short, these type of developments are happening all over the place.

In terms of state-level mining, various nations are already actively mining or developing the operations to. In fact, it’s being referred to as the ‘mining race’.

In Russia, an aide of Vladimir Putin is seeking $100 million to rival the former? mining dominance of China and in Leningrad, the governor is inviting miners to create an industrial park for cryptocurrency mining. Furthermore, powers generators in Russia are selling excess capacity to miners.

In Sweden, a Miami-based computing company is developing a major data center in Sweden to mine cryptocurrency. Smaller jurisdictions are developing mining operations, too, such as the Republic of Transnistria.

In North Korea, they are mining Bitcoin and targeting South Korean Bitcoin exchanges as a method to bypass sanctions. For good or bad, mining has even become relevant in a geopolitical context, so it’s actually becoming bigger than corporate enterprise.

Of course, I also want to address China. According to a trusted source, China has not banned mining and probably won’t. Regardless, the mining sector is growing fast and becoming a legitimate enterprise. If one nation decides to ban mining or exchanges, others nations will simply pick up its slack. That has already been proven with the recent developments in China and how Japan quickly obtained market dominance.

Culture 

The culture of cryptocurrency is absolutely dominating and the networking effect is propelling it forward faster than anyone could have imagined just a few years ago.

You’re actively seeing celebrities like Floyd Mayweather, KISS front-man Gene Simmons, Paris Hilton, Jamie Foxx, The Game, DJ Khaled, and more regularly promoting ICOs and cryptocurrency, in general. This isn’t necessarily good in terms of ICOs, as Andreas Antonopoulos points out, but in general terms of promotion of cryptocurrency, it’s a great thing.

In corporate, marketing culture, “Bitcoin” is the market’s favorite buzzword according to Bloomberg and Bitcoin Long is the most crowded trade, according to Bank of America.

Everywhere you look, cryptocurrency is becoming more and more recognized and understood. It takes time for cultural shifts of this nature to manifest into action, though. In time, we’ll begin to see greater shifts into cryptocurrency. If this seems unlikely, remind yourself that years ago, the current state of things seemed too seamless and improbable. Personally, I never expected things to go from such a niche phenomenon to where it is today. We can’t underestimate these things.

Other Developments 

I wanted to compile a big list of positive developments but every day, a new story, a new crucial development, was being covered. I decided to just give up on the list since it felt impossible to keep track of and just created a sample of recent developments instead.

White House Doubles Down On Commitment To Blockchain )

( US Bank Regulator Opens Door To National License For Bitcoin Firms )

( U.S. Lawmakers Drafting Bill To Protect Cryptocurrencies From Government Interference )

( W3C, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Mozilla Working On Browser API For Cryptocurrencies. )

( Japan Issues Licenses To 11 Bitcoin Exchanges )

( IMF’s Lagarde: Bitcoin “Might Give Existing Currencies A Run For Their Money” )

( Two ETF Submitted For SEC Approval )

( Gold Companies, Even Former Nay Sayers, Are Beginning To Embrace Cryptocurrency. Likewise, As Are Some Jewelry Companies. Some Gold Companies Want To Use The Blockchain For Gold Trading / Verification )

( BRICS Considering Cryptocurrency As Alternative To National Currencies )

( Japan Is Pushing Bitcoin Into Retail Use )

( Putin Is Interested In Ethereum )

( In Chiasso, Switzerland, you can pay taxes in Bitcoin )

( Miami real estate will embrace Bitcoin )

( Five Leading Russian Universities Offer Cryptocurrency Courses )

( You’ll Soon Be Able To Pay Rent In Dubai’s City Walk With Bitcoin )

Clarification 

Obviously, this article could appear as mere confirmation bias. It’s not. In the crypto-world, everyone’s always aware of resistance and regulatory struggles.

Despite projections of a dramatic crackdown, in which the whole ‘bubble’ bursts, there actually hasn’t been that much resistance and the upper echelon of governance and banking doesn’t seem hostile to the overall development of these things. In fact, most governments and banks are experimenting with blockchain technology and only seem cautious about decentralized currencies but not hostile to them. Even in such a scenario, there isn’t much governments and banks can do to stop it.

A major part of this misconception about the willingness of governments and banks to accept cryptocurrency has stemmed from China. A big portion of FUD regarding China was fabricated intentionally and perpetuated by people’s own ignorance of the Chinese government and how it operates. While it’s possible a few governments will behave similarly, it’s incredibly unlikely that most will. In Japan and the U.S., for example, you can expect a more measured and positive approach that will ultimately be beneficial.

In my perspective, the actual threat to Bitcoin is the acceptance of another cryptocurrency for widespread use, not regulatory actions taken against it. Even then, Bitcoin could still succeed as a store of value.

Obama Urged Trump To Keep U.S. Atop International Order

In 2008, Barack Obama was photographed by Doug Mills of the New York Times with the best-selling book, The Post-American World.  It was falsely interpreted and still is, as the former president leaning toward a Muslim’s perspective of a defeated America.  In reality, it’s an analysis of the rise of other nations, especially China, and what it means for the state of geopolitics. If this was not apparent enough, the Inauguration Day Letter from Obama to Trump should make it clear.

In the Inauguration Day letter, Barack Obama urged Donald Trump to keep the U.S. atop the international order.

Second, American leadership in this world really is indispensable. It’s up to us, through action and example, to sustain the international order that’s expanded steadily since the end of the Cold War, and upon which our own wealth and safety depend.

As it stands, the U.S. is drifting into a state of post-primacy, in which China could take the reins of international order. Unfortunately, many accept this without understanding the amoral compromises of such a transition. Just look at Silicon Valley, their relations in China, and the amorality of their overreach and compromise, which they accept to stay competitive while using unintentional doublespeak, “Don’t Be Evil’.

It would be disastrous to enter a state of U.S. post-primacy. It could deal irrevocable damage to the world and Western Culture. No one’s paying attention because of the endless groans of virtue signaling pseudo-intellectuals, who protests the ‘evils’ of the U.S., which pale in comparison to Communist China and most countries, in general.

It’s revealing and indicative of the state of geopolitics, that Obama would urge Trump in this way.

FULL LETTER

Congratulations on a remarkable run. Millions have placed their hopes in you, and all of us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure.

This is a unique office, without a clear blueprint for success, so I don’t know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful. Still, let me offer a few reflections from the past 8 years.

First, we’ve both been blessed, in different ways, with great good fortune. Not everyone is so lucky. It’s up to us to do everything we can (to) build more ladders of success for every child and family that’s willing to work hard.

Second, American leadership in this world really is indispensable. It’s up to us, through action and example, to sustain the international order that’s expanded steadily since the end of the Cold War, and upon which our own wealth and safety depend.

Third, we are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions — like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties — that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it’s up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them.

And finally, take time, in the rush of events and responsibilities, for friends and family. They’ll get you through the inevitable rough patches.

Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can.

Good luck and Godspeed,

BO