Monthly Archives: December 2017

Bitcoin, Greed, and cranky old Accountants

Bitcoin

Yet again, another wave of ‘investor’ excitement reaches down into the lives of the common man and woman.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, cryptocurrency, blockchains; we are all suddenly becoming investors, experts, advisors, and soon we will all be rich. Yes, all of us, after all when Bitcoin, which cruised past the $100 mark, the $1,000 mark, and now is breaking the $10,000 barrier, blasts through the $100,000 mark there is no stopping it is there?

Yes, we’ll all be rich.

Like the Dot.com boom, like Poseidon, the oil boom, like the property boom currently going on in Australia, we’ll all be millionaires.

But this one is different I hear.

Want to know something? This ‘cranky old accountant’ heard the same lines each and every time in those previous booms,     and they all went bust.

But this one is actually different. Yes, it really is. I have to concede that.

It is more audacious than any previous boom the world has seen, and for one simple reason.

Whereas those previous booms in value were at least grounded, albeit feebly, in some tangible commodity, a company making stuff, or an asset somewhere, this cryptocurrency boom is elegantly beautiful in what it offers you –

Nothing.

Remember the descriptor? ‘Virtual currency.’

The dictionary definition of ‘virtual’ in computing terms is simply – “not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so.”

So when this latest investment mania ends, all that will have happened is that once again a lot of real money will have moved, and as always it will have moved from the latecomers to the party, across to the early arrivers at the party. The latecomers will not even have the benefit of agonising as to whether the document they are holding has any residual value, as in the case of share certificates. After all, cryptocurrencies are virtual, nothing.

I could go on and on about the various pyramid schemes I’ve watched come and go, the friends caught up in the frenzy, suddenly becoming experts and promoters, the stories about ‘someone I know who is rolling in it.’ But what is the point? You want to get rich. It’s a great story, so go ahead, empty your bank account and buy some Bitcoin, and learn life’s lessons the hard way yourself. It seems that is the only way we learn.

No, damn it, don’t be so stupid. How about doing something revolutionary and learning from someone else’s bitter experience? Like the week’s wages I invested in Golden Products when I was 18, gone; or the sure thing that our CPA’s talked me into 20 years ago (Yep, even the ATO gave this scheme its seal of approval we were assured), only to find myself in debt to the ATO for multiple times the early tax gains we made.

Money for nothing is the old saying, when you are tempted to make ‘money for nothing’ just remember, the world has seen it all before. There is nothing new under the sun, not even Bitcoin. A scam is a scam is a scam, no matter how much makeup you plaster on it, no matter how much techno-mumbo-jumbo you fluff it up with.

If you walk away from this investment wave with a million real dollars in your bank account, just remember, someone else has that exact same amount LESS in their bank account. If you had built them a house, made them a chair, mowed their lawn, or given them something of value, then I laud you in having earned those million dollars. If you have it because you were early to this party, I can do no other than say shame on you, someone else is poorer now, probably in financial trouble, because you now have their money, for nothing.

Yes, money for nothing as they say.

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