• Daily Digest
    Digital Bitcoin

    Daily Digest 3/1 – 10 signs a greater depression is coming, How Bitcoin’s vast energy use could burst its bubble

    by Daily Digest

    Monday, March 1, 2021, 8:10 AM

Economy

How Bitcoin’s vast energy use could burst its bubble

Its high profile support helped pushed the price of a single Bitcoin to more than $58,000.

But it isn’t just the digital asset’s price that has hit an all-time high. So has its energy footprint.

The Real Story of the Covid Catastrophe is Larger Than You Know

Our planet is screaming a message at us, and Covid is part of that communication. The death of nature and the appearance of Covid are all part of the same thing.

I’ll never forget the day the trucker called into my radio show. It was at least a decade ago, and he identified himself as a long-haul trucker who regularly ran a coast-to-coast route from the southeast to the Pacific Northwest dozens of times a year.

10 signs a greater depression is coming

NEW YORK CITY: After the 2007 to 2009 financial crisis, the imbalances and risks pervading the global economy were exacerbated by policy mistakes.

So, rather than address the structural problems that the financial collapse and ensuing recession revealed, governments mostly kicked the can down the road, creating major downside risks that made another crisis inevitable.

It’s Not Just Texas. The Entire Energy Grid Needs An Upgrade For Extreme Weather

The Texas blackout is another reminder that more frequent, climate-driven extreme weather puts stress on the country’s electricity grid. It came just months after outages in California aimed at preventing wildfires.

Compounding this, electricity likely will be even more important in coming years amid a push to electrify cars and homes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That has many grid experts saying it’s time to upgrade the country’s electricity infrastructure.

SEC Suspends Trading in Multiple Issuers Based on Social Media and Trading Activity

As part of its continuing effort to respond to potential attempts to exploit investors during the recent market volatility, the Securities and Exchange Commission today suspended trading in the securities of 15 companies because of questionable trading and social media activity.

Today’s action follows the recent suspensions of the securities of numerous other issuers, many of which may also have been targets of apparent social media attempts to artificially inflate their stock price. The SEC continues to review market and trading data to identify other securities where the public interest and the protection of investors require trading suspensions.

The Danger Of The Administrative State

Lockdowns should have shown every American just how tyrannical and unreasonable our leaders can be. There are elected leaders like Governor Cuomo who have acted as outright tyrants, alienating everyone, even those in his own party. Then there are the unelected bureaucrats who wave away our liberties with the stroke of a pen from the secrecy of their massive offices with technocratic efficiency. This is all of course a sudden and dramatic curtailing of our freedoms. I would not be surprised that with this much public attention, some sort of effort will be made to roll back much of what has been done. Although lockdowns are certainly an existential threat to our long-term freedoms and system of liberal democracy, there has been another specter out there that many experts have been sounding the alarm on for decades. The growth of the administrative state. 

Coinbase Mafia Shows How Tight a Circle Holds Sway Over Bitcoin

Coinbase Global Inc.’s filing to become a publicly-traded company provides a glimpse into the remarkably small circle of mostly men who command the incredibly lucrative digital landscape.

This U.S.-based power list starts with Brian Armstrong, the now billionaire chief executive officer of Coinbase, and his co-founder, Fred Ehrsam, who went on to create Paradigm Operations. Fellow billionaire Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon, are among the original venture capitalists that will reap large windfalls from the direct listing of the exchange.

Texas Energy Co-Op Files For Bankruptcy After Storm, High Bill

The largest power cooperative in Texas filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, citing a massive bill from the state’s electricity grid operator following last month’s winter storm that left millions of residents without power for days.

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Inc. filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, according to court documents reviewed by NPR.

Italy’s Debt Soars on Pandemic Aid But Stays Below Estimates

Italy’s public debt rose dramatically in 2020, though by less than international institutions and the government had forecast.

Government debt stood at 155.6% of gross domestic product at the end of the year, national statistics institute Istat said on Monday. That compares with 134.6% in 2019, after the country spent more than 100 billion euros ($120 billion) to support its virus-battered economy.

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22 Comments

  • Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 12:17pm

    #1

    sand_puppy

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 2715

    4

    German Banks tell customers to take their money elsewhere

    Germany’s biggest lenders, Deutsche Bank AGDB +3.22% and Commerzbank AGCRZBY 0.69% , have told new customers since last year to pay a 0.5% annual rate to keep large sums of money with them. The banks say they can no longer absorb the negative interest rates the European Central Bank charges them. The more customer deposits banks have, the more they have to park with the central bank.

    That is creating an unusual incentive, where banks that usually want deposits as an inexpensive form of financing, are essentially telling customers to go away. Banks are even providing new online tools to help customers Find alternative deposit locations.

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  • Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 1:21pm

    #2
    Canuck21

    Canuck21

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    1

    Roubini article old

    That Roubini article is 9 months old. Not sure how much is still relevant?

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  • Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 2:25pm

    #3

    sand_puppy

    Status: Platinum Member

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    This is the most F*ed up development in banking

    The zero-interest rate, the negative interest rate, and now the BANKS THAT DO NOT WANT YOU TO DEPOSIT MONEY WITH THEM!

    This is screwed up beyond all belief.

    So what do you do with your savings?

    It looks like you must buy assets of some kind:  gold, silver, BTC, land, houses.  And all of this while the world is being flooded with printed money and asset prices are artificially high.

    This is really, really f*ed up.

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  • Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 2:27pm

    #4

    000

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 359

    1

    Bitcoin is Power - Power is Everything

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  • Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 2:35pm

    MarkM

    MarkM

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    SP

    I agree. Almost seems by design, doesn't it? 😉

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  • Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 2:37pm

    000

    Status: Bronze Member

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    000 said:

    I got those BBBBBBBBitcoin Blues. If it don't kill you, it makes you a mighty, mighty man.

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  • Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 2:50pm

    #7
    dreinmund

    dreinmund

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    dreinmund said:

    Well, the only way BTC could remain relevant w/o blowing power consumption sky high is to have BTC be truly be a digital reserve asset that actually doesn’t move / transacts much, and just provides a base reserve like gold.

    We all know that BTC will never be currency / cash for daily transactions. The system (proof of stake) is not designed to work efficiently like that.

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  • Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 3:30pm

    #8

    000

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

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    2

    Rinse and Repeat

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  • Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 3:38pm

    000

    Status: Bronze Member

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    000 said:

    Your commitment to the burning of fossil fuels is disconcerting but bitcoin will force human invention and innovation or we die. (like always)

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  • Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 7:04pm

    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 1432

    2

    000 MVP

    000 you da man excellent finds. here we are stuck with static minds and you come on with awesome finds.

    tim draper is an incredible visionary. decguv. the new coin. virtual citizenship.

    i find it hilarious that people actively participating in their own enslavement get on the internet and complain about btc energy usage. anybody complaining about the energy usage of facebook? twitter? pp? google?  etc.? do any of those add anything to human freedom?

    static thinkers do not advance the species.

    000 thanks i subscribed to unstoppable domains. great site

    there is a very good interview with antonop on real vision that just came out. i can't post the link but it is free to join the crypto channel there.

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  • Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 7:32pm

    #11
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

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    Virtual citizenship

    if you think inside the box your thinking is "circumscribed" by the walls of that box. it could be a small box or a large box (or you may think it is a large box) but it is still a box.

    if you think outside the box there is no external limit to what your mind can conceive.

    we are in the early stages of the greatest shift humanity has ever seen. those in the box don't see it thus dismiss it with reactionary rationales. there are two kinds of people: those that say something can't be done and those that say it can. the paradox is both are right.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/02/virtual-citizenship-for-sale/553733/

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  • Tue, Mar 02, 2021 - 10:31am

    #12
    VTGothic

    VTGothic

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    How Bitcoin's Vast Energy Use Could Burst Its Bubble

    What I absolutely detest about such sweeping diatribes as this ""authoritative"" article is that they require even longer articles to deconstruct them and point out their falsities. It's a nearly impossible task that is seldom likely to be read by those who unthinkingly accept the view of the original article right off, and they almost never get published in the same officially approved news rags in any event, thus never achieving the same breadth of readership. (When they are approved for publishing they're accepted as op-eds, which are restricted in size sufficiently that they have to be unsuitably general and short on specifics, and so fail to achieve their intention.)

    I'm not going to try to debunk everything in this junk article, even though almost every paragraph deserves debunking treatment. I'm just pulling two quotes. The first is from Justin Rowlatt, the BBC's chief environment correspondent. Presumably he knows of what he speaks; unfortunately, he demonstrably doesn't. But he does know the official narrative about bitcoin, which even our own Janet Yellen has been touting. Rowlatt writes:

    It's unclear exactly how much energy Bitcoin uses. Cryptocurrencies are - by design - hard to track. But the consensus is that Bitcoin mining is a very energy-intensive business.

    Then, Ken Rogoff, a professor of economics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), therefore an ""expert"" in bitcoin maintains,

    The fact is, it's not really used much in the legal economy now. Yes, one rich person sells it to another, but that's not a final use. And without that it really doesn't have a long-term future.

    These "experts" don't know very much about bitcoin and its use, and their statements are unmitigated FUD. Rowlatt first.

    1: Cryptocurrencies are not hard to track, and weren't designed to be; at least, not most of them. There are a handful that have pursued ways to create absolute anonymity, and there are now a few "mixers" whose purpose is to confuse the trail between point of origin and destination, but most cryptocurrencies pursue "crypto" in order to maintain security against theft and support normal privacy (or what used to be considered normal privacy before 9/11), not secrecy.

    2: We know a great deal about the energy bitcoin uses. We know, for example, that the bitcoin system's energy usage is typically compared to a only a segment of the energy used to run the fiat system of any one government (let alone the entire global, interconnected system of fiat monetary systems). That's a false comparison that underestimates what it costs to run just the US financial system - which necessarily includes the cost of the tens of thousands of local banks we all depend upon, and which are obviated by bitcoin, plus the mining, manufacturing, printing, and distribution of coinage, the operating of credit card networks and underlying companies, the SWIFT and ACH systems, and on and on. I doubt you need to add it all up to grok the real comparison (reference).

    We also know that bitcoin mining operations are mobile, now often set up in cargo containers so that they can be moved seasonally to take advantage of the cheapest sources of energy. Increasingly, bitcoin mining is taking place at the sources of energy production, where it can take advantage of what would otherwise be wasted energy production. For example, gasses that are otherwise flared into the atmosphere at a complete waste to the economy are now being captured at their sources and deployed into producing bitcoin. Similarly, excess energy produced by hydro power plants is being diverted to bitcoin mining (in China, rigs are moved seasonally to take advantage of the seasonal changes in hydro waste energy availability on the one hand, and either conventional energy, or renewable energy like solar on the other). In reality, such projects don't consume additional energy, but better utilize stranded energy and convert wastage into income for energy companies, local economies, and the national treasuries that tax energy companies. The development is still uneven, but the trend is clear: some operations are 76% clean energy, and the overall global mining community is now sourcing about 39% of its energy from renewables (source). See also, “Green Innovation in Bitcoin Mining.”

    To the extent bitcoin mining utilizes stranded energy it actually doesn't add anything to the energy consumption of the planet; it just virtuously improves on humankind's use of energy we're already producing at a cost to the environment. No fiat banking system has even thought about employing similar strategies because fiat banking is ultimately underwritten by taxes extracted from citizens' pockets. Bitcoin mining, on the other hand, is a fully and truly free market competition; therefore, miners are motivated to find the most inexpensive and most efficient means of mining. That leads them to innovate in resource utilization; they negotiate lower than market fees to use up stranded resources; but also can be idled when mainline energy needs spike.

    Competition also leads miners to pursue and drive innovation in computer chip design. As a result of that, recent generation ASICs oriented toward bitcoin mining are operating at higher speeds on lower energy and with less heat loss (thus less direct energy loss, and less demand for ancillary cooling systems with their energy demands). As a side benefit, those targeted improvements will find their way into our computers, driving our energy demand down as performance rises - in the same way that race car innovation has provided many improvements to street vehicles, and the space race gave us ballpoint pens and Tang. (Does Tang still exist?)

    Rowlatt's lack of understanding of the location of Bitcoin mining and use in terms of environmental impact surprises me. As a chief correspondent on the environment he owes it to his readers to confirm the "facts" that he thinks he knows, rather than simply take the word of various "experts," even if (especially when) they have formed a "consensus" about bitcoin's energy impact. Appeals to authority are notoriously unreliable, and a fallacy in logic.

    I want to focus on two aspects of the quote I pulled from Rogoff, who is a professor of economics at Harvard with a background in the International Monetary Fund.

    1: Rogoff's assertion that bitcoin "is not really used much in the legal economy right now" is meant to imply its primary use is in the illegal economy. That's simply, demonstrably not true. Bitcoin in particular - the target of this hit piece - is stunningly easy to track, as any number of apprehended criminals can attest. For that reason, the use of cryptocurrencies (as a whole) by nefarious characters has steadily declined over the years. The DEA said in 2018 that the nefarious use had dropped from 90% in 2014 to 10% in 2018 (source). According to a 2021 analysis by the firm Chainalysis, “In 2019, criminal activity represented 2.1 percent of all cryptocurrency transaction volume, or roughly $21.4 billion worth of transfers.” However, “In 2020, the criminal share of all cryptocurrency activity fell to just 0.34 percent, or $10.0 billion in transaction volume” (source).

    If only USD and the US banking system were as clean!

    2: Rogoff paints the picture of bitcoin as one rich person selling it to another. Also balderdash. One-third of the Nigerian economy operates in bitcoin; here's why. That story is repeated across the developing world.

    Also, anti-authoritarian activists around the globe (including in Nigeria) use bitcoin to avoid government financial censorship. To understand why that's important, watch this 5-minute video, produced by Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer of the Human Rights Foundation. Pay particular attention to how various governments shut down the finances of dissidents, think afresh about how the US and EU are trending, and consider at least entertaining the thought that bitcoin's censorship resistance might also serve you and me well on some not-so-far-off day. I'm sure it's no concern of Rogoff.

    Bitcoin is also a hedge against inflation and theft. Don't miss the video's depiction of the role bitcoin is already playing in multiple countries to preserve the purchasing power of hard-earned pittances against the ravages of local fiat currency inflation and outright theft by corrupt governments. Is that also not possible in the US or Western Europe?  Bitcoin is not the only hedge, but it is the only truly free market hedge because, unlike precious metals and bonds, it is not perverted by governmental suppressive policies. Also unlike other hedges, bitcoin is not confiscable if you hold your own keys.

    Our governments can shut down our bank accounts, give us Malta-style "haircuts," and can even shut down cryptocurrency exchanges, but they cannot get their hands on bitcoin that we custody on our own hard wallets. Such freedom from central control and financial rape is what I think truly motivates Rogoff's lies; I think it frightens him to contemplate bitcoin adoption going mainstream because, as Christine Legarde unintentionally pointed out, bitcoin is the escape hatch from the international bankers' practices and plans. She said about bitcoin:

    “There has to be regulation. This has to be applied and agreed upon […] at a global level because if there is an escape that escape will be used.” (source)

    As for bitcoin being only for rich people, all of the major exchanges are noticing a rapid increase in the number of accounts that contain less than 1 bitcoin each. In this chart, on-chain analyst Willy Woo graphically shows how the variously sized wallets have developed over time. Notice that the smallest 3 sizes of wallets are growing the fastest - except arguably compared to the category representing institutional buying that has really kicked in over the last half year.

    Swan Bitcoin, a domestic US company, has realized dramatic growth in its first year of existence primarily by helping younger adults with very little disposable income to purchase small amounts of bitcoin on a recurring basis – $25 a month, or $10 a week, or $50 every two weeks; whatever they can squeeze out of the crap system Rogoff represents and upholds as virtuous.

    As for Rogoff's assertion that bitcoin hasn't much of a future: he will fail in his bid to talk it down. Bitcoin stalwarts have known for most of a decade that the real growth couldn't begin until institutions and large net worth individuals began allocating 1-5 percent of their portfolios to the coin, and that those entities could not invest until we achieved a $1 trillion market cap because that makes the price per coin sufficiently large to provide the liquidity large investors need in order to be able to move in and out of bitcoin without dramatically influencing its price action. We're there. Now the adoption can really begin. (And with it will come the gradual reduction in volatility.)

    At the same time, entities like Lightning Network and Strike are developing the payment rails that will make using bitcoin an everyday event – once the asymmetrical upside growth levels off. Until then, most wallet owners are not interested in releasing our coins into the general market. The opportunity cost of spending even a single satoshi is still so insanely large that only those who have no alternative (as in Nigeria) will use bitcoin for daily exchange.

    Footnote: Citibank now believes that bitcoin is at the tipping point and could become the “currency of choice for international trade” and “the native currency of the internet.” 

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  • Tue, Mar 02, 2021 - 1:14pm

    Tamarie

    Tamarie

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    Tamarie said:

    Fiat currency POW vs Bitcoin POW

     

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  • Tue, Mar 02, 2021 - 1:27pm

    #14

    sand_puppy

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    Another awesome review of the field of BTC, VTGothic!

    Much appreciated.  I will save this one as well.  🙂

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  • Tue, Mar 02, 2021 - 5:26pm

    #15

    sand_puppy

    Status: Platinum Member

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    The Citi Bank Piece on Bitcoin is a stunning endorsement

    The Citi Bank report that VTGothic mentions was reported on ZH last week and the document is actually embedded in the ZH piece.

    They try to be "objective" without fawning over BTC too obviously, but you can tell that they are actually sold:  BTC is the next big thing.

    Lots of pictures and diagrams.  The pace of adoption.  That illicit activity comprises less than 1% of BTC use, the movement of Big Money into BTC.

    They actually do predict that Bitcoin will be the "native currency of the internet."

    A worthwhile perusal.  🙂

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  • Tue, Mar 02, 2021 - 5:36pm

    #16
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

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    tamarie

    i only have 2 thumbs and can only give one here.

    great find

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  • Tue, Mar 02, 2021 - 6:11pm

    #17
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

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    fudsters

    what the fudsters miss (or fail to mention intentionally) is the absolute elegance of bitcoin.

    el·e·gance
    /ˈeləɡəns/
    noun
    1. 1.
      the quality of being graceful and stylish in appearance or manner; style.
      "a slender woman with grace and elegance"
    2. the quality of being pleasingly ingenious and simple; neatness.
      it is incredibly easy to be critical. it is incredibly hard to be creative.
      one looks at a rembrandt and can see what their filter allows them to see.
      it is quite a leap to picture him in front of a blank canvas.
      one can admire the pieta and forget completely that it was hidden in a block of unremarkable carrara marble.
      satoshi nakamoto solved the riddle of sound money. he (she/they) took a canvas not quite blank and a block of stone and made a work of art. no one before had been able to perform that feat.
      it is the most disruptive invention of the digital age.
      it allows for triple entry accounting.
      it grows in value over time
      it is decentralized
      it is democratic
      it is pseudonymous
      it is p2p
      it is immutable
      it is the most powerful computer network on the planet.
      is it perfect? no
      as i said it is easy to criticize. but in 12 years no one has accomplished what satoshi has been able to create
      it is a direct threat to the controllers. they are clearly frightened.
      the source of their power has been the ability to create money out of thin air and by fiat coerce people to use it.
      that power is no longer impregnable.
      thanks to a little bit of code and the belief of untold numbers of people not only is there a sound monetary system but a revolutionary force which can deliver liberty to every corner of the planet.
      clearly the hook is monetary gain. that was the brilliance of satoshi.
      but the greater catch lies hidden. it can only be discovered by those willing to take a deep dive below the mere price.
      there is far more at stake here than a $ followed by a bunch of 0's
      there are 2 freedoms in the world the first is spiritual. to that one who is spiritually free none of this amounts to a grain of salt.
      for the rest of us economic freedom will give us freedom of choice.
      the current system is a zero sum game. someone has to lose for someone to win. there are a few someones who win and many someones who have to lose in that system.
      one of my favorite authors is tristan jones. he wrote " the true tragedy of poverty is that it robs us of our creativity"
      only question is why would a someone not on top not support bitcoin?

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  • Tue, Mar 02, 2021 - 10:48pm

    #18
    agitating prop

    agitating prop

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    Hat tip to Naked Capitalism and Phillip Cross

    Phillip Cross February 28, 2021 at 10:29 amI would say that it is a straw man argument to say it must displace the dollar. You need dollars to pay your tax bill, otherwise you pay a financial penalty and can go to jail. So, unless the US gov rolls over and gives up, that isn’t going to happen. The bitcoin holders are going to need a lot of dollars from somewhere to pay for all the capital gains they accrue when they use the coins.

    I think the biggest risk to the bitcoin story is that, once it becomes valuable enough to enable any and all large international payments to go ahead outside of the SWIFT system, the US government loses its “transaction veto”. Then it cannot enforce it’s sanctions, and so bitcoin becomes a national security threat. You have to imagine they will criminalize it long before it gets to that size, crashing the market.

    Just ask Colonel Gaddafi what happens when you try and set up a parallel payment system to challenge the dollar! He made some enquiries. *knife emoji* *peach emoji*

    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/02/what-happens-if-bitcoin-succeeds.html

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  • Wed, Mar 03, 2021 - 6:29am

    #19
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

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    more fudsters

    bitcoin has already succeeded

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  • Thu, Mar 04, 2021 - 6:14am

    #20

    thc0655

    Status: Platinum Member

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    Posts: 2395

    1

    Baby bust, not boom, during Wuhan flu

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/baby-bust-declining-birth-rate-covid-pandemic/

    When the pandemic first took hold in the U.S., many joked that widespread lockdowns would spark a "baby boom" and sky-high birth rates. But nearly a year later, the opposite appears to be true.

    Provisional birth rate data provided to CBS News by 29 state health departments shows a roughly 7.3% decline in births in December 2020, nine months after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. California, the most populous state, reported a 10.2% decline, falling to 32,910 births in December from 36,651 the year prior. In the same time frame, births declined by 30.4% in Hawaii.

    While birth rates have been falling for nearly a decade, Phil Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, said December's drop was the biggest he's seen since the baby boom ended in 1964.

    "The scale of this is really large," Cohen said in a telephone interview with CBS News. "Regardless of whether you think it's good or bad to have a lot of children, the fact that we're suddenly having fewer means things are not going well for a lot of people."....

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  • Thu, Mar 04, 2021 - 7:10am

    Kat43

    Kat43

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    Kat43 said:

    Maybe it means, because of social distancing, that baby sitters were not available to distract the current urchins.

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  • Thu, Mar 04, 2021 - 8:58am

    VTGothic

    VTGothic

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    ha

    big lol @Kat43.

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