“Why do folks who invest in Bitcoin have laser eyes? Are they descendants of Dracula?” asks JP.
I have no idea. The year is early 2021; we have a pandemic already upon us. Maybe the zombies are coming too to join the party. Who knows?
And then I look closer – and I get a different story. One of these guys is Michael Sayler – the boss of MicroStrategy, which is a software company. Another is a popular Twitter celebrity @pomp. What do they have in common?
All these guys are all enthusiasts of bitcoin. And apparently, you show your enthusiasm for bitcoin by putting laser eyes on your DPs.
“What does a Software company CEO have to do with Bitcoin?” Asks JP.
“Guess he likes it.” Like most things associates with this crypto-currency, I find we can never give direct answers! I just don’t know!
Elon decides to Invest in Bitcoin
And then, sometime in March, Elon Musk, the Maverick CEO of Tesla, made it even more exciting. Tesla bought 1.5Billion worth of Bitcoin. He also announced that you could now buy Tesla cars with Bitcoins.
The laser eyes bulged even more, and they celebrated Elon Musk. After all, the world’s biggest change-maker was endorsing them. We are vindicated, they said – and Bitcoin continued its dramatic upward surge.
People were a little surprised, though. Bitcoin had a bit of a reputation for being a big fossil burner (here’s an article Seth Godin suggests we read on this subject)., Why was the world’s champion of a green world endorsing this?
“Perhaps, he wants to show a positive balance sheet,” says JP, who is increasingly becoming more cynical. Never mind, Tesla did show a profit thanks to Bitcoin in the quarter!
But there are more critical questions.
What is Bitcoin? Is it a unit of transaction or a store of value?
Its immense volatility means you can probably rule it out as a unit of transaction for now. Think about it; you buy two bananas and a pint of milk for a dollar each. When you visit the store the next day, the price of the bananas may have slightly increased, and the milk may be the same. In other words, the currency fluctuates lower than the goods it purchases. The bitcoin price fluctuation is so significant that today I could buy one banana, tomorrow 100 bananas, and the third day 40 bananas with the same bitcoin. It’s difficult to trade using a currency that’s way more volatile than the goods it purchases!
And as a store of value, no one knows what would happen 5 years from now. Your investment could be worth a Bentley or a second-hand bike. That’s true for many other assets, too – just more so for Bitcoin.
Should you invest in Bitcoin?
Well, thoroughly confused, I saw this video billed one of the best presenting both points of view:
The guy who promotes Bitcoin (one of the laser eyes) has three points:
1. Anything that has grown so well across parameters should be good.
2. Fiat currencies (dollar/ euro) are having problems – and Bitcoin is the savior.
3. It shows the utopian view of a government-less, transparent currency. Welcome to the brave new world. Invest in Bitcoin!
The guy speaking against Bitcoin raises several issues:
1. There is a geopolitical risk associated with mining – most of it is happening in countries like Russia, China, and Iran. There is a risk of the currency collapsing because of “non-economic” actors doing bad stuff
2. There is a lot of fraudulent activity (~40%)
3. There are no instruments to regulate it – unlike with the Fiat currencies. So you are practically on your own.
4. It can ruin people if they go all in seeing current results. He advises caution before investing in this very speculative asset.
Well, time passed. Last week, Elon threw a wrench in the works. He had two tweets – one showing that Bitcoin used way too much Fossil fuels. And another stating Tesla would not accept Bitcoins until this situation was addressed. He also threw his weight behind another crypto coin.
China decided it will not support Cryptos, leading to more frenzied selling.
“This is temporary,” said the laser eyes, “buy the dip.” So as the price dropped, they bought more.
Interestingly, Elon played hero now. He tweeted a diamond and hands, which apparently means he’s keeping his bitcoin.
“He’s got to think of his next quarter earnings,” says JP. This guy’s worldview is truly becoming warped!
Bitcoin prices rose again – albeit not yet to their dizzy heights – yet.
One investor wondered, “Was it worth investing in something that would change 20% of its value because of a tweet?”
Peter Schiff, a leading financial analyst, summarized the situation:
A guy who trolled Nassim Taleb vanished into the ether.
The laser eyes haven’t given up, though. They feel it’s a vindication of the system’s soundness that such a drop has not crashed the system. And one of its biggest proponents has started Bitcoin Pizza which offers 6 flavors in Bitcoin-themed boxes. The profits will help fund Bitcoin development. They truly encourage you to inv4est in Bitcoin – they are very sincere about bitcoin. They absolutely believe you should invest in Bitcoin. You cannot pay for your pizzas in Bitcoin though – yet!
And the saga continues. For me, it’s like watching a soap opera. There’s so much to understand and so much to ignore. Everybody agrees that the future is bright for crypto-currencies; the question is – will Bitcoin emerge as the winner?
JP has two questions.
One – (read in Nayakan Movie style): Neenga Nallavana Keetavana (Are you a good guy or a bad guy)?
He wants to put this question both to Bitcoin and Elon Musk.
Two – To succeed in this world, isn’t it better to forsake financial theory and embrace meme-logy?
Let me know what you think.