The Rise of Bitcoin and its Meaning of Freedom for Finance




 

Bitcoin Meaning of Freedom

Bitcoin may be the most significant technological invention of the twenty-first century. While I won’t go into excessive detail about what it is and how it works here, I will summarize its key characteristics, recent revelations, and attempt to explain why they have proven to be so revolutionary. Crypto currency has tremendous implications for the meaning of freedom.

 

The basics

Bitcoin is a new form of digital currency known as crypto currency. A computer programmer using the pseudo name “Satoshi Nakamoto” invented it around 2009. This form of digital money can be divided up and sent anywhere in the world in the absence of a third-party (such as a bank or PayPal). It cannot be created by fiat means (central banks create traditional currency out of thin air to no end), and must be “mined” using sophisticated computer hardware to solve complex algorithms. The difficulty of mining a coin rises exponentially as time goes on. The currency payment system works using a decentralized peer-to-peer network with which “miners” are incentivized to facilitate transactions by being awarded with new coins.

This means that no central hub or server needs to exist. A fully distributed, efficiently functioning, decentralized financial network has been created for the first time in history. For more on the mathematics and hard science of bitcoin, see the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper here. 

The following 5-minute YouTube video also provides brief analysis by such titans of business as Richard Branson and Bill gates, among others.

While one ought to ignore the extravagant price projections, listening to what the experts in this video have to say may be enlightening. They provide a good summary of key points for those unfamiliar with this development.

While many people may still be unaware of the technical aspects of crypto currency, it has begun to work its way into the mainstream. With each passing day, it becomes more and more recognized as a legitimate store of value and convenient medium of exchange. So, you may be wondering, how does one acquire bitcoin, and what can it be used for? The answers to such questions are legion.

Uses and Acquisition

Bitcoin ATMs have already sprung up in many places. In fact, there are a total of 552 BTC ATMs in America, a full index of which can be seen here. Large merchants such as Expedia.com and Overstock.com accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. Many online precious metals dealers also accept Bitcoin in exchange for copper, silver, gold, and platinum. The number of businesses accepting bitcoin and other alternative crypto currencies as payment continues to grow.

Upon gaining more widespread acceptance and legitimacy, Bitcoin has begun to boom. A year ago (January 2016), its market cap was under $7 billion. Today (January 2017), it has risen to over $12 billion, at some points reaching as high as $16 billion. While some financial commentators note that this overall market cap pales in comparison to most traditional financial markets, they tend to overlook the pace at which it has risen. If this pace were to continue, it would place bitcoin in contention with many other financial assets in short order. Some say this has already begun.

Rapid Rise

This rapid increase in value can be attributed in large part to the ongoing instability of geopolitical events over the last year. It began with Brexit (Great Britain choosing to leave the European Union), accelerated with the election of Donald Trump, and really took off into the stratosphere with the devaluation of the Chinese Yuan.

Indeed, the Chinese are responsible for the bulk of bitcoin investing and trading. Chinese trading accounts for somewhere around 90% of all the bitcoin traded in the world. The Chinese are the biggest investors in the crypto currency sector. So often, when there are big moves, it can be attributed to something they are doing.

Seeing their native currency depreciate rapidly, Chinese buyers may be the largest factor in finally pushing bitcoin prices beyond the psychologically important $1,000 mark. 

Of course, crypto currency being notoriously volatile, the price quickly retreated back to the $900 range. This kind of steep correction often follows a quick spike upwards. Still, bitcoin continues to become more stable with time. At the time of publishing, the price stands at about $810 per bitcoin.

For some historical perspective, it’s worth noting that over the past year, bitcoin has still risen over 100% percent relative to the US dollar, and almost 15% over the past month, even after the sharp decline from its recent peak. Going back even further, again looking at values in USD, the value has risen over 350% in the past two years, and over 1,200% in the past four years! Astonishingly, bitcoin has soared approximately 7,500% since its inception back in 2009.

During the year of 2015, bitcoin became the best-performing asset in the entire world.  And while it’s not certain yet, it looks as if it may enjoy that same status for the year of 2016 as well.

Summary

In short, crypto currency allows people to become their own banks, as it requires no third-party for transactions. This amounts to a huge advancement for individual liberty and brings the meaning of freedom into new realms for personal finance. The value of a digital commodity that cannot be created by fiat cannot be overstated.

As mining coins becomes more difficult, they become more and more scarce as a digital commodity. The most noteworthy aspects of this whole thing involve the following: 1) for the first time, a real digital commodity has been created – something that cannot be created by fiat, and 2) an online medium of exchange not requiring a third party now exists. Entire books could be written on the magnificence and significance of this.

If you’re interesting in getting into the crypto currency sector, engage in your own meticulous research before doing so. The legendary investor Warren Buffet has been known for stating that one of his biggest keys to success has been never investing in something he doesn’t understand.

Should you decide crypto currency might be for you, the best options include US-based exchange Coinbase and local bitcoin ATMs. Look into a BTC ATM in your area, or learn more about Coinbase, the largest exchange and online-hosted wallet for digital currency.

What do you think? Does the idea of owning your own money (rather than entrusting it to a bank) appeal to you? Does the ability to conduct secure financial transactions, without a third party and with almost zero fees, sound intriguing? How do you see this impacting the meaning of freedom, from a financial perspective? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

 

 

Five Reasons why the “Russian Hacking” meme doesn’t hold weight

Russian hacker freedom of speech

“Russian hackers” and “propaganda” being used as excuse to threaten freedom of speech

By now, everyone has heard of this infamous, anonymous “Russian hacker” who has infiltrated USA elections.  And somehow, under the direction of Putin himself, this person or group allegedly elected Donald Trump to the presidency.  If true, this would have dire implications for the meaning of freedom in our elections.

In case the absurdity of this accusation isn’t apparent, allow me to articulate the reasons why it holds no weight whatsoever.  Following the evidence in this article, (or rather, lack thereof) one will begin to question how anyone buys into this hysterical fabrication against Russia.

  • Denial by Julian Assange.

As the story goes, Russia somehow leaked the DNC hacks to Wikileaks, while keeping the RNC leaks under wraps.  The only problem with this story is that Assange himself has stated that the leaks came from directly within the DNC itself, not Russia.  Russia had nothing to do with it. Neither did Putin.  According to Assange:

“The Clinton camp has been able to project a neo-McCarthyist hysteria that Russia is responsible for everything. Hillary Clinton has stated multiple times, falsely, that 17 US intelligence agencies had assessed that Russia was the source of our publications. That’s false – we can say that the Russian government is not the source,” Assange told the Australian broadcaster as part of a 25-minute John Pilger Special, courtesy of Dartmouth Films.

In addition to this, there are also several experts who explain why these assertions do not align with reality.

  • Analysis by William Binney

For those unaware, William Binney designed the NSA’s surveillance system. He left the NSA due to ethical concerns about what bulk data collection meant for freedom, another in-depth subject not to be covered here. In short, Binney finds it ridiculous that the Russians had any involvement in the DNC hacks.  He points out that there is no evidence for this claim:

“This is a big mistake, another WMD or Tonkin Gulf affair that’s being created until they have absolute proof” of Russian complicity in the DNC hacks, he charged during a Newsweek interview. He noted that after the Kremlin denied complicity in the downing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1983, the U.S. “exposed the conversations where [Russian pilots] were ordered to shoot it down.” Obama officials “have the evidence now” of who hacked the DNC, he charged. “So let’s see it, guys.“

As it turns out, Binney is not the only expert questioning these far-fetched accusations.

 

  • John Mcafee statements

John Mcafee created one of the world’s premier anti-virus software systems. He also ran for the Libertarian Party’s candidacy in 2016. Again, here we have another example of a cyber security expert calling out the Obama administration on its utter fabrication. With regard to the FBI Joint Analysis Report:

“McAfee argues that the report is a “fallacy,” explaining that hackers can fake their location, their language, and any markers that could lead back to them. Any hacker who had the skills to hack into the DNC would also be able to hide their tracks, he said

“If I was the Chinese and I wanted to make it look like the Russians did it, I would use Russian language within the code, I would use Russian techniques of breaking into the organization,” McAfee said, adding that, in the end, “there simply is no way to assign a source for any attack.”

 So we see that the very basis of the “Russia did it” meme cannot be true under any circumstances. There exists no possible way of knowing the Russians did it. Understanding the fallacy behind this idea leads one to the question: why now?

  • Suspicious Timing of the Accusations

One simple question arises out of all this: why has it only come to light now? Of course, the suggestion was brought up during the campaign that so-called “Russian hackers” MAY, at some point, possibly “hack the election”, whatever that means. And as to be expected, with this narrative implanted in the matrix, it was then seized upon once Trump emerged victorious. What a convenient excuse for the failed campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Consider this – if it was known that someone may “hack the election”, why were precautions not taken to ensure it wouldn’t happen? Why has this only come out after Trump won? So many things do not add up here.

Not only does the entire idea make zero sense whatsoever, but no evidence has ever been presented that could possibly lead one to believe it.

  • Lack of Evidence

Of all the reasons not to believe this Russian hacking conspiracy, this one is the simplest and most obvious. Not a single shred of evidence has been conjured to back these baseless accusations. Not one. Absolutely nothing. The only thing that even comes close involve some shadowy, vague reports from intelligence agencies suggesting that it might have been Russians, but they really can’t say for sure, and have no concrete evidence. This ought to be a red flag. And as stated earlier, these reports have come under question by experts who highlight the fallacious nature of the statements made.

All in all, this conspiracy theory has to be one of the craziest ever concocted by mainstream fake news media. In addition, the fact that this has been used to justify cracking down on so-called “Russian propaganda” has serious implications for the meaning of freedom of speech. Now anyone who presents a viewpoint contrary to the establishment narrative may be labeled a Russian agent, and therefore censored.  While that may sound hyperbolic, Orwellian legislation has already been passed to just this end.

This begs the question, will the author of this article be branded as such? Am I indeed an “agent of Russia”? Did Putin himself force me to write this article? And, most importantly, does this justify censoring my views and writings?

I encourage the reader to question and research this fake news.

What do you think? Are Russians responsible for the election of Donald Trump? Even if this hacking accusation were true, does it justify curtailing freedom of speech? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.