14 December 2017
Bitcoin or Bitcon
A most reliable algorithm.
By Chin Chin
Bastards, what do they think I pay them for? Quick enough to take the money for managing my ISA, of course. Oh yes, anything with plenty of fees attached is near to their hearts. But tip me off about really top investments which don’t require any managing? Not a prayer. If they had told me that the price of Bitcoins was going to go roaring up, I would have bought loads at the beginning and now be sunning myself “offshore”.
Actually, that isn’t quite fair. I did buy a few but seem to have lost them when I dropped my computer in the bath. All record of them was wiped out, and tracing them proved just as impossible for me as it would have been for the regulators or the taxman. Still, if my financial advisers had told me how valuable they would become, I would have had more of them and been far more careful. It is hard to calculate how many millions they have done me out of by their laziness.
Worse still they don’t seem in the least embarrassed about it. When I called at their office I expected some sort of apology. Not for making the mistake personally, you understand. The modern trend is to apologise for the mistakes of others. You know the sort of thing:
“I am here to apologise on behalf of my country for the dreadful things we did when we conquered you in the early eighteenth century. Well, hardly “we” really. I’m quite different myself, modern, liberal, prosecco drinking, broad minded, rather wonderful and personally blameless. In fact I’ve never conquered anything although, being naturally sensitive, I apologise a lot for those who have. That is how I got to be a politician and to make smug condescending remarks about my predecessors. Fortunately, as I have never really done anything much, I will not leave my successors anything to apologise for me. What’s that at the back of the crowd? Allegations of viewing child porn? No, that’s quite a different matter and anyway the charges have been dropped. As I was saying, I am delighted to ease the national conscience, in which of course I share, by my apology – while at the same time making it clear that it wasn’t my fault in the very slightest.”
Yes, that’s the style I would have expected. A bit of blaming those in the back office and apologising for their stupidity. Did I get it? No. They even had the impertinence to say that Bitcoins were unsuitable for me as they are for the “specialist investor” who understands them.
That’s ridiculous, of course. Just because I don’t understand how they work doesn’t mean that they aren’t good investments. In Victorian times a prospectus was issued for a company whose business was too confidential to disclose. Did that put people off? No, of course it didn’t. The Victorians made pots of money from investments which they didn’t understand. Did the backers of Brunel’s steamship understand the engineering behind the engines? Were those who invested in coal mines all expert meteorologists? Well, if they didn’t understand their investments but were successful, why shouldn’t I do the same thing?
When you think about it, those who framed that mysterious Victoria prospectus had a point. The best investments are those with first-mover advantage, something which is soon lost once the details of the investment are published. In Victorian times you kept them secret by hiding the nature of the business from public. Nowadays you can do the same by making it very complicated and then adding a sprinkling of algorithms as if you were in some financial cooking competition. Either way investors end up putting money into something they do not really understand, but what is new or dangerous about that?
Of course, it hasn’t always worked. Investors in the Darien scheme would have done better had they known that the place was a flyblown cesspit before financing the Scottish expedition, and I suppose that shareholders in the South Sea Company could have done with a bit more foresight when it proposed taking over the national debt. But those disasters were hundreds of years ago. Things have moved on since then and in the twenty-first century we are used to relying on things which we don’t understand. Do you understand your computer? Do you understand your car? Do you understand Mr Trump who stands as the guardian of the free world? Of course you don’t, and yet you rely on all of them. What is wrong with relying on Bitcoins, then?
The answer of course is “nothing” so I am jolly well going to get some. What’s more I’m going to keep the bloodsuckers of the financial community out of it. If you look up “bitcoins” on Wikipedia you find that you can create them by “mining”. Well I’m going to go out to start digging. It is cold out there so there will be little competition which means that I have a wide choice as to the place from which to start. Where should I begin? Where is treasure likely to be hidden? We all know the answer to that of course. I’ll walk over to the end of the rainbow and get out my spade.
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