‘articles’ Category Archives

18
Jun

Fundamentals and Long-Term Predictions: Bitcoin and Commodity Metals

by adminadam in articles, home

  • INTENDED AUDIENCE: Beginning to intermediate investors, technologists, cryptocurrency enthusiasts
  • READ TIME: 30 minutes
  • NOTE: This article is not intended as financial or investment advice. Be sure to do your own research or consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

STARTING ASSUMPTIONS: COMMODITIES IN GENERAL

  • Commodities are generally volatile over the span of days, weeks, and months.
  • Over longer time-frames, reduced volatility and greater price stability may be observed. No guarantees, however.
  • Most natural commodities have a cyclical component, with periodic booms and busts. This can be seen in oil, gold, wheat, and so on and on.
  • Supply and demand for any asset can influence the price just as much as sentiment can.
  • Markets may appear or act in irrational ways even over an extended period of time.
  • Distortions of data which hinder your ability to make accurate predictions may arise from imperfect information, complex regulatory environments, or other factors.
  • Known or estimated scarcity in a given commodity may generally be viewed as “bullish” in terms of price fundamentals, although not everything that is rare fetches a consistently high price on the open market, certain collectibles for instance.
  • Macro-economic trend analysis and forecasting is difficult for many reasons, some of which are listed above. I would posit, however, that improvements in forecasting and prediction methodologies should proceed in lock-step with advances and refinements in Big Data and Machine Learning. For example, see: Orbital Insight, a satellite Big Data company which today offers Machine Learning-derived “actionable insights”. This includes everything from infrared-mappings of chlorophyll activity being used to predict crop yields to live-streamed retail activity tracking utilizing shopper car-count and traffic patterns.

STARTING ASSUMPTIONS: COMMODITY METALS

  • As far as commodity and precious metals specifically, I would first assume you already have some understanding of — or can imagine — how metals such as gold, platinum, and silver can be seen performing distinct functions in the different realms of industry, technology, and finance. For example:
    • Central Bank gold bullion reserves [finance];
    • Platinum in catalytic converters [industry]; and
    • Physical vapor deposition of silver for thin-film solar panels [technology]
  • Next, I assume you can appreciate that an American Gold Eagle Coin costing $1330 and a New Zealand Darth Vader Silver Coin costing $21 don’t compete for the same market segment. This is true despite the fact that both coins are well-engineered and are made of precious metals.
    • You would recognize that gold’s superior valuation over that of silver is strongly correlated to the abundance (or paucity) of each element in Earth’s crust. Specifically, 75 parts-per-billion of silver and 4 parts-per-billion of gold are thought to exist in aggregate, roughly an 18:1 ratio.
    • Additionally, you could differentiate between an “investment-grade coin” and a numismatic coin if asked to do so.

      Darth Vader 1 Oz. Silver Numismatic Coin (New Zealand Mint)

  • Finally, I would suggest that a long-term investor who is evaluating precious metal coins and bullion to add to his/her portfolio would most likely want to select coins with qualities such as name recognition and convenience (high fungibility and ease of transport and storage). Later on in the article, I will offer a few suggestions of coins that I feel meet these criteria.

STARTING ASSUMPTIONS: BITCOIN

  • You have at least a little understanding of how bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be employed for distinct purposes, each use-case arguably aligning with one of the following four categorizations:
    1. Store of Value
    2. Medium of Exchange
    3. Distributed Public Ledger
    4. Programmable Token Platform
  • Store of Value:
    • ‘bitcoin’ (the coin) is a deflationary commodity with, I perceive, a significant-yet-undefined amount of capital appreciation potential extending out into the future.
    • That only 21 million units will ever come into existence is axiomatic to the Bitcoin protocol and software.
    • Bitcoin’s monetary policy can best be described as “Asymptotic Money Supply Targeting” (AMST). In actuality, the total number of coins in existence will approach but never reach 21 million even on an infinite time horizon. See Nakamoto Institute commentary for more on this: “The Bitcoin Central Bank’s Perfect Monetary Policy
  • Medium of Exchange: With bitcoin you can:
    • Buy gift cards from Gyft to use at your favorite retailer
    • Buy precious metal coins and bullion from Provident Metals
    • Execute trades on 50+ financial markets using Whaleclub.co‘s online exchange
    • Send either currency-pegged or floating-rate cross-border payments using Coinapult
  • Distributed Public Ledger:
    • As per the design of the Bitcoin protocol, you can view and audit all transactions, and all blocks of bitcoin transactions, starting from the original “Genesis Block” generated on Jan. 3, 2009, and extending to the most recent blocks.
    • This transaction ledger is referred to as the “block chain”.
    • See: Wiki; Blockchain History.
  • Programmable Token Platform:
    • You could think of Bitcoin (the network) as a “distributed, peer-to-peer, cryptographic asset network with built-in APIs” in the abstract.
    • To unpack this a bit, individual bitcoins or fractions of a coin are discrete, transferable bits of data.
    • These transferable (and divisible) “units” are cryptographically secured using a keychain (private key) that you control.
    • As well as allowing you to exchange and hold these ‘value tokens’, the bitcoin network does three things to create a novel digital infrastructure platform AND asset-class. To give a concise summary is difficult, but these are the three basic things that the Bitcoin network does:
      1. It coordinates resources to form a consensus on which coins are legitimate and which transactions are valid. This ensures no one cheats by trying to “double-spend” their coins or make an infinite number of them.
      2. It checks that every user and node in the network is using the same copy of the rules that govern bitcoin interactions, like what types of transactions are allowed. The way the network is constructed serves to incentivize users to adopt a consistent set of standards. These policies and mechanisms, including how “mining” works, are defined in the Bitcoin Protocol Specification.
      3. While the consensus can shift over time to accommodate upgrades to the network, it is fairly conservative. However, its conservatism and consistency in design in effect form a solid technical foundation that facilitates construction of secondary network layers and new capabilities starting from simple propositions. For example:
        • An individual transaction input (token) can be given an arbitrary association, which is recorded and embedded in the blockchain forever.
        • This embedded information can be anything from a plain text snippet, to a link to code functions, to a simple URL.
        • “Jobs”, a.k.a ‘Smart Contracts’, can be built using such basic, logic-based building blocks.
        • Users and Developers can set up such Jobs to be run automatically under X, Y, or Z conditions.
        • In the most abstract sense, this could be equated to “running a virtual machine on Bitcoin’s Virtual Machine Network”.
        • Two other applications which are usable today are: Multi-Signature Wallets with shared, custodial control; and Blockchain Identity and ID Protection services. Respectively, see: Copay.io‘s “multi-sig wallet” and Civic’s free ID Theft Prevention service.
        • All of these so-called “Blockchain Applications” rely on A) Bitcoin’s consistent consensus rules and incentives; and B) its highly secure, publicly auditable, and most importantly unredactable ledger.

PURPOSEFUL SPECULATION: A THOUGHT EXERCISE

Having established these starting assumptions, my hope is that the reader would then be prepared to consider how the consumption and application of these tangible and ethereal resources may change over time. Might we now be able to consider use cases and comparisons that would have sounded ludicrous previously? My thesis is that over time, compounded by the pace of technological change, what is currently difficult to imagine becomes imaginable, which next becomes difficult or unwieldy, ultimately becoming economical, feasible; common-place and eventually taken for granted. For instance, few of those present at the dawn of the internet imagined or could have conceived of live-streaming high-fidelity video and audio to thousands of fans at once. My belief is that performing such brainstorming exercises — even when it results in mostly ‘bad ideas’ — helps the individual to visualize a possibility-space which they may never have otherwise done…

To start off, here is a fanciful scenario involving Biotech, Coordinated Nanobot Swarms, and P2P Cloud Computing:

  • Individual gold-infused nano-particles associated with specific atomic-bitcoin units enable adaptive and highly-targeted drug delivery to extinguish rapidly proliferating cells throughout the body of a leukemia patient.
  • This computationally intensive effort is orchestrated using heterogeneous compute resources leased from various locations around the world via an automated smart-contract bidding process executed on the OpenBazaar market clearinghouse.
  • During this process a whole-body map is also drawn, updating the previous records stored in a hashed-and-encrypted format in the blockchain, protecting patient privacy…
  • Simultaneously a perfect, auditable 4D recording of the whole procedure is generated to mitigate malpractice claim risk to the medical practitioners who are supervising the process.
  • Ultimately, the operation is a success; the patient walks away cancer-free the very same day.

Here is a starkly more mundane example using an analogy that highlights a trait that gold and bitcoin have in common:

  • Gold is to scarce physical resources as Bitcoin is to scarce digital resources;
  • Neither asset can feasibly be manufactured artificially or independently;
  • Neither asset can be generated or acquired though means other than:
    • physical resource extraction and refining in the case of gold; or
    • verifiable computational work doing SHA256 hash calculations; these are entered into a drawing every ten minutes for a chance to win the ‘coinbase’ lottery known as the bitcoin “block reward” (currently 12.5 BTC for each new block).

A somewhat plausible-sounding scenario, using bitcoin to record and track gold deposits in vaults:

  • A private bullion vault offers a blockchain-based recording and tracking service to customers who have gold delivery bars on deposit in their vault.
  • This service correlates and stores the individual delivery bar’s assay records, origin data and other identifiers in the bitcoin ledger, creating a permanent association with a specific bitcoin tracking token, which none other than the legal and rightful owner of the gold can control or use to track and audit their holdings.
  • Additional thoughts: physical asset tags, QR codes, and RFID chips could potentially be added to further improve remote auditing capabilities.
  • An extension of this: starting with this well-tracked physical gold and building off of a smart-contract platform like Rootstock, you could tokenize your bullion to use as collateral for new and risk-laden enterprises, or for the formation of (truly!) gold-backed derivative products, like malleable personal Exchange-Traded Commodity Funds, and so on.

A wild-sounding notion with unknown practicability: silver-atom spin-state CPU R&D with quantum compute resources leased using bitcoin:

  • Silver atom quantum spin states modulated remotely using quantum computing processor time, leased with bitcoin on-demand.
  • Use this to test and simulate novel arrangements of silver atoms.
  • Next, using the test data, design and build a prototype silver-substrate, meta-material CPU that will allow us to extend Moore’s Law for traditional Von Neumann architectures for an additional decade.

Any of the above speculative scenarios may or may not come to pass. Personally, I find it enjoyable to fit the various commodity ‘puzzle pieces’ together, to try and picture how the interactions between metals and cryptocurrency might affect the fundamentals over time. This is an exploration of edge-cases, really. So take the above with a grain of salt. In the end you will have to decide how much you want to embrace a more speculative, growth-minded approach to commodity investing vs. a more conservative, value-investor angle. Either way I believe diversification, periodic portfolio rebalancing, and long-term planning to be essential. In any case, make sure you know why you are investing your hard-earned money, whether it be in commodities, equities, real estate, art, or otherwise.

I will say that one of my strongest convictions, though, is that the ‘all-cash position’ is unwise and will lead to successively less purchasing power for the ‘under the mattress’ investor. At the very least, if one feels uncertain about equities, bonds, interest rates, the state of the world… I believe an allocation to gold and silver of at least 10%, whether the rest is all in cash or not, should lend stability and optionality to an individual who is fearful or ‘excessively risk-averse’.

Now that we’ve explored a variety of speculative scenarios and fundamental investing principles, let’s get back to basics.

BACK TO BASICS: MY APPROACH TO PRECIOUS METALS

Gold has stood the test of time as a store of value. This should be well-known and understood to the reader already. For thousands of years humans have relied on gold’s scarcity, fungibility, and material properties to protect and exchange wealth. To me, gold is a great hedge against inflation and rising interest rates, which might degrade the performance of otherwise high-yield, fixed-income investment vehicles like bonds. Gold has limited upside potential, I believe. Although having gone through the thought exercises above, I am sure you could envision new uses for gold and other precious metals emerging over time; perhaps interacting in a nexus with bitcoin and other crypto-assets.

One way in which the Gold-Bitcoin Dynamic can be explored presently is with the Vaultoro Exchange, where users trade gold and bitcoin directly, with no settlement to USD or any other fiat currency at any point. It is a full-reserve service and exchange, with storage of gold in private Swiss vaults, fully attributed to the customer. The exchange operates continuously, 24/7/365.

Vaultoro represents a sophisticated offering in our day in my view. However, in the future I can imagine exchanges like Vaultoro taking a greater variety of forms, with expanded feature sets. For example, I could see such exchanges offering margin-trading, partial or shared ownership of assets, more automation and scripting options, etc. To experiment with the current offerings and gold-bitcoin exchange features might allow an individual to better conceptualize subsequent iterations and evolutions of such combined metal-and-crypto platforms.

Ultimately, whether you store it in private vaults or at home in a safe, gold remains a viable option for maintaining wealth over the span of 5 to 10 to 20 years in my mind.

A few of the physical gold products which to live up to my personal standards for convenience and name recognition include:

  1. American Gold Eagles (1 ozt. gold coin; ~$1330 currently)
  2. South African Krugerrands (1 ozt. gold coin; ~$1285 currently)
  3. Canadian Gold Maple Leaf (1 ozt. gold coin; $1290 currently)
  4. The 1/4 ozt. sizes of any of the above, which at ~$350 per coin are more affordable for those just getting started in investing
  5. Any National-Mint One Kilogram Gold Bars (1 kg gold bar; ~$40,800 currently)

Silver has served most often as a reliable smaller-denomination currency coin or ‘bearer instrument’. Silver’s importance in industrial, healthcare, and technological realms is unmatched. Copper emulates some but not all of the properties of silver. As a result of this, silver will likely always be an essential commercial and industrial commodity. Many investors and silver-promoters present a theses concerning “the eventual and sudden collapse in the supply of silver”, which some speculate will result in huge price appreciation. For example, some people will tell you that the silver price, under disastrous or critical-supply scenarios, is poised to jump from ~$17/ozt. to a price northwards of $80 or $100 per ounce. I can’t speak to and don’t necessarily endorse these views. However, I do think that the possibility of a supply-collapse resulting from an uptick in industrial consumption of the metal, combined with dire economic data and rapid inflation, should be considered. I like to think of it as a risk with unlikely probability but high impact. At this point, I would generally echo the notion that an investor looking to maintain his or her wealth through precious metals should likely only take on a position combining gold and silver of 5% to 10% of the portfolio at most. Remember that precious metals can be quite volatile themselves.

Some questions to consider in forming an allocation target for silver in your portfolio, should you choose to do so, are:

  • How much liquidity do you expect you will need in an emergency or a sudden economic downturn, knowing that some of the more popular silver coins are probably easy to sell for around $15-20 a piece at any local coin shop?
  • Are you bullish on the fundamentals of the metal for industrial and technological uses; do you expect to benefit from capital appreciation by investing in silver?
  • Do you have another reason, aesthetic, diversification-related, or otherwise for wanting to own silver?

My favorite investment-grade physical silver products include:

  • American Silver Eagles (1 ozt. silver coin; ~$19 currently)
  • Canadian Silver Maple Leaf (1 ozt. silver coin; ~$19 currently)
  • Silver One Kilogram Bars from reputable vendors such as Asahi, Geiger, Apmex, Valcambi (~$570 on average)

As an aside, my favorite numismatic silver coin is: the Austrian Maria Theresa Thaler, minted continuously starting from the mid-18th century. It typically carries only the symbolic year of 1780 to commemorate the end of Maria Theresa’s reign as Empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

ASSESSMENT OF OTHER METALS: PLATINUM, PALLADIUM, COPPER

I am somewhat curious about Palladium, having recently learned via a Macro Voices podcast episode that this metal is poised to absorb some portion of the catalytic converter role that Platinum has traditionally performed.

Platinum is pleasant aesthetically; it’s very rare in the Earth’s crust, however I have no desire myself to own it as it looks no different than silver to the casual observer. Again name and visual recognition constitute my first requirement for “investment-grade metals”.

Copper is critical in infrastructure, healthcare, and technological realms. However, it’s value as measured in dollars has declined from roughly $4.00 per pound to around $2.50 per pound over the last 20 years.

I find looking at comparison charts and 20-year charts for these metals, gold and silver to be helpful. Here are three such charts from Provident Metals:

Source: https://www.providentmetals.com/spot-price/chart/gold/ (see also: comparison charts)

The 20-year performance trend breakdown and rankings for the five metals is:

  1. Gold UP 4X: $300 to $1200
  2. Palladium UP 3X+: $250 to $850
  3. Silver UP 3X: $5 to $15
  4. Platinum relatively UNCHANGED: $830 to $930
  5. Copper DOWN: $4.00 to $2.50

FUNDAMENTAL CAPABILITIES OF BITCOIN

  • Act as the arbiter of truth in situations where strangers and business partners cannot trust each other
  • Enable nearly-unlimited sum payments internationally that settle within an hour for a minimal fee, without the oversight or interference of 3rd parties like banks and remittance companies
  • Boot-strap and launch a store of value asset protocol based on mathematically-provable scarcity with ever-growing computing power used to secure said assets

My approach to evaluating Bitcoin based on its fundamental capabilities. I would ask myself these questions:

  1. The idea that blockchain records and other data can never be expunged or tampered with; how much is this worth to me?
  2. How might I be limited by either lack of banking/remittance infrastructure, poor customer service, high fees, the interference of middle-men in my financial affairs, etc.?
  3. On this note, am I comfortable being one of the first people I know to try out this new technological money system?
  4. To what extent do I believe various network effects are likely to keep Bitcoin firmly cemented in the dominant position in an ecosystem of rapidly-proliferating crypto-assets and alternative cryptocurrencies: Developer Mind Share; Store of Value Network; User Activity; Miner Hashing Power, etc.?

With the above questions as a starting point — and ideally with the speculative scenarios in mind to help calibrate your thinking nearer to the conclusion of your assessment of Bitcoin — hopefully you have a better sense now than when you started reading the article of how you can determine for yourself Bitcoin’s “Worthiness as an Investment”.

Thank you for reading and all the best to you!


Should you have any questions, feedback, or other inquiries, please feel free to email me at: 84adam [at] thrivenotes [dot] com


Further Reading: 

17
Dec

Minimal Effective Stack, v3.0

by adminadam in articles

Minimal Effective Stack

1. creatine hcl — 750 mg, AM
2. noopept — 10 mg, AM-12-PM
3. cdp choline — 300 mg, AM-PM
4. modafinil — 200 mg, AM
5. ashwagandha — 600 mg, AM-PM
6. bacopa — 300 mg, AM
7. cod liver oil — 1000 mg, AM-PM
8. melatonin — 500 mcg, PM

Benefits

creatine hcl

  • energy
  • muscle building
  • muscle exertion
  • general cognition

noopept

  • extreme focus
  • verbal fluency
  • absorb information
  • memory retrieval

cdp choline

  • memory retrieval
  • verbal fluency
  • eye health
  • general cognition

modafinil

  • extreme focus
  • energy
  • wakefulness
  • stimulant, non-jittery

ashwagandha

  • immunity
  • anti-anxiety
  • sociability
  • reduce cortisol

bacopa

  • general cognition
  • memory formation
  • neuroprotection
  • vasodilation

cod liver oil

  • positive mood
  • general cognition
  • vitamin d
  • vitamin a

melatonin

  • sleep quality
  • sleep onset
  • antioxidant
  • general cognition

Additional Recommendations

  • nicotine (1-2mg a day)
  • probiotics
  • raw unmodified potato starch
  • zinc-copper
  • citrulline malate
  • l-theanine
  • rhodiola
  • turmeric/curcumin-piperine
  • l-tryptophan
  • aniracetam
  • oxiracetam
  • piracetam
3
Nov

How to Deal with a Narcissist

by adminadam in articles

john_william_waterhouse_echo_and_narcissus

Rules Adapted from: 12 Steps to Dealing with Narcissists – Emotional Self Protection and Boundary Setting
Author/Producer: RICHARD GRANNON SPARTANLIFECOACH
Original Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-Ud9tV90U0

A Twelve-Step Program

  1. Identify and admit that you are dealing with a narcissist.
  2. Test it: do you feel like crap when you speak to them?
  3. Clarify to yourself what you are feeling at the moment (while dealing with them).
  4. Clarify the boundary between your problems and their problems. (say “I’m not having that problem.”)
  5. Assert to yourself that you don’t let people treat you like this.
  6. Be aware they have ulterior motives and an interminable agenda. (It won’t get better.)
  7. Physically withdraw as much as possible and create distance between you and them.
  8. Psychologically withdraw from them. Don’t be tempted to share or be friendly.
  9. Recognize and remind yourself that you cannot help or fix them, no matter how reasonable or compassionate you may be.
  10. Manage your own state of being and remember that they are provoked the most by vulnerability (exploiting the weak).
  11. Remember that they need your pain and discomfort to feel good.
  12. Do not discuss personal issues with narcissists. Redirect the conversation.

My Challenge

I find I always have to remind myself most that they cannot be helped (#9) and it will not get better (#6). As a reasonable and empathetic person myself, I am so often flabbergasted by their inability to integrate new self-knowledge via external feedback, coaching, guidance, and so on that they receive from others. The fact that they engage in feedback-seeking behaviors without the fundamental capacity (and/or willingness) to induce personal growth in themselves using said feedback just confounds me. I constantly find myself feeling sorry for myself that it *truly* won’t get any better and I can’t do anything to change, halt, or unravel the narcissist’s indiscriminate vomit-spewing agenda.

And then I find myself caught in this rabbit-hole loop of positing new and ever more refined, plausible-sounding theories about the childhood trauma-based, alcoholism-exacerbated, insecurity-ridden, self-aggrandizing, other-invalidating behaviors that eminate from this pathetic shell of a person. This pathetic shell of a person who gets drunk and then cries for her mama after she’s done trash-talking you and your family for an hour. This pathetic shell of a person who pounds his chest and interrupts the meeting 38 times in 25 minutes so he can feel like Big Important Ape-Man and then go cry in his car for an hour in the office parking lot while drinking himself stupid.

And I feel the damned temptation to be merciful, compassionate, and understanding. But at least I am not damned like them. I have the ability to choose how I bring these patterns and this fluctuating dynamic into my conscious awareness, to choose to see things as they really are. I am blessed to have this burden that is empathy, that is other-awareness, that is sense-of-fairness, that is self-awareness. Not everybody has that particular giant boulder to push up the hill every day now do they?


The Myth of Sisyphus

16
Feb

Economics Beyond Financial Intermediation

by adminadam in articles

A concise and accessible exploration of Bitcoin’s internals and potential impact.

Main topics include:

  1. Technology: How Bitcoin allows for the secure transfer of unforgeable assets over the internet.
  2. Economics: Distinct advantages Bitcoin has as a deflationary currency (through a ceiling on the number of mine-able bitcoins) in a world full of inflationary fiat currencies being actively manipulated by central bankers and politicians.
  3. Potential Benefits to the Poor: How Bitcoin-based remittances, peer-to-peer/micro-finance, and development aid can help the poor route around corrupt financial institutions and inept governments in order to improve their lives.
  4. Additional Use Cases: Blockchain smart contracts as distributed, uncensorable, self-enforcing contracts; other programmatic aspects of Bitcoin to be exploited.

The Journal of Private Enterprise 30(3), 2015, 19–50

Economics beyond Financial Intermediation: Digital Currencies’ Possibilities for Growth, Poverty Alleviation, and International Development — [Download PDF]

By Saifedean Ammous
Lebanese American University


Abstract

Bitcoin is the first technology for the final transfer of digital goods online, facilitating instant global payments without intermediation. Bitcoin’s operation is based on a distributed, decentralized, and transparent asset ledger that acts as an ongoing chain record of all transactions. The system issues coins to reward those who contribute processing power to the network’s operation. The possibilities created by this innovation are significant for the world’s poor, who could skip traditional political and financial institutions and move to digital currencies in the same way they have gone straight to using mobile phones and skipped landline telephones.


Highlights

  • “Through the use of cryptography, Bitcoin brings the scarcity, rivalry, finality, and irreversibility of physical transactions to the digital realm. A digital song can now be treated just like a physical cassette or CD, a rival good that cannot be played on two machines at the same time. This is not just true for music files, but for all kinds of digital data, goods, programs, and, most significantly, currency.”
  • “Instead of utilizing a trusted third-party intermediary, Bitcoin is based on cryptographic proof verified by the central processing unit (CPU) power of the total network. As such, Bitcoin can be understood as being to currency what email is to paper mail: an infinitely faster and cheaper digital shortcut for a physical-world activity that has been carried out for millennia.”
  • As the network grows and currency adoption increases, bitcoin’s real-world purchasing power also increases, thus ensuring that the block-mining reward, while decreasing in terms of bitcoin and costing more in terms of CPU, is worth more in terms of real goods and services. This is the most strikingly ingenious facet of Bitcoin’s design: if the network grows, the rise in the currency’s purchasing power ensures that the reward to the computers that run the network increases, thus incentivizing ever-more processing power to be dedicated to verifying the network. The programmed decreasing rate of increase of coin issuance, combined with the fast growth of the network, ensures that miners who operate the network continue to be rewarded for running it as it grows.”
  • “The Bitcoin network grows as fast as bitcoin adoption rises, or, in other words, as fast as the bitcoin economy grows. The money supply, however, only rises at a predetermined rate, which is roughly halving every four years, as the block reward declines. Though the supply of the currency is increasing, and will continue to do so indefinitely, the currency’s real purchasing power has increased drastically in the six years it has been circulating. The increase in adoption explains the rise in bitcoin’s purchasing power since circulation started in 2009. The first recorded exchange rate of bitcoins for fiat currency was 1,309.30 BTC for 1.00 USD, offered in October 2009 (Wallace 2011). By July 2015, the exchange rate had risen to fluctuate around 0.004 BTC for 1.00 USD, reflecting roughly a 330,000-fold (or 33 million percent) increase in the price of a bitcoin in US dollars in six years.”
  • “Bitcoin exists as a real-world experiment in this inflation-deflation debate. Whereas traditional currencies are continuously increasing in supply and decreasing in purchasing power, bitcoin has so far witnessed a large increase in real purchasing power despite a moderate (but decreasing, controlled, and capped) increase in its supply. If bitcoin’s depreciation rate is measured with respect to the US dollar, it is highly negative, as table 2 shows, averaging a negative 24.5 percent depreciation rate in the four years for which data are available.”
  • “While still a technology in its infancy, Bitcoin offers a blueprint for how billions of the world’s poor can partake in international, modern capitalism without having to reside in countries with supportive modern institutions. Bitcoin could be life-changing to those individuals and could also offer credible competition to national monopolies in financial services, currency issuance, judicial systems, and credit provision.”

DOWNLOAD THE FULL ARTICLE (PDF)

Economics beyond Financial Intermediation: Digital Currencies’ Possibilities for Growth, Poverty Alleviation, and International Development — by Saifedean Ammous

25
Jan

The 7 Network Effects of Bitcoin

by adminadam in articles

Trace Mayer, J.D., a long-time Bitcoin Guru and Investor in Bitcoin companies such as Armory and Kraken, explains the network effects that will lead to Bitcoin’s continued success.

From his talk hosted by CRYPSA at LaGuardia Community College – June 29, 2015.
Listen to the audio: http://www.bitcoin.kn/2015/06/crypsa-event-with-trace-mayer/

The 7 network effects of Bitcoin are as follows:

  1. Speculation — As a novel, cryptographically-backed asset class with the potential for appreciation and high volatility, Bitcoin is perfect for speculators with a high tolerance for risk.
  2. Merchant Adoption — Merchants will increasingly accept Bitcoin because they can increase their profit margins by avoiding credit card fees and chargebacks.
  3. Consumer Adoption — Consumers can use Bitcoin to save money at certain vendors. For example, getting a 20% discount on Amazon by spending Bitcoin through Purse. Additionally, consumers can buy things with Bitcoin that they cannot buy (easily) in any other way. Consider: An American can buy Persian rugs or Cuban cigars online despite trade embargoes. Bitcoin increases the efficiency of the economy, particularly in niche areas such as these.
  4. Security — Merchant, consumer, and speculator adoption lead to a higher price and thus incentivize more miners to participate and secure the system. The decentralized, immutable transaction ledger also serves as a form of Triple Entry Bookkeeping, wherein Debits plus Credits plus the Network Confirmations of transactions increase trust and accountability across the system.
  5. Developer Mindshare — Bitcoin is a “dumb”, predictable network with simple rules and a publicly-auditable codebase. It is fertile ground for the development of complicated algorithms, machine-to-machine payment protocols, smart contracts, and other tools. Its decentralized nature allows for innovation without permission. Altcoins (such as Litecoin and Ethereum) pose little threat as Bitcoin is already dominant as a store of value and as a medium of exchange in the cryptocurrency space. If you harbor doubts about the importance of this currency network effect — or worry about altcoins overtaking Bitcoin in some other way — I would point you to Daniel Krawisz’ insightful and though-provoking article on the subject: “The Coming Demise of Altcoins“. Ultimately, developers will continue to flock to Bitcoin.
  6. Financialization — Bitcoin will eat up progressively more of the market share of legacy banking institutions in areas such as remittances, micropayments, peer-to-peer lending, and the exchange of stocks and securities. This process has already begun (consider NASDAQ’s support of Open Assets/Colored Coins for the transfer of securities, NYSE’s investment in Coinbase, etc.). Old money risks dying out lest it embrace new protocols such as Bitcoin.
  7. Adoption as a World Reserve Currency — Eventually all transactions will be settled on the blockchain, including house titles, stock purchases, car titles, and other monetary instruments and currencies. Network effects one through six culminate in this final network effect. Any newcomer in the realm of cryptocurrency — or traditional currency, for that matter — would need to beat Bitcoin in all seven of these areas. This is unlikely considering the pace of development in Bitcoin Core, the level of investment in Bitcoin companies around the world, the growth in Bitcoin’s user base, and on and on… Further price increases will only accelerate the process. Finally, a speculative attack could dramatically boost the value of Bitcoin almost overnight.

Bitcoin is a strong currency: it thrives on the internet; it frees its users from 3rd parties; it saves merchants money; it is deflationary; its code can be audited by all; its developers work tirelessly to improve upon it; the list goes on. The above-listed network effects can only serve to strengthen it. Competitors beware.


READ THIS NEXT: Speculative Attack, by Pierre Rochard

An excerpt from the introduction of “Speculative Attack”:

Bitcoin will not be eagerly adopted by the mainstream, it will be forced upon them. Forced, as in “compelled by economic reality”. People will be forced to pay with bitcoins, not because of ‘the technology’, but because no one will accept their worthless fiat for payments. Contrary to popular belief, good money drives out bad. This “driving out” has started as a small fiat bleed. It will rapidly escalate into Class IV hemorrhaging due to speculative attacks on weak fiat currencies. The end result will be hyperbitcoinization, i.e. “your money is no good here”.

7
Dec

Minimal Effective Stack, v2.0

by adminadam in articles

The Stack

  1. Creatine — 5g powder, AM
  2. Noopept — 10mg capsule, AM/noon/PM
  3. CDP-choline — 400mg capsule, AM/PM
  4. Modafinil — 100-200mg tablet, AM
  5. Ashwagandha — 570mg capsule, AM/PM
  6. Rhodiola — 500mg capsule, AM
  7. Probiotics — one capsule, AM
  8. Cod Liver Oil — three 650mg soft-gels, AM/PM
  9. Nicotine Gum — 1mg gum, PM
  10. Melatonin — 1mg tablet, Night

Changes Since Version 1

I have switched out piracetam for noopept. My main reasoning is to reduce the quantity of both powders and capsules that I consume. So I can cut my total piracetam powder levels from what they were previously — about six grams per day — to just three 10mg capsules per day of noopept.

I have added CPD-choline back in. While I have never experience an acetylcholine-depletion headache from taking racetams, I have heard that CDP-choline helps maintain cognitive abilities under sleep deprivation and also can help with dry eyes, both of which I experience at times.

I have removed Bacopa and added Ashwagandha. This was a hard choice which I took a long time to arrive at. Bacopa is lauded as the only effective, cheap, and safe way to truly improve your memory from a young-healthy subject baseline. But it made me excessively sleepy and caused me extreme stomach upset whenever I consumed it without food. These simple hindrances were what led me to cut it from my stack. While I enjoyed its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects, I had experienced stronger effects of that nature from Ashwagandha, an all-around resiliency-enhancing herbal supplement also from the Ayurvedic tradition. Ashwagandha improves immunity, reduces stress, and reduces insomnia in many subjects. I have experienced reduced stress and anxiety. Other effects are questionably related to many of the supplements I take, like Modafinil and Creatine for enhanced energy and motivation. Ashwagandha may also be contributing to these positive outcomes.

I have changed from Fish Oil to Cod Liver Oil. Cod Liver Oil is said to contain more Vitamin A and D. I take these soft-gels in ample quantities, sometimes up to nine a day, if I feel like I need the Vitamin D for enhanced immunity or serotonin production in the winter months.

I dropped Lion’s Mane Mushroom after listening to a podcast on the medicinal mushroom industry. It seems that the quality of many of these supplements is suspect, with the greater-guarantees-of-quality brands costing an arm and a leg. I’d prefer to save the money.

I have added Melatonin to the list. In fact, I have always used Melatonin to get to sleep faster, fight insomnia, and serve as an anti-oxidant. Now that I’m using lower doses of 1-2mg per night, I feel more refreshed waking up than I used to when I took between 3mg and 6mg. Research shows that 0.5mg to 1mg is the most effective dose. Melatonin is especially helpful if you are in front of bright screens with blue light in the evening, or if you drink lots of caffeinated beverages, or if you take modafinil mid-day or — heaven forbid — late in the day.

What I’ve Kept the Same

Creatine is a godsend for athletes. I am running regularly now, in addition to lifting weights, and I find I have the energy to give an extra push at the end of nearly all of my workouts because of Creatine. It is also said to boost cognition in individuals with low natural levels of Creatine in their diets.

Modafinil keeps me productive and emotionally-intelligent after late nights spent hanging out with my brother or my girlfriend, or after working to the wee hours of the morning on Linux projects. Speaking of which, check out my new blog: Kernelmastery.com. You might say Modafinil is the Mascot for Kernel Mastery.

Rhodiola I would never abandon. It enhances immunity, fights stress, and helps you fight fatigue. It is a tried-and-true resiliency supplement.

Probiotics for the gut; a healthy gut for a healthy mind.

Nicotine Gum eases my stress, wakes me up on my long drives home from work, and reboots the cognitive engines after a long work day. With Nicotine Gum, I can avoid drinking large quantities of caffeine in the afternoon. Most gums come in two- or four-milligram sizes. Because one milligram is plenty for me, I simply buy the two milligram version and cut the pieces in half. Easy and cheap!

10
Aug

Reclaim Your Freedoms

by adminadam in articles

Peter Schiff, chairman of SchiffGold, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Inc, and host of The Peter Schiff Show, fearlessly ventured into the heart of Liberty Plaza during the Occupy Wall Street protests to try and find common ground with the people there. What I love most about this video is not Peter’s bravery in facing the 99% as a more-or-less unapologetic member of the 1%, rather I admire his tenacity and consistency in the conversations with folks who seem to believe, and in fact are likely to have been pigeon-holed as believing that the main reason for the inequality and injustice in our country lies in corporations taking in too big of profits. So as you watch know that there is some oversimplification going on. But ask yourself: Is it the Occupy protesters who are engaging in oversimplification, or is it the media that is oversimplifying their arguments? (I’ll give you a hint: Not all of the Occupy protesters are anti-capitalist!)

As Peter explains, corporate taxes are always passed onto consumers or taken out of workers’ pay. Thus, corporate taxes discourage growth and development in the economy. Personally, I believe growth and development in the economy are a good thing.

Unhindered growth allows for innovation. Just look at the smartphone in your pocket. Any state-run phone company would produce half the product for twice the cost, and it would take twice as long at that! In 1913, there was only one telephone that you could get, and you couldn’t even buy it; you had to rent it from AT&T, which was a state-regulated monopoly.

How would you like to use a 1920's Western Electric Oval Telephone and Handset? Remember: You can't own it; you can only rent it.

How would you like to use a 1920’s Western Electric Oval Telephone and Handset? Remember: You can’t own it; you can only rent it.

Fortunately for us, the Market always finds a backdoor or a workaround to allow innovation to continue. It’s just that sometimes these black-or-grey-market innovators find themselves in court for their unsanctioned attempts to increase our choices and our freedoms.

In the telephone market, competition began creeping in in 1956, when the courts overruled an FCC ban on Tom Carter’s Hush-a-Phone, a device which snapped on to a telephone and made it possible for the user to speak in a whisper. That was perhaps the first step in the dissolution of the telephone monopoly.

The Hush-a-Phone decision paved the way for 110 and 300 bit per second acoustically-coupled computer terminals, like the one shown below.

AcousticallyCoupledModem

One of the very first modems! Read more at: som.csudh.edu’s Telecom History

Carter eventually won a decision against AT&T that allowed customers to connect any device to the AT&T network, without the previously required “Protective Coupler”. That was the Carterfone Decision of 1968. This lead to today’s near total deregulation of telephone equipment in the US, something on which the rest of the world followed suit. The communications regulatory bodies in those countries clearly saw the benefits of allowing their citizens to connect new devices which allowed for both voice and data to be transmitted.

Without this kind of deregulation, it’s possible the Internet would have remained a slowly-moving, bureaucratically-controlled project, restricted to use by the oligarchs in government and large corporations, and a select few who could afford to pay for access to the overpriced, shoddy service they would have certainly provided.

By contrast, in our modern-day, largely capitalistic internet ecosystem — although tempered by some degree of cronyism — we now have reliable, high-performance, internet-connected, bluetooth/wifi/NFC-enabled, secure and sleek smartphones for as low as $35, not to mention the infrastructure (internet backbone, up to 13 Gbps) on which to operate them. Don’t believe me on the price? Just check out what Mozilla has done with their Firefox OS phones, meant for emerging markets like Brazil, India, and the Philippines.

The Cherry Mobile Ace Firefox OS Phone featured below was released in December of 2014 for 1499 PHP — Philippine Pesos — approximately $33! But wait, it gets better. Their sale price was 999 PHP, only $22 for a fully-useable, well-designed smartphone!

Personally, I want as many people in the world as possible to be able to purchase and own devices such as the Cherry Mobile Ace. It is a form of empowerment through technology that nary a socialist would promote if they understood that only through deregulation can such things come to pass. They would have to relinquish political power and their thirst for it in order to allow such empowering trends to fully develop. I truly admire anyone with the courage to let go of their vice-grip attachments to such delusions of grandeur as “empowering the masses” by means of appropriating other people’s hard earned money.

Enterprising Entrepreneurs Empower Everyone

Consider what you can do because of Market Innovation and Market Innovators:

  • Phone and text your friends, families, and business partners for free using things like WhatsApp
  • Send, receive, and manage your money without a bank account or a government ID or anyone’s permission using Bitcoin and a Bitcoin wallet app (there are many options!)
  • Record videos and take pictures
  • Mix and remix almost any kind of media
  • Share and sync files with anyone
  • Learn new skills on Khan Academy and through MOOC’s (massive online open courses)
  • Get weather alerts
  • Get important health information and even diagnose diseases
  • Call on your neighbors to defend or aid you in times of crisis through apps like Peacekeeper
  • Navigate to new areas easily
  • Give and get rides through Uber
  • Rent out your home with Airbnb
  • And so much more!

All of this on a $22 device. And whether we ever stop to think about it or appreciate it, the credit is due to Free Market Capitalism: People being incentivized to work and provide valuable products and services to one another of their own volition. People doing business without being hindered by regulations or sucked dry by the tax man for some vaguely-defined and for-all-intents-and-purposes bankrupt social contract. Just look at our public schooling systems, modeled as they were after Nazi Germany to encourage compliance, complacency, and the production of anti-intellectual, subservient factory workers. Part of our “Social Contract” is that we are forced through taxes to support keeping children locked down in destitute and soul-crushing environs for hours on end until they are 18 years old. It just drives me nuts. It’s why I celebrate, again, the creeping in of some forms of subversive innovation, creative destruction a la charter schools, for instance, or people that manage to provide a good learning experience at home for their children. It’s why I celebrate kids who do the bare minimum in school while finding ways to pursue their passions and careers independently in the few hours they are left each day. Innovation is not commanded, nor is learning imparted through coercion. To cite Plato:

Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.

So who is responsible for this mess? The lobbyists and the lobbied are quite suspect. Increasingly, for me, the activists and the politically-active mainstream are too, though. What ‘revolution’ can this incest between the rulers and the ruled conceivably spawn after all? Is the system ‘working’? Have things gotten tangibly better because of the state? It’s a question not-often explored; more often than not it’s denied or dismissed. It seems, instead, that the assumptions and presuppositions of the state are reinforced at every turn. It’s all about 6- and 8-year political dynasties, and our blind faith in the process: We can fix it, next time we’ll win, it’s their fault not ours, and on and on.

It takes a brave and steeled soul indeed to lock eyes with the system and keep on walking. To walk on, to traverse that mental landscape is to say, “Democracy has failed”. And let’s be honest, it has. It’s time to move on. Plutocrats and Peasants is what we are. To be a politician is to be a bought-and-sold man. And to believe so fervently in the potential of another politician, another movement, to pin our hopes on some new Inflatable Jesus Figure each election cycle, are we not succumbing to Uncle Tom Syndrome? I have begun to view and treat Democracy Lovers as I do 12th-Man Football Fanatics. Let them believe they are making a difference, but avoid them like the plague at dinner parties. You’re better off pitching ice to Eskimos.

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone. — Ayn Rand

It’s very frustrating living in a world where Anarchy is a dirty word, thought to mean property-destruction by Angsty Anarcho-Communists, and where Democracy and Environmentalism are God and the infidels and iconoclasts are burned at the stake. We certainly have massive socioeconomic and ideological inertia propelling the prevailing, dysfunctional, political machine, but we also have a budding trend of disintermediation, divergent thinking, open-sourcing-of-everything, and a renewed optimism in the world.

It becomes apparent when looking at many of the volunteer-based projects which have benefited humanity, say Wikipedia, or the Linux Operating System. But there are True Capitalists who continue to raise the bar too: Elon Musk is one example. An electric car that goes 0-60 in three seconds, a rocket ship that can take off and land vertically, and a proposal for a “Hyperloop” vacuum-sealed, elevated, maglev transportation system that will ferry people from L.A. to San Francisco in half-an-hour — all from one man. Did I mention he plans to travel to Mars himself in one of his rockets? What an amazing icon, the likes of which Hank Rearden of Atlas Shrugged might choose to associate with from time to time (when he’s not crafting even better steel that is…). And then there’s the shadowy innovators, Satoshi Nakamoto, for instance. Gave the world Bitcoin, the payment protocol for the 5 Billion Unbanked of the World, plus a currency that is virtually (algorithmically) guaranteed to be a store of value better than gold — bless his/her heart!

There are other ways to pursue peace, order, and prosperity for our lands and our communities. The Wikipedia volunteers, Linux developers, Elon’s, and Satoshi’s of the world are building it in fact. By contrast, all statist systems, whether they be socialist, fascist, republican, or monarchistic, reek like last week’s trash. They rest upon the nullification and disenfranchisement of the individual, as opposed to his empowerment. To take from Ayn Rand again:

The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.

If I grow a company from the ground up, hire 100’s of people, a board of directors, offer stocks, and make a profit, am I evil? A popular idea in our world today is that yes, I am inherently evil, that profit is inherently exploitative of, most certainly, my employees, but likely the environment, and the rest of my society as well. What do people think is done with profits anyways? Surely they are never reinvested into R&D, or employee bonuses, or invested in other startups. No. Not a chance.

Check out Peter Schiff here pretending to be a democrat at the North Carolina DNC. What should be done about these evil corporate profits, he asks!

Profits incentivize and propel future business ventures. If you think profits are truly evil, then what you should probably do right now is this:

And while you’re at it, what are you reading this blog post on? Go ahead and destroy that device too if it’s not the iPhone that you just destroyed. Apple made over $50 Billion in profit last year. That’s pretty fucking evil, ain’t it?

Surely the fat cats at the top are keeping all that money for themselves, right? No, actually. Forbes did a breakdown of how Apple is using its huge cash reserves — all from profits — in order to evolve and stay relevant as a company:

Apple’s balance sheet shows $97.6 billion in cash. … That money is going to be used to increase the security that the supply chain offers Apple.

… Apple’s immense cash reserves allows not only an investment in new technology, but they can literally buy the complete run of a specialist part for a number of years, locking out the competition.

It’s because of these profits, the profit motive, and Apple’s tireless innovation, that you have a shiny new iPhone in your pocket. No one else could have done it cheaper. Take away that “extra” cash, and we’re stuck with iPhone 4’s. Nobody wants that. Really!

I find this baseless demonetization of profits tiresome. But, there is another more pernicious form of ignorance to contend with: That people readily dismiss how businesses compete to buy labor. Our naivete in this area leads to the creation of policies which fundamentally harm both minority groups and individuals: i.e., Minimum Wage Laws.

Because markets go where labor is cheaper, artificially increasing demand (i.e. price) for a given unit or hour of labor results in local businesses leaving for greener pastures. “Edgar the Exploiter” is a lovely and heart-wrenching depiction of this effect, the result of our ignorance of basic economics:

Artificially raising labor costs through minimum wages hurts low-skill, impoverished, and minority workers the most. This is why I was against the $15 minimum wage law in Seattle when it was proposed. The law would simply gentrify the service industry, eventually getting to the point that only rich white college kids could work legally.

Instead of lofting idealistic legislation into the congressional fighting pits, as in the example of Minimum Wage regulations, and hoping our proposal comes out on top, we should deregulate the markets so that more people can participate in them. Innovation and wealth-creation cannot be commanded. We should stop trying to limit the market from doing what it does best: Provide us with exactly what we need for a low cost.

If we could also address the issue of suppressed interest rates (which discourages people from saving) and Quantitative Easing via the Federal Reserve (which gradually erodes our purchasing power) the world would be a better, freer, and wealthier place. Alas, you can’t have it all.

But there are some things we can do to expedite the transition to a freer and more just world, routing around the broken political system. We should explore continuous, subversive innovation via disruption, disintermediation, decentralization, and democratization. Examples of this path include:

  • Donating to and improving upon Wikipedia and Khan Academy to facilitate the democratization of information around the world.
  • Using OpenBazaar to buy/sell goods online in an uncensorable, pseudonymous, distributed marketplace with Bitcoin. The is subversive grey-market activity which serves to deny the state its sales tax revenue and also deregulate the products on the market. In removing 3rd parties from transactions, it disintermediates banking and financial networks too.
  • Using 3D printers in local Maker Spaces to print toys, tools, guns, and more using open-source blueprints. This is an example of democratization and disintermediation in manufacturing.
  • Patronizing farmer’s markets and paying in cash or bitcoin. This removes middle-men and empowers small business owners.
  • Working under the table saves both you and your employer money and serves to disrupt income taxation.

All social services, up-to-and-including Government itself can be decentralized and disintermediated. Taking advantage of any of these or the above opportunities will enhance social and economic opportunities for you and your community while enhancing your freedom:

  • Defense and Security can be procured locally through neighborhood-watch organizations, private security firms, and the Peacekeeper App. Private security markets would benefit from deregulation and increased Free-Market Competition first, however. This eliminates the need for a public police force or — in the case of Detroit — fills a power vacuum with members of your own community who are passionate about protecting people.
  • Charities and Health Care Sharing Ministries can provide the majority of health care coverage for communities, especially once their members are liberated from taxes.
  • Smart Contracts written via the Bitcoin Protocol can be used to replace intermediaries in many levels of government, to rein in corruption, and to guarantee accountability.

Basically, do all that you can to engage in and promote voluntary exchange. And pull others into it. This is the most effective way of ‘agitating for change’, as the progressives would say, to deregulate industry and technology. This will, in turn, enrich the whole world.

free-the-market-free-the-world

Free the market; free the world.

Liberate the economy and the state will fade into irrelevance. We think the state is an institution of social service, that it’s there for our own good. But perhaps it’s not the morally-superior, altruistic conglomerate of thinking and resources that it’s made out to be. Murray Rothbard said it best in “What the State is Not”:

We are not the Government; the Government is not us. Society and the State are not the same thing. The rise of democracy has conflated the two further. Consider: If 70% of our democracy approved a measure to murder the remaining 30% it would technically be a democratic decision, justified by the internal rules of the philosophical framework. It would not be considered murder, however, as the ‘subjects’ of the state effectively are the State. Consider how in Nazi Germany the extermination of the Jews was a legal and government-sanctioned act. Statism projects that, as appendages of the state, the ‘murdered’ actually killed themselves. The system is full of such internal contradictions.

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

When we get down to it, the state is simply the institution occupying a given territorial area which has a monopoly on force and violence. If it commits some social good, then that is ancillary to its existence. The state need be nothing more. It exists through and because of coercion alone: The violent enforcement of the borders, the appropriation of the territorial residents’ wealth through taxation, and the metering out of pre-appropriated, universal human rights to its subjects via the legislature and the laughably-named ‘Justice System’.

Just like as in War, there are no Winners in Statism. It is a zero-sum game. One policy, one person, must come out on top. Compare it to Socialism’s theory of economics, which incorrectly posits that economic activity is a zero-sum game. Of course, if that were true in economics we would have no more value in the world than we did when only 1,000,000 humans roamed the Earth. It is silly to think of 7 billion people — and the product of all their activity — having no more worth than a measly million hunters and gatherers, don’t you think?

Ironic then, isn’t it, that so many Statists proclaim Capitalism to be a dead-end, when really the State is the one that’s dead in the water. Capitalism is a force for good; Statism a parasite. Free Market innovation is the reason we have a world of such wondrous stability and abundance. And luckily for us, there will always be people who wish to build and consume new and better things.

Let’s get the State out of the way. Engage in counter-economics. Obfuscate your wealth. Avoid taxes. Avoid the “Man’s Money”. State your preference for Bitcoin or barter. Shrink the State, or obviate it by innovating around it.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. — Buckminster Fuller

The sooner you do — the sooner you opt-out and start participating in these new, disintermediated models of reality — the sooner we will all be free.

Let us hasten the demise of the State.


If you would like to further educate yourself in economics, Marginal Revolution University has a wonderful, free, and accessible course entitled “Everyday Economics“. (Yet another Capitalist Innovation; and yes, you can pay for more content later if you wish. It’s up to you!)

Contents of “Everyday Economics” include:

  • The notion of the Hockey Stick of Human Prosperity, a visualization of the explosive expansion of wealth in more recent human history
  • Increased life expectancy as a measure of human prosperity
  • Reduced mortality and increased average height, hygiene, sanitation, and technology as measures of human prosperity
  • The origins of prosperity, lessons from “The Wealth of Nations”, and other insights from Adam Smith
  • How wealth has shifted from being the exception to being the norm

We didn’t used to try to figure out what causes poverty, as we do today. We used to try to figure out what causes wealth. This was Adam Smith’s goal. And you can learn about it for free. Pretty swell, huh?


Please click the “Donate BTC” button up top or the green shield icon below to donate Bitcoin to me if you like my writing. In exchange I promise I’ll have a book someday that you can buy and read..!

11
Jul

Minimal Effective Stack

by adminadam in articles

The Stack

  1. Creatine
  2. Piracetam
  3. Modafinil
  4. Bacopa
  5. Rhodiola
  6. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  7. Probiotics
  8. Fish Oil
  9. Nicotine Gum/Patches/E-Cig

Reasoning

A smaller stack is cheaper and more convenient to travel with. It’s also fast to prepare and consume. Here are the steps:

  1. If creatine and piracetam are in powdered form, mix with water (and perhaps sea salt) first thing in the morning and imbibe. If in tablet form, take in Step Two instead — perhaps still with sea salt. Salt really is key support for staying hydrated while on modafinil, and/or if you are doing a ketogenic diet. Creatine boosts executive function while piracetam enhances verbal fluidity, short-term memory, and focus.
  2. Drink more water with your modafinil and rhodiola. Modafinil boosts executive function and allows you to obliterate fatigue and physical exhaustion for up to 12 hours. Rhodiola is a super-herb from the Arctic regions of the world: Alaska, Canada, Siberia. It has been a treasured (and well-guarded) medicinal herb for millenia for its adaptogenic and resiliency-enhancing properties. As it may be somewhat stimulating, take it only in the morning.
  3. Wait a minute. Eat some fat (butter, bacon, avocado) — maybe with salt on it — and then proceed to step 4. Fat fuels your brain and aids in the absorption of nutrients and supplements, especially bacopa. Protein is good too, of course. Do not take bacopa on an empty stomach. It will give you nausea and diarrhea, I can guarantee it.
  4. Drink more water with your bacopa, lion’s mane, probiotics, and fish oil. Bacopa and lion’s mane both boost memory. Bacopa may act as a vasodilator (increasing cerebral bloodflow). Bacopa reduces cortisol and thus may make you sleepy. If so, you are advised to take it only in the evenings before bed. Lion’s mane mushrooms boost Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and likely boost the immune system too, as most mushrooms are adaptogenic and confer their resiliency to us when we consume them. Probiotics and fish oil will make you smarter and happier as well (happy gut; happy mind). These provide healthy gut bacteria, healthy fats (omega 3’s, EPA/DHA), and vitamins A and D.
  5. Take a “smoke” break if you get sleepy after lunch. Nicotine — if you so choose to use it — may help you retain focus and boost cognitive function if you experience afternoon sleepiness, and is less prone than caffeine to disturb your sleep at night. I use the 2mg Nicotrol gum, cut in two. Usually one piece per day, two at most. If you are not used to nicotine, I recommend you spit out the gum or remove the patch as soon as you feel its effects. Should be a kind of bright buzzing stimulating energy in your brain after ~5 minutes of chewing the gum. If you overdo it be prepared to get dizzy and vomit. Start small and also watch for nicotine cravings.

Where to Buy, Dosages, Pro-Tips

  1. CREATINE — Creatine Monohydrate Micronized Powder from Powder City; BioCreatine Capsules from Natural Stacks. Take between 2.5 and 7.5 grams first thing in the morning. Note: BioCreatine has Himalayan salt in it; adjust morning ‘salting’ routine accordingly.
  2. PIRACETAM — Piracetam Powder (100g tub) from Powder City; Piracetam Capsules (1-month supply for $29.66 if you take x6 per day like me) from Powder City. You can take up to 10 grams a day of piracetam and feel no negative side effects. Lower LD50 than salt, apparently! I recommend 2-3 grams three times per day for optimal results.
  3. MODAFINIL — Modafinil/Provigil from ModUP.net (33% discount if you pay with bitcoin). Take 1/2 pill (100mg) if starting for the first time on modafinil. It can be quite intense and cause irritability, upset stomach, dehydration, and headaches if you take too much for your body or if you don’t stay hydrated and remember to eat. Remember to eat! Modafinil suppresses the appetite. Lasts around 12 hours. Does not usually prevent you from sleeping after 8 hours, although it may be difficult. You are advised to take 1/2 to 1 pill immediately upon waking. Then chug a gallon half-gallon of water — with salt!
  4. BACOPA — Bacopa Monnieri Capsules from Swanson Superior Herbs. Take bacopa with food. 250mg twice a day. Just once at night if you get too sleepy taking it during the day time.
  5. RHODIOLA — Rhodiola Rosea Capsules from NOW Foods. Take one per day upon waking.
  6. LION’S MANE MUSHROOM — Lion’s Mane Mushroom Capsules from Swanson Superior Herbs. Take one AM, one PM.
  7. PROBIOTICS — Primal Defense ULTRA Capsules from Garden of Life. Take 1-2 capsules per day.
  8. FISH OIL — Organic Lemon-Zest Fish Oil from Barlean’s; Cod Liver Oil Softgels from NOW Foods. Take 1 tbsp fish oil or 2 capsules cod liver oil per day.
  9. NICOTINE — 2mg Nicotine Gum from Nicotrol. Use as needed.

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