Bitcoin Intrinsic Value

One of the main arguments I hear against bitcoin is that “it has no intrinsic value. The thing about money is that it doesn’t need to have intrinsic value. Money has to have a few things to make it “good money”.

It should be scarce. 

It should be divisible.

It should be transmissible.

It should be immutable. 

It should be difficult to counterfeit.

It should be assayable (easy to verify it is what it says it is).

Gold is good at some of these things, for example being scarce and immutable. But it is bad at others, it is not very divisible and it is not very transmissible. It’s very hard to purchase something with $1 worth of gold. It’d be a very tiny spec of gold that you’d have a hard time telling that it was really gold or just a dust flake. 

Fiat money (US dollars or other country dollars) are easier to transmit around the world (although they take a few days to settle international transactions or across borders). They are hard to counterfeit but they are easy for the US government to print more anytime they want.

I’ve collected a few articles and quotes about Bitcoin, money and intrinsic value. 

DOES BITCOIN HAVE INTRINSIC VALUE? – Bob Simon

There is no such thing as “intrinsic value” in the sense of an object having objective value in and of itself. As a thought experiment, think of assets typically assumed to hold intrinsic value such as gold, farmland, stocks and real estate. Now imagine a world where no humans exist. Do these assets still have value? The answer has to be no, because value only makes sense in the context of human existence.

Because of the luxury enjoyed by Americans and citizens of many developed countries, the benefits brought about by Bitcoin may not be as obvious as they are for many people in developing nations. Inflation in the United States has been persistent, but not devastating over the past two generations, and most people haven’t had issues with their banking services being shut down.

Bitcoin Has No Intrinsic Value — and That’s Great. – Conner Brown

The Rai stones used by the Yap people are another example of a store of value without commodity use.

Bitcoin is Not Backed by Nothing -Parker Lewis

“What backs the dollar (or euro or yen, etc.) in the first place? When attempting to answer this question, the retort is most often that the dollar is backed by the government, the military (guys with guns), or taxes. However, the dollar is backed by none of these. Not the government, not the military and not taxes. Governments tax what is valuable; a good is not valuable because it is taxed. Similarly, militaries secure what is valuable, not the other way around. And a government cannot dictate the value of its currency; it can only dictate the supply of its currency.

Venezuela, Argentina, and Turkey all have governments, militaries and the authority to tax, yet the currencies of each have deteriorated significantly over the past five years. While it’s not sufficient to prove the counterfactual, each is an example that contradicts the idea that a currency derives its value as a function of government.”

Bitcoin For Everybody – Saylor Academy

I stumbled upon the Saylor Academy Professional Development course, “PRDV151: Bitcoin for Everybody”. Saylor Academy is associated with Michael Saylor, CEO of Microstrategy, which was the first public company to put Bitcoin on its balance sheet. “Saylor Academy is a nonprofit initiative working since 2008 to offer free and open online courses to all who want to learn. We offer nearly 100 full-length courses at the college and professional levels, each of which is available right now — at your pace, on your schedule, and free of cost.” Saylor Academy has free courses on a lot of things, English as a 2nd Language, Math, Politics, etc. 

While there is some overlap between Michael Saylor and his non-profit and bitcoin, in general it is just a learning website which also happens to have a Bitcoin course. Despite having read many articles about bitcoin for the past 4 years, I decided to take this course. WOW! I learned a lot. The course is free and signing up for Saylor academy is free. I am going to link a few of the articles that I found most interesting from the  courses below as well as some of the most impactful quotes that I got from each article for people who don’t want to read all the articles. Many of the articles are also available from their original sources in spoken format so that would make them easier to listen to while driving instead of taking an hour to read them.
A lot of the information is more about the history of money, how US dollars came to be the World Reserve Currency and other interesting history. Later information gets into the history of bitcoin as well as why it makes good money. I highly recommend taking this course for anyone who is skeptical about Bitcoin. 

Unit 1: Bitcoin Economics

The Bullish Case for Bitcoin -Vijay Boyapati

PoW is Efficient – Dan Held

Everything requires energy (first law of thermodynamics). Claiming that one usage of energy is more or less wasteful than another is completely subjective since all users have paid market rate to utilize that electricity.

Unit 2: Bitcoin Investment

Bitcoin is Not Backed by Nothing -Parker Lewis

“What backs the dollar (or euro or yen, etc.) in the first place? When attempting to answer this question, the retort is most often that the dollar is backed by the government, the military (guys with guns), or taxes. However, the dollar is backed by none of these. Not the government, not the military and not taxes. Governments tax what is valuable; a good is not valuable because it is taxed. Similarly, militaries secure what is valuable, not the other way around. And a government cannot dictate the value of its currency; it can only dictate the supply of its currency.

Venezuela, Argentina, and Turkey all have governments, militaries and the authority to tax, yet the currencies of each have deteriorated significantly over the past five years. While it’s not sufficient to prove the counterfactual, each is an example that contradicts the idea that a currency derives its value as a function of government.”

Bitcoin Cannot be Banned – Parker Lewis

In fact, it posits that bitcoin works so well that it will threaten the incumbent government-run monopolies on money in which case governments will regulate it out of existence to eliminate the threat. Think about the claim that governments will ban bitcoin as conditional logic. Is bitcoin functional as money? If not, governments have nothing to ban. If yes, then governments will attempt to ban bitcoin.

Unit 3: Bitcoin History and Philosophy

Honestly, I didn’t find Unit 3 very interesting. It was full of a lot of history and details that are rather dry reading to me at the moment. While it probably provides useful history, it’s just not very exciting and isn’t completely necessary to understand Bitcoin. 

Unit 4: Bitcoin Technology

THE GREAT PLAGUE OF SHITCOINERY – THIBAUD MARÉCHAL

Under the fiat monetary system, the cost of currency issuance is close to zero, which is very profitable for the national issuers, as there is no longer any limit on the quantity of money that can be created, further shrinking the value of the existing currency in circulation, and annihilating the purchasing power of the currency holders — people like you and me.

Unit 5: Bitcoin in Practice

Unit 5 is relatively short compared to the other units. It is a lot more practical. Here is how Saylor Academy describes unit 5. 

“Now that you have some base awareness of Bitcoin, we will cover basic instruction on putting Bitcoin into practice in this unit. This includes acquiring Bitcoin, using a Bitcoin wallet and the Lightning Network, privacy and security practices, and avoiding common pitfalls, scams, and mistakes.”

This is probably a very useful unit for people who don’t have a lot of familiarity with how Bitcoin works. 

Powerball

“Some people are so poor all they have is money.” – Bob Marley (or Abe Lincoln, the internet will never know)

The Powerball is up to it’s highest ever, $1.3 billion or so, and people are going nuts! If you look to history you will find plenty of lottery winners and others who have come to money and fame fast (sports stars, rock stars, etc), who crash and burn and sometimes even die from the stresses and bad decisions that stem from large life changes like that.

Why does this happen? My belief is poor planning. This could have happened to these people at anytime but getting money only accelerated the inevitable. Money is a tool just like anything else and if you view money as more than a tool, if you worship it, or just about anything else, it can destroy you. The way I see of getting around this? Sort out life before you win any money. If you already have a positive relationship with money, getting a lot of it shouldn’t affect you. Many of us have a bad relationship with money, some of us just are able to avoid consequences because we make enough to avoid issues but not enough to cause bigger issues. Some of us don’t make enough to get ourselves into issues. Although most of us won’t win a million or a billion bucks in our lifetimes, it will still be valuable to think about what your goals and aspirations and work toward those. With that attitude you will feel like you’ve won the lottery everyday, that’s how I feel, most days.

There’s been a meme going around that the Powerball split among everyone in the USA would yield $4.33 million per person, which I’m pretty sure was a super clever marketing stunt by a guy to grow his exposure to the world, good work on that dude. What it really comes out to is $4.33/ person in the USA. We all scoff at that, but there are places where that’d be enough to feed some for a week or more! Think about that next time you are buying your $5 latte.

One thing that excites me each day is that I get to be the lottery to other families. I sponsor children via Children International. It’s a pretty interesting program that does what it says below:

Taken right from their website:

Your monthly sponsorship gift of $32 will change your child’s life! Sponsorship will provide them with:

 

  • Medical and Dental Care
  • Educational Support
  • Family Assistance
  • Emergency Food as Needed
  • Clothes, Shoes and More!

 

You get a letter every few months from the children and can read more about them on the website if you care to. My specific children, in the Philippines, belong to a family that lives on $100 a month! So to give them $32/month is basically like winning the lottery to them, every month! How much cooler is that than winning the lottery yourself? And you can do it for only the cost of 6 lattes a month!

The last letter I got from a boy who’s about 5 said that he wanted to be an architect when he grew up and he even drew me a picture of a house. I am really hoping that I can help support that dream for him, for less than a cup of coffee each day for me. 

Somebody could win the Powerball today (It’s Wednesday as I’m writing this so I guess that means numbers are drawn, I just learned that today (Tuesday as I’m writing this)) But remember, you could make it like someone won the Powerball also and you probably won’t miss the $32/month.

9. What does Hot Rod Power Tour cost? – Answer: It’s worth it!

Quartermile:
It’s definitely worth the cost!
But the Hot Rod Power Tour isn’t actually about the cost, it’s about the the cars, the comradery and the burnouts!
A lot of people are probably interested in what it would cost them, hence why I thought I’d write this up.
There is no price you can put on being a “Long Hauler”. You will get recognition and instant friendship with any other Long Haulers you meet up with at any car show.
Check out my daily logs of HRPT 2014 and all the cool people I met and all the awesome cars I saw!
https://mywheellife.com/2014/06/15/8-my-wheel-life-hot-rod-power-tour-part-1/
https://mywheellife.com/2014/06/19/10-my-wheel-life-hot-rod-power-tour-part-2-of-3/
https://mywheellife.com/2014/06/28/11-hot-rod-power-tour-2014-part-33/

Robbie and I, HRPT long haulers

Robbie and I, HRPT long haulers

The Full Monty
$1988.73. That is what I figure the raw cost was for me to be on HRPT this year. That takes into account all the food, snacks, gas, hotels, broken parts, registration, magazine renewals, t-shirts, etc. Some of this will be reduced when I split the hotels with my buddy, Robbie (watch for a bill in the mail). I’d definitely recommend doing power tour with at least one friend. This lets you talk to someone while driving, maybe I’m just a sentimental person like that. You also will have someone to split gas and hotels with, and you’ll have a navigator, which is very very helpful!

Cool HRPT parking lot!

Cool HRPT parking lot!

I spent $630.57 on parts and service by a shop on my car. So if you take that out my cost would have been $1358.26, which is not bad at all. That being said, power tour is a very demanding trip on cars and you should be ready to spend money on broken parts. Don’t be surprised! I was quoted $1400 to replace the struts and a-arms on my mustang, luckily the GM performance mechanics were able to replace the a-arms for a total of $0. This will be one place I take to say “Thank You” to those guys. They saved so many cars this year (and every year) for no charge. They are really great guys, super friendly, and obviously they kept me going and allowed me to finish the HRPT in one piece!

Mustang getting alignment

Mustang getting alignment

To break down the costs by what they were spent on:

Registration:
My registration was $93.50 because I registered the first day at zMax in Charlotte. Because I used a credit card it cost me an extra $3.50. If you registered early it was $80 instead of $90.
Really the registration is a deal. Your long hauler ticket gets you tons of free stuff from the aftermarket companies that have booths at HRPT. Magnets, the all important HRPT stickers!, posters, car polish, and tons of other goodies, and at the end if you complete the whole thing there is always a long hauler “prize”. This year was an awesome 20th anniversary tin sign, so while this seems like a lot of money up front, it’s really all paid back to you. This registration is per car, and you get 2 “punch cards” per registration.

Long hauler punch card, you get all kinds of free stuff with this!

Long hauler punch card, you get all kinds of free stuff with this!

HRPT 20th anniversary Long Hauler tin sign

HRPT 20th anniversary Long Hauler tin sign

All important HRPT year sticker. (also MyWheelLife.com sticker, available for your own car, email me)

All important HRPT year sticker. (also MyWheelLife.com sticker, available for your own car, email me)

Hotels:
7 Hotels cost me $570.28
To be fair Robbie, did pay for one night’s hotel which was not included.

Gas:
All the gas to drive from Iowa, to North Carolina, back to Wisconsin and back to Iowa cost me a total of $410.36. That’s not bad! to be fair here, I was driving a 2007 Mustang that got 25 mpg average.
The HRPT prescribed route was 1602.1 miles this year. Just to drive that with my mustang would have cost $225 (assuming $3.50/gallon gas).
If you are calculation costs for the tour you simply have to take the number of miles for you from your home to the start, the total mileage of HRPT (usually about 1500) and then the miles from the end back home, divide that by the mpg of your car, and then multiply by and average gas/gallon price (I’m using $3.50 for now)
So if you drove a total of 3000 miles with a car that got 10 mpg it would have cost you $1000. Still not that terrible.

Cool Camaro at Gas station

Cool Camaro at Gas station

Food
I spent $175.63 on food (at restaurants) this year. This was usually a fast lunch and a pretty good diner. Robbie paid for some of my diner’s and I paid for some of his so I believe this is a pretty good average.

To be fair my co-pilot (Robbie) bought us a lot of snacks/breakfast/donuts. We didn’t eat breakfast too many times.
I spent about $40 on snacks/drinks.

There are a ton of variable costs for power tour. There are a ton of great deals for shirts. Comp cams and Petty’s Garage were both selling $5 t-shirts.
I also renewed my Hot Rod and Car Craft magazine (for 3 years each) for a total of $52, and got a free t-shirt! Since that was something I would have done anyway, that was basically a freebie!
The HRPT shirts are a bit expensive, $20+ for a t-shirt (that’s expensive to me when Comp Cams is selling $5 shirts) but some of the HRPT t-shirts are very cool and I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from buying one.
I also spend $30 on supplies to make my Comp Cams drawing costume. The drawing was Friday at the last stop, Wisconsin Dells, WI and the winner got $10,000 in Comp Cams (and other companies they own) shopping spree. This year I got $100 to buy stuff from Comp Cams for my troubles, as a consolation prize. The Comp Cams guys are great and it was fun walking around talking to people so that was worth it to me.

HRPT golden ticket Spartan!

HRPT golden ticket Spartan!

Overall, the HRPT is really a pretty cheap vacation. Really if you wanted, your only costs could be gas, hotels and food, and you’d get to see a ton of cool cars. Probably the cheapest way to see the whole HRPT would be to drive a station wagon with 4 guys, stuff all 4 of you in one hotel room, split gas and then just a bit of food would be it. That would honestly be awesome! Let me know if anyone has done that!
But like I said at the beginning, HRPT isn’t about the cost. It’s about the cars, the comradery, the friendships and the memories, and you can’t put a price on any of that.
“It’s worth it!” – Axel Hoogland
So will you be making HRPT in the near future?
What’s your favorite car road trip besides HRPT?

Hope you all enjoyed this post. If you did please follow me via email so you don’t miss any future posts. Also like my Facebook page, share this post with your friends, etc.
Keep the wheels on the road!

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6. My Wheel Life – How to buy a vehicle

How to buy a vehicle and look as happy as this guy!

My friend on the 1982 Virago 920 he just purchased. It was his first motorcycle. Bought from the 2nd owner who had owned it since 1984.

My friend on the 1982 Virago 920 he just purchased. It was his first motorcycle. Bought from the 2nd owner who had owned it since 1984.


Quartermile:
Have an agreed upon way to transfer money between you and the seller.
Bring a blank Bill of Sale to fill out to show you have ownership of the vehicle. (just google “bill of sale or use this link http://www.jogero.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Car-Bill-of-Sale.jpg )
Do a bit of research on the vehicle you are considering buying for price and common failure modes of the vehicle (weak points, ex: this engine had a tendency to blow head gaskets, or the paint was bad on X year of this vehicle)

The Full Monty

While watching racing or walking through a car show is fun, there is nothing like having your own pride and joy to ride, drive, race, modify or show off. That being established, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned from buying cars with my father, from my own experiences or guiding friends as they buy their first toys. To be clear most vehicles I buy are toys but most of the points in this article can be applied to toys or to basic transportation vehicles or even lawn mowers or tractors.

Often the first thing you will need to identify is how much money you are willing or able to spend.This will depend on the year of vehicle you are buying and your access to credit. I have been lucky to be buying vehicles less than 10 years old lately so I have had access to credit. If you are buying a car more than 10 years old or an ATV/dirtbike you will likely have to come up with the cash. When calculating what you are willing to spend on a vehicle remember there are usually a lot more costs than just the purchase price. You will have to transfer the title to your name. That will cost somewhere between $20-$100 (rough guess). When you transfer the title you will then have to pay a “road use tax” at least in Iowa. This is basically “the Man” getting you for sales tax. You will also have to pay for insurance within a certain number of days. I like my current insurance company because all my vehicles are covered through them so any new vehicles are automatically umbrella’ed under my coverage when I buy it, so when I drive it home I am already covered. Lastly, if you are like me you will likely want to immediately modify your vehicle in some way to make it yours. You should keep in mind any maintenance you will have to perform immediately. New tires? $400. Oil change? $30-40. New wipers? $10. Fixing a leaky rear window that you forgot to ask the previous owner about because that seems like a silly question to have to ask? Turns out that cost me about $50 and a days work. More on that in a later post.

Where to find a vehicle?
The easiest place to find vehicles these days is Craigslist. It breaks the whole country down into areas that you shouldn’t have to drive more than an hour to find something you want. Browsing craigslist is tons of fun since there is new stuff everyday. If you are looking for a specific vehicle make/model you can become a CL power user and search via SearchTempest.

About the funniest Craigslist ad I've ever read.

About the funniest Craigslist ad I’ve ever read.


http://www.searchtempest.com/
Another way to find a certain make or model is to look on a forum for that vehicle. Most specialty vehicles have a dedicated forum and usually there is a thread for vehicles for sale. Often these vehicles are well taken care of as the previous owner took enough time to look at the vehicle specific forum. Ebay Motors is also another good place to look for vehicles. My personal preference is to know what a vehicle will cost, so on Ebay Motors I prefer to search for “buy it now” vehicles only. Often Ebay Motors listings will include contact information outside of Ebay. I am not condoning or condemning that practice. I will leave that up to your judgement.
http://www.ebay.com/motors

This is a 2001 Dodge Viper I found for sale on EbayMotors for $31k. The MSRP on this car new would have been anywhere between $65k-$75k. It has 15k miles which basically is a new car. For window shopping purposes, you can buy this Viper or a brand new V8 Camaro or Mustang for the same price. The Dodge will probably cost more for insurance and replacement parts. The upside of car like this is there will be thousands of other Camaros and Mustangs. How many Dodge Vipers will you see on the road? Not many.

This is a 2001 Dodge Viper I found for sale on EbayMotors for $31k. The MSRP on this car new would have been anywhere between $65k-$75k. It has 15k miles which basically is a new car. For window shopping purposes, you can buy this Viper or a brand new V8 Camaro or Mustang for the same price. The Dodge will probably cost more for insurance and replacement parts. The upside of a car like this is there will be thousands of other Camaros and Mustangs. How many Dodge Vipers will you see on the road? Not many.

It’s a great practice to bring at least one friend when vehicle shopping. Often you can get caught up in the excitement of buying a new vehicle and you can look over any problems the vehicle has. Review the following questions with your friend, bring someone you trust and enjoy the car buying experience.

Once you have found a vehicle and set up a meeting there are a myriad of questions that you should ask.
Does the seller have the title? If not why?
How long will it take to get the title? Will they hold the vehicle until they get the title for you?
Does the vehicle have a clean title?!? If not why?
Is the vehicle still under a loan? (In Iowa the bank holds the title until the loan is paid off.)
How long has the seller owned this vehicle? If it’s been a short time it’s ok to be a bit suspicious and ask a few more questions about that.
What is the primary reason for selling this vehicle?
What problems are there with the vehicle?

Then you should check the vehicle over for a few things:
Do you see any rust?

The bad spots on this car were a bit more apparent than on some cars. Floors and quarter panels, and around windows are good places to look for rust

The bad spots on this car were a bit more apparent than on some cars. Floors and quarter panels, and around windows are good places to look for rust


Do you see any dents or dings? If so where did they come from?
Take the vehicle for a drive. You should actually drive the vehicle a little “hard” during a test drive, at least I think so. You should probably ask the seller and be clear that if you break it you don’t buy it. I’m not saying hard as in reckless, but accelerate, brake, turn sharply a little, obviously safely. Note any strange noises, slow accelerations or hick ups etc.

The topic of cash is an interesting one all by itself. Do you really want to pay for an $8000 vehicle in cash? Will the person selling the car be willing to take a check? The last vehicle I helped a friend purchase, a pristine 1982 Yamaha Virago 920, we had to make an atm run the day before and the morning of, because he had hit his daily limit for withdrawing cash. If you don’t have a physical bank in your area, just getting a large amount of cash can be difficult! One time a friend of mine paid the seller via paypal. The important thing here is to establish with the seller before you show up how you will pay them, and have the money ready when you get there.

What to pay? The negotiation.
If you decide you are ready to buy the car the next thing to discuss is the price. Here you should always do your homework before you go. Kelly Bluebook is always a good place to start at least. It will get you in some sort of neighborhood if you have no clue what you should pay.
http://www.kbb.com

Hemmings Motor news, ebay, and craigslist are all good places to baseline similar vehicles too.
The most important thing when negotiating is that you never pay what seller is asking because he undoubtedly inflated that number because he was sure some donkey like you was going to come along and lowball him, and he was right. Ok that is a joke, but normally, in my opinion, people are willing to come down a few hundred to maybe even a few thousand, depending on exactly what you are buying. If you don’t ask you will never know. One thing though, often I will not enter a negotiation unless I’ve already decided to pay the asking price and I am mostly looking for a good deal. I’m not saying that’s the only way to do it, maybe you really won’t buy it unless the seller comes down $500 on a $10k car, but really, if you are that interested is $500 really worth you not having the car you really want? Sometimes the extra time you’d get driving the car will be worth the little extra money. Also you need to consider the time and money you are investing driving to look at all these vehicles. Gas isn’t free and neither is my time (maybe your’s is). In case anyone is interested in hiring me for anything my time starts at $100/hour, but I can be negotiated with also….

Once you have sealed the deal on your new beauty you are almost ready to take it home. You should always bring a blank bill of sale to get signed. This is always good to cover your butt. It is a document both you and the seller sign with all the relevant vehicle information and it is a legal document. You can use it in lieu of a title for 30 days (at least in Iowa). It also is something you can show the police officer when you get pulled over on your way home testing the limits in your new pride and joy.

The last vehicle I purchased (April 2014).

The last vehicle I purchased (April 2014).

I’ll share a quick story of when I bought my crotch rocket. I was cruising back to my home, it was about 60 miles away. As soon as i got on the freeway I thought “lets open it up and see what she does!” then i had a 2nd thought that said, “That’s too stereotypical crotch rocket guy I’ll just cruise” and not 1 minute later there was a cop camped between the 2 lanes. I was so happy that i had not gunned it because I probably would have ended up with a ticket and it probably would have been fast enough to lose my license! So let that be a lesson to you all!

Keep the rubber side down and go out and buy something!
Do you think I missed something? Let me know! The best thing about the internet is I can always edit it away!
What was the last (preferably fun) vehicle you bought?