Bubblemania: Initial Coin Offerings

bitcoin mania bubble parabolic

I will freely admit I’ve never hopped on the Bitcoin and alternative currency trains.

My main objections are thus:

  • The government can criminalize it whenever it feels like it. A challenge to the established coin of the realm is great for us contrarians, but thinking tactically, if a government can confiscate gold – as was done by FDR – why would they balk at outlawing tokens? Especially when it is being used for rather nasty black market purposes on the dark web.
  • It isn’t safe in the slightest from EMPs, internet tricksters, and counterfeiting.

It’s essentially gold without the long history and tangible aspect. And precious metals are risky enough. Bitcoin’s market swings are more volatile by orders of magnitude.

In short, if you want to trade it and have the acumen, then by all means. But if you are using it as a long-term store of value, you could be in for a rude awakening.

Worse yet, it’s also going through a bubble phase. I wrote a bit about the hallmarks of a bubble in this article. Bitcoin sure looks to fit that criteria.

Then there is this from Sovereign Man:

I vividly remember having a conversation several years ago with a woman about her real estate investments in the United States.

It must have been around 2005 or 2006… the peak of the property bubble.

She was a psychologist from somewhere in the midwest, telling me about how she was flipping off-plan condominiums in Florida.

Basically she would put money down to secure a condo unit in a building before it broke ground, then sell her contract to someone else at a higher price when the building was closer to completion.

I remember as she told me this story she was practically cackling at how quickly and easily she was doubling and tripling her money, and at one point said, “It is just soooo easy for me.”

Those words stuck.

I remember thinking, “Investing isn’t supposed to be easy. There’s supposed to be risk and hard work involved.”

But she wasn’t alone. Legions of amateur investors were piling into the market doing exactly the same thing.

Everyone seemed to be flipping condos. And everyone seemed to be making money.

It didn’t add up.

I remember one investor explaining to me how he would flip his condo contract to someone else when the building was 30% complete. Then that buyer would flip the contract to another investor when the building was 60% complete. Then another sale when the building was 80% complete, etc.

“But who is the person at the end of the line?” I asked. “Someone has to eventually live in all of these condos and be willing to pay the highest price.”

“Oh there will ALWAYS be plenty of people who will live here,” he told me.

To these investors it was a foregone conclusion that required zero analysis: there will always be buyers, no matter how high the price gets.

One of the marks of a good investor is learning from his/her mistakes; when an investment performs poorly, a good investor will try to figure out WHY, and incorporate those lessons into future decisions.

But a GREAT investor will learn from his/her successes.

This is rare. Perhaps it’s part of our human nature. When we succeed, we automatically conclude that we’re really smart.

We seldom examine what really happened. Did we get lucky? Were we riding the wave of a giant bubble? Or, perhaps our analysis was spot-on and we nailed it.

It’s hard to say for sure without some serious self-reflection.

But again, it’s in our nature to presume that we’re brilliant.

And that may be one of the most dangerous things of all… because our infatuation with our own brilliance causes us to do irrational things.

Instead of thinking, “Whew, I got really lucky, I’d better take some money off the table before this market crashes,” we think, “I’m so smart… now I’m going to double down and make even more money.”

It’s like gamblers at the craps table– people delude themselves into believing that they’re on a ‘hot streak’ and ‘can’t lose’, so they keep increasing their bets instead of cashing in their chips.

Eventually the luck runs out… and the money vanishes quickly.

I’m telling you all of this because I see the same thing right now in the “ICO” market.

If you haven’t heard of ICOs, it stands for Initial Coin Offering. It’s a combination of venture capital and cryptofinance.

Help Spread the Word by Following Dystopia USA on Social Media. Don't Make Me Feel Lonely!