Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hey, Nouriel Roubini and Bitcoin Fanboys

Guess what?

Apple is about to come out with a top of the line watch with an 18k gold case.

You guys do understand that you can't wear paper money or bitcoins, and that you certainly can't make a top of the line watch case out of them, don't you?


  1. I don't mean to be a buzzkill, but I hope you can imagine the counter argument:

    "Gold is so irrelevant that Apple is making watches out of it."

    1. Oh yeah, that's how it works Apple use expensive commodities that no one cares about.

    2. It's *because* Apple sees a use-value for it that gold is relevant.

      Money's value derives ultimately from its use-value. Therefore only commodities can be money.

      When people trade in paper or bitcoins, they are trading in speculation and the gullibility of the next sucker.

  2. Slow traffic day at EPJ, huh?

    1. I see this as relevant in that the Apple Watch, which is light on features, seems to be marketed at least in the initial stages as an object of pure conspicuous consumption. This has always been a factor in demand for Apple products but it seems like a new turn of strategy. Let's not underestimate the importance of a 700T market cap manufacturer as a bellwether.

      Make of it what you will but this is newsworthy on many levels.

  3. You could use your gold apple watch to send bitcoins across continents. Instantly. Without transfer costs.

    1. If they aren't stolen by hackers somewhere along the way. Or the bitcoin exchanges don't close up shop.

      Your gamble

  4. That's a strange item to call to mind Bitcoin. Makes it seem like, before the usual astute commentary, you prefer to grind your axe.

  5. Your anti bitcoin posts are getter pathetic. You resort to name calling yet again. Snooze.

  6. Gold is so irrelevant that central banks are stockpiling it and telling everyone it is a barbaric relic accumulated for tradition's sake. that right?

    Let me try again.

    Gold is so irrelevant that countries are repatriating theirs at record rates. Umm...wait...darn, I suck at this. Wolfie can you help?

  7. Can you send gold across the planet, with zero chance of fraud, in a matter of seconds at the cost of a fraction of a penny, no matter how much you send?

    Can you store an all the gold ever mined in a device that fits in the palm of your hand?

    Can you retain complete control of your gold whilst also being immune to search seizure?

    Can you bring gold across borders with zero fear of theft by customs?

    I don't think this has to be a battle though. There is certainly a market for both gold and Bitcoin as currency. Gold would probably be the ultimate long term store of value. However, actually trading it without exposing yourself to fraudulent practice, such as what happened with Brenton-Woods, would be much more difficult than with Bitcoin, which is unforgeable. So, I think Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies will fill the use of day-to-day spending.

  8. You can't wear bitcoin? Hmm:

    "Q. What’s the idea behind wearing a ring with your Bitcoin log-in engraved into it?
    It’s a cool ring. I wanted to have a cool way to save my Bitcoin. It’s definitely one of my most expensive possessions."

    ... once again Wenzel demonstrates what a raging luddite he is. It's a wonder all the Austrosaurs aren't claiming the internet can't be worth anything because it's all digits and numbers!

    1. The digits aren't worth anything, but the service of explanation is; They are two different concepts.

      Given Wenzel's position on IP, consistency demands that he acknowledge the merits of your argument from digits and numbers. In his worldview, the digits and numbers (like his Drudge Formula) should be precisely what gives the Internet, and by extension, bitcoins, their value.

      But here's why you're both wrong.

      As mentioned above, "information" is different from the symbols used to communicate it. Information is actually IMPOSED on patterns by the individual that is interpreting it.

      For example, clouds aren't trying to communicate with you, but you see pictures in them, anyway.

      Even when someone writes to you, it is you who is imposing meaning on the symbols. So information is always only being "created" in the mind of the individual reader. Therefore it can never be sent or transported.

      (Not to mention that the computers can't send anything: They affect connected hardware by changing the position of atoms in the connecting medium. It's the change to which the hardware is reacting - nothing is ever being transferred.)

      The individual imposes their own worldview on symbols, so it doesn't matter what form the symbols take. As such, the symbols, digits, 1's and 0's, themselves, aren't worth anything at all.

      But the service of explanation is worth something, and this is what gives computer hardware their value.

      (Software is the service of communication, so the value isn't in the code, itself, but in the writer's ability to enable the recipient to interpret it. This is true even when the target of the software is a piece of hardware, since it was a person who designed the hardware to react in certain ways to certain state-changes of its connecting medium. The hardware "interprets" the changes on behalf of the designer.)

      The Internet isn't a thing, it's a description of the degree of interconnectedness. To treat the Internet as one thing is like to treat the economy as one thing - you need Methodological Individualism to understand it, properly.

      The service of communication has value, not the symbols of communication (coded, or foreign-language symbols may be informative to some, but not to others).

      The hardware of communication has value, not the software (manufacturers had to design the hardware to interpret certain kinds of state-changes, and if you're using patterns of 1's and 0's which the manufacturer didn't design the hardware to interpret, the hardware isn't going to do anything meaningful to the user, except by accident, perhaps (but that wouldn't be communication).

      Neither bitcoins nor the Internet have value. The service of communication does.

      Bitcoins don't communicate anything except the arbitrarily assigned numbers to pizzas and such. Gullible people are willing to expend their time and energy on bitcoins, which is the ony reason people buy and sell in them - like a Ponzi Scheme.

      Commodity money has use-values, so its value as money is grounded in the real life function of being a means for satisfying the preferences of some individual - so commodity money's vaue isn't arbitrary like bitcoins are.

    2. "I wanted to have a cool way to save my Bitcoin. It’s definitely one of my most expensive possessions."

      I could have engraved the rubber on one of those Lance Armstrong wristbands with his Bitcoin log-in for like half the price. :D