Archive for August, 2017


August 30th, 2017
I had an opportunity to visit a friend in his basement office surrounded by make-believe, non-ice covered, kid-sized hockey mats, a kick boxing dummy, and half a dozen other large toys. In the corner of his makeshift office was a set up that looked just a little bit like the computer that ran HAL from 2001: a Space Odyssey. There were lights flashing and connecting wires going everywhere. When I asked him what it was doing, he said, “It’s trading in cryptocurrency.
I have never even figured out how day traders in the stock market do their thing, but this was even more mesmerizing. The screen on his monitor listed about 18 names like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, NEM, Dash, Ethereum Classic, IOTA, and on and on. In fact, as he scrolled down the screen, there were hundreds of names of currency exchanges, and the numbers were changing regularly and rapidly on all of them.
This guy is a smart guy, and he does understand computers, the stock market, and pretty much everything that I don’t  understand, but this was light years ahead of my knowledge base. While he is making, trading, and getting money in the supercomputer future, I’m  still stuck between a Commodore 64 and word perfect, 
He explained to me that his goal 10 years ago was to find a way to just keep making money while he slept, and he may be on the verge of doing that. His machines are mining bitcoin and bitcoin imitators 24-hours a day.
My knowledge in this area is so limited that I’m not even sure how to begin to explain what I learned, but that’s never stopped me before. So, between what I can remember and Wikipedia, here goes. Bitcoin is a digital asset and payment system created by a programmer or group of programmers under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto who may not even be a person or persons. It’s described as a cryptocurrency, and it was released as open source software eight years ago.
OK, if that’s  not complicated enough, it’s a peer-to-peer system in which all transactions take place between users without an intermediary or intermediaries. So, no banks, no governments, no brokers, no middle men. It’s mano-a-mano.
Well, at least that was the plan. There are numerous subtle ways that people insert themselves, and once the governments figure out that this could become the worldwide currency system without their involvement for taxation purposes, I’m sure they will become participants, too.
Besides being rewarded for doing what is referred to as mining, the participants can also exchange bitcoins or their equivalent crypto-currency for other services, for other currencies, or even for products (both legally and on the dark web). If you remember the news a few weeks ago, the computer shutdown that hit the world allowed their hostages to get their information back for $300 in bitcoins.
By 2015 there were more than 100,000 vendors or merchants that accepted bitcoins as appropriate tender for payment. Now there are around six million people using it as a crypto-currency.
I’m not sure how many of you are into this incredible new world of bypassing the world banking and monetary systems, but I’m thinking we should all have friends who either have a large stash of gold, or unless there’s a magnetic pulse that shuts down all electronics, we should have friends who trade and mine in bitcoins. It’s clearly the survivalist and smart investor’s path to financial independence in the future.
Both New York and Duke Universities, are offering courses on crypto-currencies. The United Kingdom’s University of Cumbria offers two certificates on crypto-currencies, and the University of Nicosia in Cyprus offers a master’s degree in digital currency, but my buddy learned everything he needed to know on YouTube. Maybe I should have worked harder on algorithms or paid more attention to YouTube?