The Future of Banking

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Future of Banking

September 23, 2017
Hot Springs, VA

“The biggest disruption of Bitcoin is that banks are no longer needed. Every major financial institution has made this technology its focus… but they say Bitcoin is a fraud. It’s the blockchain, they proclaim. They can utilize the technology ‘behind Bitcoin’ to make themselves smarter, better, faster, bigger. But Bitcoin’s fundamental use-case is to remove the banking function entirely from the equation. When banks come to terms with this, they will contact their congressmen and spend millions… maybe billions to slander Bitcoin.”Erik Voorhees

The S&P closed yesterday’s trading session at $2,502. Gold closed at $1,300 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $50.66 per barrel. The 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.26%. Bitcoin is trading around $3,780 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

I have ventured back down to south Florida to see what Irma left behind… and maybe do a little more work in the publishing arena.

I have been flying back-and-forth between Florida and Virginia for several months now, but I do have a vehicle in Delray to get me around town… which I had left parked conveniently beside the largest palm tree I have ever seen.

I am happy to report that palm trees are quite hardy – which was a surprise to me. But the palm branches… not so much. So, my vehicle survived the hurricane. But you will find many naked and deformed palm trees hanging around south Florida now.

Hurricane Torn Palm Tree

Speaking of naked and deformed, I spent the flight down thinking about Bitcoin, banking, and the nature of disruptive technology.

As you recall, the CEO of JP Morgan called Bitcoin a fraud last week… and we had a little fun at his expense.

In reality, the banking sector is where the fraud is. Money laundering… rigging LIBOR… robo-stamping foreclosures… ripping off “muppets”… fraud has run rampant in the banking sector for more than a decade now.

That is why Bitcoin has been so successful. It is a timely solution.

But Bitcoin is not a new idea. The Cypherpunks were working on cryptocurrencies all the way back in the 80s.

It took thirty years for the idea to stick because the world was not ready for them. People didn’t know they needed independent money yet. They still trusted the System.

Bitcoin Will Change the World

But remember, Bitcoin is not just a solution to the banking problem.

Bitcoin is a disruptive technology. Disruptive technologies change everything. There will be no going back.

Agriculture was the disruptive technology 15,000 years ago. Agriculture made us farmers. We didn’t go back to being hunter/gatherers.

Capital markets were the disruptive technology 500 years ago. Markets made us an industrial society. We didn’t go back to feudalism.

The automobile was the disruptive technology 100 years ago. The world became smaller as transportation improved. And we didn’t go back to horse and buggies.

The internet was the disruptive technology 20 years ago. The world became connected… and we didn’t go back to paper records and post offices.

And Bitcoin is the disruptive technology today. Bitcoin makes all of us custodians of our own money. We won’t go back to banking.

Jamie Dimon may not know this yet… but some banks do.

The Future of Banking

Capital One just opened a new bank branch here in Delray Beach – right on Atlantic Avenue.

“That’s just stupid,” I thought to myself. “Their rent is at least $20,000 a month… but physical bank branches are completely obsolete. Why open a new one? Their best chance of surviving the next decade is to leverage mobile banking as far as it will take them.”

It turns out they aren’t as dumb as I thought. A friend filled me in a few days after the new branch opened:

“The new Capital One is awesome… it’s the best bank I have ever been in! You walk in and they have catchy music playing. And it looks like an upscale lounge… nice décor… comfortable furniture.

You look around and there are no bankers in sight. Instead, the one guy working there is selling expensive hipster coffee. And he will give you a tablet to open a Capital One account online if you want.

He told me that they are catering to the local business community. Businesses can rent the place out for meetings… or lunches… or parties… whatever they want. And the bank will sell them all the hipster coffee they can drink!”

So, there you have it – the future of banking!

Little Maddie will never have a bank account. She will never have to wait for her check to “clear”. Or wait 2 or 3 business days for her deposit to post.

Instead, she will handle all of her financial affairs herself, within the crypto economy.

But if she’s lucky, there will still be a local bank nearby to sell her all the hipster coffee she wants…

More to come,

Signature

 

 

 

Joe Withrow
Wayward Philosopher

P.S. My new Bitcoin course teaches you everything you need to know to buy, trade, and store bitcoins securely. So far, the course boasts a 4.9 rating from active users. You can get it here.

Of Bitcoin, Bankers, and Tulip Bulbs

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Of Bitcoin, Bankers, and Tulip Bulbs

September 14, 2017
Hot Springs, VA

“At its core, bitcoin is a smart currency, designed by very forward-thinking engineers. It eliminates the need for banks, gets rid of credit card fees, currency exchange fees, money transfer fees, and reduces the need for lawyers in transitions… all good things.” – Peter Diamandis

The S&P closed yesterday’s trading session at $2,498. Gold closed at $1,326 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $49.34 per barrel. The 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.20%. Bitcoin is trading around $3,616 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

“I just want you to know that I actually like my Bitcoin shirt!”, wife Rachel said to me after reading my last journal entry.

“Have you worn it in public yet?”

“Well, no…”

Keeping with our Bitcoin theme, the honourable Jamie Dimon – CEO of JP Morgan Chase – shared his thoughts at an event hosted by Barclays this week:

“It’s worse than tulip bulbs. It won’t end well. Someone is going to get killed… it will blow up.” Continue reading “Of Bitcoin, Bankers, and Tulip Bulbs”

A Season for Change

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
A Season for Change

September 12, 2017
Hot Springs, VA

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?” – Ecclesiastes 3

The S&P closed yesterday’s trading session at $2,487. Gold closed at $1,335 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $48.07 per barrel. The 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.06%. Bitcoin is trading around $4,288 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

It has been ten months since I have last written to you… and this world is far different from what it was before.

For starters, Little Maddie is no longer a toddler. She is a little lady. And like all ladies, Maddie knows best… about everything.

Daddy, that’s not how you do it!”, she exclaims with absolute confidence. “Here, let me show you! Okay, daddy. You try…

Her father just smiles and obeys… but his mind wanders in amazement. There was no Maddie four years ago. She didn’t exist. Continue reading “A Season for Change”

Transcending Politics

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Transcending Politics

October 20, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Just as the technology of printing altered and reduced the power of medieval guilds and the social power structure, so too will cryptologic methods fundamentally alter the nature of corporations and of government interference in economic transactions… And just as a seemingly minor invention like barbed wire made possible the fencing-off of vast ranches and farms, thus altering forever the concepts of land and property rights in the frontier West, so too will the seemingly minor discovery out of an arcane branch of mathematics come to be the wire clippers which dismantle the barbed wire around intellectual property. Arise, you have nothing to lose but your barbed wire fences!” – Timothy C. May

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,144. Gold closed at $1,270 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $51.72 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.75%. Bitcoin is trading around $630 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Today is little Maddie’s birthday! I still remember, two years ago to the day, witnessing her first breath of life. I can see it in my mind’s eye just a clearly as I see the computer screen in front of me. She has become a fantastically sweet and clever young lady in two years time, and her father’s cup runneth over with pride and joy.

Due to scheduling constraints, we actually celebrated her birthday on Tuesday. A few months back I asked Madison what she wanted to do for her birthday. “I want to ride Leo the horse!”, she responded without hesitation. So that’s exactly what we did. Continue reading “Transcending Politics”

The Only Debate Topic That Matters

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Only Debate Topic That Matters

September 29, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Loading up the nation with debt and leaving it for the following generations to pay is morally irresponsible. Excessive debt is a means by which governments oppress the people and waste their substance. No nation has a right to contract debt for periods longer than the majority contracting it can expect to live. ” – Thomas Jefferson

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,171. Gold closed at $1,327 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $47.12 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.57%. Bitcoin is trading around $605 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Nearly one-third of all Americans – almost 100 million people – tuned in to watch the first presidential debate earlier this week. This represents an increase in viewership by nearly 40% from the 2012 presidential debates, and it almost rivaled television’s biggest draw – the Super Bowl – which received 112 million viewers last year. Apparently the debate was aired on television throughout Europe as well.

I see these numbers and the first thing that pops into my head is a question: how in the world do the ratings agencies know how many people are sitting on the couch in front of a given television?

I didn’t spend too much time with this, but all of the numbers I have seen reference “viewers” and “people”, not “households”. They are very specific about this.

I can’t help but think about poor Winston in George Orwell’s 1984 – he sits down in front of his telescreen and while he is watching it, it is also watching him… Continue reading “The Only Debate Topic That Matters”

The Gamma Phenomenon

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Gamma Phenomenon

September 5, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Humanity in our time remains in infancy. We are essentially unlimited creatures, yet we have been wallowing in abject poverty – physically, mentally, and spiritually. We have natures that are suited to high adventure, yet we remain stagnant. Why? Because we’ve been conditioned only to exist, not to live.” – Prester John, A Lodging of Wayfaring Men

The S&P closed out Friday at $2,180. Gold closed at $1,329 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $44.25 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.60%. Bitcoin is trading around $605 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Little Madison is approaching her second birthday, and somehow she has already picked out her own birthday gift. “I want to ride Leo the horse…”, she says with a hopeful sparkle in her inquisitive blue eyes.

Naturally, her father considers all of the things that could possibly go wrong in such a scenario. Do you want to mommy or daddy to ride with you?

No! I want to ride all by myself.

As best I can tell, to observe a toddler is to observe human nature in its purest form… before all of the social conditioning, group-think, and peer pressure begin to alter behavior.

Assuming this is correct, the need for high adventure, exploration, and excitement seems to be embedded into the core of human nature. Madison possesses a zeal for life, and she does not tolerate any restrictions on her freedom to play and explore. Any curtailment, indeed even the threat of curtailment, is met with fierce resistance and extreme displeasure. Continue reading “The Gamma Phenomenon”

Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting

August 4, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” – H.L. Mencken

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,163. Gold closed at $1,364 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $41.08 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.54%. Bitcoin is trading around $584 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Election season is now in full swing here in the U.S. – much to the agony of those of us who believe in human liberty, voluntary association, and participatory networks.

Once again the intelligentsia have convinced people that their future hinges directly upon the outcome of the next presidential election, and inevitably we non-voters are denounced for lack of patriotism by the 40% of the population who still place their faith in the voting booth. Naturally, our first reaction is to stand up for ourselves and explain our position:

“The essence of politics is coercion and, if necessary, violence…”, we attempt to explain in vain. Continue reading “Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting”

Bitcoin and the Crypto Revolution

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Bitcoin and the Crypto Revolution

June 22, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Bitcoin is the beginning of something great: a currency without a government, something necessary and imperative. ” – Nassim Taleb, Author of Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

The S&P closed out Monday at $2,088. Gold closed at $1,271 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $48.95 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.70%. Bitcoin is trading around $670 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Bitcoin flirted with $800 last week before dropping all the way down to $630. Today it is hovering around $670. Such volatility is usually feared by the general public, and it is often cited as one of Bitcoin’s weaknesses. To me, this volatility is a beautiful example of price discovery in one of the freest markets on Earth. Continue reading “Bitcoin and the Crypto Revolution”

What America Forgot

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
What America Forgot

June 14, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Think about this, Frances: For the past several thousand years of recorded history, humans lived at the edge of starvation, usually in abject poverty, perpetually at risk. But in just the past few centuries, and primarily in only one or two parts of the world, we suddenly develop medical science, cars, telephones, airplanes, refrigeration, central heating, electrical power, computers, and spaceships. Why here? And why now?” – James Farber, A Lodging of Wayfaring Men

The S&P closed out Monday at $2,079. Gold closed at $1,286 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $48.56 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.61%. Bitcoin is trading around $705 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

As I mentioned in last week’s entry, wife Rachel and I just celebrated our third wedding anniversary, and this one may have been the best yet. There were no gifts, no fancy dinners, no nights out… Rachel didn’t even get me a card! I was so proud of her!

It reminded me of the Christmas following our engagement a number of years ago. With the wedding looming, we agreed not to give each other gifts for just one Christmas holiday in the interest of saving money.

Believing very strongly in contractual agreements, I followed through diligently on my end of the deal… Rachel did not. I found myself receiving several gifts from her on that Christmas morning, and I didn’t have even the tiniest trinket to offer in return. She was devastated!

I tried to plead my case: But I thought we agreed not to give each other gifts!? Continue reading “What America Forgot”

Markets and Economic Calculation

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Markets and Economic Calculation

June 7, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Monetary calculation is not the calculation, and certainly not the measurement, of value. Its basis is the comparison of the more important and the less important. It is an ordering according to rank, an act of grading (Cuhel), and not an act of measuring.” – Ludwig von Mises

The S&P closed out Monday at $2,109. Gold closed at $1,247 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $49.71 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.72%. Bitcoin is trading around $585 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Wife Rachel and I will commemorate our third wedding anniversary tomorrow! When she asked me what I would like to do to celebrate, I naturally suggested that we could do anything in the world she wanted. Her response:

I would kind of like to do something fun, but I would settle for a major house cleaning day…

Does that mean we are officially marriage pro’s?

Moving on… I think this is a fascinating time to be alive. Based on what I know about recorded human history, I doubt there has ever been a more interesting point in time to be a keen observer of civilization. How lucky we are!

As I have reckoned on before, human civilization is currently transitioning from the Industrial Age and into the Information Age. Pre-Internet society was drastically different from post-Internet society, and indeed all of modern civilization has been made dependent upon a functioning Internet. This dynamic will only deepen as all of the Big Data and Internet-of-Things trends continue to play out. Continue reading “Markets and Economic Calculation”