Our Value of Money Is Subjective But That Doesn’t Make It Meaningless

Our Value of Money Is Subjective But That Doesn’t Make It Meaningless

In my last op-ed, I discussed how the value we place on items and goods is subjective based on Carl Menger’s Subjective Theory of Value and how these concepts apply to people’s perception of value with things like fiat, gold, and bitcoin. The post outlined the idea that money cannot serve as a store of value, even though a lot of people and modern economists today still believe that it does. However, even though value cannot be stored in a sense, it doesn’t make the value we place on money whimsical — every individual has their own construct of what value is and how it justifies the means for their own ends. Also Read: Putting an End to the Bitcoin Store of Value Fallacy Human Action: The End Determines the Importance of Means Value cannot be stored and many Austrian economists have explained this concept over the years, despite Keynesians and other modern economists believing otherwise. In my last editorial, “Putting an End to the Bitcoin Store of Value Fallacy,” a lot of commenters disagreed with the observations and the theory discussed. Basically, the editorial relied on Menger’s definition of “value” and posited the idea that money including gold and bitcoin cannot actually store value. However, it doesn’t mean money’s worth doesn’t exist or that humans don’t actually give value to things like precious metals, commodities, virtual assets, or collectibles. Value is relative in a personal way, but it is not arbitrary as it is always based on what Ludwig von Mises referred to as “human action.” In the Austrian economist’s magnum opus, “Human Action: A Treatise on Economics,” Mises presents a rational investigation of free market capitalism based on praxeology. “Praxeology is the study of those aspects of human action that can be grasped a priori,” Roderik Long explains on Praxeology.net. “In other words, it is concerned with the conceptual analysis and logical implications of preference, choice, means-end schemes, and so forth.” So individual human action is how people make everyday decisions by using the resources or means they have obtained in life to secure various ends or goals. We can assume that value itself stems from each and every individual’s preferences or rational decision-making. “The use of resources is not done haphazardly but…

Some Major Coins Still Making Gains, Others Trade Sideways as Oil Reports Mixed Signals

Some Major Coins Still Making Gains, Others Trade Sideways as Oil Reports Mixed Signals

Tuesday, May 14 —  Yesterday’s rally in cryptocurrency markets has slowed, with the top 20 coins by market capitalization reporting mixed signals, according to Coin360. Market visualization from Coin360 After breaking the $8,000 threshold yesterday, the leading cryptocurrency bitcoin (BTC) has been holding its ground, having gained 2.85% over the past 24 hours and is trading at $8,004 at press time. As reported earlier today, the bitcoin mining hashrate is becoming more distributed among mining pools. “While the distribution of hash power is certainly better geared against coordinated attacks, the number of pools continue to dwindle. To date, versus the start of 2018, 40% of the pools have now shut down,” crypto research firm Diar states. Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap The second largest coin ether (ETH) is seeing slightly more daily gains, up over 3% to trade at $207.90 at press time. Over the week, the altcoin’s price has increased by 19.62%. Ether 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ripple (XRP), has posted massive gains of 21.70% on the day and is trading at $0.399 at press time. The coin’s price surge follows the news that United States major crypto exchange Coinbase rolled out XRP support for its New York users, as well as the announcement that German exchange Boerse Stuttgart had launched a dedicated exchange-traded note for both XRP and litecoin (LTC). Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap On CoinMarketCap, the top 20 coins are seeing mixed signals, reporting gains between two and 22% on the day. Of the top 20 coins, Stellar (XLM), IOTA (MIOTA), and Ontology (ONT) are showing double-digit gains between 10 and 13%. Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $236 billion at press time, with $226.5 billion and $244.7 billion as the lowest and highest price points on the day. Total market capitalization 24-hour chart. Source: CoinMarketCap In traditional markets, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 353 points, led by a gain in Dow Inc shares, while the S&P 500 advanced 1.4% purportedly following the outperformance of tech shares, CNBC reported today. Oil has seen mixed signals today, with Brent crude futures trading at $70.40 a barrel, up 38 cents or 0.24%, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures trading at $60.92 per barrel, down 12…

Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled Escape Lawsuit Brought by Defrauded ICO Investors

Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled Escape Lawsuit Brought by Defrauded ICO Investors

High-profile boxer Floyd Mayweather and music producer DJ Khaled have been dismissed from a lawsuit brought by investors in a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO,) according to a court document filed on May 13. The celebrities had been involved in promoting Centra Tech’s ICO — but a judge has ruled that the investors who brought the legal action failed to prove they bought tokens as a direct result of the pair’s actions. According to the court document, Mayweather had posted tweets of himself holding the startup’s debit card along with the caption: “Spending bitcoins Ethereum and other types of cryptocurrency in Beverly Hills…” The former professional boxer had also tweeted ahead of the ICO’s launch, telling fans to get tokens “before they sell out, I got mine.” In his filing, Judge Robert Scola said the plaintiffs had failed to prove that they followed Mayweather’s Twitter account or that they saw his posts — adding that two of the investors involved in the lawsuit had actually purchased their CTR tokens before the boxer began promoting the ICO. Khaled had posted comparable promotional content on Instagram, and was dismissed from the lawsuit on similar grounds. Last November, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged the pair with unlawfully advertising ICOs — and claimed Mayweather had failed to disclose a $100,000 payment from Centra Tech, while Khaled failed to disclose the $50,000 he received for promoting the startup. In a settlement where neither party admitted to nor denied the charges against them, Mayweather was fined more than $600,000, while Khaled was fined in excess of $150,000. The SEC has previously warned the public that celebrity endorsements of ICOs could be illegal if they fail to reveal the compensation they are receiving for the promotion. In April 2018, the SEC arrested and charged three co-founders of Centra Tech with securities and wire fraud of more than $25 million that was linked to the ICO. While the company claimed it had plans to launch a debit card backed by Visa and Mastercard, it later transpired that the startup had no agreement in place with the payment giants, and had relied upon allegedly false or misleading marketing materials.

Hyperledger Announces Aries, a Toolkit for Blockchain-Based Identity Management

Hyperledger Announces Aries, a Toolkit for Blockchain-Based Identity Management

Everyone has a form of sovereign identity, said Evermym’s Drummond Reed during CoinDesk LIVE on Tuesday. Reed and Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger, were there to launch their new identity management system. During his talk, Reed tapped his physical wallet full of cards and cash. That, he said, was the equivalent of state-of-the-art when it came to digital identity. In an effort to bring identity into the 21st century, the pair have just launched a new, open source framework for identity management, Aries. The framework, the team wrotes, is “not a blockchain and it’s not an application.” Instead, it is a method to build interoperable and verifiable credentials for secure communication. The surveillance economy Reed believes we are “mainlining the surveillance economy” when we login with Twitter, Facebook, and even email. “With DID and Aries based logins there’s no one in the middle. It’s just you and your private keys,” he said. Reed said the Hyperledger‘s tools are already being used to build government identity projects. One project, called the Verifiable Organizations Network, is the first public permissioned production ledger for self-sovereign identity. “They’ve issued over 10 million business credentials already,” Behlendorf said. “The business owner is the pivot point in how they engage with government agencies. If you’re a restaurant owner in Vancouver you want to get licensed to serve food that’s a local government thing, you want a license to serve alcohol and that’s a Canada thing, you want a pay taxes,” said Behlendorf. “All these involve exchanging permits and credentials. If you had to wait for all those governments to integrate all those systems you’d be waiting forever.” With self-sovereign identity tools like Aires you reduce the time it takes to spin up identity systems. That, he said, is a good thing. The product includes: A blockchain interface layer (known as a resolver) for creating and signing blockchain transactions. A cryptographic wallet for secure storage (the secure storage tech, not a UI) of cryptographic secrets and other information used to build blockchain clients. An encrypted messaging system for off-ledger interactions between clients using multiple transport protocols. An implementation of ZKP-capable W3C verifiable credentials using the ZKP primitives found in Ursa. An implementation of the Decentralized Key Management System (DKMS) specification currently…

Expanding USDC crypto trading globally

Expanding USDC crypto trading globally

Coinbase now supports over 100 countries, adding trading between cryptocurrencies to 50 new countries; USDC stablecoin crypto trading now available in 85 countries Today we’re deepening our support for crypto-to-crypto trading globally by adding USD Coin (USDC) trading to customers in 85 countries on Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. We’re welcoming more people around the world to trade between different cryptocurrencies on a trusted platform. This helps accelerate the global adoption of crypto trading, and with USDC, enables access to a stable store of value. Stablecoins like USDC have a number of advantages over cash: they can be transferred near-instantly and globally, used in a wide variety of dapps, and stored securely and privately in a crypto wallet. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, each USDC is backed by $1 USD with monthly transparency audits showing 100% USD backing. There are more than 300 million USD Coins in circulation today, supported by +100 ecosystem supporters. For these reasons, we see USDC as an important step towards a more open financial system. Stablecoins are beneficial to anyone who trades crypto, but also have the potential to materially improve the lives of people in countries where inflation is eroding wealth. For new customers in countries like Argentina and Uzbekistan, where consumer prices are expected to inflate by 10–20% in 2020, stablecoins like USDC could provide an opportunity to protect against inflation. We won’t fully realize this vision without increasing the number of traditional fiat on-ramps, which we are committed to expanding where possible. We also work with projects like Airtm, through our investing arm Coinbase Ventures, to increase access to fiat payment rails. Today’s news is an important milestone for Coinbase and crypto adoption everywhere. A year ago, Coinbase was only available to customers in 32 countries. Over the last 12 months, we’ve reinforced our foundational work to better scale our trusted, safe and legal bridge to crypto. Today, we serve customers in 103 countries across every major continent, 50 of which we’re announcing today. Millions more people in the countries below can sign up for a Coinbase or Coinbase Pro account and access the cryptoeconomy today: Angola, Armenia, Aruba, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Benin, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El…

SEC Again Delays Decision on Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Approval

SEC Again Delays Decision on Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Approval

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) again delayed a decision on whether to approve or reject a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) on Tuesday. In a new document published by the SEC, the regulator said it would hold off on making a decision on the Bitwise ETF proposal filed with NYSE Arca. The proposal was first filed in January of this year, kicking off a new race to launch a bitcoin ETF in the U.S., which is expected to bring fresh money – and therefore, liquidity – to the crypto space. The SEC last postponed a decision on both the Bitwise and VanEck/SolidX proposals at the end of March, kicking both to May. The regulator has yet to approve any bitcoin ETFs, though both experts in the space and officials with the agency seem to believe that it’s only a matter of time. Crypto Crescent Asset Management, a digital asset and fund manager, has also proposed a crypto ETF, which would give customers exposure to both bitcoin and ether. The firm, which is partnering with NYSE Arca, has not yet formally filed its proposal, however. There will be a public comment period for three weeks after the latest document regarding the Bitwise ETF is published in the Federal Register, plus an additional two weeks for responses. May 14, 2019: SEC Notice Regarding Bitwise Bitcoin ETF by CoinDesk on Scribd SEC image via Shutterstock

Crypto Hedge Funds’ Average AUM Grew Three Times in Q1

Crypto Hedge Funds’ Average AUM Grew Three Times in Q1

The average assets under management (AUM) of global cryptocurrency hedge funds increased three-fold in the first quarter of 2019, new research indicates. Consultancy firm PwC and investment firm Elwood Asset Management jointly published a report on Monday, saying that the median crypto hedge fund AUM has grown to $4.3 million at the end of Q1 2019 as compared to $1.2 million in January 2018. The growth indicates that funds have been “relatively successful” at raising investments despite bearish market conditions during the period, the firms said. The report, based on interactions with 100 crypto hedge funds, further highlighted that the average fund AUM was $21.9 million as of Q1 2019 and 60% of funds have less than $10 million in assets while only less than 10 percent are managing assets over $50 million. Crypto hedge funds also performed better than bitcoin last year, the report found. While bitcoin plunged about 72 percent in 2018, the median crypto hedge fund lost only 46 percent over the same period, “indicating that these managers were successfully able to outperform their benchmark.” However, performance varied based on the type of strategy adopted. For instance, the median “quantitative” fund returned 8 percent in 2018, while the median “fundamental and discretionary” funds performed negatively, with returns of -53 percent and -63 percent respectively, according to the report. In a separate statement, PwC Hong Kong director Henri Arslanian, said: “The crypto hedge fund industry today is probably where the traditional hedge fund industry was in the early 1990s. We expect the industry to go through a rapid period of institutionalisation and implementation of sound practices over the coming years.” Elwood CEO Bin Ren shared similar view saying that there is “increasing evidence of institutionalisation” in the cryptocurrency space, which is a positive step towards digital assets being recognized as an asset class with “true viability and longevity.” Another report from Crypto Fund Research last October showed that crypto hedge fund launches are spiking to all-time highs. There were 90 launches in the first three quarters of 2018, and the total was expected to reach as high as 120 for the financial year. PwC image via Shutterstock

‘Maximum Pain’: Joe Lubin, Jimmy Song Strike $500K Crypto Bet on Ethereum’s Future

‘Maximum Pain’: Joe Lubin, Jimmy Song Strike $500K Crypto Bet on Ethereum’s Future

The terms of a much-hyped bet have finally been settled, and, at current prices, more than $500,000 in crypto is on the line. “It’s a maximum pain kind of bet,” Jimmy Song said during a session of CoinDesk Live at Consensus 2019. “Skin in the game.” The new details stem from an onstage agreement from Consensus 2018, where Lubin told Song that he would bet “any amount of bitcoin” that ethereum’s decentralized apps would have a non-trivial number of users in five years. Song had accused Lubin of “weaseling” out of the bet in recent weeks, including calling Lubin out on Twitter. But the meeting of the two crypto thought leaders on Tuesday did not disappoint, especially in terms of how much crypto was wagered. Deal terms If ethereum is doing great four years from now, Song will pay Lubin (or his beneficiary) 810.8 ETH. If the dapp economy is sputtering at that point, Lubin will send Song 69.74 BTC. For Lubin to win, Ethereum needs to have 15 unique dapps achieving 10,000 or more daily active users and 100,000 monthly active users for any six calendar months in any 12-calendar-month period up to and including May 23, 2023. To be clear, this is not a small bet for either side, and both acknowledge that whichever side wins, it will hurt badly. It’s also possible the loser will be giving up considerably more money in 2023 than they would today. When the bet was first made, on May 14, 2018, BTC was trading at $8,577. So, Lubin had effectively bet $598,190 based on prices at the time. That’s $564,307 at today’s prices. The difference in ETH was much more stark, however. At the time of the bet last year, ETH was trading at $722.86. So, Song effectively bet $586,095 at prices at the time – but only $168,030 at today’s prices. If he wins, Song was very clear that the BTC will go straight to him. “I want it to hurt for you,” Song told Lubin. “I don’t want you to feel like you are donating to charity.” “I’m fine with that,” Lubin replied. The terms have slowly been hammered out over the last year since the bet was first spoken into existence. The two…

Whole Foods and Major Retailers Now Accept Cryptocurrency via Spedn

Whole Foods and Major Retailers Now Accept Cryptocurrency via Spedn

On May 13, cryptocurrency enthusiasts were pleased to hear that major retailers including Whole Foods, Lowes, Petco, Regal Cinemas, and Gamestop will accept payments in crypto. The payments will be processed by Flexa using its custodial wallet called ‘Spedn’ which gives people the ability to spend with bitcoin core, ethereum, bitcoin cash, and GUSD. Also read: Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux Spedn App Allows Crypto Purchases at Many Well Known Retailers Digital currencies got a mainstream push today from the startup Flexa and its new wallet called Spedn. Users will be able to spend a variety of cryptocurrencies including BCH, BTC, GUSD, and ETH at a multitude of well-known establishments. This includes Lowes, Gamestop, Whole Foods, Petco, Barnes & Noble, Regal Cinemas, Baskin Robbins, Crate and Barrel, and Nordstrom. According to the startup, the application works due to a partnership between Flexa and its retail partners and the digital currency firm Gemini. The platform basically allows the user to load up one of the wallets with any coin and purchase items with one of the partner shops. Flexa payments are made possible due to a partnership with the New York-based exchange Gemini. The Flexa network was a project cofounded by Tyler Spalding, Trevor Filter, Zachary Kilgore, and Daniel McCabe. Flexa uses its own cryptocurrency called Flexacoin in the background, the company has explained. Essentially Flexacoin is used as collateral to secure payments until the transaction is approved on one of the four public blockchains. The team says they built Flexa because they believe existing payment networks are broken and rather than team up with a debit card provider they decided to work with a large network of merchants. “Over the past year, we’ve built new connections with tens of thousands of merchant point-of-sale terminals nationwide, to bypass the existing payments infrastructure and push cryptocurrency-based payment authorizations directly to merchants on your behalf,” Flexa’s announcement noted. Stores that will accept cryptocurrencies like bitcoin cash via the Spedn application. 30,476 Stores Accepting Crypto Essentially the partnerships allow users the ability to spend their cryptos at 30,476 stores according to the company blog. Flexa says that the company has more apps coming that will tie into the Flexa network and later this year the…

Senior SEC Official Amy Starr: Securities Laws Are ‘Written to Be Dynamic’

Senior SEC Official Amy Starr: Securities Laws Are ‘Written to Be Dynamic’

Securities laws are “written to be dynamic,” a senior official at the United States securities regulator claimed in a recent panel at Consensus 2019 on May 13. Amy Starr, chief of the office of capital markets trends at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), expressed the regulator’s willingness to interact with local crypto and blockchain-related businesses in order to gain a better understanding of how securities laws can be applied in various cases. Speaking at a panel titled “Perspectives on SEC engagement concerning digital assets,” Starr noted a high level of integration with the crypto industry and the SEC, particularly citing  the engagement via the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, as well as a number of peer-to-peer meetings conducted by the SEC’s “Crypto Czar” Valerie Szczepanik. The SEC official stated that an active engagement with the regulator is the only way to facilitate a change in securities laws regarding crypto markets. She said: “The more interaction, and willingness that people want to engage with us, the happier we are because we want this to work. We want there to be innovation in these markets. We want there to be change.” During the panel, Starr also expressed her stance on the recent no-action letter to cryptocurrency startup TurnKey Jet, which allowed the firm to issue TKJ tokens for the purpose of paying for a private jet charter, since the tokens were not considered to be securities. In particular, the official noted that the decision by the SEC fell “on one end of the spectrum” of similar cases in terms of both the decision and the speed at which it was reached. Following the SEC’s panel, SEC Commissioner Hester “Crypto Mom” Peirce delivered a speech devoted to the future of cryptocurrencies. In her speech, Peirce encouraged internal regulation between crypto actors, claiming that “testing each other is really healthy.” While still noting that the SEC will be able to detect certain malpractice actions on the market, Peirce suggested that people in crypto should “police one another,” adding that a “lot of regulation can happen without a government regulator.” Previously, the SEC was criticized for being the biggest regulatory obstacle preventing the crypto markets from growing. In January, CEO and co-founder of Goldman Sachs-backed…