Saturday, February 3, 2018

Clint Ballinger — When Bitcoin goes to Zero, Don’t Blame Regulation

After bitcoin goes to (essentially) zero (since it is global, even a few oddballs can prop up its value for years at some low level, like hobbyists do for all kinds of things), which it will, some will say that it was regulation that killed it, not, as I explain, because crypto is worthless because it is not part of a balance sheet and as such has no inherent value to extinguish debt.
To be clear: That bitcoin can’t withstand being treated as any other ordinary good yet does not deserve special tax-free treatment is part of the theory though. You don’t get to declare “I’m a currency! I deserve special treatment!” and not pay taxes. Governments maintain the value of their currency through taxation (taxes drive currency). Money is a public good we all support for our mutual benefit.
You can’t just invent some new token (even if something new and shiny like blockchain & crypto) and declare it a special good that can be traded tax free. Yet taxing a self-declared “currency” guarantees its failure as it will not make sense for individuals to move into it if they are going to be taxed in real money for transactions in it.
Clint Ballinger
When Bitcoin goes to Zero, Don’t Blame Regulation

See also

New Economic Perspectives
The Fair Price of a Bitcoin is Zero
Eric Tymoigne | Associate Professor of Economics at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon; and Research Associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
Crossposted at Business Insider

Also

Futurism
The Real Price of Bitcoin? According to Morgan Stanley, It’s Zero
Aylin Woodward

Also

Ian Welsh
Do NOT Use Bitcoin Assuming It Is Anonymous

Also

Uneasy Money
Noah Smith on Bitcoins: A Failure with a Golden Future
David Glasner | Economist at the Federal Trade Commission

Does cryptocurrency remind you Beanie Babies?

58 comments:

Matt Franko said...

"goes to zero"

Goes to zero in WHAT?????

Matt Franko said...

Does the value of everything in the world always have to be measured in terms of the USD?????

Tom Hickey said...

Goes to zero in WHAT?????

Zero anything.

When something becomes worthless, it can only be exchanged for itself.

Kaivey said...

I was going to buy some Ripple. I didn't have much money, about £250, but I thought, what if it goes up by 100, or even more in a few years? Then I came across this guy who said it was a scam and the same bankers were behind it who were behind the dot.com bubble. It made sense. Look at Bitcoin? Why not invent your own cryptocurrency, buy a load of them cheap, and then wait for everyone to get in on it and watch the value rise by a 1000%, or more, like Bitcoin.

Vieira's Bearish Ripple Forecast Cryptocurrency Bubble Tumbles

Vieira warned investors worldwide for the exaggerated valuation behind the alternate coin Ripple (XPRUSD) naming it a clear Ponzi scheme along with the fake cryptocurrency TRON.

https://stockmarketlive.tv/2018/01/09/vieiras-bearish-ripple-forecast-cryptocurrency-bubble-tumbles/#.WnYgz8hFBj8

Jonathan Larson said...

Peter Cooper, the "father" of the Greenback, used to claim that the Greenback was perfectly valid as a currency because you could pay your taxes with it.

Not much has changed since 1873.

Matt Franko said...

“Not much has changed since 1873.“

Well the academe has went to shit for one thing...

Matt Franko said...

Pretty many places accept bitcoin as payment:

https://99bitcoins.com/who-accepts-bitcoins-payment-companies-stores-take-bitcoins/

A lot more than understand MMT that’s for sure....

André said...

Those who accept are either brainless enthusiasts or companies that want to take profit of the bitcoin mania. Both will eventually find out that it doesn't work and will stop accepting bitcoins sooner or later.

Ralph Musgrave said...

I'm enjoying near orgasmic levels of pleasure from Cryptofreude: the pleasure derived from watching Bitcoin collapse.

Neil Wilson said...

The really interesting Schadenfreude is going to be watching the scratching of heads when it doesn't drop to zero in USD.

Then perhaps some people will look at the other bit of MMT they've been ignoring because it doesn't involve currency symbols.

Neil Wilson said...

"Does the value of everything in the world always have to be measured in terms of the USD?????"

Yes, for those who, amusingly, don't understand that 'Proof of work' is just another form of 'Proof of Burn'.

Kaivey said...

There's this guy out there who has sold everything he owns including his home to buy Bitcoin. He, his wife and their three children live in a camper caravan. Well, that's alright if you know what you're doing, but it seems an enormously big risk to me. He seems to think that Bitcoin is bulletproof, like most advocates do who are not professionals. Max Keiser says it bulletproof, but I bet he gets out in time.

Kaivey said...

And he borrowed as much money as he could to buy Bitcoin too, a classic mistake to make in a bubble.

Neil Wilson said...

"Well, that's alright if you know what you're doing

It's never alright. It's completely bonkers and a sign of mental illness.

Kaivey said...

Thanks, Neil, I was trying to be balanced, it seems crazy risk to me.

Matt Franko said...

“a sign of mental illness. ”

It’s a sign of libertarianism....

Matt Franko said...

“scratching of heads when it doesn't drop to zero in USD. ”

I think the MMT position is it goes to zero....

Neil Wilson said...

"“scratching of heads when it doesn't drop to zero in USD. ”

I think the MMT position is it goes to zero"

You think wrong. The MMT position is that Bitcoins are not a monetary instrument. It isn't. It's a commodity.

Matt Franko said...

http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2013/12/fair-price-bitcoin-zero.html


Zero.

Tom Hickey said...

If cryptos are currency, then the fair price is zero, as Eric Tymoigne argues.

But if they are not, and some legal jurisdictions have declared them taxable as property instead of exempting them as "money," their financial value is determined based on their market value as property. That may be greater than zero.

Beanie babies still have some value as toys or decorations, but they no longer command the high price they once enjoyed as valuable collectibles whose price was rising.

Matt Franko said...

The MMT people dont recognize the appeal of a better system for everyday payments/settlements to the ROW where their payment/settlement systems are shitty..

alot of things occur outside of the credit system... iow people dont borrow munnie to do a lot of things.. food, hourly labor, services, energy, shelter, etc.. you dont need borrowing to do those things so a reliable crypto could work just fine...

Its like the hypo "post office accounts" people often talk of... if the govts wont do it then people might just do it themselves...

Greg said...


"The MMT people dont recognize the appeal of a better system for everyday payments/settlements to the ROW where their payment/settlement systems are shitty.."



What makes them shitty has nothing to do with the fact that they are not blockchain or any of the other things which supposedly make Bitcoin superior. What makes them shitty is the cost of the payment system to the users, which is totally a decision by the authorities. What makes bitcoin shitty is that when you think you want to buy something on Tuesday, by Thursday it might be 50% more expensive due to a fall in price of your bitcoin, which has nothing to do with authorities but vagaries of market dynamics. I dont think most people want to leave the buying power of their salaries completely up to the vagaries of market dynamics.



Tom Hickey said...

Agree with Greg.

For crypto to become a viable alternative payments system then it has to have lower transaction cost than other alternatives and approximately equal stability.

The unit of account in which relative value is computed will always be the prevailing unit of account.

Alternative "currencies" of any type are never going to be superior stores of value.

It's also unlikely that alternative currencies will replace government currency as the preferred means for deferred payment.

Matt Franko said...

“What makes them shitty is...”

They have unqualified/incompetent people running it...

You have to know what you are doing generally when you are working in STEM fields...

“Out of money !” is evidence they are unqualified for the jobs...

Matt Franko said...

"you think you want to buy something on Tuesday, by Thursday it might be 50% more expensive"

that's only because you keep comparing it to the USD... iow it is "expensive" in USD terms....

If you just shitcan the USD then you just do business in the coins.... F the USD...

Matt Franko said...

You have to do it like the guy Kaivey points out above who sold everything he had and converted it all into the coins...

THAT GUY should get the libertarian Medal of Honor for this year.... he is OUT of the USD adios USD hello coins...

Matt Franko said...

If a banana is 1 BTC on Tuesday no reason it cant be 1 BTC on Thursday...

Matt Franko said...

" I dont think most people want to leave the buying power of their salaries completely up to the vagaries of market dynamics."

It happens all of the time what are you looking at????

Person makes a fixed salary and OPEC runs the price of gas up from $2.50/gal to $4.50/gal you dont get an automatic raise to cover the additional gas expenses...

You just have to take the increase in the fuel costs as the govt wont send in the military to just take the oil...

Kaivey said...

I found the article on him. He seems to know what he is doing. He buys and sells Bitcoins, so he's probably buying in the dips and selling in the ups. The article does not mention anything about him borrowing money. The trouble is, he's put all his eggs in one basket.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/17/this-family-bet-it-all-on-bitcoin.html

Tom Hickey said...

If a banana is 1 BTC on Tuesday no reason it cant be 1 BTC on Thursday...

Depends on what the price setter chooses.

Tom Hickey said...

Let me unpack that.

Prices are set by producers based on the baseline of costs.

So the unit of account in which costs are paid will be determinative.

If the costs are paid and recorded in the government's unit of account, then the price the seller will accept in another form of payment will be relative to the unit of account.

Moreover, if a form of payment were as volatile as cryptos have been, sellers (price setters) would obviously choose a more stable baseline and figure other prices in relation to that.

Savers are also adverse to volatility unless it is unidirectional upward over time.

Only fools would undertake debt obligations in a volatile unit, and creditors would be unwilling to accept the high risk of loss without a significant premium that would make it more likely that both lenders and borrowers would prefer a different form of deferred payment.

Matt Franko said...

Most of the economy doesn’t involve credit... at least not bank credit...

Matt Franko said...

“You don’t skate to where the puck is you skate to where it’s going to be”. Wayne Gretzky

Greg said...

Exactly right Tom

So Matt, how can everyone convert their US dollars to crypto? There has to be someone with crypto who also wants dollars or the deal doesn’t take place but if everyone abandons the US dollar en masse, how do you get crypto? (Abandoning the dollar ain’t happening btw,
you think Trump wants that as his legacy?)

Greg said...

"Most of the economy doesn’t involve credit... at least not bank credit..."


Maybe the most questionable thing ever posted here.

Matt Franko said...

Bank Credit doesnt even go up $1T in a year and we have a $19T economy... even with the USD zombies glomming on to the USD system instead of using their own currency...

Bank lending is facilitating just a small part of GDP...

Matt Franko said...

"how can everyone convert their US dollars to crypto?"

They dont have to... you just accept the coin for whatever you are selling...

Bitcoin isnt the only one out there.... many coins are coming out every week...

Evertually the current USD zombies are just going to convert to coin as the world de-dollarizes...

Greg said...

"Bank Credit doesnt even go up $1T in a year and we have a $19T economy... even with the USD zombies glomming on to the USD system instead of using their own currency..."



One 10 dollar bill can generate 1000$ of GDP by being exchanged between 200 people for services, but everyone needs that 10$ bill for the circuit to complete.


"Bank lending is facilitating just a small part of GDP.."


Every business has a line of credit, every citizen uses a credit card unless they are destitute, every corporation has debt. Yes some entities net position is positive but that is only when you consider market valuations of stocks etc. If stock prices plummet many entities become in the red.
Credit is the lifeblood of the economy. Its a simple fact

Matt Franko said...

They use soda pop for exchange in forgotten Appalachia flyover country why not coin???

govt says F Appalachia so they use soda as they can...

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/367903/white-ghetto-kevin-d-williamson

"immediately converted into a unit of exchange, in this case cases of soda."

Humans are resourceful.... git 'er done....

Greg said...

"Bitcoin isnt the only one out there.... many coins are coming out every week.."


Right and 99% of them will totally bust after one looks to be "the best" and everyone tries to run to it.

Matt Franko said...

I'm saying that bank lending by USD depository institutions is not that big...

You can have an accounts receivable or an accounts payable in a coin as easy as a USD... no bank credit involved...

You work and get paid every two weeks so your employer owes you 2 weeks pay no bank lending involved ... this could be in coin ...

debit cards could be in coin...

There is probably more trade credit than bank credit... no reason trade credit couldnt be in coin...

Tom Hickey said...

U.S. Household Debt Reaches Record $13 Trillion

Matt Franko said...

Well what is MMT's solution?

Go all around the world teaching MMT to the unwashed shit hole nations? They cant even teach it to the US

Tom Hickey said...

Evertually the current USD zombies are just going to convert to coin as the world de-dollarizes...

That is questionable unless central banks save in non-government crypto.

The likelihood is that government will issue blockchain-based currency in some form. Russia looks prepared to do so, and Venezuela is also (backed by oil).

There are manes to de-dollarize.

Tom Hickey said...

"manes" should be "many ways."

Tom Hickey said...

What is the difference between a rival cryptos system and free banking?

Tom Hickey said...

Go all around the world teaching MMT to the unwashed shit hole nations? They cant even teach it to the US

As an educator, I can say that learning has two prerequisites — receptivity and ability, aka "attitude and aptitude."

There must be willingness to learn and capacity to learn.

These are somewhat rare.

Matt Franko said...

" receptivity and ability, aka "attitude and aptitude."

Both lacking imo... hence here come the coins...

Matt Franko said...

"cryptos system and free banking"

Maybe the credit aspects? iow what today we would view as 'Bank Credit'...

coins would just be used in parts of the economy where there isnt a lot of bank credit used... small ticket items.... personal care items, hourly wages, groceries, meals out, concert tickets, transport, .. stuff you dont have to use bank credit for...

Greg said...

Matt
As long as no one saves in bitcoin things can keep moving. What are the chances that a bunch of libertards aren’t going to save? They think saving is the key to growth rather than the result of growth.

As soon as some entities start hoarding (they will call it saving) then eventually there won’t be enough coins to meet the demands for services/goods.

Matt Franko said...

Then other coins can be issued and those will expand the total coins in circulation... this is not being done in USD system currently hence the problems where Warren says “if somebody saves then we can’t buy all of our output “ govt has to issue more USD and that is never done... maybe crypto will do it...

Tom Hickey said...

The whole (progressive) point of alternative currencies is to increase purchasing power when the unit of account is scarce. Cryptos is one way, community currencies another.

Neil Wilson said...

"Zero."

You didn't bother reading the article did you.

I'm not sure what's happened to you Matt. You used to be half sensible. Recently you gone full religious belief.

Neil Wilson said...

"The whole (progressive) point of alternative currencies is to increase purchasing power when the unit of account is scarce. Cryptos is one way, community currencies another."

It doesn't increase purchasing power. The same purchasing power exists all the time in any operational system. We buy on credit between each other. Everything else is just various records of that process.

Cryptocurrencies are just new electronic commodities. Because they can be hoarded so easily the value moves too far away from the instrinsic value. They are like works of art rather than transactional devices.

But they are useful in that their rise causes all the same mistakes to arise as well, and a new generation then learns why we ended up with national currencies and elected governments, not local or international ones driven by libertarian nut jobs.

Neil Wilson said...

"and that is never done... maybe crypto will do it..."

Can't. The crypto is only issued to people who already have it. Increasingly so with 'proof of stake'.

The systemic failure in a currency area is that those with desire do not have the money to translate that desire into demand in a manner that will cause them to be hired so they can pay for that demand. That's what involuntary unemployment boils down to, and it cannot be resolved in a libertarian system because of 'permanent jobs'.

The efficiency requirement of permanent jobs contradicts with the market clearing requirement that every job is market tested every day to see if somebody else will do it cheaper. The Fungibility Fallacy is you like.

André said...

"You think wrong. The MMT position is that Bitcoins are not a monetary instrument. It isn't. It's a commodity"

A commodity or not, its price will drop to zero.

Of course, not literally zero, because there are crazy people that would buy and sell anything. There could be price quotes even for my dirty underwear.

The enthusiasts will make sure there will be some small, crazy market for bitcoin, but its price will get very close to zero.

Matt Franko said...

“not local or international ones driven by libertarian nut jobs. ”

99.9999 % of people are libertarians at some level...

Matt Franko said...

"I'm not sure what's happened to you Matt. You used to be half sensible. "

I'm not advocating for it I'm just pointing out what is indeed happening...

We're getting our clocks cleaned by crypto we have to up our game....