Opinion

Felix Salmon

Counterparties: To coin a phrase

By Ben Walsh
April 12, 2013

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“To say highly speculative would be the understatement of the century.” – Steve Hanke

“People say it’s a Ponzi scheme, it’s a bubble… We have elected to put our money and faith in a mathematical framework that is free of politics and human error.” – The Winklevii

“Bitcoins are not an investment. They are an investment fad that someday could be a real digital currency, but if they continue to behave as they have, they will instead be nothing.” – Kurt Eichenwald

“Three eras of currency: Commodity based, e.g. Gold; Politically based, e.g. Dollar; Math based, e.g. Bitcoin” – Chris Dixon (VC and alternative currency investor)

“What kind of commodity is Bitcoin? Well, it’s a technologically-impressive product out to revolutionize the world with absolutely no fundamentals to justify its billion-dollar valuation. It’s the ultimate dotcom stock, minus the sock puppet.” – Matt O’Brien

“Money is: 1. A unit of account; 2. A store of value; 3. A medium of exchange. Right now, Bitcoin is none of those things (in any serious sense)” – Justin Wolfers

“If Bitcoin wants to become a global currency used by the masses, CVS cash-drops won’t work.” – Kevin Roose

“Bitcoin unites futuristic left-wing Internet anarchism… with the cave-dwelling right-wing libertarianism of goldbugs.” – Eric Posner

“Traditional currency is garbage :)” – Erik Vorhees

“Either Bitcoinia will remain a small, fringe economy thanks to inherent instability, or a stabilising financial structure will somehow grow within it.” – Ryan Avent

“Bitcoin doesn’t need to be a good unit of account or a good store of value to be a good medium of exchange.” – Jerry Brito

“Mt. Gox halted trading, saying the market needed to “cool down” after a massive sell-off yesterday.” – Matt Boesler

“I’m raising my Bitcoin price target to $400. Just kidding.” – Henry Blodget

“We ran a Monte Carlo simulation on the impact to Bitcoin’s exchange rate with the euro if Cyprus left the Eurozone.” – PolyCapitalist

“Fiat currencies have tremendous intrinsic value because governments say they do.” – Joe Weisethal

“The Libertarian Party is now accepting Bitcoin donations. Because of course it is.” – Garance Franke-Ruta

“I kinda love the Mt Gox trading halt because it forces BTC users to value the product on their own.” – Kid Dynamite

“Bitcoin is the Napster of payments – the flawed writing on the wall for banking as we know it” – Chris Cook

“We needed to be the first New York bar to accept Bitcoins.” – Charlie Shrem

“Nobody can come in and force quantitative easing.” – David Jones

“It’s based on mistrust rather than trust, it refuses to take any responsibility onto itself – indeed, it doesn’t even have a self to take responsibility onto. It’s nihilistic.” – Felix

“Bitcoin isn’t tied to any commodity – besides trust.” – Paul Ford

“Bitcoins are without intrinsic value as assets, yet they have risen too fast in value to be much use as a currency… sounds a bit like a familiar commodity, gold.” – Justin Fox

“If you believe a currency’s value lies in its stability, Bitcoin represents the polar opposite of that sort of system.” – Izabella Kaminska

Ben Walsh

On to today’s links:

Ugh
From 2000 to 2011, 11.5 million Americans lost their employer-provided health insurance – The Hill

Alpha
John Paulson is launching a a fund to help investors “mitigate income taxes” – Bloomberg

Comparisons
Paper or pixel? How we read on the page and on the screen – Scientific American

Welcome To Adulthood
Since 2007, student debt has doubled to $1.1 trillion – Bloomberg

EU Mess
Cyprus may lift capital controls in the next few days – WSJ
The latest Eurogroup statement on Cyprus – Consilium
From heart attacks to maternal care: the human cost of austerity in Greece – Open Democracy

JP Morgan
JP Morgan cuts costs and is profitable for the 12th quarter in a row – Reuters
Jamie Dimon’s 10 stages of blubbering London Whale grief – Stephen Gandel

Oxpeckers
Jonah Peretti’s in 2008: “The future of the industry is advertising as content” – Jason del Rey

Revolvoving Door
The problem with Promontory – Felix

Innumeracy
Personal finance classes don’t lead to better financial decisions, but math classes do – HBS

WTF
“A Fox Business exclusive: the gold chocolate bar” – Fox Business

Cephalopods
Goldman Sachs invests in web-based muppet factory – Kevin Roose

Data Points
Who likes taxes? Democrats, nerds, and people getting refunds – Slate
Southerners might not be more obese – maybe they’re just more honest – Animal NY

Interesting
Pay down pension liabilities by increasing cigarette taxes – The Hayride

Wonks
Expert dead horse-beater Paul Krugman explains the secrets of his craft – Businessweek

And, of course, there are many more links at Counterparties.

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