Don’t get me wrong, I love what Bitcoin/Blockchain is doing — disintermediating the financial system (and more!) — which is completely cool.

However, wasn’t so long ago that an upstart named Visa grew to dominate another “cashless” payment mechanism.

Today Visa has about a $260 billion market capitalization and over $18 billion in revenues.

Today Bitcoin has about a $260 billion market capitalization and I believe about $0 in revenues.

If that doesn’t feel like “dotcom explosion 2.0,” I don’t know what does.

As for Bitcoin making money, apparently transaction fees — something that used to be near-zero and a major competitive advantage for Bitcoin — are now trending around $10-$20 per transaction.  Apparently not a major competitive advantage any longer.

Seems to me Bitcoin/Blockchain has an extra long ways to go before it stands toe-to-toe with Visa.

Advertisements

Bitcoin (et al.) has been described as many things:  A digital currency… a commodity… even as a savior of the world as we know it (from the point-of-view of disintermediation).

But I haven’t heard anyone call it what it actually is:  A protocol.

A software protocol is just a set of rules.  When programmers play by those rules, computers can communicate with each other.

And Blockchain — what Bitcoin is based on — is just such a protocol.

Generally speaking, protocols don’t have any cash value.  For example, we don’t get paid by waiting until everyone’s meal is served before eating.  But by following that simple dining protocol, it makes for a better dining experience for all involved.

But Blockchain, via Bitcoin, does have cash value.  And that’s the real innovation here — a financial innovation.  Bitcoin’s value isn’t just as a trusted digital currency or as a storage of wealth, but has grown into a proxy for all value that will eventually be created by companies using the Blockchain set of rules.

Think about all the value created by another popular protocol, the HyperText Transfer Protocol (“http”) — the thing that enabled the entire Internet.  Former CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, once pegged it at $19 trillion (with a “t”)… a bit bigger than our national debt to put that huge number in perspective.

Imagine if someone created a “httpcoin” trading vehicle back in 1994 that proxied the future value of the Internet?  WOW THAT COULD HAVE BEEN WORTH A LOT, LIKE MAYBE $19 TRILLION!

So fast forward to Bitcoin and you can now get a sense of why Bitcoin’ers are so excited… why some have even “expertly opined” that the value of a single Bitcoin could go to $1 million or more.

That the “digital currency” community was able to do this with the Blockchain protocol — whether they meant to or not — is, of course, utterly cool… even if it all blows up one day.

And it will blow up one day… as it should… as value gets transferred from the Blockchain proxy to those companies actually using the protocol to make products that create the real value.

What value will be left in Bitcoin?

Eventually just the digital currency utility it provides a customer, a tiny fraction of what the entire industry may be worth at some point in the future…

… or said another way, a tiny fraction of what it’s worth today.

Isn’t that apparent?

I think everyone knows Hugh Hefner.  I know every guy knows Hugh Hefner.  He created Playboy, a magazine that cared about editorial, social causes, sophisticated humor, and nakedness.  The nakedness, of course, is what counted to we 12-year-olds.

Growing up in a world where there wasn’t the Internet or cable TV, Playboy was king.  Other magazines tried to dethrone Playboy, but Playboy always remained the standard-bearer.

Even in a world of Internet and cable TV, Playboy meant something… continues to mean something.  

It could be because founding Playboy wasn’t easy… it was the first… it went against all societal norms… and it met with, at times, violent resistance.  Huge Hefner truly was the proverbial “pioneer with arrows in his back.”

Or, maybe, it’s just because we were all 12-years-old boys once.

There’s a great quote from the movie Animal House where an adolescent boy is looking at a Playboy and a beautiful woman crashes through his window and lands on his bed.  The adolescent exclaims, “Thank you, God!”

For me, all I can say is, “Thank you, Hugh.”

Hugh Hefner

P.S.  As always, The Superficial gives Hugh the kind of unfiltered send-off that I think would put a smile on his face.  Check it out here.  (I borrowed the picture above from them.  Hugh has his arm around the beautiful Barbi Benton, of course!)

 

 

The lotto prize was $700 million… wow!

Just read a great piece at CNBC from Kevin Breuninger that puts the odds of winning that in perspective, though:

The odds of grabbing the grand prize are 1 in 292.2 million, according to the game’s own assessment. To put this in context, your chances of being killed by a lightning strike are approximately 1 in 161,000. The odds of being killed in a shark attack are 1 in 3.7 million.

Even getting hit by a meteorite is more likely than winning the Powerball — 1 in 1.9 million.

 

But here’s my favorite part:

In fact, your chance of getting struck by lightning, bitten by a shark, smacked by a meteor and hitting a hole-in-one on the same day is statistically far more likely than winning the jackpot, according to Jim Murphy of sportsbettingexperts.com.

With all of that said, I’m still happy that I bought a ticket… after all, someone has to win it, right?!  :)

Glen Campbell past away from Alzheimer’s.

When you have a quiet moment, please check out this song… I think his last… a song about the sadness of Alzheimer’s.

We have a LOT of problems in the United States.  All of them are important… but, realistically, if we can’t PRIORITIZE correctly, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot… and maybe the head.

It’s this prioritization that has strangled the Republican party… or should I say “hijacked.”

The greatest example of this is pro-life and pro-choice.  Clearly this is a hugely important issue… but it’s a hugely important PERSONAL issue… and as such should actually stay out of politics. 

Practically speaking, the Republican party has alienated large numbers of Americans on this single issue… meaning, no matter how intelligent the rest of the republican agenda may be, regulating right-to-choose is a complete and utter deal-breaker for many voters.

I would hope the Republican party would have learned this lesson by now.

But — unbelievably — Trump just created a SECOND complete and utter deal-breaker:  Climate change.

From Business Insider this morning:

The US officially tells the UN it is quitting the Paris climate change deal

Are you kidding me?

Whether you agree there’s people-made climate change or not… whether you agree this is good for business or not… Trump has just created YET ANOTHER deal-breaking issue for a mass of voters.

How stupid.

P.S.  My take on climate change?  Go live in Beijing for a couple months — A COUPLE OF DAYS — and then give me your opinion.

In 2014, China launched a war on pollution, vowing to cut down on hazardous emissions of PM 2.5. It's hard to do that amid a growing economy, but so far, Beijing has been able to shut down coal plants within city limits, and has tried to curb car emissions by limiting the number of license plates.

I just finished Season 5 of House of Cards.

I wasn’t as taken with 5 as the previous 4.

I like “big reveals,” but I think subterfuge can be abused and that’s not fair to the audience.

With that said, I do think there are two new characters that are particularly intriguing, however:  Jane Davis and Mark Usher.

Now, I don’t like the way they were introduced — here are two major, major political power brokers that the Underwoods had never heard of… that seems unrealistic to me.

However, each are intriguing… and their relationship is intriguing… because, unlike the blatant world of D.C. politics, they seem not to be seeking the spotlight.  Instead, they are operating “in the shadows”… true puppet-masters.

You know what I think?  I think they’re ALIENS.  They are too mysterious.  Too subtle.  Too all-knowing.  They really, truly seem to care not for material wealth, but rather for completely altruistic, humanitarian goals.  Almost as if they know better… as if they are from the future… or from an alien race… or both!

Another ground-breaking series, Star Trek, had to deal with these kinds of story arcs, too.  They invented the “Prime Directive,” essentially:

“A guiding principle of the United Federation of Planets prohibiting the protagonists from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations.  …  This conceptual law applies particularly to civilizations which are below a certain threshold of technological, scientific and cultural development; preventing starship crews from using their superior technology to impose their own values or ideals on them.”  (Source:  Wikipedia)

Sure, Captain Kirk may not have ever stepped over the line with the Prime Directive, but you can damn well be sure, in the name of entertainment, he stepped right up to the line several times.  Just like Jane and Mark have been doing.

Now, I know you may say that Star Trek had to come up with the Prime Directive because, after all, the entire show was all about aliens, i.e., space ships and space outfits, five year mission, seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no [man] has gone before, etc., etc.

But — using Kellyanne Conway logic — I think that misses the point, because there now what appears to be ALIENS on House of Cards!

So you’ve heard the proof here first.  I now can’t wait for Season 6… and to hear Jane and Mark say:  “Two to beam up, get us out of here now!

;)