Thursday, December 07, 2017

How to explain the Bitcoin bubble to young people –

Ya GOT to read this…especially if you were thinking of diving in with your $$$$…..

How to explain the Bitcoin bubble to young people

Today, we're told by enthusiastic youth that Bitcoin is different, too. And if we disagree with them, they say we're too old or stupid to really understand Bitcoin. The only way to truly understand this innovative cryptocurrency, we're told, is to believe that its valuation will increase logarithmically, forever. Only then are we considered to have fully "understood" Bitcoin. (Yes, in cult-like fashion, only those who agree with never-ending valuation increases are deemed to have sufficiently understood the dark art of crypto. By definition, those who are skeptical of the Bitcoin Ponzi scheme are derided as low-IQ individuals who just don't "get it.")

She used to be a pole dancer; now she's a Bitcoin investment GURU

Case in point: A pole dancer named Dee Heath is now a "Bitcoin guru," according to SBS News. "I love pole dancing but lately my passion has definitely been Bitcoin," she told SBS News. She's reportedly tripled her Bitcoin valuation after investing an initial $5,800. The secret to her Bitcoin investing genius? "As long as you're calm and you don't let emotions run you when you're dealing with any sort of cryptocurrency, particularly Bitcoin, then you're safe," she says. (Insert your own outrageous laughter here…)

Indeed, Bitcoin is "too complicated" for investment veterans like Peter Schiff to understand, we're told, because he doesn't "understand" Bitcoin. But when an Australian pole dancer tells us the secret is to just stay calm and keep buying Bitcoin, suddenly she "gets it." This is what the Bitcoin hype has come to: Pole dancers are now "smarter" than 40-year veterans of finance and investment.

Young people have never witnessed a normal market

The very young people declaring "this time is different" aren't old enough to have ever witnessed a normal market for anything. For their entire adult lives, all they've witnessed is a universe of financial bubbles that they think are the "normal way" things happen. Because they haven't lived on this planet for very long, they've only seen stock markets rising, real estate markets rising and Bitcoin valuations exploding. They've never seen any serious downturn in any area of finance, investment or valuation, so they don't even realize that everything they witness is an unsustainable bubble that in no way represents a normal market (which, by definition, experiences booms and busts).

The very idea that Bitcoin could one day experience a massive sell-off (crash) is so alien to Bitcoin promoters that they insist anyone who dares entertain such an idea is too stupid to understand cryptocurrency. The very fact that the prefix "crypto" appears in the term "cryptocurrency," it seems, is a guarantee of never-ending logarithmic increases in valuation… to the point where we're told that any person "wise" enough to "invest" in Bitcoin right now will never have to work an honest day in their lives. The magic of Bitcoin, we're told, will generate all the wealth you'll ever need.

That's the real kicker in all this, of course: The younger the Bitcoin promoter, the more sure they've found an economic shortcut that will free them from the burden of ever having to work a job or earn a real living… such ideas are for "old people" (who are too stupid to understand crypto, right?). The Bitcoin youthers are sure they've figured out something so new, so miraculous and so smart that for all intents and purposes Bitcoin is a magical wealth-creating perpetual motion machine that cannot fail. They're sure of it!

As long as everyone keeps buying Bitcoin, no one will ever have to work again, they proclaim. No more labor jobs or service jobs. No more college education or work experience needed. In fact, there's no need to even think about your financial future as long as you buy some Bitcoin today because it's going to go up forever, and every single person who buys into Bitcoin now will be a gazillionaire (or something) before they turn 35. (Wages are for LOSERS, say the coinerz, because "smart" people have figured out how to become wealthy by doing absolutely nothing.)

There's just one problem with that entire narrative: All the leverage that makes the Bitcoin bubble dreamworld seem unassailable kicks into reverse when people start selling Bitcoin. Once the Bitcoin bubble pops, in other words, the entire Bitcoin house of cards will collapse faster than any financial blowout we've ever witnessed in the history of the world.

Fractional reserve banking, bank runs and the Bitcoin "zero reserves" problem

To truly understand the Bitcoin crash that's coming, let's take a closer look at bank runs. When a majority of holders of private bank accounts seek to withdraw all their money at once, it causes a "bank run" that can wipe out banking institutions in mere hours or days. That's because when you deposit money in a bank, the bank doesn't actually keep your money in its vaults. Instead, it keeps only a fraction of your money — about 10% these days — and loans out the other 90% to earn interest on that loans.

Thus, if you deposit $1000 into a bank, that bank turns around and loans out $900 to someone else. If that person deposits their $900 loan into the same bank, the bank loans out 90% of that deposit ($810) to a third person. Yet, mathematically, both the first person and second person believe they now have money in their bank accounts totaling $1900. (That's the original $1000 from the first person, plus the $900 from the second person.) This is how banks create money out of thin air. The problem with this arrangement is that there's really only $190 being held by the bank (that's 10% of each of their deposits). So if both people demand all their money at the same time, the bank has to come up with $1900 when it only has $190. This is what causes bank runs (i.e. collapses) in fractional reserve systems.

In order to prevent bank runs from wiping out banks — something that happened quite frequently in the late 1800s and early 1900s, by the way — the federal government established the FDIC as an insurer for bank deposits. Now, if you're part of a run on a local bank and that bank fails, the FDIC reimburses you up to $250,000 per person (and per account, for different types of accounts). In essence, the FDIC is an insurance company that covers catastrophic bank losses. The fact that this FDIC insurance system exists gives banking customers peace of mind, greatly reducing the chance of a bank run. (People are less likely to demand to withdraw their money if they're sure it's safe in the first place.)

Bitcoin has ZERO reserves and no insurance

Bitcoin has no fractional reserve system because Bitcoin has no reserves at all. There's no money "in" Bitcoin: No deposits, no assets, no corporation, nothing. Even worse, there's no insurance for a run on Bitcoin. If everybody demands all their money at once — i.e. by selling off Bitcoin for other currencies — the Bitcoin valuations collapse in mere minutes, and there's no central authority to cover the losses and reimburse wallet holders. Making things even more delusional, Bitcoinerz say your money is "safe" in Bitcoin but extremely vulnerable in "fiat" banking systems. What they fail to realize is that all funds invested in Bitcoin are subject to near-immediate and total loss once a Bitcoin selloff begins.

Young Bitcoin advocates falsely believe they are "investors" in Bitcoin. They think the Bitcoin "holds" the money they've spent on it, and as Bitcoin valuations grow, they think Bitcoin is a store of all the additional valuation they see reflected in Bitcoin prices. Yet Bitcoin valuations are an illusion. "Market capitalization" is a hoax, given that it's calculated by multiplying all the existing Bitcoins by the very last purchase price of the most recent transaction. This creates the illusion of tens of billions of dollars in "market capitalization" that simply doesn't exist. The money you spend on Bitcoin isn't sitting around somewhere "inside" Bitcoin. There is no vault, no cash stash and no backup plan.

The Bitcoin system has no real assets whatsoever

Every dollar you spend on Bitcoin actually goes directly into the hands of the person who sold you their Bitcoin — which is nothing more than an entry in a grand, shared ledger. You've just spent dollars to buy a ledger entry. Notably, the Bitcoin system has no real assets: No corporation, no building, no intellectual property, no patents, no real estate holdings, no real cash flow, no revenue stream… nothing. Once you put dollars into Bitcoin, those dollars are gone… usually spent on living expenses (or Bitcoin mining investments) by the person who sold you the Bitcoin. There is no "withdrawing" of assets from Bitcoin. You have no savings.

If something goes wrong with Bitcoin, you have no due process to make a claim against the Bitcoin ecosystem because there's no entity in charge of the system. From one perspective, decentralization is a good thing… and it's part of the advantage of cryptocurrency. But when things go sour, it also means you can't take your case to court. The entire Bitcoin system exists complete outside the law, meaning all your Bitcoins can be instantly stolen by changes in the software algorithm, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Government moves to criminalize Bitcoin

As all this is happening, the U.S. government is moving toward criminalizing Bitcoin because the system always fights back. Those who believe the money monopolies of the world — i.e. central banks — will just stand by and do nothing while cryptocurrency makes them obsolete are living in a delusional dreamworld.

Senate Bill S.1241, named, "Modernizing AML Laws to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing," would criminalize ownership of any Bitcoins that aren't tied to your social security number. "The US senate is proposing a bill to make criminals out of anyone intentionally concealing ownership or control of a digital currency or digital exchange account," reports BTC Manager. "What's more, according to the hearing's prolonged discussion of US law enforcement's handling of foreign banks and financial institutions, this bill is certain to have far-reaching effects on not only US citizens but the global community as a whole."

The SEC has also begun cracking down on the wildly unregulated ICO market, a cesspool of stupidity and fraud that's already beginning to collapse by the week. One company named "Tezos" raised $230 million with a cryptocurrency ICO based on a hilariously stupid white paper that attempted to lay out a "vision" that sounded more like drug-induced gibberish. Now, Tezos is being sued by its investors in a class action lawsuit that accuse the company of fraud. "A lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed in California against the founders and promoters of the controversial Tezos blockchain project," reports

That internal power struggle broke into public view earlier this month, stoking criticism of the project and raising questions about when the Tezos network would go live. It came months after the project raised a record $232 million in a token sale – the proceeds of which are now part of the dispute. The tokens have yet to be issued.

In case you're not familiar with ICOs, they are the newest layer of crypto-stupidity that involve hypesters scribbling unworkable ideas onto pieces of paper, then convincing the world to buy into their not-yet-real "tokens" that are often never issued. Most ICOs have no product, no technology, no software code written, no employees, no management experience and nothing at all to show for their "investments." Most are just scams that will produce absolutely nothing. Yet people buy into them because they don't want to "miss out" on all the growth potential. (ICOs, in other words, are the dot-com bubble for Millennials, who have yet to experience anyone in the world telling them their ideas suck.)

Bitcoin is a pure speculation game at this point… a Ponzi con run by hucksters and hype artists

Ultimately, Bitcoin has devolved into a speculation game, where nearly everyone jumping on board the Ponzi scheme is doing so solely because somebody told them they could "get rich" without expending effort. Such schemes always end badly, and Bitcoin will be no exception.

Notice, by the way, that every single person pushing Bitcoin has a conflict of interest in doing so. They are all invested in Bitcoin, and they therefore profit from recruiting more suckers to buy into the system. There are no promoters of Bitcoin who do not own Bitcoin. Every one of them, without exception, is operating with a conflict of interest when they advise others to invest. Yet the system can only survive if prices keep rising rapidly, and that means new people have to be rapidly recruited to buy into the system in order for the early adopters to have a sufficiently large audience of suckers who will buy their older Bitcoins. This is the very definition of a Ponzi scheme: New "investors" are required to keep funding payouts to the earlier investors, all while the hype of easy money and insanely large returns is used as the marketing ploy to attract new suckers.

The very idea that Bitcoin is an "investment" is ludicrous. Bitcoin pays no dividends, produces no product and possesses no assets at all. The only gain comes from higher prices, and the entire Bitcoin movement has now become a clear speculative bubble rooted in mania, not reason. The madness of crowds, in other words, has never been more absurd.

Even the initial promise of Bitcoin's utility has turned out to be a lie. First we were told by the Bitcoin con artists that Bitcoin would replace dollars and credit cards as the world's transaction system for all purchases. But before long, it became apparent that Bitcoin was ridiculously slow, expensive and non-scalable. It also happens to consume more power than 159 countries right now, and the system is so inefficient with power usage that Bitcoin is on track to consume the entire power supply of planet Earth by 2020.

Bitcoin is actually powered by COAL

In effect, Bitcoin is powered by coal. It burns so much electricity that it's one of the world's largest users of coal-generated energy. Even worse, the increasing computational complexity of the Bitcoin algorithm means that the same amount of energy which generated $100 worth of Bitcoin just a year ago only generates about $10 worth of Bitcoin today. As more mining operations are launched, the electricity consumption required to generate a single Bitcoin skyrockets. This upward spiraling cost phenomenon can only be sustained when prices are rising logarithmically — something that isn't mathematically sustainable. The collapse of Bitcoin, in other words, is mathematically inevitable.

Getting back to Bitcoin's utility, large merchants still haven't adopted Bitcoin in any widespread manner, and the price volatility introduces so many risks to retailers that very few are willing to take the risk of shipping physical product in exchange for non-real Bitcoin that might vanish at any moment. For example, cryptocurrency wallet holders recently awakened to discover $300 billion cryptocurrency had just VANISHED due to a software error. If Amazon were to start accepting Bitcoin, that would be a game changer, but Amazon is far more likely to announce its own cryptocurrency than bet its reputation on one that it can't control.

So now, the Bitcoin hucksters have resorted to calling Bitcoin "digital gold" while claiming that Bitcoin is more valuable than gold, better than gold, and lasts longer than gold. (For the record, gold is an element of the universe that has existed for over 13 billion years. Bitcoin hasn't even been around for 13 years… you do the math…)

Why Bitcoin is a joke compared to gold

I've even listed ten reasons why gold is better than Bitcoin:

#1) Gold has been around for over 13 billion years and is a fundamental element of the cosmos. Bitcoin has existed fewer than 13 years and hasn't even come close to standing the test of time.

#2) Unlike Bitcoin, gold cannot be created or destroyed by human beings.

#3) When the power grid goes down, gold is still gold. But Bitcoin becomes worthless.

#4) Physical gold cannot be stolen through the internet

#5) The value of any single Bitcoin depends on the entire Bitcoin infrastructure continuing to operate

#6) When you try to burn gold, you just get melted gold. When you burn Bitcoin wallets, you lose all your Bitcoins.

#7) Owning gold is truly anonymous. Your gold cannot be detected, and if you move it around, nobody else knows.

#8) Gold has practical industrial, medical and scientific applications that grant it inherent value. Bitcoin can be replaced tomorrow by a better cryptocurrency.

#9) Gold is universally recognized and accepted as valuable in every culture on our planet. Bitcoin is unrecognizable to most humans living today.

#10) Most people buy gold to protect value, yet most people buying Bitcoin today are speculating on a "get rich quick" scheme that will blow up in their faces.

Don't bet anything on Bitcoin that you can't afford to have VANISH

The bottom line on Bitcoin? Because it has now entered a psychologically-powered bubble phase, the bubble could continue to go much higher, even possibly achieving $100,000 per Bitcoin before collapsing. But it is impossible to predict when it will collapse, and thus calling the high of the Bitcoin market is a dangerous game.

For this reason, any money you "invest" in Bitcoin should be money that you feel completely comfortable losing. Because that's the most likely outcome you will experience, after all. Most people won't sell Bitcoin while the market is rising because they don't want to "miss out" on the upside. They'll hold it until the collapse begins, and then just like everyone else, they won't be able to get out without suffering massive losses during the blowout carnage.

Once the collapse takes place, all the stupid people who bought into Bitcoin will ask themselves in bewilderment, "Where did all the money go?" The truth, of course, is that it never existed in the first place. Bitcoin's "market capitalization" is a hoax. The money doesn't exist in the real world.

You'd be far better off buying gold and silver rather than Bitcoin. In fact, I'm going to plug Steve Quayle's Renaissance Precious Metals as a trusted source for buying gold and silver. I don't make a dime on this recommendation, and I have no financial stake in gold or silver markets (unlike all the Bitcoin hucksters who are profiting by selling you their Bitcoins). Long after Bitcoin has crashed and burned, your gold and silver will still be physically present and highly valuable. All the Bitcoinerz who are currently deriding gold bugs as clueless old farts will be bashing their heads against the wall one day, kicking themselves for not converting their Bitcoin to physical gold while they still had the chance. (And some of them will end up working at McDonald's or Wal-Mart after all their Bitcoin holdings are wiped out.)

Today's Bitcoin youth are about to learn a very difficult lesson in reality. But it is precisely the lesson they need to learn in order to gain a proper education about reality.

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Friday, December 01, 2017

Do You Have POTS Syndrome?

Do You Have POTS Syndrome? | Healthy Lifestyle Arena

Do You Have POTS Syndrome?

When I first saw the articles on POTS, I misread it as POTUS, referring to the President of the United States and some physical reaction to President Donald Trump. I probably made the mistake because I write so much political commentary, but quickly realized my mistake, because what I was thinking of was POTUS.

If you are like, me, you may never have heard of POTS, but it is becoming more common in today's society. POTS stands for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Allow me to break this down to make it easier to explain?

  • Postural means the condition is related to the posture of the body.
  • Orthostatic also suggests the body's position is involved and refers to dizziness and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
  • Tachycardia means a rapid heartbeat, generally over 100 beats per minute.
  • Syndrome means it is not a disease but rather a group of symptoms that are often seen together.

How do you know if you are suffering from POTS? When you stand up, do you get dizzy and experience chest pains? If you check your heart rate and find that it is faster than normal but your blood pressure is lower than normal, you may have POTS.

This syndrome is classified as a dysautonomia which means it involves the part of the nervous system that controls heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.

Other symptoms of POTS include pain in your hand and feet; fatigue; constipation or diarrhea; shortness of breath; tremors or shaking; weakness; bloating; nausea; heart palpitation; extremities feel cold or painful; the ability to concentrate become difficult and an intolerance to exercise. A person with POTS may have some or any combination of symptoms, but not necessarily all of them.

Researchers are still trying to determine what causes POTS. In some people, there may be a family history which indicates there may be a genetic link, but then in others, there may be no family history at all.

Another common factor is that the majority of cases of POTS are diagnosed in women between the ages of 15 to 50, but note that it can occur in men and people of any age.

In many of the cases, especially those in women, POTS develops soon after a pregnancy, severe illness or injury, any kind of major surgery or trauma to the body. Strangely enough, it is also found to follow prolonged periods of fight-or-fright type responses, which do affect or causes changes to the heart rate.

Researchers have also identified a number of underlying conditions that have been found to occur at the same time as POTS, sometimes making it difficult to diagnose. Those conditions include diabetes and prediabetes; mononucleosis; Lyme disease; anemia; vitamin and mineral deficiencies; autoimmune disease; periods of prolonged bed rest; Epstein Barr virus and Ehlers Danlos syndrome.

Generally, people suspected of having POTS are referred to a cardiologist or neurologist who will then conduct a series of tests, which may include a tilt table test, ECG, and checking heart rate and blood pressure sitting and standing.

Since the actual cause of POTS is yet uncertain, treatment is more of a trial and error system of finding what helps and what doesn't. Some people with POTS find that wearing compression socks or stockings helps, along with drinking more water, increasing salt consumption, sitting exercises like a stationary bike.

Some doctors may prescribe medications to help control the heart rate and blood pressure symptoms.

Since POTS is just becoming known to many in the medical world, no one is sure what kind of prognosis people with the syndrome have. Some see improvements with the medications and changes in lifestyles, however, more research needs to be done on this syndrome to find a cause and how to treat it.

In the meantime, more people are being diagnosed with the syndrome as doctors and specialists become more familiar with the mysterious syndrome known as POTS.

Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2017 General Residency Program | I-Park Foundation, Inc.

2017 General Residency Program | I-Park Foundation, Inc.

2017 General Residency Program


The annual call for submissions for our 2017 General Residency Program is now closed, with all notifications to be sent by the end of March. However, thanks to a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, we are reserving one 2017 residency slot for a visual artist currently residing in Middlesex County. If you are interested in applying for this residency, please read the materials below. Although written specifically for the late 2016 call for submissions, it will give you a general flavor for what is provided and how the program works. You can also click on the link to the right for the program FAQ (same caveat). To view the application instructions and connect to the application portal, CLICK HERE. Application deadline is April 17, 2017.
Key Elements of the Program
  • This program is offered free of charge to accepted/invited artists, though there is a $30.00 application fee that helps defray the cost of the selection panels. The only major artists' expenses are for personal art supplies/materials and transportation to and from the area. A complimentary pickup at a Connecticut airport or bus/train station at the beginning of the session, and a drop-off at the end, is offered.
  • The format is self-directed, non-judgmental: you decide what you're going to work on and when.
  • Residents are provided with a private bedroom, a private studio, a meal program as well as shared amenities: artists' kitchen, Common Area, library, wireless internet.
  • I-Park annually convenes 6 independent, discipline-specific selection panels, the composition of which substantially changes each year.
  • Application materials are processed through a convenient online submission system.
  • I-Park supports mixed-discipline residencies made up of individuals from among the following creative fields:
  • Visual Arts, including sculpture, environmental art, installation, photography
  • Music Composition/Sound Art
  • Architecture
  • Creative Writing
  • Landscape/Garden/Ecological Design
  • Moving Image, including video and film art, new media, documentary, animation, virtual reality
  • The typical residency session has a 4-week duration. The 6-7 artists who populate each session arrive together as a group, share the time and space together and, at the end, leave as a group. The 2017 General Residency Program season run from June 12 through November 20
  • Application materials are currently available online – with a submission deadline of Monday, February 6, 2017.

Special Features
  • an enthusiastic, resourceful staff devoted to providing each artist with a fulfilling, productive and comfortable residency experience
  • a quiet, retreat-type environment conducive to the creative process: I-Park is set in a rich, expansive nature preserve with ponds, fields, teaming wetlands, miles of stone walls and a pristine river running through it
  • onsite vegetable and spice gardens to enhance the meal program
  • support and encouragement to undertake ambitious installations on the grounds – including material, equipment and labor resources for approved projects
  • a special focus on ephemeral, site-responsive art representing all 6 of the creative disciplines supported by I-Park – this culminates every other year in a major exhibition of this work, the Site-Responsive Art Biennale
  • an OPEN Studios event at the end of each residency session to highlight the individual creative processes of the artists
  • international component: approximately a third of the artists come from outside the U.S.
  • you'll gain an inside perspective on I-Park's special cross-disciplinary and collaborative programs
  • a shared workshop space and an abundance of tools, materials and equipment, including an electric kiln
  • the Junk Trail: a free/shared resource for recycling the remains of onsite ephemeral installations
  • in the Music Studio: an acoustic piano, several digital keyboards and peripheral devices and software for recording, sequencing and sound manipulation – and a collection of percussion and obscure instruments
  • chef-prepared dinners, 4 nights per week, that foster artistic, cultural and inter-personal exchanges
  • bonfires by the pond, an outdoor shower (in addition to the real ones), an aerial drone and a floating living room


How to Change Your Life in One Second Flat | Thrive Global

How to Change Your Life in One Second Flat | Thrive Global

How to Change Your Life in One Second Flat

The 4 critical questions we're all unconsciously asking each other near constantly

Christian Battaglia via

Maya Angelou suggests there are four questions that we're all unconsciously asking each other all the time.  

We ask the people we love, we ask the people who matter to us professionally, and on a broader level, we ask the people we encounter as we go about our everyday lives: the cashier who takes your coffee order, the jogging neighbor you wave to from the car on the way to work, the elderly woman sitting across from you on the train.

The four questions rarely get asked with words, just as they're rarely answered with words. 

They're almost always silent questions, because they're almost always unconscious.

When the silent answer to each of the four silent questions is a definitive YES, the love (or basic sense of humanity, in the broader examples) in the relationship becomes more palpable and is in turn immediately felt. 

In a romantic context, when the questions go unanswered, the person unconsciously asking them typically becomes increasingly distant, grows restless in the relationship, and often starts seeking drama and distraction to get attention and feel more alive.  

In the broader context, people who don't get an answer to these questions (or worse, who receive a 'no') feel increasingly disconnected from any sense of community.

Here are the 4 critical questions:

  1. Do you see me?
  2. Do you care that I'm here?
  3. Am I enough for you, or do you need me to be better in some way?
  4. Can I tell that I'm special to you by the way that you look at me?

Whether it's your kids, your colleagues, your partner, or really anyone in your community, when someone feels genuinely appreciated by you, it's because you treat them in such a way that affirmatively answers each question pretty consistently.  It's because when you look at them, you actually take the time to see them.  

One reason why some people love dogs so much? 

 Dogs answer the four questions with a big, "Yes!" near constantly. Those furry little spiritual masters are always in the present moment, so their quality of connection is always heightened (subsequently, so is the level of palpable connection they emit).

Unlike our K-9 counterparts, we regularly slip out of the present moment and go somewhere else. 

It at least makes more sense when we evade the present moment during ostensibly mundane activities, like an unnecessary meeting, doing laundry, our commute, etc. But invariably, the habit of not being present spills over into the moments we really mean to be present for:

  • The love of your life walks into the room before bed and you barely look up from your phone.
  • You meet your best friend for brunch and go through the motions of the hug, the 'you look so cute' and the 'it took forever to get here!' without actually feeling much.
  • You're tying your daughter's shoe and when you're done, you get up to reach for her packed lunch and hand it to her while you're simultaneously grabbing your bag and keys, all without ever looking at her.

We all do this. We blaze through darling moments every single day. 

Sometimes we don't really remember much about our week because we just weren't fully there.

But how do we answer these questions constantly? 

I'm not encouraging intense stare downs with every single human you encounter, but what I do hear so often in my work is this:

She's looking at me, but it's like she's looking past me.

I know he cares and I objectively know he loves me more than anything, but he's so checked out.

I just want to shake him sometimes like, wake up!

If you see someone, let them know you see them.  

Slow down, and though it feels strange to write because it's so simple: take a second to actually look at another person.  

Just one extra second.  Literally.

And on the topic of literally, certainly if you love someone, show some love! Literally. Let the love you feel show on your face, in your eyes and in your quality of presence.  

Slowing down and taking the one extra second is how you connect.  

It's this incredibly simple part of the human experience that's getting lost in the modern rush.  Taking the one extra second is the kind of quality that shapes your mood for the better after a bad news day (or bad news week, or bad news year), it's the secret to the people we find so charming, it's what the best leaders do -- helping people feel seen and valued will totally shift your life.  

We can all get by without connection, at least for a little while, but if we really want to thrive, we have to connect to each other.

Connection is not based on how much time we spend with someone or what we do with them, connection is always based on quality of presence. 

This is why we fall in love with people who make us feel alive, because on some level, we're all desperate to be more present.

Being present doesn't require meditation, deep breaths, or anything like that. It's just a one second decision, "Ok, I'm gonna be present now." 

It's not a decision you make in the morning and then never have to think about again, it's a decision you make over and over and over again throughout the day. Ooops, wandered away from the present moment? No probs. The return flight is one second long.

The four questions are impossible for you to answer unless you're present.

If you're at all interested in experimenting with the idea that people are always asking the four questions, for one week, use an image of the number "4" as the wallpaper on your phone. Let the number be a cue to help you remember to answer the questions, not out loud, but on your face, in your touch, in your eyes, with the quality of your presence.

Taking the one extra second doesn't have to be constant to be successful (i.e. to have an impact on your quality of connection to yourself and others). Just do it as you remember to, do it as you please, and that will be enough. 

Katherine Schafler is an NYC-based psychotherapist, writer and speaker.  For more of her work, join her newsletter community, read her blog, or follow her on Instagram.


Friday, November 17, 2017

How To Invest in Cryptocurrencies: The Ultimate Beginners Guide

How To Invest in Cryptocurrencies: The Ultimate Beginners Guide

An in-depth guide by BlockGeeks

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Angel Investors, Startups & Blockchain developers...

This guide explains how you invest in cryptocurrencies. Why should you invest in them? Which cryptocurrencies should you put in your portfolio? Where can you buy them, how can you store them, and how do you need to tax them? We try to give answers to the most urgent questions about investing in cryptocurrencies.

Disclaimer before continuing: We are not a financial institution: All we are proving is educational material: Do not take this information as professional investment advice.

Introduction: To Invest in Cryptocurrencies: The Ultimate Beginners Guide

If you landed on this text, you might be already interested in investing in cryptocurrencies. Virtual or crypto currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are definitely by far the hottest investment product currently available. These immutable and exchangeable cryptographic token promise to become a hard and non-manipulatable money for the whole world. Their advocates see a future in which Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies will substitute Euro, Dollar and so on and create the first free and hard world currency.

Holding Bitcoin means to have a share in this venture. If Bitcoin ever replaces monetary reserves of central banks or becomes the dominant currency for international trades – just to name two examples — the value of one Bitcoin will be far beyond 10,000 Dollar. Buying and keeping cryptocurrencies is a bet on the success of this silent revolution of money. It's like a security of a large ecosystem.

In the past, investors in cryptocurrencies have been ridiculously successful. Let's have a look at three charts, which show the price of Bitcoin, Ethereum and all cryptocurrencies combined.

Since 2011, Bitcoin generated an increase in the value of at least 25,000 percent. Since a linear chart can't represent this increase, we need to use an exponential chart.

Since May 2016, Ethereum value shot up by 2,700 percent. That's maybe the fastest rally a cryptocurrency ever demonstrated.

And talking about all cryptocurrencies – the complete market cap soared by 10,000 percent since mid-2013.

Can you trust an asset, which demonstrated this incredible vertical take-off? Must it not be a bubble?

Sure: it would have been better to invest one year ago, two years ago or six years ago. But if you understand the potential of also be found and if your belief in their vision of money, today might be the best day possible to start investing in it. That's why we wrote a guide explaining how to invest in cryptocurrencies. We will tell you how you create a cryptocurrency-portfolio, where you buy cryptocurrencies, how you store them and how you tax your gains.

This said we need to note that cryptocurrencies are not a normal investment. The volatility grossly exceeds that of any other investment class. It is to some parts unregulated. There is the risk that cryptocurrencies get outlawed, that exchanges get hacked or that you lose your cryptocurrency key. Cryptocurrencies are a high-risk investment.

So an important advice is to only invest as much that you can keep on living and be if all of it goes to zero. Like Wence Casares, CEO of Xapo, said in an AMA on

"I always tell them [my family] that the second most stupid thing they could do right now is to own an amount of bitcoins they cannot afford to lose and the most stupid thing they could do would be to not own any. "

With this quote, we start our guide.

Why Invest in Cryptocurrencies And Why Not?

Besides what was already said, there are three major good reasons to invest in cryptocurrencies. First, because you want to hedge your net-worth against the fall of the Dollar imperium, which is assumed by many people to inevitably happen at some time. Second, because you support the social vision behind cryptocurrencies – that of a free and hard money for the whole world. Third, because you understand and like the technology.

However, there are also very bad reasons to invest in cryptocurrencies. Many people fall victim to the hype surrounding every cryptocurrency-bubble. There is always somebody captured by FOMO (fear of missing out), buying massively in at the peak of a bubble, just in hope to make quick money, while not understanding cryptocurrencies at all. That's a bad reason. Don't do this. Learn before you invest.

What Cryptocurrencies Should I buy? Building your Portfolio.

The former only crypto has been Bitcoin. Up until late 2016 Bitcoin was the cryptocurrency, and there was not much besides it. If you wanted to invest in the success of cryptocurrencies, you bought Bitcoin. Period. Other cryptocurrencies – called "Altcoins" – have just been penny stocks on shady online-markets, mostly used to keep miner's GPUs working, pump the price and dump the coins.

However, this has changed. While Bitcoin is still the dominant cryptocurrency, in 2017 it's share of the whole crypto-market has rapidly fallen from 90 to around 40 percent. Many people saw this coming as a result of the growing popularity of Ethereum and the ongoing self-tearing of the Bitcoin community over the blocksize issue. This again shows that it is important to keep your eyes open and listen to what the communities say.

If you want to invest in cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is still a standard item of every portfolio – but it is no longer the onliest asset. In every well-balanced crypto-portfolio today you find other coins, like:

A good starting point to put together your portfolio should be the website coinmarketcap.

  • Ethereum
  • Ripple
  • Litecoin
  • Dash
  • Monero
  • And more

Here you see the "market cap" of all relevant nations. Market cap means the value of all token available. It is not a perfect metric, but likely the best we have to recognize the value of a cryptocurrency.

If you want to have a balanced portfolio at one point in time, it might be a good strategy to simply reflect the ten most valuable currencies in your portfolio. More interesting however is it to take some time, read about those coins, decide, if their vision gets you and make this to the base of your asset selection.

For example, you'll find some coins focused on privacy, like:

  • Dash
  • Monero
  • Zcash

Some on smart contracting, like Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, and some on scaling payments, like Litecoin and, again, Dash. Some coins, like Ripple or Nem or Bitshares, seem to be less open and decentralized as Bitcoin and other coins.

The cryptocurrency markets are a blazing, often confusing ecosystem, in which you find thousands of chances to win a lot of money – and to lose it. Every day gives birth to new coins and death to some old coins. Every day sees some coins heavily falling, and some vertically raising.

If you buy altcoins, there are some rules to discriminate the good from the bad. Good coins have a transparent technical vision, an active development team, and a vivid, enthusiastic community. Bad coins are in transparent, promote fuzzy technical advantages without explaining how to reach them, and have a community which is mostly focused on getting rich. Maybe the worst shatter of cryptocurrencies are the MLM coins, for example, OneCoin, which target the technical uninformed with a multi level marketing system, promising to be the next Bitcoin. Beware of them!

How to buy Cryptocurrencies?

While some years ago it was a real Odyssey to buy cryptocurrencies, today you have a full scope of options.

Exchange traded notes and more

Let's begin with buying Bitcoin. That's the easiest part. Some people want to invest in Bitcoin without having the trouble of storing them.

They can use investment vehicles like the XBT tracker (available on Swedish and German exchanges), the Bitcoin investment trust on Second Markets (USA), the Bitcoin ETI (Gibraltar and Germany) and some more. As Bitcoin rises, more and more brokers and exchanges try to setup a Bitcoin based financial product.

All these investment products have in common that they enable investors to bet on Bitcoin's price without actually buying Bitcoin. While most cryptocurrency-fans think that this takes away the whole fun and sense of it, for many people it is the easiest way to invest in Bitcoin's success. You can use the investment channels you already are used to, and if something goes wrong, you have your certificate and someone to take to the court.

Currently, no such investment product exists which covers more cryptocurrencies. But there are some in progress, both in the USA and in Europe.

Buying Real Bitcoin on Exchanges

If you want to experience possessing real Bitcoins – or if you want to avoid paying the partly high fees for investment products – you should start buying Bitcoin directly. For doing so, you have a lot of options all over the world. Just look at our guide listing a large part of the world's Bitcoin exchanges.

For example, in Europe, you can use:



  • OKCoin
  • BTCChina
  • BitFlyer

Mostly buying Bitcoin is not a big problem. You open up an account at the exchange, verify your identity – this is required due to Anti-Money-Laundering rules in most jurisdictions – and fund your account with Dollar or Euro or whatever paper money you use. On some exchanges, like, you don't need to fund your account, but trade directly with other users.

The question, what exchange to use depends mostly where you live. It's alway better to use an exchange physically close to you. If it is located in the same jurisdiction like you, you have the best chances to get money legally back if some bad things happen. If no exchange is located in your jurisdiction, it is better to use exchanges based in stable countries with a good legal system.

Another factor to decide which exchange you use is some coins you want to buy and your patience. If you want to acquire large sums of Bitcoins fastly, you need to use one of the major exchanges which provide enough liquidity. If you only want to buy small amounts of coins and if you are not in a hurry, you can try to buy them on small exchanges. If your order gets filled, you most likely will get better prices than on big exchanges.

Buying other Cryptocurrencies

Other than Bitcoins Altcoins are somehow harder to acquire. Some major exchanges like Kraken, BitFinex, and BitStamp, have started to list some popular Altcoins, like Litecoin, Ethereum, Monero, and Ripple. If they are part of your portfolio, don't hesitate to buy all at one stop shop.

But there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies out there. If you want to go to a crypto supermarket, where you can buy and sell most of them, you need to register at what is usually called an altcoin exchange.

Examples are:

  • Bittrex
  • Yunbi
  • Bithumb
  • Poloniex.

Again, the site coinmarketcap is useful, as it lists all crypto exchanges, sorted by trade volume.

The Altcoin exchanges have less strict KYC (know your customer) rules, as here you usually don't trade with fiat money. You can fund your account with Bitcoin, which serves as a unit of account for the altcoin markets, similar to the Dollar's function on the Forex markets.

Like with Bitcoin exchanges you should be careful to choose an exchange with a high trust level. However, most altcoin exchanges are not regulated, and many are located in Asia. So you never should place too much trust in them, as you have nearly no chance to get anything back if they are hacked or file bankruptcy. But exchanges like Poloniex and Bittrex are based in the US and have a long history of providing a secure and safe trading environment.

Is there a good time to buy?

There is no general rule when to buy cryptocurrencies. Usually it is not a good idea to buy in at the peak of a bubble, and usually, it is also not a good idea to buy it when it is crashing. Never catch a falling knife, as the trader's wisdom says. Best time might be when the price is stable at a relatively low level.

The art of trading is to decide when a crypto is in bubble mode and when it reached the bottom after falling. What is easy to say in retrospective is a hard question in the present, which can never be answered with absolute certainty. Sometimes a coin starts to raise, and after it passes a mark, where everybody thinks this must be the peak of a bubble, the real rally just begins.

For example, many people did not buy Bitcoins at $1,000 or Ethereum at $100, because it seemed to be crazily expensive. But some month later these prices appear to have been a good moment to start.

There is only two advice about timing we can give. First, don't compare crypto bubbles with traditional financial bubbles. 10 percent up is not a bubble but can be daily volatility. 100 percent up can be a bubble, but often it is just the start of it. 1,000 percent might be a bubble usually, but there is no guarantee that it pops.

Second, take some time to watch. Don't buy in, because there was a dip. There might be another. And don't buy in, because you fear that it will explode tomorrow. Watch it, get yourself informed, buy it, when you think the timing is good. And, maybe most important: don't be a weak hand. Don't sell too early. Hold. The monetary revolution has just started.

How To Store Cryptocurrencies?

After you acquired cryptocurrencies, the most important question is how to store them. You have several options which enable you to find your balance of risks.

Keep them off  an Exchange

If you invested not only in Bitcoin but in several Altcoins, there is usually no way around keeping coins on an exchange. You don't want to get in the trouble of installing, compiling, malware checking, using, syncing and updating the software for every coin you invested in.

More as in the process of buying, the trust in an exchange becomes very important, when you store your coins there. There is a long history of hacks and bankruptcies in cryptocurrency markets, most famous the hack of Mt. Gox, which sucked up hundreds of millions of customer's Dollars. So if you use an exchange to store your coins, you should gather some information:

  • Where are they located?
  • Are the owners known?
  • Since when do they operate?
  • Do they provide some audits to ensure you that all the coins are available?
  • How do they react to customer's requests?

For example, for people in the EU, enjoys a strong trust level. The exchange operates without loss of customer's funds since 2011, the owners are well known in the German and European community, and an annual audit by external company checks if all coins are available. This level of trust, however, can rarely be achieved when you hold a lot of altcoins. That's the risk you need to take.

Our Recommendation: Store them by yourself

The real revolutionary property of cryptocurrencies is the autonomy they grant the individual. This property can be found also and above all when it comes to storing cryptocurrencies. You don't need anybody. Not to help, and not to trust. All you need is to download a free and open software.

Again, you have most options with Bitcoin. For the most famous cryptocurrency, there exist a lot of wallets for every device. This software can be used to receive, store and send Bitcoins. There is the Bitcoin client, the so called full node, which grants the highest level of autonomy, but also requires a lot of time to sync and disk to store the blockchain. Easier to use are thin clients like Electrum. These are available for every device.

It's important to know that when storing crypto by yourself, it is solely you who is responsible for the safety and security of your coins. If your smartphones fall in the water, your coins could be gone. If you get a malware on your computer, your coins could be gone. And so on.

Fortunately, you have more than one option to make a backup. First, you can copy your wallet file on a USB stick. Better use two or three. Second, you can print out your private key. This is the onliest information you need to reconstruct access to coins belonging to a certain address, everywhere and every time. Third a lot of wallets support so called seeds, which are sentences of 12 to 24 random words. With them, you can not only rescue a single address, but every address ever made with this wallet. If you print them out, you don't need to worry about your coins.

One of the safest options to store Bitcoins is hardware wallets like Trezor or Ledger. This is either smartcards or micro machines, which can generate keys and sign transactions without the main computer directly involved. The most vulnerable parts of Bitcoin – the private keys – don't get in touch with the internet at all. However, deemed as even safer are paper wallets. This simply means you print out your backup and delete the wallet from any machine which is connected to the Internet. No connection, no computer, no hacker. Just a piece of paper, which can store millions or billions of Dollar.

Like with most things, the infrastructure of Altcoins can't compete with Bitcoin's. Some popular altcoins, like Litecoin, Ripple, and Ethereum, can be stored in hardware wallets. If you know what you do, you can also use paper wallets for any Altcoin, as the fundamental cryptographic concepts remain the same.

Some Lightwallet, for example, Exodus, can store several coins beside Bitcoin, for example, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, and Dogecoin. Also, Electrum can be used to store Litecoins and Dash.

But there is no easy one stop shop to store a huge variety of Altcoins by yourself. If you want to do so, you need to download the client of all these coins, download its blockchain and keep it updated. If your portfolio consists of 10 or 20 coins, and playing around with software is not your hobby, you can safely cut this option and use exchanges.

What's with Taxes and so on?

Disclaimer: We are no tax bureau nor tax consultants. If you have issues with taxes, and if large sums are at stake, you better ask your local tax consultant.

Right now there are only a few tax consultants who know how to deal with cryptocurrencies. But it can be safely assumed that the number is growing quickly and that cryptocurrencies will soon be a standard issue for tax experts like securities, shares, ETFs and real estates are.

All we can provide here is an overview of the typical issues with cryptocurrencies and taxes.

No free lunch

Nothing is for sure, except death and taxes. The same goes on with cryptocurrencies. If you earn money by investing in cryptocurrencies, you likely have to pay taxes. Like it is with everything else.

How you need to tax cryptocurrency investment returns is up to your national tax jurisdiction.

The Good News …

There is some good news about the topic of cryptocurrencies and taxes. First, in nearly every country of the world cryptocurrencies are VAT exempt. Like with every financial product you don't need to pay VAT when selling Bitcoin. There have been some ideas of tax authorities in Poland, Estonia, Germany, Australia and Sweden to demand VAT on crypto sales, but after the European Court smashed this down in an important decision, VAT for Bitcoins seems to have become a non-topic.

Another good news is that in some jurisdictions you have to pay nearly no taxes. Amazingly Germany, a country usually known for very high tax rates, has become a tax haven for cryptocurrencies. Like the USA and many other countries, Germany considers Bitcoin not a financial product, but a property. This means that if you earn money by trading it, you don't pay a flat tax for financial income – which is 25 percent, for example for bank account interest – but you have to tax the profit of buying and selling cryptocurrencies like income.

It's more as you sold your house than a security.

  • You bought 10 Bitcoins for 1,000 Euro and sold them for 2,000? Your taxable income increased by 10,000 Euro.
  • You bought one bitcoin for 100 Euro and ordered a 10-Euro-pizza when the price was 1,000 Euro? Your income increased by 9 Euro.  In most cases, the tax rate for this is higher than for financial gains.

However, there is a loophole. If you hold your coins for more than 1 year, you don't need to pay taxes at all when you sell it. This rule was added to dis-incentivize day trading of other properties and stabilize prices by incentivizing holders. For cryptocurrencies it made Germany, and also the Netherlands, which apply the same rules, to tax havens. Some countries might have similar rules. In doubt, your tax advisor can help you out.

One problem the one year rule poses is that you need to prove that you hold the crypto for this timeframe. Usually, exchanges can help you with prints of your trade history. Also, you can use the public blockchain as a proof of storage. In most cryptocurrencies, it is transparent when coins are received and spent by a particular address. But not in all. For example, Monero uses Ring Signatures and Confidential Transactions, which are great tools to maintain anonymity. But the downside is that they make it more or less impossible to prove that you hold coins more than one year. Maybe you take this into account when selecting coins for your portfolio.

The Bad News …

If you use a good exchange and keep track of your trades, taxing Bitcoin is possible, but also a pain in the ass. You need to calculate every single profit, not just from trading, but also from using Bitcoins to pay for things.

But that's just the beginning. Things become really a complicated nightmare if it comes to Altcoins. For the tax authorities, an Altcoin counts like Bitcoin. In most countries, this means it is not a financial product, but a property. If you buy it with Bitcoin and sell it for Bitcoin, you have to tax the difference, but not in Bitcoin, but in Dollar or you national paper money. This means, you not only need to keep track of all your Altcoin trades, but you also need to take into account the price of Bitcoin when buying and selling.

Obviously, this makes things extremely complicated. You can have a bad trade, resulting in getting less Bitcoin back than you invested, but being still, in theory, accountable to taxes, when the price of Bitcoin did soar between your trades. So you lost money in trading but have to pay taxes for it.

At this moment you should accept the fact that cryptocurrencies are something new and that you are no expert in dealing with your financial authorities. Go for a tax consultant, educate her or him about cryptocurrencies and look forward to talking with confused financial authority officials.

And enjoy investing in cryptocurrencies.

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