Bitcoin – Money Decentralization

With Bitcoin on the rise recently (currently priced at $900+), I thought I’d share the link to this article – Bitcoin – Money Decentralization – which provides some insight into how Bitcoin works and some core principles behind it.

The article is written more from the Computer Science perspective rather than an economic/financial one, some of the economic details might be oversimplified.

The two main aspects that make Bitcoin different from a modern monetary systems, like US Dollar or Euro, are the following:

  1. Decentralization: There is no central entity that prints (mints) money, but rather the money is being mint by the crowd. This makes Bitcoin a decentralized system.
  2. Anonymity: People who use Bitcoin hope that their identity would not be revealed, in contrast to the usual way we all buy commodity over the internet using our credit card, we have to supply our personal details to be verified against the bank who treats our account.

The True Reason Behind The 40-Hour Work Week & Why We Are Economic Slaves

The True Reason Behind The 40-Hour Work Week & Why We Are Economic Slaves” doesn’t really say anything new, but it explains things nice and simple.

We automatically accept a 40-hour workweek with meager hourly pay as normal, even though many work overtime and still struggle to survive. There are also those who make enough to live comfortably but are unable to request less hours—you either work 40 hours a week, or you don’t get to work at all. We submit when told what to wear, when we have to arrive and depart, when we’re allowed to eat, and even when we’re allowed to use the restroom. How is it we have come to allow this?

The 40-hour-work week came about during the Industrial Revolution in Britain when at one point workers were putting in 10 to 16 hour days and began to protest. Working situations for Americans began to worsen as well, and by 1836, labor movement publications were also calling for a 40-hour workweek. Citizens in both situations were so overworked, an eight-hour day was easily accepted. This system is unnecessary now, if it ever was, but we still accept it due to the effects of our capitalist society.

It goes over the relationship of inflation, debt and consumerism with a few historical references.  Good reading for anybody wondering why the paycheck-to-paycheck life cycle is difficult to change, no matter what’s the size of the paycheck.

How 37 Banks Became 4 In Just 2 Decades

bank chart

How 37 Banks Became 4 In Just 2 Decades“:

If you were wondering how banks got “too big to fail,” here’s a good place to start. This chart shows us how, over the last couple of decades, 37 banks have became just 4 mega-banks. These same 4 mega-banks have, thus far, been immune to the consequences of any and all of their terrible decisions that places the entire world economy in jeopardy.


Cyprus Tax, Facts & Figures 2016

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) published their annual Cyprus tax, facts and figures brochure for the year 2016. It is a handy document to send to friends abroad who are interested in moving to Cyprus or starting a business here.

One thing that I found ironic in this document was the example they used for personal taxation (page 7-8 in the English PDF).  The example is for someone with a monthly salary of 5,885 EUR and additional income from rent, etc – a total income of 75,620 EUR per annum.  Looking at the average salary in European Union, Cyprus shows 1,833 EUR per month in 2014 and 1,574 EUR per month in 2015.

I hope PwC predicts a huge spike in average salaries in 2016.  That would be nice …

America is full of high-earning poor people

poor rich

America is full of high-earning poor people” is an interesting article, with lots of charts and statistics, on how poor even high earning households are in America.  The problem is, of course, not unique to the United States.

The fact that the average upper-middle-class household has just $12,200 in non-pension financial wealth is disturbing. Even worse, within that group, about 25% of the higher earning population had only $3,200 in 2013. It’s no wonder one quarter of all American households couldn’t come up with $2,000 if they faced an emergency—it’s not just low earners.

Almost a third at risk of poverty

Cyprus Mail reports:

ALMOST ONE third of Cyprus is at risk of poverty and social exclusion, according to figures released by the statistical service that show an increasing trend since 2008.

The latest numbers show that in 2013, the risk was 27.8 per cent compared to 23.3 per cent in 2008, both of which are way off the national target of 19.8 per cent.

One measurement new to me was the “material deprivation” items:

In 2013, 16.1 per cent of the population in 2013 could not afford to pay at least four out of nine ‘material deprivation’ items. These are the ability to pay rent or utility bills, to cover unexpected charges, to keep their home adequately heated, to eat meat, fish or a protein equivalent every second day, to take a week’s holiday away from home, or to buy a car, washing machine, colour TV and telephone.

Now that puts it a bit into a perspective … “at least four out of nine”.

The next tech bubble is about to burst

Joe Kukura predicts the upcoming burst of the next tech bubble in his “The next tech bubble is about to burst“:

My timer for the bursting of this tech bubble currently stands at nine months. That’s when investors and venture capital markets will stop throwing around billions in Monopoly money, companies without any profits will lose their suspiciously optimistic valuations, and startups will crater. Unicorns will die, skies will fall, and parents’ basements will be resettled. We saw this with tech in 2000, with banks in 2008, and according to my Magic 8-Ball, we’re going to see it again very soon.

I don’t really know who he is, but he is linked to a selection of other people saying the same thing, with who I’m very well familiar – Mark Cuban, Andreessen Horowitz, Fred Wilson, and others.

Battle scars: How the first world war changed the world

Battle scars: How the first world war changed the world

Geography changed too. After the war the Treaty of Versailles carved out new countries from what remained of the old pre-war empires. Independence was granted to the Baltic states, which had been handed to Germany in 1918 as part of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which ended Russian involvement in the first world war. Poland was reconstituted from former Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian territories, and Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and a larger Romania were created.

Check the link for the cool swipe map overlay.

The Fifth Protocol

The Fifth Protocol

Cryptocurrencies are electronic cash, and as such, will be used by electronic agents to exchange value, verify contracts, and track identity and reputation. All of a sudden, the computing resources spent by the Bitcoin miners doesn’t seem wasted – it seems efficient, given that it can be used for congestion control and routing of other network resources.

Cryptocurrencies are an emergent property of the Internet – almost a fifth protocol in the Internet suite. If Satoshi Nakomoto did not exist, it would still be necessary to invent them. Someday, they will be used by the machines in our network, on our desk, in our garage, and in our pocket to exchange value and achieve consensus at blinding speeds, anonymously, and at minimal cost.