Category Archives: Alchemy

Quantitative Easing. High-speed trading. Immutable distributed ledgers. Through a glass darkly into unknown territory.

Myth of the 20th Century Episode 239: The Rise of Goldman Sachs

As a $60 billion a year investment bank engaged in market making and asset management for equities, fixed income, commodity and derivative securities for large institutional clients, Goldman Sachs, having been founded in 1869, is arguably the world’s most recognizable name on Wall Street. Known for attracting some of the best financial talent, it is both respected and feared, in some cases being accused of “ripping their clients off” in the relentless pursuit of profits. Defenders of firms like Goldman Sachs make a big deal about how they’re instrumental in the efficient allocation of (financial) capital, but one could argue the concentration of highly intelligent and motivated individuals operating what amounts to a glorified casino is a gross misallocation of human capital, robbing other critical sectors of talent that would otherwise have gone to engineering real solutions, not financial ones.

Source: The Rise of Goldman Sachs (Myth20c – Ep239)

The Reason Interview: Will Bitcoin Billionaire Investor Michael Saylor End up at McDonald’s? The MicroStrategy CEO and biggest corporate owner of bitcoin is HODLING for the long haul, come bull or bear market.

Back in April, I attended Bitcoin 2022, held in Miami, where I spoke with today’s guest, who is the CEO of the publicly traded company that owns more bitcoin than any other. Can you guess which company that is? It’s not Tesla, Square, or Coinbase. It’s MicroStrategy, which is based in Virginia and provides business intelligence, mobile software, and cloud computing. It owns about 2 1/2 times as much bitcoin as the next closet company, which would be Tesla.

The reason MicroStrategy is so long on bitcoin is because its 57-year-old billionaire CEO, Michael Saylor, had an epiphany in 2020, when COVID-19 had shut down most of the country. Bitcoin, he tells me, “is an approximation of a perfect monetary system because it is correct. It has no inflation in it. It’s not corruptible because it’s decentralized.” He believes bitcoin is the last, best hope of creating an economy that is independent of the machinations of politics, central banks, and connected investors who rig the system to benefit themselves at the expense of regular people.

While the economy tanked due to external factors, Saylor directed MicroStrategy to keep buying bitcoin regardless of the price. The company is committed to “hodling” for the long term, a position Saylor believes in now more than ever as inflation takes hold.

And he’s still saying that today, even as bitcoin has slid down to just $31,000 as I write this—down from its peak of almost $68,000 last November. Saylor’s Twitter account is a beauty to behold, with him recently quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes to the effect that “youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all” and posting a picture of him working at a McDonald’s saying it’s “time to get back to work.”

So bitcoin’s bear market is actually a perfect time to release my interview with him from Miami in April, where he explains why he’s all in on bitcoin, how his training as an engineer informs his worldview, and his belief that one thing holding back the mass adoption of a non-state-backed currency is a lack of clarity in how the U.S. government will regulate it.

Source: Will Bitcoin Billionaire Investor Michael Saylor End up at McDonald’s?

The Ezra Klein Show: The Most Thorough Case Against Crypto I’ve Heard

The hype around cryptocurrencies has reached a fever pitch. There are Super Bowl ads for crypto companies featuring celebrities like Matt Damon and Larry David. The Staples Center in Los Angeles is now the Crypto.com Arena. And behind that hype is a distinct vision: a more decentralized economy where individuals have more autonomy over their finances, a grass-roots internet free of the not-so-invisible hand of Big Tech, and a cultural ecosystem where artists and musicians can fairly monetize their work.

 

But what if that vision is deeply flawed? What if the technology undergirding cryptocurrencies isn’t what it’s cracked up to be? Or what if the technology does work, yet the world it creates isn’t a decentralized utopia but a hyper-financialized dystopia?

Source: The Ezra Klein Show: The Most Thorough Case Against Crypto I’ve Heard on Apple Podcasts

*The Ezra Klein Show: The Most Thorough Case Against Crypto I’ve Heard

A technology isn’t truly a threat to the Cathedral until it officially condemns it.

The hype around cryptocurrencies has reached a fever pitch. There are Super Bowl ads for crypto companies featuring celebrities like Matt Damon and Larry David. The Staples Center in Los Angeles is now the Crypto.com Arena. And behind that hype is a distinct vision: a more decentralized economy where individuals have more autonomy over their finances, a grass-roots internet free of the not-so-invisible hand of Big Tech, and a cultural ecosystem where artists and musicians can fairly monetize their work.

But what if that vision is deeply flawed? What if the technology undergirding cryptocurrencies isn’t what it’s cracked up to be? Or what if the technology does work, yet the world it creates isn’t a decentralized utopia but a hyper-financialized dystopia?

Dan Olson is the creator of a two-hour-YouTube video, “Line Goes Up,” that has now been viewed nearly seven million times. “Line Goes Up” is the single most comprehensive critique of crypto that I’ve ever heard. And that’s because Olson isn’t just focused on cryptocurrencies as a technology or an asset class, but on the crypto universe as a distinct culture underpinned by a powerful ideology. It’s easy to think about the lingo, the acronyms and the myths associated with the crypto world as incidental to the value of cryptocurrencies and NFTs as assets. But for Olson, the culture and the currency are inextricably linked. And once you’ve made that connection, suddenly a lot of the problems, warning signs and potential dangers of crypto become visible in a new way.

Source: The Most Thorough Case Against Crypto I’ve Heard The Ezra Klein Show podcast

The American Mind Podcast Episode 107: Spiritual War

In Canada, truckers protesting a vaccine mandate have been denied funds from online crowdsourcing platforms in two different ways, raising the question: what is it going to take to preserve our natural rights on the new digital frontier? Meanwhile, democrats change their tune on mask mandates just in time for an election year, and our editors discuss the fight for truth against CRT in the Christian church and university.

Source: The American Mind Podcast: The Roundtable Episode #107 – The American Mind