Not much to talk about this week regarding my health. Thyroid came out -- stitches came out -- and I feel fantastic! Like I was 25 again. Except I have two kids, rising costs, 1/2 the income and a car that may need a new battery -- so maybe like I am still 41. But a 41 that can stay awake past 9:00 PM EST.
As I spent time recuperating, all I heard about was Bitcoin.
That's a lie. I also heard about Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Roy Moore, Garrison Keeler, North Korea, Net Neutrality, Jerusalem, opioids, and Disney buying Fox. All I choose to acknowledge, though, is Bitcoin.
Why, you may or may not ask? Well, if you're still reading, I'll tell you.
At this writing, Bitcoin is trading at $2,163,854 per something. Evidently, people can get rich selling a made-up currency (which smart people call cryptocurrency). I'm told you can buy real things with Bitcoin, as real companies like Kelly's Pizza, Bloomberg.com, and Subway let you pay with 1's and 0's. That's an expensive 6-inch meatball marinara if a coin is worth $2,163,845.
Or is that sub worth $1,673, as that is what Bitcoin is trading at in this paragraph -- the part where I try and explain what Bitcoin is. I mean to the three uncool people who don't understand Bitcoin, because it is super easy to get. Like how most people can easily assemble an Ikea entertainment center. Unfortunately, you can't buy that entertainment center with Bitcoin.
According to Gizmodo, where I get most of my financial advice, here's what I know about Bitcoin:
Bitcoin was started by somebody, probably
In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto had a dream to start a currency that doesn't need the irrational scrutiny of the banking industry. Or to be more precise, the person behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto had the dream, because Satoshi Nakamoto doesn't actually exist. Nobody actually knows who's behind Satoshi Nakamoto. It could be Californian computer scientist Hal Finney, Australian businessman Craig Wright, or that basement-dweller who Trump believed hacked the DNC servers.
In 1994, my parents wouldn't let me see a Spin Doctor's concert at Alpine Creek because I didn't know the name of my friend's friend who would have drove. I don't know if I can trust a made-up currency that very well could have started by that friend's friend -- who was truly a HUGE stoner.
You can "mine" bitcoin if you answer math questions
When I asked an expert about how Bitcoin is made, he talked about blockchain and cryptocurrencies and digital gold, but he did it in such a condescending way that I just nodded my head and played along. But what I did get from the bus station attendant is that you can acquire a Bitcoin by answering some math questions. I don't know exactly how or the complexity of the problems -- because that would take research -- but I did find a video that explained to me that I need a super-fast, super-expensive computer that will do the math for me.
I trust this guy knows what he is saying because he knows the name of at least three computer thingies and he wears an Eminem shirt. As we all know Eminem is the rapper of cryptocurrency.
All I really know is that neither my brain or my computer can do the complex computations or we will explode. Since I'm generally against exploding, no Bitcoin for me. And how do we know that Satoshi Nakamoto is not just some Harvard professor who got a grant to solve time travel and realized, "Damn, I don't know math. Let's give out imaginary treats to other people to do the work for me." I respect that.
Bitcoin is backed by Bitcoin
The main difference between real money and cryptocurrency is that no government or financial institution backs it. It's peer-to-peer (or the trendy P2P), meaning that transactions go directly from one dude to the other anonymously. The value of the Bitcoin, then, is determined by the people believing it has value, and that there are only a finite quantity (21 million, I believe).
To me, that makes it more of a collectable, like Beanie Babies. For a while, a Beanie Babies were worth up to $76,000 because everybody wanted one. But after a while we woke up a remembered that they were only poorly made beanbags with eyes, and now you give them out at Halloween because you ran out of fun size Three Musketeers. One day we may all wake up and think that invisible money is stupid, but until then nobody is going to spend Bitcoin on a Sweet Teriyaki Chicken because we think they are investment pieces.
There's a lot more about Bitcoin, but I kinda spaced out about now. It could be the space currency of the future, but it also could be the next version of Lenny Lobster. But what do I know. My entire view on economics is based on a Duck Tails episode where Scrooge McDuck exposes a civilization to a currency, then ruins that same civilization through hyperinflation.
Take a look -- it's a "duck blur."
Jack Grubb writes an incredible blog, Losing the Internets, which is read by at least 37 people and over 2,100 Russian SPAM bots. In his spare time he helps small companies find their marketing voice. Jack currently lives deliberately in Appalachia, Kentucky with his wife, two daughters, Jack Russell and a Lego collection beyond compare.