Does Crypto have value? & Lifetime non investors.

Let’s have a good year regardless of what the market does. The market goes up 10% a year on average. If it was a steady, every year 10%, you would have it made or be invested in a Ponzi Scheme. Speaking of Ponzi’s, I highly recommend the new docuseries “Madoff: The monster of Wall Street.” I of course, was in the business during this, and while interested, I found I didn’t know much about Madoff. There was so much going on behind the scenes and with his life that led to the greatest fraud of all time. I don’t think Sam Bankman-Fried (pronounced “freed,” even if he looks fried,) is in the same league. I don’t consider crypto a financial instrument. It is more like a commodity with one big difference. Commodities have value as we will see.

More on Crypto

Retail sales:

Total goods purchased by all Cryptocurrencies worldwide for 2022 (est.) $11 billion. Pretty big number!  Let’s put that in perspective, Walgreens had sales of $12 billion. Walmart? 602 Billion. Additionally, most of the $11 billion revenue went to brokerage firms like Coinbase to cover fees for selling and buying crypto.

Bankman-Fried’s FTX lost 32 billion of customer money, Bernie lost 65 billion of customer money. I don’t believe anything was purchased with FTX. The definition of a Ponzi scheme could be buying a product with little or no value hoping enough people stay in the scheme for you to find someone to buy it higher than you did. It’s called the “greater fool theory,” when used with sales of gold and other commodities.

The whole idea of crypto was that it would provide secure person to person transfers of payment without a middleman. This has never happened even with a tiny percentage of crypto. What has happened is almost all people who buy it are buying it simply because they believe it will go higher. They don’t have any idea of how it works. Instead, it has been a field day for drug dealers, human traffickers, organized and not-so-organized crime, cartels, etc. Crypto is shrouded in confusion and no matter how many YouTube videos are watched it is still hard to understand. The number one ad you see on the butt of boxers and MMA fighters is something about crypto. That’s how all world beating, revolutionary developments are promoted, I guess.

And because it is so confusing, it also means that I could be wrong! My beliefs have nothing to do with my limited technical skills but have always been about human nature and my experience with regulators. Regulation kind of sours the whole pot. I am not saying it will be gone. Governments are starting their own crypto. Heavy regulation is coming and should come until it is traceable and trackable for tax purposes and to keep criminals away. That kind of defeats the original dream.

Money laundering increases 30% BBC Jan. 2022: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-60072195

Stocks

Unfortunately, the average American doesn’t see a difference between crypto and stocks or Las Vegas and stocks for that matter. It’s been long enough (since 1792) when the New York Stock Exchange started for everyone to realize that good companies held for long periods (10 years) can make you wealthy. Ample time and ample evidence does not change minds. It doesn’t matter, that’s how humans work. The gap between investors and non-investors has not changed. It is mental, behavioral, inborn and nurtured traits, not logic that drives this train. However, I have had people over the years that stocks have no value!  They say it is all “just paper,” or that only rich people that have inside information make any money. It doesn’t matter what you say or what they can google on their own, they can make up unlimited negative scenarios, and will until they die.  Of course, a share of stock has value. If you have a share you are a co-owner in every sense of the word. If the company grows profits and dividends you make money. It is an even playing field. Bill Gates has to buy MSFT at the same price we do.

An analogy: There are a lot of people who are lifetime renters. Fanny Mae’s housing survey in 2019 showed that 40% of renters say they know they will never buy a house. That number doesn’t change much. If there were not lifetime renters, landlords would struggle. And it is not always about money. It is proximity to housing and not wanting the complexity of owning and repairing. Even Seinfeld lived in an apartment. Stock investing is the same. There is a large portion of people who simply will never invest in stocks. They think they have to know everything before they do anything.

My book, Mindful Money (available on Amazon) is an in depth treatment of the complex mental processes that determine success for investors. You won’t know these processes are at work, you will just think of yourself as an investor or non-investor. You can change between these two camps by learning how to change your thinking. There is no way to prevent long term gains in quality companies other than intervening by getting in and out or not getting in at all. The landscape of investors is not made up of those who “know the tricks,” but is a bell curve reflecting thinking processes and personalities.

““The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.” Warren Buffett 

Be with the patient.

Please forward to a friend!

See you soon,

Craig

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