NPR Planet Money: VC Ben Horowitz Places 2nd Bet on Mass ...
NPR Planet Money: VC Ben Horowitz Places 2nd Bet on Mass ...
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How Do Podcasts Make Money? - Forbes
Bitcoin competing against the US dollar Present Cynosure
An in-depth look at what happens when you undermine utility.
I want to fully analyze the talking point that "Bitcoin is a store of value," because it's one that I see very frequently and people have different views on how the value of an asset is generated. This one is also fun because I get to put on my Economist hat instead of my Computer Engineering hat which has always been a strong secondary interest of mine. Please buckle in, because this is a longer read, but if you have any doubts about how value is generated, I really think it's a worthwhile one. Other Assets that Bitcoin is Frequently Compared To I'm going to (mostly) skip some of the more common comparisons of cryptocurrency to (Beanie Babies, Tulips, Pets.com, etc.). I'll only briefly address it here in saying: Beanie Babies are a poor comparison because they had only had perceived scarcity in the way they were distributed so they were heavily undermined from the supply side. Tulips have a debatable history in general as far as the magnitude of purchase, and even if that history is fully accurate, their utility was only really derived from a brief social fad... not a continuing stable utility. Lastly, Pets.com is closer to being apt, except that they arguably had no major utility from the start in that it was (almost) always more expensive and slower to order through their service as opposed to going to the local pet store. The Basis of the "Store of Value Argument So the main argument of "Bitcoin [being] a store of value" is rooted in Bitcoin being scarce... with utility not playing a major role. The counterpoint against this view is that it takes both scarcity and utility to give a premium value to a good or service. So let's try to separate out the two factors. We'll first look at a good that has premium value due to both utility and scarcity where neither factor has been undermined. Utility Plus Scarcity We'll start by taking a look at a good that has both utility and scarcity. I think the one thing in the world that best exemplifies this status, (and my friends over at /magicTCG can attest,) is the Black Lotus. This is the mack-daddy of all Magic cards and as of this year, a mint condition version from the earliest set can fetch a six digit price point. First, let's talk about the Lotus' scarcity: Wizards of the Coast has a strict reprint policy where no card functionally identical to the Black Lotus may be reprinted. That means with the rare exception of an undetected fake, the pool of Black Lotuses will never get larger, and in the case of damage or destruction, will certainly get smaller. Next we'll talk about the Lotus' utility: As arguably the most impactful card in the game, anyone wanting to play Vintage format on a competitive level absolutely needs to have a Black Lotus as well as (almost) every other power-nine card. If you want to see people still playing with pieces of cardboard worth over $10,000+ each, you absolutely can. Even though these cards have utility for only a select few and the price outpaces their direct value-earning potential, the fact that they also have maintained utility means that someone will very likely be willing to purchase this card down the road at the same or higher price than the person that owns it now. Because utility is maintained, the value willcontinuallyincrease. I'm not saying this price rise will continue forever though; Something could happen to undermine the utility or scarcity of MTG cards. The pool of people playing Vintage, or MTG at all could shrink, Undetectable counterfeits could surface, WotC could suddenly change the reprint policy. Etc. In fact, if you would like further information about the Black Lotus from an economic standpoint, I recommend listening to the Planet Money episode: The Curse of the Black Lotus Scarcity with Shrinking Utility What about a good that is still just as scarce as it ever was, but has experienced a reduction in utility? The best example of this phenomenon is probably the New York Taxi Medallion. Taxi Medallions were first introduced around the great depression where less than 12,000 were made. That number has increased to somewhere in the mid 13,000 range today. Regardless, this is clearly a scarce commodity - especially with the extreme growth of NYC itself and thus, the increased demand for cabs. NYC enforced the medallion law relatively strictly for many years, but the introduction of Uber and Lyft also came with less enforcement of the Medallion law. That has caused the value to plummet. I strongly recommend two podcasts that deal with this exact topic: The first is another Planet Money episode: "The Taxi King" The second is a New York Times Daily titled "The Taxi Driver's Plight" If you don't want to listen to the entirety of each episode, I think the most poignant take-away is in the Planet Money episode at timestamp 13:40:
"You can understand where the banks are coming from, they were lending Friedman money based on the rarity of the Taxi Medallions. Those precious taxi medallions. But now, if you can operate something that works pretty much exactly like a taxi without a medallion, the banks are figuring that these medallions are not worth as much as they used to be."
The banks absolutely understand that even though the rarity has not changed at all, their value is based quite heavily on their utility. With less utility comes less demand, and the price has, in response, suffered greatly. In fact, in the update to that podcast, they note that the price of a taxi medallion is now below $200,000 and they not it doesn't look like things will be better anytime soon. Value Requires Both Utility and Scarcity It is pretty clear that value is not based upon scarcity alone. I hope that users entering this space take a long look at what each cryptocurrency they are buying is useful for. Cryptocurrencies that do the best job of maximizing their utility while remaining relatively scarce will do quite well. Cryptocurrencies that don't increase or expand their utility will certainly have their value proposition undermined. TL;DR: Value clearly comes from both utility and scarcity. Invest responsibly. Edit - ty for the gold, it's much appreciated. From here on out I would prefer tips as I am attempting to spur crypto adoption in my community. Now that BCH has good PoS solutions, it's great to have demo / tiny giveaway balances.
Here's the letter I just sent to Planet Money indicating that I would like to donate to their pledge drive in DOGE.
Preamble: For those of you who may not know of Planet Money, it's an NPR backed Podcast that specializes in economics. It's well respected and very popular (as in, the 10th most popular Podcast on iTunes, out of ALL podcasts). As with all NPR programs right now, they are in the middle of a pledge drive. I have offered to give them 100,000 DOGE if they put a Dogecoin address on their website. Maybe you'd like to donate too? Maybe you'd like to let them know that you have some DOGE for them? Email: [email protected] twitter: @planetmoney Planet Money does amazing work, and I will probably support them regardless of whether they accept DOGE. But I do think that if we can get their interest they will realize that there's an amazing story here that's worthy of their coverage. Dear Planet Money team, By now you are probably aware of Dogecoin, the new crypto currency that's getting a lot of attention lately. I would like to tell you why I am personally committed to Dogecoin, and how Dogecoin may benefit Planet Money directly.
Dogecoin is altruistic. The Dogecoin community believes in spreading the wealth and has donated to many causes including the Jamaican Bobsled Team and various experiment.com projects. People routinely tip small amounts of Dogecoin to others simply because they liked something they made or enjoyed their comment on Reddit.
Although it wasn't planned, Dogecoin has stumbled into an amazing strategy for generating support for the currency. Tipping creates good will among the Dogecoin community, and introduces people to Dogecoin. Tip somebody a small amount of Dogecoin and they become curious to know more. Soon they realize that Dogecoin is fun, and it's the fun that makes the currency valuable. People are proud to be affiliated with Dogecoin. When was the last time that people were rooting for a currency to succeed, simply because it makes them feel good?
Dogecoin is a brand. This wasn't planned in advance, but the tongue-in-cheek nature of the currency has created a lot of fan art which helps feeds back into community good will and more tipping. For example: here, here, and here. I challenge you to name one currency, or anything in economics for that matter, that has inspired fan art?
Dogecoin solved one of Bitcoin's biggest problems: hoarding. Tipping and donating is a central to the Dogecoin community so the currency flows much more fluidly than Bitcoin. Although Dogecoin is actively traded, its value is remarkably stable for a currency that's only 3 months old.
Finally, I would like to propose an experiment. Since you're in the middle of a pledge drive right now, give your listeners who use Dogecoin a chance to show their generosity. All you need to do is put a Dogecoin wallet address up on your website. If you need help figuring out how to get an address, you can read the "getting started" guide or I can personally help you out. The cost to you is nothing, except for the small amount of time it takes to put the address on your site. If you set up a Dogecoin address and post it publicly, I will personally pledge 100,000 Dogecoins to Planet Money. Converting Dogecoin to USD is not difficult, but you may want to use some of the Dogecoins to participate in the Dogecoin economy. I bet the experience would make a fascinating podcast! To the moon, [my name]
In a recent episode of Planet Money, a podcast and blog produced by National Public Radio (NPR), an independent American non-profit media organization, venture capitalist Ben Horowitz and financial journalist Felix Salmon were brought together to discuss the result of a bet on Bitcoin adoption that they made in February 2014 (during another episode of Planet Money). The NPR Planet Money team, for their podcast on Bitcoin a few weeks back, interviewed the Harvard economist Benjamin Friedman. As another economist that I recently wrote about, in arguing that Bitcoin will ultimately fail, he appealed to the role the government plays in bolstering and securing the widespread adoption and use of the US dollar. According to the argument, Bitcoin will fail ... Planet Money is a podcast and blog produced by National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States. When the podcast launched in September 2008, its primary mission was to cover the financial crisis. In the time since, its coverage has expanded to include a broader range of economic issues. Episodes are hosted by Alex Blumberg, Zoe Chace, Adam Davidson, Jacob Goldstein, Chana Joffe-Walt, 1 ... The co-host of the popular NPR podcast Planet Money provides a well-researched, entertaining, somewhat irreverent look at how money is a made-up thing that has evolved over time to suit humanity's changing needs. Money only works because we all agree to believe in it. In Money, Jacob Goldstein shows how money is a useful fiction that has shaped societies for thousands o Money isn’t real, but it’s a “useful fiction” that works because people agree to believe in it. That’s according to Jacob Goldstein, co-host of NPR’s Planet Money and author of “ Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing.” In America, people first used coins, then went to paper money because coins were so heavy to carry.
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