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CHAPTER 1: In which the protagonist gets on his high horse, tips his hat, and rides off into the blogosphere.

Blog

A general writing and journalling space where I wax lyrical for the sheer JOY of it. Your mileage may vary.

  • Written by Nick Stebb
  • Category: Blog

May Update

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It's starting to feel a bit summer-y and so I'm in the process of restarting a lot of projects that lost all steam over the winter. One of the projects is now to avoid NEXT winter and hopefully stop it happening again; I'm not a pagan but damn that sun has power over me, and not just gravitationally.

What are the projects? One is my musical comedy hour live show that has been incubating for about 5 years in my brainbox. Suddenly I have the time and few excuses as to why I shouldn't get stuck into it. I also hope to get some recordings up of old songs of mine before they disappear into the ether/my distant memory.

Lessons from speculative investments (with a little gambling)

I have mainly been inspired recently, however, by developments in the blockchain industry (as you will know if you read any of my recent posts under "Psyche"). I spent probably an unhealthy amount of time between December and April fixating on the rapid growth and decline of some of my crypto assets. It led me through the phases of initial interest, research of all manner of altcoins, towards diversification into many worthwhile projects and some that would have to be described as "shitcoins". In amongst this was a short spell of outright gambling (day trading) which is something I have had a weakness for in other guises once before - last time it was thanks to the football World Cup and then internet poker.

Both of these bouts of chronic financial recklessness occurred during a time of unemployment where I was at a loose end and trying to evade my life's challenges in whichever way sprouted up to give me a sense of purpose at the time. It is a cheap trick on one's subconscious reactive brain to make believe that the power of a number on a computer going up and down should have any relevance to your mood for the day. In the case of crypto it is quite easy due to the endless rollercoaster ups and downs; green and red arrows that you are sure to encounter if you check your portfolio's performance. I believe it was a necessary phase for me to see how money can control you, in whatever guise, if you let it. I escaped once again without any life-changing losses (since whenever I have addictive tendencies they luckily always manifest acutely and not in a long-term damaging chronic manner).

Heading Towards the Light

After the recent market crash I stopped fixating on prices for a while and got more interested in the technology again. This coincided with a desire to bring back to life my coffee business/social enterprise that I talked about in a blog post 6 months ago. I never did an update on that - primarily because there was nothing positive to say. Difficulties within the team meant that we were unable to continue past November and I became very disillusioned after trying to do something good and it falling totally flat. After a bit of time has passed I am now more excited about restarting the business under a different form. I started researching about the benefits of worker co-op organisations and how they might have a positive impact on mental health after listening to a podcast with Joe Rogan and his guest Johann Hari.

Through this research, I discovered FairCoop, an organisation that I later found out was started in a very radical fashion. FairCoop is aiming to be a distributed network of co-operatives from across the globe, using a cryptocurrency called FairCoin. The main difference between FairCoin and other cryptocurrencies is that they are aiming, more than anything, to use it as a currency! You might notice that earlier in this post I referred to my various holdings as speculative assets, something that I want to hold onto and not spend (or gamble!). Well, there is a problem with the deflationary nature of most of these tokens that prevent them from being adopted for their intended purposes.

There is a term in economics called the velocity of money. It is the speed at which money is changing hands and moving around the economy. This applies to traditional fiat (government-issued) currencies but also to token based economies such as bitcoin. One of the problems that come with trying to increase adoption of any token is that if the general trend is price appreciation (over the long term, your coin will be worth more), there is less incentive to spend. The velocity of money (the rate at which it moves around the economy) goes down and your coin loses utility as a currency due to hoarding. 

FairCoin is attempting to buck the trend by pegging/fixing the price of their currency. The idea is that they attempt to keep most of the token supply usable within the network for the exchange of goods and services between the members. This utility is what gives the currency an inherent value. Meanwhile, through buying back FairCoin tokens that were traded on the open market when they are at a low price, FairCoop increases the velocity of the token. They try to prevent speculation by being the sole 'official' exchange where people can buy the crypto-currency, and they determine the price at which they should be sold by democratic consensus at a FairCoop assembly.

It took a while for it to sink in, but now I am excited about this next step towards reclaiming money - something that was implied as a motivation for the creating of Bitcoin in its whitepaper. This development has led me to explore the lighter side of crypto and I'll be publishing another post elaborating on these very soon.