Natural News, Mike Adams and the new wave of Bitcoin skeptics
Mike Adams, "The Health Ranger" warns that Bitcoin is a speculative bubble. His publication, Natural News continues to run skeptical but questionably accurate articles about Bitcoin. Is this dangerous? What does bad Bitcoin journalism even mean?
This is not going to be a post blabbering on about "it's a bubble this" and "it's not a bubble that". I wan't to address and highlight some of the good and bad that comes out of this "alternative Bitcoin journalism". This is hopefully the last time I write about "bad Bitcoin journalism" because in the end, I don't think it changes much of anything.
Mike Adams (NaturalNews.com) expresses that he is "pro crypto" and that he stands by everything that is leading this new money movement. Adams' problem with Bitcoin right now seems to stem from his perception that Bitcoin is in an "irrational speculative market". He often uses the quote that "kindergarten teachers in Japan" are betting their life savings on Bitcoin as a metaphor for the crypto mania and why you shouldn't buy in.
The problem I have with these arguments is simple: just because someone is making an inappropriate investment into cryptocurrency, doesn't mean that the roof is on fire. It is basic financial advice to not put a significant portion of your net worth into a volatile asset class like Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. So to the kindergarten teachers, you should probably listen to some of Mike's advice.
Of course Bitcoin can't defy the laws of economics. None of this means anything against Bitcoin specifically.
Mike Adams likes gold, silver and property. I do too. Precious metals, important materials and land will always carry value in most cases. They represent an important asset class for your portfolio.
Problems: these assets are not liquid in the same way that either USD, Visa or Bitcoin is. To some people, this means that gold and silver are terrible forms of money.
To dig deeper, I want to share some of the problems with the word "money". What makes good money? The answer to that question is different for everyone.
Mike Adams is passionate about gold. To him, what matters most about money is store of value. Gold, silver and other material objects have proven over time to be fantastic stores of value. Gold and silver are not very good mediums of exchange in today's society - try and pay for your coffee with a gold coin (Who knows how neat things like Digix gold reserves will do).
What makes money money?
This is subjective, humans apply the term "money" to many different and potentially mutually exclusive features.
- Store of value
- Medium of exchange
- Unit of account
These three concepts bring question into our terms of money and value. Is Visa money? What about debt in general?
There is a rewriting of our societies concepts of money that is transforming across the globe. See what the youngest generation is doing across the globe with tokenized value already entering their world through streaming sites and video games. Maybe we will see a new form of money emerge that is unlike anything we have understood before that is able to incorporate all three of those features. Maybe that is Bitcoin.
Back to Adams. He likes gold and silver because they can't "vanish". He describes Bitcoin as being able to just go "poof". I am not sure how much I can stand by Adams for the reasoning he gives. I absolutely support holding some physical assets but in this world where value is becoming applied to many more things - it might be reasonable to look at cryptocurrency.
Mike says that Bitcoin doesn't have anything that any other coin can't offer. The behind the scenes on this statement is a bit more complex than I believe Adams understands; even though he is mostly right in a technical sense. Bitcoin provides something very unique today: the proof-of-work mining gives transactions a quantifiable form of economic finality based on entropy. Bitcoin has tremendous amounts of entropy backing it's value - that security can be quantified and this makes it very attractive to many businesses.
Adams will be very quick to tell you that nobody is using Bitcoin and that everyone is just speculating on it but let me assure you there are plenty of real businesses that Bitcoin makes up a mission critical component of. Doesn't mean people don't speculate though.
Bitcoin's backing is in the security and proof-of-work that it provides. Can the users fork or move to another project - yes, but the incentives of the network concentrate around Bitcoin. Okay, so we learn that the traditional format can't scale to meet demand. We don't have to abandon ship and move to some shady new code base that claims to do it better. If Ethereum scales with sharding, so can Bitcoin. The community's interests are to scale and meet the needs. If Bitcoin no longer becomes useful, nobody will use it.
Such is the life with massively open source projects. The people will make them into whatever is useful for them at the current point in time.
Adams goes on and on about how when everyone wants to sell Bitcoin, the buyers are going to have a hard time finding sellers because of the market pressures. He uses this basic principle about traded assets as a point against Bitcoin. Sure when tons of people are trying to sell their Bitcoin, the selling pressure will push the price down. This is how all of this works. What do you think will happen when everyone wants to withdraw their cash from the banks on the same day? You can use this point in reference to the current Bitcoin bubble we are in right now but to use it against the asset as a whole is inaccurate.
When he describes Bitcoin as "ultimately going to trend to zero", is it realistic to consider Bitcoin worthless? Was the .com industry worthless because speculation lead to a bubble? Just because we are in a Bitcoin bubble and a period of unsustainable growth (maybe) doesn't mean real growth wasn't warranted. To say otherwise is ignorant.
I mean come on. Registering the domain bitRAPED.com because you want to capitalize marketing your only slightly accurate Bitcoin journalism. Like others have said in the past, stick to your vitamins and minerals, your bread and butter. You have a community who can benefit from your discussion. It should be clear that I don't completely enjoy the Bitcoin journalism on Natural News. They have a large readership in the "alternative" and "liberty" circles that may be passionate about the qualities that make people passionate about Bitcoin.
It is not all bad. At the end of the day, the pessimism and criticism is good. Just like the late 90s, there is an overinflated sense of optimism and money. Criticism like Adams' should be welcomed and and addressed. I wish people like Adams could educate themselves more on the Bitcoin community and understand better both the reasons behind economic concepts and the issues that are more pressing and intimate. Learn about the scaling debate, form educated opinions - be critical, ask questions.
Irrational exuberance is nothing to mess with. I thank Adams for his passionate criticism.
Just a comment on one of his latest published on his site by Ethan Huff.
The potential for blockchain technology in general to change the way that the world operates is enormous. But bitcoin’s blockchain technology has some serious limitations that suggest it will never become the definitive standard of use, especially in the business world where privacy and inter-operability are vitally important.
One of the biggest problems with the bitcoin blockchain and others like it is that they function almost proprietarily. One isn’t compatible with another, which makes it difficult for companies that operate on a global scale to conduct business.
Well it is good that there are many projects that make secure crypto work in a plug-and-play setup.
“One of the concerns around building standards for that network of data is how to make sure it’s inter-operable, and not just a bunch of stuff,” says James Smith, head of the labs program at the Open Database Institute (O.D.I.), a non-profit company that offers advice on how to use government data.
Smith has other concerns about blockchain technology, including the fact that there’s only one way to use the network – all at once and only in its entirety.
This is completely inaccurate. There can be many permissioned environments that allow secure interoperability. This is one of the biggest areas in the space at the moment. EEA?
“The more machines you have running the network, the more secure it is,” he says. “But maybe sometimes you only want some of the data. It would be better to have a smaller network for that. There’s a real trade-off between security and size.”
That's just what will happen.
I don't think this article really warranted the title "Bitcoin will never be used by everyone for the simple reason that public ledgers are NOT desirable by most corporations". I like the criticism and even the pessimism. I don't like the leaps and bounds the author takes.
The problem is the skeptics are right.
The real problem here is people like Adam are ultimately right. For the same reasons they were "right" about the .com bubble.
The thing here is how do you know when there won't be any more "greater fools". A lot of people in bitcoin and crypto think this bubble has many more greater fools (or kindergarten teachers if you are Adams) before people get cold feet. I believe there is too much more hype in the bottle.
So sure Adams is probably going to be right, but just because he is thinking as rationally as he can get his cocky brain to think, the market can act irrationally much longer than you can stay rational shorting it.
Time will have to tell.
It is a gamble.
Hope this was some worthy commentary on many things much beyond just Adams. I single him out because I somehow see his material in my feeds but he needs no single attention.
Be sure to leave a comment with what you think about the Bitcoin bubble!
Enjoy the weekend,