Bitcoin rises because land is becoming worthless

in #cryptocurrency6 years ago (edited)

Economists and pundits pontificate about what gives cryptocurrency value. Even Bill Gates chimed in saying he would short Bitcoin if he could. But he can.

Money has value because of wide-scale public confidence that others will also accept it in exchange.

What gives Bitcoin value

But underlying or backing money has always been the productivity of society. In the agricultural age, land was precious because a significant portion of our economic activity was involved with the production of food:

Even Julius Caesar and Andrew Jackson restored economic order by backing the debt with land. But the Industrial Age and now especially the Knowledge Age is rendering food production a shrinking share of the economic activity, and thus money is no longer backed by land. Thus borders, empires, and nation-states are becoming irrelevant!

Even a peasant worker in China realizes this stating, “We live in an economic age, a family cannot rely on a bit of land.”

(make sure you click my links for the background information)

The What Happens Next series touches on some of the concepts of this period of rapid, epochal technological paradigms shifts:

Specifically the Future of Money episode:

Note the concerns about privacy and phishing theft expressed in the above video are fixable.

Bitcoin generates revenue indirectly

Warren Buffett doesn’t like Bitcoin for the same reason he doesn’t like gold, because in his opinion it generates no revenue and the only demand is speculative depending on other people wanting to buy Bitcoin.

In my opinion, what Buffett fails to appreciate is that Bitcoin is the reserve currency of the decentralized digital goods economy which blockchains (or more generally decentralized ledgers) will create. The revenue that will be generated by said economy will end up back in Bitcoin because Bitcoin is the de facto reserve currency of that said economy.

Bitcoin Likely to Replace Gold as a Reserve Asset

Monetary assets have a much higher stock-to-flows ratio and thus higher valuation, because of the power-law distribution of wealth and the fact that the wealthy spend a much smaller fraction of their wealth per annum than the poor:

Bitcoin’s stocks-to-flows ratio is already higher than silver and as transaction fees rise and only the wealthy can afford to transact on-chain, the stocks-to-flows ratio is likely to climb higher than gold.

I discussed in a comment post on another blog of mine, @PlanB’s stock-to-flows model in more detail along with a projection of the future Bitcoin price:

Modeling Bitcoin's Value with Scarcity

As I discussed in a comment post below this blog, The Bitcoin Standard book on page 198 also mentioned the stock-to-flows model from which @PlanB sourced the idea (←listen from the 9min mark of linked audio interview) :

Stocks-to-flows Projection of Bitcoin’s Relative Market Capitalization

See also in the comment section below, the ongoing lengthy debate I have been having with Martin Armstrong via email and his responses to email comments in his blogs. The latest Armstrong blog in this debate is obviously a response to my most recent emails. Some of the content of those recent emails is summarized here and here in my recent Quora posting activity.

Armstrong makes the following incorrect arguments in his blog:

  1. He conflates Bitcoin with tangible commodities.
  2. He asserts that the world will continue to value tangible assets more than intangible assets.
  3. He asserts that central banks only will hold interest bearing assets.
  4. He asserts that institutions’ need for interest bearing assets precludes Bitcoin being a reserve asset.
  5. He asserts that no unit-of-account has ever been the main reserve asset.

Let’s rebuke each of these myopic assertions:

  1. Bitcoin is an idealized commodity because it doesn’t have any marginal cost of production as the total supply is fixed at 21 million. By idealized we also mean it is trustless (aka trustproof or not relying on any trust), something which gold is not because governments can distort the supply of gold or silver (as they have done in the past) and gold can be regulated by governments because it has to physically cross their borders. Armstrong has not read famous mathematician and game theoriest John Nash’s Ideal Money manifesto (c.f. also), so he does not have a clue.

  2. I explained in this blog that the world is moving away from tangible assets and towards digital assets. Does Armstrong not observe the rise of the Internet? Has he not noticed that the youth collect digital assets and spend an increasing portion of their time and income on digital goods. The recent reserve unit-of-account the dollar is not backed by anything except the power of the USG to enforce its clout and viability in the world. As Bitcoin rises to have more clout than any nation-state, it will have more clout and confidence than the dollar.

  3. Central banks have historically held gold which is not interest bearing unless you lease it out. Bitcoin can also also be leased out (for use in shorting for example) for those who want some income. Central banks will be forced to hold some Bitcoin because Bitcoin will likely become the fulcrum unit-of-account for the world (or at least at the stature that gold once was if not the only dominant unit-of-account), because for one thing bond vigilantes are going to be able to use Bitcoin to punish and discipline sovereign nation-states, which was one of the main thesis of Nash’s Ideal Money paper. Also some lenders are going to prefer to lend in denominated in Bitcoin, so they will not be paid back in Zimbabwe dollars as the sovereigns blow up as they always do.

  4. Institutions are more or less irrelevant to this discussion. They may choose to hold sovereign debt and blow up as they always do. Bitcoin is actually here to discipline and destroy democracy and collectivist institutions.

  5. The dollar has been the unit-of-account of the main reserve asset. No one is arguing that everyone will hold onchain Bitcoins. In fact, I clearly pointed out that most people will not be able to afford to transact onchain because the 1 MB blocksize will drive the transaction fees above $5000 eventually. Armstrong is conflating unit-of-account with the variety of finance vehicles (such as bonds) denominated in that unit-of-account. One would not expect someone of Armtrong’s credentials to make such a lame conflation.

Armstrong is also very disingenuous to publish that linear scale chart when he blogs right before he thinks Bitcoin is about to make a correction. He enjoys gloating during this temporary Bitcoin correction. He is fooling his readers because the logarithmic scaled chart clearly shows a repeating pattern of highs and crashes that occur long a logistic (aka log-normal) adoption curve. Armstrong is going to end being the huge fool and highly discredited when Bitcoin rises to over $50k and then over $500k. He has been warned numerous times, so he has no one to blame but himself.

Armstrong has also essentially lied in his subjective desire to fool his readers, by misrepresenting the findings of a report about about the extent of regulation of the cryptocurrency exchanges being actually quite high and that the ten reputable, popular exchanges tend to have mostly genuine trading. The 95% wash trades are how the unpopular exchanges attempt to make their exchanges look more popular and liquid than they actually are. But the most disingenuous facet of Armstrong’s blog is that he fails to acknowledge that exchange trading is off-chain. Martin continues to display his ignorance about the technology of cryptocurrency and blockchains. Thus 100% of on-chain transaction volume for Bitcoin is genuine (unless miners are mining their own transactions and paying themselves) because on-chain transactions have a fee that is given to the miners. Repetitive wash trades on-chain would be very costly.

(Tangentially note that Armstrong may be correct about another coming decline in Bitcoin before it bottoms before climbing north of $50k in next few years, but that is not relevant to this main debate. However, there also appears to be developing a potentially bullish ascending triangle)

I wrote privately:

Armstrong wants to believe that Bitcoin is not changing the world. His confirmation bias prevents him from studying the issue objectively. He wants to believe Bitcoin is at most either another Tulip bubble (perhaps of a lesser scale) or another alternative asset among many 1000s or 100s of assets. He lacks discernment.

People just have a hard time trusting something that is completely intangible and not backed by institutional money or violence.

Well put. Most people don’t yet have confidence in money not backed by Max Weber’s theory of govt’s monopoly on violence. Bitcoin was put here by the global elite to disrupt that nation-state model.

Most people can’t accept that John Nash’s idealized asset theory is sound. They think that an asset has value because it’s physical. Actually assets only have value because they have demand. The tangible facet of assets has historically been a manifestation of humans lacking the technology to demand digital assets. And then lacking the technology to enforce scarcity of the digital assets outside of a government enforcement regime (e.g. copyright). Bitcoin enforces the scarcity algorithmically and via game theory, because there can only exist one longest-chain which is immutable, stable fulcrum, immutable token supply, and maximizes fees (with the small 1 MB blocks) for maximum security (actually this point needs an essay to be explained comprehensively). That is a crucial point that nearly nobody recognizes.

EDIT: Armstrong has released 1 apologetic and 3 more idiotic blogs in response to my refutations above. I’m noting them so we can laugh at Martin when Bitcoin rises above $50k and then $500k and then sustains for decades as a store-of-value with the indicative high stocks-to-flows ratio.

  1. Has backtracked from claiming 95% of all Bitcoin trading is fake. Note I forgot to emphasize in my prior rebuttal that the logistic adoption charts clearly show that there’s ostensibly manipulation of exchange trading that drive the peaks in the Bitcoin price and subsequent crashes. But to imply that 95% of the Bitcoin adoption is fake is contrary to the evidence. The high stocks-to-flows for Bitcoin clearly indicate that majority of the demand is long-term buy and hodl.

  2. Claims Bitcoin’s $20k peak was a rogue wave, lol. What a doofus! Continues to use a linearly scaled chart which obscures the logistic curve growth and adoption pattern.

  3. Conflates securities law concerning ICOs with Bitcoin when in fact the SEC has already ruled that Bitcoin is not a security. What an Dunning-Kruger-esque idiot! Any number of nations could declare exchanges illegal for ICO tokens (i.e. not Bitcoin), but other exchanges would continue operating in other countries and the traders from any country can use the exchanges in any country. For example, the SEC does not even have the jurisdiction to tell US citizens that they can’t trade securities that trade offshore. Armstrong just does not seem to comprehend how impotent the nation-states are versus this globalized phenomenon blockchains and cryptotokens.

  4. Claims that Facebook’s stable value coin pegged and backed with fiat bank accounts will be of greater value than the trustless, permissionless Bitcoin. Bwahaha 😂 He just doesn’t get anything we’ve tried to explain to him about why his proposed corrupt (print more money so the banksters and socialist pension plans can buy up all the valuable assets) “Solution” to the sovereign debt crisis offer nothing to solve the underlying political problem. Bitcoin is going to help burn that socialism shit to the ground in a scorched earth outcome and thus (civil, regional and maybe even world) war is coming. The nation-state is antiquated. The world is moving to a globalized financial model with greater local decentralization. After monarchy came democratic nation-states. Now humanity is moving on to the next paradigm for greater cooperation which has been facilitated by these light-speed networks known colloquially as “the Internet”.

Demographic shift towards a digital economy

I wrote on Quora:

Motorcycle and even big bike demand seems to still be growing in the Philippines. Perhaps also India and China? Your astute analysis seems to be tailored to the USA?

Is this a general trend of most physical luxury products marketing in the West is moving bespoke upscale due to the changing demographics of income and the Millennials preference for digital goods?

P.S. I’m 53.6 and I still want a big bike, but as you say it depends on my health, finances, and vitality.

Rise of the decentralized digital, intangible goods economy

Juan S Galt posits at 4:21 that Bitcoin is the default investor choice because of imperfect information on (i.e. less confidence in) altcoins. I have extensively explained/argued that it’s instead driven more by dominance in first-mover network effects (which includes regulatory maturity as Robert admits at 1:16:16) and being the only reliable store-of-value because only the original, 1MB blocks Satoshi Real Bitcoin is immutable. Thus can’t be successfully forked and thus the money supply can’t be increased by self-destructive social consensus. I explained at that link why Bitcoin becomes the de facto (i.e. not by fiat decree) reserve currency of the cryptocosm ecosystems of altcoins.

Note Richard claims his BitcoinHEX is more immutable than Satoshi’s protocol Real Bitcoin. Although true that the smart contract can’t be altered (unless it has a designed feature to do so) after placed on the blockchain, Ethereum has in the past forked itself to rollback and change The DAO smart contract. So this seems like a failure to accurately compare to the Nash equilibrium game theory of the dominant network effects of the original Bitcoin which prevents fork-offs from successfully displacing the original immutable Bitcoin. Satoshi’s protocol has never been changed (Bitcoin Core is not Real Bitcoin and will end up being donated to the miners!). More fair would be to claim his BitcoinHEX is about as immutable as Satoshi’s Bitcoin protocol. Richard even admits the Nash equilibrium when he states at 1:01:00, “attaining consensus is harder as the system grows larger.”

Even Armstrong recognizes that the dollar became the de facto global reserve currency, i.e. not by fiat decree. Altcoins aren’t just for payment systems and thus we can indeed have a plurality of them (especially while the main use case is speculation about which altcoin will end up having the killer app of crypto which I discuss below). Armstrong also has a related myopia where he incorrectly thinks that Bitcoin needs to be a (traditional, tangible goods commerce) payment system adopted by the masses in order to be adopted globally.

As Juan alludes to at 6min, Richard correctly explains from 8min that speculative demand for altcoins creates demand for Bitcoin given it’s the reserve asset of the cryptocosm ecosystem. But Richard is incorrect to argue that altcoins are the only demand driver for BTC. There’s also demand from HODL store-of-value, investment and increasingly (as the global financial system collapses, c.f. also and also) for moving funds out of the fiat banking system.

Note Richard is spot on correct from 13:15 wherein he explains the critical importance of onboarding. I also discussed this concept of onboarding this in my aforelinked Medium comment post. Also his astute point (which I have also thought out previously) that newbies have to get burned by scammy altcoins (and the USAF social consensus scam due to SegWit donations theft coming to Core in the future) in order to appreciate the immutable Real Bitcoin (the one that can’t be forked with its 1 MB blocks). Richard from 18:30 makes an astute mathematical point about the cryptocosm being inherently geared towards longs, not shorts. Note manipulation can be long or short. But the fact that shorts can borrow on margin doesn’t ameliorate his point because longs can also. Shorts only have an upper hand when bubbles must collapse.

But Richard has a category error or strawman dichotomy where he makes a distinction between the relative value of payment systems versus speculation-and-investment. He even insinuates from 1:04:00 that there’s no other possibilities. Armstrong also has that myopia. From 9min where Richard insinuates that his BitcoinHEX pyramid-scheme speculative gimmick pump (c.f. 1:32:26) coin could drive onboarding demand faster and sooner out of the current crypto winter correation, he’s implicitly continuing his point that payment system demand couldn’t drive demand on the next Bitcoin bull market.

The strawman is complementary to Armstrong’s other myopic category error of presuming that decentralized cryptocurrency won’t gain traction because nation-state governments dictate which currency is used in their internal national economies. Armstrong is referring to the physical goods economy and tangible barter transactions as a potential substitute.

Armstrong fails to appreciate that as evidenced by the prior section of this blog, the world is leaving the industrial age and moving into a digital goods (aka knowledge) age. Ironic because Armstrong does recognize the demographic shift to intangible money, but fails to assimilate that also accompanies a shift to intangible goods which the government can’t effectively regulate. Remember no government (not even Bolivia nor Russia) have effectively (or even officially) banned Bitcoin, because it is impossible for them to enforce a ban. How would they block the transactions of digital goods? It’s akin to the futility of governments attempting to block decentralized, peer-to-peer file (e.g. BitTorrent) downloads. They would need to block all encryption (which would make the Internet fail, which is an integral part of their system of control) and send a policeman to monitor every person’s computer. Total nonsense what Armstrong is thinking. Armstrong even conflates banks freezing fiat accounts with the freezing of cryptocurrency (the cryptocurrency was not frozen!). What a hypocrite because even Armstrong has easily subverted attempts to block his digital goods sales. That dinosaur, buffoon Armstrong even fails to distinguish between decentralized and centralized payment systems, thus implicitly failing to understand why decentralization is orders-of-magnitude more resilient. Has Bitcoin ever been offline it its 10 years of existence! Will every nation simultaneously turn-off the Internet without defection by any nation? Come on now Armstrong, get a grip on reality and stop writing absolute nonsense.

Countries have only banned exchanges which they can regulate because of the large exchanges are centralized entities and because the exchanges require fiat bank accounts. The digital (i.e. intangible) goods economy can be significantly independent of the fiat banking system! Armstrong is incorrect to presume that our thesis is the digital goods (aka knowledge) age (which Armstrong erroneously conflates with an Age of Enlightenment, c.f. also, also, and also) will force the tangible economy to use decentralized cryptocurrency. Rather it will be the faster growing, fledgling economy and eventually become larger and more significant than the tangible economy. The future for example is a 3D printer in every home and ordering CAD designs over the Internet and printing the actual product locally. Even for example the technology for the sintering of 3D printing of metal is improving. This new economy is the only way out of the otherwise hopelessness for the Millennials.

The two strawman arguments can be related in a way that empirically demonstrates how readily the separate conclusions formed from the separate errors can be overcome. Specifically let’s consider the case of social networks on a blockchain (by which I include in my plans decentralized clones of Wikipedia and Reddit, in addition to disintermediating behemoths such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, etc). I have explained (c.f. the prior link and my blog archives) why their disintermediation is imminent and to be in high demand. So Richard’s thesis is the market cap of gold is $5+ trillion but the market caps of the various payment networks such as Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal, don’t total to even $1 trillion. Well that is expected by the power-law (Zipf's law) distribution of wealth that there’s less value amongst those who spend versus those who save and invest. But that presumes that the only non-speculative FOMO use case for Bitcoin (or its ecosystem of decentralized cryptocurrency) is payment systems (and in Armstrong’s myopia, payment systems for tangible goods only). Yet the blockchain is going to be applicable for payment systems for intangible digital goods integrated into the context of the disintermediation of entire sectors of the behemoth Internet economy. These are Fat protocols (c.f. also) where the token is an investment that captures of the market capitalization. I even explained the flaws in the — “economics of bundling” and ChangeTip Must Die cognitive load — arguments against the feasibility of microtransactions for intangible goods. Armstrong erroneously thinks that existing payment systems already cope with real-time (i.e. fractions of a second confirmation) microtransactions (i.e. fractions of a penny) and do so in the necessary permissionless, trustproof context.

The market capitalizations of the large Internet social media companies total to over $5 trillion. And again my thesis is this intangible sector is growing faster and will increase to perhaps $50+ trillion capitalized by 2032. These large capitalized fat protocols will be a self-feeding upward spiral of de facto (i.e. not by fiat decree) widespread CONFIDENCE, which is (as Armstrong has repeatedly explained) precisely the attribute that makes money widely accepted.

The large military of the decadent USA is useless because territory is no longer the strategic asset it formerly was in the industrial age where production was in stationary, centralized factories. Technology (especially for decentralized activities) is the new strategic asset. Let China have the rule over the South China Sea. If China blocks right-of-way, they shoot their own trade and exports foot. The new economy is about technology and land is becoming worthless as people are turning more to digital goods. This is involved with why Bitcoin will become a de facto reserve currency initially of the cryptocosm in which (via the rise of digital goods) becomes a dominant sector of the economy (and also because nation-states will find it arduous (c.f. also) to agree upon and administrate an impartial, trustproof reserve currency, if formulated by decree instead of de facto). Even Armstrong has noted that the value of a nation is its productive capacity, not its territory (c.f. also and also).

P.S. Tangentially note the problem that Richard admits about his BitcoinHex that of self-referrals because his system doesn’t verify identity (of the referee, not referrer which is also never required to provide identity in my system design). Airdropping at no cost to extant Bitcoin HODLers isn’t exclusive enough as they will have nearly no cost (just a small effort) and thus very little incentive to be highly motivated to widely promote (e.g. Byteball did similarly and was mostly only promoted in signatures on Also unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum, there might be no demand for anyone to buy BitcoinHEX because the only ongoing use case to hype/pump is as Richard explains the “pump-amentals” from 1:48:30 locking your tokens to participate in the interest payments dilution (a feature which Steem had since 2016). Note I’ve been planning to have that feature (but improved by tying the rate of interest dilution to the rate of onboarding adoption giving all stakers an incentive to virally promote the fuck out of it) while also allowing staked funds to be spent on dApps without allowing them to be exchanged (i.e. cashed out) in a very clear non-fungibility manner, thus adding numerous use cases and superior flexibility over the design of BitcoinHEX. The claim, “BitcoinHEX is […] Bitcoin forked into Ethereum. That has advantages normal Bitcoin forks do not,” has the problem that ETH is more widely accepted and has more liquidity. Thus the demand side will likely be to cash out of BitcoinHEX. BitcoinHEX would need some advantage over ETH that doesn’t forsake any of ETH’s (nor for that matter Bitcoin’s) advantages. Note in the video Richard laments some of the technical limitations of Ethereum such as the high cost of computation and inability to have contracts run on timer, but we’ll be removing most of those limitations.


  1. Michal Brzezinski. Do wealth distributions follow power laws? Evidence from "rich lists". Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications (406) pp. 155–162, Jul 15, 2014.

  2. J. Doyne Farmer, John Geanakoplos. Power laws in economics and elsewhere. Chapter from a preliminary draft of a book called “Beyond equilibrium and efficiency”, §4.1 Summary of empirical evidence for power laws, p. 15, May 14, 2008.

  3. Adrian A. Dragulescu, Victor M. Yakovenko. Exponential and power-law probability distributions of wealth and income in the United Kingdom and the United States. Physica A 299, pp. 213–221, proceedings of NATO workshop Applications of Physics in Economic Modeling, Prague, Feb 2001.

  4. Adrian A. Dragulescu, Victor M. Yakovenko. Statistical Mechanics of Money, Income, and Wealth: A Short Survey. Modeling of Complex Systems: Seventh Granada Lectures, AIP Conference Proceedings 661, pp. 180-183, Sep 2, 2002.

  5. Victor M. Yakovenko, J. Barkley Rosser, Jr.. Colloquium: Statistical mechanics of money, wealth, and income. Rev. Mod. Phys. 81(4), 1703, Dec 2, 2009.

  6. Jean-Philippe Bouchard. Power-laws and Scaling in Finance: Empirical Evidence and Simple Models. Conference on Fractals 2002, Emergent Nature: Patterns, Growth and Scaling in the Sciences, pp. 157–171, Mar 17, 2002.

  7. Xavier Gabaix. Power Laws in Economics: An Introduction. Journal of Economic Perspectives 30(1) pp. 185–206, §What Causes Power Laws?, Winter 2016.

  8. Thomas Lux. Financial Power Laws: Empirical Evidence, Models, and Mechanism. Power Laws in the Social Sciences: Discovering Complexity and Non-Equilibrium Dynamics in the Social Universe, §IV. Multi-Agent Models in Behavioral Finance, 2006.

SUBJECT: Armstrong’s myopia on Bitcoin is only his opinion, not his Socrates computer or models

hey, is there any record of Armstrong’s computer being big-time wrong in the past? cause it will be big-time with Bitcoin, if wrong. or are these his opinions? i thought he tries not to express personal opinions...

Those are Armstrong’s opinions only. The Socrates computer only said, “A year-end closing below 4150 will point to a drop back to 775 area.” But BTC closed the year $4177. So we’re okay.[C.f. extended discussion]

Also don’t forget that BTC along with the dollar and U.S. stocks were the only global investment assets (of all world stock markets and currencies) that moved higher out of downtrends on the Pi model ECM turn date of July 12 and the flash crash to this final bottom on the subsequent Nov. 21st Pi model date. And let’s not forget the chart (c.f. also) showing remarkable similarity of the adoption of Bitcoin to gold since 1971 after Nixon ended the Bretton Woods fiat peg. Armstrong’s ECM and Socrates are apparently indicating something special going on with Bitcoin, but Armstrong is blinded by his lack of understanding, hubris and over-inflated fear of governments.

And someone who attended his recent conference in Orlando, was told by many old-timers that Armstrong’s opinions have sometimes been wrong in the past. They typically only want to hear what the Socrates computer has to say and temper Armstrong’s interpretations with his natural human imperfections.

I have also previously rebutted Armstrong in the comments of this blog. And the thesis that Bitcoin could be a better reserve asset than gold has now become supported in reality with the recent news:

Venezuela Denied Access to Overseas Gold: This is Why Bitcoin is Important

After UK Denies Maduro $1.2B Gold Withdrawal, Kraken CEO Cites Importance of Crypto


Armstrong wrote:

BitCoin was a means to get money out of China when you could not wire money out under currency controls. In Australia, they have adopted the slogan that “CASH IS FOR CRIMINALS.” They will do the same to cryptocurrencies. All they need to do is declare a law that it is illegal for a business to accept cryptocurrency under the excuse that it is money laundering. You just killed the entire industry.

We’ll be ready for that with optional, opt-in KYC on the blockchain.

Also any country that bans blockchains is going to be falling away from the massive innovation and knowledge age, and will set their economy backwards. There will always be some countries that embrace the technology and will prosper while the retarded countries will suffer (or more likely their citizens will ignore the government and use VPNs and what not to side-step the government).

I have been skeptical about the claims that cryptocurrencies will replace all money and central banks and end banking creating money out of thin air. That would be recreating the Dark Age. For that to take place there can be no lending. The mortgage market would collapse and the value of the property would fall to less than 10% of its worth becomes the maximum someone has cash as was the case during the Great Depression. This hatred of central banks is stupid. The money they create is less than 10% of the money supply. The bulk is created through lending and fractional banking.

Unfortunately Martin Armstrong being the old geezer that he is, is unable to understand the decentralized ledgers are part of a epochal shift away from the (fixed capital investment, the industrial age, and thus the) value of finance and debt. As land becomes worse than worthless, debt is also becoming useless in the knowledge age because knowledge creation routes around the Theory of the Firm and is not fungible and thus can’t be financed. As Rifkin’s Zero Marginal Cost Society explains, the value of the (mass) production financed things will become insignificant relative to the value of the production of knowledge.


Some good thoughts to ponder on.

Very very true. I love Martin's work but he is too used to being the 'smartest guy in the room' and that blinds him to the trend that is unfolding. The generational shift in perspective between the in-power baby boomers, the hard-bitten cynical Gen-Xers and the, believe it or not, more pragmatic Millennials will see a very quick adoption of new ideas in money and re-value knowledge.

I will say, however, the production of physical things is still the kind of knowledge that cannot be lost at a societal level or it becomes a more fragile system.

We’re gaining more anti-fragility of production of physical things with decentralized production with 3D printing for example.

My thesis on the decline of the industrial age is focused on the mass production, fungible laborer, high amortization of the knowledge inputs, which enables financialization and Theory of the Firm. My thesis is the flattening of the knowledge age disintermediates those Coasian parasites.

I’m head in the sand coding, so I my replies may lean towards helicopter abstraction of what is detailed in my archives.

No worries. I've got to write a blog post this morning on some of what we're talking about. And keep all the geopolitics straight, and take care of my subs and watch the currency and debt markets.

We all have our crosses. :)

The paradigm-shift is broader than just money. For example, integrate that serial algorithms have stopped scaling and the implications.

I expect you've read this on Zerohedge?

Nice find! I hope someone will link my blog post in the comments of the ZeroHedge blog.

Actually I have also made those points before that for example the government depends on the Internet grid for all their functionality including the military.

Also the point that crypto can leverage any form of decentralized grid such as HAM radios powered by solar panels.

Tom Luongo wrote an excellent blog and makes some additional points that I’m also fully aware of and had alluded to in various writings over the years, but he really pulls it all together eloquently in that blog.

Armstrong has responded to all of us with two new blogs. I will be posting some new comments with my reactions shortly. Going jogging first.

FYI, this is Tom Luongo. First, thanks for the kind words (and yes I got your e-mails) and 2) i' here on steemit as @goldgoatsnguns if you'd like to follow. I x-post nearly everything I write here.

Case in Point:

Is it that land is no longer valuable, or because land is increasingly only available to a smaller portion of the population? (I'd need to find some data to back this point up...)

The money simply isn't available anymore for the next round of young families to begin buying property like it was generations ago. This allows land to pool into fewer hands and be less economically available.

Also, I'd argue that since capital is so cheap right now, investors and speculators are looking for new places to invest and hence digital currencies seeing the spike they are.

Is it that land is no longer valuable, or because land is increasingly only available to a smaller portion of the population?

The land is becoming (worse than) worthless (and can become an albatross cost/baggage, e.g. property taxes as the nation-states are dying and will tax the hell of anything they can), because a major point of my blog is that the marginal cost of production for agriculture (and anything mass produced in a factory) is trending towards ZERO (and even below zero so that it pays to not produce that way!). I did not emphasize enough to click the links in my blog such as this one which links to my prior comments about Rifkin’s Zero Marginal Cost Society.

I wrote in this blog:

But the Industrial Age and now especially the Knowledge Age is rendering food production a shrinking share of the economic activity,

(make sure you scroll down to the blue highlighted text after clicking above link, if it doesn’t automatically scroll to is)

The other major point of this blog is that the nation-states existed only because agriculture (and thus land) was valuable. The raison d'être of the nation-states (and State religion) was to coordinate those borders, protection, transport, etc.

Note my first link in this comment also documents the coming Mini-Ice Age which is another factor in making land worthless during this epochal economics shift. Even though land that is still able to produce food during the coming Mini-Ice Age will be more valuable than nonarable land, it will also likely be subject to conflict over its control and usage. Much better to shift to hydroponics for food production, since cost of food is become a minor component of our costs in the modern era.

money is no longer backed by land

I look forward to the day when this flows through to the Australian economy. It would be nice to be able to purchase a modest house for less than the price of 2-3 Lambo's!

Agreed! I presume you clicked my link to “Australia is especially REKTED” in my previous blog.

My thought is stack cryptotokens instead until the fire sale prices during the coming economic correction. I urge Westerners not take on debt to buy a house at this juncture. I’d sell the house and buy Bitcoin under $10k (or hopefully already exactly at $6k as I had predicted correctly in advance twice). Although based on a previous blog of mine, I will be looking to take some temporary profits at $30+k into gold and then buy back under $15k again.

China’s coming debt reset could be as early as late next year or 2020ish, although it’s difficult to know and they could kick the can and make the reset more painful later. So Australia is probably not far behind that in timing. That prior link about China by the China expert Michael Pettis (who I used to have discussion with on his old blog) explains why Trump has the upper hand in trade negotiations.

I'd thought much the same thing - in terms of timing of not the exact mechanism of buying crypto. And yes, our reliance on China, digging things out of the ground, and waiting for the 'greater fool' to buy our real-estate investments is going to come back to bite us in the arse, hard!

Does Bitcoin's mining difficulty in terms of pure computational power adjust downwards, or is it monotonically increasing?
I got contradicting replies.

Not monotonically because of fluctuations in price, but increasing over time due to increasing price of BTC (except at halvings of the block reward) and increasing transaction demand which drives transaction fee revenue higher. The revenue per block determines the level of systemic hashrate which is profitable. The difficulty is readjusted automatically by the protocol as necessary to maintain the block interval at roughly 10 minutes.

Martin Armstrong wrote:

Illinois to Impose 1% Property Tax on Top of Everything Annually for 30 Years

In Illinois is a State that should just commit suicide and be emerged into surrounding states. It is following the EXACT pattern as the fall of the city of Rome itself. Constantine the Great moved the Roman capital from Rome to Constantinople around 330AD. Rome lost its status as corruption and taxes rose. More and more people just walked away from their property for there was NO BID.

The value of real estate went to ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beware!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! History repeats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Property values are already collapsing in Illinois. The Pension Crisis is worldwide, but Illinois is leading the charge.


There is absolutely no hope whatsoever of fixing this problem of a pension crisis in Illinois and every solution, like the current one from the Chicago Federal Reserve and its proposed 1% on property annually for the next 30 years, will fail in the end. The state has COLAs which insanely increase state employees’ yearly pensions by an automatic 3% annually, regardless of the inflation rate.


Any reader in that state or who has family in that state had better put your property up for sale NOW and get out of town while you still can. Hopefully, a fool has just entered the housing market and its time to get out if you can get a bid.


For now, the Fed’s proposal is that homeowners with houses worth $250,000 would pay an additional $2,500 per year in property taxes. Illinois already has a net migration out of the state. That means property values will DECLINE and the tax burden will increase on those left behind. [Meaning that they have to increase taxes even more to compensate for the declining property valuations in feedback loop spiral into the abyss] Property taxes in the 3.5-5% level will devastate home values. The average person cannot afford those types of taxes on top of sales taxes, incomes taxes (state & federal) and expect to have any kind of reasonable life.

If you can’t pay the property tax, then they confiscate your home and sell it for taxes at whatever price it brings. Just have a friend who bought two houses that were valued at $70,000 each for tax records for $7,000 for BOTH! They do not care what property brings as long as they get their tax.
History repeats because human nature never changes. Rome fell, we all know that. However, when you plot the actual population of Rome, what emerges is a very interesting and a stark reality that applies to Illinois. As taxes and corruption expanded, people could no longer afford to live there and they were forced to just walk away from their homes.

Tom Luongo who is one of the bloggers I cited making some correct
refutations of Armstrong's recent blogs about cryptocurrency, recently wrote a blog which was an attempt summarize the business cycle. However, I think he made a few slight errors which I have corrected in a comment on his blog. ← PLEASE CLICK THAT LINK. This is an example where Armstrong is more knowledgeable than those who rebuke him because most of what I write at the above linked comment is what Armstrong also emphasizes (e.g. QTM money is not correct, it's all about confidence and deflation is not necessarily desirable).

Btw, the above linked comment of mine further explains some of my reasons why I think the paradigm of debt will die in the Knowledge Age. Debt cannot finance knowledge production. Debt is only useful for financing fungible activity that can be secured, e.g. building factories, houses, and other fixed capital infrastructure.

While I think you are a wizard-level expert on cryptocurrency, I don't think land is becoming irrelevant in the scheme of money - not yet, and not in the foreseeable future. Land is needed by most factors of production (knowledge is a notable exception.) World population is projected to reach 9 billion around 2050. 3 billion new people will need land for themselves, but the supply of land is quite inelastic even in the long term. Thanks to global warming supply of raw land might even decrease. Cavemen did not need internet but they needed land. Unless we find a way to upload ourselves into the digital network, land is going to play a big role.

There’s no global warming.

Look to China for the future. Everyone is packing into high-rises for maximum density of services and knowledge age infrastructure.

Sorry land is becoming worthless. Commodities will rally because of the Mini-Ice Age which is already underway, but this won’t make land scarce.

Malthusians have never been correct.

What commodities are the best buys / most scarce?

Probably grains, but I don’t know the timing. Check with Martin Armstrong.

Also, why grains? Any links to share?

Any thoughts on Uranium cycling up and natural rarities like Zinc, Lithium, Antimony?

You're correct in pointing out that Malthusians have never been correct, but there's a difference between being a Malthusian and pointing out that land is not going to become irrelevant.
Let's get some back of the envelope calculations here. At current equilibrium price, it takes about 100 million USD to build an apartment complex for 2500 families(probably the most land-efficient way to get housing) here (and my country is good at building cost effective apartment complexes.) Excluding the cost of buying land, that total cost will drop to about 70 million.
I already said that we're going to have 3 billion more people by 2050. With these 3 billion and an average family of 4 (so that population stays the same), we need housing for .75 billion families. Dividing that by 2500 gives 300,000, and multiplying that by 100 mil. USD gives 30 trillion USD. That's about 1/3 of total world production per year, and that's excluding a lot of relevant and big costs(like price elasticity of inputs for building, regulation changes, location and housing type preference, increased world demand for goods and services, etc.) Even though it's going to be paid over 30 years that's costing 1% of the total world production at very minimum and that has to come out of nowhere(you cannot simply reallocate but have to invent some way to increase production.) At GDP growth rate of about 2% for the developed world, that means you have to put at minimum about half of that growth rate into housing problem.
So far we just touched on housing. What about factories, data centers, shopping malls, roads and rails, farming complexes, mines for new resources, and other things that need land? Land is important and will still be important in the future.

I explained the reason that the West gained an agricultural and then industrial revolution which catapulted us to orders-of-magnitude higher productivity and standard-of-living compared to the East (i.e. Asia).

Make sure you click the link above and read the entire linked blog post to understand deeply what I will summarize below.

It was the network effects of pursuing the maximum division-of-labor and the early analog of the Internet in form of an efficient transportation network focused on using arable land for producing horses instead of pork and human porters that China chose.

You’re advocating the world will make the same mistake as the Asians did and prefer to choose lowest cost instead of highest advance.

Sure it’s cheaper (as in cheapskate stupid) to sprawl out on land horizontally than to build tightly vertically integrated knowledge age global village pods, but so were human porters cheaper than horses.

Your computation also fails to factor in how much more efficient (less costly) robots will be at constructing everything. The cost of robots has been decreasing exponentially. It is just like the first calculators in the 1970s that cost more $500 inflation-adjusted. Now they cost $10.

I have just taught you a very important lesson. Don’t ever bet against technological advance. Ever.

P.S. I am not trying to be condescending nor act like I know it all. I am just reasonably certain about this conjecture about land becoming worthless as we leave the fixed capital investment ages and move into the non-monetary knowledge age. Highly recommend you click that link also.

EDIT: also a follow-up which I wrote on in the context of prior major collapses of civilization into Dark Ages.


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