Market Lab Report / Dr. K's Crypto-Corner
by Dr. Chris Kacher
The (R)Evolution Will Not Be Centralized™
PoW is Key
The EU recently tried to ban PoW (proof-of-work) in a salute to ESG which stands for Environmental, Social and Governance – these three factors make up the criteria investors consider when measuring a company's sustainability and ethical impact. Peter Theil's message at the recent Bitcoin Miami conference was that ESG is the primary weapon being harnessed against Bitcoin right now. "I think that ESG is a hate factory, it's a factory for naming enemies," Thiel stated. "What's the difference between ESG and the CCP?”
The EU does not understand the energy expenditure of Bitcoin. PoW is essential as it stops DoS (denial-of-service) attacks in their tracks, making Bitcoin unique and not just another digital asset. Indeed, Bitcoin is by far the largest, most pristine, and widely adopted PoW entity thus is the most secure. Those who criticize Bitcoin's energy usage fundamentally misunderstand the point of Bitcoin, failing to see the massive global strategic advantage it gives to those countries who embrace it. The more energy PoW uses, the more powerful it is at physically stopping attacks.
BTC's PoW vs. ETH's PoS
We are in the "Then they fight you" stage from the famous quote, "First then ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." ESG (Environmental, social, & governance) is the enemy's weapon of choice as it causes inflation to soar on the basis of bad science. PoS (proof-of-stake) cant physically stop DoS attacks plus you pay stakers in fees and debasement to not DoS attack you. Most depend on them because there's little chance of ever staking more than them. This sounds strikingly how fiat operates. That said, Ethereum can potentially co-exist with Bitcoin since their use cases are vastly different. Bitcoin's Lightning network is scaling up fast, however, to the tune of millions of TPS, so should Bitcoin do what Ethereum does at some point while preserving its vast lead over ETH in terms of hash power thus security, it could overtake Ethereum.
Until then, Ethereum provides the network effect of secure enablement of companies to build on its blockchain while Bitcoin secures the respective country against DoS attacks, protecting its digital assets. In time, with the migration of the masses into the Metaverse, short form for the digital universe, the digital space will become exponentially more valuable than the physical space, thus can be used as leverage against attackers to avert a hot war.
Greatest threat to Bitcoin
Nevertheless, central banks are trying to use mainstream media to brainwash the public into believing PoW is bad for the environment, so they can launch their surveillance PoS CBDCs (central bank digital currencies). Once governments convince the public PoW is bad for the environment, they are disarming their defense system by minimizing or banning Bitcoin. This is the biggest systemic risk to Bitcoin. If they try to pivot to a DoS network that is more energy efficient, such as recently with the EU which had a close vote on banning PoW, this is a direct threat to Bitcoin. History shows the disastrous consequences of Emperor Constantine turning down the opportunity to adopt cannons and other new technological Schelling Points that protected their private property. That said, any country which votes against PoW thus against Bitcoin will be shooting themselves in the foot. China already made a $1 trillion mistake by banning Bitcoin mining.
Bitcoin's energy use
That said, as important as Bitcoin's energy use is as a key metric, its energy use is scant by comparison to traditional systems such as gold and banking while offering key advantages to any country that chooses to use Bitcoin. It's energy use is scant and decreases compared to other traditional and legacy systems as shown in the table. Indeed, energy consumption of Bitcoin has been grossly misunderstood as I pointed out in my piece HERE as well as a more recent piece HERE.
El Salvador et al
Disenfranchised countries who are vulnerable to denial-of-service attack at their national treasury are going to recognize Bitcoin's value proposition, just like El Salvador did. These countries can raise sovereign bonds to raise the development of their hash force. So when you are buying a volcano bond, you are paying El Salvador to build a commercial hash force to defend the world's access to their private property. In consequence, other such countries will follow El Salvador's lead. Just like cannons, airplanes, tanks, and ships scaled quickly, we will see countries scale quickly using Bitcoin for their national defense.
"Haves" vs. "Have-nots"
Harm comes from soaring populism, ie, the "haves" vs. the "have-nots", which creates social unrest and eventually civil war or revolution. The problem is the "haves" are taking advantage and abusing a systemic control structure where they continue to make themselves the "haves" while not only providing no value to society but also harming society. This control structure can also be seen among "justice" systems in most countries including the U.S. and U.K.
We are trapped in a rigged game which is the problem with PoS where the "haves" stay the "haves". If we can pivot to where the "haves" must provide real value to society to stay the "haves", then we will dramatically improve the quality of life for the "have-nots". Web3 can accomplish this as I published recently HERE.
Unemployment is plumbing new lows at a mere 3.6%, right up against the pre-pandemic 50-year low achieved in Feb-2020 of 3.5%. History shows that such drops which may fall even lower always precede spikes in unemployment due to recessions. Such spikes can occur within a few months of unemployment lows. While deep supply chain disruptions remain due to container ships stuck in transit, there is also a massive supply problem in labor because 1.6 million fewer people are working compared to pre-C19 in February 2020. We are witnessing a return to at least 1970s style stagflation. It's going to take more than several rate hikes, perhaps at least a 4-5% increase in the fed funds rate, to dent inflation in the housing market and other major sources. And stock markets will not stand for it which will force the Fed's hand to adopting dovish policies once again.
The CPI number Y/Y came in 0.1% above expectations at 8.5%, though core came in 0.1% below expectations at 6.5%, suggesting to some that inflation may have peaked. The PPI came in higher than expectations across the board. The problem is inflation has notoriously long tails of typically at least 2 years, so even if inflation does not increase from here, it can stay at the current levels for the next couple of years which would be disastrous to the economy and to savers.
Further, while many commentators with huge followings keep saying stock and crypto markets can now rally because everything is priced in, they have been putting up this prayer since the start of this year, yet here we are, still in a long term downtrend, due to the tightening of rates, as stock and crypto markets which bounced hard from oversold conditions are starting to roll over again.
The CME Fed Futures has priced in a 50 bps rate hike for their next two meetings, May 4 and June 15. This would bring the fed funds rate up to 125 to 150 bps from its current 25 to 50 bps. Will the U.S. stock market be able to stay above its -20% peak-to-trough threshold which has historically since 2009 been the point where the Fed Chair cries "UNCLE!". Thus expect inflation overall to continue to accelerate over time if hundreds of years of history are any guide along with markets trending lower until Powell reverses his hawkish position.