Why We’re Holding Bitcoin as a Treasury Reserve Asset

Let me ask you a question…

Would you rather save money in a currency whose supply is inflating each year? Or would you rather save in a currency whose terminal supply is programmatically fixed?

Given everything going on in the global economy, this is a question we’ve had to start taking seriously as Snappa continues to scale and produce growing amounts of free cash flow.

It became even more important when our bank slashed the interest rate on our “high interest” savings account to 0.45% earlier this year. This means that the purchasing power of our Canadian and U.S. dollars is actually decreasing after adjusting for inflation.

Fortunately, I believe we now have a far superior savings technology available to us. That technology is Bitcoin.

After falling down the rabbit hole and spending hundreds of hours studying the underlying protocol and all the game theory behind it, we began steadily accumulating bitcoin beginning in March of this year. This position now makes up more than 50% of our company’s treasury reserves.

In this article, I will explain the full reasoning behind this decision.

A Brief History About Money

In order to truly grasp the significance of Bitcoin, it’s important to understand the history of money. Even though I majored in finance with a minor in economics, this topic was completely glossed over when I attended university.

If you go back thousands of years, you’ll learn that various groups of people adopted different forms of money in order to facilitate trade. Money took on various forms including seashells, glass beads, and eventually precious metals. You can read more about the origins of money in Nick Szabo’s brilliant piece titled Shelling Out.

Using collectibles as a medium of exchange within tribes worked fairly well but eventually became problematic as global trade began to flourish. What some groups found out the hard way is that scarcity is one of the most important factors when it comes to money. If the supply of your money can be inflated away, your purchasing power will plummet as a result.

This is exactly what happened to the West Africans in the 15th century. At the time, glassmaking was unpopular in West Africa thus glass beads became highly sought after and used as a medium of exchange. Unbeknownst to them, Europeans developed the capacity to reproduce these glass beads very cheaply. As a result, Europeans were able to exchange their cheaply made glass beads and exploit West Africans for more valuable resources including ivory, gold, and even slaves.

A similar situation happened to India and China in the 20th century with the demonetization of silver. Since silver is more abundant and easier to mine than gold, it enabled foreigners with silver to come in and control increasing quantities of goods and capital from India and China.

In order to avoid the destruction of wealth experienced by the West Africans, Indians, and Chinese, the world naturally converged on gold, which was the hardest form of money available.

Although gold served as a great form of money due to a variety of factors including durability, portability, and fungibility, I would argue that scarcity is the most important factor of all.

Since gold was (and still is) costly to mine, the supply of new gold coming above ground has remained consistently low at around 1-2% per year.

Due to this scarcity, gold has maintained its purchasing power over time. While an ounce of gold was valued at $20 USD in 1920, that same ounce of gold is now worth close to $2,000 USD. Said differently, the U.S. dollar has lost 99% of its purchasing power relative to gold over the course of the last century.

100 year gold price

1 oz of gold price in USD | Source: Macrotrends.net

You’ll also notice in the graph above that the devaluation of the USD accelerated significantly after 1971 when the U.S. abandoned the gold standard (we’ll come back to this point later on).

Now that you understand a bit about the history of money and how scarcity drives gold’s value, let’s take a closer look at Bitcoin.

Bitcoin and Digital Scarcity

Bitcoin is incredibly complicated yet extremely simple at the same time. Although the Bitcoin protocol incorporates cryptography, proof of work, difficulty adjustments, and a bunch of other pieces to make it all work, they all help achieve one primary goal: digital scarcity.

If there’s one thing you need to understand about Bitcoin it’s the fact that there will only ever be 21 million. This 21 million cap was hard-coded into the protocol and its consensus rules are upheld by thousands of nodes running the software.

When Bitcoin was first unleashed on the world in 2009, the reward for “mining” a new block was 50 bitcoin. After the most recent halving in May, the reward is now down to 6.25 bitcoin per block.

This reward will continue to get cut in half roughly every 4 years until the very last (fraction of) bitcoin is mined sometime in 2141. Although it will take another 120 years for the very last bitcoin to be mined, over 99% of the total supply will be mined by the end of 2034!

Here’s a graph showing Bitcoin’s supply schedule:

bitcoin supply schedule

Unlike fiat currencies which are getting less scarce over time, Bitcoin is getting more scarce over time.

Stock to Flow

In the book The Bitcoin Standard, Saifedean Ammous introduces a concept called stock to flow, which is used to quantify the scarcity of a good. Stock represents the total supply in circulation and flow represents the amount of new supply per year that is coming into existence.

Using gold as an example, there is estimated to be 190,000 tons of gold above ground (stock) and 3,260 tons of new supply coming onto the market (flow). Thus, by dividing 190,000 by 3,260, we arrive at a stock-to-flow (S2F) value of 58.3.

Since Bitcoin is open-source and fully transparent, we can actually measure Bitcoin’s S2F with 100% certainty at any point in the past and at any point in the future. With Bitcoin’s most recent halving behind us, the current S2F of Bitcoin is 56 which is roughly the same as gold. However, after the next halving, Bitcoin will be twice as scarce as gold.

Knowing there’s a relationship between gold’s scarcity and its monetary premium, a pseudonymous quant trader known as PlanB attempted to model Bitcoin’s value with scarcity back in March of 2019. With a shockingly high R2 of 95%, the original model showed that there is in fact a strong correlation between Bitcoin’s price and its S2F.

Bitcoin stock to flow model

PlanB would later update the original model to a cross asset price model. This latest model predicts that the price of bitcoin could reach $288k in this current 4 year cycle if the model continues to hold. Here is an updated snapshot of the stock-to-flow model.

Bitcoin S2F cross asset model

If history repeats itself, the price of Bitcoin should continue to appreciate as the red/orange dots would indicate from previous cycles. Whether or not it can reach $288k within this cycle is up for debate and beyond the scope of this article. That being said, I personally believe that a bitcoin price of $100k by the end of 2021 is fairly realistic given its fundamentals and the current state of the macro economy.

Bitcoin vs. Gold

If we’re talking about a reserve asset whose main goal is to maintain purchasing power, it stands to reason that the most scarce asset would win out over time. As we’ve seen throughout history, good money chases out the bad.

Given that Bitcoin’s terminal supply is provably fixed we can confidently say that Bitcoin is superior to gold in this regard. But what about the other monetary properties that make a great store of value?

In The Bullish Case for Bitcoin, Vijay Boyapati does a great job evaluating Bitcoin vs. gold as a good store of value.

Here’s a quick recap:

Durability: Gold has survived thousands of years so it’s the undisputed king of durability. Bitcoin on the other hand is still in its infancy so it’s too early to draw conclusions. That being said, it has remained resilient against various attacks and has proven to be antifragile thus far.

Portability: Bitcoin wins hands down. You can transfer billions of dollars worth of value over the Bitcoin network in minutes. Good luck transporting that much gold across borders without massive lead times and transaction costs.

Fungibility: Gold provides the standard for fungibility since an ounce of gold is indistinguishable from any other ounce when melted down. While Bitcoin is fungible at the network level, some people are worried that certain bitcoin may become ‘tainted’ without privacy and anonymity improvements on the base layer.

Verifiability: The authenticity of bitcoin can be easily verified with 100% certainty by simply running a full node. Gold on the other hand is not immune to counterfeiting.

Divisibility: Bitcoin wins easily here. One bitcoin can be divided into 100,000,000 units known as satoshis. Gold bars are much harder to divide into lower units of value.

Established History: This is where gold has the biggest advantage over Bitcoin since it’s been used as a store of value and medium of exchange for thousands of years. Bitcoin has only been around for 11 years and is still in the very early stages of becoming a trusted store of value. This however can be viewed as an opportunity since the future potential of Bitcoin is not yet priced in.

Vijay also provides a handy table which grades bitcoin, gold and fiat based on the monetary attributes listed above.

Given that Bitcoin is only 1.7% the market cap of gold while grading above it in many regards, I am pretty confident that Bitcoin will continue to outperform gold over the coming years and decades.

The Current Macro Environment

At this point, I hope I’ve explained why scarcity is important when protecting purchasing power and why I believe Bitcoin will continue to outperform gold as a store of value.

Normally I wouldn’t be so concerned with maintaining purchasing power but we are truly entering unprecedented times. COVID-19 is only part of the story…

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, government debt from nation states around the world have been increasing exponentially ever since the U.S. abandoned the gold standard back in 1971. At the same time, interest rates have been steadily trending to zero as central banks continue to lower rates in order to drive growth in the economy.

He’s a graph showing the U.S. 10 year treasury yield:

US 10 year yield

We’ve now reached an end game where rates can’t go any lower unless we go negative like some countries have. Since interest rates are no longer an effective policy tool for stimulating the economy, the Federal Reserve and other central banks have been ramping up quantitative easing (QE) whereby they “print” money to buy up financial securities from banks and inject liquidity into the system.

While there’s plenty of debate whether or not QE leads to CPI inflation (which is a flawed metric in my opinion), it seems pretty clear that QE has led to asset price inflation. In addition, due to the wealth inequality that continues to widen as a result of these policies, there are mounting cries for more permanent forms of universal basic income (UBI) which would certainly lead to CPI inflation.

Preston Pysh did a great job of explaining what’s happening in the following Twitter thread. I highly encourage you to read through the whole thing.

I also encourage you to listen to this recent episode of the investor’s podcast where some incredibly smart macro thinkers break down exactly what’s going on right now.

To summarize, we’re now at a point where parking dollars in a savings account or buying short-term government debt is yielding a negative return when adjusted for inflation.

What’s even more worrisome is that nation states across the globe are more indebted than ever and are likely to continue doing increasing amounts of QE and UBI going forward. The end result will be further currency debasement and a loss of purchasing power.

Bitcoin as a Reserve Asset

While many people are quick to dismiss Bitcoin for being “too risky”, I believe there are now significant risks to holding fiat currencies especially over long durations.

It turns out that professional investors are seeing the same risks and are starting to gain exposure to Bitcoin as a result. One of the most notable examples of this is billionaire/hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones. He recently announced that he has almost 2% of his net worth in Bitcoin.

This particular quote echoes my current sentiments about holding cash right now:

“If you take cash, and you think about it from a purchasing power standpoint, you know your central bank has an avowed goal of depreciating its value 2% per year. So you have, in essence, a wasting asset in your hands.”

Although Paul Tudor Jones and other notable investors adopting Bitcoin is a big deal, it wasn’t as groundbreaking as the recent announcement by MicroStrategy that they’ve adopted Bitcoin as their primary treasury reserve asset. In doing so, they bought 21,454 bitcoins ($250M worth) which represents half of the cash and equivalents on their balance sheet.

It’s one thing for a wealthy individual to buy bitcoin on their own, but it’s a whole different story when it’s a $1B+ publicly traded company that needs board approval to do so.

What fascinated me about this announcement was how CEO Michael Saylor explained the decision. He articulated it so well that I’m going to quote a few paragraphs from the press release.

“This investment reflects our belief that Bitcoin, as the world’s most widely-adopted cryptocurrency, is a dependable store of value and an attractive investment asset with more long-term appreciation potential than holding cash. Since its inception over a decade ago, Bitcoin has emerged as a significant addition to the global financial system, with characteristics that are useful to both individuals and institutions. MicroStrategy has recognized Bitcoin as a legitimate investment asset that can be superior to cash and accordingly has made Bitcoin the principal holding in its treasury reserve strategy.”

He also goes on to say…

“MicroStrategy spent months deliberating to determine our capital allocation strategy. Our decision to invest in Bitcoin at this time was driven in part by a confluence of macro factors affecting the economic and business landscape that we believe is creating long-term risks for our corporate treasury program ― risks that should be addressed proactively. Those macro factors include, among other things, the economic and public health crisis precipitated by COVID-19, unprecedented government financial stimulus measures including quantitative easing adopted around the world, and global political and economic uncertainty. We believe that, together, these and other factors may well have a significant depreciating effect on the long-term real value of fiat currencies and many other conventional asset types, including many of the assets traditionally held as part of corporate treasury operations.”

Now that Paul Tudor Jones and MicroStrategy have de-risked Bitcoin even further, you better believe that other hedge fund managers and public CEOs will be taking a closer look.

Risks

Although my conviction in Bitcoin is very high, it’s important to discuss the risks associated with it.

Volatility

If we’re talking about adopting Bitcoin as a reserve asset, the main risk in doing so is short-term volatility. Since Bitcoin is still in the early adoption stage and is only a $200B asset, the price can fluctuate violently in the short-term. Just five months ago when COVID-19 began rocking the financial markets, Bitcoin’s price dropped 50% in a matter of days. However, the price not only recovered within a month, but it is now up more than 60% year-to-date.

Bitcoin price YTD

To mitigate the risk of having to sell at a loss, it’s important to keep ample working capital in fiat dollars in order to meet any short-term obligations that may arise.

Regulatory Risk

In terms of regulatory risk, it’s important to note that Bitcoin itself cannot be banned given its decentralized nature. Instead, governments could choose to ban the on and off ramps (ie Bitcoin exchanges) which would make it more difficult to buy and sell bitcoin. Theoretically, governments could also ban their citizens from outright owning bitcoin.

Personally, I think the risk of democratic governments banning Bitcoin is extremely unlikely at this point. For starters, the cost of enforcing such a policy would be extremely high given that Bitcoin is completely digital and cannot be easily confiscated unless individuals willingly give up their private keys. Second, game theory would suggest that any government who bans Bitcoin would be at a severe disadvantage if Bitcoin gets adopted as a global reserve currency. Wealthy individuals would simply flee to Bitcoin-friendly jurisdictions and spend their wealth there.

Central Bank Digital Currencies

Another potential risk would be for various governments to come together and create a digital currency with consensus rules similar to the Bitcoin protocol. However, I have a hard time believing that multiple countries will willingly come together and give up their monopolies on money.

Alternatively, central banks could choose to issue their own digital currency which is actually already starting to happen. The problem is that individuals would have to trust central banks not to inflate the supply of the currency. Essentially, this would be nothing more than a fully digitized fiat currency.

Protocol Risk

Finally, due to the digital nature of Bitcoin, there is always a risk that a bug is found in the software or the network itself gets hacked. However, Bitcoin has yet to be compromised in its 11 year history and the hash rate protecting the network continues to increase exponentially. With each passing day that goes by, the risk of a hack becomes less and less likely.

If you’ve heard people talk about Bitcoin getting hacked in the past, they are always referring to Bitcoin wallets or exchanges, not the protocol itself. This is like stating “the US dollar got hacked” as opposed to saying that a bank got robbed. Big difference!

If there ever was a severe hack to the Bitcoin network, there is always the opportunity of doing a hard fork. Admittedly, this would be very bad for the price of Bitcoin and the loss of trust could threaten the long term viability of the network.

It is also worth noting that most of the cryptography and encryption being utilized in the Bitcoin protocol is also being used by the legacy financial system as well as many other internet protocols. Therefore, if flaws were found in the encryption backing Bitcoin, we’d have far more serious concerns on our hand.

If there are any other risks I haven’t presented, I would love to hear them!

Wrapping Up

The current state of the macro economy and Bitcoin itself are likely to be highly debated topics over the coming years.

On one hand, you have a group of people who think an ever expanding monetary base and increasing amounts of government debt doesn’t matter as long as “inflation” is low.

On the other hand, you have many people who believe that quantitative easing and increasing government debt levels are leading to asset price inflation and a widening wealth gap.

After pouring over the research myself, I believe that massive amounts of quantitative easing combined with fiscal stimulus will continue to result in currency debasement. In addition, I expect governments to keep doing more of the same in attempts to fight the natural deflationary pressures of technology.

In order to hedge this risk, we’ve chosen to adopt Bitcoin as a primary reserve asset on our balance sheet.

Update: We’ve launched a new project called Bitbo. It’s a real-time Bitcoin dashboard that allows anyone to monitor on-chain data, view live price action, and track key economic indicators. View the dashboard for free.



Christopher GimmerI’m Christopher Gimmer.
I’m an entrepreneur, investor, and the co-founder of Snappa and Bitbo. Follow me on Twitter and subscribe below for updates.


 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alec Torelli Aug 24, 2020 @ 11:49

    Hey Chris,

    I love this post. I’ve had a very similar journey myself, diving head first into this and spending hundreds of hours on the subject. Ultimately, I’ve also come to many of the same conclusions.

    I see we’ve read many of the same people, including Lewis, Pomp, Preston, PlanB, Ammous and others. Keep up the good work and HODL!

    Alec

  • Christopher Gimmer Aug 24, 2020 @ 12:17

    Glad you liked the post Alec 🙂

  • John Aug 24, 2020 @ 12:25

    Fantastic write-up man (and great decision)!

    Look forward to seeing a follow-up in a couple years:)

    Cheers,

    JV

  • Ricardo Aug 24, 2020 @ 12:29

    I overcame all of you, as bitcoin constitutes 100% of my financial reserves. I no longer believe that bitcoin is the best and safest form of investment, I KNOW IT IS.

  • Moises Dejman Aug 24, 2020 @ 13:17

    To touch on a facet of Bitcoin that is pertinent to your well developed ideas, is the fact that at the point of Bitcoin being created, its pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto instilled in the “genesis block”, or, the first block of the blockchain that he himself mined during those first minutes of its inception, the following words –

    “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”

    This tells us two things. The first and most important is that, unmistakably, Bitcoin is gunning to be the alternative solution to the Central Banking paradigm. And two, a big reason for the need for its creator to remain anonymous, since no project before or since had such audatious and ambitious goals. Not the only reason, as there are many more, but a very pertinent one.

    At no point in the history of Bitcoin has the macro indicators been so strongly bullish. Indeed, this right here that we are living , are precisely the ails that Bitcoin seeks to remedy.

  • CHRIS D SCHUTZ Aug 24, 2020 @ 13:22

    Bitcoin is indeed a revolutionary development in this history of 💰. The main problem right now is adoption. I have spent a considerable amount of time researching the merits of Bitcoin and have determined that everyone needs a small exposure as a hedge against future debasement of fiat currency. It’s irresponsible to not own any BTC at this point in time. The main problems going forward are going to be implementing an informational campaign to educate the populace on how to use, buy, send, and interact with this new technology.

  • Keegan Francis Aug 24, 2020 @ 13:29

    Hi Chris,

    Fellow Canadian from the East Coast here. My wife and I run a podcast called Go Full Crypto. We’d love to have you on our show to discuss your decision to move 40% of Snappa’s reserves to Bitcoin. This is the exact thing that we cover on our podcast!

  • Thomas R Gilbert Aug 24, 2020 @ 13:38

    Would love to know the make up of the ownership structure of Snappa?
    How do your major investors feel about you investing in Bitcoin rather than
    using capital to grow the business?

    Big Bitcoin fan but using a volatile instrument for corporate cash is very aggressive!
    Thank you.

    • Christopher Gimmer Aug 24, 2020 @ 14:42

      We bootstrapped the business so fortunately we don’t have any outside investors that we need to answer to.

  • Thomas Aug 24, 2020 @ 13:46

    A very elaborate and great post. You managed to discuss everything that could have either a good or bad influence on the future prospects of bitcoin. Additionally, very well written.

    Thank you for this. Will highly recommend and probably re-read again soon.

    Kind regards,

    Thomas

  • Jim Aug 24, 2020 @ 14:36

    In the article, did I miss it, or did you mention how much BTC you choose to have Snappa acquire, either in terms of % of your balance sheet, or in total BTC?

    • Christopher Gimmer Aug 24, 2020 @ 14:44

      Didn’t mention it in the article but our Bitcoin allocation is 40% as of right now.

  • peter david Schiff Aug 24, 2020 @ 14:41

    You should have stopped your analysis with gold. Once you went to Bitcoin you really came full circle. In fact, you’d be better off staying in cash.

    • Christopher Gimmer Aug 24, 2020 @ 14:45

      Let me guess Peter… Bitcoin has no “intrinsic value” and gold is better because it has industrial use cases right?

  • Johannes E Valero Aug 24, 2020 @ 14:57

    This article is an excellent source of information, and anyone should use it as a reference source when trying to explain to other people, why? Bitcoin is the best hedge against inflation.

  • Jack Harris Aug 24, 2020 @ 15:18

    Peter wants to peddle his shiny rocks in a digital age. Bitcoin has programmable scarcity enforced by the world’s most decentralized computing network. Gold’s market price is determined SOLELY by it’s scarcity and utility as money (same as bitcoin) the difference is bitcoin has the communication channel of the internet and its open source network that can act as the base layer for any value exchange to be peer-to-peer without any third-parties….gold on the other hand, is a rock.

  • Ozzy Aug 24, 2020 @ 16:17

    Great post!

  • Eric Babi Aug 24, 2020 @ 16:35

    Amazing post indeed. While I agree with all the pros and cons for btc you have mentioned, I am worried about the massive amounts of electricity required in mining. Given that mining is at the core of maintaining the network and preserving digital scarcity, it will remain forever. My question is, won’t there be environmental issues in producing more electricity given that energy has always been a challenge in most countries and emphasis is being given to adopt renewable energy sources.
    Price manipulation by so called whales because btc ownership is not equally distributed. You find that most addresses own btc fractions but less addresses own multiple units of btc. Given this scenario, whales have an upper hand to influence price directions.

  • Ryan Garner Aug 24, 2020 @ 17:55

    You forgot to include competition risk.

    The only thing bitcoin has on any of its competition is first to market advantages.
    You need to diversify your holdings across all distributed ledger proportional to market cap. Intrinsic value is in distributed ledger technology, not Bitcoin.

    • Christopher Gimmer Aug 24, 2020 @ 20:06

      I agree that there’s always going to be competition risk but I disagree with the rest of your comment.

      Global money is winner take all (or most) and Bitcoin has by far the largest network effect working in its favour. Also, it’s not just about the technology but the actual monetary policy and how likely it is to be upheld. Most of the other cryptocurrencies are highly centralized and do not make for a good store of value regardless of how good the underlying tech is.

      Obviously I will continue to keep my eyes open and monitor the space but there’s nothing that comes close to competing with Bitcoin right now.

  • Gabe Aug 24, 2020 @ 19:09

    Haha…Something tells me that is not the real Peter Schiff, but I applaud the bitcoin trolls who did that.

    Just curious we are now pretty aware that bitcoin might work on a hype/halvening…so lets say we hit the peak of 280k this cycle….will you liquidate some? maybe move it into real estate? or gold? timber land? creating a great community/school living area/ citadel at the peak of this cycle? or just ride the 80-90% peak to trough 4 year roller coaster?

    • Christopher Gimmer Aug 24, 2020 @ 20:22

      Hard to answer that question with so many unknown variables. If Bitcoin does hit $280k in this cycle then we’ll evaluate what makes sense at that time.

  • Joseph Skewes Aug 24, 2020 @ 19:39

    Interesting article. I enjoyed it.

    “Would you rather save money in a currency whose supply is inflating each year? Or would you rather save in a currency whose terminal supply is programmatically fixed?”

    Because Bitcoin has a programmatically fixed supply, is not deeply embedded in economic use and has a relatively small market cap, it is prone to wild swings in value as a result of speculation. So further to the question about fixed supply, the individual should consider over what time period they expect to save, because if they are planning to use that capital 6 months from now for another investment or some other purpose it would be very risk to save in a currency whose value has a history of dropping 30-85% over very short time frames.

    Of course you touch on this risk in the article. FWIW I don’t think 2% net worth being held in Bitcoin (à la Paul Tudor Jones) is such a bad idea. I’m not a nocoiner, but I feel comfortable with a higher % of my net worth in gold (but I agree with your conclusion that Bitcoin has the potential to outperform gold).

    Something else an individual should consider is whether they are a net saver or net borrower.

    Would you rather borrow in a currency whose supply is inflating each year? Or would you rather borrow in a currency whose terminal supply is programmatically fixed?

    Having a currency whose supply is inflating is beneficial to a lot of people who like to point out how terrible the system is. It would be very interesting to overlay a list of Bitcoin owners with mortgage holders who benefit from, while denigrating, the inflationary nature of fiat currency.

    While it’s a good article, I think some of the risks are glossed over. It may be difficult for governments to ban Bitcoin, but it would probably be much cheaper for them to attack Bitcoin (e.g. using significant resources for a 51% attack). If not destroying it, then at least crushing the trust that a lot of people have in it. Though over the long term I am not sure how sustainable that would be and the market would probably come up with solutions and or alternatives to Bitcoin.

    Another protocol risk is not a hack, but that the economic majority ultimately decide how the protocol is managed or changes over time. Maybe it would be unlikely that the majority opt for a version which increases the supply or has some other change that you think is detrimental, but it’s possible (I would argue it’s more likely than gold being mined economically from asteroids over the next two decades).

    Competition risk, while perhaps low in the short term, increases exponentially over a long enough time frame. What if (what happens when) we come up with a better way of reaching consensus in a safe, decentralized way without wasting all the power that goes into the mining process? Will Bitcoin ever opt for a change to it’s algorithm or would the community be so divided over the politics that it is superseded?

    Other risks are more personal to the individual or entity, i.e. how do you verify and store Bitcoin safely? There are all sorts of risks associated with carefully storing your keys in a way they can be recovered if necessary.

    • Christopher Gimmer Aug 24, 2020 @ 20:08

      Glad you enjoyed the article Joseph and thanks for the thoughtful reply.

  • Joseph Skewes Aug 24, 2020 @ 19:44

    Gold is a metal, not a rock 🙂

    Bitcoin is permissionless in nature, but it is exchanged exclusively with the assistance of third-parties (miners) and requires the payment of a fee.

    Gold’s market price is not only determined by it’s scarcity and utility as money. Jewellery and industrial use cases account for a large portion of demand.

  • SC Aug 24, 2020 @ 23:07

    What worries me is how the IRS will tax Bitcoin profits.
    (That’s why I don’t plan on selling. Hopefully I can wait long enough that I’ll just stay in Bitcoin and not have to use an exchange to get back fiat.)
    And I hope they don’t tax Bitcoin holdings. For example, I have to pay a higher property tax because I own an air conditioner instead of a swamp cooler.)

  • KRB Aug 24, 2020 @ 23:10

    Bravo. Enjoyed the write up and shared it out. I truly believe you are doing something remarkable that will be a huge benefit to your company. I have a small project a partner and I are working on and we save in bitcoin. Keep up the great work and I hope to see your results in 5-10 years and remember this moment.

  • Jaime Yarbrough Aug 24, 2020 @ 23:58

    Didn’t read through all the comments and only 2/3 the article but noticed skimming to the end the absence of discussion of the Achilles heel: Electricity.
    I realize a high altitude burst that causes an EMP is fairly unlikely but certainly could happen. More likely
    as we are currently experiencing in California are electrical grid blackouts due to summer demand. We cannot
    rule out the proverbial limb falling over a powerline in the PNW in the winter and least us not forget in
    the new terrorist realm of our almost present and or subversives from other countries nipping at our
    most vulnerable utilities, electricity, what is not being addressed is the lack of power to make bitcoin even a reality.
    I’m a senior so don’t have the internet in my blood and the belief that once that genie was released it will always be available 24/7 without fail. Failure is always a factor.

  • al b Aug 25, 2020 @ 1:14

    One potential Achilles heel for BTC is that it is not quantum resistant. As is mentioned in the article BTC uses what has become a fairly common form of encryption that is vulnerable to hacking by a quantum computer. They don’t exist yet that we know of, so the risk is still hypothetical, and BTC could be made quantum resistant with a hard fork to a more complex encryption algorithm. So it’s not impervious to hacking, it just takes tools that are not yet available.

  • Andreas Aug 25, 2020 @ 1:22

    Great post. I think you should add the threat of quantum computing breaking the encryption of Bitcoin to the list of threats. The need for a solution to this, is closer than most people think.

    https://cointelegraph.com/news/will-googles-quantum-supremacy-break-bitcoin-in-2020

  • PlanA100m Aug 25, 2020 @ 3:17

    Same here, lost a lot of money initially when I entered in early 2018. I eventually spent thousands of hours learning, trading and studying, now I am back, currently 300% of my networth in Bitcoin and others since few months ago, and very happy

  • Paul Aug 25, 2020 @ 4:00

    >However, Bitcoin has continued to run flawlessly for 11 years straight

    Not true.
    Bitcoin was hacked in 2010 and the chain had to be reverted:
    https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Value_overflow_incident
    later the network forked into two due to incompatibilities between node version in 2013 and was saved by a chain rollback organized with major miners:
    https://freedom-to-tinker.com/2015/07/28/analyzing-the-2013-bitcoin-fork-centralized-decision-making-saved-the-day/
    In 2018 a double spend bug was detected:
    https://hackaday.com/2018/10/02/bitcoins-double-spending-flaw-was-hush-hush-during-rollout/
    but wasn’t exploited as it was only executable by a miner.

    >In terms of regulatory risk, it’s important to note that Bitcoin itself cannot be banned given its decentralized nature.

    That’s not true. Majority of hash power is in China, and those aren’t home miners, but large industrial mining operations, all registered companies. If Chinese government wanted to, they could effectively shut down bitcoin by producing empty blocks indefinitely after taking control of the miners. The actual daily cost would be relatively low – at most few million dollars a day.
    https://cryptobriefing.com/bitcoin-mining-centralization-record-levels-majority-china/

    It’s relatively safe from the American government, if that’s what you meant. Do you really trust the CCP more, though?

    In conclusion, bitcoin is fragile and insecure. At the same time it has great marketing that actively hides these facts.

    Outside of poor security, bitcoin is a negative sum asset: it has constant negative yield due to mining ($11.4M daily as of now). Most of block rewards is spent on mining expenditures – directly wasted as heat. As bitcoin generates no income, any individual profit can only be realized at the cost of someone else’s individual loss. Because of negative yield trying to escape low positive real yield of bonds doesn’t make any sense in the macro scale.
    In comparison, gold doesn’t require constant energy expenditure just to exist, unlike bitcoin, so it has zero yield (fees for storing it etc. are optional, not inherent).

    As it has negative yield, it behaves like an anti-reserve asset: it pumps when there’s lots of idle wealth that buys it, and completely collapses when past buyers have to spend their ‘reserves’ – in other words, it exacerbates market cycles. If there was positive yield (like in a profitable company), lower prices increase yield, which makes the asset more attractive and induces additional demand, or alternatively, allow holders to spend only the income, rather than selling the principal. Countercyclical.
    Due to this bitcoin is definitely one the worst reserve assets in the whole world, as chances are when your company has to sell reserves to survive, others are going to be in a similar position.

  • Lou G Aug 25, 2020 @ 4:09

    ELECTRICITY GOVERNMENT CONTROLS – I enjoyed the article and the author did a great job. I did not have a chance to read all 26 comments at the time of this writing so sorry if repeat. I see large localized risk to Bitcoin with unfriendly fiat depending governments controlling through creating rations to halt free bitcoin flow during currency reset by nationalizing power and computer networks.

  • electron Aug 25, 2020 @ 6:01

    It’s a misconception Joseph that a government can orchestrate a 51% attack.
    No government has a computing power to do, not even close. The hash rate of Bitcoin overshadows any other available computing power. Using supercomputers and servers will not make a dent because the ASICs protecting the bitcoin network hash at much higher rate collectively.
    Bitcoin network IS the most secure network available to humanity.

  • René Bijloo Aug 25, 2020 @ 12:43

    When my son, 20, told me about Bitcoin over 2 years ago, i invested in mining pools, ICOs, etc, (and lost some money, hahaha) anything but bitcoin itself, until I saw the light…deep down the rabbit hole. Tell Peter Schiff that you can be 55 and hodl bitcoin, it’s not a shame. Bitcoin is brighter. Thanks a lot for this awesome article.

  • Jake Rose Aug 25, 2020 @ 13:25

    Macro: extremely bullish
    Recent Halving: extremely bullish
    Chart Technicals: bullish
    Institutional Adoption: very bullish
    I can’t think of any negatives

  • roro Aug 25, 2020 @ 15:47

    Nice article thanks.
    Just what do you mean by “In addition, I expect governments to keep doing more of the same in attempts to fight the natural deflationary pressures of technology.” I cannot understand the meaning of natural deflationary pressures of technology -> Technology does what ?
    (english 2nd langage blabla etc… not easy)

    • Christopher Gimmer Aug 27, 2020 @ 14:51

      I highly recommend reading the book “The Price of Tomorrow” by Jeff Booth.

      Alternatively, listen to this podcast episode:
      https://stephanlivera.com/episode/191/

  • hillock Aug 26, 2020 @ 4:49

    Good post. I ϲertainly appreciate this website. Keep it up!

  • Vlad Aug 26, 2020 @ 13:04

    Great read, I am looking to do the exact same thing for my companies reserve cash. We too are bootstrapped and have no outside investors. I am trying to find out how to do this. Most onboarding exchanges in the US require KYC, and only for individuals. Can you give me some insight on how you were able to do this. Thanks in advance.

    • Christopher Gimmer Aug 27, 2020 @ 14:53

      We buy Bitcoin on a regulated exchange that requires KYC. Don’t see how you’ll get around that if you’re buying through a business.

  • Alessandro Veneri Aug 27, 2020 @ 5:04

    Following the lead introduced by Eric Babi: I think one has to take into account the possibility of civilisation collapse and the effect that this may have on the Bitcoin infrastructure.
    True, if a civilisation collapse hits us, currency and value reserves may be the last thing to worry about. We could go back to fractionalised societies, in which bullion is substituted by systems of credit accounting (as documented by David Graeber’s “Debt”). Nevertheless, I think it is worth considering what chances Bitcoin has to maintain its reliability in a scenario of, say power outages becoming a new norm (it is hard to picture exactly what a civilisation breakdown would look like, but I expect outages to be a feature, as I expect it to be linked most likely with environmental changes). If one expects the collapse to take place soon enough, the biggest advantage that gold has over Bitcoin, ie established history, could at that point be decisive.

  • Julian Aug 27, 2020 @ 8:07

    The price of Bitcoin must go up otherwise where is the incentive to keep mining in the longer term as block rewards halve? What will keep it all going for the miners?

  • Vlad Aug 27, 2020 @ 20:36

    I’m not trying to get around KYC. I’m trying to find an exchange that allows companies to buy instead of people. I don’t know of an exchange that takes company kyc. Can you point me to the one you used. Or did you buy it personally and transfer it to the business.

    • Christopher Gimmer Aug 28, 2020 @ 9:11

      Sorry I misunderstood what you were saying before. We’re in Canada so we use Shakepay. If you’re in the U.S. you can look into Gemini, Kraken or Coinbase (last resort) but I haven’t used any of them.

  • Vlad Aug 28, 2020 @ 17:25

    Thanks that is what I meant. why choose Shakepay? Their price for BTC is at least $3500 over current exchange market value. I assume you set it up as a business instead of a personal account.

    • Christopher Gimmer Aug 29, 2020 @ 9:29

      You’re probably looking at the $CAD exchange rate for BTC. Their spot rate is very competitive when compared against other Canadian exchanges. And yes we setup a business account.

  • TasosG Aug 30, 2020 @ 10:18

    Excellent article. It describes the exact same thesis and thought process that I also have in my head.

    As far as risks are concerned, I would point out Quantum computing more explicitly. The counter-argument against this risk is already present in the article:

    “It is also worth noting that most of the cryptography and encryption being utilized in the Bitcoin protocol is also being used by the legacy financial system as well as many other internet protocols. Therefore, if flaws were found in the encryption backing Bitcoin, we’d have far more serious concerns on our hand.”