Bitcoin will do for money what the Internet did for free speech. While this kind of ideal may seem at first speculative, for me it’s personal. In practice Bitcoin is a powerful technology based on sound monetary policy, encrypted property rights, and universal accessibility / transparency. Anyone, anywhere can connect to the Bitcoin network regardless of ethnicity, geography, or country. This can be a powerful tool for enabling economic freedom across the world.

In college and for much of my life I’ve studied history. Specifically the history of totalitarianism, of which economic repression is a requisite. …

Inside the trends that drove Bitcoin’s recent highs

Photo via Bermix Studio

This is a personal version of an article written for Coinbase here.

A wave of institutional adoption

Over the past year, Bitcoin saw large institutions — like banks, hedge funds, insurance giants, and tech firms — investing, providing storage solutions, and building trading infrastructure across the world. At the same time, Bitcoin significantly outperformed major asset classes.

As of January 27th, 2021, Bitcoin is now the 12th most valuable asset in the world by market capitalization — surpassing large banks and nearing major technology companies. Silver and gold, historic and global stores of value, still surpass Bitcoin with multi-trillion dollar market capitalizations.


Confidence in institutions has been collapsing since the 1970’s. What happened?

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

“Uncertainty is an acid, corrosive to authority. Once the monopoly on information is lost, so too is our trust. Every presidential statement, every CIA assessment, every investigative report by a great newspaper, suddenly acquired an arbitrary aspect, and seemed grounded in moral predilection rather than intellectual rigor.”

-Martin Gurri, Revolt of the Public

The world has changed drastically since the 1970’s. New information is no longer scarce, it is overwhelmingly abundant. Anyone can be a political pundit or an investigative journalist with a smartphone and a Facebook account. …

Ether is enabling a vibrant and open financial system as evidenced by the rise of DeFi, stablecoins, and wrapped tokens

Photo via easiblu

I recently helped write and research an article for Coinbase Learn called Rise of the Ethereum economy. Here’s a personal and expanded version of the main article.

What is Ethereum, the second largest crypto by market cap after Bitcoin? This past year, both Bitcoin and Ethereum have gained mainstream, institutional, and global interest. Or as Morgan Stanley Chief Global Strategist recently noted “cryptocurrencies are rapidly gaining popular support as alternatives to gold (a store of value) and the dollar (as a means of payment).” …

Global uncertainty, partisanship, and the volatility index

Photo via John Cameron

How do you measure fear itself? Fear is a powerful market force. If one could somehow quantitatively measure fear itself, one could theoretically gain an advantage over the market’s cycles. As Warren Buffett once wrote in a 1986 shareholder letter:

What we do know, however, is that occasional outbreaks of
those two super-contagious diseases, fear and greed, will forever
occur in the investment community…Therefore, we never try to anticipate the arrival or departure of either disease. Our goal is more modest: we simply
attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy
only when others are fearful.

Debunking sensational scientists amid unprecedented temperature, sea level, and atmospheric CO2

Image via USGS

2020 has brought fires, floods and hurricanes across the world alongside novel forms of climate change denialism. Consider Patrick Moore, a so-called scientist with a significant Twitter following who claims:

“Any effect of CO2 on temperature could easily be overridden by other factors. The long historical record does not support CO2 as some kind of control knob as NASA claims. They’re not in sync.”

To support his contrarian claim, Moore posts a compelling visual of CO2 levels vs. global temperature, albeit without citation. …

Population, real estate, subway traffic, unemployment, and more

Image by Mike C. Valdivia on Unsplash

As of 2019, the Census Bureau recorded a population of 8.3 million for New York City. Compared to the populations of the top ten cities in the United States, New York City is by far the largest.

From 2016 to 2019, New York City’s population has been decreasing. While 2020 Census numbers are not yet published, NYC’s population has likely suffered a drastic decrease after the coronavirus shock. To get a picture of how dramatically life has changed, one can look at subway traffic from the past year.

Subway traffic from January 2020 to October 2020 indicates a…

Analyzing the electricity it takes to mine digital gold

Photo by Dmitri Demidko on Unsplash

Bitcoin cannot be created on a whim, unlike dollars, yen, euros, etc. Similar to gold, creating new bitcoins takes work.

Instead of relying on central bankers to determine money supply, Bitcoin is decentralized. Miners record transactions that are verified by a global network of nodes¹ enforcing Bitcoin’s protocol. As of writing, 18.5 million bitcoins are in circulation, having been mined as a reward for computational power securing the network.

Only 21 million Bitcoin will ever exist.

After its initial creation on January 3rd, 2009, anyone with a basic computer can participate in Bitcoin’s democratic network. As outlined in the…

Decrypting the most powerful trends in crypto

Photo by Dmitri Demidko on Unsplash

Bitcoin is the monetary base of the Internet. Unlike national currencies, new bitcoins are created by a fixed and finite supply.¹ In an era of unprecedented monetary expansion Bitcoin’s value proposition is unique. There will only be 21 million bitcoins amid increasing trillions of dollars, pesos, yuans, etc.

Instead of relying on central bankers to determine money supply, Bitcoin is decentralized. Global miners timestamp blocks of transactions² that are verified by a global network of nodes³ for a protocol maintained by hundreds of developers⁴ worldwide. Bitcoin’s first block was mined with the following cryptographic message in 2009:

“The Times…

Since the 2008 Financial Crisis, global central banks have “printed” extraordinary amounts of fiat money

Photo: Eric Prouzet/Unsplash

According to USA Today, “With a few strokes on a computer, the Federal Reserve can create dollars out of nothing, virtually ‘printing’ money and injecting it into the commercial banking system, much like an electronic deposit.” To provide stimulus after the 2008 Financial Crisis and now the coronavirus shock, global central banks such as the Federal Reserve have been printing unprecedented amounts of money.

Known by such terms as money printing, monetary expansion, quantitative easing, etc., central banks issue new money in exchange for assets such as government bonds, mortgage backed securities, and now corporate debt. As a result trillions…

Mike Co

Charting the digital sea — Capitalism, data, and democracy.

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