5th July 2013: Felix Salmon on the Winklevii’s Bitcoin Trust Fund

Reuters’ Felix Salmon nails why the Winklevii’s SEC filing for a Bitcoin Trust Fund is a bad idea:

 

Still, if you want to own bitcoins, and you never want to spend your bitcoins, and if you want to pay the Winklevii for the privilege of looking after your bitcoins on your behalf, and if you trust that the Winklevii, after putting out a huge shingle saying “millions of dollars worth of bitcoins stored here”, won’t get hacked and lose all their coins, — then, well, then I’m afraid I have bad news for you. Which is that the SEC will never, ever, approve this product. After all, this is an asset that senators want to ban, an asset which is probably illegal under US law, and an asset that is mainly known for its ease of facilitating money laundering, tax evasion, and the purchase of contraband material. It’s hard to see why the SEC would do anything whatsoever to legitimize that asset as an investible asset class.

 

Post-GFC, media pundits are now far more skeptical about new financial innovations and their supposedly disruptive potential.

2nd July 2013: Financial Bloggers vs. Bank Fees

I left freelance journalism in 2004 after a decade of work. My last piece filed was a preview of Google’s initial public offering. I could already see freelance rates were falling: they are now $US12.50 an hour or less. I learned whilst editing and writing for the alternative news website Disinformation about commitment bias, and paid my dues in deliberate practice (or: expectation, framing, hindsight, and outcome biases).

 

So, I was amused this week to read about how two of my favourite financial bloggers — Slate‘s Matthew Yglesias and Reuters’ Felix Salmon — dealt with ATM fees and cheque account overdrafts. Salmon goes into detail about Citibank and transatlantic differences in bank account management. It’s an elegy for retail banking’s demise. Yglesias and Salmon also illustrate that these little details are important to bloggers and freelance writers who make small incomes from writing. Retail bank fees can detrimentally impact or even wipe out a publisher’s payment.

 

Keep an eye on your bank account fees. Keep your financial affairs in order. You’ll write more. You’ll feel happier. (Thanks, James Altucher.)

 

Or, if you’re the Winklevoss twins, you’ll waste investors’ money on a Bitcoin trust fund (belief, hot-hand, irrational escalation and optimism biases). Their SEC filing.