Posts Tagged


BitCoin Dip – What Happened?

Elizabeth Technology June 23, 2022

Terra’s “StableCoin”

A stablecoin is, in theory, just that – stable. It’s a crypto coin that is directly tied to a country’s unit of money on a one-to-one ratio. Terra’s stablecoin was equal to exactly one U.S. dollar before it tanked. Terra’s stablecoin was also tied to Luna – instead of being backed by a reserve of fiat money, stablecoins were produced out of coin mines, and Luna was backed by the stablecoin. Double-layering coins like this would, in theory, prevent wild fluctuations. It’s meant to serve as an anchor to the ‘real’ investment.

However. Being equal to a dollar does not mean it was backed by a dollar. If the stablecoin fails, then so does the real coin, and the stablecoin can fail for a number of reasons. In Terra’s case, it was a lack of liquidity.

Terra has had to dig itself out of holes before, but it never lead to the stablecoin failing. One time, they magicked a bunch of coins into existence to lower the rising price of the coin and reestablish stability; another, they absorbed a bunch of investor money to buy coins back and keep it from tanking. Terra had been fighting an uphill battle for a while now, but because it labeled itself as stable and kept afloat, investors and coin purchasers had no idea what the situation was, and that alone kept it up. Of course, if Terra had been honest, the market would have tanked sooner due to a loss of faith and a run to sell before it was worthless, so once they were underwater on their investment trying to buy up coins and keep the price stable, the end had already begun, and Terra tanked. As one of the oldest, stablest coins on the market, crypto forums began to panic.

The BitCoin Drop

Bitcoin has a history of soaring highs and trench-like lows. Famously, someone on the web sent 30 Bitcoins to pay a delivery driver for a pizza worth approx. 8$ some time in the 2010s. In 2010 proper, a Bitcoin was worth just 8 cents. When it skyrocketed to a whopping 250$ from 10$ in 2013, people who’d bought some couldn’t believe it. Many sold; many bought. The price continued to rise, going from 450ish to 900ish across 2015 to 2016, and then from 1,000ish to ­18,000ish in 2017 thanks to media attention and a growing awareness of the product. Of course, this high lead to a low as people sold and didn’t rebuy, and Bitcoin hit a low of 3,000ish in 2019 before going up, down, and up again across a handful of months before briefly stabilizing. Most recently, in the 2020’s, Bitcoin’s chart has looked less like a mountain range and more like a seismograph, with it’s value doubling, halving, doubling again, and then halving again across just months. As it stands now, in May of 2022, Bitcoin’s dip to less than half of it’s most recent high (now at approx. $29,000) means that companies who invested in it and who took it as payment have had a significant portion of their gains wiped. Tesla lost half it’s theoretical gains for the year in a few days purely by Bitcoin’s fall.

Along the way, other cryptocurrencies saw the potential in cryptocurrency, and started creating their own coins. The problem is that cryptocurrencies, which aren’t backed with much of anything at all, are prone to these extreme fluctuations by nature. One big investor selling a little too much at one time can completely wreck the coin’s value by creating a run on the coin. New entrants to the market are also notoriously prone to pump and dump schemes, further encouraging investors to sell at 10% down instead of waiting for it to recover.

All this to say that the big coins, Terra Luna, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a few others were the most reliable, and if they’re tanking, everything else is tanking with them. Additionally, most people want the number to stop falling, or at least slow down, before they buy. Ironically, this makes reversal take longer: the more supply as people sell, the less demand there is to go around as people try to wait it out. If the coin isn’t well-known, today’s market won’t rebuy – people are sick of pump-n-dump schemes. The coin never goes back up. Bitcoin and Terra are well-known, but every dip is heartstopping because the gaps between spikes are getting bigger and bigger. Buying during the dip might mean spending 2,000$ on something that drops to 500$, and then doesn’t rise again for a year or more as was the case in 2018. Why buy something that has no brakes and continues to fall?


Bitcoin is not a canary in the coal mine – when things get to Bitcoin’s size, they become miners themselves. Doge, on the other hand, was a joke coin that turned serious when it’s value spiked and then became a sort of bitter aftertaste to a joke when the price dropped again. A well-loved canary choked to death by the mine operator that is crypto markets. Logically speaking, not every coin can go to the moon. People were seeing something in Doge that simply wasn’t there. Some investors treated it like a pump-n-dump with an uncooperative creator (who was generally not interested in being a public face for his coin and also didn’t want to defraud anybody, because he made the coin as a joke) others treated it as a hidden gem that could quintuple their worth after it spiked suddenly from less than a cent each to 63 cents over the course of a day or two. 20 doge coins worth a total of 16 cents were now worth 12.60$. for anyone who’d dropped 20$ on Dogecoin as a joke, that was a huge jump.

This ruined the doge coin community. At first, there was some idea that this would work out, they’d all have a good time with it and hold so it didn’t result in the death of the coin like it did for so many others, and then Elon Musk commented on it, and the coin blew, deflated to 30 cents, and then 20, 15, 10,  and now down to 8 cents. While that’s still 16x more than the coin was worth at the start, it’s not the epic peak devoted Doge fans believed they’d earn if they just held on in the face of an unforgiving crypto market.

Doge is not a victim of the Bitcoin crash because it already crashed- it was a harbinger of what would happen to Bitcoin if things continued as they were. Continue they did, and Bitcoin’s Doge-crash happened on a longer timeline. Will it bounce back? Will any of them? Nobody can say for sure. Terra, though, may never re-earn the trust it once had even if it does recover.

The World of Crypto Scams

Elizabeth History, Trending July 12, 2021

Yep – it’s mainstream now.

What is Cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency is a digital currency protected by cryptography. Just like physical currency, the digital coin is representative of a certain amount of value – you own a Bitcoin, you have the equivalent of 36,000 USD. You own an Ethereum coin, you have the equivalent of about 2,500 USD.

Cryptocurrencies come with blockchains, which act as a sort of ledger for the transactions. The blockchains verify that transactions happened at the time and date the computers say it did. Each block in the chain contains the transaction’s identifying information (such as time, date, and hash) as well as identifying information for the block before it. Each block added to the end of the chain therefore reinforces the one before it, making data alterations nigh impossible.

The decentralized nature of the ledgers means that even if someone was to mess with the blockchain to steal a coin, it could be proven invalid almost immediately by others who have copies. Therefore, transactions are secure and un-duplicable, even with no central authority monitoring transactions for the users. Coins also can’t appear out of thin air under this system! You can’t spend a dollar twice in the real world, and with blockchain, you can’t do it digitally either! Bitcoin in particular rewards users for solving the blockchain and verifying the transactions on it are all complete and legit, although that takes an awful lot of computer power due to the math involved.

Cryptocurrency removes the third party, the bank, from transactions, allowing users to pass money to each other directly. No centralized authority needed! As long as the people using it agree that it has a certain value equal to something else (the way dollars used to be equal to a certain amount of gold, for example) the cryptocurrency will continue to function.

Unfortunately, no third party means no third-party protections, either. Money faces issues with valuation too, as inflation and deflation can wreak havoc on an economy, but the government will generally step in to prevent it from getting too out of control. The same isn’t true for decentralized crypto! If a big coin fluctuates, it generally fluctuates hard. Where the US dollar has stops in place, crypto doesn’t. Investing in crypto, therefore, is much more of a gamble than investing in bonds or stocks. It’s another form of currency speculation. The risks are great, but the rewards are great too.

The OG

Bitcoin was one of the first if not the first. It was created anonymously to avoid using third parties for international transactions online, which almost always came with long wait times and excessive fees. People used it for a number of things, but an unintended side effect of that ‘no third party’ thing from before is that Bitcoin was effectively untaxable and very difficult to track. As a result, it came to be associated with drug trades and other shady deals.  Don’t want anyone to know that your ‘gift’ package is actually mushroom spores? Does the seller not want to reveal where they live? Complete the transaction with Bitcoin, and nobody can watch the money change hands. The market needed a solid-but-untraceable currency, and BitCoin filled this niche.

Bitcoin exploded in value in the late 2010’s. People who owned Bitcoin were made millionaires overnight as 20$ turned into 20,000$. Ever since then, Bitcoin has been a looming presence in the online finance world – it’s effectively the shadow money from John Wick, but harder to forge.

The Second Gen

A cryptocurrency known as DogeCoin hit the news for making it to 50 cents a coin, from below one cent a few years ago. It’s really a special kind of coin: it launched as a joke after BitCoin made it big, it’s based off of an ancient meme, it’s not particularly well-backed… but it’s still there, and its age gives it a lot of clout and distribution. People in support of it call it ‘The People’s Coin’. It was much more accessible than Bitcoin due to its joke-based nature, and it was already public – it wasn’t shady to buy some as a joke.

The founder had a Twitter account before that was taken for granted. Its ownership isn’t perfectly distributed, but it’s much more diversified than any new coin could hope to be. This is important: where new coins are hitting the same value as DogeCoin, they aren’t nearly as stable because ownership is concentrated. Forget the spike, Dogecoin was within a few tenths of a cent of its average price for months beforehand. That’s incredible! DogeCoin was cheap, but it was well-known and decently solid, and word-of-mouth on its subreddit kept it stable until the spike. Smaller coins that don’t build a community around their use have no chance of achieving that.

The New Guys

Computers are better than they ever have been. The kind of computer needed to make a cryptocurrency is within reach for moderately wealthy people. However, now that the tech is available, everyone wants to make a coin. More specifically, they want to make money off of making a coin. The question is: how do they want to do that? Do they actually want to make currency, with what that entails? Could they want to make a safe, secure, and reliable coin that anybody could use, like BitCoin did? Do they want to make the coin as a ‘joke’ and accidentally stumble into wealth, like Dogecoin did? Or do they want to get a lot of money invested in their product very quickly, without much effort on their part, and then dump their own stock and leave with said money?

“Pump’n’Dump” Schemes

Demand = higher prices. The more demand there is for any one kind of coin, the better the price gets. BitCoin’s head start means that a single coin is worth tens of thousands (as of this article, July of 2021), because it’s widely accepted, widely trusted, and well-known, so it’s widely demanded as well.

Other big ones include Etherium and Maker, which are a couple thousand per coin each. These are also reliable, distributed coins that started early. For every success story, though, there are dozens of failures where people didn’t invest. DogeCoin could have been considered a failure a couple of years ago – the guy never got the value very high until recently, even though the concept was well loved.

How does someone make money off of a phenomenon that strikes like lightning? Spikes are completely unpredictable, even to experts. The answer is easy: some crypto makers simply make their own spikes! They pump their coin, and then dump their coin!

Steps to “Get Rich”

Step 1) Make a coin. Name it something catchy and/or stupid, or riff on another coin’s name to create bad-faith confusion. Hold a lot of it.

Step 2) Get people to buy it. Play off the name, pay celebrities, do whatever you can to hype this coin. Meme off it. Get people to buy it, even if it’s just as a joke.

Step 3) Wait until your coins are worth something. Dump them for cash. (This destroys the coin’s value).

Step 4) Disappear with the money while everyone is upset. They either quit and dump their coins themselves, crushing value, or stick around and watch as their coins become worthless.

As soon as the top of the pyramid dumps their coins, it becomes a race to the bottom for everyone else. After all, without the creators advertising it, hyping it, and otherwise managing it themselves, where is any new value going to come from? The users? If they stick around to bring it back up, users are going to bail the second they’ve made more than they put in, because the coin has destroyed their trust in it, and it will flatten out that way. There’s no way back up without top-down support. Everyone who didn’t get out in time loses their money.

Just the Actual Worst

Celebrities are being paid to endorse this. Soulja Boy tweeted out that he was interested in a coin only to realize a few minutes later that he’d also copy/pasted the instructions for tweeting, making it obvious that he’d been solicited to tweet about it. Soulja Boy also famously tried to release his own line of gaming consoles before being issued a cease and desist by Nintendo. Other notable crypto advertisers include various streamers and an adult actress or two, not people you’d expect to give financial advice.

What’s the common thread? These are the people the crypto makers hope they can get because their first picks – actual celebrities, trustworthy streamers, and financial experts – won’t take their deal. In fact, some of these people actively rally against the Neo-Crypto cause. You’d take advice from someone with a PhD in finance, and you might take advice from someone you’ve been watching on Twitch for years, but anyone else? Not unless they’re a big fan.

Youtuber Cody Ko points out that these people are mainly defrauding their own fans if the coin goes belly-up. What’s the plan then? That the fans just won’t hold this streamer/star/influencer accountable? As he says, repeating over and over that “You should buy this! It’s definitely trustworthy and suuuuper stable!” for pages, but only saying “This is not financial advice” every 6th tweet is not sufficient warning.

A fan is not especially stupid or wrong for looking up to their favorite streamer and buying coins based off of their ‘not-advice’ – they’re a fan. Of course a fan is going to listen to a streamer or role model, that’s why companies sponsor entertainers in the first place. These public personalities know that, and they’re either taking advantage of their unearned financial credibility, or deliberately ignoring everyone telling them it’s a bad idea. If these coin-hypers were really intent on their fans’ best interests, they’d clarify the risk, but they don’t. The danger of over-investing in a volatile product is being heavily downplayed to funnel more money into the coin. Everybody but the fan stands to gain from the fan’s ‘investment’, so they’re being incentivized to over-hype.

Digital currency is a powerful tool – it’s just a shame that it’s being treated like an investment instead of what it’s supposed to be, decentralized currency.


Crypto Casey, via Youtube (

Cody Ko, via Youtube (

Bitcoin’s dip is Affecting GPU Prices

Cryptocurrency affects the price of hardware IRL now. There’s an entire legion of computers that spend their whole lives solving hashes and producing rewards for their owners. So when the reward crashes a little, the market reacts strangely. Some people buy, because BitCoins always bounce back, and some people sell, because BitCoins might not this time. On top of that, China has re-banned parts of trading!


BitCoin Crash


BitCoin has nearly halved in value over the past few months. The ‘why’ is everything from a general decline in the stock market to celebrities tweeting about BitCoin’s fall, to other cryptocurrencies establishing themselves on the market. It’s truly wild how many different things come into play for an untethered resource’s price, but Bitcoin enthusiasts remain as optimistic as ever that BitCoin will return, and better than ever. It did in the 2010s. It did after the first crash. Surely it will this time, too!

Like I said, many things, some material, some not, affect Bitcoin’s price. As such, many businesses and countries are becoming increasingly skeptical of it. Receiving a few % of a Bitcoin for 700$ of repairs, only to have it drop to 300$? Too bad! The business is forced to ride waves of inflation and deflation until they can use those coins at their desired value or trade them for real money. This will eventually stabilize the price, but until then, the leaps and drops are bad for businesses. Imagine getting a cash payment, only to have to hold onto it until it’s worth recovers enough for you to deposit it in savings, or use it elsewhere – your business operations could come to a halt while you wait for your liquid cash to replenish itself. Bartering would be safer at that point.

The government sees many issues with this system, and understandably a country like China can’t afford to have business owners upset in a time of serious unrest. Plus, taxes! Bitcoin was created primarily to avoid third parties, and no third parties = difficult-to-collect taxes.


Confounding Factors


The epicenter of the cheapening GPUs is China, although Europe is also seeing some major dips in the reseller’s market. But why? China’s partial ban on trading or accepting BitCoin has put a serious damper on consumers’ desire to mine for it. It’s not illegal to own Bitcoin, but when transactions to convert that Bitcoin to ‘real money’ are stifled, what’s the point? They have no promise of when or if the Chinese government will lift their restrictions.

Aside from what officials call ‘speculation risk’, which is what I’ve described in the section above this one, certain regions of China are trying to limit energy consumption, and BitCoin’s heavy consumption makes it an easy target. Mining BitCoins has a lot of complicated math involved, and it’s math that has to be done fast. Only the first person to solve the transaction gets any reward, so it’s a constant race to make the computer better and faster. Better computers eat more energy. GPUs, the common bottleneck part, got siphoned up by BitCoin miners everywhere.

Now, China has fewer BitCoin miners looking to upgrade immediately, but BitCoin’s low price is also convincing some of the folks in other countries that upgrades can wait a bit. Europe’s slowly improving prices are a good sign – maybe the US will finally get some GPUs in! Right?


The Market


Turns out, demand doesn’t always behave as expected! Official reports say that the prices of Graphics Cards are falling, when many people have also noticed the prices going up even on ‘ancient’ and less powerful cards on eBay. Is it just a failure of the buyer/seller market to catch on to the news? Is it a sign of an incoming rebound? Or could it be because the shortage in the US hasn’t actually been resolved in spite of less demand from overseas? With international shipping in such disarray, a dip in China and Europe doesn’t have to mean a dip in the US!

As for the future, who knows? Cards might go down. They might also go up. GPUs are expensive to make and buy ordinarily, and given perfect conditions, a new one could still be worth a thousand-plus dollars. It’s difficult to say what exactly waits for the gamers and workers waiting for the GPUs to come down in price, although market watchers like Tom’s Guide can establish patterns based on the past.

Will BitCoin go back up? It’s very hard to tell given the nature of a cryptocurrency and what we’ve seen from it so far. Sometimes a coin drops and crashes so hard it may as well have died – BitCoin once had a dip so severe people doubted it would ever come back up, down to the high four digits. Is this downwards trend permanent? Will China’s ban influence the end results? I have no idea! Experts in similar fields can’t tell either, crypto is a wild, wild West compared to stocks. What they do say is generally along the lines of ‘we can’t tell, but it could dip very badly’.  It’s akin to gambling.

If it does recover, European cards will almost certainly follow, although the depressed prices in China likely won’t until restrictions are lifted. American cards, having shown no sign of going down in price despite a clear dip in Bitcoin values, may not be as tied to crypto-mining as they formerly were, so BitCoin’s movement may have no impact. America is a big country with a lot of people in it, so ordinary demand for the currently out-of-stock GPUs may be holding prices high all by itself.





What’s the Deal with NFTs?

Is it Bad for the Environment?


Well – that’s complicated. Blockchain technology already takes a lot of energy, but because it’s limited to the people and companies that can afford powerful computers, its impact is limited. However, that doesn’t mean it will stay limited. NFTs use a form of blockchain tech that’s less efficient than the kind cryptocurrencies use, so the power consumption of NFT tokens are going to be a little more intense than they are for cryptos. That’s on top of the cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech already in use. What happens when everyone wants a piece of the Bitcoin mining success? Or when everyone wants to create these tokens? The effects trickle down, and the fact that we’re seeing a power usage impact from the limited number available now doesn’t bode well. Computers are getting more powerful anyway, but this could create demand for computers that are powerful enough for NFTs but too powerful for anything else. Powerful computers still consume more power than less powerful ones, even if all else is running equal.

While energy demands are slowly being met with renewables, non-renewables still make up the majority of the energy supply in many places. In fact, many countries are actively resisting the switch. If NFTs need a noticeable amount of power to be feasible, they’re going to produce a noticeable amount of pollution. Not to mention the difficulty of finding and mining rare-earth metals for some of the computer parts. Some of those, like Yttrium, are more expensive than gold, and even rarer. The mining needed to supply bottleneck parts could turn into a disaster all on its own even if the power comes from non-polluting sources, unless suitable substitutes are found.


It’s an attempt at re-introducing scarcity


Much like signed works retain value, NFTs also retain value. In theory. What makes them special is the ability to hold value in digital space as a “rare” item, via blockchain technology attached to the item. This should be impossible in a world like ours, where a downloadable image can be copied limitless times. In fact, some people hate the concept for this very reason – there’s no actual scarcity! The quality doesn’t change, the picture doesn’t change, and having an NFT piece doesn’t give you the right to use the piece, it gives you the digital file and that’s it. It isn’t copyright. It’s creating a real, solid, theoretically permanent object in a digital, everchanging world with exactly the same properties as it’s copies, except for the token. It’s a digital Beanie Baby: scarcity for the sake of it.

Some say the current craze is almost certainly a bubble. If NFTs can be created out of anything, and it’s possible to make an unlimited amount… where does the value come from? A signed copy of an album is expensive because it’s rare, computers are expensive because they’re functional, but what does an NFT do? It’s not like BitCoin, which is the money, NFTs are a “real” object that has to be sold first for money. Hence the “non-fungible” part of the name. They’re subject to all the same things any one-of-a-kind item is, including becoming more common, and becoming unpopular. Eventually, the cost of the NFT might be tied to the real value of the item (good!), and most real items aren’t worth what that Nyan Cat token sold for (bad!).

This whole system, from the outside, looks like people with supercomputers trying to make something to sell to users who don’t fully understand it.


It’s Confusing


NFTs don’t do anything but store hypothetical wealth, much like signed pictures do. Unlike signed pictures, which are a physical item, other people can still view digital images of what you’ve got. It just won’t have the token. If people don’t care about the token, the token loses value.

Don’t let their newness confuse you – they’re only worth what the market says they’re worth. Right now, NFTs are being used like baseball cards and Beanie Babies, but disguised by the blockchain technology.

Many people conflate BitCoin with blockchain technology, and BitCoins cost a lot. Therefore, to investing newcomers, blockchain items cost a lot. The folks who mistakenly follow this train of thought buy these things on the bubble and think they’ve gotten a good deal. The second generation of NFTs has already experienced a price dip, and it’s not crazy to think they’ll stay down.

NFTs will have to gain value by being sold as unique items instead of relying on their newness to sell.

For example, a tennis player is selling tokens of her arm, the way old school baseball orgs would sell cards with their players on it. She’s a good tennis player, so people who like her will buy the NFTs at the price they think is acceptable, considering the rarity of the ‘item’, her arm. As long as people value her as a player, they’ll value the NFTs they buy from her. The same goes for baseball cards, resellers know popular players with few cards will sell for higher prices than unpopular players. They, in this case, hold some kind of value – but buying an NFT without looking at what it’s attached to, what’s supposed to give it it’s value, is like buying a blank index card at premium baseball card prices.


It’s…Doing Weird Things


Where real objects can be used as leverage, digital NFTs are a whole other world, legally and economically. To expand on hooking up NFTs to real objects, you don’t own the tennis player’s arm, just like buying an NFT of a picture doesn’t give you copyright permissions. Buyers own a token that represents ‘something’, not the ‘something’ itself.

Just like holding collectibles of any kind, holding NFTs is like holding stocks in something without any of the rights that come from holding stocks, and all of the liabilities. The price can do whatever it wants, it’s subject to fluctuations, and you have no say in what the artist or tennis player does, even if it reduces the value of your NFT. In essence, it’s a collectible market. This huge surge in pricing likely won’t stick around once people get used to the tech being here.


Bright Side


In a world where fake images are getting better and better, NFT tokens might help prevent some Photoshop fraud if applied correctly, which is valuable. NFTs can also follow contracts and other digital items where all parties should only have one primary copy. This huge hype around NFTs as an investment is overlooking many of it’s other benefits.

These NFT items aren’t like signed lithograph prints or limited edition cards, where illegitimate copies are much worse quality, the only thing that increases an NFT art’s value is the NFT. There are high-quality pictures of Nyan Cat all over the internet, for example. Once collectors figure that out, all but the first gen of Nyan Cat tokens should lose value: there’s no real scarcity, only imagined scarcity, created by people with powerful machines. If someone could have a print of their favorite artist’s work for cheap at the same quality and definition as the original, but without the artist’s signature, would they do it? A fair amount of people are going to answer “yes”. In fact, even if the quality is noticeably worse, most people will still take a poor copy over no copy. Look at how many people hang up flat pictures of Van Gogh’s work in their house!

Even beyond art, NFTs might struggle to keep footing with the physical item they’re attached to. If it’s really rare, the collector could sell it by itself without the headache of getting the token back, or negotiating with the buyer to prevent the (sold) NFT from losing value if that buyer wants to buy it and alter it. A whole new world of property law is on the horizon, and only time will tell how it goes.



Sources: (Wikipedia provides a good definition and additional reading on the tech behind NFTs, something other articles don’t do)