12 February 2021
An IT professional is badgering Newport Council to go digging in the municipal dump. Why? Because he threw
an old laptop in his bin only to remember he had hundreds of Bitcoins stored on it. Currently, the council are
refusing access to the landfill site potentially depriving the poor man of his reportedly £200m haul. They had
better start posting security guards.
Avid newsletter readers may well remember we wrote about Bitcoin just three short years ago. We said the
price of Bitcoin was ridiculous and that it served no positive purpose for the world. The Emperor has no clothes
we claimed. Well, we looked good on that as the price of Bitcoin plummeted. However, we are looking more
like chumps than champs now. When we wrote about it in December 2017 the price was close to $20,000 a
bitcoin. It did not go above that level again until 8 short weeks ago, now it is touching $50,000!!
Just a recap for the more sensible amongst us who have little knowledge of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is not really a coin,
it is just a software code, a string of numbers. You can make a Bitcoin. Bitcoin ‘mining’ is the marketing speak.
There are just over 18 million in circulation and the way the code works means the total number can never
exceed 21 million.
That ‘scarcity’ seems to be what drives people to pay $50,000 for a string of numbers. Bitcoins recent massive
rise in value has been driven by prominent City investment institutions and owner of Tesla, Elon Musk, who for
their own reasons have publicised their recent Bitcoin purchases. Perhaps Tesla will print the code on the side
of their cars to sell it for a higher price?? The Canton of Zug will, from February 2021, accept Bitcoin as
payment of taxes. Bonkers?
So where does MVAM stand on all this now? Slightly perplexed if we are honest. We do believe that currencies
alternative to state-backed currencies can provide benefits in certain circumstances. We wrote just months ago
of the mayor of Worgl in Austria whose currency reduced unemployment and saw the town renewed. Bitcoin
however has few of the positive attributes of Worgl’s currency. It is a currency designed for greed rather than
largesse. The construction of the software is such that it becomes harder and harder to make each new Bitcoin.
Three years ago the mining of Bitcoin was using the same amount of electricity as used by the whole of Ireland.
Today it is equivalent to that used by the Czech Republic a country with a population more than twice that of
If governments around the world continue to legitimise Bitcoin its price may well rise further. In a world that
seems to know the price of everything and the value of nothing, we should perhaps be hardly surprised. But
even investing is never just about the money. For the world to change for the better values need to be attached
to investing. MVAM tries hard to stay true to our values. We will not invest in Bitcoin. Tesla so renowned for
their green electric cars and the City institutions so eager to push their ‘green’ funds to investors while
boasting of Bitcoin purchases seem to have lost theirs.