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Gareth Vaughan on a parody of a parody; Viktor Shvets, crypto-mania & leverage; Grant Robertson & Jacinda Ardern's CGT 'rift'; Biden's bond vigilante demons; and how the 1% live

Gareth Vaughan on a parody of a parody; Viktor Shvets, crypto-mania & leverage; Grant Robertson & Jacinda Ardern's CGT 'rift'; Biden's bond vigilante demons; and how the 1% live

This Top 5 comes from interest.co.nz's Gareth Vaughan.

As always, we welcome your additions in the comments below or via email to david.chaston@interest.co.nz. And if you're interested in contributing the occasional Top 5 yourself, contact gareth.vaughan@interest.co.nz.

See all previous Top 5s here.

1) A parody of a parody. 

At the end of last week I wrote about Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency started as a joke that's taking the world by storm. I wasn't aware at the time that there's effectively a parody of the parody. It's known as Shiba Inu, as in the Japanese dog associated with Dogecoin, or the SHIB token. According to Coindesk, it's currently popular in Chinese cryptocurrency circles. Whatever next...

The new SHIB token has unabashedly coopted the name of the Shiba Inu dog breed whose image has come to represent the joke cryptocurrency dogecoin. Perhaps as menacing, SHIB has just garnered fresh listings on the three most popular cryptocurrency exchanges among Chinese users, Binance, Huobi and OKEx. 

And this puppy is all of a sudden garnering astonishing investment from Chinese traders, even though they seem well aware that the project appears to have no earnest technological promise. On Monday, when Binance launched trading in the SHIB token, the price nearly doubled on Huobi, where it was already trading. 

That’s despite Chinese traders being as likely to call it “s**tcoin” in their local language, as SHIB coin.    

The new obsession shows the extent to which the recent dogecoin phenomenon – where money seems as playful as a slobbery toy – has spread to denizens around the world. Traders seem happy enough to go along as dogecoin’s price pumps and dumps repeatedly, often timed to a fresh tweet from the billionaire Elon Musk. Over the past weekend, Musk mentioned dogecoin multiple times when he hosted the long-running American TV comedy show “Saturday Night Live.” The DOGE price has tumbled 29% in the past two days. 

“SHIB’s price performance over the weekend clearly shows that the crypto industry hasn’t had its fill of canine-themed memecoins just yet,” Rick Delaney, senior analyst at OKEx Insights, said.

The chart above, courtesy of Crypto.com, shows how SHIB's tracking at the time of writing. Things might, however, be very different by the time you read this...

2) Viktor Shvets, crypto-mania & high levels of leverage.

Regular interest.co.nz perusers might remember Viktor Shvets. A very interesting thinker, Shvets is Managing Director and Head of Asia Pacific and Global Strategy at Macquarie Group in Hong Kong. I did a Zoom interview with him last year.

More recently he featured on Bloomberg's Odd Lots podcast in a wide ranging discussion with hosts Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal. Shvets talks about why, even though he sees some short-term inflation, he expects disinflationary trends to return. He also suggests banks have no future. And Shvets says the economics profession is "still largely functioning in an industrial age that has no relevance" to today's world. He sees the current period as the information age.

Shevts says the US Federal Reserve is focused on the likes of mortgages, banks and the Nasdaq as it watches for signs of the next financial crisis. However, he thinks crypto-mania may be where the next financial crisis emerges.

...is it more dangerous if those digital assets go up another 100%, or is it more dangerous if we go down 50% from the current levels? And clearly going up another 50-100% will be far more dangerous. Because what is happening right now is that the world is becoming incredibly interconnected, and increasingly leveraged. It's a little bit like the mortgage market in 07. There was nothing horribly wrong with individual mortgages, it's how you packaged it and collateralised it and leveraged it that created the GFC.

And what you see today is exactly that. People who are buying bitcoin also buying Tesla. Tesla buying bitcoin. People who buy dogecoin will buy NFTs [non-fungible tokens]. Some of the exchanges now allow you three, five, up to 100 times leverage on some of those transactions. The whole universe is now at least $3, $4 trillion and is growing. So the way basically to describe it is if you lose a couple of billion dollars, it's like a bad day in the office. But if you lose a trillion, that's systemic. 

Chart above from Robin Wigglesworth of the Financial Times, author of a new book on index funds, (including ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds).

3) Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern's CGT 'rift.'

The latest issue of North & South has a feature on Finance Minister Grant Robertson by Madeleine Chapman. It includes an interesting bit about how Robertson apparently disagreed with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's decision to rule out a capital gains tax while she's PM.

 The article quotes ex-Labour MP Marian Hobbs who Robertson formerly worked for as an advisor. Hobbs maintains Robertson was always more enthusiastic about a capital gains tax than Ardern, and that her decision to kick the tax into touch caused a rare rift in their close working relationship.

“He wanted it. He lost. He lost the argument,” says Hobbs. “They had to cool off their thing for a while.”

When I next see Robertson, I ask about disagreements between the prime minister and her deputy. He laughs at my suggestion that he brings the metro perspective and Ardern represents the small towns. And laughs again when I cut to the chase and say I’m asking specifically about the capital gains tax decision.

“Possibly this won’t be unexpected,” he begins. “But first I’d like to slightly challenge the premise.” He goes on to explain that while he is a city voice, decisions are made as a team — “I’m not shying away from the fact that I’m a forthright person within that team” — and that there are other city and rural voices within Labour’s team.

But that’s not what I asked and he knows it. He takes a deep breath and for the first time I can see him thinking before he answers. “Jacinda and I are friends. We share a lot of political values and a lot of ideas about how to get things done. But we aren’t going to agree on every single moment or response. So there is a dynamic that takes place, and I’m not commenting on any specific issue, but there is a dynamic that takes place that inevitably will do that.” I wait for him to play another forward defence shot but he doesn’t.

“I also really believe there’s a danger in believing there are silver bullets, in anything, just about, but especially in housing. So the idea that one particular policy is no longer available to us is not the end of the road or the end of the world. There are a range of things we can, are, and should be doing to address housing affordability. It’s more, now let’s work out what those other things are.”

4) Biden's chance to exorcise the bond vigilante demons.

Writing for Business Insider, Alex Yablon argues President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats should shake off fears of bond vigilantes and pay for their big climate, infrastructure and jobs bill with deficit spending instead of higher taxes.

For all the economic and political hand wringing over Biden’s plan, the bond vigilante scare mongering flies in the face of political and financial reality.

It’s true that federal interest rates have risen in the Biden era. But that doesn’t mean borrowing costs are about to eat up the budget or that credit will become scarce. Throughout much of 2020 the world economy seemed like it was on the brink of another Great Depression, so investors flocked to safety, buying government bonds and driving yields down. Now with the vaccine rollout going better than expected and the Democratic federal trifecta sidestepping obstreperous Republicans to provide far more generous pandemic relief, many mainstream financial analysts agree the rising rates are more a sign that investors expect the economy to finally return to health, not that they are worried about runaway spending. There’s less need to hunker down with no-risk assets than there was last year.

And even after the rise in treasury yields this year, inflation-adjusted rates remain ludicrously low – negative, in fact, for everything except 30-year bonds, which hovers barely above zero percent. Investors are effectively paying the federal government to lend it money.

Yablon argues that sometimes the easiest route is also the most responsible one.

The Biden administration should seriously rethink its commitment to financing a green infrastructure package with taxes rather than the deficit. Whatever the merits of putting the squeeze on unaccountable corporations or ending giveaways to rich coastal property owners, with low interest rates and no real threat of the supposed “bond vigilantes” showing up anytime soon, it’s not at all clear that all those pay-fors are needed or justified. Given that the new taxes come with political costs in Congress that Biden cannot pay, deficit spending is eminently affordable and solves an important political problem.

More importantly, by limiting the scope of green investment to solely what taxes can cover rather than using freely available money to avoid a massive downside risk, Biden will effectively force our grandchildren to pay the price for the appearance of “responsibility.”

5) How the 1% live.

Fancy buying an island in the Bahamas? CNBC has a story about "country music power couple" Faith Hill and Tim McGraw's island getaway being on the market for US$35 million. The story features lots of photos, of course, and the obligatory spruiking from real estate agents. Known as L’ile d’Anges, it certainly looks nice, especially to anyone hanging out for a tropical holiday.

Hill and McGraw renamed the paradise they dreamed up together, L’ile d’Anges, which is French for isle of angels. The couple transformed what was an undeveloped 19.77 acre island into a resort-like compound that includes a 6,517-square-foot main residence, two beaches and hundreds of imported palm trees.

“This was a 10 year-plus exercise,” said Edward de Mallet Morgan, the London-based luxury real estate broker and partner at Knight Frank who represents the listing.

L’ile d’Anges. Photo by Brett Davis / Knight Frank.

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87 Comments

""country music power couple" Faith Hill and Tim McGraw's island getaway being on the market for US$35 million."
Smart move. With sea level rise at some number like 3mm/year there place will be almost non existent in about 100 years time. On the other hand at 30mm/year that comes down to 10 years and we know that this is really possible according to some.
Together with increased larger and more fierce hurricanes, storm surges could also damage the island.
Maybe a smart buyer will conjure up some numbers to obtain a huge discount

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Smart money still buys waterfront property. I haven't noticed prices reducing. Perhaps, just on the quiet, they got where they are by not listening to the usual rhetoric.

According to Wikipedia even under a high emissions scenario the sea level only rises about a meter every hundred years. Which would mean in a hundred years much of that beach is lost but the main residence would still be fine.

The *average* (or 'base') sea level rises by 1 meter every hundred years.

That's not including storm surges each time a hurricane comes. At present the island might be swamped by a hurricane once in 10 years. By the end of the century that may be happening 4-5 times every year. That makes it impossible to recover before the next one, and a nightmare to live there. It also means the island may erode very quickly, such that the beach literally does disappear from repeated hurricanes, making it even more susceptible to further hurricanes.

The hurricane urban myth. "Arguments for devastation typically claim that extreme weather (like droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes) is already worsening because of climate change. This is mostly misleading and inconsistent with the IPCC literature. For instance, the IPCC finds no trend for global hurricane frequency and has low confidence in attribution of changes to human activity, while the US has not seen an increase in landfalling hurricanes since 1900. Global death risk from extreme weather has declined 99% over 100 years and global costs have declined 26% over the last 28 years."
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162520304157

I didn't say anything about the number of hurricanes increasing.

The point is if the 'base' sea level is higher, then a hurricane storm surge that today is manageable and happens 4-5 times a year, in 100 years time may not be, simply because the base sea level is higher.

My bad. Given our track record you think we will able to adapt if your prediction comes to pass? - "Global death risk from extreme weather has declined 99% over 100 years and global costs have declined 26% over the last 28 years".

I'm specifically talking about the one property pictured in the article. Not about global death risks.

Impressive you know so much about hurricane patterns and sea level rise for this specific island. My bad for placing it in a global extreme weather context. Are you putting an offer in?

Perhaps storm "frequency" isn't the question that should be asked? "The proportion of severe TCs (category 4 & 5) has increased, possibly due to anthropogenic climate change. This proportion of intense TCs is projected to increase further, bringing a greater proportion of storms having more damaging wind speeds, higher storm surges, and more extreme rainfall rates. Most climate model studies project a corresponding reduction in the proportion of low-intensity cyclones, so the total number of TCs each year is projected to decrease or remain approximately the same." https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-chan...

“There is low confidence in attribution of changes in tropical cyclone activity to human influence” (IPCC 2013a, 871).
“current data sets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century” (IPCC 2013a, 216)

Again asking the wrong question and using outdated science? Why? Could it be bias? The science is developing all the time. The signal of anthropogenic climate change takes time to reach a level of significance above natural variability, which it has now clearly done with global temperature. On tropical cyclone trends 2021? "This ScienceBrief Review examines the link between climate change and tropical cyclones (TCs, including tropical storms, hurricanes, and typhoons). It synthesises findings from more than 90 peer−reviewed scientific articles" Summary. "Warming of the surface ocean from anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change is likely fuelling more powerful TCs. The destructive power of individual TCs through flooding is amplified by rising sea level, which very likely has a substantial contribution at the global scale from anthropogenic climate change." https://news.sciencebrief.org/cyclones-mar2021/

Oh the IPCC is out of date strategy. On the up to the minute strategy the TF5 US record is about to be broken - 2913 days without a TF5. Getting close to the '99-'07 TF5 record. Weren't these supposed to become more common with the projected runaway global warming?

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/f5torns.html

https://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0040162520304157-gr14.jpg

Using Lomborg as a reference? Who's next? Monckton?

"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

Freezing could certainly help, but it would take energy, which tends to release heat.

As the back of your fridge tells you; Physics beats Lomborg, every time.

And yes, it's personal - that's his name. The sad thing is that he takes so many down a rabbit-hole. The fact that boosters such as yourself need to quote one of the top10 - https://www.beforetheflood.com/explore/the-deniers/top-10-climate-deniers/ - is a side-issue; merely for noting en passant. Goes with you sad little territory.

Care to comment on Lomborg's expertise in science, other than denying it? He should stick to right wing economic theory."His (Kåre Fog) conclusion is that Lomborg's texts are systematically manipulated to fit a certain agenda." http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/

You aren't satisfied the peer review process mitigates your personal bias?

I prefer to be guided by what research tells us, unlike Lomborg, or yourself, apparently. ;-)

Lomborg didn't tell you. He published a peer reviewed paper. Perhaps get hold of the journal and tell them you don't like him?

Do you accept all of the IPCC findings, or just the bits you can cherry pick? "Trends in intensity and frequency of some climate and weather extremes have been detected over time spans during which about 0.5°C of global warming occurred (medium confidence). This assessment is based on several lines of evidence, including attribution studies for changes in extremes since 1950. {3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.3}" https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm/

profile,

I am really curious as to your basic climate change beliefs are? You clearly do a lot of reading on the subject and so far as I can tell from the posts i have seen, you are at least somewhat sceptical. What I can't tell is whether you accept that anthropgenic climate change is real but overblown, or whether you would go further and describe yourself as a denier.
My guess is that you are a denier, but I am happy to be corrected.

Its ok cos a tax on emissions is going to fix everything.

Guess people could voluntarily burn less? Oh wait, that doesn't seem to be happening? At least a tax sends a price signal to those happily contributing to the global extinction event. Although a pathetic one!

Many 1%er compounds like this, e.g. the Johnson family's (ex Ritz Carlton Hotels) at the tip of Man o War Cay, Abacos.

Yep it's the Bahamas and they have storms. Always have.
Meanwhile in the pacific nations are said to suffer from searise. But scientists measuring the actual thing say the size of the island is actually increasing. Yes increasing.
It's always been dynamic, lose some someplace and gain some elsewhere. And the basis is coral. It grows.
The real problem is over population. Especially Micronesia. Standing room only is their future. Tinned food and USA welfare. Madness.

Another fact that isn't widely known, is the amount of dry land on Earth has increased over the last forty years. When alleged widespread sea level rise, would have the opposite effect. If it was, in fact, a genuine issue.

No mention of the reason for that?

Land reclamation is so far making up for the sea level rise, but the fact that Dubai has built a new island would be little comfort if yours was one of the ones disappearing beneath the waves.

As a cruising yachtie, I'll tell you that all the talk, last time we were out, was about sea temperatures. The reason we are all wary, is that temperature determines the energy in a storm-cell. More energy drives the pressure differences. Storms turning into Cat5's in 13 hours, didn't used to happen (my son experienced that one) but even that's been superseded. This is real. Easy for vested-interest (or those paid to Profile themselves by vested interests) to rubbish the trend; try being out there.

It would be nice if GR stops wallowing about not being able to implement CGT. What’s done is done and we know it’s not going to happen while Jacinda is PM. What we also know is there there are so many other tools and levers at his disposal but his refusal to use them is mind boggling. IO loan removal, DTI etc but I guess none of those bring money back as tax so he doesn’t care. Let Rome burn while he sits on his throne and watches with his ever growing ego. My way of the highway eh?

10 year bright line test and 39% top tax rate should soothe GR's concerns.

' Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern's CGT 'rift.'

So Jacinda Arden is another National politicians but in wrong party.

Does Mr Orr has Jacinda Arden support in his wait and watch approach.

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The horse has bolted on CGT. The only thing that can save future generations now is the 'crash that needs to happen', the one that central banks have ensured will happen even while they try to stave it off.

We aren't going to have a "crash" as such, potentially a small correction, but house prices in NZ will continue to increase as they always have. To try and convince people otherwise is just misleading.

It actually takes careful mismanagement to maintain the status quo. As investors we rely on government not to open up the supply side or the prices of housing would likely come to reflect the market fundementals really [expletive!] quickly and brutally.

IMO a crash is unlikely, barring outside extreme events like Wellington being destroyed by an earthquake or California being destroyed by a Cascadia fault tsunami that plunges the world into a depression, etc.

More likely we'll inflate ourselves out of this pickle.

Btw if you want to find out more about a Cascadia tsunami: Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA's Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, put it quite dramatically: "Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_5

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1700_Cascadia_earthquake

Lanth - Review Japan some 25 years ago, the Nikkei and property prices have barely recovered their prior levels, I accept that it may be different (it always is until it isn't) but the primary price drivers are supply/demand and availability of credit. To ignore the possibility even probability that these may change is unwise, you takes your choice and live with the results/consequences.

Difference: Demographics and Immigration

I said unlikely, not impossible. And it depends on your definition of 'crash'. I'm thinking greater than 20% price drop within 12 months as a crash.

If it dropped by 30% but took 10 years to do it, that's not a crash IMO.

However if other investments provide a better return in the future, money will move as has been the case with the exodus from Term Deposits.

Trying to convince people that a crash is impossible is irresponsible. They do happen, and have happened in similar countries. I'm not predicting it, but I certainly arrange my finances assuming that a crash is possible and that future gains in house prices are not guaranteed.

The big difference is that next time a financial crisis hits we will have little buffer in terms of cutting the OCR.

Satire?

"We aren't going to have a "crash" as such, potentially a small correction"

Given that you can see into the future - are you also a bitcoin billionaire? Because you must have known that it was going to explode in price also.

Or can you only tell what the future of the housing market in NZ is going to do in the future? What a special (but strangely limited to one specific area) gift you have :-p

Sam-s - house prices haven’t always increased in NZ. For example, they declined (by about 10%) after the GFC. They declined in real terms after the 70s boom, this decline was masked by high inflation. House prices also fell significantly during the 1930s depression. There have historically been big booms and busts in Auckland.

Exponential growth is non-linear. Therefore quoting history as 'always' is incorrect.

When the correction (between the eye-watering amounts of debt held, and the remaining planetary parts available) happens, the 'floor' may not be found before it all collapses. Last time (much smaller, and with much more planet remaining) they - just - staved it off with injections of debt. Won't work next time.

"First vaccinations have now begun in Mali in a phase III trial of a malaria vaccine developed at the University of Oxford. Known as R21/Matrix-M, it recently showed efficacy of 77% over 12 months in a phase IIb trial, and it is hoped that this phase III trial will help to lead to licensure of this malaria vaccine by 2023.

...The annual death toll from malaria is over 400,000, with most of these deaths amongst children in sub-Saharan Africa. There has been little improvement noted in the last 5 years despite the large amounts of funding allocated to bed nets, insecticide spraying and antimalarial drugs."
https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2021-05-07-promising-malaria-vaccine-enters-fi...

A lot of the Effective Altruism movement funnels money to bed nets as one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives (including some of my own donations via EANZ). Maybe in a year or two as evidence rolls in this will divert to vaccine funding - I'd certainly prefer this to the efforts to wipe out mosquito populations or widespread use of insecticide.

When somebody called Alex Yablon says "put it all on the credit card!", we all should listen....

It's very amusing to me that people think the way to protect themselves from inflation is to buy an ever increasing array of different artificially created digital tokens. The supply of individual digital currencies may be finite but the number of new currencies is being inflated constantly. It's a complete dichotomy but no one is talking about it.

I love the idea of a digital currency, when one is created I will adopt it. The judicious application of human intellect should tell people this is not that.

And when a solar flare knocks out all the power grids?

It's very amusing to me that people think the way to protect themselves from inflation is to buy an ever increasing array of different artificially created digital tokens.

I don't think you understand. If a digital currency has no meaningful use case, it's unlikely to survive in the long term. If you create a coin, it doesn't mean that coin shares the same properties, adoption, and network effect as say Bitcoin. Nothing has been diluted. In many ways, this is a pure expression of capitalism.

Yip. The majority of new coins are far far superior to bitcoin when it comes to properties and use-cases. Bitcoin only has first-mover advantage and that's it.

Absolutely terrible take.

Not really. Very few coins aim to do less than bitcoin does.

Why?

Bitcoin was first. Altcoins came later. Bitcoin's workings are not secret. Why the proliferation of altcoins if not to seek to improve upon the original?

> If you create a coin, it doesn't mean that coin shares the same properties, adoption, and network effect as say Bitcoin

Adoption and network effects are the result of first mover advantage. If your properties are somehow worse, that's very foolish, since you could just have copied bitcoin's properties and ended up exactly the same.

"Why the proliferation of altcoins if not to seek to improve upon the original?" Gold - how would you improve that?

By all the ways that fiat improved upon bullion as a form of payment?

Bitcoin is slow and expensive to transact, just like bullion.

Satoshi envisioned bitcoin as a peer to peer currency used for transactions on the internet. He never envisioned it as a "store of value" - that was invented later by people who discovered that bitcoin (at scale) wasn't capable of acting the way Satoshi envisioned.

The internet was slow and expensive when that came out. Lucky we didn't give up on that. One needs to think long term and not what is currently available. Technology will improve, issues will be solved.

Satoshi's vision can evolve over time. There is no need to limit Bitcoin to just payments when it can also be used as a store of value.

No currency - whether bitcoin, bank-deposit, gold, whatever - is a 'store of value'.

They are tokens which can only be redeemed IF THERE IS A STORE OF VALUE; a stock of resource, or a stock of energy to do the work.

Crypto fans go down the same rabbit-hole economists have already disappeared down.

How many analogues digital token types will we actually require? Presently the number I see used on a day-to-day basis as actual currencies is...uhh...approximately zero.

I'll leave others to argue about if BetaMax Coin or VHS Coin will be the prevailing standard until DVD Coin launches.

Bitcoin was first. Altcoins came later. Bitcoin's workings are not secret.

Spot on. And that's why we have Bitcoin Cash. But it's not an 'either / or'. If you want Bitcoin Cash, you can. But they are not direct substitutes.

If your properties are somehow worse, that's very foolish, since you could just have copied bitcoin's properties and ended up exactly the same.

Yes. But what is the point of replicating BTC? What would anyone hope to achieve?

Yip. The majority of new coins are far far superior to bitcoin when it comes to properties and use-cases. Bitcoin only has first-mover advantage and that's it.

That was a rather explicit troll about Bitcoin and crypto in general. Not even worth expressing really.

Your lack of research really shows mate....Dig deeper

Actually I have a VERY good understanding of the shortcomings of bitcoin, thanks.

Name one Lanth..dare you?

XRP.

Hahahaha. All questions answered. Thanks.

The only property of bitcoin that it has that is better than XRP is a more 'fair' way to distribute coins. That's it.

Every other property of bitcoin is inferior to XRP.

Note that "first mover advantage" is not a "property" of bitcoin, it's a property of when bitcoin was created.

It seems to me that the only coherent argument in favour of BTC is that the first-mover advantage is insurmountable. That could well be true. Why the pro-BTC line so often attempts logical contortions to assert its technological superiority (cf. altcoins), if not overall infallibility ... my guess it's a bitcoin bros community thing.

Note that "first mover advantage" is not a "property" of bitcoin, it's a property of when bitcoin was created.

The network effect related to BTC is not a 'property.' I don't mind trolling as long as its entertaining or clever. You can do better.

Network effect is that you want to use BTC because lots of people do. It would be equally true of any other crypto which had taken off. It's not a property of the token per se.

Compare the technical white papers of bitcoin and XRP and see which is technically superior.

The fact that bitcoin has a larger network effect than XRP has pretty much nothing to do with the fundamental technical merits of bitcoin with respect to XRP.

Or in fact, pretty much any other crypto at all, since as I said earlier, almost every newer coin is trying to improve on bitcoin.

Compare the technical white papers of bitcoin and XRP and see which is technically superior.

That all depends on what your technical benchmark is. Because XRP and Ethereum are 'programmable money' and BTC is not means that the former are arguably technically superior. But it's kind of meaningless.

Which is what I originally said and people wanted to debate with me for some reason:

Yip. The majority of new coins are far far superior to bitcoin when it comes to properties and use-cases. Bitcoin only has first-mover advantage and that's it.

I'm not saying that first-mover advantage (and the subsequent network effects it brings) isn't important. I'm saying that's Bitcoin's only advantage compared to the new coins. Specifically when compared to XRP, bitcoin also has an advantage in the fairness with which coins are distributed. But other coins like Ethereum use Bitcoin's same method of distribution, and Avalanche has a different approach again.

I'm not saying that first-mover advantage (and the subsequent network effects it brings) isn't important

You're all over the place which is why I assumed you were trolling. 'First mover' does not translate to 'Metcalfe's Law' or network effects. For ex, WorldWideWeb was the first internet browser. Google and Facebook are examples of the power of network effects. They're completely different things.

Except in this case it did. It was first, built the biggest network, and has retained it all along. What you may not have quite grokked is that for a long time bitcoin was the on-ramp for all other cryptos. If you wanted to buy another crypto, you had to buy bitcoin first. Thus ensuring there was always demand for bitcoin, despite the fact that many other coins have surpassed bitcoin for its original purpose (cheap, peer to peer transactions) years ago. That doesn't apply for WorldWideWeb (never heard of that browser, AFAIK the first was Lynx) or for Facebook vs MySpace - you weren't forced to sign up for a MySpace page before you could get a Facebook page, but you were (generally) forced to buy Bitcoin first if you wanted to own some other 'altcoin'.

Bitcoin no longer has the advantage of being the primary on-ramp for other coins. It's only remaining advantage is that it was the first mover and thus built a large network.

If a far more technically superior coin, such as Avalanche, had been first, Bitcoin wouldn't have got a look in.

Your argument is not making sense. You're saying that any other coin that is 'technically superior' than BTC would have greater market dominance had it been first. That's a spurious claim that cannot be proven. Nevertheless, there are are arguments that ETH may eventually secure greater market cap than BTC. But to me it's a pointless argument as BTC and ETH are essentially different.

Best not to get tribal about these things. The market will decide which one is of more value.

I'm not tribal, just observing the inevitability of bitcoin's slide to ~$0 because it doesn't actually solve any problems better than other coins can.

First strike at bitcoin as a useful entity: https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1392602041025843203/photo/1

https://xrpl.org/carbon-calculator.html

Your contribution to this little discussion, so far, is exactly nil.

Hahahaha.

So being able to send value across the world in a matter of seconds at barely a fraction of the cost of banks is a meaningless use case to you?

At this stage in the overshotted-ness of debt/forward bets versus remaining underwrite, the phrase 'sending value' is misleading.

Not to mention your double-entendre mention of 'cost'. In what? That was a wee cracker; thanks.

Value still nominally exists. So long as people assign value to things, it is a real thing.

The value at some point may be re-priced to reality, causing many things to have much less, or no value, but until that time comes, transfer of value is still a useful activity to do.

I certainly don't understand it, I stated as much above. In fact the more I think about it the less I understand it.

Chuckle - just. keep going.

You'll get to know more and more about less and less, until you know everything about F-all.

At which point you are either an Academic, or an expert.
Or you become a spin-doctor like Lomborg.