Ironies, Training A Poker Player And The Bitcoin

Busy week to be topped off with a bunch of ironies on Friday that started in the toilet for me.

I get a kick from reading the entries in my son’s Facebook account (usually in the toilet), with his blessings, because he hardly uses it. He says he prefers his privacy.

Like Retired Trader says, Facebook has become a personal branding channel. And he is right.

I noticed some of my son’s friends more active than usual since the start of the school year. Yes. Errr, for reasons perhaps not that innocent ?

The kids who got into the premium schools have been on a rampage, subtly and unsubtly hinting at their achievements.

From blatant posts of selfies in their new uniforms to hint-hints, “i am finally a Rafflesian”,  I almost feel sorry for the poor Queenstown and Clementi secondary school kids who have been reduced to a humiliating silence.

Pity my son ungraciously declined to humour me by posting a “Take me down to the Queenstown city, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty….” status update.

Better than some other postings Retired Trader told me about from little kids announcing to the world that they managed to convince their fathers to buy a hybrid luxury car (worth over 300 grand) because they support the green movement. And their fathers, alike, proclaiming charity on Facebook by going skiing in Japan instead of the US because they want to donate the difference to a charitable cause.

Is there a really a need for all that ?

Or a lady in Asia Square on Friday, as i was informed, who cut the queue for coffee but said grace before she drank. Unnecessary ?

And so my son refused to be cajoled into posting on a neighbourhood school when another of his former classmate announces his wealth by posting a photo of his new (international school) handbook without naming the place.

Have I been unconsciously training him to be a poker player or, Heaven’s forbid, a trader ?

Yet the biggest irony under our noses so far, is the Bitcoin (closing price USD992 on Friday), turning out to be far from a debacle and spawning a host of copycats that regulators are at quite a loss on managing. China has banned it in more than one way. Thailand has banned it. Singapore’s MAS just issued another statement on 10 Jan that they will be closely monitoring virtual currencies, including the Bitcoin.

“Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) — The Monetary Authority of Singapore may step up regulations to curb money laundering and terrorism financing risks posed by remittance agents, money changers and some Internet-based payment systems.
Controls on pawnbrokers and corporate service providers such as lawyers and accountants can also be improved, according to a government risk study released today. Singapore authorities are closely monitoring virtual currencies such as Bitcoins that may be used for illegal activities and will consider regulation if needed, according to the report.”

We have the Namecoin, Litecoin, Peercoin etc.

There is no way to counter the Bitcoin (Virgin – Richard Branson has started to accept it even when Alibaba has stopped) unless it becomes globally illegal. Even then, there is no way of regulating its use as a means of exchange on the internet for goods and services. As long as there is someone willing to accept the “coin” as payment, Bitcoin will always have a use.

Ironically, what started out as a alternative to fiat currencies has now become the perfect outlet for money laundering. Perfect in its total anonymity, only to be traced to a hard drive. Don’t try to mine the coin unless you have fail safe hardware.

As it turns out, a hedge fund friend was actively looking to acquire cheap mining hardware last month during the faux crash under USD500. So it does look like the “coin” and all the others are here to stay.

And the final irony, which I  read somewhere, is that perhaps its only hope of survival as global regulatory scrutiny mounts, is to subject to regulation which contradicts the primal spirit of the “coin”‘s creation in the first place.