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Moneyalchemist

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About Moneyalchemist

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  1. This seems to be a global phenomenon for life in any developed country. I move about between UK (SE, inside M25) and Germany (SW near Swiss border) and NZ (Wellington area). Some observations: SE-UK - Completely unaffordable house prices, moderately expensive food, high property taxes. Germany, fairly cheap and abundant housing built to a high standard - even the old stuff, very low property taxes, much cheaper food with a wide choice. NZ - Houses half of SE-UK cost (Outside of Auckland) - but flimsy build mostly - OK for the mild climate though, expensive food with limited choice outside of main cities, property taxes similar to UK. I get the impression that the UK is developing into a kind of three-class area, with London and its environs having ever unaffordable houses and were the well-paid jobs are, a ring of retired places on the coasts and the rest is a kind of service area for the centre - reminds me of Palo Alto in Silicon Valley - once took a wrong turn to East Palo Alto, just the other side of the highway and I was in an area of shacks, burning cars and dodgy-looking people - who make up the cleaners and carers of West Palo Alto with its multi=million dollar houses. Unless a major shift happens then that seems to be the future of the UK.
  2. Yes I agree but HMRC do not really know what to make of BTC at the moment - and I guess that there may have to be a test case in court where they are challenged by a BTC trader in the UK to really see if such trade id VAT chargeable - afrer all such exchanges will reach 79K T/O in a matter of weeks. Forcing them to charge VAT will merely move all UK exchanges to more favourable climes such as Germany.
  3. Great, informative thread. Last night I was at a London Bitcoin Meetup in the City - 125 attendees, great enthusiasm and good presentations. see them starting with the first: http://www.iamsatoshi.com/bitcoin-focus-framing-the-debate/ Someone reckoned there was a net worth of tens of millions of GBP in BTC in the room -particularly at today's $892 unit price. Key discussions afterwards focused on the resilience of BTC - the fact that it has such a level of difficulty now and such a network effect that no alt coin can get anywhere near that robustness - no individual entity has the hashing power to fork the chain now - unlike the alt coins. There was also a good legal discussion about how HMRC sees BTC (A single purpose voucher) - therefore subject to VAT (a game changer if this was to be enforced). There was also a mention of the risk of a Government attempting to enforce a BTC validation scheme where traders can only deal with a "white-list" of known safe wallet addresses - but with so many miners in Russia and China I very much doubt such a thing is workable. My feeling now is that the BTC ecosystem is more robust than ever - the increasing prices serve to test the resilience of that ecosystem - and the climbing price merely confirms that not much seems to stand in the way of further consistent rises. The next few weeks, months are going to be very interesting in the never-ending saga of BTC.
  4. It could be that we may now be approaching the vertical of the s-curve in BTC. Take a look at the following site: http://fiatleak.com/ There seems to be a gradual but ever-increasing leak from the shaky, QE-addled fiat currencies into what is perceived (certainly by those who have made the effort - took me months and I'm an IT guy - ) to be a stable store of value if not yet a viable means of payment transfers. If the leak turns into a river and then a tsunami - then the prediction of Max Kaiser et al of 1 BTC=$US 1M may not be so far off. I guess if every HPCer put a few hundred GBP into BTC then they may all soon buy over-priced houses and HPC will have served its purpose.
  5. Hmm - in 1994 It suddenly dawned upon me that this Internet thingy was going to get mega big - I was really wowed by the global instant communication nature of it. So I became probably the first person in the UK to start giving seminars to business leaders with the slogan "If your company isn't on the Internet by 2000 it may now exist much beyond then" I was subsequently invited to give a talk to the CBI about the future of the commercial Internet and I emphasised its function as a means of handling money ... Fast forward 30 years later - I had a similar Wow experience about Bitcoin early this year and bought a few (my best investment ever to date). Looking at it in this perspective the current price of US$ 373 is still insignificant compared to where it might be in the next few months - years. This is one investment with limited downside risk and almost unlimited upside potential. In today's Torygraph Liam Halligan wrote "Dismiss Bitcoin as a speculative craze if you want to. I view it, for all its faults, as the genesis of an extremely important and far-reaching financial innovation."
  6. Bitcoin was introduced in 2009 and subsequently spawned a bunch of copycat crypto-currencies, most of which have died off due to lack of network nodes to maintain them. There is now really only Litecoin (LTC) which still appears to be viable and has been likened to silver as opposed to Bitcoin's gold. Bitcoin has an early adoption advantage and is rapidly gaining critical mass and my feeling is that is is far more robust than any of the pretenders. I knew about bitcoin for a while last year and ignored it as it seemed to be a geek toy - however when I began to look into it seriously in January it took me around a month to really get my head around it and then it dawned on my that it really is in all probability a singularity - something really unique which fulfills an existing need better than any of the alternatives. I bought a few BTC in February and had an idea that they'd be worth five times the value by year end - but then they started to take off and are now worth five times what I paid for them. After reading lots of forums on bitcoin I now reckon that come year end I would not be surprised if they'll be worth either £1000 -£10000 each or £0. It seems to me that those who really take the trouble and make the effort to understand these things either get it and are overtaken with the potential immensity of these things or just dismiss them as being an impossible and impractical concept. I concur with Traktion that neither Karl Denninger nor Bill Still have any real idea as to what bitcoins are about - but time will tell one way or another.
  7. I bought a few a month ago - the price has more than doubled since then - I looked into it first and I´m holding. See:
  8. I can anecdotally confirm the price rises in Germany. I bought a flat in SW of the country in 2006 and sold it in October 2011 for 43% more in Euros, 100% more if you calculate in Sterling.
  9. I'll second that. It`s certainly coming - on the democracy front see: http://realdirectdemocracynow.blogspot.co.uk/
  10. Great and insightful post about the people. I lived in Vancouver a while back - a great city, wonderful scenery etc - but "The people are just so...frightened of telling the truth" Makes for a boring place in the long run. When I was there it reminded me of the movie "Casablanca" - a place full of recent immigrants from everywhere looking longingly over the US border - to a place they longed to live in but were disallowed through crazy immigration laws.
  11. UK Property taxes (Council Tax) are by far the highest in the world. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/297eaefe-606d-11db-a716-0000779e2340.html#axzz1q79pVYh0 The link above is 6 years' old but I saw a recent article somewhere which said much the same thing. When I lived in Germany and owned a property I paid about 100 euro a year in property taxes (Grundsteuer). Council Tax seems to me to largely a rip-off, and bodies such as the Taxpayers' alliance seem to be toothless to do anything about it.
  12. "Taking all debt together, private, public and financial sector, Britain (top orange line) is the most indebted nation in the world, far exceeding the eurozone countries now in so much trouble." http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jeremywarner/100010956/britains-deleveraging-nightmare-threatens-its-triple-a-rating/ Once deleveraging starts in earnest asset values will need to be broat down .. HPC here we come!
  13. "There have been experimental reactors fueled by thorium, there will be more, but large scale, commercially viable reactors? In less than ten years? No chance. Bombs, again: Thorium “can’t be used to make an atomic bomb” Thorium “can't be used for making bombs” “You CAN'T make bombs from thorium reactor fuels or wastes” Wrong. We have made bombs from thorium. The delightfully named Operation Teapot MET in 1955 was the first, I've seen it claimed that there were several more. The material used in these bombs is uranium-233, a different isotope to the U-235 that's generally used. U-233 is frighteningly trivial to make from thorium nuclear fuel. It's also trivial to separate using chemical methods with no need for the huge cascades of centrifuges that the Iranians are having Stuxnet-related problems with. Ease of production and ease of separation make controlling the proliferation of nuclear bombs from thorium into a bit of a bugger. Thorium-based bombs do have one nasty disadvantage that's stopped super-powers from deploying them – the U-233 decays into materials that kick out really nasty gamma rays. Standard military-grade Cold War nuclear bombs will happily sit on a shelf for decades without a best-before date. Seriously, all US bombs out there are at least twenty years old and they've expected to work first time, guaranteed, or your money back. They're also safe to handle because they put out very little radiation, your biggest worry would be dropping one on your foot. Thorium-based bombs won't do that. You wouldn't want to be standing next to them, you wouldn't want complicated electronics near them, you'd want to use them fairly quickly, but they are still nuclear ******ing weapons. If you're some tin-pot dictator who's down on his luck and is convinced he's got his back to a wall, then these will do in a pinch, where “do” means you get to burn whole cities to the ground. Personally, I think that's a bad thing. The chances of making thorium reactors cheap, safe and reliable – weird materials: What's top of the list of thorium reactor designs? The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. I used to be a materials scientist. I've worked with assorted nasty chemicals, especially when we were trying to stain stainless steel. Boiling mixed acids? Piece of cake. The only stuff that scared us was anything with fluorine in it. So, what coolant do Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors plan to use? Liquid ******ing fluoride salts. What's the number one cause of coolant leaks? Corrosion. What's really ******ing corrosive? Liquid ******ing fluoride salts. If you're working with pipes full of really evil stuff, what metal do you make the pipes out of? If bog-standard stainless steel won't do the job, you go for fancier stainless steels. If they won't do the job, you go for one of the Hastelloys. If you're dumb enough to mess around with hot fluorine salts, then your main choice is Hastelloy N. Oh, and on top of the corrosion is the radiation flux and the high temperature, which all tend to act synergistically to give you demon-possessed corrosion. And if it leaks, then any contact between the fluoride salds with moisture means you've got hydrofluoric acid, which is nasty enough to eat through glass. Yes, we've made a molten-salt reactors before using fluoride salts and yes, the corrosion was reported as negligible. However, negligible for five years isn't a very high standard. The UK's Magnox reactors worked just fine for six, before anyone noticed the breakaway corrosion that no-one had predicted. We want these reactors to run without problem for decades, so we need to know that they will not be affected by corrosion, or all the factors that can complicate corrosion, such as erosion-corrosion at bends in pipes, corrosion at welds, corrosion near welds, crevice corrosion, corrosion at junctions with dissimilar materials, corrosion under massive neutron fluxes, and corrosion due to the complicated mixture of elements that are generated by all the nuclear reactions in the fuel." http://happyinmotion.livejournal.com/271934.html
  14. Thorium is NOT the answer, it's really messy stuff to deal with: http://happyinmotion.livejournal.com/271177.html
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