What You Need to Know About Cryptocurrency

In the summer of 2017, the cryptocurrency craze lit up with the fervor of a toddler in a candy shop. I was working as the Chief Information Officer of a small tech startup, serving our national security and intelligence community. A young software engineer, and cryptocurrency enthusiast, sought my advice. Who amongst indebted college students would not be enticed by the prospect of easy money?

In a mentorship role, I saw it as an opportunity to teach a young engineer methods of innovation. I told him to go research the history of currency, particularly focusing on counterfeiting, inflation, deflation, minting, exchange rates, money supply, loans, and barter.

He came back the next day with an enthusiastic smile. He said he looked at these things but did not see what they have to do with cryptocurrency. Because he is a brilliant person, I fault the institutionalist visions of modern professors (defined in the book Economic Sovereignty). He said that cryptocurrency solves the problem of counterfeiting and it is secure by design so hacking is not a concern. The rest of the concepts he thought were obviated by the design of cryptocurrency.

At that point I unloaded my assessment of the status of cryptocurrency in June of 2017.

I stated the practical utilities of cryptocurrency superior to the dollar:

  • Money laundering
  • Tax evasion
  • Black market exchange of drugs and illicit goods and services
  • Evasion of international sanctions
  • Avoiding central bank financial repression, in part
  • Transaction costs are often less expensive and always faster than check, credit card, ACH, and wire transfer
  • The cost of holding cryptocurrency, inflation, is typically lower than the historical inflation of the US money supply

The practical utilities of the dollar superior to cryptocurrency include:

  • Consumer protection
  • Loss, fraud, theft, and counterfeit protection
  • Universal status as legal tender for payment
  • Established systems of tracking and reporting yield economic data that is critical to governments, investors, and businesses
  • A government has guns backing its legal tender, and an interest in its stability. A stroke of the pen can stifle cryptocurrency transactions in one moment, at a much higher risk than legal tender.

Of course these benefits are from the perspective of a person who would choose to use one currency over another. To law-abiding citizens, making crimes easier is not beneficial. Although the list is not exhaustive, it’s what I could mention off the top of my head while considering the problem for the first time. My question to the young engineer, following these considerations:

“What do you know about cryptocurrency that professional investors do not? Do you believe that changing conditions in the world would make the practical utilities of cryptocurrency more attractive than legal tender?”

The answer was no. So my conclusion was that cryptocurrency in the summer of 2017 was the definition of a speculative bubble, ready to crash. I was correct:

Transaction volume imports capital into a currency. Only speculation and hype drove cryptocurrency transaction volume during that short-lived boom.

Believe it or not, when I advised a professor about treating cryptocurrency as they would a game of poker, they insulted me. I said that professional investors who I knew were only willing to risk 3% of their portfolio in crypto. The arrogant ingrate said, “Now I know you have no clue what you’re talking about – there’s no such thing as a professional investor.”

To which I replied: “If you ever become a legitimate entrepreneur, you’ll discover a party called an accredited investor. Beyond those people, there are firms that manage immense assets for very wealthy entities, or huge volumes of less wealthy entities. Those are professional investors. They’ve got a lot more at risk than you do as a single human being of humble means. So they employ talented people and algorithms to understand the markets much better than any amateur.”

The proud professor skulked away into the shadows as rapidly as the interbellum democratic socialists of Britain and France whose disarmament and pacifist policies rolled out Adolph Hitler’s red carpet to blitzkrieg. We should never underestimate the strength of confirmation bias, and the chasm between academia and the real world.

As for my young software engineer, it was a joy to give a lesson in innovation to such a hopeful young professional. In STEM programs, most educators cram so much technical knowledge into the heads of their students, they often neglect the kind of eternal knowledge that Alvarism curates.

Technology is just a tool, currency included. No matter how sophisticated, if the designers of a technology failed to accurately assess the eternal concepts and constraints related to the problem they approach, then their tool will be insufficient and even detrimental. It’s the temptation of young STEM professionals to dream up tools searching for a problem. That is precisely the mentality that will prevent them from becoming supreme innovators. I do believe that my young software engineer learned a valuable lesson in just two conversations. Even for those who are not engineers, they benefit from juxtaposing currency “tools” to each other, in order to make market decisions.

As for those who listened to Alvarism on cryptocurrency, they invested more wisely than the masses of neophilic dreamers who created the crypto bubble of 2017 to begin with. The utilities of cryptocurrency are attractive, particularly for banking and financial institutions who wish to develop the technologies wisely, integrating with their existing technical infrastructure. A solid cooperation between financial institutions, governments, and academia could yield the next generation of currency, with greater efficiency. With that in mind, we will keep an eye on the progress of cryptocurrency.

On the other hand, the recent crypto craze is a lesson in humility for the overzealous prospectors who got burned, and even for the lucky few who sold for profit at the right time. Taking the optimal action in complex business affairs is an art that requires a great deal of experience, analytical skill, emotional intelligence, and focused devotion. A risky investment like cryptocurrency in 2017 is a complex business affair. Caveat emptor.

American vs. Russian Electoral Subversion – USA Wins

With the raging circus of Russian electoral subversion, how many stopped to consider the nine major methods used by Americans to steal elections from domestic opponents? Is it less egregious for a group of US citizens to steal an election than foreign influence operators? As this article will show, Russians cannot hold a candle to the success that Americans have at stealing elections from each other. The oath of allegiance requires us to defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The Russian electoral subversion witch hunters seem to have forgotten about that last part, or else they’re not wise enough to comprehend the enormity of the nine methods of domestic electoral subversion.

Recognizing the ground truth of the anemic Russian influence operation, and also the much greater issue of domestic electoral subversion, Alvarism ignored the Mueller investigation, fanned by Trump’s enemies. Trolls benefit from all participation – whether we validate or repudiate them. It’s best to just starve them. Now that the investigation has failed to prove Trump guilty, the demagogues have shown themselves to be the true enemies of democracy:

May I remind the demagogues that democracy does not begin and end with the voting process? There’s this thing that comes afterwards called governance. Accurate and relevant information shared between citizens is crucial for civilized democracy, no matter who wins at the polls. For those who asked in private, we explained: yes Russia continuously interferes with US civics. Look up aktivniyye meropriyatiya. US civics does not begin and end with elected officials; education, entertainment, journalism, religion, nonprofits, and corporate organizational power impact public opinion and civic action far more than the podium puppets who ultimately ride the wave of culture into office.

Corporate executives, public school teachers, professors, musicians, Hollywood actors and studios, and nonprofits have been the most subversive willing accomplices, far beyond polticians. Using US environmentalists to get America out of the way of Gazprom is just one of dozens of influence ops. Russian reflexive control does not work like an Inspector Gadget plot. A real Russian plot would go something like this:

  • Select the foreign candidate they believe will:
    • Create the most chaos domestically in the US
    • Be the least effective at enticing Russia’s allies
    • Give Russia’s competitors the weakest support (in conjunction with Russia’s Eurasianist designs on the EU)
  • Conduct influence operations to assist their favored candidate
  • Bolster a third-party candidate like Jill Stein to siphon enough democratic votes in key precincts to bend the electoral college towards their favored candidate
  • Once their favored candidate wins, spread disinformation to create a gigantic distraction and demoralize the US voter (Mueller probe). Reflexive control indicates that the sore losers will take every ounce of bait, and run with it.
  • Notice in this trajectory, no “collusion” between Trump and Russia is necessary. Unfortunately for Russia, their buffoons did not even select the candidate most beneficial to their interests. They neglected Trump and Pence’s aggressive security entourage, the business savvy of their associates, the patriotism of their associates, and Trump’s negotiating skill in an era of hostile global trade. Clinton’s proposals would have:

    1. Accelerated the debt to a greater degree
    2. Weakened military deterrence via supplanting conventional military action with clandestine action as she did with Benghazi and Syria, to placate her pacifist voters
    3. Kowtowed to foreign interests that weaken the US position in the name of “cooperation”
    4. Increased regulatory burdens
    5. Diverted funds to inefficient programs

    This must be a heinous revelation to Mother Russia. Their ethnocentric presumptions are hierarchical and aristocratic, which fooled them into thinking that Hillary Clinton was the greater threat because of her membership in the US sociopolitical aristocracy.

    In the Russian mind, self-educated men like Abraham Lincoln, and real estate entertainment moguls like Trump don’t fit the model of civic greatness like those who spent their lives licking the boots of institutional power. How many Russian Abraham Lincolns have they buried in the grave as they empowered ice-blood kleptocrats like Putin? I’d estimate at least a few thousand in holodomor alone.

    On the other hand, the Russian 2016 influence op was not a total loss for Kremlin miscreants. With the Trump collusion fiction, Russian reflexive control induced Democrats and “NeverTrumper” Republicans to dominate American civics with waste and distraction – a major goal of disinformation. While the sorest losers in US electoral history (excluding the confederates) indulged in their anxious fantasy of Trump-Russian collusion:

We could generate a list of serious events ten times as long, obscured by the firehose blast of “Russian collusion” every time we turned on the news.

Unsurprisingly, our news agencies and elected officials make poor intelligence agents. If they had knowledge of influence ops, they would have been investigating their neighbors instead of alcoholics in ushanka hats, halfway across the globe. There are unabated existential threats to American electoral integrity:

  1. Voter fraud
  2. Gerrymandering
  3. Subverting the electoral college – many states have already eliminted democratic republic representation via interstate compact, and states have eroded reprsentation for citizens by counting non-citizens
  4. Attempts to flood the polls with aliens
  5. Mindless “get out the vote” campaigns that treat voting as a virtue instead of a responsibility
  6. Dark money allowing foreign and anonymous donors to buy elections
  7. Micro-donations scamming
  8. Foreign financing of US candidates via internet solicitation and banking loopholes (CVV)
  9. Domestic tech disparity

The last three require special attention. Imagine for a moment that Trump had secured the top technologists from Apple, Google, Facebook, and DreamWorks, who leveraged their transnational corporate influence and power to build Trump campaigning tools that dwarfed Hillary Clinton’s tools. Would that tech disparity lead to an unfair election and conflicts of interest between the tech sector and executive branch of the US government for years to come? While Trump enjoyed no such tech-sector sycophancy, that is precisely what Obama did.

Obama also refused to voluntarily report his micro-donations (under $200), which comprised between 33-50% of his financing, depending upon the FEC report cited. In a farce, the DNC claimed that they had “three-million grassroots” donors. By grassroots, they must mean utilizing invasive technology concocted by the global leaders of software, in an international campaign that solicited foreign donors indiscriminately? How many of those three-million micro-donors were flesh-and-blood American citizens? How many were foreigners? How many were robots using foreign, NGO, hedge fund, and corporate dollars channeled through the CVV loophole?

The CVV is the three digit verification code on the back of a credit card. When questioned as to why the Obama campaign would choose to pay banks an additional $7.5M to dispose of CVV credit card requirements for donations, and reject geolocation verification, the response was, “we have internal checks to ensure the donations are legal.”

See how long your CEO keeps his job when he says, “we’ll pay our vendor $7.5M more than we need to, and we’ll add to that unnecessary cost, our own expensive project to replicate what the banks already do better than us.” In other words, they’re liars who knew they were raking in millions of illicit dollars through internet donations, and the $7.5M price tag to hide their fraud was worth the cost.

Lastly, why was Robert Roche, Obama’s China-business bundler never investigated? Were the conflicts of interest between Roche, China, and Obama overshadowed by green energy sector manufacturing plans? Robert Roche was as suspicious in the Obama campaign as any of the players in the Trump-Russia collusion fiction.

The details of tech disparity, CVV scams, micro-donations, and Robert Roche are available in this report by the Government Accountability Institute.

Russia, like the United States, attempts to influence foreign political leadership. Unfortunately for Trump’s enemies, they have confused real world espionage with James Bond movies. Alongside their delusional witch hunt, they have perpetrated their own domestic scams by which they reduce electoral integrity to steal elections. Abigail Williams would be proud of how they accuse others of the things of which they themselves are the most guilty.

We can continue to live in The Crucible of polarization, disinformation, and witch hunts, or we can adopt the electoral reforms proposed in chapter 4.2 of Economic Sovereignty. Plato warned his people of tyrannical democracy (ochlocracy) thousands of years ago. The US constitution erected checks and balances between judicial, executive, and legislative tyranny. It did not conceive of a future where ochlocracy would be possible, due to property-ownership and literacy acting often as voter qualification. While those qualifiers would lead to improper disenfranchisement, there are wiser methods in the modern day.

In the book Economic Sovereignty, Alvarism proposed a simple reform that would finally curb ochlocracy, which is The Crucible of corruption that democracies across the globe face in the modern day. With that one reform, all of these nine methods of electoral subversion would be eliminated. Elegant solutions to complex problems are simple. We require Alvarism’s reform to bring this entire system of manipulation and fraud to its knees.

Of course we can continue to fantasize about drunkards in ushanka hats, halfway across the globe. It would be the favored activity in a United States of Entertainment. A proud United States of America has nobler plans for its future.

SOTU Viewership 1993 to 2018: Trump Beats Obama, 2008 Baffles the Erudite

On January 30, 2018, President Donald J. Trump delivers his first State of the Union Address

Trump’s detractors want to present his SOTU viewership statistics in a way that deflates his influence. Trump’s enthusiasts want to present the numbers in a way that aggrandizes his influence. Alvarism just wants to know the truth in order to best advise our office holders. No other analyst to our knowledge adjusted for population growth or added digital viewers. The result of our analysis shows that nothing much has changed in nearly 30 years except for how viewers choose to watch the speech. When digital viewer projections are added to the numbers, Trump has beaten Obama’s equivalently-phased viewership by about 11% in 2017 and 2018:

The implication? Whether you love or hate Trump, curb your enthusiasm – the trend shows nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps the most alarming thing about this chart is that the Islamist terror attacks of 9/11, dot-com bust, and Iraq War gave crescendo to Bush’s 2003 record engagement, but the housing bust didn’t bump viewership in 2008 to the highest point on this chart. In fact, 2008 was the lowest viewership except for Clinton’s last year in office. It seems as though the long-term and egregious impact of the housing bust was never appreciated and remains obfuscated.

The point about the housing bust is critical. People are apt to tune in when they are either concerned or enthused; therefore, using SOTU viewership as a gauge of Presidential approval is fairly banal. The amount of grand concern over the housing bust should have shot 2008 viewership through the ceiling. Meanwhile some claim Obama’s 2009 reception was “historic” when in fact, it doesn’t even rise to the engagement in 2003 because of the Iraq War, and when Trump has exceeded him by eleven percent.

I’m personally not a fan of modern political speeches, even delivered by politicians that I favor. Carefully constructed emotive content, exploitation of poster children, propaganda techniques, fallacies, and fact-challenged assertions combine into an onslaught of insults against our intelligence and virtues. There’s not some grand conspiracy, it’s just that these techniques have proven to be effective, so all parties hire speechwriters who use them. This modern reality seems to turn Edward Bernays’ Propaganda, Walter Lippmann’s Public Opinion, and Bertrand Russell’s The Impact of Science on Society into prophecy.

On the other hand, what I am incredibly interested in, is how effective political teams are at constructing public relations (PR), including speeches. Business PR is not so different from political PR. Businesses are responding to market demands, and engaging buyers. Politicians are responding to civic demands, and engaging voters. The market of American civics is massively diverse. There are so many caucuses, nonprofits, third-parties, and thousands of lobbyists moving policy and ideology in the USA, that party-line devotees to the Democrats or Republicans are often disillusioned by legislation and agency actions that don’t seem “pure” to the party-line. If one politician could achieve everything they intend within our system of checks-and-balances, then our government might look more like a pantheon of warring pagan gods than a Republic with compromise and deference.

The current state of the union tradition was created for mass media broadcast over radio and terrestrial television. For most of our history, it was simply a written report. In the information age, the Constitution’s intent should be fulfilled with modern tools. A stream of well-curated reports and data should be given to congress from the President on a quarterly basis. The President should open his engagement to formal exchanges between party and caucus leaders, and the American public should tune in to those proceedings, rather than emotive speeches decorated by a circus environment of phrase-by-phrase congressional adulation-clapping and protestation-sitting. The Constitutional intent was to create understanding and synergy between the Executive and Legislative branches of our government. It remains unclear how that goal is achieved by foisting 20th century mass media artifacts, mass psychology tactics, and emotive manipulation upon the electorate.

If this widespread distortion of the SOTU historical ratings are indicative – very few Americans are aware of the facts and concepts presented here.

Some sources used in this analysis:

Nielsen ratings: www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2018/viewers-watch-president-trump-s-state-of-the-union-2018.html

Age demographics: https://www.marketingcharts.com/featured-30401

Streaming TV Trends: https://www.emarketer.com/Article/First-Time-More-Than-Half-of-Americans-Will-Watch-Streaming-TV/1013543

Streaming TV and Age Demographics: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/09/13/about-6-in-10-young-adults-in-u-s-primarily-use-online-streaming-to-watch-tv/

Traditional TV Trends: https://www.marketingcharts.com/featured-24817

A Eulogy for Gregory Tong

His pen was an extension of his zealous and insatiable mind, that never stopped scrawling. That’s how I’ll remember my dear friend Gregory Tong. He had many passions in life, but it was his passion for civics that brought us together. We met at one of my public briefings on the Alvarian Cultural Framework. He attended three in total, and we spent many months exchanging thoughts on these deep topics. I was enamored by his perceptive insights and serene persona. He was constantly enthused, with a joyous smile that was never overstated, but never seemed to leave his face.

That grace is an uncommon feature in today’s society. We were kindred spirits in that regard, sharing the same virtues and values, so connection was very easy. He was not fond of television. He did not even own one until he was married, and he got rid of it when his beloved spouse passed on from cancer in 2008. He said that it brought mind-poison into his home – another sentiment that we shared. No wonder life was so magical to him, shielded from the cultural cacophony of nutty Californian scriptwriters. But not everything in California was anathema to Greg. He attended a magnet school for the gifted, and proceeded to Carnegie-Mellon at the beginning of his path in life as a polymath.

He housed those varied talents and skills within a five-foot-eight, thin Cantonese frame. His jet black hair never dangled passed his slightly-too-large wire rimmed glasses. He looked like a blend between Ho Chi Minh and Chiang Kai-shek, but his valorous and deep Christian goodness set him on the other side of the universe from those men in every other way. Greg ate heartily, loved herbal tea, but never drank alcohol or coffee. He tended to blend in, with a natural eccentricity in his persona that was only perceptible face-to-face. Indifferent to fashion, he wore the same blue or white plain long sleeve shirts with left side breast pockets housing two mechanical pencils. He wore black or navy casual pants, black Florsheim-type shoes, and a stainless steel wrist watch. His car was frugal as well, a grey Toyota commuter sedan. With such a vivid mind, there was no need for frivolous embellishments. He knew much about the Bible, Christianity, history, political science, education, business management, engineering, land use, water purification, food production, software systems, and nature.

Versatile knowledge and civics were not Greg’s only passion. Mayuree Tong, also known as “honeybun,” was the love of his life, and wife of twenty years. He talked about her every time we met, with joy and love leaping from his face whenever he spoke her name, and how they would someday be reunited in God’s presence. They lost their first child to a miscarriage, and Mayuree couldn’t have kids thereafter. They felt as if God had designed each for the other, and they grew closer to God through each other.

I know that Greg was an amazing husband, and a pleasure to live with, because he had mastered the seven virtues. People with his moral goodness are rare, and it certainly came out during a few intellectual arguments. As a doubting-Thomas, true to my namesake, seeing is believing. Contrarily, Greg thought about grand events and tectonic shifts in humankind. His ideas were fascinating, and despite our differences, his civility and virtue in every exchange was inspiring.

His congregation at McLean Bible Church described him as mild-mannered, quiet, thoughtful, and studious, with a Godly heart. Rob Thomson’s church group was a blessing to Greg after he lost Mayuree in 2008. The Wallwork family – Carol, Jim, Claire, and Molly – were dear to Greg and we shared some fond memories in their home. Any family would be proud to call him son, brother, or nephew. There was not an ounce of pettiness in his spirit, and much nobility.

When I see a person scrawling notes in the front row of a briefing, I’ll think of Greg, although I don’t think I’ll ever find his type of grace and zeal in that note-taking intellectual. Greg showed me the endurance of America’s forefathers across cultures, with his living example of Benjamin Franklin’s Way to Wealth, and embodiment of traditional American and Christian culture. I will miss the rare combination of gentleness, confidence, and zeal in his voice, which reminded me of my grandfather. He did great things for America with his talents, and humanity has lost one of its precious gifts this year, but heaven and Mayuree are much richer. I’m happy for them, and I’m grateful to have known Greg.

Don’t Miss the Income Inequality Myth Video

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A new animated video by Alvarism explains the complex topic of income distribution with simple terms in less than seven minutes.  This knowledge is incredibly important because falsehoods about income distribution are currently driving deleterious tax policies.  Even worse, some of the most powerful and influential people in the world believe the income inequality myth. The video corresponds to section 3.2 of the book Economic Sovereignty: Prosperity in a Free Society, and a public briefing on the topic delivered by Alvarism in the U.S. Senate on May 4th, 2015.

Happy viewing!

In the video:

  1. The five statistical errors that fooled people into believing the income inequality myth:
    1. Cost of living and purchase power parity
    2. Part-time labor and full-time equivalents
    3. Counting all taxes
    4. Counting all welfare
    5. Households vs. Earners
  2. Common misconceptions:
    1. Income is not wealth.  Wealth is surplus.  Income is the only pathway to wealth a poor person has.
    2. Income distribution statistics only capture yearly snapshots of lifelong careers.  Most people will earn high income for a few years at some point in their careers.
  3. Good inequality:
    1. Matches income to age, experience, and productivity
    2. Matches income to industrial and career value for its free-market worth to society

Cast of Characters in Economic Sovereignty

All of the people or entities quoted in Economic Sovereignty are depicted below, in loose order of their historically notable events or births. Can you identify all of them by memory? Is there anyone you can’t quite put your finger on? Ask about specific people and let us know how many you can identify in the comments below!


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