What is Bitcoin Other than a $15,000 Beanie Baby?

Bitcoin is scarce. Right? That was the driving force behind another collectible that I recall.

TNABC Refuses Bitcoin

Let's compare the scarcity of Bitcoins to the scarcity of Beanie Babies.

First, please note that it costs so much and takes so long to process bitcoin transactions, that the The North American Bitcoin Conference Stops Accepting Bitcoin for payment.

Bitcoin settlement times and the fee market associated with transactions have become a hot topic these days as on-chain fees have risen to $30-60 per transaction. These issues have made it extremely difficult for businesses to operate, and many merchants have stopped accepting bitcoin for services and goods altogether. Just recently the tech giant Microsoft announced temporarily removing the “redeem bitcoin” button from the account services payment option. Now this week, due to the same related issues with the Bitcoin network, TNABC organizers have ceased accepting bitcoin payments for tickets.

“Due to network congestion and manual processing, we have closed ticket payments using Cryptocurrencies — Hopefully, next year there will be more unity in the community about scaling and global adoption becomes reality,” explains the TNABC ticketing page.

Artificial Scarcity

One of the often heard reasons for owning bitcoin is that it is a scarce resource.

Bitcoin is scarce in precisely the same way Beanie Babies were scarce.

In the late 1990s, Ty Warner, creator of the wildly popular Beanie Babies series of plush toys, had a 370,000-square-foot warehouse filled with his beloved collectible animals for kids. All told, the merchandise there represented “more than $100 million worth of product.”

Part of the reason for the incredible success of the Beanie Babies — which had sales of $1.4 billion in 1998, making Warner a billionaire in the process — is that Warner would retire specific animals at whim, creating scarcity in the market and inspiring collectors to pay up to $5,000 for a plush toy that originally retailed for $5.

People neglected other areas of their lives to spend all day trading, and some even invested their children’s college funds in toys that they believed would bring an astronomical return on investment.

It worked for a few. The rest were left with beans.

CryptoKitties Anyone?

This was my ending comment: "At best, some greater-fool believer spent $113,000 for a virtual beanie baby. Fraud or not, it's absurd."

Today I ask, what is Bitcoin itself other than a $15,000 Beanie Baby?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (30)
No. 1-30
Blacklisted
Blacklisted

Do you even know the differences between Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Tokens (businesses that utilize particular coins)? Will you stop with the FUD (fear, uncertainty, & doubt) when Amazon starts accepting cryptos? https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/01/amazon-buys-crypto-domains-bitcoin-ethereum.html.
Based on the declining number of comments, it would appear your readers know something you are not willing to acknowledge. Keep making ignorant comparisons like this and your credibility will be on par with establishment politicians.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

"

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

Blacklisted, Please enlighten us. What does one Own with Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Etherum other than an alleged "scarce" token. Take a crack at disputing this: https://www.themaven.net/mishtalk/economics/valuing-bitcoin-millennials-fake-gold-or-something-else-entirely-7Jmt_Xsn0kudyaWPpsyBqw
Start by explaining what it is people own other than a treading beanie baby.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

Amazon bought domain names - so *ing what?

formula57
formula57

The fear, uncertainty and doubt might be reduced when there is an active options market in bitcoins so we can see how many join Warren Buffet in buying our 5 year puts and how few are willing to write them. A question to ponder is who actually needs a Bitcoin? The same as those if any who actually needed a Beanie Baby?

MikeTrike
MikeTrike

Crypos have been bid up by illegal wash trading, printing of over a billion dollars worth of Tethers and millenial idiots.

MikeTrike
MikeTrike

In 3 years bitcoin will be obsolete and worthless, the majority of current cryptos will be worthless. Governments will have created their own cryptos and declared all others illegal. There will be a few cryptos floating around for criminals to use for trade with each other. Amazon and major online retailers will only accept government back cryptos, or will release their own government endorsed coins. Video cards will be almost worthless when they flood the second hand market. The crypto bubble has topped, all greater fools have already bought. Smart money is selling now to the remaining millennial dummies who continue to put money into this sector. The only hope for another melt up is to have another Asian market come onboard and keep the mania alive.

MarkBC
MarkBC

Mike, what would it take for Bitcoin (or other crypto-currencies) to move in your eyes from a speculative-bubble-nothing to an able-to-be-valued asset? Would a major government approving accepting a crypto-currency for payment of taxes do the trick? Anything else? The reason there is such a HODL'er movement attached to cryptos is that the majority of people putting money into cryptos up to now know that their promise has yet to be fulfilled, but is very doable. It is quite likely that a less knowledgeable wave of investors will follow who are just in it for speculation without understanding the power of blockchain, but that is only just starting. 2 years from now, I expect blockchain apps to be fully embedded in the economy, and some crypto-currency (maybe not Bitcoin) to be a major world currency alongside USD. What objective criteria would enable deciding that maybe cryptos aren't tulips?

Greggg
Greggg

If I pull the main breaker and cut off the power, my gold and silver are still there. Fricken amazing, ain't it?

MikeTrike
MikeTrike

Mark, in my previous post I already stated I think Governments will create their own cryptos and make the others illegal. Right now the speculators in cryptos are beta testing and eventually one will be proven to be the best. Look at Venezuela creating their own crypto currency. Why don't they just use one of the existing ones? Crypto-Ruble, Crypto-renminbi, Crypto-dollar, all will be coming in the future. None of them will be based on current blockchain technology which has proven to be horrible. 2 years from now I expect blockchain to be looked at as VHS tapes are looked at now. Crypto currencies are worth only what a greater fool will pay for them. When bitcoin goes below the cost of "mining", miners will stop mining btc, move onto something else and the network will collapse. Cryptos are the biggest ponzi, scam, bubble..etc in history. Do some research into how wash trading and Tether printing has helped fuel this bubble. Whole thing is a scam. Here is a link to get you started https://hackernoon.com/the-curious-tale-of-tethers-6b0031eead87

MikeTrike
MikeTrike

Here is the address to check for new Tether creation: http://omniexplorer.info/lookupadd.aspx?address=3MbYQMMmSkC3AgWkj9FMo5LsPTW1zBTwXL Remember each Tether is supposed to be backed by 1 USD in a bank. In December alone Bitfinex printed over $700 million USD in Tether out of thin air. They use these Tethers to manipulate the market and stay solvent. Do some research on wash trading as well. Whole thing is a scam.

MtnMan
MtnMan

I would say that bitcoin actually serves a purpose in the market where as Beanie babies did not serve any function at all. I you live in Venezuela and need to feed your family, then bitcoin can help you preserve some of your purchasing power before your Bolivars go to zero. It's also a convenient way to transfer money to anyone quickly although it's having some scaling and transaction cost issues. Try to wire money from Australia to the US, it can take days, versus maybe an hour with bitcoin. I'm not justifying it's value but it does actually provide utility to some users.

MishMash
MishMash

BTC is proof there is always another sucker; and there always will be even post Agenda 21.

MarkBC
MarkBC

Greggg, if you pull the main breaker and cut off the power, your Bitcoin is still there too. If the entire worldwide power grid is down permanently, neither bitcoin nor gold is going to matter much to the 99% that will die.

stillCJ
stillCJ

Editor

Ah yes, beanie babies. I remember 20 years ago people telling me they had beanie babies worth hundreds of dollars, each. I always told them the same thing: "sell them - quick!" and I always got the same reply "no, they're going higher!". "Extraordinary delusions and the madness of crowds" was written more than 150 years ago. Human nature does not change.

Stuki
Stuki

“What does one Own with Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Etherum other than an alleged "scarce" token.”

The same stuff one “owns” when owning a stock one has no particular nor specific understanding about exactly how is going to “be worth something:” Just blind faith in what is being proclaimed about some sort of “system,” generally by those who gain asymmetrically from it’s existence. As well as by the usual mob of gullibles, who can be counted on to hype anything they perceive their supposed “betters” are hyping, in order to bask in the glory of being “with those guys.”

Bitcoin at least makes it marginally less risky to buy drugs and childporn.

Carl_R
Carl_R

"If I pull the main breaker and cut off the power, my gold and silver are still there. Fricken amazing, ain't it?" Yep, but so are the beanie babies. The fact that they are still there doesn't alter the fact that their value can change.
Seriously, the most astute comment here, in my opinion, is this one "Bitcoin at least makes it marginally less risky to buy drugs and childporn." And that may be the lasting value of bitcoin. Even if it is never useful for mainstream transactions, it can be used for illegal transactions, so it may always have value. What value? I have no idea.

PodUK
PodUK

Stocks are not "worth" what peaople pay for them either. Most of them aren't worthless like bitcoin, but their intrinsic value is at best 50% of where they trade. Don't believe me? Watch and learn. It may take a few years, but you'll see.

Realist
Realist

“What is Bitcoin other than a $15000 Beanie Baby?” First: Bitcoin, and Blockchain, are an example of a “disruptive technology”, which is capable of transforming entire industries in ways that we can only speculate on. That is why forward thinking businesses (banks, finance, payments processors, etc) have teams of very bright people working hard to determine the possible impact of this technology on their business models, whether they will become obsolete as a result, and how they can make use of this disruptive tech to enhance the future for their business. The world is littered with businesses that became obsolete because they thought a disruptive technology was a “fad” that would disappear in a year or two. I am somewhat surprised that Mish, who is a big believer in the disruptive technology of self-driving transport (as am I) would so easily dismiss the disruptive possibilities of Crypto/Blockchain. Second, disruptive technology tends to cause bubbles as many will try to take advantage/profit of the newest craze. The same thing happened in the dot.com bubble. I suspect that many of the “companies” that are jumping on the Crypto/Blockchain bandwagon will indeed go to zero, just as so many dot.coms did. But some will survive, and possibly become some of the biggest companies in the world in 10 years or so (like Amazon). I don’t know which companies will become the winners, or which Cryptos will survive. But to imply that this disruptive technology is the equivalent of Beeanie Babies is short sighted at best. Please note that I am not suggesting that people invest heavily in Bitcoin or anything associated with this technology. Just like dot.coms, most are speculations that could easily go to zero. But if you are an investor who is willing to risk 1 or 2 % of your portfolio in speculations, the rewards can be substantial if you back the right horse.

formula57
formula57

The attractive qualities of Blockchain technology do not necessarily or at all imply that Bitcoin or other private currencies that happen to employ it are also attractive or themselves representative of a major disruption to existing arrangements.

Realist
Realist

Formula 57. You are correct. Nothing is guaranteed. However to simply dismiss the possible impact of this tech is short sighted. Just like Kodak was foolish to ignore the impact of digital photography on film photography, or Swiss watch makers ignoring digital watch technology.

RonJ
RonJ

Cryptotulips.

formula57
formula57

@ Realist - for the reasons you state, blockchain ought not to be dismissed and I do not think it is being so here. Bitcoin and more particularly the present exuberance with which it is greeted in some quarters is a much more doubtful proposition. One cause of concern I have with Bitcoin and its like is the close association with those who wish to free themselves from government and/or central bank involvement for I think that has skewed development and usage in ways that make successful establishment less likely rather than more.

Realist
Realist

Formula57. I agree. I do believe this technology will indeed be disruptive to many industries Those who taken advantage of it, will be big winners. Those who ignore it could be big losers. My main point is that you should not ignore this technology and its potential to disrupt. In my humble opinion, equating Bitcoin with Beanies implies that people should ignore Crypto in general. Many forward thinking companies are devoting significant resources in this area because of the potential to disrupt their industries. They are not ignoring or belittling Crypto.

JonSellers
JonSellers

The blockchain, as it exists with bitcoin, is a dead technology. From an engineering standpoint, it simply cannot scale to meet the needs of the bitcoin market. Even conceptually, it cannot scale. So, whoever comes up with a real design (if it is possible), will be the real winner. So bitcoin right now is truly just a beanie baby.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

Realist this is silliness:" I am somewhat surprised that Mish, who is a big believer in the disruptive technology of self-driving transport (as am I) would so easily dismiss the disruptive possibilities of Crypto/Blockchain"

I have never doubted the disruptive nature of blockchain. In fact, I have repeatedly stated it has many uses. Recording mortgages,m deeds, etc, is a perfectly viable use. I think it will displace the entire Title insurance industry in due time. But what does that have to do with Bitcoin other than Bitcoin uses the technology? The answer is Nothing! Bitcoin is not a claim on technology or patents. It is nothing but a beanie baby.

Yorik
Yorik

I think it’s better to say that blockchain uses the Bitcoin. There are different Blockchains that use different crypto methods, and the encrypting element is the “coin”. (Correct me if I’m wrong). The technology is covered at blockgeeks.com; I guess I should re-read it.

MishMash
MishMash
Realist
Realist

Hey Mish. Sorry it took so long to reply. Very busy day. Also, apologies if I misunderstood your intent regarding Blockchain. Just want to point out, once again, that I know many people who work for large reputable companies, who indeed take Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin very seriously. They consider Bitcoin, Ethereum, et al, and the Blockchain technology as both a disruptive threat and opportunity for their businesses. I see no reason to completely dismiss Bitcoin or any other Crypto at this time. The future is hard to predict.

klausmkl
klausmkl

just another tulip