Digital Currencies, Crypto Currencies and Bitcoin – Part 1 of many – What is money?

The first part of looking at Digital currencies, Crypto Currencies or Bitcoin, is to define, “What is money”; since we need to decide and agree what is money before we can discuss if Digital Currencies, Crypto Currencies and Bitcoin are money or not.

First, a definition of money from Wikipedia:
“Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a particular country or socio-economic context.[1][2][3] The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, sometimes, a standard of deferred payment.[4][5] Any item or verifiable record that fulfills these functions can be considered as money.”
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money
Which further cites to:
4. Mankiw, N. Gregory (2007). “2”. Macroeconomics(6th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers. pp. 22–32. ISBN 0-7167-6213-7.
5^ Jump up to:a b c T.H. Greco. Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender, White River Junction, Vt: Chelsea Green Publishing (2001). ISBN 1-890132-37-3

So, for something to be considered money it has to be or have:
1: Medium of Exchange
2: Unit of Account
3: Store of Value
4: Sometimes a standard of deferred payment.

What are each of these things?

1: Medium of Exchange – The item or record is used instead of barter. Without money the only way to get or exchange goods would be by barter where you would exchange something you had for another item from someone else. The main problem with any barter system is that it only works or trades can be done where there is a “coincidence of wants”; i.e. I want what you have and you want what I have, so we can make an exchange. One top of that there is still the problem of quantities or amounts under a barter system.
Example: I have a used car and a famer has vegetables. The farmer wants my used car and I want some of the food, so we can make a barter exchange. The problem is amounts. The used car is probably worth a lot more than the food in small quantities, so unless I am willing to take large amounts of foods, and have the ability to transport and store the food, we still have a problem as to how to make the exchange. While we can introduce another party to the exchange where I take the large amounts of food in exchange for the car and another person does a barter exchange with me for the amounts of food I do not want, we are making the trade more complex and difficult to arrange a complete transaction.
With money, the farmer just gives me the agreed amount and then I can parcel out said funds as I see fit, or even save them for later use.

2: Unit of Account – With money it is easy to tell ‘how much you have’, you just total up the units of money and the value. Here in the United States one would normally talk in terms of United States Dollars (USD) when discussing how much money something was or how much they had. With a barter system, things have a value depending on how many of other items are wanted or needed and there is no clear unit of account to compare across items.
Example: In my earlier examples of a used car, how would one describe or talk about its value or unit of account? With the farmer, he would describe it in terms of how much food he was offering to exchange it for, but when comparing his offer to other offers, how would they compare. As an add on to the original example, lets say there was another buyer for the used car, a carpenter; he offers 100 hours of his labor on house repairs in exchange for the used car. At the same time the farmer offers 100 cases of 8 x 15oz cans of corn. Which is a better deal? How does one compare to the other in terms of what is offered? With money assigned to each, it is easy to make the comparison. Without money, it is hard to know which would be a better deal or how to value barter exchanges.

3: Store of Value – Money needs to be able to be stored for use later. An item or record that could not be stored or saved until later would not be useful for money since it would need to be used or exchanged immediately in order to avoid losing it. Most forms of money last a somewhat long time, even paper currency since those are usually made of some material that will last a while. One example is the United States Dollar. Even though most people talk about dollars being “printed on paper”, it is really printed on a material of linen and cotton. The typical printed USD can last, on average, 5.9 years. (https://allthingsfinance.net/how-long-do-dollar-bills-last-the-lifespan-of-a-one-dollar-bill/ )

4: Standard of Deferred Payment – This means that money is the preferred way or allowed way to pay a debt. The reason this would be one of the elements of what money is, is that no lender would want to have a payments made on a loan they made in money that was or had lost value.

Agree or Disagree, Like or Dislike, I look forward to the discussion about Digital Currencies.

Louis J. Desy Jr.
Saturday, December 16, 2017

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#ComicGate and comic book sales

In my looking around at various web sites and YouTube videos, I came across the term ‘ComicGate’ recently. While there was a video a few months ago that I viewed that talked about the comic book industry ‘inching its way towards its own comic gate’ ( The Comic Book Industry is Inching Its Way to Its Own Gamergate By Just Some Guy, published Aug 08, 2017 ) The term ComicGate or #ComicGate I assume is a reference to the #GamerGate of a few years ago.

There is definitely a problem with comic book sales, especially with the fact that even years after the 2008/2009 financial crisis has been over, for about a decade now, numerous comic book stores continue to close. Over a number of years I have compiled reports on comic book store closings which I sent out to a few people; friends that worked their own stores, in the industry or are interested in the industry.

From my viewing of the reports over time, what I have found alarming is that stores that survived the 2008/2009 financial crisis, and the Borders closing in 2011, do not appear to be ok or financially stable. I would have normally expected that those stores were now safe or ok, in that the economy and industry was back to a more normal state where a store should be able to stay in business without any serious problems.

Instead, what I have seen, and reported on in the subsequent years is that a number of stores are on the edge financially and either end up closing once they get to the end of their lease and/or the owner retires and is unable to sell the store as a going business because it is not making any money. In a few cases, the store ends up ‘financially imploding’ where the store is evicted from its retail space.

While I have looked at this years sales numbers, and I do see some declines in sales, my initial looking at the numbers do not seem to show the decline as huge, but does show a decline on top of a decline on top of years of declines.

While I do think that the changes in many comic book series are contributing to these declines and these additional declines in sales is pushing a number of comic book stores ‘over the edge and into a financial abyss’, causing them to close. (i.e. The stores are so close to not being able to stay open that an additional decline cause by changes in a number of comic book series causes the store to close.)

In the coming days I am going to look at the comic book sales numbers and see if a simply charting of total dollars and total units shows anything of interest.

After that I think an ecometrics look at the numbers would be interesting to see if the recent declines are all due to changes in a number of comic book series or if something else, such as a downturn in the economy, could explain the changes or if it is a combination of factors, all of which are working together to cause the declines.

One big advantage of an ecometrics look at the numbers is that a properly done multivariable look would give us an idea as to how much each factor is helping or hurting sales and how the factors relate to each other.

Why would the or a competent man would be interested in this topic? The reason I would put forth, is that if there is some kind of #ComicGate going on, or about to start, is that it would be an interesting study in if a business or an industry would be able to correct sales declines or, if a number of critics of the comic book industry are correct, that an ideology and feelings of a group of people is now allowed to override facts and logic; and in the process destroy an entire industry.

Agree or Disagree, Like or Dislike, I look forward to the discussion about comic book sales and its effects on stores and the industry as a whole.

Good Luck and Take care,
Louis J. Desy Jr.
Sunday, December 10, 2017

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Virtual Private Server (VPS) setup and working for web site

This past weekend, on Sunday, October 15, while I was at my sister’s house, I decided to purchase a Virtual Private Server (VPS) and migrate from a shared hosting plan to a VPS plan.

The advantage is that instead of sharing resources with other web sites, I will have my own Virtual Private Server with its own dedicated resources.

The big items, that I think were slowing down the site when on a shared plan, was that according to a reverse IP lookup, the shared IP address for my web site was being shared with over 2,000 other web sites.

Now, on a VPS, only the sites I setup are on the IP address, of which at the moment is only one.

There was some confusion since the files did migrate, but the site was still on the shared hosting package, so the web site was running, but the files on the VPS were not what was showing, it was my shared hosting package.

Around Tuesday at noon I started to realize that something seemed wrong, and cancelled the shared hosting package, at which point the web site went offline because I had not setup the DNS on my VPS.

The DNS is where you setup the IP to where everyone’s traffic is directed when they type in the IP name, plus tells the server what IP address to associate with the domain name (the name that ends with a .com usually.)

It took me a few days to figure out how to get the cpanel working, the DNS working, and them correctly modify what they call the A record in the DNS entries.

It was somewhat of a surprised and relief when it all of a sudden started working, since even with the correct DNS entires, sometimes it can take as long as 24 hours for the changes to make it across the Internet.

Louis J. Desy Jr.

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Site updates

I finally figured out why Google’s Adsense was not showing any ads after looking at the code, wdigets, plug ins, etc. One web site mentioned checking for an ad blocker, which I forgot I had in place. Once that was disabled for the site, everything was fine.

I also added a subscriber plug in but am not sure how it is different from what is/was already part of the WordPress.

Louis J. Desy Jr.

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