How Hackers Bled 118 Bitcoins Out of Covid Researchers in U.S.

Transcripts reveal University of California at San Francisco’s weeklong negotiation to free its ransomware-locked servers. The haggling worked, sort of.  Bloomberg 2-28-21

Ms. Yellen doubled down on a “buyer, beware” message to investors in Bitcoin. “I don’t think that Bitcoin — I’ve said this before — is widely used as a transaction mechanism. To the extent it’s used, I fear it’s often for illicit finance,” she said. “It’s an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions. And the amount of energy that’s consumed in processing those transactions is staggering. But it is a highly speculative asset, and I think people should beware. It can be extremely volatile, and I do worry about potential losses that investors in it could suffer.”  NY Times 2-23-21

For Bill Gates, it’s not something Main Street should buy into — plus it’s bad for the environment as mining the coins requires a lot of energy.

“Elon has tons of money and he’s very sophisticated, so I don’t worry that his Bitcoin will sort of randomly go up or down,” Gates said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang. “I do think people get bought into these manias who may not have as much money to spare. My general thought would be that if you have less money than Elon, you should probably watch out.”

Also read: A Brief History of Elon Musk’s Devotion to the Crypto Cause

Musk, who’s worth $189.6 billion as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, has been an avid supporter of Bitcoin — so much so that he’s influenced the token’s price. It surged as much as 76% this month following Tesla’s investment, before tumbling 13% after he tweeted the prices of cryptocurrencies “do seem high.”

Bitcoin was trading around $51,400 at 8:30 a.m. in New York on Thursday.

The debate over Bitcoin isn’t new. Billionaire Warren Buffett deems cryptocurrencies have no value and don’t produce anything. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, another long-time skeptic, said at a New York Times conference earlier this week that Bitcoin is an “extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions.”

Also read: The Bitcoin Comeback – Is Crypto Finally Going Mainstream?

But with more and more companies starting to accept Bitcoin — as PayPal Holdings Inc., Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. recently have — the token has gained wider acceptance. As central banks including the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank are studying how to digitalize their own sovereign currencies, and firms such as Fidelity Investments Inc. launch funds letting investors add cryptocurrencies to their portfolios, the debate is here to stay.

Speaking on the social audio app Clubhouse, Musk declares he’s a Bitcoin supporter. “Bitcoin is a good thing,” he said, adding that he was “late to the party” and should have bought the cryptocurrency eight years ago. Feb 1

I don’t profess to know when the gig is up for bitcoin but I’m willing to bet it’s sooner than later.  It seems like it provides no real productive value other than to criminals trying to extort cybercrime, money launderers, or tax evaders.  I can’t imagine any government allowing large volumes of transactions to go hidden from their taxing and regulatory regimes.  I think the U.S. government’s attitude was let’s not squash the experiment and see where technology goes.  I think we know where it goes now and it’s far from a benevolent or productive thing.

I can’t say it better than Charlie Munger at the recent Daily Journal Shareholder meeting. In case you don’t know who Charlie Munger, he is the 97-year-old vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway dismissed bitcoin during a Q&A session Wednesday, calling it “too volatile” to be considered a global medium of exchange.

“I do think that a properly run bank is a great contributor to civilization and that the central banks of the world like controlling their own banking system and their own money supplies,” he said.

Munger then went on to paraphrase an Oscar Wilde quote on fox hunting, saying bitcoin reminded him of those who buy the nascent asset class as “the pursuit of the uneatable by the unspeakable.”

I think it’s time to bet against Bitcoin. I don’t profess to know w