On Bitcoin

Bitcoin

Bitcoin

If you follow the world of Bitcoin you probably know that Mt. Gox is gone. For about 4 years they were the name in Bitcoin, and in a spectacular show of incompetence and mismanagement, they lost about $700 million in bitcoins, and closed shop. I’ll be honest, though, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

For years Mt. Gox has been a blight in the bitcoin world, and I’m not just saying that because they screwed me over, mainly because they didn’t. I’ve never lost a dime because of Mt. Gox, in fact I bought $10 worth of Bitcoin in 2011, and by early 2013 the price had jumped so that $10 was worth $100. I sold, and withdrew all of my cash from Mt. Gox right before they had so many issues and had to shut down US withdrawals.

I do still own bitcoin, about $3 worth–I know, it’s amazing, right? I didn’t spend anything for these, I built tools to help Peerbet gamblers play, and for a 1% fee of their winnings they could use it. It worked, and I ended up with almost $500 worth of bitcoins…which I promptly gambled away, because fuck it yes I did. They were free, and the system took me a night to put together. I like to gamble, but I’m not stupid. I’ll gamble with free money any day of the week, but if I have to invest my cold hard cash, I’m being responsible about it.

But this is more of a rant than anything, I’m not even sure what I wanted to accomplish with this post, if I’m being honest. There has been some questions since Mt. Gox went down as to the capabilities of Bitcoins to ever be a “real” currency. I have some concerns with this idea, and it all goes back to infrastructure.

I love bitcoin. I love the idea of unregulated currency, and market rate pricing. I love the idea of it. I do not currently trust it. If Fallout 3 taught us anything, it’s that even bottle caps can be considered currency. But they can also be considered bottle caps. Currency is only a promise of value, and if what you’re using is considered to have value, you’re good. It’s bartering, only we’re bartering notes that have a promise of value to them.

But Bitcoins can’t promise that, because they don’t have the infrastructure. Bitcoins still rely on the banks of the world to convert their money from Bitcoins to actual currency. It’s for this reason that Bitcoins have such a hard time. They want to call themselves a currency, but don’t want to be regulated like a currency. It scares the banks. It scares the governments. It lowers the value.

Or it should.

But people are insane, and the value of Bitcoin has become hyper inflated as of late, and as such is not a good investment. The fact that there are a limited amount of Bitcoins sounds like a good idea, it really does. But if you really think about it, is it really a good idea?

How many times have you had a computer crash with a bitcoin wallet on it? Those bitcoins are gone. Forever. If you can’t recover the wallet file, you can’t recover the bitcoins. Think about that. There are a limited number of coins, once they’re minted, they’re minted, no more.

I’m not saying all eCurrencies are a bad idea, but I think there are things about Bitcoin that on the surface appear to be good ideas, but after a quick brush away of the veneer, you realize that they’re rookie mistakes. I’m still interested in seeing the future of eCurrencies, but I doubt that it will be Bitcoin.

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The Passive-preneure Released

The Passive-preneur

The Passive-preneur

The Passive-preneure was released today, and will soon be available world wide (only in English) on Kindle. It’s priced at $2.99, and is easily worth every penny. We’ve discussed what it is in the past, but basically it’s an indepth look at passive income, and how to make a living using it. It’s no-nonsense, and no bullshit, you’re not going to “get rich quick” or “make millions online in just 6 short weeks” because those are called scams, and they don’t work.

No, what The Passive-preneure does is teach you the true, sustainable, methods of making money both on and off line, in a passive way. It shows you some methods, and gives you an idea of how risky or difficult they are to setup. If you’ve ever considered making money passively, you need this book. So go, now, go buy it. I’ll wait.

Pick Up Your Copy of The Passive-preneure on Amazon right now!

Drop Shipping and eBay

If you know anything about eBay, you’ve probably heard about drop shipping. If not, you’re about to. Drop shipping seems like such a simple thing to do, because it’s literally being a middle man. You take the money from the buyer, and you pay the warehouse, and they ship the product to the buyer. You never have to handle the merchandise yourself, and make a profit for your time.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, this can be automated, and I’ve covered this in The Passive-preneur, so I’m not talking too deep about it here. What I’m going to talk about here is my own experiences with eBay and drop shipping.

It’s not easy. Let’s get that out of the way right at the start. You can’t just assume you’re going to post a bunch of items and make a lot of sales. Because it doesn’t happen. I’ve sold some items, but I’ve never invested the time or money into the marketing side of things, and thus have not made anywhere near enough money to say that it’s been worth my time. That said, I know there is the potential for me to. I just haven’t had the need to do it, or the desire. I like to play around with different types of passive income streams, but I only invest in ones I want to have an investment in.

That said, I’m considering investing in drop shipping. I’ve started focusing a bit on a particular niche: Security and Surveillance, because the gadgets are cool, and it fills an actual need in the world. I like to make people feel secure, and safe, so this particular niche suits me. If I don’t make money, that’s fine, because I’ve not spent a ton of money on it ($0.80 currently in listing fees) but if I do make money on it, I might use some of that money to hire a virtual assistant to help me with the process.

I use a drop shipping company that allows you to insert excel spreadsheets of orders and will mass purchase the orders for you. This allows me the ability to hire a virtual assistant to compile these sheets for me, and list new items for me. I could also then put them in charge of a small budget for advertising, and if business became good enough possibly even a small website store. The possibilities are there, but the idea is to focus on a single niche, begin on eBay, build my reputation there, and use that social capital that I build up on eBay to build credibility into my own website, as well as eBay. Once I’m running my own website, I can not only remove part of the VA’s job by automatically compiling the excel files VIA website code, but I can also integrate with my drop shippers API system and automatically place orders.

This allows for automation, but it is not cheap. The API costs money, and I’m not ready to invest in it until I know I have a steady customer base.

This is why you’ll find in The Passive-preneure that I don’t discuss passive income as some get rich quick scheme. That’s bullshit. Passive income isn’t for the feint of heart, and if you think you’re going to jump out of the gate with a million dollars in a year, you’ve been sorely misled.

Stay tuned to see how this little venture works. I’m not investing a lot of time into it just now, but I’ll keep you posted.

ShareBuilder and the Capitalist Cares Google Doc Don’t Agree. Here’s Why…

I’ve known for a while that there was a discrepancy between what ShareBuilder says my portfolio’s profit is, and what my personally designed portfolio says. You would assume one of us is wrong.

You’d be wrong.

See, the thing about numbers is that numbers never lie, but sometimes they bend the truth. ShareBuilder is a business, and in their business you need to be making money, or at least not losing a lot of it. So if you happen to sell off every share of stock that you own–or even just one share–they remove it from the calculations. Poof. It’s gone. Does not exist. Cannot be used to calculate a loss.

In the Capitalist Cares Stock Portfolio I keep a running total of every single trade that I’ve ever made. I do this to know exactly how my portfolio has performed over a lifetime. That means that the value you see in my portfolio doesn’t just include stocks that I currently own, but stocks that I have ever owned. So when you see that portfolio in the green, you know that the profit is lifetime, and not just this one time thing.

I do this portfolio wide, but I also do it individually for each and every stock symbol I purchase. This lets me know which stocks are performing, and which aren’t. I know which stocks I need to start cutting my losses on, and which stocks are holding up the value for the entire portfolio.

So if you happen to use the same portfolio for your own trading and you see this discrepancy, don’t worry, you’re right. The numbers are different.

But they’re also both correct.

New Book: The Passive-preneur

The Passive-preneur

The Passive-preneur

 

The Passive-preneur is set to release later this month. I’m finishing up edits, and waiting for responses from people whom I’ve sent emails to, but if all goes well you’ll be seeing it on Amazon by the end of February. I’ve consolidated a lot of knowledge into this book.

Basically it’s a book explaining different types of passive income in detail, rating each. It also explains exactly what a Passive-preneur is, which I’ve touched on in the past, but felt it needed further explanation in book-form. If you ever intend to make money passively, you need to read this book. It will help you get through the haze of starry eyes, and get your shit straight, so you’re prepared for the reality that is the Passive-preneur lifestyle.

You’ll be able to find the book on Amazon, and potentially other marketplaces, before I’m finished. But for now, keep an eye out here and on the Books page.

Growing, Expanding, Caring

I started this blog not long ago, not for any particular reason, except to expound my beliefs about finance. In the grand scheme of things, I’m nobody. I’m just a guy, with a blog, and a couple of dollars in the stock market. I play around, I succeed, I fail, I write. I’m vulgar, and sometimes borderline offensive, but I’m honest.

And I care.

I care about you, your finances, your life. I want to hear about it, I want to know how you’re doing, how you’re succeeding, how you’re failing. I want to know what you’ve tried, what you haven’t, because I want to see us all succeed. Personal finance is not a zero-sum game. I fully believe we can all see growth, and I think that growth will cause balance, and in that balance we will find happiness.

And apparently there are a couple of you out there that believe the same things, or at least enjoy my vulgarity enough to come back and read the blog from time to time. And to you, I say thank you. Thank you for sticking around, and listening, while I write the shit I write, and try to only make a little bit of a fool of myself.

You’ll notice the URL has changed. I decided to use some of the money from my tax return this year to pay for a URL for the site, so it could grow, mature, just like we have. With the expansion of my eBook listings, and the direction I’ve decided to take the site, I’m realizing that it’s becoming more than my personal dumping ground of ideas, so I’m going to make it more than it was.

You’ve inspired me, oh digital reader. And inspiration is good.

Now here’s a cow.

Moo, bitches...

Moo, bitches…

Alternate Forms of Investing

On average my dividend paying stocks return a yield of around 6%. In plain English, that means for every dollar I invest in, I earn $0.06 per year. Sounds like a lot, but there are a few things you don’t think of. First and foremost, stock price changes. So if price goes up, value goes up, if price goes down, value goes down, so I never know exactly what the return is, unless I want to sit down and do the math.

Ain't nobody got time fo dat

Yea…what she said

I’ve started looking out for different ways to invest my hard earned cash. First I swung by the race track, and quickly realized that doesn’t work. The next step was a guy named Tony out behind a bar, but his eyes were just a bit too red and twitchy for me to trust my cash with him.

Then I looked at Kiva, again. Kiva is a great program, and if you’re the altruistic type, like I am, you should sign up and join the Capitalist Cares Kiva Team. Together we can help many, many, people. But the thing is, you won’t be making a return on your investment. So, it’s more of a donation that you end up getting paid back. Which is great, don’t get me wrong, because I can drop some spare cash into the account, send it out into the world, help people out, and get it back to help someone else. That’s fine.

But I want investments. But looking at Kiva, I knew I had Microplace that I could fall back on. Or, so I thought. Turns out Microplace stopped doing new investments in January.

You and me both...

You and me both…

So what was I supposed to do? No interest from Kiva, no Microplace to fall back on…of course I went to Google. You know me too well, digital reader. You little scamp.

So I hit Google with the very narrow search “microlending platforms” and, of course, it returned a gazillion results that meant absolutely nothing to me. So I hit it again with the better term “microlending platforms that will make me a millionare” and Google laughed at me. Audibly. Through the speakers. (This may be an exaggeration.)

I eventually stumbled across LendingClub.com, which, obviously I wouldn’t be allowed to join, because Maine is run by a fucking idiot. But when I stumbled across that, I also found Prosper.com[?], which I did a little research on, and it is a microlending platform that allows you to purchase portions of debt, or notes, from borrowers. They even have a trading platform which lets you trade said notes with other lenders. All this for the minimum investment of $25. Sounds a lot like Kiva to me.

Squirrel-lelujah!

Squirrel-lelujah!

So I’ve got an account all setup now, and I’m waiting to get my account verified so I can deposit some cash and get to investing. I’ll let you know how it works. If it does work, though, the yields are promising. They narrow down each account type by it’s risk, with the lowest risk having lowest reward, highest risking having highest reward. Lowest risk also has the lowest rate of default, with highest risk obviously having the highest rate of default.

I think I’ve found the sweet spot right in the middle, though. Their yield after expenses and defaults for their C rating (ratings are AA, A, B, C, D, E, and HR) was around 11%. Which is much higher than that money would be making in dividend paying stocks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not replacing my stocks with this, but I might use it as an alternative, possibly take a portion of the money that I would be investing and deposit it to my Prosper account, and see how that works.

For now, though, I’m risking $25, and seeing how the entire process works from start to finish.

Another note, just for some transparency, I’ve also signed up to become a Prosper affiliate. I’ve not yet been approved, but if I do get approved, and I fall in love with the service, you can be sure that there will be a link to click, a link that will let you sign up for them, and give me some money for the trouble. Don’t worry, if I don’t care for the system, or find it too risky to suggest, you will not see that link. That is my promise to you.