Risks of investing in Bitcoin for long-term investors

Hongbeom
4 min readJun 19, 2023

This was written in August 2021 on https://blog.kyle.do/risks-of-investing-in-bitcoin-for-long-term-investors

TL;DR

  1. Ether’s Ultrasound-productive money with no carbon footprint is a batshit powerful meme.
  2. The maximalist culture
  3. Tokenized Mirrored Assets
  4. The coordinated attacks by nation states

“Ultrasound money with no carbon footprint is a batshit powerful meme” — Eric Wall

Bitcoiners expected a state-level attack to come in 3–5 years, but I believe the ESG is a state-level attack wrapped in the environmentalist argument.

Eric Wall had a great tweetstorm explaining the gist of ESG FUD.

  1. In the same way, it matters not if 100% of bitcoin’s energy came from excess Sichuanian wet season hydropower. As long as Greta Thunberg says bitcoin’s TWh/year is equal to Ireland’s, people will look at/invest in coins with a PoS-future. It’s all memes. Memes all the way down.
  2. Reject the meme. Dismiss the meme. Debunk the meme. But never underestimate the meme. Think only “how good is this meme?” and never “how correct is this meme?” when assessing your opponents’ power level.

The ESG meme will not only slow down institutional adoption of Bitcoin, but institutions could also replace their Bitcoin balance with greener PoS tokens like Ether, causing Ether to engulf the liquidity of Bitcoin. And if Ether surpasses Bitcoin by market cap, some Bitcoin holders who believe coordination is broken will cash out.

When does the maximalist culture become counterproductive?

quote from Austin Hill:

  1. the bitcoin community have embraced labels like ‘toxic,’ ‘maximalist’ and turned them into badges of honor celebrating meme culture and, at times, hostility as a community immune response to attacks
  2. At what point do these responses become lie a cytokine storm prematurely alienating potential allies or people at many different stages of their learning looking for nuanced debates?

I believe another existential threat to Bitcoin could be the Bitcoin maximalists themselves. Many maximalists believe that altcoin should not exist because they are morally objectionable. Bitcoin can do everything altcoin can do, so why do we need altcoins?

While that might be technically true, the altcoin speculation does bring more capital and developers to the ecosystem. But because of the maximalist culture, all the capital that could have been invested into the Bitcoin ecosystem has gone to the Ethereum ecosystem instead. There are now more engineers, scientists, VCs, and more startups on Ethereum than on Bitcoin.

Many Ethereans argue that Ethereum has an even more socially scalable narrative: ultrasound-productive asset without the carbon footprint. And I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Most people hold stocks, but only a few hold gold. Millennials and GenZ don’t even buy gold anymore. If Bitcoin’s narrative can’t adapt to the new market demands, Bitcoin will lose. I do think that Ethereum has limited social scalability due to the plutocratic governance. The “Rich gets richer meme” is fatal to anything that wants to become a global reserve currency. But we never know how the future will unfold.

Whether having shitcoins on Bitcoin layer two is a net positive for Bitcoin price long-term is in the realm of speculation. But given the real institutional rotation from Bitcoin to Ether, the maximalist thinking seems to be causing more harm than good. The more diverse experiments we have on Bitcoin layer two, the more likely Bitcoin will become the new world reserve money. I believe something like Stacks does increase the probability of Bitcoin becoming the world reserve currency. For that simple reason, I am okay with having shitcoins on Bitcoin layer two.

Will tokenize stocks obsolete Bitcoin?

Imagine people can start paying for goods with their stocks. Not only do the stocks have lower volatility than Bitcoin, but they are also productive assets with a long history as SoV. It makes sense to use the stocks as money. The only thing holding it back is taxation because every transaction using stocks will be a taxable event.

If stocks were tokenized, it would be very easy to use stocks as money. A crypto wallet can automatically issue loans using your stocks as collateral and pay for the goods in stablecoins like USDC. The transaction doesn’t trigger capital gain taxes, and people don’t need to sell their stocks. If Coinbase or Robinhood had seamless loan issuance for tokenized stocks, we would have already seen more people directly buying goods with their stocks.

We already have something like tokenized stocks. Mirror Asset (mAsset) tracks the price of real-world assets and it’s built on decentralized Mirror Protocol so governments can’t easily regulate them. Today, mAsset is mostly used for price speculation but I believe mAsset is one of the most underexplored competitors to Bitcoin.

One issue with using mAsset as a medium of exchange is that governments can still regulate the underlying assets. And the governments are very creative when it comes to regulation.

The coordinated attacks

If major countries coordinated a ban on the holding and use of Bitcoin today, the price will easily tank by 95%. While the network will be up and running, the bitcoin price would have tanked enough to call it a failure.

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