Cyber Hornets vs. Gold Bugs
This past week Michael Saylor accepted a debate request from Frank Giustra on the merits of Bitcoin versus Gold. This debate will happen April 21st. Daniela Cambone will moderate. Max Keiser sat down with Daniela last week giving his take on the event as a Bitcoin Bull. Jim Rickards will be doing his own "pre-debate" analysis as well. He is scheduled for Monday April 19th, presumably as a bullion backer. Likely debate format and topics are here in another post on Zerohedge.
Exclusive: Mr. Wonderful Weighs In
It can also be reported here before anywhere else that Kevin O'Leary, aka "Mr. Wonderful" the businessman of Shark Tank fame will be giving his own take on what is to come Tuesday the day before the big debate. O'Leary is an interesting addition to the debate collage as he was very negative on Bitcoin less than 2 years ago. He revealed the tipping point that caused him to change his stance last month in the video below. O'Leary says he allocated 3% of his portfolio to Bitcoin. The investor has a net worth of over $400 million as of today and runs the popular O’Shares ETF product among other businesses. Here is his interview soon after he converted to Bitcoin:
Likely Debate Topics and Format
Specific debate topics and questions are being kept under wraps and are still ongoing. They are likely a topic of debate themselves. We believe the general topics will follow actual debate guidelines and not be a puff piece as so many of these can be. Topics will include but not be limited to: Asset performance, Risk factors, Demand and Supply factors, Market Trends, and straight up asset comparisons.Subtopics will likely be tailored to a specific aspect of the respective investment instruments.
The debate format most likely used will be similar to the standard presidential type. Sandwiched between opening and closing statements opponents will field questions written by Ms Cambone on the agreed upon subjects. We also expect, like in presidential debates, the two gentlemen will use their extra time when answering to pivot back and re-address comments previously stated by their opponent. We expect they will be more presidential than politicians.The format will likely be a question asked by the moderator followed by a 5 minute response. This will be followed by a 1 minute rebuttal by the opponent. Opening and closing statement will likely by 5-6 minutes in length with no interruptions or rebuttals. Debate registration is here
Michael Saylor is the Chairman & CEO of MicroStrategy (MSTR), a publicly traded business intelligence firm that he founded in 1989. He is also the founder of Alarm.com (ALRM), named inventor on 40+ patents, & author of the book “The Mobile Wave”. He founded & serves as trustee for the Saylor Academy (saylor.org), a non-profit organization that has provided free education to 800,000+ students. He is an advocate for the Bitcoin Standard (hope.com). He has dual degrees from MIT in Aerospace Engineering & History of Science. Michael on Twitter
Frank Giustra is CEO of the Fiore Group, a private firm managing a broad portfolio of private equity investments and companies, specializing in food and lifestyle, art and entertainment, and has a proven track-record in financing and building natural resource companies. Mr. Giustra's entrepreneurial success includes founding Lionsgate Entertainment. In 2007, Mr. Giustra and former President Bill Clinton launched the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, recently renamed as Elevate Social Businesses (Elevate). Elevate is a social business builder that brings entrepreneurial solutions to global poverty and operates enterprises in Colombia, El Salvador, Haiti, and Indonesia. Frank on Twitter
Daniela Cambone-Taub is Editor-at-Large and Anchor, Stansberry Research. Before that she was Editor-in-Chief for Kitco News. She has over a decade of international experience. Daniela covers prominent industry events and interviews a number of leading analysts, financiers and political leaders. She began her career covering the Canadian financial landscape and later worked as a television correspondent in Europe for four years, reporting on the political and financial scene. Daniela holds a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Montreal’s Concordia University and a Master of Arts in Journalism & Communications from the University of Rome. Daniela on Twitter
Debate Prep Analysis
Michael Saylor, Frank Giustra, Jim Rickards, Max Keiser, and Kevin O'leary have all sat with Daniela and other personalities for interviews on different occasions with Bitcoin and to some extent Gold as topics of discussion. Here is Max Keiser's pre-debate analysis given last week.
"Most recently, Bitcoin pioneer Max Keiser gave his pre-game analysis. Slated for premiere access on April 21st, the debate will feature Microstrategy’s Michael Saylor and mining financier Frank Giustra, hosted by our Daniela Cambone. Keiser reveals punches he expects from both sides— and, for the first time ever, he talks about one competitive edge the yellow metal has over Bitcoin."
Look For Jim Rickards' comments on Monday.
VBL Comment: The Enemy of My Enemy is My Frenemy
Whatever the topics are, the focus at grass roots level will be on how the assets compare to each other in the key characteristics they both allege to have. Both are religious items to many. Neither is perfect. The triumph here would be for either side to admit that it would be wise in even the slightest way to hold a percent of their net worth in the other's asset. We do not think that can happen easily. Michael Saylor has been non-stop negative on Gold in an absolutist way. Can you blame him? How can one defend an asset like gold compared to Bitcoin over the last 10 years. Bitcoin has done everything that Gold has claimed to do. Meanwhile we suspect that Frank Giustra is a little tired of the absolutist rhetoric that conveniently fits the Microstrategy CEO's agenda. Gold can't punch back or sue for defamation. What MSM pundit would defend gold to Michael? Miners- forget it. Maybe Frank can. Either way it is about what matters most to you: The asset itself or what it represents.Why there is an argument at all is a function of generational conflict more than which is better. Frankly, Doge beats them both.
Here is a scorecard we are using to measure the 2 assets and if the participants address the differences as lifted from a 2018 post "The Bullish Case for Bitcoin":
- Durable: the good must not be perishable or easily destroyed. Thus wheat is not an ideal store of value
- Portable: the good must be easy to transport and store, making it possible to secure it against loss or theft and allowing it to facilitate long-distance trade. A cow is thus less ideal than a gold bracelet.
- Fungible: one specimen of the good should be interchangeable with another of equal quantity. Without fungibility, the coincidence of wants problem remains unsolved. Thus gold is better than diamonds, which are irregular in shape and quality.
- Verifiable: the good must be easy to quickly identify and verify as authentic. Easy verification increases the confidence of its recipient in trade and increases the likelihood a trade will be consummated.
- Divisible: the good must be easy to subdivide. While this attribute was less important in early societies where trade was infrequent, it became more important as trade flourished and the quantities exchanged became smaller and more precise.
- Scarce: As Nick Szabo termed it, a monetary good must have “unforgeable costliness”. In other words, the good must not be abundant or easy to either obtain or produce in quantity. Scarcity is perhaps the most important attribute of a store of value as it taps into the innate human desire to collect that which is rare. It is the source of the original value of the store of value.
- Established history: the longer the good is perceived to have been valuable by society, the greater its appeal as a store of value. A long-established store of value will be hard to displace by a new upstart except by force of conquest or if the arriviste is endowed with a significant advantage among the other attributes listed above.
- Censorship-resistant: a new attribute, which has become increasingly important in our modern, digital society with pervasive surveillance, is censorship-resistance. That is, how difficult is it for an external party such as a corporation or state to prevent the owner of the good from keeping and using it. Goods that are censorship-resistant are ideal to those living under regimes that are trying to enforce capital controls or to outlaw various forms of peaceful trade. source
The table below grades Bitcoin, gold and fiat money (such as dollars) against the attributes listed above as written by a Bitcoin backer. The only thing we'd add is a weighted value to each attribute in terms of its importance. We think Established History should be overweighted in light of potential for regulatory railroading right now. But 10 years from now, if nothing has changed, then it's irrelevant in importance. Adoption is key. Can you imagine a world without the internet now. I can't imagine a world without Bitcoin or its successor 20 years from now.