Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in Google Trends

Inspired by a post at WooBull on using Google Trends to detect Bitcoin price bubbles, here’s an updated Google trends graph of the terms “BTC USD” and “cryptocurrency”, which we added for comparison sake.

Predicting where the stock market will go is futile

Good perspective on how to view the stock market from Vitaliy Katsenelson. This was written a few weeks ago after the “correction” early in February:

Nobody but nobody knows what the stock market will do tomorrow, next week or next year. Stock market behavior in the short term is completely random. Completely! You’ll have a better luck predicting the next card at a black jack table than guessing what the stock market will do next.

What will the stock market do next? It’s the wrong question. It’s the question that should never be asked, and if asked should never be answered. Asking this question shows that you believe there is some kind of order to this random madness. There is not. And if you answer with any answer other than “I don’t know,” you’re a liar.

via What will the stock market do next? at Vitaliy Katsenelson Contrarian Edge

On the benefits of trend following investing

The consistency of a trend following strategy’s relative performance vs a 60/40 portfolio (impacting the ability for investors to stick with trend following) is the basis of an argument that’s taken place offline (yes, I also argue offline) with a FinTwit friend who is a huge proponent of buy and hold. It’s progressed to the point that we’ve discussed making a mini (very mini) Buffett style bet related to whether trend following or a 60% US Stock / 40% Bond allocation will outperform over the next five years (with money going to the winner’s charity of choice).

via The Behavioral and Performance Benefits of Trend Following at

Bitcoin moving closely with $SPY

Bitcoin’s case as a store of value has not proven especially strong in the past month, as it’s typically gone the way of $SPY.

Bitcoin and stocks bottomed at almost exactly the same moment. This is bad for Bitcoin. Part of Bitcoin’s appeal is that it is weird, and perhaps does not covary with standard financial assets in traditional ways. But at least yesterday it did, and that should be a force pushing Bitcoin lower.

via Bitcoin and covariance at Marginal REVOLUTION

In US, working age population is larger than ever

From Prime Working-Age Population At New Peak, First Time Since 2007 at Calculated Risk:

The U.S. prime working age population peaked in 2007, and bottomed at the end of 2012. As of January 2018, according to the BLS, for the first time since 2007, there are now more people in the 25 to 54 age group than in 2007.

Demographics is a key reason GDP growth has been slow over the last decade.

Changes in demographics are an important determinant of economic growth, and although most people focus on the aging of the “baby boomer” generation, the movement of younger cohorts into the prime working age is another key story. Here is a graph of the prime working age population (25 to 54 years old) from 1948 through January 2018.

As pointed out in the original post, the size of this group surged in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, something not always considered when comparing GDP. This could be a sign of increased GDP in the years to come, though the last time this group peaked in population was 2007.

How velocity effects crypto value

Here’s a post from Alex Evans on how velocity effects value in On Value, Velocity and Monetary Theory

The core thesis of current valuation frameworks is that utility value can be derived by (a) forecasting demand for the underlying resource that a network provisions (the network’s ‘GDP’) and (b) dividing this figure by the monetary base available for its fulfillment to obtain per-unit utility value. Present values can be derived from future expected utility values using conventional discounting. The theoretical framework that nearly all these valuation models employ is the equation of exchange, MV=PQ.

Given how important value has become in most attempts to value crpyto assets, it’s an important discussion:

 The uniting argument in the above articles is that tokens that are not store-of-value assets will generally suffer from high velocity at scale as users avoid holding the asset for meaningful periods of time, suppressing ultimate value. My claim here is that this thesis is directionally correct, but hard to operationalize.


In recent weeks, Matt Levine has written about two potential ways of driving a stock price down. The first via literally hacking into computers:

Joshua Mitts and Eric Talley of Columbia — discussing a different approach, which is that you could just trade on the fact that you could hack into the computers. Then you can disclose the hack and hope that the company’s stock will go down. Cybersecurity breaches tend to be bad news. This approach is … look, I have my doubts about how lucrative it is; cybersecurity breaches tend not to be such bad news … but it has the advantage of not being blatantly illegal. Of being legal? I mean, that is not legal advice, but her

In the second case, it’s not so much true hacking, rather it’s akin to growth hacking.

Shares of the Snapchat parent company sank 6.1 percent on Thursday, wiping out $1.3 billion in market value, on the heels of a tweet on Wednesday from Kylie Jenner, who said she doesn’t open the app anymore

So I am inclined to allow it, though I am of course neither your nor Kylie Jenner’s lawyer. But as a way to profit from celebrity, shorting a company’s stock and then being mean about its products on social media seems pretty easy, and the markets would be more amusing if someone tried it. Social media companies profit because their users provide content for free; I like the idea of the users profiting by deciding to stop.


If the ICO craze is over, what’s next?

Is the ICO craze over? From a recent Token Economy newsletter:

However we are coming across more and more projects avoiding public sales all together, opting instead for phased out private-only rounds structured as traditional equity rounds or SAFTs/private pre-sales, or a combination of both in sequence. Data provided by our friends from Tokendata show that, in January, $180 million worth of capital was raised by projects that had initially planned a public sale, but eventually cancelled it and raised privately. These include Olympus Labs, Nucleus Vision, Coinfi, Shipchain and a bunch of others (not going to lie, we had not heard of most of them). Of the balance, anecdotally 50–75% was possibly raised via private pre-sales.

They speculate it’s due to regulatory fear, influx of institutional money, huge capital due to increase in value of $ETH, and a handful of other factors, including “more sanity” among founders (ha!).

What this means is unknown, though have some well-reasoned predictions including alternative distribution models where real usage is the goal, increased transparency from quality projects, and a boom in the fully compliant tokens.

Fully-compliant is one thing; proving worthy of the funds raised will be a big task this year. Many projects will not survive and that trend will begin to hurt wavering projects, where token holders decide to sell before value goes to zero.

Looking for secondary signs of weakness

Brett Steenbarger warned about the weakening in the market back on Sunday, Feb 4, a day before $SPY dropped >6%.

The psychological takeaway is that we need to drill down and look beneath the market surface and approach each fresh set of data with an open mind. On the day we made a peak in SPY, we had 599 stocks make fresh three month highs and 199 register new monthly lows. Two weeks before that, we had almost 900 new three month highs against 135 lows (data from The open mind respects price action and market strength, but also is alert to cracks beneath the surface

via Lessons in Trading and Psychology – 1: Regime Changes at TraderFeed

Automation may not replace jobs as quickly as predicted

Automation is touted to be ready to take over many jobs, including truckers. Here’s a rebuttal, specifically related to truck drivers, from a comment at Marginal Revolution. A few highlights:

One of the big failings of high-level analyses of future trends is that in general they either ignore or seriously underestimate the complexity of the job at a detailed level. Lots of jobs look simple or rote from a think tank or government office, but turn out to be quite complex when you dive into the details.

I’ve been working in automation for 20 years. When you see how hard it is to simply digitize a paper process inside a single plant (often a multi-year project), you start to roll your eyes at ivory tower claims of entire industries being totally transformed by automation in a few years.

A lot of pundits have a sense that automation is accelerating in replacing jobs. In fact, I predict it will slow down, because we have been picking the low hanging fruit first. That has given us an unrealistic idea of how hard it is to fully automate a job.

Based on my own experience with setting up routine tasks for online-oriented jobs, the role of a human to adapt to changes is very underestimated.  It seems more likely that automation will be used as a tool by humans. It requires a different set of skills, but it’s far from robots working without human interaction.