December 7, 2017
What We’re Reading This Week
Uber executives testified this past week that the company trained and encouraged staff to use encrypted messaging services like Wickr when discussing topics that could come up in “anticipated litigation.” I’ve stated in the past that if you find yourself “stuffing cash in a duffel bag,” then something has gone wrong in your life. This seems like a corollary. If you anticipate litigation, the answer is not to become more secretive. Something has gone wrong in your life.
This case raises important ethical questions concerning interoffice chat programs. Specifically, given the sensitive nature of communications between employees regarding trade secrets and clients, is there room for encryption? On one hand, data needs to remain secure. On the other hand, that data needs to be retained for litigation, anticipated or otherwise.
Most damning, is that federal court guidelines allow judges to tell jurors “that they can presume that information covered up by a litigant and now missing would have been negative for that party.”
Yay! The DOW continues to rise and hit record highs. Never mind that the DOW is 30 stocks, ignore the fact that it’s not market cap weighted, just be happy it’s going up. And, while you’re at it, buy “purebred stocks.”
This story caught my attention because of the vaguely racist title. What in the world is a purebred stock, I wondered. Apparently, it’s a large, high-quality firm. I know USA Today isn’t exactly known for its forward-thinking stock picks but I’ll go out on a limb and agree that “high-quality” stocks are a safe investment.
As Bitcoin climbs higher and higher, it’s interesting to consider the DOW again. The DOW reached 24,000 and it took 131 years to get there. Bitcoin has barely existed for a decade and is now worth $10,000 USD. Personally, I struggle with valuing Bitcoin. Now, it’s pretty much dependent on people’s interest. That’s just like the rest of the market. The difference is that while supply and demand drive market prices, generally there are assets that have value to them. For instance, if people stop drinking Coca-Cola, there are bottling factories, distribution centers, and other things with value. Put differently, it has scrap value. Bitcoin doesn’t.
In the future, Bitcoin will either be worth a lot more or…nothing, right? Maybe I am missing something but there are really only two options. Either, it takes the place of some other type of currency or it takes
the place of no currency. Right now, it trades based on how much people like or dislike it– that’s not sustainable. Also, I don’t see a middle ground. Bitcoin can’t partially replace a currency. It would be more efficient to use or it wouldn’t. I mean, when I buy gas (we probably won’t buy gas in the future), it makes sense to use Bitcoin or it doesn’t, but not both.
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