Levine on Wall Street: The Magic Power of Bitcoin (and Dogecoin)

If you like cryptocurrencies there is much for you to read. Also insider trading, princelings, and Harvard Business School fleeces.

Bitcoins might be useful .

I am sort of a Bitcoin skeptic, and Marc Andreessen is definitely talking his book here, but this is a pretty good articulation of how Bitcoin could have a future as a payment system. (Also, here is a Fortune piece calling it "Napster for finance," which is a mixed bag.) I think Bitcoin boosters tend to overstate some of the benefits of the Bitcoin payment system, and I still don't entirely understand why we can't just make better dollar-denominated payment systems instead of inventing a whole new currency (here is Izzy Kaminska), but to be fair Andreessen doesn't really believe much in the currency thing either. He says "Bitcoin can be used entirely as a payment system; merchants do not need to hold any Bitcoin currency or be exposed to Bitcoin volatility at any time." It's just somehow magically easier for consumers with dollars to give their dollars to merchants who want dollars if the dollars transmute briefly into Bitcoins along the way.

Also Dogecoin .

Sort of amazingly "Dogecoin is already the second most-traded cryptocurrency in the world by volume, with $14,830,106 traded in the last 24 hours, behind only Bitcoin with $20,499,372," which is just a terrifying commentary on the value of internet memes. Never has dumb amusement been so valuable. And unlike Bitcoin, which is designed to unite people across all boundaries of nationality, Dogecoin comes with its own language. In 20 years we'll all be speaking Doge.

Hiring princelings is costing JPMorgan deals.

JPMorgan dropped out of a proposed initial public offering for Tianhe Chemicals Group, a private Chinese company whose chairman's daughter used to work for JPMorgan in Hong Kong. Because of the whole scandal of JPMorgan employing the children of executives of state-owned Chinese companies. Tianhe is not a state-owned company, so that's weird. Also, what is the chairman's daughter up to these days?

Since October, she has been working at UBS in Hong Kong, according to the database. She is employed in the Swiss bank's equities and capital markets group but is not involved in the planned Tianhe I.P.O., according to one person with direct knowledge of with the matter.

Morgan Stanley, UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are currently leading Tianhe's plans to raise $1 billion or more in a Hong Kong share sale

Ah but she's not involved in the IPO, you see, so it's fine.

Here is a thing about insider trading and materiality .

John Carney disagrees with me on the internet, as is his right. I'm not going to summarize this whole argument here, but the sequence is me, him, me, him. He does cite a Third Circuit case saying that "when a stock is traded in an efficient market, the materiality of disclosed information may be measured post hoc by looking to the movement, in the period immediately following disclosure, of the price of the firm's stock," which is a pretty interesting thing to say, and one that puts a lot of weight on the assumption that the market is efficient. How efficient was the market for Nestor Inc.?

Here's how Davos works.

I feel better about not being invited to Davos after reading Felix Salmon:

Why do these CEOs come to Davos? It's not to reflect painfully on their failure to live up to the Pope's calling. Instead, Occam's razor absolutely applies, here: the simplest explanation is absolutely the correct one. They come because they are invited; because they can get their companies to pay for it; because it's generally considered a hot ticket that lots of people want; and because they get to rub shoulders with heads of state and global celebrities.

Honestly I felt pretty okay before, too.

Here's what to wear to Harvard Business School.

Spoiler, the answer is $150 fleeces with your section number on them. Says a person: "Initially they were worn as a bit of a joke, but they quickly became part of many people's daily wardrobes. They weren't just for the library, but for group trips in restaurants or airports - there's definitely an element of statement power dressing and a reminder that we were the chosen few." The path from joking that you are part of the chosen few, to actually believing that you are part of the chosen few, is a well-trodden one.

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    To contact the author on this story:
    Matthew S Levine at mlevine51@bloomberg.net

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.