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BITCOIN & CRYPTO CURRENCIES

Good Morning Readers!  So…is Bitcoin here to stay?  Is it a legitimate currency or is it simply another fiat or fad currency?  We have been researching and discussing the craze and issues surrounding Bitcoin and crypto currencies, and wanted to share what we learned with you.  It seems that everyday people we speak with tend to have many of the same questions…such as:

  • How does it work?  (Click HERE for a basic introduction to Bitcoin)
  • Is it a real and viable currency?
  • Is it a bubble?
  • Is is sustainable?
  • What backs this and other crypto currencies?
  • Will crypto currencies put the banks out of business?
  • Should I invest in crypto currencies?
  • Is it safe?

Trying to answer all these questions isn’t possible in one post.  Rather we simply want to address these questions, but from a broad or macro spectrum.  Listed below are a few links from some pretty smart people who have a good understanding of the economic, financial, geo-political and social perspectives who also share their thoughts on crypto currencies.  Just take some time and listen to what they have to share.  You don’t have to take their word for it, just balance what they’re presenting and addressing and compare it to the many, many crypto currency proponents out there in order to get a more balanced view.  That’s all…  So, take a listen to these interviews (some of these interviews cover a multitude of economic areas other than crypto currencies, but what they have to say in these other areas shape their views on crypto currencies.  Then we’ll highlight a few of our own points to consider further down in our post:

CAUTIOUS PERSPECTIVES ON BITCOIN AND CRYPTO CURRENCIES:

POINT #1 – There are so many questions and issues related to Bitcoin and crypto currencies as to whether or not they’re a legitimate form of currency.  Before we go any further in expressing our opinions, let me be very, very clear on this…  GMS Business Consulting, Inc. is NOT an investment advisory firm. We do NOT give clients investment advice…period.  We provide business advice and are compensated for providing business advisory services and guidance. Because we have financial backgrounds at international investment firms and international consulting firms, we are simply choosing to exercise our freedom of speech by expressing our OPINIONS on various sorts of issues, events, and matters including Bitcoin and crypto currencies to our readers.

So…our short answer as to whether or not Bitcoin is a legitimate currency or not is…in our opinion is…yes, it’s “currently” a legitimate yet limited form of currency as evidenced by some businesses and individuals accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for goods and services provided.  That said, this crypto currency has never been tested in a financial crisis nor can it be “directly” purchased or redeemed at your local bank (yet).  You can purchase crypto currencies directly through a crypto wallet (such as Coinbase) by using your bank account or debit card/credit card to purchase the crypto currency itself and storing it in your crypto wallet.  However your local bank doesn’t currently “issue/sell/redeem” Bitcoin.  Once you have the crypto currency in your crypto wallet, you may then use these to pay for products and services from businesses who accept Bitcoin or other crypto currencies for payment.  The funds used to purchase crypto currencies do come directly from your bank account in the form of U.S. dollars (or whatever your local currency is such as euro’s/ sterling/etc.), and the crypto currency can then be sold and stored in your crypto wallet to purchase other crypto currencies such as Ethereum or Litecoin…or… the proceeds may be converted back into your local currency and redeposited back into your local bank account.

POINT #2 – Now…as far as “investing” in crypto’s is concerned, there is no doubt that many, many individuals have made a lot of money investing and trading these crypto currencies over the last few years, especially in 2017.  That said, many, many people will lose a lot of money as well investing/trading Bitcoin and others, just as many individuals made and lost money in the .com bubble and the real estate bubbles.  Both of those bubbles had viable companies and assets, but many companies were not viable or they increased to such highly inflated values with nothing to to back their valuations, resulting in their downfall.  Did some .com companies and real estate survive the 2008 financial crisis and still exist today?  Of course some survived and thrived!  But not all survived nor made money.  Given that crypto currencies are relatively new, untested, highly volatile and to a great extent still somewhat of a mystery as to how they actually work and what backs the value of these crypto’s at the end of the day, we would approach investing in crypto’s with caution.  Invest only what you could afford to lose.

POINT #3 – As far as “trading” crypto currencies, it all comes down to buying low and selling high…it’s about TIMING!  It’s about “when” you buy and when you sell.  If you don’t have knowledge about the investment vehicle you’re trading AND a discipline to manage your trading, then you’re simply gambling your money blindly with the hopes and dreams of making money.  It’s called greed…  As humans, we tend to be motivated by two emotional states of mind…greed and fear.  Right now, 9 years after the real estate bubble, and 16 years after the .com bubble, many people have forgotten the the golden rules…the principles of investing…buy low, sell high.  The question is…how high will Bitcoin and other crypto currencies go?  Nobody knows!  If you believe you have an adequate knowledge of crypto currencies and the discipline to successfully trade these crypto currencies, then by all means exercise your freedom to do so.  If you don’t have either one, then I  would make three recommendations:

  1. Get informed on both sides (research the pro’s and cons/risks of investing in crypto currencies) from knowledgable, experienced sources, and…
  2. Implement a disciplined investing/trading system to identify changes in the momentum of the particular crypto currency you’re interested in investing or trading, and lastly…
  3. Invest only what you can afford to lose…period.  As mentioned before…these crypto currencies have NOT been tested in a financial crisis.

POINT # 4 – When it comes to really understanding the mechanics of crypto currencies, I still have not seen nor heard a “clear” definitive description or seen a diagram adequately explaining just how these actually work, (terms such as “distributed ledgers” and “blockchain” technology etc.)  How do they really work?  We’ve read the definitions, but even with our financial and consulting backgrounds, it’s still challenging to comprehend the meaning and processes involved given that the definitions are filled with crypto coding language to decipher in order to understand a single point in the definition itself!  Could YOU describe these terms to your colleagues so that they really understand how they work?  Can you explain it to the average person on the street in detail that perhaps even to a high school student to understand?  Or…are they so complex that only coders may understand?  That was the problem with derivatives… People could use the lingo, but they really had no idea of how they actually worked.  In my view, if you can’t explain it in plain…clear…English, then the person describing it really doesn’t understand it either.

POINT #5 – What actually backs these crypto currencies?  Other worthless forms of fiat currencies?  In a melt-down or an extreme loss of confidence, what is actually protecting and backing the value of this currency?  Who is backing it?  Enough said about that…

POINT #6 – Also, please consider the following points related to Bitcoin and crypto currencies:

  • If you believe investing or trading in crypto currencies will not become controlled and regulated by Wall Street and the central bankers of the world, the IMF or the BIS…think again.
  • If you believe Wall Street and the central bankers of this world are going to hand over or transfer their oversight/regulation/money-making control and power of international banking to unregulated crypto currencies to the individual or to the wild west internet?…think again.
  • If you believe Bitcoin or these crypto currencies can continue increasing in value without revaluations/corrections etc…think again and don’t forget the lessons of history.

POINT #7 – All that said, in this post, we’re simply wanted to present the cautionary-side of Bitcoin and crypto currencies by some very seasoned professionals with different backgrounds, and to give you some food for thought before jumping on the bandwagon of crypto currencies.  We wanted to provide the cautionary side because there are dozens and dozens of people singing only the praises of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies.  As mentioned earlier, you can watch dozens and dozens of people endorsing crypto currencies all over the internet.  And who knows, they may be spot-on with their research and analysis, but many are simply trying to sell you something without explaining the downside risks or providing a sound foundation of information for the individual.  We’re not concerned with Wall Street or the central bankers or the individuals who have already made their fortune by investing on the ground floor of these crypto currencies.  We’re mostly concerned about the average person, professional or laborer, who works hard for their money trying to make a living, and are considering crypto currencies.

POINT # 8 – Lastly, we do believe crypto currencies and blockchain technology are here to stay, but not in their current state…  Whether we like them or not, they’re part of our future in one form or another.  The issue is how will these crypto currencies be valued, protected, backed, as well as, how and who will regulate them?  Which of these will survive?   Have you considered that perhaps the central banks of the world, the IMF or the BIS are in the process of creating their own crypto currencies?  Do you think they haven’t been exploring this already?  Our thoughts and recommendations are simply to do your own research, speak with your investment adviser, and then proceed with caution.  We hope this post is of value to you because you are valuable to us…  Keep an eye out for our upcoming post in a few weeks about Hashgraph…will it replace blockchain technology?

GMS BUSINESS CONSULTING – provides lawyers and business professionals with Accounting Services, Business Development Services, Business Optimization Services and Digital Marketing Services to help business professionals successfully organize, grow and operate their businesses more effectively and efficiently.  We do NOT provide investment advice.  Contact Us  if you are interested in learning more about our services, and in particular about M.A.P.(our 3-phase business development solution), designed to help you strategically focus and tactically grow your business.  We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

info@gmsbusinessconsulting.com

707-218-3135

John 14:15

 

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Apple – Lacks Supplier Oversight

MacRumors.com

Photo from: https://cdn.macrumors.com/article-new/2015/02/iphone75colors-800×438.jpg?retina

Good Morning Everyone:

Just a brief post we wanted to share with you…that we believe you would want to know about.  This post is to highlight the lack of oversight by Apple Inc. with regard to the poor working and living conditions for employees at one of Apple’s key manufacturing suppliers.  This is a situation that should be non-existent when it comes to the worlds largest market capitalized corporation in the world.  A company that does so many things well, yet completely misses the mark when it comes to addressing the fair treatment of their manufacturing supplier’s employees overseas.  Why?  What’s the reason for this?  This VIDEO as presented, reported and seen on Bloomberg News, shows one of Apple’s key manufacturing suppliers in China by the name of “Catcher Technology” (the manufacturer for the iPhone’s brushed metal casing), exhibiting deplorable working and living conditions for its employees!  This component…the iPhone casing is one of the largest if not the single largest component of the iPhone!  Is this too much of a challenge for Apple to address with its suppliers?  May I be so bold as to present three simple solutions that would eliminate this situation with all of their key suppliers:

  1. First, in all contract negotiations with foreign suppliers, Apple needs to set the standards for employee working and living conditions similar to what would be set here in the U.S.  Anything less would be taking advantage of these contracted employees from a human dignity standpoint.  Of course these workers will be paid less as their cost of living is less, but the “working and living conditions” should be established and implemented according to Apple’s standards.  The incremental cost should be easily negotiated and absorbed by both Apple and their supplier.  AND
  2. To hold unscheduled/unannounced on-site visits, documentation and interviews (including video interviews and site locations of working and living conditions…all done on iPhones to be directly uploaded to Apple Inc.) by an independent 3rd party at each key manufacturing supplier on a monthly basis.  This will allow the supply chain management team to view, analyze and remedy any potential adverse employee living and working conditions before they become problematic and in accordance with U.S. standards.  OR…
  3. Assign 2-3 full-time Apple employees at each of their key manufacturing supplier facility to perform the same tasks listed above to remedy any potential adverse employee living and working conditions before they become problematic, and in accordance with U.S. standards (as well as perform other supply chain optimization and intelligence gathering that would be beneficial to Apple’s executive management).

Is there any reasonable explanation for this lack of oversight?  With billions of dollars in revenue, and all the technological, logistical and managerial capabilities that Apple Inc has at its disposal, you would think they would have the ability to address these issues with EACH of their key suppliers at the onset of contract negotiations.  Perhaps we’re wrong?  What would it take for Apple to remedy these situations?  Perhaps if each potential buyer of Apple products were to see this VIDEO…before making their purchase, would it influence their purchasing decisions regarding Apple products?  Would it get Apple’s attention then?  I personally have been a supporter of Apple products for over two decades.  However, after seeing the conditions of this one “key” manufacturing supplier, it’s hard to ignore and not let this influence how I view Apple (the corporation), and its dedication to upholding humane, decent employee working and living conditions of its key suppliers employees.  In producing this VIDEO, Bloomberg News sent one of their own reporters to document these awful working and living conditions at one of their key suppliers.  So this is not simply rumor or hearsay by an anonymous source, this is researched, documented and publicly presented by Bloomberg.

I understand Apple is not alone in this lack of supplier oversight.  Many, many global corporations are guilty of the same disregard of foreign employees/contracted employees working and living in shameful conditions all for the sake of maximizing their earnings per share.  Is this due to the lack of ability or lack of financial resources?  Or is it due to negatively impacting earning results of a few pennies per share?  I don’t know the answer to that from Apple’s perspective.  Only Apple’s executive management knows the answers to these questions.  All that said, given Apple’s position as a global leader in technology, their apparent lack of knowledge, interest and dedication to negotiating and implementing higher quality, humane working and living standards for key supplier employees is inexcusable and a great disappointment.  Those in charge of supply-chain management & oversight at Apple, should be better negotiators and better enforcers of making sure their products are not being made at the expense of human dignity…especially when charging the prices they do  for their products, and offshoring $billions in profits.

As for us, this current lack of oversight may influence our future purchasing decisions when it comes to Apple products.  What a shame…  Apple does so many things so well.  Perhaps Apple focuses too much attention on placing investment capital in technology, design, branding & image, and offshoring huge profits in the BILLIONS…and perhaps not enough attention spent on the human dignity of the foreign workers in their supply chain.  Come on Apple, you can do better than that…we know you can!  It’s a choice…but is it a priority?  We expect you to lead, innovate, implement and uphold to higher standards, especially when it comes to global worker conditions in your supply chain.  The importance of human dignity should match the quality of the products you produce…period.  Please don’t prove us wrong!  Give this the attention and resources it deserves…fix the problems.

GMS BUSINESS CONSULTING – provides lawyers and business professionals with Accounting Services, Business Development Services, Business Optimization Services and Digital Marketing Services to help business professionals successfully organize, grow and operate their businesses more effectively and efficiently.  We do NOT provide investment advice.  Contact Us  if you are interested in learning more about our services, and in particular about M.A.P.(our 3-phase business development solution), designed to help you strategically focus and tactically grow your business.  We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

info@gmsbusinessconsulting.com

707-218-3135

John 14:15