Curiosity/Motivation/Logic and why stablecoins are the future

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Steve Sokolowski
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Curiosity/Motivation/Logic and why stablecoins are the future

Post by Steve Sokolowski » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:07 pm

In my last post, I showed why my confidence in there being more than one more bubble is too low to justify remaining heavily invested in cryptocurrencies. In this article I want to expand upon that reasoning by talking a little bit about human factors that lead me to believe that stablecoins pose a great risk to traditional cryptocurrencies.

Defining CML

People differ in a number of ways, and they express all sorts of personality traits. However, in my interactions with people in all areas of life, I've noticed that one characteristic seems to differentiate people more than any other. I'll refer to this characteristic as "CML" throughout the rest of this post, as the best way I was able to describe it is a sequence of curiosity, motivation, and logic. People who exhibit this trait use those three steps to evaluate and act when faced with most situations, while people who do not exhibit this trait fail to do so. An overwhelming majority of people do not possess the "CML" trait and its absence increasingly hinders their abilities to understand and succeed in the world as technology and social structures become increasingly complex.

Here are a few examples of common scenarios people face in life.
  • At lunch, a co-worker discusses a movie that he's seen and talks about some aspect of it that he really enjoyed. A high-CML person might search for the movie on Google to read a synopsis of it, or will watch the movie himself to learn more. Low-CML people will nod and politely respond to what the other person is saying, then give it no further thought.
  • An error message appears in an application a person uses often. A high-CML person might search for or ask someone for information about the error message to get at least a cursory understanding of what the problem could be, or to figure out the best way to avoid it without understanding it. A low-CML person will often state "I didn't go to college, so I can't understand this" or "it's beyond my capabilities" and will believe the error is unsolvable.
  • A person just got laid off from a job. A high-CML person might create a spreadsheet listing his options, which in addition to finding a new job would include different possibilities like traveling on savings, working less and cutting back on expenses, or starting a business. A low-CML person would likely start firing off resumes to companies immediately without considering all the options first, because that's what society told him to do.
  • A person is asked to go skydiving. A high-CML person would say "yes," or would ask questions about skydiving before declining, because high-CML people evaluate risks and try new experiences. A low-CML person would decline immediately because skydiving is perceived as dangerous and that's not what he does.
  • A person buys a new gadget. A high-CML person sets up the gadget so that it is configured correctly for their home. A low-CML person turns on the gadget without looking to see if there is an easier way to do it, and then wastes hours over the years performing complex routines over and over again to work around whatever is wrong for them with the default configuration.
When presented with new information or with a decision, high-CML people are curious about how things work. They are motivated to learn more about the topic. They use logic to think through why things are they way they are, and arrive at a logical conclusion based upon the new knowledge they gained by being curious and motivated. In contrast, when low-CML people are presented with new information or a decision, they lack the curiosity and motivation to improve their knowledge, and often do what is most common in society.

You can tell that a person is low-CML if he says phrases like "that's dumb," "you're weird," or "because I don't like it." The response in some forums where I reposted the last post about bubbles and the singularity was met by many low-CML people stating it was "insane" or "delusional." High-CML people but who disapprove of something would instead say "that point is wrong because..." The first phrases demonstrate a lack of thought about the topic, while the last shows that the person spent some time considering the topic, even though they both come to the same conclusion. You can probably picture several people you know who are low-CML, and may know someone who is high-CML.

CML is not related to intelligence, and low-CML people are not dumb. While there are some people who unfortunately have severe disabilities and will never be able to understand most topics, 99% of people can gain enough knowledge of almost any topic to make good decisions if they are willing to spend a little energy on learning about it. Even complex topics, like computer programming, are within reach of most people. While learning how to avoid race conditions in Javascript is a challenge, it's not difficult to understand the difference between a client and a server, how a single core processor differs from a quad-core processor, or that a computer consists of memory and a CPU and a hard drive. Consider how many people spend 12 hours a day looking at their phone screens, but have never bothered to learn the purpose of a graphics processor is.

Low-CML people innately believe that they do not have the ability to learn or think logically. Therefore, they take the easiest way out on almost everything, even though that repeatedly leads to suboptimal outcomes for them. They make the same mistakes over and over, despite the fact that there is almost always a way to put in 5% more effort to get out something that is 50% better. And that's a shame, because unlike many things we are dealt in life, CML is changeable if one wants to change.


The world's problems

As technology continues to advance at an ever increasing pace, CML is becoming the core trait that divides humanity. Increasingly, people are becoming divided into two camps - those who understand the basics of how computers work, and those who do not. And the difference between people who understand the basics is not intelligence, education, or age, but whether a person is low-CML or high-CML.

At the core of most of the political issues of today is a battle between low-CML people who believe they are powerless against technological change, and high-CML people who take the time to understand these changes. Trump, Johnson, and (to a lesser extent so far) Le Pen have been effective at rallying people who do not exhibit the curiosity to learn about why the world is the way it is. Their opponents are people who have put careful thought into the issues and come to a reasoned belief.

Unfortunately, the number of people who are motivated to learn new information and remain informed in the world is far lower than the number of people who never examine the reasons why anything is true. One of the reasons why fake news is so prevalent and effective is apparently because many people share articles after having only read the headline. The politicians above recognize this low motivation to read the article and create false soundbytes that they know low-CML people will not take the time to fact-check.

An enormous amount of effort is now being spent on making products inferior to what they used to be to cater to low-CML people. For example, when Windows boots, in 1995 there used to be a list of the drivers being loaded. Then, in 2005 there was a progress bar. Now, there's a spinning or pulsing Windows logo with no information indicating what is happening at all. Even though these changes didn't affect the stability of Windows or the load time in any way, Microsoft hid useful information, probably because a marketing department found that low-CML people had a negative reaction to seeing code they said was "nerdy" or "weird."


How CML relates to cryptocurrencies

Now that you're aware of what CML is, it should be easy to explain why I believe that stablecoins are the first real threat to cryptocurrency.

In a recent conversation, I discussed Purse.io with someone. I had mentioned that my Purse orders were being regularly filled at 33% discounts, and that I had saved about $3000 during the past year by using Purse. I asked why he hadn't used Purse, given that he earned much less than I did and that $3000 to him would be life changing. His response was immediate and typical of a low-CML person: because bitcoins have too much volatility. I explained to him that volatility isn't a factor because you can buy the amount of bitcoin cash you need, send it to Purse, and spend it immediately, all within 10 minutes. The next response was that there were crashes in cryptocurrencies, so I pointed out that while that crashes did occur, it is extremely rare, if ever, that the price of bitcoin cash fell by 33% in 10 minutes - so even if there were a crash, you could still save money.

In the end, that person never did sign up for Purse - and that should be a huge warning flag to everyone. Purse is as close to a "killer app" for cryptocurrency as there ever will be. On bulk trash collection weekends near where I live, there are huge pickup trucks owned by people who supplement their income by driving hundreds of miles around the neighborhoods picking up metal to sell it at a few cents per pound to a scrapyard, costing hundreds of dollars in gas and maintenance to scrape out a miniscule profit. These same people could sign up for Purse and order necessities, like toothpaste and soap, saving more money in an hour than the few bucks they can make (and that's before taxes) in an entire night picking up trash, simply because they think Purse is too complicated.

The enormous discounts on Purse - the maximum of 33% - remain. In any efficient market, one would expect these discounts to decline to be close to what one can achieve by gaming the credit card system, where one can get 5% cash back on Amazon with some cards. The belief that cryptocurrency is too complicated and volatile is so anathema to low-CML people that they are willing to ignore thousands of dollars in savings because they aren't willing to try it and form their own opinions.


Why stablecoins will become dominant

Stablecoins are the exact type of product that appeals to low-CML people, because they are exactly the same thing as government-backed money is. They are just backed by corporations instead. Science fiction has, for 50 years, been predicting what is happening with stablecoins, where eventually corporations gain so much power that they buy entire planets and mine them for minerals. The only difference these authors failed to predict is that instead of employees of the huge corporations spending company scrip, they will be spending cryptocurrencies created by the companies. These stablecoins can be backed by more than one asset across a wide range of classes, such as gold, bitcoins, real estate, and other things, to prevent inflation or deflation better than today's currencies do.

One of the reasons why stablecoins will become dominant is that low-CML people aren't willing to question what money is backed by, as many cryptocurrency enthusiasts do, or learn about economics. They won't care that their money is backed by facebook instead of the United States. As long as it appears to be worth the same amount, that will be fine with them. They won't look into whether facebook actually is in good financial condition to back that promise, just as many people share headlines without even a cursory glance to see whether they have any possibility of being true.

Unbacked cryptocurrencies have turned into a circus. After an entire decade, they still aren't used for everyday purchases, and the volatility in the past week has been more ridiculous than ever. Low-CML people are not motivated to spend a few minutes learning about why these coins are valuable and useful. If they had been motivated, these markets wouldn't be in the absurd state they are in now.


Conclusion

In conclusion, I've had to change my outlook from years ago after realizing that stablecoins are likely to suck up most of the world's money over the next ten years. Unlike bitcoin, they are run by corporations that can make a profit by advertising the coins and getting people to use them. Low-CML people, who are the majority of people in society, follow what they are told without being willing to understand why they are told it. As the incredible Purse discounts show, low-CML people are so unwilling to understand existing coins that they will pay 50% more for some goods, just so they don't have to use bitcoin cash.

The existing cryptocurrencies will still be around, and they will still appreciate greatly in value from what they are worth now. But I now expect their usage to continue to be limited to speculation and trading. If 1% of the world has used bitcoins so far, then I doubt that more than 10% of the population will ever own unpegged coins, despite 100% of people eventually using cryptocurrency. Bitcoin will become an even more valuable currency, but it will not become the dominant currency for everyday use because low-CML people will not take the time to understand it. Many things in life can be simplified, but I don't believe that bitcoin can be simplified significantly more.

If you are trying to predict the future value of bitcoins or litecoins, the most important statistic you should be evaluating is what you believe the percentage of high-CML people in the world is. Since almost all the people reading this article are high-CML (given its length and the unpopular opinions presented), and most high-CML people associate with like people, I think they overestimate the percentage of high-CML people in the world. My belief is that the percentage is less than 10%, which is why stablecoins will dominate and bitcoins are very unlikely to ever meet the seven-figure valuations some users are predicting.
Last edited by Steve Sokolowski on Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ajs
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:43 pm

Re: Curiosity/Motivation/Logic and why stablecoins are the future

Post by ajs » Sun Jun 30, 2019 3:27 pm

Steve,

A very interesting read, and similar to a theory I have - yet I use a different term than CML. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and how the nature of the "masses" might influence cryptocurrency adoption and how stable coins (and the mega-corporations) might change how the future works.

In general I agree with your assertions and conclusions, but also wonder if there is a different dynamic in play with "developing" countries. Charles Hoskinson of Cardano is targeting this market, and often speaks of how cryptocurrencies need to be much more simple and interchangeable if they will be adopted for mainstream use. He uses WiFi and Bluetooth and examples. You simply want them to work and be easily exchanged with what you already have. His point is that once crypto interfaces cleanly with a bank, a point of sale, and with other currencies only then will it be adopted for the mainstream. Companies need to be able to deal with it cleanly. Sadly, I just spent the last 20 minutes download yet another wallet for a new cryptocurrency (a top 20 coin) which means I now need to go to three different wallets just view/trade my 6 major coins. This is silly beyond belief, and must change if larger adoption will be successful.

Things like the upcoming SOV from the Marshall Islands are going to try to make cryptocurrencies available to people with very intermittent access to computers and networks. Cardano is looking at similar things in the Africa region and Asia. These are things to watch in my opinion.
Steve Sokolowski wrote:If you are trying to predict the future value of bitcoins or litecoins, the most important statistic you should be evaluating is what you believe the percentage of high-CML people in the world is. Since almost all the people reading this article are high-CML (given its length and the uncommon opinions presented), and most high-CML people associate with like people, I think they overestimate the percentage of high-CML people in the world. My belief is that the percentage is less than 10%, which is why stablecoins will dominate and bitcoins are very unlikely to ever meet the seven-figure valuations some users are predicting.
I would suggest much lower than 10% of people are high-CML. I would say more like 1%. Like you my statistics are biased by working and living in a self selecting group of high-CML people. If you go really look at the broader population, you will be amazed by what you observe. However the percentage of people is not the statistic to observe, in my opinion. It is the percentage of money these people control and use, and how they will use it and what they will value. Many of this small group will not trust the big companies and will believe in decentralization, and will drive a majorly disproportionate amount of money and power.

I do think they number of cycles, and their depth, might be limited, yet I still feel that crypto will be driven by high-CML people over the next few years. If high-CML investors want even a small hedge in this market, it could drive a cycle larger than we have currently seen. And it does not need to be many of them, just a few who are hedge fund managers who control the funds of many of the low-CML people.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts, I value them highly.
spauk
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:33 pm

Re: Curiosity/Motivation/Logic and why stablecoins are the future

Post by spauk » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:26 pm

I don't know who Johnson or Le Pen are (ok i guess i know who Le Pen is, she's a french president), but I'm pretty sure Trump didn't use fake news, but it was used against him. Things that don't even make it on the tv perpetrate the worst fake news, somehow he got slandered as being racist or sexist but there's zero proof and it's mostly irrelevant anyway.
You say low CML people aren't dumb but it sounds like that's exactly what you're saying.
It's an interesting topic even though I might get a bit triggered by some parts.
spauk
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:33 pm

Re: Curiosity/Motivation/Logic and why stablecoins are the future

Post by spauk » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:02 pm

If your'e wondering where I sit in the CML spectrum, I think I have curiosity and logic, but lack motivation most of the time, as sad as it is, i just don't care. It might be because of depression or just a personality trait that i could probably change if i cared enough to do so, i guess this is the disability Steve talks about.
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