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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Consulting Augur: An Introduction to Decentralized Probability Markets

With all the speculation in the cryptosphere, it is liberating to come across a platform that you can use right here, right now. According to Ben Davidow, Augur is the world's first decentralized prediction market (DPN). It aims to unlock the wisdom of the masses by offering incentives for insider knowledge.  Will Donald Trump win a second term as President?... that is a current question on Augur (probability: 40%). Will there be a big earthquake in Tokyo by April 2019? (probability: 2%.) The theory is, people with secret knowledge, for example Japanese seismologists, will try to exploit their private expertise, and tip off the market. Over time, Augur might answer some of our most profound questions, such as When will AI become self-aware? I would wager never.. but with such an open timeframe, there won't ever be a payday. This is the kind of market I would be ought to stay away from, for reasons that I will shortly explain.

Augur has huge potential, not just in the speculated future, but right now, and that is what attracts me to the platform. That said, the system is still a bit buggy, very much Beta, and counterintuitive for newbies. To begin with, bets are called markets (buying and selling the probability of a certain event). If you want to bet against an event, you sell shares in it (even though you don't own any shares to begin with). Once you wrap your mind around this, it gets a little easier, but there are other problems. The UI can shut down, for days at a time. With some markets it can take a lot of time getting trades through. Cancelling such orders costs more gas (though not as much as it costs to enter or exit a market). Congestion on the Ethereum blockchain can freeze you just when you are about to pounce.

In spite of these obstacles, I persist, because I can see real rewards here. Based on my exchanges so far, I am 93.75% certain that I have found the Holy Grail for bear markets such as these. And since my research has revealed that cryptocurrencies languish in bear markets 75% of their lives, Augur offers me the way to monetize this downtime. Who knows, it could help kickstart the Escape from Oz, a project which has been languishing way too long in my personal bear market... (For the full review of the Augur prediction market, click here.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Smoking the $-Curve

We could assume that Bitcoin will rise relative to the US dollar by 6% per month, or 100% every year, until it shoots free from the S-Curve. Thus, its value should double every year until the mid 20s, and beyond.

I believe that Bitcoin is in the Era of Ferment stage of its life cycle, and has yet to enter the Early Adopters phase, and cross the chasm. Nonetheless, it seems to be growing in value 100% per year. I am not the first to draw this conclusion. Visionary trader Venzen Khaosan made this very same discovery way back in 2014, while describing a chart: "This up-sloping support line can be interpreted as Bitcoin’s minimum growth trajectory. It is currently at $120 which means it has doubled since a year ago, and this doubling continues at an annual pace according to the support floor’s present inclination..."

Pimping the $-Curve (Japan, 2006)

To complicate things, Bitcoin's value may surge as high as 1300% above the support floor, at any time. The upper range of possible prices from 2014 to 2020 (projected) can be shown here: US$1300 (2014), $2600 (2015), $5200 (2016), $10,400 (2017), $20,000 (2018), $42,250 (2019), $84,500 (2020). The lower possible range of prices over the same period is: $100 (2014), $200 (2015), $400 (2016), $800 (2017), $1600 (2018), $3200 (2019), $6400 (2020). 

While price explosions might be exhilarating, they don't occur so often. Most of the time, price just bounces along some distance above the floor. In my analysis, bear markets last three times longer than bull markets. Absolute lows are hit once every 18 months or so. The complete cycle, from peak to following peak, appears to be getting longer -- the most recent one stretched for four years... (To read my full analysis of how Bitcoin will mature in the years ahead, click here.)

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Three Australian Dialects, Explained

Being a young nation, Australia is not endowed with the patchwork of regional dialects found in the United States or Britain. Geography does not influence speech in any meaningful way; one regional dialect covers the entire continent. That said, ethnic and social differences do exist. Apart from the ethnic dialects of immigrants, and fading Aboriginal tongues, there are said to be three sociocultural varieties of Australian English: broad (Ocker), general, and cultivated. As Wikipedia records, "the term 'Ocker' is used both as a noun and adjective for an Australian who speaks and acts in an uncouth manner, using a broad Australian accent." Ocker culture is anti-authoritarian, and anti-intellectual. The intonation is flat with a nasal twang, and rhythms are slower than the general dialect. Speech is peppered with unique idioms, frequent swearing, and colourful terminology... (For my complete observations on the dialects of Australia, click here.)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Reawakening the Tiger

I have been reading a few blogs about a trauma intervention called Self Regulation Therapy, or SRT for short, which is based on Peter Levine's book, Waking the Tiger. It sounds similar to CBT, but there is one crucial difference: in SRT the focus is on repressed energy in the body, rather than faulty thinking patterns. It is psychosomatic, rather than just cognitive, or psychological. You could call it psychophysiological, which is rather a long word, and difficult to pronounce. Whatever the name, SRT has resonated with me, because I have been disheartened with CBT for quite some time. Session after session, I have met with K.A. at Your Strengths in Wyong, or Dr Goripati, to receive their wisdom, and pretend that they are actually helping me. They keep stressing that the solutions to my panic attacks are cognitive, I just need to change the way I interpret my thoughts, blah blah blah. They say it over and over again, but I can't get it to work for me. They claim the thought comes first, then the fearful reaction, but in my experience it is the other way round. First I feel anxious, and then I cognize, and catastrophize. It has led me to believe that panic is a symptom of the hindbrain, the reptilian brain... the part of our anatomy that we share with the birds, and the beasts. I notice that whenever I disturb the lorikeets which abound in my parents' garden they shriek instinctively, empty their bowels, and then burst into flight. For them it is the equivalent of encountering a wild lion, but they do it every day, and they never appear to suffer from any mental trauma afterwards... (For my complete observations on SRT and how it may help with panic disorder, click here.)
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