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Understanding USA Crypto/Cash Exchanges

Let this post serve to inform those who buy/sell Dogecoin [from other individuals], in order to protect yourselves as well as others.
Update: Title says USA, but someone asked about UK. I don't live there, but laws are meant to be read. Added UK section.
USA Section
The USA has been very helpful in regards to understanding the rising Crypto currency markets, and has provided updated guidances in regards to money exchanges, as well as mining. It's tough to cover all the points, but I'll try to make a few.
Common Questions:
What happens if I'm not "trading", but "gifting" my "friend" $10,0000?
Nothing. And everything. You see, when it comes to the "guidance", it really is just that: A guidance. Where it comes to hurt you is when the FBI knocks on your door, asking you why you transmitted $10,000 to a known terrorist. Ok, that example is a bit extreme, but the fact stays that the guidance is there to protect you until subsequent formal laws are put in place.
So I can trade $999.99 worth of Dogecoin in a day?
You can trade up to $1000 in a 24 hour period. This mean $1000, not a penny more. You'll give yourself a headache trying to keep it at exactly "$999.99".
How does this guidance and current law effect Dogecoin?
All virtual currencies are effected by this law, and does not "nail down" or target any one specific virtual currency.
What if I don't mine Dogecoin, but have bought some and want to use them for goods/services, what then?
You are then a "user" of Dogecoin, and are subject to all regular laws and limitations. Essentially, you can use the coin for all goods/services that are of a legal nature. Use it to buy coffee, hire someone to mow your lawn, or give out freely as you like.
What's the deal with USA taxes?
As it stands, no clear precedents have been set, and though the IRS is aware of the massive amount of earnings many Bitcoin'ers have, this is the first year that users are making a substantial sum of money from crytpo-currencies. Because of this, dealing with taxes has been a much heated debate. Link 1Link 2
More then likely, we'll be getting guidances later in the year in order better understand what to claim and how to claim it. From what I've seen (do NOT take this as legal advice), many users are claiming any gains as Short-term gains on their taxes. Link #2 above is a link to a user claiming to be a tax attorney, and is worth a read (it's LOOONG).
So the people buying $1k+ for doge are actually breaking the law?
No. The buyer is considered a "user" as part of the guidance: "A user is a person that obtains virtual currency to purchase goods or services.". A seller is listed in the guidance as "An exchanger is a person engaged as a business in the exchange of virtual currency for real currency...[etc]".
A good example of this is when you go to an international airport, and go to the currency exchange station. The station must be licensed in order to perform the transaction, but the "buyer" (you) does not need to be licensed.
UK Section
Note that all the requirements below must be met in order to NOT have to register as a Money Service Business; It's not that you are not allowed to perform services if you do not meet all the requirements, but that you must register if you want to perform such actions legally. Since I do not live in the UK and additionally am not aware of any guidances as related to virtual currency, I cannot faithfully interpret the laws as they pertain to Dogecoin.
  • You cannot make more then £64,000 a year total in exchange services
  • Turnover (anything you gain after losses are calculated) cannot be more then 5% of your total annual turnover
  • Currency exchange worth more than 1,000 euros must be limited to one per customer - This is both for one single large transaction and multiple small transactions to a single individual
  • Your primary business cannot be solely performing monetary transactions, it must be secondary to your main business. This is hard to interpret, so let's put it this way: You can't just exchange money as a business. You would need to sell lemons at your lemon stand, and do money exchange on the side. It's very hard to do this without seeming like a front for a money laundering service though.
  • You cannot perform an exchange for just anyone: They have to be your customer. For example, if you go to a private bank, they cannot exchange money for you unless you open an account with them (just an example). (Note: This is a very weird portion of the law.)
After reading and interpreting the current UK laws to the best of my understanding, all I can say is that until the UK provides guidance for cryptocurrency, be VERY CAUTIOUS about performing ANY transactions, to the point where if I was living in the UK, I would not try selling any crypto with a 10ft (3M) pole. Buying seems fine though.
Common questions:
Note: Please check the USA section prior to asking a question. Since many countries have not pushed official laws, many of the general principles are the same between countries when it comes to money exchange services.
No questions at this time
I'll try to answer more questions as they come along, as well as glean any better answers from comments below.
submitted by GuideZ to dogecoin [link] [comments]

Removed comments from Economics subreddits - 07/23/18

And what has Germany provided the US in the last 30 years?
Comment removed from /Economics - Captian_Cocksmith - Created on 07/23/18 00:19:43 UTC - permalink
The low interest rates are a response to the expansion of credit. This sets off the inflationary boom which ends as money begins being priced to actual conditions. Optimistic investments 'above' the actual conditions suffer when the credit expansion ends or even inflects.
Comment removed from /AskEconomics - sh0t - Created on 07/23/18 00:30:26 UTC - permalink
You can easily google that information. Starting point: critical military bases.
Comment removed from /Economics - nutmeggerking - Created on 07/23/18 00:41:39 UTC - permalink
I like Steve Keen's take on this and his modeling of monetary flows:
A recent Business Insider article put the blame on monopsony, which I also agree with.
Comment removed from /AskEconomics - sh0t - Created on 07/23/18 00:57:40 UTC - permalink
Critical military bases to protect Germany.. that's not helping USA..
Comment removed from /Economics - 162lake - Created on 07/23/18 01:07:08 UTC - permalink
You do realise that Ramstein Airbase is where your critically wounded soldiers get their emergency care right?
Also, you also realise that Germany hosts your drones communication operating in the mid east?
Comment removed from /Economics - tat310879 - Created on 07/23/18 01:21:39 UTC - permalink
So.. Germany has provided a base to fly USA drones. Your right, my bad USA can pay for 90% of Europe protection, tax our products, buy 70% gas from Russia and 50% oil from Russia while we protect them. Makes sense to me now. Thanks for the clarification.
Comment removed from /Economics - 162lake - Created on 07/23/18 01:25:56 UTC - permalink
The main gun for literally every main battle tank we've used in the last 30 years.
Comment removed from /Economics - kegman83 - Created on 07/23/18 01:26:48 UTC - permalink
Firstly, US is paying for no one's protection. What the Nato treaty entails is that each nation pledges to spend 2%of their budget to defence. It is like everyone bring a plate of food to a potluck. You are not spending a single dime into Nato.
Also, do note that no one told you to go full retard buy getting 11 aircraft carriers, and spend trillions invading Afghanistan or Iraq. That is on you, not them.
Finally, Germany, France and Europe in general could well protect themselves from Russia should they choose. They have the know how, the tech, the money and the population as well. Russia is weaker than Germany, not the other way round. Germany have plenty of allies even if you pull out.
You should really use your brain and stop watching Fox news once in a whilem
Comment removed from /Economics - tat310879 - Created on 07/23/18 01:33:11 UTC - permalink
How did Russia take Ukraine so easy? Because Russia controls their gas and oil supply. They shut off their supply, a week before they walked right across the boarder. Ohh guess what, Russia controls 50% of Germany oil, and 70% of their gas. I wonder where this is headed. France can't defend themselves, they can't even defend the streets of Paris because of the Muslim grooming gangs. And lastly how many countries paid 2%?
I strongly suggest you read your history books, before insulting others it is not justifying your point of view. God bless.
Comment removed from /Economics - 162lake - Created on 07/23/18 01:49:41 UTC - permalink
Are you seriously comparing Western Europe with Ukraine? Really? Are you that desperate in your argument?
France can't defend themselves? Really? What about their nukes? How stupid can you get?
Grooming gangs? Really? In that case i say the US is also weak because you can't even protect your kids from getting massacred yearly. Kindergarten kids being shot wantonly and there is shit all you idios can do about it. You cant even go to a concert in Vegas without being shot at. How about that?
Also, Germany is not as dependent of Russian gas supplies as they could easily ship them in from the mid East or Canada if need be. You heard about this thing called super LNG ships, right?
Then again, Fox watching Trumptards like you wouldn't even comprehend my arguments. You are really that stupid.
Comment removed from /Economics - tat310879 - Created on 07/23/18 01:57:25 UTC - permalink
Don't bother talking to that guy his whole post history is full The Danald bs and fake moon landing stuff
Comment removed from /Economics - johannthegoatman - Created on 07/23/18 02:00:43 UTC - permalink
The stupidity and ignorance of some Americans are just breath taking.
France can't defend themselves? That really took the cake. If they have a vague idea that France has a UN Security Council seat they probably thought they were there because they could cook well or something.
Stupid is stupid does.
Comment removed from /Economics - tat310879 - Created on 07/23/18 02:06:37 UTC - permalink
Billions and billions and billions of dollars of foreign direct investment in the US.
Comment removed from /Economics - lolexecs - Created on 07/23/18 02:18:21 UTC - permalink
This is why the rest of the world think Americans are fucking retards...
Comment removed from /Economics - Rec1umWrecker - Created on 07/23/18 02:23:06 UTC - permalink
Which they are going to keep selling us....
This isn't complicated people. The tariffs are just to make a point... you trade fair with us, you trade freely with us, we'll do the same for you.
Trump is NOT WRONG that non-tariff barriers against our products put us at an unfair disadvantage.
Comparative advantage and free trade are great, you people... so let's put those ideas into actual fair practice.
The point of raising tariffs isn't to have more tariffs forever... it's just to actually shake things up and get broad international reductions in tariffs... which is what will happen.
2 years from now, the US will have lower tariffs on imports overall than it did 2 years ago... and it will be thanks to Donald Trump being willing to flex our muscles and get the rest of the world to respect us and reciprocally lower their own trade barriers to fair levels.
Comment removed from /Economics - Nanarayana - Created on 07/23/18 02:24:42 UTC - permalink
some Americans
People, not Americans. France has Jean-Marie Le Pen too you know.
Comment removed from /Economics - RE5TE - Created on 07/23/18 02:25:23 UTC - permalink
Gilead is nearly bankrupting states with their cure for hepC
Medicine is a special breed since the vast majority comes from public dollars and then through lobbied monopolies that we grant to companies they can charge through the sky
Comment removed from /AskEconomics - datareinidearaus - Created on 07/23/18 02:25:44 UTC - permalink
Are you like literally seriously defending Amerikkka right now? :(
Comment removed from /Economics - EternalPropagation - Created on 07/23/18 03:04:28 UTC - permalink
Comment removed from /Economics - AFlyingMexican5 - Created on 07/23/18 03:39:35 UTC - permalink
Bad troll is bad.
Comment removed from /Economics - anothercleaverbeaver - Created on 07/23/18 03:40:43 UTC - permalink
Logic is useless without empiricism, isn't it? Seems to me that there is only best method to seeking truth, and that is the inductive method.
Does the following hold as analogous to your argument?
There are a certain number of birds in flight at this very instant on Earth.
It is improbable that we possess the means to measure the number of birds in flight at any instant with absolute accuracy.
Therefore we cannot develop a useful hypothesis regarding the number of birds.
If this is the logic of your argument that empiricism cannot provide useful and testable hypotheses for economic matters, then I dont believe you have a very solid argument.
Comment removed from /Economics - _Lazarus_ - Created on 07/23/18 03:56:36 UTC - permalink
Are you like literally implying that countries who export their goods to America are propagandized to complain when America imposes tariffs?
Comment removed from /Economics - EternalPropagation - Created on 07/23/18 05:21:19 UTC - permalink
No, that's not analogous. The analogous argument for economics would be: Hey I think I've figured out how to estimate the numbers of birds in the sky, and now I'm going to use that estimate to control their movement.
Comment removed from /Economics - d00ns - Created on 07/23/18 05:27:36 UTC - permalink
No. The Republicans base is ignorant and gets their news is propaganda.
Comment removed from /Economics - AFlyingMexican5 - Created on 07/23/18 05:29:30 UTC - permalink
Okay good. For a second I thought you were saying European tariffs on American goods were bad or something.
Comment removed from /Economics - EternalPropagation - Created on 07/23/18 06:20:29 UTC - permalink
Even in our quantitative economic studies we are basic it mostly on the fact that certain factors won't change - ceteris paribus (all things being constant).
Economics is boiled down to how humans organise our scarce resources. Humans do not always act logically; economys are complex and multi layered not every factor can be mapped; and we our cultures all impact how how individual economies work.
Simply put any quantitative research in macroeconomics is really just a theory that might work if we exclude 60% of all unpredictable factors and try to calculate for the 40%. It works sometimes but classical economics works best because we accept we cant make predictions and policies so lets just not try and hope the market organises itself.
Comment removed from /Economics - unstopablex5 - Created on 07/23/18 07:16:12 UTC - permalink
Yes, I understand that there are many factors. It is exactly the same in any other scientific discipline. There are no such things as exact values in chemistry or physics, there are only accepted values. And, there are situations where the traditional math breaks down. PV=NRT starts to break down if gases start to act not ideal like at high temperatures or if their collisions become elastic. But still, PV=NRT or c=wavelength x frequency are still useful models of what the relationships are between different things are.
I must say that I being a little harsh on the person that I was responding to previously. I am aware that there are Austrians that are perfectly happy to incorporate quantitative studies into their analyses, and that they call themselves Austrians to simply that their work has caused them to favor free markets and small government. I don't really have an issue with these people.
Comment removed from /Economics - Man-of-Sex - Created on 07/23/18 07:55:11 UTC - permalink
I’m going here in a week! Very excited
Comment removed from /Economics - onemanragecage - Created on 07/23/18 08:08:16 UTC - permalink
“We devised an alternative to austerity, focusing on higher growth..."
and more debt ;)
Comment removed from /Economics - Bitcoin_21 - Created on 07/23/18 08:24:22 UTC - permalink
before you upvote this guy's comment, just bear in mind he's a conservative and believer in alternative facts
Comment removed from /Economics - Strong__Belwas - Created on 07/23/18 08:26:53 UTC - permalink
Try and get the simple demand-supply wage-employment graph out of your head. Stop thinking of them as a trade-off, in reality they don't act against each other.
Comment removed from /AskEconomics - wraggy44 - Created on 07/23/18 08:38:35 UTC - permalink
It'd be interesting to see counterpoints to his statements instead of discrediting him through political beliefs and unclever expressions like "alternative facts".
Comment removed from /Economics - kairos - Created on 07/23/18 08:42:47 UTC - permalink
if i say "as an american, i think this story is made up and trump is the greatest" you probably wanna know my political affiliations, that i'm not some guy with special insight as a member of that nation, i'm just politically-motivated to lie on reddit.
that's all
Comment removed from /Economics - Strong__Belwas - Created on 07/23/18 08:44:40 UTC - permalink
Because your economical/political ideologies don't make you right or wrong.
If you say "as an american, i think this story is made up and trump is the greatest", but back your arguments up with credible data/sources, then your contribution adds to the discussion.
If the sources are rubbish, then you point out the flaws in OPs sources and go on from there.
This is why comments asking for sources are pretty useful, because people who are full of shit tend to not be able to provide them or just link to rubbish (the odd blog post or something).
Comment removed from /Economics - kairos - Created on 07/23/18 09:15:17 UTC - permalink
where are the facts of the person i'm replying to
the thing is, you are making my point for me. people will just blindly believe the guy. they ought to know what his biases are.
Comment removed from /Economics - Strong__Belwas - Created on 07/23/18 09:17:42 UTC - permalink
You are assuming that I'm defending him, when I'm not. All I'm saying is that attacking his political beliefs doesn't make him wrong.
By labeling him as a conservative, all you're doing is leading people who have the same bias as him to believe him and people who lean the other way will not believe what he's saying.
In the meantime, (I think) most people here are smart enough to not take "being portuguese" as an authority on all things Portugal and expect some sort of source for his claims.
I will read (but, depending on the arguments, probably not respond) to any replies to this, as I think I've made my point clear enough and don't think there's much to be added to this discussion.
Comment removed from /Economics - kairos - Created on 07/23/18 09:29:50 UTC - permalink
They’re not smart enough because they believed him and upvoted him even tho he provided no evidence
Why are you singling me out for this is all I’m wondering. Guy makes a claim and doesn’t support it. I say “don’t believe everything you read on Reddit, this guy is politically biased and hasn’t offered evidence”
Seems like you should be directing your posts to that islamophobic bigot
Comment removed from /Economics - Strong__Belwas - Created on 07/23/18 09:50:48 UTC - permalink
Time to short Portugal
Comment removed from /Economics - mancala33 - Created on 07/23/18 10:05:21 UTC - permalink
sshhhhh.... nobody wants to hear that here.
Comment removed from /Economics - ThisOriented - Created on 07/23/18 10:09:34 UTC - permalink
You lost the discussion. Nowhere in these comments did he mention Islam. He mentioned his government has a history of misusing statistics to cover the truth.
Comment removed from /Economics - GodsGoodGrace - Created on 07/23/18 10:18:01 UTC - permalink
I will never get used to this new two-sentence headline structure.
Comment removed from /Economics - externality - Created on 07/23/18 13:36:22 UTC - permalink
This is all Trumps fault!
Comment removed from /Economics - kinypornaccount - Created on 07/23/18 14:39:41 UTC - permalink
that roar is the sound of money rushing into the accounts of the 1%
Comment removed from /Economics - sighbourbon - Created on 07/23/18 14:44:36 UTC - permalink
It's like you are trying to start /neoliberal2
Comment removed from /badeconomics - qchisq - Created on 07/23/18 16:22:14 UTC - permalink
Is this even worth an R1:
Comment removed from /badeconomics - Araraguy - Created on 07/23/18 16:33:46 UTC - permalink
I will give it to you, I only shared my personal bias, it's quite frustrating to me to see opinions/articles saying how well Portugal is doing, it's enabling bad politics here.
And I'm not a conservative, I'm a minarchist/libertarian and yes I've criticized Islam (not Muslims), if that makes me a bigot, I don't know why, people criticize Christianity all the time and never heard anyone be called a bigot or cristianiphobic for it...
Comment removed from /Economics - Autosleep - Created on 07/23/18 17:00:22 UTC - permalink
"Lock the can down the road" socialism.
Comment removed from /Economics - Mynameisfatsoshady - Created on 07/23/18 17:00:36 UTC - permalink
And the really sad part is there’s more wealth now than ever before. The older generation is fucking it up for the younger generation. This is the ultimate travesty.
Comment removed from /Economics - Xerkzeez - Created on 07/23/18 19:42:25 UTC - permalink
Thank you GOP and Baby Boomers for selling us the ultimate scam of trickle down economics and low corporate taxes.
Comment removed from /Economics - LemonHarangue - Created on 07/23/18 20:36:32 UTC - permalink
Yeah, well, if you could convince younger people to vote during every election then maybe the politicians would pay attention to their concerns. As it stands now, young voters can't be counted on.
Old people vote. All. The. Time.
Comment removed from /Economics - KillYourTV - Created on 07/23/18 20:37:51 UTC - permalink
Comment removed from /Economics - Throwaway989972 - Created on 07/23/18 20:38:36 UTC - permalink
This is a non-substantive comment. This sub is meant for economic theory discussion, not normative conjecture.
Comment removed from /Economics - jackshiels - Created on 07/23/18 20:50:34 UTC - permalink
Trickle-down economics has never been an economic theory. It is a label given to supply-side stimulus by left-wing critics and a common talking point by economically ignorant users on this site.
Comment removed from /Economics - jackshiels - Created on 07/23/18 20:51:33 UTC - permalink
Now, I'm just curious, but does this have to do with the civil responsibility instilled in the greatest generation (oldest voters probably) or is it because of the age? Like will baby boomers vote as much as the greatest generation when they are aging into their mid-60s/70s?
Tldr do you vote more because you're retired or bc of the civil duty instilled your generation?
Comment removed from /Economics - WritersofRohan17 - Created on 07/23/18 20:51:48 UTC - permalink
you will not find it in textbooks
There's about thirty sources listed here that say you're wrong
Comment removed from /Economics - Plopplopthrown - Created on 07/23/18 21:01:10 UTC - permalink
Are conspiracy things off limits?
Comment removed from /badeconomics - DHallahan - Created on 07/23/18 21:03:31 UTC - permalink
Once again, with feeling: it is not taught in economic textbooks.
Comment removed from /Economics - jackshiels - Created on 07/23/18 21:04:16 UTC - permalink
They've slowly come to learn that politics actually matter.
Comment removed from /Economics - FunAndGamesNStuff - Created on 07/23/18 21:06:43 UTC - permalink
Probably a bit of everything. Also more life experience which includes decades of local to federal politicians passing bills that you disagree with.
I'm only in my 30s and have watched myself and peers go from only really "caring" about presidential or governor elections to voting to even in every local election.
I really don't think it's a pride thing but more that people begin to realize more and more that they must vote to try to keep the things they want the same or to change things they dislike and voting is the easiest way to do it.
Comment removed from /Economics - garlicdeath - Created on 07/23/18 21:08:02 UTC - permalink
My dad just bought a new 350k yacht, while I struggle to meet my mortgage payments. He retired when he was 45, and expects me to be able to do the same...
Comment removed from /Economics - aesu - Created on 07/23/18 21:09:26 UTC - permalink
It’s supposed to be a criticism, reflecting what actually ends up happening with such policies instead of using the nice terms created by their proponents. Not being the word supply-side economists would like to use doesn’t make it invalid.
Comment removed from /Economics - BossaNova1423 - Created on 07/23/18 21:15:26 UTC - permalink
Why would I study macroeconomics, when it lacks even the predictive power of meteorology?
Comment removed from /Economics - wockyman - Created on 07/23/18 21:33:38 UTC - permalink
My answer won't be liked, but I'll say it anyway. It's because civic education was purposefully altered, diluted, and largely removed from the school system... and it was done on purpose for exactly this reason.
Comment removed from /Economics - arminiusreturns - Created on 07/23/18 22:39:20 UTC - permalink
Yeah, young people have among the lowest voter turnout rate. If they voted at the rate of people (especially white men) over 50 a lot of the state legislatures and Congress would look different than it does today.
Comment removed from /Economics - A7-23 - Created on 07/23/18 22:41:52 UTC - permalink
A-men. Why should I have to take Advanced Placement Government class to get knowledge that all kids should get outright?
Comment removed from /Economics - Bonzoso - Created on 07/23/18 22:43:54 UTC - permalink
What's wrong with low corporate taxes? It's just coming out of company growth, market cap, and potential wages. I see no reason at all to even have corporate taxes.
Comment removed from /Economics - radwimp - Created on 07/23/18 22:50:39 UTC - permalink
Why would you hang out in /economics if you don't care about economics?
Comment removed from /Economics - way2lazy2care - Created on 07/23/18 22:52:53 UTC - permalink
at least in my HS there was a required civics/government class for your senior year. AP Gov theoretically just aims the material at the test. In practice, this just means the best teachers teach AP Gov.
Comment removed from /Economics - eetsumkaus - Created on 07/23/18 23:02:53 UTC - permalink
Election day should be a national holiday.
This would mostly help government, finance, and other white collar professions.
Retail, healthcare, restaurants, etc. are working on all other federal holidays. What will make election day any different?
Comment removed from /Economics - raiderato - Created on 07/23/18 23:05:05 UTC - permalink
They shouldn't.
Comment removed from /Economics - raiderato - Created on 07/23/18 23:05:53 UTC - permalink
To be honest, I’m in my late 20s, went to college without the help of family/friends, worked hard to pay it off, have found a job in my field without too many obstacles, am about 70% of the way towards putting a downpayment on a house.
15/20 of my friends are doing just as well.
My sisters are doing just as well.
What the fuck is everyone talking about when they cry about opportunity in 2018?
Comment removed from /Economics - justin_truedoee - Created on 07/23/18 23:09:03 UTC - permalink
submitted by throwittomebro to reconomics_mod_audit [link] [comments]

My Techno thriller. Introducing Lew Ash, my protagonist.

Lewis Ash was drunk.
“Well maybe not quite drunk.”, he mused fuzzily. He leaned over and inhaled deeply from the exquisite wine glass recently proffered with much ceremony by Henry, sommeliere at The Club, by far Lew's favorite restaurant in Seoul.
He and Henry had a longstanding tradition. Henry would educate with the first bottle of the evening, tonight had been a brilliant Australian Shiraz whose dark brooding finish still lurked somewhere in the animal part of Lew's brain, but by bottle nine or ten Henry was uncorking wine for inebriation purposes only. Lew was currently on bottle six, “Maybe seven if I really think about it for a second,” he thought, “But there are three of us for dinner and so that's closer to two each. Plus Henry no doubt reserved a glass or two of the first bottle for his own enjoyment.”
The thought of Henry reminded Lew of the glass in his hand. He took a long sip of the wine and swirled its thick texture around his mouth. He did have to hand it to Henry, the man certainly knew his wines. The Club cellar's contained thousands of bottles, all lovingly acquired and cared for by Henry and his staff of wine waiters. Henry regularly travelled the world's great wine regions, buying carefully for The Club's cellar, routinely acknowledged as one of the best in Asia. Lew had one year made the enormous error of offering to accompany Henry on a week long buying session in France. Hundreds of tastings and hours spent discussing the minutia of Grand Cru vintages and their progress gave Lew a vast appreciation for Henry's craft and a strong desire to never peek behind the curtains again.
He swallowed his mouthful of wine and smiled with sincere gratitude at Henry. “I don't know how you do it Henry?”, in response to Henry's quizzical expression. Turning to his dining partners Lew began to fill them in on the understanding he and Henry had come to. “Henry here serves me his best wine first, cost be damned”, he paused, grinned and nodded approvingly to Henry who proceeded to fill the new set of glasses which had magically appeared in front of each diner, “But this bottle can cost no more than twenty bucks”, he took a somewhat larger mouthful of the wine which he casually noted was from some winery in Spain of which he had never heard, “And to my uneducated and somewhat intoxicated palate tastes even better than that first bottle. By the way Henry how much did that first one cost anyway?”
A small glint flashed in Henry's eyes as he bowed slightly at Lew's side, his lithe body, elegant in a bespoke tuxedo a stark contrast to Lew's slightly puffy yet still powerful 90 kilos. “Mr. Ash sir”, Henry replied in his flat, Canadian accented English, “I will summon the manager with your account sir”, knowing full well Lew was only having fun in front of his guests.
One guest, who had taken on the politest of sips from each offered vintage, was clearly getting annoyed with Lew. She, Nancy or Naomi or something, Lew was a little confused and really didn't care, was a bitter looking 40 something american from the accounting firm that handled Lew's finances. Every six months the esteemed firm sent out someone with forms to be signed and accounts and expenditures to review and approve. It was never the same person but over the last few years Lew had come to realize the accounting weenie came in two distinct flavors; either someone who embraced the long trip as a reward; these people Lew saw right away, signed their forms, and got one of his guys to make sure they had a good time in Seoul; or they were like the type across the table from him now. Nancy/Naomi had a thin, pinched yoga toned face that currently carried an expression that told the world she would rather be anywhere but here. “Of course she probably has that expression no matter where she is”, thought Lew and the thought of naked bony ass bent over with moans emanating from her sour lemon face caused Lew to start laughing. “Take it from the top”, he ordered. “He would make her go over the report one more time then put her out of her obvious misery and let her escape back to whatever cubicle hell she called home”.
While she droned on about dividend yields, asset allocation rebalancing and tax strategies Lew sat back, sipped some more wine and remembered how, on the eve of his 45th birthday, he came to be here.
In early 2010 Lew was working in Manchester England as a late 30's sales manager for a firm that supplied engineering samples and design advice to tech firms in the north of England. One of his junior sales guys, a hard working but somewhat naive 22 year old named Freddie, had granted credit to a start up company working on a new type of ATM machine. The firm was on Lew's list of problem credit accounts that Lew had to review and resolve first thing every morning. It was his least favorite part of the job, calling firms who couldn't or wouldn't pay their bills, to tell them parts that they expected that morning just were not going to ship without some cash changing hands. Some customers reacted with anger, blaming Lew and his disorganized and predatory firm for screwing things up; some were apologetic and resigned, some were enthusiastic and oblivious. Freddie's account, BTC Global Systems, a grand name for what was in actuality two software engineering students living in a Manchester University dorm, fell into the latter category.
Their company, such as it was, owed a paltry four hundred pounds for some programmable logic parts that Freddie had allowed them to purchase on credit. That fateful morning Lew had had gotten one of the students, Laslo, on the phone. “Give me something” he remembered having said to the not so business savvy student who didn't realize that there was nothing Lew could really do to collect the debt. Even though the amount was small Lew was penalized a part of his bonus for every account that had to be written off and he was damned well going to get something from this guy. Laslo had obviously heard the anger in Lew's voice because later that afternoon he had appeared at Lew's drab suburban office and dropped off an envelope containing a USB drive and a brief note. That note, which Lew still carried with him in his wallet, had apologized for the inconvenience the outstanding bill had caused and offered up something called bitcoins in a proposed settlement of the account.
Lew had read the note, thought briefly about calling the accounts department to let them know, then thrown the envelope into his desk drawer, a problem to be dealt with at some future time. Several years passed in a grey Manchester monotony. The unfortunate Freddie was let go during a wave of layoffs and the BTC Global Systems account and it's four hundred pound debt was written off and Lew's bonus dinged accordingly. At home Lew's wife of ten years had decided she could do better than a mid level sales rep who truthfully didn't really pay enough attention to her. Lew took her leaving in stride and when the divorce papers arrived he signed them, less sad than he thought he would be. It was Christmas 2012, and Lew was alone. His parents had died within months of each other a few years back and he had no siblings. His friends had offered him christmas dinners and holiday invites but he had been feeling restless and had decided on a whim to travel to the States and visit Las Vegas. It was in the back of the Thomas Cook 767 where the flight attendant handed him the Wall Street Journal where he read an article explaining the meteoric rise in value of a mysterious crypto currency known at Bitcoin. Lew had felt his heart literally stop as he read and reread the line about the current Bitcoin value of $13 US dollars.
Lew had devoured the article and filled more than a few cocktail napkins with calculations. He had not been able to remember for the life of him how many bitcoins had been mentioned in Laslo's note but he had been sure it was in the thousands. He experienced a blur of a week in Las Vegas but could not wait to get back to Manchester and search for the usb drive that he was sure was still sitting at the bottom of his junk filled desk drawer. After landing Lew had rushed straight to his office where, on a cold and grey Sunday morning, Lew found the drive. It had been even better than he had been imaging. The twice blessed Laslo's note had said he hope that his payment of one hundred thousand bitcoins would be sufficient. Lew had remembered doing the math and realizing he was holding over a million dollars, then realizing he knew nothing about how to get use of the money, and, more importantly, the million dollar drive properly belonged Lew's employer.
He had quickly realized that barring Freddie, no one at his employer had any clue that the drive existed. Freddie was long gone, moved back to his local village, his time in the big city a barely remembered failure. His ex wife was well and truly gone and there was nothing really holding him back from just walking out the front door and never returning.
Lew smiled to himself at the memory, nodded to Naomi/Nancy to keep going, and remembered back to those first few months after finding the drive. He had resigned his position, citing the need for a fresh start in a new city, and travelled to Seoul with the thumb drive never leaving his sight. He had booked an appointment with a law firm he had researched, paid them a retainer which had consumed most of his old life's savings, an iniated a slow transfer of bitcoins into dollar accounts held in a long list of international banks. Over the course of 2013 Lew's lawyers had sold about 10,000 bitcoins a month, at prices rainging from $100 per coin to the last tranche which the law firm, which now counted Lew as one of its most valued clients, which traded hands at an eye popping $1100 per coin. Lew's total haul from the drive had come to a shade over $50 million. His lawyers had done what they had been paid handsomely to do and Lew's money was legitimate, clean and accessible. He had paid tax to the local authorities and no one had raised any uncomfortable questions about the origin of Lew's sudden riches. The one meeting Lew had had with the Korean tax authorities had been conducted in an atmosphere of deference and politeness in the impressivley polished boardroom of Lew's respected law firm. The money was parceled up and invested around the world and despite Lew's best efforts, still continued to grow faster than Lew spent it.
Naomi/Nancy was clearly coming to the end of her dissertation so Lew held up a finger to stop her. She trailed off as she realized he wasn't going to listen further.
“What's the bottom line?”, he asked. “Humor me. If I sell everything and cash out what do I have?'
Naomi/Nancy almost smiled as she swiped her tablet and turned the device toward Lew. The number at the bottom was $58 million and a few thousands change.
Lew smiled, heaved himself out of the chair and swayed a little unsteadlily.
“Life is good Naomi,” kind of hoping he had the name right. “Life is good.”
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The lemons problem: how less disclosure affects risk perception

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