May 15, 2017

Bible Prophecy Spells Doom for Crypto-Currencies

Financial bubbles generally occur once in a generation. When large numbers of people make bad investments, those experiences are enough of a warning to make caution a virtue.

Today we don’t seem to have an ever-dwindling supply of caution. Some form of bubbles now come along every few years. In 2000 we had the Dotcom Bubble; in 2008 we had the Housing Bubble; and in 2017 we are in the middle of the Crypto-Currencies Bubble.

Interest in digital crypto-currency started with Bitcoin. In 2010, you could buy a pizza for 10,000 bitcoins, which someone famously did with the price in dollars less than a penny. I hope the pizza parlor kept their bitcoins, because now they are worth $18.45 million. As I’m writing, the price of one bitcoin is $1820.

The total value of all bitcoins in circulation now totals $29.600 billion. Their increase in value for just this year has been 90 percent. When you add all the other currencies that brings the grand total to $52.5 billion. This is a huge amount of money for a type currency that only has a five year history.

I cannot find a record of any other asset increasing more 200,000 times in value. Apple Computer, from its 1982 near-bankruptcy low is only up 765 times. People are talking as if Bitcoin’s best gains are yet to come.

I read one report of a man taking out an equity loan of $325,239 on his house to buy 191 bitcoins. If Bitcoin reaches the $10,000 mark, he plans on moving to the West Coast and living in quiet luxury. If it drops below $100, that man may find himself living on the street.

Before people convert their life savings into Bitcoins, Ripples, Ethereum, or my favorite—Stellar Lumens, they may want to take an assessment of the risks.

The biggest threat to crypto-currency is someone breaking into the system and stealing your account code information. In the past few years, several exchanges have gone bankrupt after their systems were hacked. The biggest bust was at MT Gox; $450 million in bitcoins were stolen from customer accounts.

Once a hacker has your passwords, your pile of bitcoins can vanish without a trace. You can even be your own thief by losing your password. For example, in 2013 one user lost 7,500 bitcoins, worth $7.5 million at the time when he accidentally discarded a hard drive containing the digital key to his account.

Another problem with crypto-currencies is their unlimited number. About a year ago, there were about 400 types of these coins. When I last checked, there was 727 crypto-currencies. If this mania continues, there will soon be over a thousand digital currencies. As their numbers increase, people will have to start to question the value of wealth that is created from nothing.

The quantity of each individual coin is also a problem. The exchanges that manage them, create new ones to pay for operating costs. The quantity of some coins increases at a rate that is greater than 50 percent each year. This high level of inflation can only cause the value of each coin to go down.

Crime is becoming yet another problem for crypto-currencies. The untraceable nature of Bitcoin makes it popular with criminal agents. And it’s becoming more common practice to demand ransom in bitcoin, too. This from the New York Times: “Those threats have increased with the advent of ransomware, malicious software that encrypts victims’ data and prevents them from accessing it until they pay a ransom, often hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of bitcoin, a crypto-currency.”

I think the biggest threat to crypto-currency is the government seeing it as a competition to national currency. Lawmakers don’t like any other monetary system stepping into their domain. As soon as Congress realizes it is losing tax dollars from people exchanging goods and services with crypto-currencies, they will move to ban the practice. The big banks are not going to stand for a system that cuts them out of transaction fees.

The state of Florida is working on legislation that will make it a money laundering offense to use virtual currencies to hide funds that are related to a crime.

Bible prophecy would seem to indicate that crypto-currencies are going to have a short life. Under the mark of the beast system, all transactions will be supervised by the Antichrist’s government. The devil may be allowing this latest mania to flourish in order to fulfill his end-time plans. Once the crash comes, it will be easy to argue that all digital money needs strong central control.

“And the second beast required all people small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,  o that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark—the name of the beast or the number of its name” (Revelation 13:16-17).


Israel’s Identity Crisis

It seems strange that the one nation on planet earth that God Himself calls His “chosen” suffers such low self esteem. I use the term self esteem in the sense that there is an internal, national uncertainty concerning where the nation fits within the international scheme of things. There projects from Israel an aura of not belonging.

I suppose this shouldn’t surprise, considering that most countries making up the United Nations join in voting against Israel in almost every case that is brought against the nation. The history of such anti-Israel voting is stunning.

Israel completely outperforms all of its neighbors in productivity. Its ingenuity benefits not only the region but all the world. That tiny sliver of land encompasses only a fraction of the land grant the lord says is theirs. Yet it is an island of technological, agricultural, and societal creativity that is second only to that generated by the United States. And, fact is, much of America’s such creativity and activity is directly due to the brilliance of U.S. Jewish citizenry.

Its tentativeness in national confidence has long been the concern of Israeli thinkers and innovators. Just this past week, initiatives to deal with Israel’s identity crisis came to the surface as breaking news.

A proposal to anchor Israel’s status as a Jewish state in a Basic Law was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation Sunday.

MK Avi Dichter (Likud), who proposed the bill, called the vote “a big step towards establishing our identity, not only universally, but mainly towards ourselves, the Israelis, to be a free nation in our land,” a line from Hatikva…

“I’ve been working on the Jewish State bill for six years,” Dichter recounted. “Six years to establish the simple and most basic truth: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People.”…

The legislation states that “the State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it realizes its aspirations for self-determination according to its cultural and historic traditions. The realization of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”…

… It also mentions the Law of Return, and calls for the government to work to strengthen Israel-Diaspora ties.

It states that Hebrew is Israel’s official language and Arabic has a special status, requiring all government services to be available in Arabic. (ISRAEL NEWS, Jerusalem Post, May 7, 2017)

The bill, if approved, was set for a preliminary vote on Wednesday. It will thus take place in the first week of the Knesset’s summer session. The Justice Ministry will be charged with drafting its own version of the bill within sixty days. The two bills will then be combined.

The bill is receiving push-back by those who see it as a racist action that puts too much emphasis on Israel being Jewish and not enough on democracy.

Such an accusation has some validity. But, with things going on as of late, it is action that is warranted, in my view.

One example of the world doing all possible to strip Israel of its sovereignty and even its right to exist is that perpetrated by the U.N.

The UNESCO Executive Board passed a resolution in Paris that disavowed Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. The organization insists, thereby, that Israel should no longer have authority in the city. The vote was meant to delegitimize Israel’s right to the city governance that was won during the 1967 Six Day War.

Because of continuing such actions by the U.N. against Israel, the Israeli government is considering ousting that organization from its facilities within the city of Jerusalem.

The government on Sunday is set to debate the question whether or not to oust the United Nations from its Jerusalem headquarters, but is not expected to take any action on the matter at this time…

In a statement to Channel 2, [Miri] Regev [Culture and Sports Minister ] said that clearly there was no longer any logic to the UN remaining at that location.

“We’ve been sovereign in the city for 50 years, so there is no need for UN monitors. They were given use of the compound to oversee the cease-fire agreement from the Six-Day war, it’s an agreement that is no longer relevant. This saga has to end,” she said. (ISRAEL NEWS, Jerusalem Post, May 5, 2017)

Israel’s identity crisis is destined to become much more acute. Zechariah the prophet and other prophets foretell a time when all nations will seek to kill all Jews. Haven’t we heard that before?

Anti-Semitism on the rise is only one symptom of the great hatred that Antichrist will foment, especially during the second three and one-half years of the Tribulation.

“Alas! for that day is great, so that there is none like it   : it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” (Jeremiah 30: 7)

Israel’s identity will one day be firmly established, however. God has promised to make it the head of the nations when Christ rules and reigns from atop Zion in Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.