How I earned a 286% return in less than 1 year investing in the Free Software Foundation

At the FSF’s annual conference last year I pledged to donate 100BTC to the FSF, and did so on April 6. I bought about 121.95 bitcoins, for a price of about US$4.92/BTC (made easier thanks to Greg Maxwell’s vouching for me on #bitcoin-otc; thanks!) and haven’t given any thought to the remainder till today. As I write this the USD/BTC price is approximately US$105.40/BTC.

((21.95*105.40)-(121.95*4.92))/(121.95*4.92) = 2.8559218925522587

You too can invest! How to buy bitcoins. Donate to the FSF and other “notable” bitcoin-accepting organizations, many of which I endorse. Results not typical.

For the long term, I’m sticking with my prediction of almost two years ago that “governments and any other entity with a large measure of control over how it can demand payment will launch their own cryptocurrencies, seeking endowments for themselves much as Bitcoin’s inventor and early adopters may have gained.”

I have a similar long-term prediction for seasteading: “if seasteads did meet engineering and economic challenges, they would merely be used by states to stake exclusive claims to all of the planet’s surface.”

6 Responses

  1. Gordon Mohr says:

    I strongly concur with the prediction that states will eventually jump on the crypto-currency bandwagon. But, I’m unsure what effects that might have on non-state options, like Bitcoin and its cousins. Legitimization? Crowding-out? Discredit-by-association?

    And I wonder, which state might go first? Maybe Singapore?

    Or perhaps it will be a subjurisdiction with secessionist feelings… once they think the kinks are worked out sufficiently for their average citizen to use from handhelds, and their own local institutions can paper over some of the usability issues, local cryptocurrencies might become all the rage.

  2. Effects will be difficult to discern even after they happen. :)

    I’d expect non-dominant-payee options to survive and thrive, especially relative to the extremely low bar of alternative currency success to date, as costs are much lower, and the reasons for wanting a currency not effectively controlled by a dominant payee (mechanisms of control different, but present) remaining.

    The secessionist use case is interesting, hadn’t thought of that. Use of group’s currency before group actually collecting substantial taxes mandated in that currency could be a powerful way of supporting materially (making group’s endowment valuable) and expressively.

  3. […] How I earned a 286% return in less than 1 year investing in the Free Software Foundation […]

  4. Gordon Mohr says:

    I expect local and quasi-secessionist uses to be aided by software-mediated interchange. It’d be hella confusing and annoying if every city had its own currency, when using physical cash or payment agents (like credit card issuers) who take large fees that are sometimes hidden in exchange rates. But if your own handheld device is running auditable/open-source software which can instantly translate local prices/balances to your home frame of value reference, tolerance for currency diversity can go way up.

    Regarding early “material and expressive” support of a group, I do think another value-driver for cryptocurrency is beyond ‘currency’ or ‘commodity’, and instead ‘stakeholder in a potential future’. Holding units means you’re invested — incentives-aligned — in the possible future where those units are valuable. So each BTC unit held is like founders’ shares in a world where BTC is important. But also, a new cryptocurrency, or a carve-out from an old (see the idea of ‘colored coins’) makes something like project- or mission-specific ‘micro-IPOs’ as technically easy as Kickstarter campaigns. The balanceholder keys can even be used for shareholder votes.

  5. ‘Colored coins’ (BitcoinX an implementation?) is a super interesting idea, thanks for pointing it out.

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