Should You Buy into the Fear of Bitcoin?

When it comes to life insurance, more than one thing can raise your premiums.

Smokers have it tough. That’s a given.

If you’re obese, you’re likely to get slapped with heavy loadings. Likewise if you have heart disease or diabetes.

Drug use or excessive alcohol consumption can also make it harder for you to pass.

But perhaps one of the most critical factors is how risky your job is.

In the ‘how likely are you to die?’ test. It’s clear to underwriters that some jobs are more dangerous than others.

And as much as I feel for those who work in high-risk industries, it makes sense…from the insurer’s perspective at least.

Consider the dangers of asbestos…

It’s a highly toxic substance. It can cause a host of life-threatening diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma.

In fact, Australia has the second-highest mesothelioma death rate in the world, just behind the UK.

You also may not know that asbestos is present in at least one in three Australian homes. However, no need to start packing your bags.

Many experts consider undisturbed asbestos a non-issue.

But it’s still an ugly word infiltrating our homes, our industries and hospitals.

Which is why it shocked me it appears that pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson [NYSE:JNJ] have sold baby powder containing asbestos…

For decades! And knowingly, too.

A Reuters examination uncovered this information from internal memos, reports and company documents.

As a result, the company’s shares are plummeting and the big bosses are scrambling to defend themselves.

But as scary as this news is, it’s certainly not the first time a corporation has done the dirty on its own customers…

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The worst corporate events in history

People tend to turn a blind eye.

But many of our biggest corporations deceive us.

Big banks have laundered drug money. Industry giants like Deutsche Bank and Hewlett Packard have spied on their board members or investors.

Household names like Volkswagen cheated on emissions testing and Facebook leaked over eight million users’ personal data.

In the latter incident CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to face US Congress and the European Union. A set of embarrassing trials ensued.

All this, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg…

Remember HIH Insurance? It was once Australia’s second largest insurance company. The CEO ended up in jail for dodgy practices and the business was forced to go into liquidation.

This year’s Royal Commission into the finance sector has only created further distrust. Some of these companies are players we thought we could rely on.

Yet when it comes to new digital technologies like bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain, people tend to cry ‘scam!’ at the first opportunity.

In light of the long history of corporate deception and trickery…I have to ask those people…

Since when has the art of the scam been a new thing?

Why bitcoin isn’t to blame for human blunder

My mother often cops a lot of flak for her Catholic beliefs. She’s a deeply religious person. The kind who’ll quote the bible in a casual conversation over dinner.

And when people talk to her about dodgy church practices, she’ll often say ‘but any human institution is flawed…I believe in what’s underneath.’

She has a point. And I kind of see bitcoin in the same way.

Bitcoin is a product that could be manipulated by bad people. Something involving crypto could take advantage of vulnerable people.

Nobody in their right mind can deny that.

But as a concept it’s perhaps the most scandal-proof way of doing business in the world. Look at the frill-free fundamentals:

Peer to peer contracts (P2P) with no middle man.

Decentralised transactions between independent parties.

A publicly available blockchain ledger.

Greater transparency.

The very heart of bitcoin lies in empowering the individual — folks like you and me. Not foreign company boards or Wall Street giants.

So of course, the big banks are scared! Of course, the governments and businesses with vested interests are horrified.

Because the sheer possibility is this…

That one day people might create and exchange wealth without them. That their (often corrupt) services may no longer be needed.

So, when you read about bitcoin scandals, take a minute to stop and reflect.

Or if you read a piece on why buying into the idea of cryptocurrency could make you a fool, ask yourself:

Exactly what high ground do bitcoin’s competitors think they’re standing on here?

And since when has dishonesty in business been a new thing?

Because judging from the news, and the recent Johnson & Johnson scandal, bitcoin is the least of our worries. Bitcoin’s not the bad guy.

The bad guys are crooked individuals who attack bitcoin from a position of corporate greed.

(By the way, if you google ‘bitcoin scandal’, one of the top articles that comes up is by Bill Harris — the CEO of Paypal himself. See the irony?)

Bad guys have been and always will be around…

So why buy into the fear, when you could buy into what you believe?


Ryan Dinse,
Editor, Exponential Stock Investor

PS: Free Report: The crypto revolution is just beginning and the biggest gains could actually be available right now. Learn more.

Ryan Dinse is an Editor at Money Morning.

He has worked in finance and investing for the past two decades as a financial planner, senior credit analyst, equity trader and fintech entrepreneur.

With an academic background in economics, he believes that the key to making good investments is investing appropriately at each stage of the economic cycle.

Different market conditions provide different opportunities. Ryan combines fundamental, technical and economic analysis with the goal of making sure you are in the right investments at the right time.

Ryan's premium publications include:

Money Morning Australia