Money, Money, Money

     Education comes in many forms.
     Check out a ruling from the Ninth Circuit called Makaeff v. Trump University, in which a disgruntled student sued Donald Trump’s investment school for not giving her the education she expected.
     “Makaeff describes the seminars as slick productions featuring carefully choreographed presentations, speakers blaring ‘For the Love of Money,’ the theme song from Trump’s hit reality television series ‘The Apprentice,’ and Trump University representatives exhorting customers to raise their credit card limits, ostensibly to enable ‘real estate transactions,’ but actually to facilitate the purchase of the $34,995 ‘Trump Gold Elite Program.’
     “Apparently persuaded, Makaeff paid $34,995 to enroll. …”
     I don’t know about you, but I think Makaeff definitely got educated.
     More Money: Should money cost money if it’s not money?
     If everyone can create money, won’t that be inflationary?
     Why am I asking these questions?
     I’m not exactly sure, but I do know one thing: There’s Bitcoin litigation in our future.
     In case you’ve missed the news coverage, there’s a new international currency out there free of fiats from governments and, possibly, free of taxes to governments. It’s called Bitcoin and it’s entirely made up.
     OK, all money is made up, but usually it’s made up by a government that at least tries to control it. Bitcoins, as far as I can tell, were created by a computer hacker. The idea is that they can be used to transfer credits instantly.
     Except that it’s hard to tell what those credits are worth – they’ve ranged in “real” money value from $50 to $266 within a week. If that’s not a lawsuit waiting to happen, I don’t know what is.
     And you can make your own money. Just sign up your computer to become a Bitcoin “miner” that creates the currency. It’s kind of similar to gold except without the pickaxes and supervillains trying to steal it.
     Libertarians and gold bugs are either weeping and clutching their nuggets or rushing out to buy computers.
     I have some predictions.
     Governments are going to get into the act. If people in their underwear living with their parents can mine coins, think what, say, the full computing power of Kazakhstan could generate. The Third World could become the First World overnight.
     And then fall back into Third World place as soon as everyone else gets organized.
     There will be competing currencies.
     That World of Warcraft Tiara of Terror is not only stylish, but it can be traded.
     There will be virtual carnage.
     Imagine plundering bands of orcs taking your loot – and then spending it on groceries.
     Someone will forget to pay an Internet connection bill and take down the economies of several countries.
     Several large corporations and brokerage houses will issue Bitcoin derivatives and buy insurance betting against their value (“virtual default swaps”).
     And, finally, the endgame will be revealed.
     As computers all over the globe are dedicated to currency mining, unwitting humans thus connecting their power, the Computer Overmind will take control of the world.
     Did you really think a human hacker came up with this concept?
     Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
     Soapocalypse: While I’m on the subject of virtual commerce, I have to note a disturbing passage from a lawsuit filed on behalf of a company that got the rights to continue two soap operas, “One Life To Live” and “All My Children,” online.
     “In the ultimate act of bad faith, ABC inexplicably killed off two OLTL characters on loan to ‘General Hospital’ by having their car forced off a cliff.”
     Fortunately, their evil twins are still available.

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