PotCoin spokesman Dennis Rodman on his way to North Korea
Is this a way to live? Up at the crack of dawn, ingesting blood pressure meds to prepare for the (admittedly self-inflicted) stress of the of the latest download of news from the strange and uncertain Washington, D.C. of Donald J. Trump.
So it was a welcome distraction to take on a reporting assignment involving the crypto-currency Bitcoin of which my knowledge and qualifications for analysis of this alternative to the existing banking system were absolutely zero.
Of course, curiosity helps. For example, looking at the balance sheet of a conventional savings account in 2017 and the micro-interest delivered by the stingy financial institutions should leave any saver wondering why he or she bothered to take the money out from underneath the mattress only to turn it over to the bankers.
So one result of that assignment was ownership of a small stake in Bitcoin.
There are a lot of arguments for these super computer generated currencies, but I did not quite appreciate that entertainment was one of them. First, the contents of my little Bitcoin wallet edged up, then briefly dropped, only to zoom upward, dwarfing anything my bank would have paid for use of the principal amount. I guess if anything, it’s a testimonial to volatility and often brightens a morning.
And if that isn’t enough excitement, Bitcoin just split in two, spawning Bitcoin Cash. I’ll leave it to you to figure out how that works.
And then came… PotCoin, essentially Bitcoin for stoners and the operators who with increasing legitimacy provide their supplies. The problems these folks have with the normal banking system are truly extreme, given that despite state-by-state marijuana legalization, weed remains illegal on the federal level and if Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions has his way, enforcement will return to 1958 levels. Makes me think of a Chicago cousin who showed up with a trunkful of pot back in the 60s, only to have to make time for penance in federal stir later.
Even if there’s money to be made—and PotCoin estimates the ‘global legal marijuana market’ amounts to $100 billion—normal bankers are afraid to get involved in this unstable trade.
Like any other start up, PotCoin, desperately needs publicity to reach the niche market it hopes to dominate. Unlike any other PR strategy I’ve ever heard of, PotCoin enlisted noted ‘bad boy’ Dennis Rodman, formerly of the NBA as a rep.
In June, PotCoin dispatched Rodman for his fifth trip to North Korea to see his BFF, Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un. Of course, as a cast member for two seasons of Celebrity Apprentice, Rodman claims a similar relationship with U.S. Supreme Leader Donald J. Trump.
You did not have to be an expert in crypto-currencies to see that this strategy backfired, at least in the short term as Kim Jong-un continued to fire off missiles and threaten the world and in particular Guam with nuclear annihilation while communing with his pal.
But did the PotCoin-Rodman strategy work in the longer term? In the weeks that followed, PotCoin bounced back though exhibiting the usual crypto-volatility, up and down.
Could a Rodman visit to Trump’s Bedminster Country Club in New Jersey, Mar-a-Lago in Florida or even that sad White House in Washington be ahead? Stay tuned.
Bruce Lloyd is a veteran journalist, who has been a longtime resident of Guam and Saipan. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org