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  • By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Bitcoin and politics in 2018

This will be the year of Bitcoin explosion. Not that it hasn’t exploded yet. The first Bitcoin ATM just opened on Guam. Autospot’s radio commercial bombards listeners with its Bitcoin packages offer. You can’t be not curious now; Bitcoin has become a household word.

Recruiters on Guam have been hustling and the madness is growing to a tormenting level. “Do you have Bitcoin yet?” “My $1,000 Bitcoin investment is now worth $10,000.” “Let me tell you about Bitcoin.” And after you told them you’ll think about it, they will call you again the next day. “So have you considered investing in Bitcoin yet?” If you don’t respond, they would email you a link to the latest article from the Bitcoin magazine.

It almost seems like a fundamental religion—the Neocatechumenical Way of the financial world. Like the religious zealots who offer to lead you to the path of salvation, the bringers of truth about Bitcoin promise to take you to financial nirvana.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a total skeptic. After all, we live in the “Black Mirror” age, when the non-tangibles of the digital sphere shape the way we live. Wasn’t there an initial resistance and agnosticism when the credit card was first invented?

Although the Bitcoin era has produced a battalion of self-appointed financial experts, I still can’t completely fathom how this crypto-currency works. Like the denotation of the word “crypt,” the concept of “mining” remains a mystery to me. The only thing I understand is its volatile nature. In early December, Bitcoin was valued at $16,599.99 on one U.S. exchange and over $19,000 in Korea. A couple of days later, it dropped briefly to around $10,000 and then went back up to about $14,500. It seems like a gamble, like a stock investment that will bring you either the promise of bliss or take you to the abyss of disappointment.

Along with Bitcoin explosion, 2018 is also election year, with the much-anticipated gubernatorial race. This the Democratic Party's year.

The gubernatorial scene will have more dramatis personae this year. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio has always been touted as Gov. Eddie Calvo’s heir apparent, with former Sen. Tony Ada as his running mate.

The Democratic camp has always been more animated and compelling to watch. Unlike in 2014 when the Democratic Party had to scour the entire island in search of a willing candidate, the 2018 primary will be a crowded year for the people’s party. Bank of Guam president and former senator Lou Leon Guerrero is running with career hopper Josh Tenorio. Sen. Frank Aguon is running with former US attorney Alicia Limtiaco. Former governor, Carl Gutierrez, is back in the game, becoming a perennial candidate. But his initial choice for running mate, Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, has his own gubernatorial ambition.

The congressional race may be unpredictable this year. Delegate Madeleine Bordallo who is facing ethics investigation in the U.S. Congress, may be in a volatile position. Sen. Michael San Nicholas has announced his intention to challenge the star for all season in the Democratic primary. Former Speaker Judi Won Pat, who was painfully ousted from the legislature in the 2016 election, is expected to make a comeback to try her luck with the congressional seat.

On the Republican side, former Gov. Felix Camacho is likely to come back and step on his spanking dry-run in 2016. Former Sen. Frank Blas is likely to take his chances, as well.

“Who do you think is going to make it to the gubernatorial race,” a friend of mine asked.

Well, I said, considering the volatility of politics, it’s like predicting how much the Bitcoin will be worth in the next 10 hours.

“But who do you think is the best candidate for governor,” he asked again.

As we have always experienced, election is like investing in Bitcoin— it will either deliver the promise of bliss or take you to the abyss of disappointment.

Mar-Vic Cagurangan is the publisher of the Pacific Island Times.

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