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Tag: Option

Bitcoin is Already a Derivative

derivativeMany a Bitcoin company executive seeks a way to hedge the balance sheet risk of their business.  It would be useful to have a liquid (ostensibly, dollar backed) futures and options exchange market that would provide hedging opportunities for speculators while providing much needed price stability.  It sounds like Bitcoin is already a derivative.

What is a Derivative:

In the most basic definition, a derivative is something whose value is derived from the value of something else. Derivatives have no intrinsic value in and of themselves. Their value is based on the expected future price movements of the underlying asset.

Bitcoin is Already a Derivative

A bitcoin does not have an intrinsic value in and of itself, rather, the value of a Bitcoin is derived from the value of all the glorious things you can do with Bitcoin which cannot be done without Bitcoin.  Indeed this value is significant: bitcoin adoption promises to eliminate the gatekeepers of banking, insurance, law, and even governance.

Hey wait, Aren’t all those gatekeepers derivatives too!!!

Bankers, insurance brokers, lawyers and politicians do not have any intrinsic value in and of themselves either.  They produce nothing intrinsically edible, healing, nor comforting for anyone.  Like Bitcoin, the value of banks and insurance companies and legislators is derived from all the things that you can do with them which cannot be done with out them. These include capitalizing seed or machinery for growing food, or constructing a home or factory for increasing human productivity, or providing a salary to a teacher or doctor (in the conspicuous absence of a currency not of the gatekeeper’s design).

What isn’t a derivative?

The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the building that keep us warm and dry, the machinery that transports us and makes us healthy and the teachers that show us how to do useful things are NOT derivatives.  They have intrinsic value in and of themselves.

What is an Integral?

In mathematics an integral is the a function of which a given function is the derivative.  Creating an integral is the reverse of creating a derivative. That is the direction we should be headed in.

For example, integral of a teacher may be the school building within which everyone gathers.  As such, the value of the teacher can be derived from the change in value of the building that keeps everyone warm and dry during their lessons.  The integral of the food we eat is the machinery that allows the farmer to be more efficient.  In this case, the value of the food (nutritional) is derived from the quality of the farming practiced that created it.

The Opposite of a Derivative is an Integral.

When all is said and done and we’ve followed the integral to its origin, we will always find an Ingenesist. An Ingenesist is someone who invents, creates, designs, envisions, and brings forward into reality something that supports the health, welfare, and safety of people and environment.  Those are the only intrinsic values that truly exist.  Seriously, what else is there?

So when the financial world is contemplating derivatives of derivatives of derivatives of derivatives, we are contemplating the integrals of the integrals of the integrals.  Bitcoin is already a derivative. Ingenesist is already an integral.

The All You Can Eat Option

The proverbial “all-you-can-eat” business model works great for some products and not-so great for others.  The opportunity, of course, is to be able to transform non-viable business methods into viable one’s using social media tools and data.  In this article, we explore how the AYCE model can be improved.

Netflix for the Sky

The Netflix model for movies has been touted as one of the greatest business innovations in the modern era of technology – not because it is new, but because it works.  Now, consider that the AYCE model has been applied to transportation, club membership, and telecommunication (cell phone data plans), etc.  Some work better than others….

I found this recent article about American Airlines experience with the AYCE model – which became their worst nightmare.  In 1981, you could buy a lifetime all access pass to first class travel on United Airlines for 250,000 dollars. While touted as a good way for AA to raise a lot of quick money, it proved to have long term liabilities that far outstripped the performance of the fund raising.  Today, a small carrier called Surf Air is now trying to use a subscription based system on a limited circuit using executive turboprop aircraft.

What is the comparable human behavior?

AYCE models impact human behavior in often unpredictable (read “unprofitable”) ways.  We’ve seen the unlimited plan for cell phones becoming a thing of the past.  Taxi drivers have not yet introduced the subscription travel plan but certain bus routes and commuter modes lend themselves to unlimited passes where an alternate single use rate and behavior record can be used as a price comparison.

I recall a wise and successful colleague in the insurance business revealed the dark truth about unlimited subscriptions.  “They are like extended warranties, the only people who should actually buy extended warrantee are those who fully intend to beat the crap out of the item that they are covering”.  Like gym subscriptions, low use members are needed to subsidize high use members.

Simulated Economy

Another way to simulate the effect of an unlimited prescription without leaving the business with an unmanageable long-term liability is to create an option-like instrument.  The buyer would hold the right without the obligation to purchase the service at a discount during a specific period of time where behavior will be regulated by market forces.

Holding the option would be priced relatively cheap so that the buyer does not feel a deep loss for not exercising the option, yet sufficient to subsidize the activity of those who do exercise the option for discounted service.  Another feature is that the option can be traded allowing holders to build a proto-economy around the asset that they possess.    This would decrease the marketing costs of the provider as the price of the options floats to meet the needs of the market.

These strategies are commonplace on Wall Street but a statistical construct for their deployment on Main Street may be emerging.  New “platforms” will arise which produce and  aggregate data in the right format to support an options type of instrument for the trade or exchange of any number of goods and services in a non-cash environment.

Maybe the all-you-can-eat buffet of the future will resemble a cornucopia of options for assets that everyone shares.  Bon Apetite.

The 3 Steps To Social Profits

I have been approached by many brilliant social entrepreneurs in recent weeks.  They each have several things in common. Each has an incredibly creative idea and a strong passion linked to a deep seated observation that social currency has value.  As nebulous as that may sound, it is very real, specific, and clear in the minds of those who I’ll call, The New Entrepreneur.

Nothing Economic can happen until two or more people get together to build something.  Likewise, when two or more people get together to build something, economic things happen. The objective of this post is to demonstrate the 3 underlying actions of a new class of business plans that will become dominant in the next economic paradigm.

Our recipe is simple:

Step one: convert financial currency into social currency

Step two: Create value denominated in social currency

Step three: Convert new social currency back into financial currency – if needed

This simple recipe forms the basis of the business plans for several start-ups including Social Flights and The Social Value Network as well as numerous other projects that we consult to in the US, Greece, Brazil, Australia, China, and Mexico.

So here is how it works

The Old Business Model:  Suppose you buy a truck and you use it to haul stuff for your own personal and business interests. After 5 years, you can sell the truck for about 1/2 what you paid for it.

The New Business Model: Suppose that you buy a truck to hauls stuff for your own personal or business interests.  Suppose that you also let The Boy Scout troop leader borrow it to pick up christmas trees for sale.  Suppose you let the Kiwanis use it to pick up supplies for their annual salmon bake.  Suppose you let the YWCA haul donated furniture to their satellite facility.  Suppose you help your neighbor use it for a home improvement project.  After 5 years, you sell the truck for about 1/2 of what you paid for it.

The difference is that now your community is engaged with your personal interests.  You have converted financial capital into social capital and created new value denominated in social currency.  One notable example includes Neighborgoods, but there will undoubtedly be thousands of variations of this leveraging every conceivable physical asset.

Now, how do you transform this back social capital into financial capital?   Well, that’s what the emerging science of Social Capitalism is all about.  Social Profit is like a fungible option with a face value.  If structured correctly, an option can have a face value equal to the difference between discount and full price. That face value can be traded like money.  When you are engaged in a community, people know who you are, they trust you and they share with you.  People are trading options – the right without the obligation to exercise a financial position in the future.

Options have real value as an asset if you have them or as a liability if you don’t

Social Capitalism And The ROI For Social Media

Social Capitalism can be summed up as Classical Capitalism except with the factors of production swapped from “Land, Labor, Financial Capital” to “Social Capital, Creative Capital, and Intellectual Capital”.

This video introduces a new way of looking at social media valuation. It should be obvious by now that people create value in social media – otherwise they would not do it. The monetization paradox is stuck on “how can this value expressed as a financial instrument”?

If you engage your clients in the same currency that they are trading among themselves, the greater the likelihood you will realize the value of the new media phenomenon.

Future of Money and Technology Summit; Non-Quantifiable Exchanges

The above video playlist consists of the full 6 parts of the expert panel discussing non-quantifiable exchanges as recorded on April 26 2010 at the Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco. The complete video is about 55 minutes. I encourage you to watch it because very few discussions about the future of money approach the subject with as much experience, introspection, and clarity as this historic panel has.

This is not another doom-gloom room – but a truly optimistic model of a future financial system built on a platform of social media. These panelists represent some of the top thought leaders, visionaries, and practitioners in the area of “Local Social” – where nothing happens until the rubber meets the road. It was a great privilege for me to be a part of this esteemed group.


Tara Hunt; Social Media Strategist, Author: The Whuffie Factor
Daniel Robles, Director, The Ingenesist Project
Micki Krimmel, CEO; NeighborGoods
Chris Heuer, CEO, Social Media Club

Moderator: Tara Hunt

The future of Money and Technology Summit is one of the most important conferences to emerge as a result of the accelerated innovation and organizational re-structuring forming as a result of increasing constraints on the global financial system. We all look forward to another excellent conference next year!

Options, Options, What Are My Options?

In finance, an option is the right, without the obligation, of taking a financial position some time in the future.  As with any financial term, options are associated with “code speak” such as: volatility, exercise, strike, call, put, etc., glazing over many an eye.  At the same time, people want, buy, and trade options all day long in everyday life without even knowing it.  Options have value; otherwise people would not want them.

The ROI model of valuation fails when applied to social media.  The number of hits per ad dollar just does not translate to brand loyalty or scale into rivers of cash flow.  There is little surprise that corporations have great difficulty socializing because they simply don’t exist, except as a folder labeled “ROI” in the filing cabinet of an attorney in Bermuda.  In fact, losing control of the message makes for an expensive funeral in that same filing cabinet.  The Social Media industry is trying to live in the ROI structure and struggling to create revenue.

The cardinal rule of business is to collect assets and shed liabilities.  A “right” is an asset while an “obligation” is a liability.  An option is an asset without the liability, to make a decision some time in the future.  As such, options favor long term planning and strategic nurturing rather than short term profit taking of the ROI model. Asian countries and corporations set a good example of buying options in the future through product quality, education, and economic patience.  American corporations should do the same if they hope to benefit from social media.

People do not want ROI, they want options.  They want the option to separate peers from mentors from friends from family.  They want the option to experience before buying.  People want the option to meet their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.  They want the option to be anonymous or public in their interaction.  They want the option to collaborate and support others.  They want the option to overcome physical barriers.

People want to meet new people, get new ideas, and hold the option to act on those new ideas or collect on past ideas shared with others.  If they exercise an option and discover another along the way, they want the option to pursue many options to meet a changing market. If they create something in one market, they want the option to apply it to adapt it and access other markets.  If they help someone else up the ladder, they want an option to access what that person, in turn, has created from their help. If they make a friend, they want the option of meeting their new friend’s friends.

Likewise, when people are in trouble, they will turn to their collection of options and start exercising them as society has for millenia.  The great financial transformation will occur when on-line society gets threaded into the fabric of off-line society through the trade of options.  This is the area that needs to develop so that all the pieces can fall into place.  This may in fact become the lasting legacy of the financial meltdown.

Options can be the traded like money throughout and across on-line and off-line social networks if there were a way to keep track of them.  While The Ingenesist Project specifies promising strategies for trading options in a social network with varying levels of practicality, we can say with great confidence that it this next paradigm of economic development will never happen with an ROI mentality.

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