Thursday, 29 October 2020

Cryptos, Art, Antiques, and Comic Books


Would you pay a million dollars for some paint on paper with a fancy frame around it?

Well, some will. 

Especially if the artist is famous and more importantly, dead (no more future supply).

But then again, there will be times you'll be getting rid of your prized art collections for a song.

Our late Singapore banker Low Chuck Tiew was able to amass a great collection of Chinese artworks during his posting in Hong Kong during turbulent time of 1949 when the communists were taking over the whole of China.

(As a side note, properties are usually good, better, best 99% of the time in human history. However, it sucks when you are "running road", or when its stolen without compensation from communist bandits.)

The thing about antiques its really in the eye of the beholder. 

Some see old stuffs as junk; some see them as treasures. 

The same goes for rare 1st issues of comic books or toys of our childhood in mint condition or in their original packaging. 

Hoarders of the world would exclaim excitedly, "See? What did I say? Don't throw away anything! They may get valuable one day!"

How about memorabilia?

Unless you're a big rabid fan of Apple, who would pay $800K for the first Apple 1 computer?

Then again, there's a group of people who don't care or have any interests whatsoever in the various "asset classes" I've shared above. These are the speculators.

Just as long they are confident they can find the next fool to sell to at a higher price, they will place a bid.

This is how I view cryptos.


  1. COVID-19 pushes me into consuming more and more PayNow and Paywave so I am consumer of digital currency but not speculator on crypto. :-)

    1. CW,

      During the early days of this Wuhan virus outbreak, those idiots who tried to hoard toilet papers (all over the world and not just in Singapore), weren't they wannebe speculators too?

      Same goes for those Singaporeans who braved long queues at Mcdonald's just to lay their hands on Hello Kitty toys!?

      How many were true Hello Kitty fans?

      I don't feel bad not speculating in cryptos. There is no fear of missing out.

      Every week, I speculate with Toto $1 quick-pick ;)

      If I struck the 1st prize without sharing with others, whether in % or in real money, I won't lose out to crypto speculators.


    2. hoard toilet papers?

      ha ha . Last month NTUC Fairprice offered toilet rolls at 1 + 1 free!

    3. CW,

      We know how the story goes.

      2000 Nasdaq - no profits no problem! Got eyeballs can oredi! Stocks always go up!

      2007 US properties - No income no job? No worries. Still can qualify for bank loans!? Look, properties always go up!

      Locally, we have our flavour of the year China stocks play, Myanmar play, Water stocks play, Oil and Gas plays; and what have you.

      Cryptos? Its interesting China, Russia, and Vietnam bans them. All 3 have something in common, don't they? LOL!

      To play the speculation game, we have to be competent with Market Timing.

      Alas, I'm still L-plate driver...

    4. Hi smol,

      I will leave UN to talk about bitcoins, ether, etc

      But I bet a coffee with u, plus lunch, China will reverse that ban in some form by next year end...

      Is not tuplid. But we dun have a winner yet for the commodity for Blockchain tech which is here to stay.

      Maybe it's not the 3 names now, but I believe if u view as a "commodity" for block chain tech, then it won't be gone

    5. Sillyinvestor,


      I'll take the other side of the bet with you :)

      My bet China will come up with their OWN digital currency.

      They will want to track and trace what EVERY citizen is doing. Just look at their facial recognition system to punish jaywalkers!

      Got enough demerit points deducted, try buying a train or air ticket in China!?

      So how can they allow competition to their "Trust is good; but Control is better"?

      There's a reason why China, Russia, and Vietnam bans cryptos ;)

      Yes, blockchain tech will remain and thrive.

      This technology will be used in REVERSED by big governments though. Nothing will be anonymous. No governments like that for tax reasons.

      It will be like what we have today already, just turbo boosted!

      Key-in our I/C number, everything we ever done in our lives can be printed out ;)

      Now imagine our I/C numbers getting attached to cryptos permanently in the future ;)

      We'll never get out of the grid.

      The holy grail for all big governments is to ban CASH.

      Once track and trace cryptos are ready, anonymous cryptos will be banned.

      That does not mean crypto speculators can't make money now. Just have to encourage more bei kambings to bid the prices up, while you sell on the way up.

      I'm too old for this kind of excitement. But I'm happy for adventurous youths.

      Better this than to voluntarily contribute to CPF below age 35!

  2. Hey Smol,
    That's cheating.
    I already say might not be the 3 names.
    So u agree with me that some form of it will be reversed la.
    Dun pull a fast one ok.

    1. Sillyinvestor,


      I guess the lack of "precision" has failed in our communication ;)

      There's a world of difference between cryptos or digital currencies that are NOT recognised by governments as legal tender, and those which I've mentioned that will be coming out that's fully sanctioned and controlled by governments.

      No. China will continue to BAN cryptos that are not recognised as legal tender by them ;)

      Hope your bet is still on?

      I don't think China is ready to launch their own legal tender digital currency by end of next year.

      How am I cheating?

      To make it more precise. Just as long China recognise any form of cryptos by end of next year, I buy you coffee and lunch?

  3. Hi Smol,

    Fine art & collectibles historically have CAGR of about 6% over the past 100+ years. Worse than global stocks at 8%.

    The main reason for HNWIs is diversification ... when stocks zig, some of their other stuff may zag.

    And of course, you just don't get the same response if you start showing your broker/bank statements rather than showing off your Rembrandt or Picasso paintings, sharing a Chateau Lafitte-Rothschild, or zipping around in a 1934 Scuderia Ferrari LOL.

    So I'll consider cryptos the same class as gold bars, paper gold or digital gold. Purely for speculative profit, diversification, and inflation/chaos hedge.

    1. Spur,

      I see physical gold as no different from comic books or Hello Kitty toys.

      Its all about brainwashing others to accept OUR own definition of worth or value ;)

      If enough people believe Hello Kitty toys got "value", then that property owner will gladly part away with bungalow in exchange for x amount of Hello Kitty toys!


      You never fail to impress me with your grasp of figures and facts. You statistics man, you!

      Since I more Arts stream, let me share with you a bit of interesting history.

      Genghis Khan, after he conquered a new territory, will "encourage" the landed class and rich merchants of that area to exchange their gold, silver, and precious jewelleries, etc; with his Mongol printed paper money.

      Now that's what I call a simple definition of LEGAL TENDER!

      You better accept it or your heads!

      And yes, that's the paper money that Marco Polo mentioned to the West.

      Those people in Europe must be thinking - paper got value meh?

    2. Lol Smol!

      Our grandparents must have had the same feeling when bank "pass books" were being phased out. You mean you trust what the online screen says? What if there's no electricity like during the Jap Occupation? Lol!

      Paper demand notes or promissory notes only had value if people had trust in a country's laws & system to exchange them for gold on demand.

      This was abandoned en masse in the early 20th century. WW1 and the breakup or de-legitimisation of many old empires was not conducive in maintaining the "coin of the realm" system.

      Enter the fiat age. Govts all over crow "Let it be done! Your $10 paper is the same as the old $10 gold coin. Trust me!" Lol.

      Americans were luckier. They could still exchange their dollar bills for gold & silver coins till 1933. Alas, the great depression was not conducive for such privileges.

      And who can forget good old Nixon, who told foreign central banks to bugger off in 1971 with the cessation of national-level gold convertibility of US treasuries & notes.

      But not before the Swiss & Frenchies had a wise 6th sense, and converted a large part of their US reserves back for physical gold just before Nixon pulled his stunt.

    3. Spur,

      Don't laugh.

      Mom will "force" me to update her bank passbook whenever big daddy gives out "ang baos" to senior citizens.

      She feels more secure when its printed in black and white - no chance for disputes.

      It must be interesting during 1965 when Singapore got kicked out of Malaysia.

      Imagine Singaporeans have to "trust" a new currency called the Singapore dollars?

      No choice like Genghis Khan conquered subjects...

      But foreigners?

      Can you imagine the PR work involved to convince foreign suppliers to accept payment in SGD?

      We are lucky 1 SGD can covert to 3 MYR today.

      Imagine a day when 1 MYR can exchange to 3 SGD!?

      If that happens, we have no one to blame but ourselves...

      Pay peanuts?

      We must have elected monkeys into parliament!

      Yes, fiat currency is all about trust and confidence ;)

  4. Hi SMOL,

    Alamak. Kena arrowed and dragged in by SI.

    Short answer: There are two well-known Vietnamese Crypto companies; one of them is incorporated in Vietnam. As for China, the Chinese government has been quietly building their blockchain network (see here ).

    Long story: Both SI and yourself possess portions of the truth. The Chinese gov-backed blockchain has both an internal- and external-facing side to it. The latter allows for interaction with non-sovereign cryptos and semi-company controlled cryptos for outsiders. The inward facing side to it facilitates transactions belonging to their central bank digital currencies (not crypto!) and semi-company controlled cryptos (not sure about non-sovereign cryptos).

    The lines are getting blurred though. Telcos are necessary for providing internet connection, but do you consider them the same as the internet, websites on the internet, or a particular seller on a marketplace website on the internet? What about a marketplace website? Is it the data centre hosting the marketplace website the website itself? This is what I call “semi-company controlled cryptos”; they don’t behave neatly and may occupy multiple layers from the vertical layer of telco all the way to a particular seller on a marketplace website on the internet. Heck, even the familiar term cryptos that is used to designate them is inaccurate on multiple fronts. That’s what it is. Messy and cannot be readily categorized.

    1. Unintelligent Nerd,


      He can't fight his own battles? Need you to fend for him?

      I didn't know its a tag team match ;)

      1. There are many crypto miners and companies working with cryptos in China. Why would China want to ban them? Just as long they SELL to FOREIGNERS, that's all ;)

      Hey, foreign exchange is foreign exchange!

      Its a bit like the British selling opium to China in exchange for silver. But the British would never do the same to their own British citizens!

      Vietnam is not stupid. Of course they want a piece of the pie too.

      They need to learn how crypto works so when the time comes to "nationalise" it for their own use, they are ready.

      2. Cryptos are one version of digital currency. We can also argue with the push towards a cashless society, the money we hold in our banks today is already a form of "digital currency".

      However, when we make cashless transactions today, we still need to have a bank account, or use the services of financial intermediaries like credit card companies or Paypal, etc.

      Today, when big daddy give us cash grants, they still need to put it into our bank accounts first.

      The definition of digital currency that's fully legal tender I talking about, big daddy can straight away send them via the internet to our smart phones or PCs - WITHOUT going through our banks.

      Which also means if I want to send money to you digitally, we both don't need to have a Singapore bank account first.

      And imagine when we buy stuffs online, we make DIRECT payments to the seller! No need to use credit cards or Paypal.

      Imagine the savings and convenience if parents can transfer money to their children studying overseas without a middleman getting a cut of it?

      Of course this will have MASSIVE impact on the roles played by banks and financial intermediaries like credit card companies, and Paypal..

      Plus they will be infrastructure and regulatory issues to iron out.

      Everyone needs to have access to a smartphone/PC with internet or mobile access. For Singapore, its easier as Wirelesssg is free!

      How do we regulate the telcos? Wouldn't they be too powerful? More powerful than the banks? Back to nationalizing the telcos?

      How about security? Imagine our enemies can just take down our internet or power supply. What then? What's the backup? Today, cash is the backup.

      That's why I would gladly take the bet from sillyinvestor ;)

      Its coming. 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? But not by end of next year.


  5. Smol,


    I like a bet I can lose and still win.

    Coffee and lunch. Hahahah

    For precision, if China allow any state banks or big 4 to venture with any company to do cyrpo exchange, that would count as I won too

    The mining or creation part, u might be right, but I think they will start the market place soon

    I must say I am not too famialr with all these. But I like a gamble for cheapdrill

    1. Sillyinvestor,


      Yup. You win if China allows any of their state banks or approve any crypto exchanges to be setup in China that allow its own local citizens to access and invests in by end of 2021.

      I'll gladly lose to you too ;)

      Any excuse to meet up.

      This year, I've only met CW - and that's by pure chance on bus 122!


      This Wuhan thing felt like I've lost a year!

  6. FYI some comic books the #2 issue is worth more than #1.
    Cos everyone collects the #1 issue. End up the publisher prints more of #1 and supply is increased. But #2 no one buy, and supplier print less, so ends up as a rarer issue.

    1. ERSG,

      Interesting! Good to know!

      I didn't buy nor read England comics when young.

      What I bought were the 龙虎们 comics from Hong Kong. From primary school to secondary school. From black and white to semi-colour to full colour.

      Then mom threw away everything when I went to NS....


      Oh well...

  7. Smol,

    Almost forgot...

    For alt assets who can forget Toto & 4D & sports betting?

    Speaking of which, I've placed some play money on regarding next week's US elections. It's blocked by our nanny state so need to use VPN to access. ;)

    Won't earn much even if win ... just for the fun of it! :)

    1. Spur,

      Lucky other than 吃喝嫖赌, I don't have other bad habits or vices ;)

      And I thought I'm the bad influence in the community...

      You incorrigible gambler you!

      Hope no matter who wins, US will continue to print money and we all live happily ever after...

      Stocks always go up!



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