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Mo-

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About Mo-

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  • Birthday 08/31/1994

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  1. All companies that survived the bubble had immense financial discipline. Amazon is the greatest example of this, and there are in depth financial analyses into the operation which Jeff Bezos ran but the key takeaway is he was one of the few to go 'slow and steady'. Google didn't have its IPO (initial public offering, where shares become available to the public on exchanges) until 2004 which was well after the crash and all investors prior were the same institutional investors who are warning against Bitcoin today. Some companies survived the bubble its true, but let us look at some of those survivors: Yahoo had a price of $108.7 at the peak of the dotcom bubble, when the bubble burst and settled, it had a price of around $5, representing a loss of 95.5% on investment. It never recovered. Amazon was valued at $106.7 at the bubbles peak, but when it settled was valued at around $15, an 86% loss on investment. Today it is valued at $1294.58, which would be an annual return of 15.87% compounded. Comparatively, DJIA has had a 5.24% annual return over the same period. Ebay doubled in share price over the year preceding the bubble, however, rather than losing more than 90% of its value, it simply returned to the price it held previously, with natural growth/loss occurring over time. However those who bought it at the peak lost 50% of their investment. Ebay has had a 8.73% compounded annual return since then until now. Analysing the information, sure what investors bought was not worthless, but it was excessively overvalued and they suffered massive losses. Of the few companies that survived, most declined further or flatlined. Of around 2800 companies that went public during the dot-com bubble and the events preceding it, Amazon and Ebay were the exceptions with the rest all being losing investments. Given then, the enormous amount of risk, it is difficult to say that Amazon or Ebay really paid off on a risk-adjusted basis. Yes, they offered higher returns on the market, but the failure rate of the industry they were in was incredibly high. Now lets add another fact to the mix: listed companies are very transparent, with annual reporting every year revealing their cash flows and growth, from which analysts can deduce valuations. Cryptocurrencies on the other hand don't have cashflows (unless it is a proof of stake model like Ethereum where validators use their 'stake' to validate a transaction and charge a fee). This means their value is tied to being a modicum of exchange (in the case of proof of work like Bitcoin or Dogecoin) or network facilitator (like in the case of Ripple). The first can be estimated based on the volume of transactions on the ledger, but the second is quite opaque because the valuation of the network facilitation capacity of the Ripple network isn't in the public domain. This means that from a financial standpoint at the very least, cryptocurrencies could be considered even more risky than tech companies in the dot-com era boom. Right now there are 1469 cryptocurrencies with a market cap of $630bn. How many do you think will survive, given the survival rate of the dot-com bubble, and on a risk adjusted basis, are any of them even worth it? That is ultimately for you to gauge. Of course I have the benefit of hindsight, but many notable investors (Warren Buffet of course comes to mind) refused to buy into the craze. From an Islamic perspective I would argue the situation of investing in the tech bubble would've garnered different answers from different scholars at the time, but if we are trying to objectively measure gharar then crypto definitely presents a larger risk than the dot-com bubble did and the fact it is even less transparent, and even more so that unlike the dot-com bubble, most market analysts actually view crypto as a bubble. I would probably say yeah, it would've been haram to invest in the dot-com bubble based on my perception of what constitutes extreme gharar. Ultimately what it comes down to is what your expectations are of the situation because every single investor has their own preferences and perception of risk. The fatwa was a generalised one (given the consensus of most finance professionals on the matter), but if you don't view crypto as having extreme gharar based on your own conclusions, nobody can really force you to adopt another conclusion. The general person isn't a finance professional or tech expert and for them investing in crypto ultimately has to by definition pose extreme gharar. tl;dr: The fatwa was a general one Crypto bubble is more risky than the dot-com bubble for investors (thus more gharar) It is difficult to answer things in hindsight Gharar itself is a subjective matter (just like risk)
  2. 1. The thing is, it is behaving exactly as a bubble does. There is a broad consensus on this amongst financial professionals. It highly resembles Dotcom bubble of the 90s albeit at a far more limited scope (for now). 2. Bridgewater is a hedge fund. They aim to invest in high risk strategies to get a return and they don't advise others. They use numerous strategies but their hallmark strategies are all quant strategies, which means they really don't care for the underlying asset type but are focused on maximising returns independent of market risk. Cryptocurrencies are very much the type of product they would use in building their portfolio (using both long and short positions). Most hedge funds using quant strategies like Bridgewater's typically invest in bubbles because they can use these products to adjust the risk of their portfolio with less capital than traditional investments require. 3. It isn't that it is only ok if global corporations say the product is fine, it is the fact that amongst finance experts the broad consensus is that Bitcoin is a bubble, and that bubbles are genuinely accepted as being markets of extreme gharar.
  3. 1. Amateur investors are what we call retail investors, i.e. nurses, cashier clerks, student hobbyists, etc., using their own money to invest. Professional investors are people who make their living off investing other people's money for them, such as fund managers who work in private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, etc. Most jurisdictions also have a legal term for people they refer to as qualified investors, but this is usually simply determined by net worth. The foremost investors in blockchain have been large financial institutions (which is why a lot of them are working with Ripple and have hired the Ethereum team to consult for them), contrary to what you stated they in fact know a lot about cryptocurrencies, it is technically their job to know. The article states: These are the people driving the speculative Bitcoin bubble (and the same for wider crypto). The reason financial institutions are getting involved with Bitcoin itself isn't because they are buying into Bitcoin, but because there is a profit to be made from providing the service of clearing Bitcoin futures, of selling Bitcoin to the handful of people who plan to open 'cryptocurrency funds', etc. Veterans of finance like Ray Dalio (CEO of Bridgewater, the world's largest hedgefund) and Larry Fink (CEO of Blackrock, the world's largest asset manager with nearly $6 trillion assets under management) have both declared Bitcoin as a bubble and kept away from crypto in general. Of course Bitcoin industry insiders will be bullish, they think that Bitcoin is going to be adopted as a global currency. But ask yourself this question: do you think the governments of the world which unanimously use a central banking system are going to forego their monopoly on money? Not a chance. 2. The creators of Ripple don't expect people to go out and buy stuff using Ripple, and the manner in which it is designed (private network, proof of consensus, limited supply), means it doesn't operate as a currency. It is an essential part of the communication protocol, but people using the Ripple Network won't transfer in XRP, they'll be transferring USD, GBP, Euros, etc. XRP will only be used by financial institutions for clearing.
  4. Because unexpected outcomes mean people misvalued things and it shifts them away from their optimal consumption. It means that instead of wealth being properly allocated, it went into overpriced assets and thus represents an overall loss (this is reflected by economic contraction, aka recession).
  5. 1. http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/07/investing/bitcoin-what-is-going-on/index.html - the fact most BTC investors are small time amateur mom and pop types is similar to the pool of people who invest in Forex CFDs. Most market experts also believe Bitcoin is a bubble - https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/12/80-percent-of-wall-street-economists-strategists-believe-bitcoin-is-a-bubble-survey.html - that 80% would probably be closer to 95% if discounting the people who answered "I don't know". 2. Ripple's founders are more interested in the platform. Ripple itself isn't supposed to be used as a medium of exchange, but as an aid to the communication protocol. This means they don't plan for it to be used as a currency at points of transaction. Not to mention, there is a limited amount, it is a private network and operates a proof of consensus model to verify transactions. 3. Point 3 is not relevant to Ripple, that is correct.
  6. I've been following cryptos since 2013. Most people in financial services are extremely skeptical of Bitcoin. The same amateur investors that are attracted to it are the ones who were attracted to CFD Forex trading, except the difference being with the massive price rises in crypto people with 0 (or in fact a negative understanding) of financial markets such as housewives from Japan and Korea are throwing their money at it. The fact is, BTC doubled in value in less than a month and has also lost half its value within less than a month, that isn't the behaviour of a normal asset. Ripple is on a private blockchain, so it is useless to launder money with. They aren't aiming to create a cryptocurrency but they are using blockchain to create a new transfer system. You can consider XRP to be similar to a stock owning the RippleNetwork but without voting rights or cash dividends.
  7. haha i missed a 0.09 indeed!
  8. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504851.2014.995359?scroll=top&needAccess=true
  9. 1. My understanding at least was that it comes from the idea that we live in an age where currencies are regulated, and an unregulated currency upsets the current order. It can also be seen as relevant to the UK because a large number of Muslims conduct foreign transactions through remittances to places like Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc., and transparence in these remittances and where they are going is really important on a national level for reasons of security. 2. Extreme gharar is probably best seen as anything resembling a bubble. If price picks up suddenly for no visible and apparent reason, and a large number of experts in economics/markets call an event a bubble, then it holds extreme gharar. 3. With crypto in general numerous experts have stated that it is primarily used for money laundering, typically for drugs, illegal weapons and other services outside the scope of the law. It may be accepted for use by various vendors, but BTC transactions by these entities are far and few. Re US dollar benefitting from the stuff you mention: the primary driver of the US dollar is by and large the US consumer market, which remains until today the largest in the world. To put it simply, the situation you describe of the US dollar is the inverse of Bitcoin. I would say probably less than 0.01% of US dollar dealings go into sketchy stuff with 99.99% being with normal things, whereas with Bitcoin it is likely the inverse (0.01% in normal stuff and 99.99% in sketchy). edit: bad maths
  10. Bitcoin had a massive tumble today - 27%. Expect more drops as more clampdowns are rolled out.
  11. Government-issued currencies are only relevant when a government has a monopoly on coinage. In reality anyway governments don't really issue money. The money supply is generally controlled by the banking system, it is similar in a sense to how telecoms companies own broadcasting concessions.
  12. 1) but the loss is not proportional and is deemed an externality. In a bet, the loss is explicit and contracted between two parties, therefore it is gambling Islamically. When Walmart decides to open a new store, it isn't betting against the local stores, in fact due to agglomeration it is expected some local stores could even see an increase in customers. 2) speculation in Islam is halal.
  13. If there is a counterparty (i.e. there is a losing side and a winning side) it is haram. Otherwise it is just speculation. Technically speaking, in the case of a 70%-30% chance random walk, the cost of participation would increase on the more biased side and decrease on the losing side as the market wouldn't allow an arbitrage to exist.
  14. Ok so I asked Sh. al Judai about a wide range of topics and their Islamic perspective. He told me some things to hold into generality: The four major madhabs do not have significant differences on what they consider halal and haram when it comes to modern financial transactions, as they did not deal with the same things we dealt with today. There are however minor differences on some points Modern scholars, irrespective of madhab, take from a variety of sources (i.e., other madhabs and opinions, including those of non-traditional sources such as some trustworthy Shia sources (e.g. Sh. Muhammad Baqir al Sadr's book on banking has been cited by many) when it comes to Islamic finance. There is a lot of Ikhtilaf between scholars on numerous points, coming from both a lack of specialization and a large requirement for Ijtihad. These things are important because, people often ask what a specific madhab says about a certain transaction, but due to the nuances of Islamic jurisprudence today and the rapid rate of innovation in fian Firstly, some definitions I learned (or improved upon): Qimar (gambling): Gambling occurs when two parties enter into an agreement that based on an outcome related to probability or chance, one party will win and the other will lose (e.g. a coin toss with a winner and a loser). Gharar (risk, in finance, risk arising from speculation, synonymous with uncertainty): Is in Islamic business terms, when the outcome of a transaction bears some level of uncertainty. Investments with extreme Gharar are generally considered haram, for example, investing in something that is priced irrationally like a bubble with abnormal returns. Mudaraba (speculation): When an investor/market participant holds a certain view of the future and enacts a transaction based on this view (e.g. buying stock in a company deemed profitable). [Note: the common definition people use for this is the idea of the Mudaraba contract, which is a very narrow element of the actual theory]. Mudaraba al Sila' (speculation on a good/service/commodity): When a market participant purchases something for a holding period in the hope its price will change in the direction they favor by the end of this holding period (e.g. buying a barrel of oil and keeping it for sale at a later date for a higher price). Mudaraba al Si'ir (speculation on price): Where a market participant invests purely speculating on the price of something, and not on the thing itself (e.g., a contract for difference). This is haram as it is a form of gambling. Bay' (sale): the exchange of goods or services. Bay' al Salam (deferred sale): when a sale takes place, with the payment upfront and the good/service delivered at a later date. In this sense, this type of sale can take place in two manners in modern terms: Cash paid today for the provision of a good or service later; A good or service is provided today for the provision of cash later. Bay' al Inah (cash buyback): when a deferred sale takes place, but the good is sold back immediately at a lower price. This has major ikhtilaf, the Shafi'i's say it is permissible, but the other madhabs say it is generally not. All madhabs however agree that if the intention of the person is to essentially create an interest bearing loan in all but name (i.e. a heela [a work around]), it is haram. Cryptocurrencies: On Bitcoin, he informed me that the UK Fatwa Committee (which consists of himself, Sh. Suhaib Hasan and several other prominent UK based scholars) had decided putting money into Bitcoin (and cryptocurrencies in general) were not halal at the current time for multiple reasons: It is not currently recognized as legal tender in its current form, and several governments have instituted bans on it. This is contrary to the idea that Muslims should obey the laws of the countries they live in. It acts as a source of extreme Gharar. Whilst the idea itself does not go against Islamic principles (i.e., crypto in of itself isn't haram), the fact that it is primarily used for money laundering (whether by Chinese people going against capital controls or people who have illicit income through black market places), means it is currently unsuitable for use. Online trading: The Sh. corrected me on the point that speculation is not gambling Islamically, unless two parties are involved. I explained to him that, other than traditional retail brokerages which only generally sell vanilla stocks and bonds, most retail investors only have access to websites that provide CFD's (contract's for difference). He informed that this is equivalent to gambling if the speculation is being made in this case purely for the hope of an increase in price and contains two contracted parties. However in the case of actually owning the commodity/bond/stock, without a contract for difference, there is no problem with speculation as long as it does not carry extremely high risk. Insurance: Most scholars today say insurance is haram, but Sh. al Judai said it is halal generally speaking and there have been modern scholars from all backgrounds who hold the same view. He says this because, Bay' al Salam can be considered a primitive form of insurance and has generally been allowed. The issue with insurance comes down to contract specifics and the type of insurance (naturally for example, life insurance would be particularly troublesome Islamically). Insurance in itself can be sold in the form of an investment (e.g. an insurance company invests the money you give them for a particular policy in liquid assets, and grows a large enough balance sheet to pay off any claims) or it could be in the form of relying on the collective yearly payments from clients outweighing the collective yearly claims. The contracts themselves ultimately vary too and it really depends on a case by case basis. I asked him a bunch of other things in my time and went of plenty of examples for my own project. I can share those too but I felt what I included here were things related to the questions in this thread in particular.
  15. I have a nice write-up I'll do tonight inshallah
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