Bitcoin: Volatility Without Recourse

I like to keep my money digitally, in fact I have a distinct dislike for physical cash. Luckily I just about never carry any cash thanks to how well established debit/credit cards are in Sweden. However, I am not a fan of alternative ‘currencies’ such as bitcoin. Sure, it is digital, but it is also terrible in just about every other respect.

I guess most of my dislike stems from the fans of bitcoin, whom all sound like boiler-room pump and dump salesmen. Bitcoin is terribly suited as a currency in its current state, it is quite frankly too volatile, too harsh on consumers and quasi-deflationary.

Bitcoin exchange rate, 1 year

Bitcoin exchange rate, 1 year, from coinbase.com

The price of bitcoin has been volatile over the last year to say the least. It was at one point worth over $1000 per bitcoin but the price is at the time of writing at $325 per bitcoin. Not a terribly good investment from those who bought in at $1000. We should not kid ourselves either, most of the people holding bitcoin today are speculators or use bitcoin to pay for illegal activities, both alternatives aren’t exactly something that inspire confidence in a fledgling currency.

Another problem is that bitcoin is very prone to market manipulations, the volumes are small enough that a few individuals can influence the price with ease. The high exchange rate in the end of 2014 looks like a pump and dump scheme to say the least. At the same time most people could not withdraw their bitcoin or fiat currencies from the biggest exchange, MtGox, leading to an unhealthy environment where the market was non-functional for all intents and purposes.

Still, the price has made a terrific journey for the last year, but the volume of trade is still largely the same, it has increased somewhat but has in no way matched the price curve. The volume is quite simply small and insignificant at any reasonable perspective, especially when comparing to other currencies or even just trade in general.

Bitcoin transaction volume

Bitcoin transaction volume, from coinbase.com

The extreme volatility of bitcoin, in comparison to normal currencies makes it a terrible store of value and even worse for normal spending. It is a terrible speculation Ponzi scheme run by pump and dump salesmen and gold bugs who fear government backed currencies. Here is a hint; gold and bitcoin will not save you from the Rapture. Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, which in itself should disqualify as a new/better currency. Bitcoin totally lacks consumer protections and does not make it easy to keep your assets secure. Practically anyone owning bitcoin is at risk of losing it due to the slightest mistake, and without ANY recourse. That is a terrible feature in a new currency.

Want to get rich? Invest in index funds with no or very low fees. Be diverse, be long-term and for the love of god, don’t gamble with money you cannot afford to lose.

 

– P

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Master Thesis: The Relativity of Enterprise Systems Implementation Success

I have finished my master thesis, titled The Relativity of Enterprise Systems Implementation Success. The thesis studies an ERP implementation after go-live. I am finally done with a month to spare before starting my new job as IT-Trainee at H&M. Which is going to be very exciting, the job will involve rolling out H&M’s new ERP system globally.

Master thesis

Below is a link to the final version of the thesis. I have also included the abstract below. The thesis is available as a pdf here ( or click the image below) or at the VU Library’s website.

The Relativity of Enterprise Systems Implementation Success

The Relativity of Enterprise Systems Implementation Success

Thesis abstract

Enterprise system (ES) implementations have been researched extensively throughout the years as it is something almost all organizations have to go through, and the implementations are often failures. This study aims to expand the knowledge on the perceived success of an ES implementation in the later stages of the implementation process. The study conducts a case study in the onward and upward phase of an ES Implementation at a Dutch university and use a case study from the shakedown phase in the same organization to analyse the success perspectives theory. The study aims to verify the theory by conducting a longitudinal study.

Theory states that there are five different success perspectives: management, project, user, correspondence and system success that influence the perceived success of the ES implementation. The study puts forward a set of propositions based on the Critical Success Factors that influence the perceived success for each perspective.

The study contributes to theory by verifying the theoretical findings of prior research. The case study shows that all five success perspectives are important in the onward and upward phase but that there may be a difference in their relative importance. Management success appears to have a lesser impact on the decisions taken by the organization then the other success perspectives. Lastly, contrary to theory, project success appears to be important in the later stages of the implementation.

Future research should include a truly longitudinal study that is carried out from the chartering phase until the onward and upward phase. Additionally, studies should be carried out in several different organizations, in order to gain as much generalizability as possible.

-P

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Learning Python: FizzBuzz Interview Question

Recently I have wanted to take up learning Python (and programming in general) again.  As I am currently job hunting,  I figured a fun and relatively simple project to start out again would be to solve the reasonably common interview question “FizzBuzz”.  Naturally I don’t expect to be asked said question as I am not a developer but it is fun to learn regardless. The question is as follows, and is based on a children’s game.

“Write a program that prints the numbers from 1 to 100. But for multiples of three print “Fizz” instead of the number and for the multiples of five print “Buzz”. For numbers which are multiples of both three and five print “FizzBuzz”.”

The challenge is quite straight forward, but not necessarily easy to do on a white board during an interview, with stress and all that.  I have two “solutions” to the problem below, both are quite dirty and quick but they work.  I must admit to not solving them entirely by myself, especially not the second one as I learned a new function there. The primary reason for not getting #1 right initially is that the syntax of python changed between version 2.x (which I used previously) and 3.x (Which currently have installed). I could not figure out why it gave me syntax error on Print ‘bleh’ in 3.x.  Regardless, below is my initial dirty attempt, it is very simple but reasonably effective. This is how I would solve in, or something along those lines, if I were to work without the help of the internet.

As you can see it uses a simple if/else script and add a count each time it goes through one of the if statements. Inefficient use of space but it works and is a half decent first attempt I guess.

My second attempt is more sophisticated, it uses the range/xrange function of python, and I admittedly more or less… stole/borrowed it off StackExchange.  I hadn’t heard of that function previously so already I did learn something new.

Once again, the code is hardly efficient but it is a start and slightly less messy than the first attempt. Python is a rather nice language to learn as it, seems to me, rather straight forward compared to other languages.  Time permitting I will attempt to read a novice level of proficiency. It is useful to be able to at least hack together some dirty code when in need.  If nothing else it enables me to automate some tasks I otherwise would have to do by hand. I am also keen on learning a bit more SQL, which would be immensely useful going forward.

Not to mention, being proficient at programming is a big boon in today’s job market. I am FAR off being comfortable with python or programming in general but it is a step in the right direction.

-P

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