Monday, June 20, 2022

MindBlog in Crypto-Land

Unless you have been hiding in a cave (not a bad place to be these days) you have doubtless been following the current crash of the stock market and the even more dramatic implosion of the cryptocurrency bubble.  From dizzying highs (see The New Get-Rich-Faster Job in Silicon Valley: Crypto Start-Ups) the values of BitCoin, Etherium and other cryptocurrencies have cratered, while critiques of the blockchains and cryptocurrencies have become more numerous (see How ‘Trustless’ Is Bitcoin, Really?Crypto, Houses, Sneakers, Rolexes: How FOMO Drove the EconomyFrom the Big Short to the Big Scam (Krugman)Why bitcoin is worse than a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme.

In this post I’ve decided to pass on a chronicle of my own experience with crypto-world to date - so I know where I can look it up later,  and also as a basis for passing on any further entanglements or results.  [MindBlog has taken a similar tack in reporting its (generally unsuccessful) experiments with dietary supplements meant to enhance our vitality or longevity.]

In early 2021 my techie son (an eCommerce website developer) decided to gamble $1,000 by purchasing two Helium Miners (hotspots) whose antennas connected them to a Helium ‘People’s Network’ - a decentralized wireless infrastructure powered by the Helium Blockchain for use by the IoT  (“Internet of Things” - thermostats, water and gas meters, scooter rentals, etc.).  These miners started generating ‘HNT’ tokens, the Helium cryptocurrency. Tokens valued at over $600,000 soon accumulated, and he cashed out $100,000 of this… for a thousand-fold return on investment! 

I read the hype, drank the kool aid, decided to follow in his footsteps, and put in a bit of ‘mad money’ I was willing to loose...  Here is the Rake’s Progress:

At the end on Nov. 2021 I set up a Coinbase account linked to my real world bank account, bought $1000 of USCD ‘stable coins’ and used them on Dec. 9 to pay for two Bobcat 300 Helium Miners (the step up and down on the left in the Coinbase App screenshot below.)  Then I decided to speculate a bit, and on Dec. 31 bought $1000 of Ethereum (ETH coins), now worth $280.99 (shown by the jagged downward line on the screenshot taken June 18).  Perfect timing!

The Bobcat 300 miners were ordered on Dec. 9….. then came a series of emails describing factory closings in China,  Covid shutdowns, supply chain blockages,  etc….  They finally arrived on June 9 (which seems light years later in cyber-world time) and are being set up now.


AND, by now they are being overshined by the appearance of the latest shiny new toy,  the Bobcat 500 (5G) miner, which with a CBRS (Citizens Broadcast Radio Service) operating "Cell" on the 5G cellular network can earn cryptocurrency by providing 5G cellular coverage.  So, naturally I’ve just bought one of these (with “delivery in 4-8 weeks”....we've been there before, see above).  Here are its claims to be a  big deal…

The current Bobcat 300 miners, just about to be setup, will still be grinding away, hopefully earning some HNT,  but their IoT niche is now depicted as occupying 1.2% of this glorious new world.

To be continued.....



  1. Anonymous2:14 AM

    How do you justify to yourself the use of electricity and the consequences to the environment in the pursuit of purely selfish gain? (In your case most likely, futile pursuit.)

    1. During peak use a Helium Miner consumes ~ 5 Watts of energy, less than most LED light bulbs, very different from BitCoin mining and environmentally more responsible.