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The Dumbest Advice Ever?

There are a lot of morons out their giving financial advice.

Writing for the Washington Examiner, Brett Musser published an article on January 10 advising his Millennial cohort to eschew typical asset classes and to start "saving" in Bitcoin. As Cullen Roche pointed out on his Twitter feed, Bitcoin is down 55% since the article posted.

Musser cites several reasons for his belief that Millennials should save in Bitcoin including that many of the emergency measures enacted by central banks are still in place (there's some truth to this), he believes we are being tricked into putting money into risk assets by central banks due to depressed interest rates (plenty of people do believe this, I do not), "traditional asset classes like stocks, bonds, and real estate have been bid up to historic levels, pricing out millennials trying to get any decent returns on their hard-earned savings." Regardless of your age, you may not be able to afford a house in the area where you choose to live but no one is priced out of buying a stock or bond (or funds tracking those asset classes) but of course any purchase could be poorly timed but that doesn't seem to be a threat unique to Millennials.

"There is an extremely limited upside to any investment in the traditional arena, and severe downside given the financial system hasn’t changed in any meaningful way since 2008..." I guess he didn't see risk of severe downside when Bitcoin was at $14,900.

He says that the correct way to view Bitcoin is as a communication network and that viewing like a stock, completely misses the point. I agree with that.

He cites flaws in the financial system and helps create some understanding of Bitcoin which is all fine but the horrible advice notwithstanding, he doesn't connect why Millennials should save in Bitcoin. The advice isn't terrible for the simple reason that Bitcoin cut in half, it would have been just as bad if the price had doubled in that time. It is bad advice because it is capable of cutting in half or doubling in just a couple of months. That does not make it a reliable form of saving, it makes for a potentially lucrative speculation but the Millennial who followed Musser's advice with what they saved for a house downpayment is now not buying that house. If the house had been priced in Bitcoin, then they can still buy the house but we are a long way from Bitcoin being a common medium of exchange, if that ever happens. Yes, it is used as a medium of exchange in plenty of circumstances but if the total market cap is $116 billion then that tells you there is not enough of it to be a common medium of exchange.

Musser giving the worst financial advice ever doesn't invalidate the concept of cryptocurrencies in the least and it could become what the most ardent supporters think it will become but there is no reason you need to be the flag bearer for the cryptos. Speculate small if you want to, you could do very well but Musser said he was all in and if that was true then he may have permanently impaired his capital. There is no reason all the great things expected for Bitcoin won't actually accrue to one of the other cryptos.