Why we prefer tangible investments … like cows and blueberries

Recently, my husband and I were discussing the intricacies of cryptocurrencies. We agreed neither of us really understand these assets, and therefore (even if we had the money to do so) they would make lousy investments for us. My husband did some research to get a better handle on the subject to justify our initial thoughts.

In the wake of the whole Sam Bankman-Fried scandal, there are many others questioning the wisdom of investing in cryptocurrencies. Like every other financial bubble in the past, a frightening number of people got caught up in the frenzy, tragically sunk their life savings into it and got wiped out. (Remember the tulip mania bubble?)

That’s the problem with non-tangible investments, you see. At least tulips are real; but what is a Bitcoin, really? Or an Etherium or Dogecoin or any of the literally thousands of other cryptocurrencies out there (over 9,000 varieties as of a recent count)? Do they truly exist and have actual value, or are they simply computer algorithms that people became convinced are actually worth something? I mean, fiat currency (like the dollar, created and guaranteed by the U.S. government) is only valuable because there is a groupthink agreeing it’s valuable; but at least such currencies have a long history as a means of exchange. But with cryptocurrencies, any “value” seemingly comes out of thin air.

Cryptocurrencies were originally hailed as an alternative to both fiat currency and digital currency. There was a lot of “sticking it to the man” attitude associated with it. Now even this benefit is questionable. According to this article, “Ever since Bitcoin’s launch in 2009, anonymity has been an absolutely fundamental tenet of cryptocurrency. The ability to make and receive payments incognito through a secure, decentralized platform without needing to register a named bank account, or even interact with established financial gatekeepers at any stage, was and remains a unique selling point for the asset. … In recent years, however, there have been several clear indications that cryptocurrency anonymity is under significant threat, and indeed could already have been mortally compromised by the U.S. intelligence apparatus.”

Continuing from the article: “Leaked files … expose how intelligence services the world over can track cryptocurrency transactions to their source and therefore identify users by monitoring the movements of smartphone and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, such as Amazon Echo. The contents comprehensively detonate the myth of crypto anonymity, and have grave implications for individuals and states seeking to shield their financial activity from the prying eyes of hostile governments and authorities.”

There are other problems associated with cryptocurrencies. Aside from the fact that their only value rests on finding someone who will buy them from you (hopefully for more than you paid), they represent … nothing. They’re not “backed” by anything (labor, precious metals, or even “the full faith and credit of the United States government”). Their continued existence depends upon the indifference of controlling legal authorities, and that indifference can be shattered pretty quickly as soon as a government decides it’s not getting its cut.

The prime example of this – and the model for the coming regulation-to-destruction of the private crypto market – is the actions of China, which has made the trade, transfer, creation and holding of all cryptocurrencies illegal. Why would China do this? For the same reasons that will soon be coming to your neighborhood: too much undocumented financial freedom in the hands of the citizens and not enough fiscal control for our “public servants.”

The other shortcomings of cryptocurrencies are important, such as the wild booms-and-busts that can occur when someone like Elon Musk says that Tesla will accept crypto, then changes his mind a few months later. Or that fact that crypto-mining uses more electricity per year than the nation of Finland. Or that something like 80% of all cryptocurrencies have failed, leaving tens of thousands of investors broke.

Besides, what happens when the power goes out or the system is hacked? How can you exchange cryptocurrency for that proverbial loaf of bread without electricity and a secure internet connection? (This also applies to digital currency, of course.)

This is why my husband and I have never liked the idea of cryptocurrencies or other intangibles, and have always been keen on tangible investments. Precious metals are the most common recommendation (especially by those in the business of selling them); but as the saying goes, you can’t eat gold or silver. For us, our preferred tangible investments involve things that reproduce (cows, chickens, garden plants). Among these tangible investments we include owning our small farm and woodcraft business. Each of these assets can (and do) produce income if managed correctly – something that cryptocurrencies simply can’t do.

My husband and I have always been outside-the-box thinkers anyway. Our notion of “investing” is far from conventional. During our younger years, we were so busy building our woodcraft business that we had no spare income to “invest” in traditional options such as retirement plans and the stock market. Now that we’re older and more financially stable, we know nothing about these intangible investments and don’t feel comfortable putting our hard-earned money someplace we don’t understand. (In the wake of the Sam Bankman-Fried scandal, apparently a lot of other people don’t understand it either.)

So what, to us, is a “tangible” investment? Quite simply it’s something that allows us to cut our expenses still further. Cows, for example, will cost money at first, but then they’ll save us money (on meat and dairy products). Ditto with chickens. We invest in lumber and other building supplies against future projects that will contribute toward self-sufficiency. We invest in fruit trees and blueberry bushes so we won’t have to buy fruit. We invest in materials for garden beds so we won’t have to buy vegetables.

In short, anything that allows us to stay home and provide for our own needs is a “tangible investment” in our book.

Sure, we missed out on the “incredible” opportunity to make a fortune in cryptocurrencies, but somehow we’ll survive. We’ll also sleep better at night knowing our money is not locked up into something so volatile that one man can single-handedly bring things crashing down. Call us Luddites, but we prefer it this way. How about you?

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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