I used to spend a great deal of time vetting mining operations.

It wasn’t crypto mining, though.

This was way before that. I was running a business based in Jakarta and Singapore at the time.

I was a popular guy. I must have looked at 90% of the mining proposals floating around Jakarta.

My money was particularly attractive because it was American money.

It conferred instant credibility to any Southeast Asian mining venture. Usually, additional Western money followed my investments.

Most of my vetting was done from our downtown Jakarta office on prestigious Sudirman Avenue. But not all of it…

I remember a two-week trek exploring Papua’s mineral wealth.

We made our way by Jeep, riverboat and, when necessary, by foot. (Dirt roads carved into the jungle had a habit of disappearing for several miles at a time.)

It was a grueling and exhausting trip… but one of my favorites.

Coming Full Circle

I used to evaluate proposals promising large profits. Problem was, they often relied on a limited number of facts.

Now, once again, I’m vetting mining operations. It feels like déjà vu.

I now read tons of white papers on ICO offerings.

They typically outline potential use cases while explaining how the technology would work… before it has been fully developed or proven in the field…

Not all that different from vetting a mine based on a pre-feasibility study.

Nowadays, when people ask me about bitcoin, my instinct is to think of it first and foremost as a mining operation… as if I were evaluating a prospective gold mine in Papua.

The similarities go beyond a dearth of hard information.

In both cases, what’s being mined are commodities whose worth stems from their utility (as a store of value) and in part from speculation.

It’s no coincidence that bitcoin is called “digital gold.”

Billionaire co-founder of PayPal Peter Thiel says, “[Bitcoin] is like bars of gold in a vault that never move.”

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