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Hey guys, bitcoin is about to pass $10,000 USD
bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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It reminds me a little bit of "skins" in CSGO. Skins are a virtual item which can be traded or bought/sold. For the most part, they have no real function and just serve as decoration for weapons in the game. Their value comes mostly from their appearance and rarity.

You are awarded random worthless skins as you play the game and "level" up from your score. You could also be awarded a "case" that contains a random skin, possibly valuable, but you have to pay $3 for a "key" to open the case and odds are you'll again get a worthless skin in return. Skins range in value from a couple of cents to thousands of dollars.

No matter what it's a losing game: there's no official way to turn a skin back into money in your pocket. Even if you sell a skin to another player through the community market the money goes back into your Steam wallet (i.e., basically credit on the Steam platform). The only way to turn it into real world money is to give the digital items to another player, and trust them to pay you real money in the real world. Many sites are setup to facilitate this kind of "black market" trading, but none of them can ultimately be trusted. You basically have to give these services access to your Steam account/inventory for them to do their job, which means if they are themselves malicious or get hacked they could take any valuable skins as well as hijack your entire account with your library of games.

Lots of people take trading these skins seriously. That's predominantly what they do. They barely even play the game. They just look for trading partners. However, if you get them talking you'll discover that they've never actually made any money doing this. They've all lost hundreds or thousands of dollars trying. Even if they were able to liquidate all of the skins in their inventories they wouldn't break even. It's a gambling addiction and nothing more.

I myself have invested approximately $350 into CSGO skins. Approximately $200 of that was just lost gambling on cases and keys. I was effectively just testing the system out to see how it worked and see if I'd get lucky. Naturally, I didn't. I learned from that and no longer purchase keys for cases. After that I invested in an inventory of nicer skins just because I play the game a lot and it's intimidating if other people have flashy skins and you don't. Most of my skins were only 10 or 20 cents. A few were $10 and one was $90. These were conscious buying decisions knowing that the money was effectively being burned. However, I play CSGO a LOT so I decided to invest in it so that I could enjoy myself more.

raynebc
Member #11,908
May 2010

I understand if the in-game purchase has a functional purpose (ie. buying packs in games like Mass Effect, I still don't spend real world money on it), but for something purely aesthetic, I just don't see the appeal.

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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I agree. Generally speaking, something purely aesthetic is a waste. I held off on using skins in CSGO for probably 6 months or so. But what I found was that I was intimidated by enemy players that had fancy weapon skins. It made them look experienced and me look brand new. It was psyching me out. I decided to try to find skins too so that I could intimidate instead. The other thing that it does is attract praise from players that are envious of your inventory. It can help to boost your image, which again plays into intimidation.

My skins aren't only aesthetic. I only use "Stat Trak" skins, which pretty much just means they have a kill counter on the weapons. Each of my weapons keeps track of kill counts, including my knife. Again, it doesn't actually give you any direct advantage over other players, but it's a bit fun to see how many kills you have. It also works as an intimidation tactic if enemies see how many kills you have on some weapons. Plus it helps you to learn which weapons you're strongest with. My AK has about 4000 kills right now. The closest contenders are my M4A1 and AWP at maybe 1500 or 2000. Obviously, I'm much better with an AK than anything else that I regularly use. :) My knife has over 500 kills on it.

james_lohr
Member #1,947
February 2002

bamccaig said:

I play the game a lot and it's intimidating if other people have flashy skins and you don't

Sorry, but this is hilarious. ;D

Do you feel the same way if you're not wearing the latest fashion accessories? :P

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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Do you feel the same way if you're not wearing the latest fashion accessories? :P

If I encounter a person that is covered in tattoos I find it intimidating certainly. Similarly, a man with appropriate earrings and perfect hair and bright, smooth clothes also sends a message to my brain that they're confident and strong. It looks like there's a purpose to their appearance. They worked at it.

It's probably mostly psychological, and the people that care to do this probably have figured out that they can control people's perceptions of them and manipulate people in doing so. I cannot much be bothered to do that myself (couldn't if I tried), but obviously it is achievable and worthwhile for some.

This is how I picture you from what I know of you, though I'm not sure if I've ever seen pictures. I don't imagine that you just throw on a wrinkled T-shirt and sweat pants when you leave the house (I pretty much do).

Insert: I don't actually agree with "fashion" trends though so fashion by itself doesn't interest me. Until I met my finacee I used to dress completely backwards to usual fashion trends. Big, baggy clothes that were 4 sizes too large. Most people wouldn't have actually appreciated it. I didn't do it because other people thought it looked cool. I did it because I thought it looked cool, or because it gave me confidence. Now my finacee mostly chooses my clothes for me, and her liking it gives me confidence too since I know that other people like it. I would never have chosen it myself though if I went shopping alone (and I force her to find a balance that is comfortable for me).

But my intimidation from CSGO skins isn't because they're "fashionable". The interpretation was my own. It wasn't because other people were talking about it. It was because I was envious of it myself. If it's something that you don't know how to have, or cannot afford, then it is obviously something to be envied. At the time, I didn't know how to attain it. And even now that I do know, much of it is still out of reach because of the insane price tags (rarity).

Note that in CSGO there is no body language. Everybody takes the form of a few stock avatars and inherits their animations. The only differences are their actual play styles, and the skins they choose to have. The skins are actually valuable too, so you know that somebody that has really nice ones is either quite wealthy, extremely lucky (probably not), or sponsored.

My skins are impressive to the lower ranks and guys that have never dabbled in skins, but in reality most of them are dirt cheap and anybody could have them if they wanted to (except for kids without a credit card nor open minded parents). There's only a few skins that actually cost real money, but even those are affordable for any adult with a job. The really really nice skins are an insane investment. I'm talking about like $400 to change the appearance of your weapon in game. It looks awesome, but is otherwise pretty useless. These transactions are real things, and people really buy them for this kind of money.

I bought my knife for about CAD$90 about a year or so ago. Like most of my skins, it's pretty much the cheapest "Stat Trak" skin I could get, but knives are just more expensive because they're the "elite" weapon (i.e., respected because it's difficult to succeed with one). Looking at the price of the same skin now it looks like it might be worth about USD$90. That's about CAD$115 right now. So in that sense, my investment has actually gained value. Of course, as mentioned, I really cannot liquidate it back into cash. However, I like it, and it does get quite a lot of attention.

I've had countless people add me as friends on Steam only to make offers on it. Guys have offered to pay me $300 for it. However, as a precaution, I refuse all trade offers. Typically these kinds of offers are made on the "black market" i.e., outside of the Steam marketplace. Guys will offer to pay with e.g., PayPal or through third party sites or services. You can't trust those deals so I just avoid it out of caution. Honestly, why offer me $300 for a skin you could buy on Steam marketplace for 1/3 of that, unless you plan to scam me. And many people have been scammed by these kinds of deals.

It's ridiculous, and yet, it is very satisfying. The knife skins are the best ones. Not only do they change the appearance of the weapon, but they also change the shape and animations. They are effective in that sense. On the other hand, I don't much enjoy going "out" or doing the things that most other people do and spend countless money on. I predominantly play CSGO with my free time (I have logged 2441 hours in a little over 2 years). I could spend this money instead on other games, but I'd never get that kind of value from it (~$300 for almost 2500 hours and counting!?). It's actually not a bad investment when you think about it. A lot better than several items in my Steam library or in the real world that I regret purchasing.

Append:

And of course, I'm sure there are things that you spend money on that I would find ridiculous. Whatever makes you happy. :)

beoran
Member #12,636
March 2011

While we were talking bitcoin almost doubled again... It's insane, but the thing is no one knows when the crash will come...

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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I've heard people are manipulating it with the usual "dump-and-pump" tactics, and maybe others. I'd be careful to rely on it's value and up-rise.

But yeah, if you've got money and don't mind pissing it away (like gambling), then, hell yeah.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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If you think about the kind of money that Bitcoin represents, there's absolutely no possible that it could all be converted to another currency. If everybody decided to sell Bitcoin tomorrow it would take forever to exchange it, and the value would drop so fast that it would drop below a USD before the last people were able to sell. In fact, the "banks" setup to convert Bitcoin would be forced to close. It's kind of crazy. A cryptocurrency sounded like a brilliant idea a few years ago, but now I wonder how it could ever be stable. It doesn't seem anybody has figured that out yet.

Derezo
Member #1,666
April 2001
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All currencies in use have the same "problem". ::)

If everyone were to cash it out all at once the currency would disappear.

Take the Canadian Dollar, for example. If everyone who has Canadian Dollars converted their Canadian Dollars into United States dollars, the Canadian dollar would be worthless. It would drop so fast the last few would trade for less than $0.001 USD.

The only thing that gives any currency value is the belief/trust in it, and subsequently the use of that currency. BitCoin is no different.

"He who controls the stuffing controls the Universe"

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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Derezo said:

All currencies in use have the same "problem". ::)

Except Bitcoin exists solely to be used for other things. I don't know the proper word for it, but nobody wants to "hold on" to bitcoins forever like a currency. It's more like a stock than a currency. Almost everyone using it is using it to generate more "real" currency. Nobody is farming wheat for bitcoins, and retiring on bitcoins. It's more like "you have this super risky stock" and when you retire you cash it out. If someone converted their whole livelihood from dollars to bitcoins, anyone would call that person insane. But dollars to euros, not at all.

People own bitcoins solely for the purpose of cashing them out. So whoever does it last... looses. Which sounds a lot like a pyramid scheme.

"If" everyone left the US dollar, I guess it would have no value. But 99% of normal people don't want to ever leave the dollar. So maybe the key difference is solely of the usage intent of the masses?

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Derezo
Member #1,666
April 2001
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Bitcoin exists solely to be used for other things.

Not sure what you mean by other things? Like, stuff and junk? :-/

Quote:

I don't know the proper word for it

Commodity.

Quote:

It's more like a stock than a currency.

Some countries treat it as a currency, some countries treat it as a commodity. This is still being debated and differs wildly and may even be illegal to possess in some jurisdictions.

Quote:

People own bitcoins solely for the purpose of cashing them out.

People do this with other currencies as well, but that is not the only reason people use it. Nor is it the sole reason people use Bitcoin. I think you misunderstand the purpose of Bitcoin, you should watch a few documentaries. There are some on Netflix or YouTube.

You can use Bitcoin to buy goods and services like any other currency, but also like other currencies not everyone will trade you for it. You can't bring your Colombian peso's to the corner store and expect them to accept them, but that doesn't mean they aren't currency.

"He who controls the stuffing controls the Universe"

beoran
Member #12,636
March 2011

By the way, bitcoin fell over 5000 dollars today. Just as I expected. Too bad I didn't find a viable way to short sell in time...

type568
Member #8,381
March 2007
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Well, afterwards it touched 16k, and now it's 13200. I think at time of your writing it was probably around 11-12k.

It can be shorted on CME.. Lots of 5 BTC. The problem with it is that you can never guess where will it go. Only more or less reliable way to profit from swings is to keep a share of your cash in it, let's say 10%. Then if it falls below 5% share of your portfolio, you buy the missing 5%, to make it 10%. If it is exceeding 20% - sell it to have 10% in it. Never buy more than twice in a quarter.

Generally this algorithm can help you profit from any idea you believe in. If the other 9 items are other instruments which occupy 5-15% of your portfolio, and don't trigger an action - the one that has trigger sucks some cash from the other investments, or adds some cash to them evenly, or maybe sucks bit more from bigger positions, bit less from smaller ones.

***

The key to playing bitcoin, and is the only way to not sell it after 1000s percent of gain is to always keep a share in it.

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