It’s been a wild ride over the past few weeks watching how the Covid-19 outbreak is affecting the world. In my previous post, I shared a bunch of data that informs how I’m thinking about this pandemic. Now that we have more information, I thought I’d post an update.

I’ve been rushing 24/7 to learn about this virus / prepare myself, so I feel that some of this info is coming out too late and other parts are not cleaned up enough to share. I’m going to publish and update as I can. Well cited corrections are always appreciated. …


The cat is out of the bag

UPDATE: follow up blog post here:

https://medium.com/@michaelflaxman/spring-is-coming-6200c64eb079

I’ve been doing a lot of research on Covid-19, and seeing how serious this is getting I thought I’d post an update for my friends with some of the data I’ve found most informative.

I’m not a medical expert, and so much of the info we have is imperfect/changing. Properly cited corrections are always appreciated.

At a high level, here is the current risk that you will die if you get Covid-19:

(source, with the original data coming from here)

Some noteworthy takeaways:

  • Most young (and healthy) people have little to worry about
  • The elderly are at high risk, if you’re…


Historically, every new technology has increased human productivity and thus prosperity. It is through human ingenuity and hard work that we have lifted our species out of destitute poverty and into the modern era.

(source) Our World in Data has some other amazing visualizations of human progress that I’d encourage you to browse through.

Whether the wheel, the engine, or the computer, each new technology has disrupted (and sometimes even obliterated) the industry that came before it. Many participants moved on to other opportunities and were left better off than before the disruption, but some inevitably fell behind and never learned new skills needed to offer something of value on the market. …


Friends regularly ask for advice on how to manage their money, so I‘ve written up my notes to share with everyone. As an obvious disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, accountant, or financial advisor. If you’re using this blog post to make decisions, you should consult one. My advice is free and there are no refunds.

This blog post‘s target audience is people in the US who are accredited investors (or on their way) and want to grow their wealth while managing their risk. …


I have been involved in a few venture-capital funded startups, so I’m used to getting introduced to entrepreneurs building software companies. It’s fun to see how people are building the future and a good way to give back. Over the past year many of the introductions I get are involved in ICOs, and I struggle with how to politely decline the intro and explain my disdain for what they’re doing (without it coming off as contempt for them).

New tokens are now available from snake-oil salesman to “cure” all ailments (source)

The first part of this blog post will explain what problems ICOs are trying to solve, and the second part will explain…


The scaling debate has been raging for years, and now the bitcoin network will fork again on block 494,784 (around November 16th) as a result of the famous “New York Agreement”.

The bitcoin community experienced its first hard fork when Bitcoin Cash (BCH) launched on August 1st. That was a monumental event in bitcoin’s history that may have contributed to the BTC price promptly shooting up from ~$2,800 USD to ~$4,800 (on August 31st):

Hard to complain when the price does that!

This time, the situation is different.

Bitcoin Cash Hardfork

When BCH launched, it took the community somewhat by surprise. Due to the last minute nature of…


Over the years, I’ve gotten this question a lot.

As the saying goes, security and usability are often competing interests. How you decide to store your bitcoin is a function of how much you have and how much you value your own time.

Bitcoin makes it possible for everyone to be their own bank, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

tldr;

$1k USD: Use a Trusted Service

Use a trusted and centralized service like Coinbase/Gemini/Xapo. It’s simple to use, and they claim they’ve got your back for all kinds of little mistakes that might cause you to lose…


On June 16th, AMZN announced their purchase of WFM for $14BN and COST stock fell immediately. It went from~$180 to a low of ~$150 a month later. Analysts are claiming this is the beginning of the end for COST and that AMZN is going to eat their lunch.

What analysts (and tech people) fail to understand is how different the two companies are. I love shopping at Costco, and I love ordering things with Amazon Prime. The two serve very different purposes for me.

Products on AMZN are generally expensive, but I’m sometimes willing to pay this premium to save…


Bitcoin blocks have been full for some time:

1 MB is the cap that Bitcoin consensus rules required

This has caused a huge debate in the bitcoin community. You may have heard of BIP 148 (UASF), the segwit2x “compromise”, BIP 91 and most recently the creation of a new cryptocurrency called bcash (with a shared history).

The bitcoin network is currently capped at roughly 3 transactions per second, which doesn’t sound like much if you compare it to Visa/Mastercard. You may be wondering why we haven’t been able to scale the blockchain as easily as a traditional service. To answer that, we have to start with the basics.

The main…


This cash machine at the airport in Prague is the sketchiest I’ve ever seen:

They push you heavily to do a “0% commission” option that has a 10% markup vs the market exchange rate. They use misleading copy to suggest that it’s a “better” rate, when it’s clearly far far worse.

If you decline, the next page warns that your “exchange rate will be determined later and is not guaranteed” and makes you click on a scary red text button to proceed:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store