Nevermind that it smells like teen spirit*

Srsly?! It seems the use of slang has multiplied with the exponential growth of social media and mobile phone messaging services. Gone are the days of old-fashioned letter correspondence. Punch your message through in 140 characters or less (Twitter). Speak in headlines. Reduce, re-use, recycle for emphasis.

Twerk ("dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance" [1]) was recently added to the Oxford online dictionary. But srsly [2], as much as this online vernacular is a reflection of the popular zeitgeist, it becomes less cool once it is officially catalogued.

Twerking all the way to the Bitcoin bank
Bitcoin was also recently added to the Oxford lexicon. Used as "a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank", Bitcoin started life in 2009 as an underground crypto currency amongst the cyber elite and has since surfaced to the periphery of the mainstream, attracting wider media coverage. Because, technically, it is progressively more difficult to increase the amount of Bitcoins in the system, limited supply ensures that no single authority can issue a flood of new Bitcoins, thereby devaluing those already in circulation. This is in contrast to the proliferation of paper money printed by some of the world's major central banks since 2008 under the banner of 'quantitative easing'. The virtual currency is being used to buy a growing range of goods and services online. It has also become a speculative investment in its own right, with some businesses publicly listing their stock in Bitcoin initial public offerings [3]. The price of a Bitcoin catapulted by over 1022% from February to a record high in early April, and subsequently collapsed by 70% later that same month. It has since risen by nearly 90%. The short time frame over which the price soared is indeed jaw-dropping, but the magnitude is not unprecedented. For instance, stock prices in Germany rallied by 1088% from November 1922 to June 1928 (almost 6 years).

Captain Ron
Like fashionable slang, speculative manias have a limited shelf life. In the second edition of his book Irrational Exuberance, Yale professor Robert J. Shiller defined a speculative bubble as “a situation in which news of price increases spurs investor enthusiasm, which spreads by psychological contagion from person to person, in the process amplifying stories that might justify the price increase.” This attracts “a larger and larger class of investors, who, despite doubts about the real value of the investment, are drawn to it partly through envy of others’ successes and partly through a gambler’s excitement.” Such a dynamic could also apply, in varying degrees, not only to Bitcoins, but to other more recognised stores of wealth, such as gold and other commodities which were perceived to be in a 'super-cycle', or pockets of real estate exuberance.

This is reminiscent of a scene from the movie Captain Ron [4]. Lost in a storm at sea, Captain Ron tries to reassure the Harvey family: Captain Ron: We should be okay. 'Cause I know we're near land. Martin Harvey: Great, Cap. Great. Ya hear that? We're almost there. Explain to the kids how
you know that, Captain Ron [...] Captain Ron: Alright, now stay with me: When we left, we had just enough fuel to make it to San Juan. And now... we are out of fuel! Infuriated and uncharacteristic of his usual composed demeanour, Martin Harvey lunges across the boat at Captain Ron...

William Liu – Chief Investment Officer