The Bitcoin Rat

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Mark Williams’ worst career decision …ever !



According to information I received via twitter last week,  the chatter coming out of the Delta Sigma Pie Fraternity at Boston Uni is that senior Frat colleagues have been expressing serious concern about the progressively erratic behavior of Prof. Mark Williams.

Several students have over-heard snippets in the GSU Academy room where Mark Williams recent obsession with bitcoin , or rather his increasing frantic activity in the media to talk it down at every opportunity has upset a lot of the fraternity, who see Williams increasingly erratic and out-spoken behavior as a threat to their “Chapter of Excellence” reputation.

This doesn’t surprise me at all.  Mark Williams once had a good reputation himself. He wrote an excellent book detailing the reasons for the collapse of Lehman Bros and why proper management control was essential to avoid similar fraud and criminal behavior occurring again. “Too Big To Fail” Williams said should be addressed urgently.

Mark Williams has been running a blog posting column on the Boston University website since January 2012. Throughout 2012 and 2013 he wrote mainly about big banks in general, and regulations issues over “Too Big To Fail”  In all , there are around 100 posting between January 2012 and December 2013  – on average 5 or 6 a month.

until 5th December 2013  Mark Williams had not written anything at all about Bitcoin.  His first posting is here

Beware of Bitcoin


He started his blog on 10th January 2012 with this posting –

Bernanke Pursuing Anti-Greenspan Strategy: Transparency

Over 100 well reasoned postings followed on Risk issues, especially as it affected the big banks and accounting firms.   A lot of the posting were critical of JPMorgan including this one on May 11th

JPMorgan reveals shock $2bn trading loss on investments

This is very ironic is it not ?  and makes a mockery of his comments on the MtGox supposed $400mil loss – as a Fallen Tower of Toxic Sludge !

Bear in mind that , until December 5th 2013, Mark Williams had never mentioned Bitcoin at all.  But since December 2013 he has written over 50 postings on Bitcoin , in a little over two months, with only a handful of his normal type of postings about banking risks  –  Thats an average of now around of 25 postings a month – all critical of Bitcoin.  Not the normal 5 or 6 … but 25 postings a month.  That’s definitely odd behavior for Mr Williams.

Sudden changes of behavioral  patterns are ‘signals’ that something quite significant has occurred.  Why did Mark Williams decide to risk all his reputation – on a gamble – that he could derail Bitcoin ?

What exactly happened to cause this sudden change in the pattern of his behavior – and lead to serious concern among his colleagues at Boston University.

Here’s my view – and one which many of those near to him also appear to share.

Until late September 2013, although he had written in a critical manner about JPMorgan, he hadn’t specifically criticised Jamie Dimon directly.  .. until this one

The Cost of Doing Bad Business – Jamie Dimon Must Go

 Pretty hard hitting stuff for a Federal Reserve Auditor –  Calling for Jamie Dimon to go was brave , and interestingly, after that posting, never repeated.  Do you think Jamie Dimon had no influence in this “change of heart” ?  If you doubt the power of Jamie Dimon, just ask yourself why he has never been prosecuted ?  Money Talks – and a lot of Money talks very loudly.

It would certainly “fit the pattern’ to believe that Mark Williams made a “career decision” to stop talking about Jamie Dimon – and start attacking Bitcoin almost every day.  Why would he do that ?

Was Mark Williams ‘leaned on”  ( ie did he get a visit from some large men in Black Overcoats )  or was he promised a sweetener or two ? Maybe a nice fat job at JPM ?

Whatever did cause this totally out-of-character change in the pattern of his postings behavior – Bitcoin is not destroyed.  But I fear that Mark Williams reputation is – and  it will only be a matter of months before he outlives his ‘usefulness’  …  as he will have “failed” to destroy bitcoin ..  and his professional and academic career will be in deep jeopardy.

Attacking Bitcoin, and deciding to stop attacking Jamie Dimon, may well be  Mark Williams’ worst career decision …ever !







5 responses to “Mark Williams’ worst career decision …ever !

  1. Leonard Yeap 03/05/2014 at 17:45

    Professor Williams provided a thoughtful discussion surrounding the opportunities and risks of Bitcoin. This event was well attended with over 100 students and the presentation provided ample time for questions and answers. Counter to your inaccurate blog statements, the brothers of Delta Sigma Pi are beyond pleased with this lecture event and hope that Professor Williams will consider taking part in our professional programming again in the future.

    Leonard Yeap
    Vice President – Professional Activities
    Delta Sigma Pi, Boston University.

  2. bitcoinrat 03/09/2014 at 12:39

    Thank you Leonard for your comments on my piece ( and I note your public support for Prof Mark Williams )

    As you were the organiser of the recent bitcoin talk event, your views may of course be slightly clouded? as maybe are your comments on the ‘beyond pleased’ description of the views of the brothers of ΔΣΠ. I do also note that the talk was entitled “Beware of Bitcoin” .. hardly an ‘open’ title for a balanced Academic Discussion. However, If you have a transcript of the talk ( or even your own notes ? ) I would welcome the chance to discuss some of Mark Williams remarks, and add my own views for transmission back and consideration by ΔΣΠ ( for educational balance )

    To reiterate, I do fully stand by the comments in my article – and the fact that there is certainly disquiet within BU at the quite remarkable change in the bloging pattern of Mark Williams. It is not ‘normal’ for anyone to change from 5/6 posting per month to 25 postings – all but a handful attacking bitcoin ( as Mark Williams blog records show ) or the fact that before he posted an article criticising Jamie Dimon personally he had never posted about Bitcoin. This ‘linkage’ is therefore of legitimate concern to many people ( including those at a senior level at BU )

    As I said, I am very happy to open a thoughtful public dialogue with the brothers of Delta Sigma Pi , in the name of balanced open debate, and suggest that you contact me again with a mechanism where this can be facilitated.

    For the record also, I have publicly praised Mark Williams in the past for the work he did in his book ‘Uncontrolled Risk: Lessons of Lehman Brothers’ The thrust of my article here however concerns his inexplicable irrational ‘anti-bitcoin’ fervour – and why I believe it is the worst career decision he has ever made .. (unless, of course, he has been promised something very lucrative in the future by acting in that way ? )

    Kind regards – The Bitcoin Rat

  3. George 04/06/2014 at 04:26

    @bitcoinrat, Very interesting article. I’ve only today been introduced to Mr. Williams, but watching his “testimony” at the 4/2/14 bitcoin hearing made me very curious to learn more about him. He seemed to be the panel’s go-to guy when they wanted some more anti-bitcoin rhetoric. I’ll put it bluntly, he seemed clearly to be an ant-btc shill. I found your article while trying to find out why a BU professor would make such wild, one-sided unsubstantiated claims during his testimony and in his 12/17/13 post predicting a mid 2014 $10 BTC price target. Even his tone, both during the panel and in his article, seems antagonistic, unprofessional and as if he has some personal bone to pick.

    To be honest I considered that perhaps his could be the actions of an overly proud “authority figure” that might have been embarrassed in class by a wise-guy student who proved him wrong while having the valuable BTC stash to show for it and rub it in with, or something along those lines.

    Now that I have read your theory, it certainly provides a better more plausible explanation of the behavior I noticed. It’s even more interesting to find out that this was a change from prior behavior and that he had not showed much interest in bitcoin prior.

    If he does have a foot on his neck so to speak, I wish him luck and pity him. I don’t envy anyone that singularly comes nose to nose with the Fed machine. Hopefully the global peer network of BTC and the crypto currency community at large can help bring that Goliath to it’s knees, or at least offer it some healthy competition.

  4. bitcoinrat 04/21/2014 at 13:24

    Thank You George.
    Interestingly, as bitcoin is becoming more accepted by all, Mark Williams ‘anti-bitcoin fervour’ has decreased . He actually hasnt commented on bitcoin on his Boston Uni blog since the 9th April , and his last blog post was about Janet Yellen !!

    Either he is getting cold feet on bitcoin failing by mid 2014, or his ‘pay-masters’ have stopped supporting him ?

    Time will tell. But I still contend that Mark Williams will be accepting a job at a JPM subsidiary by end of 2014 or early 2015.

  5. Pingback: Professor Mark Williams has gone rather quiet on bitcoin .. I wonder why ? | The Bitcoin Rat

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