Cryptocurrencies – Questioning The Value Proposition, by Stephen Englander

When the tech bubble popped in 2000, many companies went to zero, but many had value and are still with us today. Their values were lower than the euphoric values assigned to them at the height of the tech bubble, but they were or became profitable going concerns. A similar weeding out process will probably hit cryptocurrencies. From Stephen Englander at Rafiki Capital Management via zerohedge.com:

Bitcoin is deciding whether this is the moment to crash and burn.

My conjecture is that cryptocurrency holders are trying to decide whether to abandon Bitcoin because its limitations mean it will be superseded by better products or bet that it can thrive despite them.

The dilemma is that once you stop pricing Bitcoin and its derivatives as new assets that will head to the moon, the pricing model is more conventional and much less breathtaking.

We discuss these issues below.

Below we go through some of the questions on why Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have certain characteristics, and whether these characteristics are needed or even desirable.

  1. Is Bitcoin Netscape?
  2. How limited is the supply of cryptocurrencies?
  3. If Bitcoin crashes what happens to other alt-currencies?
  4. What asset market lacunae do cryptocurrencies fill?
  5. Why mine?
  6. Why distribute the ledger?
  7. Do cryptocurrency transactions need coins or tokens?
  8. Can you make cryptocurrencies KYC and AML compliant?​

1) Is Bitcoin Netscape?

Bitcoin emerged in the shadow of the financial crisis, when the reputations of the financial and economic policy community was at a post-1930s low. It is designed for a world in which there is no confidence in major fiat currencies. Bitcoin gives you pseudonymity (albeit imperfect), the distributed ledger means that transaction records are unlikely to disappear, the mining can take place anywhere and there are built-in incentives for miners to keep mining.

The question is whether there is a problem that the original Bitcoin solves in developed economies. Some Bitcoin characteristics superficially suit a ‘Mad Max/Hunger Games’ world, but add little now. My suspicion is that even in the Mad Max world, the value of Bitcoin will be de minimis since hard assets will be the currency, not an abstract string of code.

 

To continue reading: Cryptocurrencies – Questioning The Value Proposition

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Olympic Games In South Korea – Perfect Opportunity For A False Flag Attack? by Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith believes a war with North Korea would be the perfect way to get the ball rolling on financial collapse and the globalist moves he’s been predicting. From Smith at alt-market.com:

The war rhetoric surrounding North Korea on both sides of the Pacific has never been more aggressive than it has been the past year (at least not since the Korean War). There are some people that see the entire affair as a “distraction,” a distraction that will never amount to actual conflict. I disagree with this sentiment for a number of reasons.

North Korea is indeed a distraction, but still a distraction in the making. That is to say, the chest beating and saber rattling are merely a prelude to the much more effective distraction of live combat and invasion in the name of regime change and “national security.” As I noted in my article “Korean War Part II: Why It’s Probably Going To Happen,” the extensive staging of military assets to the region that has not been seen in over a decade, the extremely swift advancement of North Korean missile technology to include ICBMs capable of reaching the mainland U.S., the strange and unprecedented language by China indicating that they will not intercede against an invasion of North Korea by the U.S. “if Pyongyang attacks first….” All of this and more shows a clear movement of chess pieces into place for a sudden action.

According to these factors, I am led to believe that a false flag event blamed on North Korea, or a prodding of North Korea into taking an attack posture, is likely. The purposes behind such a war would be many-fold. Primarily, the final implosion of the vast financial bubbles created by central bank stimulus measures could be undertaken while the banks themselves escape public blame or prosecution.

A geopolitical crisis large enough would provide a perfect scapegoat for an economic crisis that was going to develop eventually anyway. And, if this geopolitical crisis were initiated by a “rogue state,” along with the poor decisions of a conservative “populist” president (Trump), then the historical narrative would be complete. Future generations would talk about the “great blunder” of sovereign states and nationalists and how hubris and greed and ego led to a global fiscal disaster and unnecessary destruction. The rationale for a one world governmental authority would be planted in the minds of the populace.

To continue reading: Olympic Games In South Korea – Perfect Opportunity For A False Flag Attack?

 

FBI Investigating Millions Of “Mishandled” Dollars Funneled From Australian Govt To Clinton Foundation, by Tyler Durden

If Clinton Foundation donors weren’t seeking favors from a potential president of the US, why did so many donations dry up when Hillary lost the election? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The FBI has asked retired Australian policeman-turned investigative journalist, Michael Smith, to provide information he has gathered detailing multiple allegations of the Clinton Foundation receiving tens of millions of mishandled taxpayer funds, according to LifeZette

“I have been asked to provide the FBI with further and better particulars about allegations regarding improper donations to the CF funded by Australian taxpayers,” Smith told LifeZette.

Of note, the Clinton Foundation received some $88 million from Australian taxpayers between 2006 and 2014, reaching its peak in 2012-2013 – which was coincidentally (we’re sure) Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s last year in office.

Smith names several key figures in his complaints of malfeasance, including Bill and Hillary Clinton and multiple Australian government officials – including senior diplomat Alexander Downer, whose conversation with Trump aide George Papadopoulos that Russia had ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton allegedly launched the Trump-Russia investigation (as opposed to the Fusion GPS dossier, of course).

Within hours of the NYT publication, the paper was immediately shredded as the information Papadopoulous told Downer was already public

The materials Smith is giving to the FBI focus on a 2007 memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDs Initiative (CHAI) and the Australian government.

Smith claims the foundation received a “$25M financial advantage dishonestly obtained by deception” as a result of actions by Bill Clinton and Downer, who was then Australia’s minister of foreign affairs.

Also included in the Smith materials are evidence he believes shows “corrupt October 2006 backdating of false tender advertisements purporting to advertise the availability of a $15 million contract to provide HIV/AIDS services in Papua New Guinea on behalf of the Australian government after an agreement was already in place to pay the Clinton Foundation and/or associates.”-Lifezette

As a reminder, the Australian government announced that they would stop pouring millions of dollars into accounts linked to the Clinton charities in November of 2016 – right after Hillary Clinton lost the election.

To continue reading: FBI Investigating Millions Of “Mishandled” Dollars Funneled From Australian Govt To Clinton Foundation

He Said That? 1/17/18

From Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian.

I did not know that mankind were suffering for want of gold. I have seen a little of it. I know that it is very malleable, but not so malleable as wit. A grain of gold will gild a great surface, but not so much as a grain of wisdom.

Imagine If You Will, from The Burning Platform

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2018/01/17/imagine-if-you-will-3/

Crypto Collapse Crushes Hedge Funds that Touted Huge Gains for 2017, by Wolf Richter

What goes up can also go down? Who knew? Don’t tell the stock market. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Are they causing the rout by trying to get large sums out of an illiquid market?

At the moment, cryptocurrencies and tokens are bouncing up and down in wild, double-digit gyrations by the hour. Bitcoin plunged below $9,300 and as I’m writing this is trading at around $9,800, down about 50% from its peak on December 17. Gone up in smoke in one month: $168 billion.

Ripple, the crypto that has recently been touted as the “next bitcoin” or “better than bitcoin,” plunged to $0.88 and is currently trading at $0.98, still down 76% from its peak on January 4. Gone up in smoke in two weeks: $110 billion.

Ethereum, after having plunged to $775, is now at $852, down 40% from its peak on January 13. Gone up in smoke in two weeks: $60 billion.

There are now over 1,400 of these “cryptocurrencies” and “tokens” out there, according to CoinMarketCap. Anyone can issue a new one. The supply is unlimited. On January 8, they were valued at $830 billion. Now they’re valued $472 billion. About $358 billion have been eradicated or transferred from those holding the bag to those that got out early.

Then there’s BitConnect, which is down 97% from $476 on December 28 to $14.39 currently, but bouncing wildly up and down. Nearly $4 billion evaporated, using the number cited by the Texas Securities Commissioner, which has entered an Emergency Cease and Desist Order. The Securities Division of the North Carolina Department of Secretary of State has issued a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist. Much of the operation has now been shut down.

“Gain financial freedom with a secure and practical alternative to centralized banking,” BitConnect said on its website. In the crypto-craze, people fall for anything.

So have crypto hedge funds triggered the collapse by trying to get their money out of an illiquid market?

An index by Eurekahedge that tracks nine crypto hedge funds soared 1,167% in 2017 through December 31 and over 17,000% since June 2013. So it’s understandable if, after this run-up, the funds might try to take some profits.

But the index does not yet include the collapse so far this year.

To continue reading: Crypto Collapse Crushes Hedge Funds that Touted Huge Gains for 2017 

Mr.Trump on the Apertures: Stark Madness and Inmiscibility, by Fred Reed

If Trump did say “shithole” his language leaves something to be desired, but not the notion that the US has both the right and obligation to be selective about whom it allows into the country. From Fred Reed at theburningplatform.com:

Pop Quiz: Take out a sheet of paper. This will be fifty percent of your grade: Which of the above is the Norwegian? Which from Mr. Trump’s other category? With which would you rather have your children go to school?

Mr. Trump’s comment regarding his preference for immigrants from Norway instead of “shithole countries”  such as Haiti engendered among the commentariat a great squealing. I cannot fathom this. Are they geographic virgins, and just don’t know anything of the world? Is it  only the usual schadenfreudian gotcha pile-on?  The if-A-then-B response to stimulus of a press corps with the freedom of thought I associate with a FORTRAN statement?

Shithole countries exist. Mr. Trummp’s  Haiti is one of them. Some other expression of more acceptable weaselhood might be employed: “hygienically-impaired conceivably preliterate ” or something.

If one takes “shithole” literally, Haiti is indeed excrementially challenged, I shamelessly steal this from John Derbyshire’s column on the Unz Review:

NPR: “A rainstorm on Good Friday last year filled the streets and alleys of one Port-au-Prince neighborhood with 3 feet of raw sewage.”

If unconvinced, try here.

However, Mr. trump’s term is usually figurative, meaning something like filthy, backward, pitiable, poor, unspeakable, degraded, ignorant, and so on. This is Haiti.

I once spent a week in the slums of Cite Soleil, in Port au Prince  with the US Army.  It was godawful. Huts of corrugated iron, “streets” of packed dirt, actually paths maybe two feet wide between them, no sewerage, no electricity. No medical care or, so I was told, education.  The impression was of an occupied garbage dump.

There were no guns, so the denizens went at each other with machetes, leading to missing limbs and exposed brains. Law enforcement did not exist. Witchcraft did. Haiti is voodoo territory.

One may sympathize with the inhabitants of such  a Dantean sub-basement, and I did. One may imagine ways of helping such people, and I did, knowing that they had been tried without effect. Yet there is no point in whitewashing a disaster, in pretending that Haiti is not what it is.

To continue reading: Mr.Trump on the Apertures: Stark Madness and Inmiscibility