Thursday, August 9, 2018

Overstock.com Soars After Its Blockchain Sub Gets PE Investment At $1.5BN Valuation

Online retailer Overstock reported results which, unlike its much more famous and infinitely bigger online retailing peer Amazon, were nothing special: the company reported Q2 revenues of $483 million, generating a net loss for the quarter of $2.20 on a gross margin of 19% in the quarter.
But the company's earnings were not the reason why OSTK shares soared as much as 25% after hours: the reason was the surprising announcement by the company that Hong Kong-based private-equity firm GSR Capital had agreed to invest as much as $375 MM in exchange for equity in the retailer and, more importantly, its tZero blockchain subsidiary, which as a reminder capitalized on the cryptocurrency craze in late 2017 and concluded an Initial Coin Offering on December 18, 2017, almost to the day when Bitcoin hit an all time high of just under $20,000.
As Overstock announced in its press release, GSR agreed to:
  • i) buy $30MM in tZero tokens,
  • ii) buy up to 3.1MM shares of OSTK for $104 million (a 5% discount to the Aug. 1 closing price of $33.72),
  • iii) invest as much as $270MM for up to 18% of tZero’s equity at a whopping post-money valuation of $1.5 Billion.
And since Overstock's market cap as of Thursday's close was just over $1.1 billion, this means that with one term sheet, the company's tZero sub is suddenly worth more than the entire parent company. More importantly, the GSR transaction will boost the company's cash and equivalent holdings to over half a billion dollars.
Some more details from Byrne:
Having concluded its Security Token offering, tZERO has raised aggregate consideration of $134 million. This figured includes $30 million from repayment of intercompany debt between tZERO and Overstock. GSR has signed a repurchase agreement to acquire these tokens. As I will diagram in our earnings call, we have designed quite an ecosystem with a scale that matches the enormous opportunity in front of it. When GSR completes its planned investments, we should have over half-a-billion dollars. We believe this will provide ample capitalization with which to build a company that can upend global capital markets.
Back in December, when Overstock launched its tZero ICO, it said that it was hoping to raise at least $250 million - and as much as $500 million - "to build out a blockchain system that the firm said would allow it to create an exchange to trade blockchain-based assets, like ICOs." In the end it raised aggregated funds of just approximately $134 million, and today's transactions adds to that and enables CEO Patrick Byrne to pursue his Security Token ambitions.
As a result of the deal, OSTK stock has jumped and was trading as high as $46/share after hours.
Even with the surge however, the stock remains well below its highs hit in late 2017 and early 2018, when its share price more than doubled to a high of $86.90 in January, due to its blockchain investments rather than its online retailing activities, which have seen it categorised as a cryptocurrency "play."
Overstock has been one of the few retailers that has aggressively pursued cryptos as both a method of payment and as a means by which to grew the company with its own unique token. As we reported recently, following a burst of adoption of cryptos by various vendors, as the price of bitcoin has tumbled in 2018, so has the rate of adoption. Which is why Overstock's experiment with cryptos and tokens will be closely watched to determine if the digital currency has any chance of becoming useful in practice instead of just in theory.

cryptos

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

PODCAST: EXPLOITING ANOMALIES IN FINANCIAL MARKETS · DR. WILLIAM ZIEMBA

Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.


Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.

The risk of loss in trading commodity interests can be substantial. You should carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. This material does explain all the risks involved in futures and options trading. Please refer to the following for a fuller disclosure and our risk disclosure statement: https://alphazadvisors.com/risk-disclosure-statement/

About this podcast: EP 137: The horse bettor exploiting anomalies in financial markets – Dr. William Ziemba Dr. William Ziemba’s an academic, a practitioner, gambler, trader and an author. He’s worked with and consulted to many well-respected names in the field, such as; Edward Thorp, Blair Hull and the very successful horse bettor, Bill Benter. In the beginning, horse betting was William’s field of expertise (he even published a book titled, Beat The Racetrack!) And in many ways, for William, horse betting worked as a gateway to trading financial markets—which he’s been doing since 1983.

Visit AlphaZAdvisors.com for more info.
  alphaz options strategy

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Crypto Day Trading the next big traders market

Crypto Day Trading - Electronic Day Trading became popular in the mid 1990's with the rise of 'retail' stock trading, meaning that anyone with $50,000 could open an account and trade with "Level 2" access which was purportedly the same access the market makers had.  Of course day-traders were no match for professional market makers but suddenly the .com bubble happened and stocks like (AMZN) and many others.  After the .com bubble burst, day traders looked for other electronic markets to trade, some gravitated to Futures & Forex.  Forex day traders thrived for a long time, until the Dodd-Frank regulations ended the hope of having a profit from a Forex strategy in the USA (and in the same action, effectively blocked access to decent honest brokers for US Citizens.  This void was filled with the Binary Options scam that continues to this day (people still believe that someone, somewhere is making money with Binary Options, contrary to forensic evidence).
Enter Crypto Currency which was relatively undeveloped as a traders' market until the huge rise of BTC/USD in the fall of 2017.  Now there is a quickly growing community of Crypto Day Traders and Total Cryptos is here to facilitate that.  The problem with trading Crypto vs. other markets is there is a huge amount of fake data in Crypto.  As any trader knows, information is king - which is why it's important to have real-time information that matters.  Just like in FX, that may mean looking at multiple exchange prices.  It means having multiple sources of news and data.  It means paying for information.  How bad is the problem of bad data?  Just look at today's news, from Coin Desk, where 'A CoinMarketCap "data issue" caused significant artificial inflation of several coins listed on the platform on Friday, with some prices inflated by nearly 1000 percent.':
While bitcoin's price spiked 12 percent on the crypto data site, other coins saw more drastic increases. The price of aeternity, the eighth most valuable cryptocurrency, increased more than 951 percent, while MOAC increased by 905 percent and bitcoin diamond saw an 876 percent jump on the site. The site's exchange tracker feature was also affected, and falsely indicated that bitcoin was trading above $73,000 on some exchanges.  While crypto Twitter speculated about potential price manipulation, bugs and hacking, CoinMarketCap told CoinDesk that the inflation was caused by a data error.  "There was a price calculation error on tether which caused any listing with a tether market to become artificially inflated," marketing vice president Carylyne Chan said in an email.  While most of the data appeared to have normalized at press time, the 24 hour change percentage for VeChain's VET token was listed as a question mark and its price graph was unavailable on the home page. The VeChain page also had no historical data listed.  The popular analytics platform has promised to release a "post-mortem" with further details in the near future.
Imagine that happened in the stock market.  So the good news, any new market presents new and uncharted opportunities.  With that as always comes big risks, but it is a traders job to manage and maintain control of those risks.  Having the right tools is par for the course.  Or take a look at this article "Why intra-day trading crypto can be better than holding":
If you are relatively new to trading crypto currencies, then this tutorial is what you need. In this tutorial I will try to explain how you can use crypto to grow your capital base by at least 1% per day.The reason why holding isn’t a very practical move for well established coins is because of their volatility. For instance, Bitcoin (see chart below), increased by ±30% over a period of ±20 days. But it doesn’t mean it had a linear increase of 1.5% per day, some days went down while others went up.
Of course, it's easy to go back and say if we had just bought at the low and sold at the high every day for the past 30 days we would have made a fortune, the reality is that trading is not so easy.  However, there are tools out there so advanced and sophisticated that it helps the Crypto Day Trader.
Total Cryptos is extensively researching this new market as well as working on our development of real time trading systems for Crypto Day Traders.  We've opened a public forum on the topic for open discussion which can be found here: https://portal.totalcryptos.com/forum/trading-cryptos Registration is free so join the discussion today!


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Companies from Wall Street continue to innovate in the Crypto Space

  • Private Equity investors or Pre-IPO investors may want to look at this hot new Crypto option.
  • Cornucopia is an example of how Blockchain is really innovating the alternative investment space.
The pace of new Crypto Currency offerings has increased dramatically in recent years. First, there were ICOs, then there were STOs, and now there is a mix of many kinds of new token offerings. Sites are popping up that track the prices of new Crypto Currencies just like for stocks. The nuances of regulation, as in anything new, have been the focus of the debate. What makes a securities token vs. a utility token, or if proof-of-stake is better than proof-of-work. We’re going to skip that in this article to focus on essence not form, to get to the heart of what this token is and why it represents a real new type of token based on an existing model. We are going to contrast this model, not the token, with others of a similar nature. Many who have been enchanted by the allure of Bitcoin have lost touch with what Blockchain really is – a technology. The blockchain is very innovative for banking but compared with what Silicon Valley has been inventing recently it really isn’t such a great achievement. The reason Blockchain is such a ‘revolution’ is mostly because of the lack of technological innovation in the financial services industry in general. For example in the United States, the “Fedwire” system used to send ‘wire’ payments in between financial institutions, was designed and implemented before World War 2, actually before 1940. The reason it is called a ‘wire’ payment is because this was a world where not everyone had a telephone, but every business had a telegraph, which was connected by copper wire. It is important to understand this history, in order to see that Blockchain itself isn’t something so innovative like lasers or fiber optics, or the microprocessor. But in a world where payments are made by ‘wire’ – Blockchain is a new paradigm which really changes the entire global financial system.
One more important elaboration before we dig into this token offering is the mature pre-IPO sector of ‘unicorns.’ During the .com boom IPOs were the hottest rage – get a business plan, buy a .com name, and go public. Very similar to what has happened with many ICOs, many of them fail to vet their underlying business model (in many cases they do not care to, they just want to raise funds as a means to another end). After the .com bubble burst, new IPO issues were on the decline, and since the 2008 credit crisis, they declined even more (for a number of factors which is the subject for another article). Companies that are worth more than $1 Billion in private markets but are still not public are called “Unicorns” because they are rare, but Unicorns are not so rare like they were 5 years ago. Now many companies continue to operate as private companies without going IPO, some notable examples include Uber, AirBnB, SpaceX, Palantir, Lyft, and others. The pre-IPO space is opaque, as companies are not publicly listed, they are not subject to the same reporting requirements as public companies. For example, financial statements which they do of course produce, are based on what the company says only (no third-party oversight). Financial reports produced by public companies are the opposite – they are subject to audits, third party checks, and if a mistake is made – there can be a liability for the financial officer who is responsible for the reports and/or for the company itself. In private equity, none of this applies. So, it’s a unique type of investing.
The obvious upside is that if and when a Unicorn does go public, there can be an event which will produce a 10x or 20x return. So as you can imagine, there are a number of companies that offer sale of pre-IPO stock in mature companies that have revenue. The rules are different, all investors must be accredited generally, and there can be restrictions on the stock (for example you can’t sell your shares until the IPO event). Some companies, like PTN – offer accredited investors more liquidity that it is possible to buy and sell pre-IPO shares in what could be called a dark pool.
Enter the world of Cornucopia, a token offering that provides retail investors access to these companies based on a ratings system. Horn tokens act like a private equity index fund but require community participation. Here’s how it works. Users buy Horn tokens and then vote on which issues should be included in the fund. While most everyone knows Space X, there are more than 150 such companies that are Unicorns or close to the $1 Billion mark that are all good candidates for IPO. Many of them will never go IPO because they will be bought by larger companies (but that is a positive event for shareholders too). The voting system will reward more intelligent votes with a higher allocation of tokens, so for example if you vote for Space X and it ends up being the biggest winner, you will receive more tokens than if you vote for Uber and it ends up bombing.
What is unique about this model is that it’s simple – it can be explained in a few minutes. There’s no moving parts – it’s just as simple as that. It basically opens up access to companies like Space X to investors through the use of a token they are calling HORN. Token investors should love it. Wall St. investors, maybe not. Because they can get access to these companies directly or through the brokerage services like PTN. But what Cornucopia does is it tokenizes the offering – and it’s all wrapped into one token. In the future, there will likely be other similar tokens but for now, this is the only one. HORN is the only token offering pre-IPO mature companies to token investors.
We are not claiming here that Cornucopia has done anything new or unique – on the contrary, they have taken the pre-IPO model which is now very popular on Wall St. and tokenized it. The underlying ratings system, powered by Ignite Ratings, incentivizes users to participate in the process because they will be rewarded for doing so (and rewarded more for making better decisions).
Many have been claiming that Wall St. tokens are coming – while this doesn’t represent Goldman Sachs (GS) coin, this is a Wall St. model that will certainly attract copycats. Cornucopia doesn’t have a patent on this model nor would it be possible to patent a ‘business model’ – but as with any new standard, he who makes the standard has the most to gain from it (such as HORN token holders).
To compare this to other token offerings in the financial sphere, few can compare. For this reason, we believe that Cornucopia is going to make a big splash, and have no problem raising their $15 Million hard cap.
Lastly, let’s take a look at our favorite component (or potential component) to HORN – Space X. This is a bit of a controversial company, but we like it. We want to explain why – and then conclude that HORN is a great way to get exposure to Space X and other companies.
Since World War 2, which was the first time the United States invested massive resources in research and development of technology, the US Military has been a world leader in technology research and development, mostly led by DARPA, but also CIA, NSA, Navy, Army, Air Force, et. al. all working under the Director of Central Intelligence. The types of research projects are so vast we would need a library of books just to dig into them, covering all fields of science and even pseudo-science. If there was a guy who could bend spoons, the CIA had a guy there looking into it. Those who are interested in this topic can watch George Clooney’s “The Men who Stare at Goats” for some of the more bizarre and paranormal research experiments. The strategy is simple really – fund thousands of projects with more budget than needed and get the best minds in the world and even if 9 out of 10 projects fail, the 1 out of 10 that work, they will create something like the Atom bomb. The Manhattan project was perhaps the most ambitious and purposeful research effort in human history, the success of which won the war. Because of this, Military leaders understood the value of advanced weapon technology and this ethos is in the Pentagon to this day.
There is one side benefit for Corporate America to this strategy. Once technology has become ‘declassified’ and where there is clearly no military use, the technology is leaked to corporations (for free) and ultimately sold to the public. Most of what Silicon Valley has ‘invented’ can be credited to this cozy relationship. Technologies are leaked via research labs like ‘SPARC’ labs and others. Companies like XEROX, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, and recently Google and Facebook, participate in these programs.
Often how they acquire the technology is overlooked by investors, but it really is irrelevant, the US Military is not a for profit business per se, like many parts of the US Government it enables for-profit commercial enterprises to profit. As US Citizens are the indirect owners of this IP, transferring it to Corporations that are mostly in the average American’s 401k is widely appropriate (plus it stops the question ‘where all this money is going?’)
Due to the secret nature of much of this technology, this transfer is not something widely publicized – but we can see tangible benefits such as the internet itself, actually designed and built by the US Military. Space X has contracts for delivering rockets and launching them – but do they have something more? We have developed a hypothesis based on nothing other than the previous behavior of this relationship between the Military and Big Business – dating back to the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Space X could have been the recipient of some of this IP, and if they were – it wouldn’t be something they could say publicly. This could explain Musk’s wild claims and his arrogant behavior (because if he had one of these transfers, it would make any competition impossible). One bright example is provided by the potential uses of Helium 3 as an energy source. Everyone knows and widely discusses about Oil – it’s use and utility for military purposes. But this is really a simplistic explanation for common folk to understand the larger doctrine, that energy is a key military resource – perhaps the most important.
For this reason, the US Military not only collects intelligence on new energy systems, but engages in their own research on potential alternative energy sources, such as “Zero Point” energy, Thorium Reactors, and Helium 3. Helium 3 only exists in places such as the moon and is difficult to extract and refine. If Space X had a way to do it, it will in 5 or 10 years be the biggest company on planet Earth. We do not have information to back up that statement it is a hypothetical mind experiment, to show the logic based on our hypothesis. There may be a far different story that we don’t know and will not know until it is revealed, however Helium 3 provides a good example of something that if Space X had IP about how to mine it, transport it, and convert it to Energy, it would be so profitable that the valuation of Space X would go parabolic. And if they were able to do it, they would be the exclusive provider.
Some of Musk’s claims such as colonizing Mars don’t really have a direct business benefit – Helium 3 does. If Space X does have such IP, these other businesses such as launching rockets and giving rides to Billionaire’s in space would be irrelevant. And again, this is just a hypothesis, based on history – we have no direct information that this is the case. For those of us who remember things like ‘the internet’ and the ‘Personal Computer’ that came out of nowhere, we remember a group of select companies having access to such technology and running with it. Remember, Apple (AAPL) didn’t invent the PC, they popularized it. Steve Jobs was not a technology guru or an engineer, he was a marketing genius that created a ‘cult of Mac’ based on his leadership and God-like personality he picked up while studying in India. We can agree that Woz was an engineer, but Apple didn’t invent the micro-processor, they were mostly a design and marketing firm that wanted to create a retail product from assembly. This is not a critique of Apple (AAPL) which is the obvious success of the century, but to point out a past example of a company that created an Empire from something they didn’t build or engineer themselves.
This is a ‘long shot’ hypothesis meaning it is a low probability high impact event. If it is true, the announcement of such news would shoot the value of Space X to the Stratosphere. If it is false, Space X would be evaluated based on its current public claims. But one thing is sure, Space X has exclusivity on this niche in the Aerospace/Defense Sector, and there’s only one place to access it with a token: Cornucopia.  www.cornucopia.io

Friday, July 27, 2018

Milk and Cookies: How Bitcoin empowered a generation of hopers

Bitcoin has had a net negative effect on the perception of Main Street on investing, and a potential huge long term effect on the architecture of markets.  What Bitcoin has created in the short term, is a powerful analogy based on insane assumptions: We have a coin that will be like Bitcoin, and go up 1,000,000 %.  The sad fact, Bitcoins rise has been used as a story to raise capital: This time it’s different.  We’ve built a better Bitcoin.  Our coin will go up more than Bitcoin, so they have been telling us.  But the reality speaks the opposite story, that Bitcoin is likely a one time phenomenon, as even Ethereum, although the design is different, doesn’t come close to Bitcoin. 
Especially since the cross above the psychological 10,000 mark, investors everywhere have been piling funds into ICOs and other concepts claiming to be “The Next Bitcoin – only better” yet so far they have all failed to deliver on their promises, and look likely to continue to do so.  Just like there will never be another Google or Microsoft, there will likely never be another Bitcoin.  If you enjoyed the rise – enjoy your life.  Trying to recreate something again or catch what you missed is a fools errand. 
Some new coins of course are promising, they aren’t all a bunch of garbage – but most are.  All the wrong people decided to launch ICOs for all the wrong reasons.  There have been few quality offerings, so we can mention only a few by name; Basis.. Others which go unnoticed and don’t have the ‘sales pitch’ to capture the wrong type of investors, such as Sky Desks.
What Bitcoin did that was positive it forced the hand of the establishment to innovate.  As the ultimate use-case for digital money that ‘works’ – Bitcoin would never be forgotten or disregarded.  It takes time to build something substantial.  In 2017 we can say that it was the year that the work began.  The fruits of this work may not be seen until 2027 – just as Bitcoin took nearly 10 years to mature into popularity, so will any new Blockchain technology take time.  Regulations will evolve, law will evolve, that will support these more advanced efforts. 
The correct approach to this, is not to identify a single ‘opportunity’ and evaluate it, as one would an investment.  These are ‘stock pickers’ and in the long run this will not work well, statistics show.
The correct approach is to take any advanced idea and foster it – incorporate it into your existing business.  How can I use Blockchain to empower my sales process?  To accept payments from customers?  What else?  Hedging?  Communication?  Security? 
These hopers that think they have picked the next “Bitcoin” are sure to fail if they don’t adopt.  Adoption is what made Bitcoin rise – and it’s the only thing that will make any coin rise.  Ethereum, the only token that has come close – is driven by demand for it’s development platform.  When an ERC 20 token is issued, ultimately users need to first buy ETH in order to buy the underlying.  The coin is likely denominated in ETH (although it’s not an explicit requirement, the majority of ETH tokens are denominated in ETH).
To learn more about Cryptocurrency and real trading and investing opportunities, like Cornucopia, visit www.totalcryptos.com

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

EXPOSED: Secret History of Russia and Wall St.

As we have often explained in our book Splitting Pennies, the world is not as it seems.  Politics often polarizes a country it seems every election there becomes 'two' Americas but the current polarization seems to be that of 'rational' and 'irrational' whereas on one side, there are facts; and on the other, hysterical opinions.  While no evidence was provided that any Russians 'hacked' the mere accusation in absentia is 'proof' for the irrational left that it was the Russians.  "Blame it on the Russians" seems to be the scapegoat story of the day, perhaps lingering from the previous generation that came to power during the cold war.  It's a bunch of nonsense, the entire Russian narrative is a fantasy created by intelligence operatives as a propaganda effort to smear Trump and anyone who doesn't fall into the Leftist/Liberal mindframe.  As any American who has ever been through the justice system in America knows, you are guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around.  Someone can sue you or call the cops and make any false claims and the burden is on you to prove it is false.  If the complaining witness is the US Government itself, you can forget about any 'rights' you may have had or the right to a fair trial (they have immunity and other powers that prevent any fair and reasonable defense if you are targeted).   As usual, these aggressive and toxic forces that are attacking Trump politically from inside the deep-state are exploiting the masses lack of education of history, so we would like to here expose perhaps one of the most important looked over historical facts pertinent to understanding the deep roots of the relationship between USA and Russia.  MUST READ: Wall St. and the Bolshevik Revolution.
Russia was ruled by a Monarchy similar to the rest of Europe until 1917 when the Bolshevik's staged a successful coup of the Kerensky regime thus installing a Soviet Dictatorship run by the Communist Party until its collapse in 1991.
The 1917 Revolution was financed by and orchestrated by Wall St. - Not only did New York bankers provide money, they allowed safe passage to Russia revolutionaries like Trotsky and others by use of diplomatic cover by the US and other governments.  The main character in this play was Thompson, wealthy banker and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  Most of the bankers had first degree relationships with J.P. Morgan himself (the man, and the firm).  MUST READ: Wall St. and the Bolshevik Revolution.
Although this was reported in the press, at the time, it didn't seem that it required further examination by historians:
William B. Thompson, who was in Petrograd from July until November last, has made a personal contribution of $1,000,000 to the Bolsheviki for the purpose of spreading their doctrine in Germany and Austria ....
Washington Post, February 2, 1918
Of course, the official story is that the "American Red Cross" mission to Russia was a humanitarian effort (but if that was the case, why was it composed of mostly lawyers, bankers, and merchants, and only 2 doctors?) 
To really understand this one must read this book MUST READ: Wall St. and the Bolshevik Revolution.
The world is different now.  The politics of the time was different.  100 years ago, groups such as the Morgan firm would finance any revolutionary in hopes to gain contracts from a newly formed government.  Monopoly Capitalists were the perfect business partners to Communists which operated a state controlled regime.  And they achieved their means, guys like Armand Hammer made vast fortunes doing business with the Soviet Union.  You see, the Monopolists realized that the best market was one that was controlled.  In the example of Russia, consumers had no choices.  So if you sold shoes or pencils to the Soviet Government, you sold to all consumers (they had no choice).  It was one big customer that always paid on time.  There was no advertising.  No consumer protection.  It was a Monopoly Capitalist's wet dream.  And, remember that in this time America was undergoing massive consumer protection reforms that were not present during the previous century.  
The bankers who financed the Bolshevik revolution had no interest in politics, in Russia, or in 'helping people' - they wanted big juicy government contracts from Dictatorships.  Because in a Dictatorship, the Dictator and his friends make the rules (as in LATAM countries).  
But does the world still work like this?  It seems so, as Putin claimed in his recent meeting with Trump about Bill Browder, a guy who made unknown fortunes (Billions) in the wild times in the 90's in Russia and paid no taxes.  Then he uses his influence to buy politicians, create laws, and is a major financier behind the Russophobia campaign.  That's how these creeps use politics for gain, guys like Soros who know how to grease the palms of the wrong people to do their bidding and profit.  They only need to trick 30% of the population to create a critical mass of support, as most of their advertising efforts fly in the face of truth and reason.  But it's enough, to create a political divide and start a discussion in the wrong topic.  Since Trump has been 'defending' himself on the Russia collusion issue, it has been difficult to do anything else.  They have used this Russia topic as a stale fish to let rot in the market for days after it has spoiled, preventing any customers from coming close to the market even to discuss other issues.  
The take away here is, the deep state has existed for 100 years, as referenced by this book MUST READ: Wall St. and the Bolshevik Revolution..  Here we are just elaborating this historic fact, how the Elite manipulate the system for the benefits of the haves and to the detriment of the have-nots.  Browder, Soros, and others like this stand in the way of real democracy, as their real dream of a democracy is that of a Dictatorship with the illusion of Democracy (fixed voting machines).  As Trump attempts to 'drain the Swamp' he must confront these demons which he did in his recent meeting with Putin.  Ironically, Putin is at the end of a similar campaign in Russia in which he attempts to flush out corruption in Russia which although still widespread is on the decline.
Readers - don't forget the irony here.  The Soviet Union was made possible by Monopoly Capitalists who later made fortunes trading with them.  During the Cold War the US spent billions in taxpayer money fighting 'Communism' and finally this victory was achieved in 1991 - when the script was flipped and now the Russophobes are against "Russian Mafia" because they are greedy Capitalists!  The US convinced the Russians to be a market economy and are now chastising them for their Oligarch class, and other trappings that come with Capitalism.  Amazing! 
But it is the way of the world, we all have a role to play - and sadly for Russia their role has always been the macabre defender of Western Civilization from the evolving demographic threats whether from the Golden Horde, Third Reich, or ISIS.



Monday, July 2, 2018

Trump the worlds worst FX trader

As we have explained in Splitting Pennies - the global markets are not as they seem.  As we are now all aware, Trump started a trade war which really is the equivalent of a pissing contest (as it mostly is just talk), however it seems as though Trump's heart is in the right place putting America first but he needs to hire better financial advisers as the Chinese are winning this round of the game.  The chart to follow is this, as reported first on Zero Hedge (it seems the mainstream financial media is skipping over this huge glaring super important fact):

What the PBOC (The Chinese Central Bank) has been doing is artificially debasing their currency, thus offsetting any potential tariffs.  Currency Wars are nothing new and they didn't invent anything with this move.  It's simple really, the Yuan is a controlled currency (unlike others that freely float against other currencies) that means the PBOC can basically decide what it wants the rate to be, USDCNH.  So for example if Trump enacts a 20% hike on Chinese imports via tariff or taxes, and the Yuan sinks 20% - for the buyer the product is the same and likely nothing would change.  These buyers, like Home Depot for example, Wal Mart, and others - they are very sensitive about small thin margins.  An extra 1% would cause them to shop the deal.  Practically, there are hundreds of alternatives, but China has built their economy as a wholesale dumping ground where there are absolutely no labor laws, environmental controls, or other standards how their products are made, so that it really is cheap crap.  
I'd like to use an example from the real world not connected to this China problem.  Recently I visited a Gold Mine which is a tourist attraction in Georgia.  They explained there is plenty of gold there - but due to environmental regulations it would cost much more (twice or more) the current Gold price to extract it, whatever the number doesn't matter but let's say it's 5,000 Oz from this mine, if we follow all the rules and regulations.  In South Africa, in Russia, and many other places - they have no such rules.  So they are poisoning the environment!! Those jerks.. but who can stop them?  You don't see environmental protests in Red Square, liberals throwing red meat on Oligarchs as they leave posh hotels.  
The point is - considering all these costs - what is the REAL Price of the iPhone?  5,000 ? If made in USA.  Here's the problem with Trump's strategy.  And this statement is not a solution it is merely intended to elaborate on how complex this issue really is.
The FANGs have built an entire business out of being able to build cheaply without rules.  If we stripped away all that advantage, their stocks would look more like utilities.  Perhaps that is as it should be.  When investors buy Apple (AAPL) they think of technology, they think of innovation - they don't think of exploitation of child labor, forced slave labor, workers who commit suicide the conditions are so bad.  They don't consider the environmental cost (which is also ironic considering their liberal leftist base).
In Trump's trade war, we are talking about leveling the playing field.  We want to bring those jobs back home - back to Main St. 
"Make it on Wall St. - Spend it on Main St." used to be the saying.  But now it's more like "Make it on Wall St., spend it in China, Bermuda, anywhere but USA - just get the money out!"
Tax havens, cheap manufacturing bases, and other excuses have bled America dry of capital.  QE and the policies of the Fed have made the 1% even more rich - but have done nothing positive, in fact have acted more like a leech - to the real economy.  The banks didn't lend post crisis.  The rich didn't spend (at least as to help the real economy) and were so greedy that with a few token exceptions they likely made the problems worse.  This led to skyrocketing unemployment (now they are calling it 'underemployment'), opioid epidemics, explosion in crime, violence, roads and bridges in major need of repair, deterioration of schools and finally the creation of the mutant fakebook generation that has no skill other than posting to their wall.  Yes, all the problems, the bankrupt cities, deterioration of institutions, civic society - can all be laid to blame on decades of economic policies that have made USA rotten from the inside out.  Globalists have bought and sold all elements of American life and Trump is trying to reverse that.  If successful, which in the best case can take many years, we can hope for the 50s and 60s but with the benefits of technology.  Those who either are the 1% AND those who are too stupid to understand this economic analysis which you really don't need a high IQ or an economics degree to understand, represent the anti-Trump movement, and they will do anything to maintain their status quo.  
The Elite have led a bad example, not to single anyone out but here's one Mayor that really shouldn't act like this: Bloomberg.  Here's a guy who spends his free time in another country golfing and eating steaks.  While the news agency that carries his name slowly deteriorates into a liberal political tool (from what was once the only unbiased business and finance media in the world) promoting the agenda of whoever pays the most, Bloomberg is the mayor of New York but spends his spare time in Bermuda.  He's a public figure but the point is that most of the Elite are like this.  They look at America as a cash cow, certainly it's not a place you want to spend your weekends.  Why would you?  Been to the Bronx in the summer lately?  It's a heat island.
This is non-political economic analysis - the elaboration here is to demonstrate the forces at work here.  Trump is trying to take back this unfair advantage which is being exploited by: Foreign Countries, US Corporates (some, not all), the Elite, Banks, et. al.  But just like a gambler who has a winning ticket every day at the casino - if you one day tell him that his ticket is no longer a winner - of course he will react negatively, he'll sue your casino he'll do anything in his power to get back his winning ticket!  So we can expect a real push back on such policies, the most logical and rational is the Currency devaluation promulgated by the PBOC.
We can't stop environmentally devastating Gold mining in Russia - but we can set economic examples for fair business that's pro-USA.  In fact this laptop I'm writing on is made in Delaware (Eluktronics).  The BMW you drive may have been made in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  This move isn't about China vs. USA or "US vs. THEM" it's about restoring free trade to normalcy.  USA is currently giving the rest of the world a free ride (or a considerably cheaper one).  
The problem however is in the delivery.
Trump needs stronger economic advisors.  Larry Kudlow is well represented in a Clownocracy which Trump has created in his reality show, but has little understanding of macro economics and is in deep need in lessons in Mathematics.  They all have USA's interest #1 they aren't enemies they are just misinformed.  Trump may be a master negotiator and a top actor in a TV show which makes him a perfect candidate to be President but he is not a Quant nor a Gekko.  Where is Paul Volker?  Why aren't interest rates above 10%?  If Trump wants to SMASH China where it hurts all that needs to be done is raise rates.
As it stands, all of this commotion in Washington is being muted by PBOC manipulation of the USD/Yuan rate.  In order to stop this, there is one simple order: Raise rates 5%.  There are 2 sides to every coin.  As a Global Reserve Currency it's not possible to play in Yen and deflate / debase your way into exporter heaven.  For a strong country that wants USA first, aggressive rate hikes are the only way to stay ahead.  That's not likely to happen.  Of course there is an alternative route - lowering rates to ZIRP again allowing more cheap money to flow into the system (but it hasn't worked in the past and will not likely achieve anything).
This article is not meant to suggest economic policy, simply to elaborate that the Chinese are winning this round by simply devaluing their currency and they can continue to do so the higher the tariffs are raised.  So if Trump enacts a 50% tax on Asian imports it will be irrelevant if the Yuan is devalued by another 50%.  Capiche?  

Friday, June 29, 2018

Crypto Market showing signs of cracking - too many Shitcoin

The Crypto Market isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Last year we wrote a book on this topic, Splitting Bits (you can get it here).  But the book was written in October, before the huge rise in price in November and December.   Just like with traditional markets - investors only seem interested in the winners.  When we said that 90% of ICOs are frauds - did anyone really hear that?  Or were they just 'listening' ?
As the digital money frenzy of the past few years cools, the crypto coin graveyard is filling up. Dead Coins lists around 800 tokens that are bereft of life, while Coinopsy estimates that more than 1,000 have bought the farm.
The carnage is mostly the consequence of failed projects from the thousands of startups that used initial coin offerings to raise billions in funding, and a global regulatory crackdown on questionable practices and scams. Names like CryptoMeth, Droplex and Roulettecoin may have been a clue to the coins’ dim prospects.
“There has obviously been a lot of fraud and hype in the ICO market,” Aaron Brown, a business author and investor who writes for Bloomberg Prophets, said in an email. “I accept figures I have seen that 80 percent of ICOs were frauds, and 10 percent lacked substance and failed shortly after raising money. Most of the remaining 10 percent will probably fail as well.”
While everyone is watching Bitcoin, many forget about the thousands of failed projects, frauds, and other failed ICOs that didn't meet the mark.


While this may seem like an obvious statement, with all the hype - some need a reminder of this.  As they say in Israel, most projects are 'shitcoin.'  Oh you think this is another joke, do you?  No no no... no no no .. it's not.
This is a great example of what comprises the majority of the Crypto Market.  Now of course, not all coins are shit coins - in fact many show signs of promise.  And also, not all ICOs are crap, there are those that actually have an underlying technology which look very promising, such as Sky Desks, Cornucopia, and others.  Some from the 'real world' are finding no trouble raising money, that is - coins that actually have viable business models - such as Box Bit.  Consulting companies are popping up everywhere.

But going back to SHIT, it really is wide spread.  So few ICOs are regulated, in fact there is only one 'official' regulated ICO and it's not an ICO it's an STO (Securities Token Offering) tZERO.
It seems that there is only one coin, that everyone agrees (at least the market) is good - and that's Bitcoin.  But yet, we don't know who created Bitcoin, even though the NSA said they can't say if they created it as this is classified (classic!).
Millions of people around the world are trying to start their own coins.  Platforms like Waves allow you to do this in a few minutes after paying the ETH fee.  But what value does a coin have which can be created in the equivalent of Microsoft Money?  
You know that many of us were not born yesterday, so we're not falling for the banana in the tailpipe.

It can be you!  Just liquidate your 401k and invest in the next 'Bitcoin' - which you probably have a friend who told you what it's going to be.  WARNING - THIS IS SARCASTIC HUMOR.  CRYPTO INVESTING IS RISKY AND YOU SHOULD ONLY INVEST FUNDS IN WHICH YOU PLAN ON LOSING IN ORDER TO OFFSET YOUR MASSIVE TAX BILL ON YOUR BITCOIN GAINS YOU HAVE CARRIED FORWARD SINCE 2017.