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Bitcoin Spikes Below $43K, Michaël van de Poppe Says Bitcoin Price Can Now Stabilize

On Saturday, the price of Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC)  spiked below $43,000, marking the biggest single-day drop since May, when it went down below $33,000.  read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaDec 4th, 2021

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2020, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as there "could not have been more regime shifts, volatility moments, and memes than 2020." And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2021, the year did not disappoint and proved to be a successful contender, and if judging by the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments, 2021 was even more memorable and event-filled than 2020. Where does one start? While covid was the story of 2020, the pandemic that emerged out of a (Fauci-funded) genetic lab team in Wuhan, China dominated newsflow, politics and capital markets for the second year in a row. And while the biggest plot twist of 2020 was Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election (it took the pandemic lockdowns and mail-in ballots to hand the outcome to Biden), largely thanks to Covid, Biden failed to hold to his biggest presidential promise of defeating covid, and not only did he admit in late 2021 that there is "no Federal solution" to covid waving a white flag of surrender less than a year into his presidency, but following the recent emergence of the Xi, pardon Omicron variant, the number of covid cases in the US has just shattered all records. The silver lining is not only that deaths and hospitalizations have failed to follow the number of cases, but that the scaremongering narrative itself is starting to melt in response to growing grassroots discontent with vaccine after vaccine and booster after booster, which by now it is clear, do nothing to contain the pandemic. And now that it is clear that omicron is about as mild as a moderate case of the flu, the hope has finally emerged that this latest strain will finally kill off the pandemic as it becomes the dominant, rapidly-spreading variant, leading to worldwide herd immunity thanks to the immune system's natural response. Yes, it may mean billions less in revenue for Pfizer and Moderna, but it will be a colossal victory for the entire world. The second biggest story of 2021 was undoubtedly the scourge of soaring inflation, which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory", refused to do so and kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s. The only difference of course is that back then, the Fed Funds rate hit 20%. Now it is at 0%, and any attempts to hike aggressively will lead to a horrific market crash, something the Fed knows very well. Whether this was due to supply-chain blockages and a lack of goods and services pushing prices higher, or due to massive stimulus pushing demand for goods - and also prices - higher, or simply the result of a record injection of central bank liquidity into the system, is irrelevant but what does matter is that it got so bad that even Biden, facing a mauling for his Democratic party in next year's midterm elections, freaked out about soaring prices and pushed hard to lower the price of gasoline, ordering releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and vowing to punish energy companies that dare to make a profit, while ordering Powell to contain the surge in prices even if means the market is hit. Unfortunately for Biden, the market will be hit even as inflation still remain red hot for much of the coming year. And speaking of markets, while 2022 may be a year when the piper finally gets paid, 2021 was yet another blockbuster year for risk assets, largely on the back of the continued global response to the 2020 covid pandemic, when as we wrote last year, we saw "the official arrival of global Helicopter Money, tens of trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus, an overhaul of the global economy punctuated by an unprecedented explosion in world debt, an Orwellian crackdown on civil liberties by governments everywhere, and ultimately set the scene for what even the World Economic Forum called simply "The Great Reset." Yes, the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to stabilize the world, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the subsequent period, of which $1.5 trillion in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring. This, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money (i.e., MMT) in 2020. It's also why with inflation running red hot and real rates the lowest they have ever been, everyone was forced to rush into the "safety" of stocks (or stonks as they came to be known among GenZ), and why after last year's torrid stock market returns, the S&P rose another 27% in 2021 and up a staggering 114% from the March 2020 lows, in the process trouncing all previous mega-rallies (including those in 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2009)... ... making this the third consecutive year of double-digit returns. This reminds us of something we said last year: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." A year later, we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months since the covid pandemic, the richest 1% of US society have seen their net worth increase by over $30 trillion. As a result, the US is now officially a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, the 1% now own more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics. It wasn't just the rich, however: politicians the world over would benefit from the transition from QE to outright helicopter money and MMT which made the over monetization of deficits widely accepted in the blink of an eye. The common theme here is simple: no matter what happens, capital markets can never again be allowed to drop, regardless of the cost or how much more debt has to be incurred. Indeed, as we look back at the news barrage over the past year, and past decade for that matter, the one thing that becomes especially clear amid the constant din of markets, of politics, of social upheaval and geopolitical strife - and now pandemics -  in fact a world that is so flooded with constant conflicting newsflow and changing storylines that many now say it has become virtually impossible to even try to predict the future, is that despite the people's desire for change, for something original and untried, the world's established forces will not allow it and will fight to preserve the broken status quo at any price - even global coordinated shutdowns - which is perhaps why it always boils down to one thing - capital markets, that bedrock of Western capitalism and the "modern way of life", where control, even if it means central planning the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the USSR, and an upward trajectory must be preserved at all costs, as the alternative is a global, socio-economic collapse. And since it is the daily gyrations of stocks that sway popular moods the interplay between capital markets and politics has never been more profound or more consequential. The more powerful message here is the implicit realization and admission by politicians, not just Trump who had a penchant of tweeting about the S&P every time it rose, but also his peers on both sides of the aisle, that the stock market is now seen as the consummate barometer of one's political achievements and approval. Which is also why capital markets are now, more than ever, a political tool whose purpose is no longer to distribute capital efficiently and discount the future, but to manipulate voter sentiments far more efficiently than any fake Russian election interference attempt ever could. Which brings us back to 2021 and the past decade, which was best summarized by a recent Bill Blain article who said that "the last 10-years has been a story of massive central banking distortion to address the 2008 crisis. Now central banks face the consequences and are trapped. The distortion can’t go uncorrected indefinitely." He is right: the distortion will eventually collapse especially if the Fed follows through with its attempt rate hikes some time in mid-2020, but so far the establishment and the "top 1%" have been successful - perhaps the correct word is lucky - in preserving the value of risk assets: on the back of the Fed's firehose of liquidity the S&P500 returned an impressive 27% in 2021, following a 15.5% return in 2020 and 28.50% in 2019. It did so by staging the greatest rally off all time from the March lows, surpassing all of the 4 greatest rallies off the lows of the past century (1929,1938, 1974, and 2009). Yet this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street -  relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x. And while the Fed was the dynamo that has propelled markets higher ever since the Lehman collapse, last year certainly had its share of breakout moments. Here is a sampling. Gamestop and the emergence of meme stonks and the daytrading apes: In January markets were hypnotized by the massive trading volumes, rolling short squeezes and surging share prices of unremarkable established companies such as consoles retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC and various other micro and midcap names. What began as a discussion on untapped value at GameStop on Reddit months earlier by Keith Gill, better known as Roaring Kitty, morphed into a hedge fund-orchestrated, crowdsourced effort to squeeze out the short position held by a hedge fund, Melvin Capital. The momentum flooded through the retail market, where daytraders shunned stocks and bought massive out of the money calls, sparking rampant "gamma squeezes" in the process forcing some brokers to curb trading. Robinhood, a popular broker for day traders and Citadel's most lucrative "subsidiary", required a cash injection to withstand the demands placed on it by its clearing house. The company IPOed later in the year only to see its shares collapse as it emerged its business model was disappointing hollow absent constant retail euphoria. Ultimately, the market received a crash course in the power of retail investors on a mission. Ultimately, "retail favorite" stocks ended the year on a subdued note as the trading frenzy from earlier in the year petered out, but despite underperforming the S&P500, retail traders still outperformed hedge funds by more than 100%. Failed seven-year Treasury auction:  Whereas auctions of seven-year US government debt generally spark interest only among specialists, on on February 25 2021, one such typically boring event sparked shockwaves across financial markets, as the weakest demand on record hit prices across the whole spectrum of Treasury bonds. The five-, seven- and 10-year notes all fell sharply in price. Researchers at the Federal Reserve called it a “flash event”; we called it a "catastrophic, tailing" auction, the closest thing the US has had to a failed Trasury auction. The flare-up, as the FT put it, reflects one of the most pressing investor concerns of the year: inflation. At the time, fund managers were just starting to realize that consumer price rises were back with a vengeance — a huge threat to the bond market which still remembers the dire days of the Volcker Fed when inflation was about as high as it is today but the 30Y was trading around 15%. The February auaction also illustrated that the world’s most important market was far less liquid and not as structurally robust as investors had hoped. It was an extreme example of a long-running issue: since the financial crisis the traditional providers of liquidity, a group of 24 Wall Street banks, have pulled back because of higher costs associated with post-2008 capital requirements, while leaving liquidity provision to the Fed. Those banks, in their reduced role, as well as the hedge funds and high-frequency traders that have stepped into their place, have tended to withdraw in moments of market volatility. Needless to say, with the Fed now tapering its record QE, we expect many more such "flash" episodes in the bond market in the year ahead. The arch ego of Archegos: In March 2021 several banks received a brutal reminder that some of family offices, which manage some $6 trillion in wealth of successful billionaires and entrepreneurs and which have minimal reporting requirements, take risks that would make the most serrated hedge fund manager wince, when Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management imploded in spectacular style. As we learned in late March when several high-flying stocks suddenly collapsed, Hwang - a former protege of fabled hedge fund group Tiger Management - had built up a vast pile of leverage using opaque Total Return Swaps with a handful of banks to boost bets on a small number of stocks (the same banks were quite happy to help despite Hwang’s having been barred from US markets in 2013 over allegations of an insider-trading scheme, as he paid generously for the privilege of borrowing the banks' balance sheet). When one of Archegos more recent bets, ViacomCBS, suddenly tumbled it set off a liquidation cascade that left banks including Credit Suisse and Nomura with billions of dollars in losses. Conveniently, as the FT noted, the damage was contained to the banks rather than leaking across financial markets, but the episode sparked a rethink among banks over how to treat these clients and how much leverage to extend. The second coming of cryptos: After hitting an all time high in late 2017 and subsequently slumping into a "crypto winter", cryptocurrencies enjoyed a huge rebound in early 2021 which sent their prices soaring amid fears of galloping inflation (as shown below, and contrary to some financial speculation, the crypto space has traditionally been a hedge either to too much liquidity or a hedge to too much inflation). As a result, Bitcoin rose to a series of new record highs that culminated at just below $62,000, nearly three times higher than their previous all time high. But the smooth ride came to a halt in May when China’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency and its production, or “mining”, sparked the first serious crash of 2021. The price of bitcoin then collapsed as much as 30% on May 19, hitting a low of $30,000 amid a liquidation of levered positions in chaotic trading conditions following a warning from Chinese authorities of tighter curbs ahead. A public acceptance by Tesla chief and crypto cheerleader Elon Musk of the industry’s environmental impact added to the declines. However, as with all previous crypto crashes, this one too proved transitory, and prices resumed their upward trajectory in late September when investors started to price in the launch of futures-based bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US. The launch of these contracts subsequently pushed bitcoin to a new all-time high in early November before prices stumbled again in early December, this time due to a rise in institutional ownership when an overall drop in the market dragged down cryptos as well. That demonstrated the growing linkage between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies, due to the growing sway of large investors in digital markets. China's common prosperity crash: China’s education and tech sectors were one of the perennial Wall Street darlings. Companies such as New Oriental, TAL Education as well as Alibaba and Didi had come to be worth billions of dollars after highly publicized US stock market flotations. So when Beijing effectively outlawed swaths of the country’s for-profit education industry in July 2021, followed by draconian anti-trust regulations on the country's fintech names (where Xi Jinping also meant to teach the country's billionaire class a lesson who is truly in charge), the short-term market impact was brutal. Beijing’s initial measures emerged as part of a wider effort to make education more affordable as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive for "common prosperity" but that quickly raised questions over whether growth prospects across corporate China are countered by the capacity of the government to overhaul entire business models overnight. Sure enough, volatility stemming from the education sector was soon overshadowed by another set of government reforms related to common prosperity, a crackdown on leverage across the real estate sector where the biggest casualty was Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer. The company, whose boss was not long ago China's 2nd richest man, was engulfed by a liquidity crisis in the summer that eventually resulted in a default in early December. Still, as the FT notes, China continues to draw in huge amounts of foreign capital, pushing the Chinese yuan to end 2021 at the strongest level since May 2018, a major hurdle to China's attempts to kickstart its slowing economy, and surely a precursor to even more monetary easing. Natgas hyperinflation: Natural gas supplanted crude oil as the world’s most important commodity in October and December as prices exploded to unprecedented levels and the world scrambled for scarce supplies amid the developed world's catastrophic transition to "green" energy. The crunch was particularly acute in Europe, which has become increasingly reliant on imports. Futures linked to TTF, the region’s wholesale gas price, hit a record €137 per megawatt hour in early October, rising more than 75%. In Asia, spot liquefied natural gas prices briefly passed the equivalent of more than $320 a barrel of oil in October. (At the time, Brent crude was trading at $80). A number of factors contributed, including rising demand as pandemic restrictions eased, supply disruptions in the LNG market and weather-induced shortfalls in renewable energy. In Europe, this was aggravated by plunging export volumes from Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly pipeline supplier, amid a bitter political fight over the launch of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. And with delays to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, analysts say the European gas market - where storage is only 66% full - a cold snap or supply disruption away from another price spike Turkey's (latest) currency crisis:  As the FT's Jonathan Wheatley writes, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once a source of strength for the Turkish lira, and in his first five years in power from 2003, the currency rallied from TL1.6 per US dollar to near parity at TL1.2. But those days are long gone, as Erdogan's bizarre fascination with unorthodox economics, namely the theory that lower rates lead to lower inflation also known as "Erdoganomics", has sparked a historic collapse in the: having traded at about TL7 to the dollar in February, it has since fallen beyond TL17, making it the worst performing currency of 2021. The lira’s defining moment in 2021 came on November 18 when the central bank, in spite of soaring inflation, cut its policy rate for the third time since September, at Erdogan’s behest (any central banker in Turkey who disagrees with "Erdoganomics" is promptly fired and replaced with an ideological puppet). The lira recovered some of its losses in late December when Erdogan came up with the "brilliant" idea of erecting the infamous "doom loop" which ties Turkey's balance sheet to its currency. It has worked for now (the lira surged from TL18 against the dollar to TL12, but this particular band aid solution will only last so long). The lira’s problems are not only Erdogan’s doing. A strengthening dollar, rising oil prices, the relentless covid pandemic and weak growth in developing economies have been bad for other emerging market currencies, too, but as long as Erdogan is in charge, shorting the lira remains the best trade entering 2022. While these, and many more, stories provided a diversion from the boring existence of centrally-planned markets, we are confident that the trends observed in recent years will continue: coming years will be marked by even bigger government (because only more government can "fix" problems created by government), higher stock prices and dollar debasement (because only more Fed intervention can "fix" the problems created by the Fed), and a policy flip from monetary and QE to fiscal & MMT, all of which will keep inflation at scorching levels, much to the persistent confusion of economists everywhere. Of course, we said much of this last year as well, but while we got most trends right, we were wrong about one thing: we were confident that China's aggressive roll out of the digital yuan would be a bang - or as we put it "it is very likely that while 2020 was an insane year, it may prove to be just an appetizer to the shockwaves that will be unleashed in 2021 when we see the first stage of the most historic overhaul of the fiat payment system in history" - however it turned out to be a whimper. A big reason for that was that the initial reception of the "revolutionary" currency was nothing short of disastrous, with Chinese admitting they were "not at all excited" about the prospect of yet one more surveillance mechanism for Beijing, because that's really what digital currencies are: a way for central banks everywhere to micromanage and scrutinize every single transaction, allowing the powers that be to demonetize any one person - or whole groups - with the flick of a switch. Then again, while digital money may not have made its triumphant arrival in 2021, we are confident that the launch date has merely been pushed back to 2022 when the rollout of the next monetary revolution is expected to begin in earnest. Here we should again note one thing: in a world undergoing historic transformations, any free press must be throttled and controlled, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented efforts by legacy media and its corporate owners, as well as the new "social media" overlords do everything in their power to stifle independent thought. For us it had been especially "personal" on more than one occasions. Last January, Twitter suspended our account because we dared to challenge the conventional narrative about the source of the Wuhan virus. It was only six months later that Twitter apologized, and set us free, admitting it had made a mistake. Yet barely had twitter readmitted us, when something even more unprecedented happened: for the first time ever (to our knowledge) Google - the world's largest online ad provider and monopoly - demonetized our website not because of any complaints about our writing but because of the contents of our comment section. It then held us hostage until we agreed to implement some prerequisite screening and moderation of the comments section. Google's action was followed by the likes of PayPal, Amazon, and many other financial and ad platforms, who rushed to demonetize and suspend us simply because they disagreed with what we had to say. This was a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. One year ago, for the first time in our 13 year history, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us again. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year. That said, whether the story of 2022, and the next decade for that matter, is one of helicopter or digital money, of (hyper)inflation or deflation: what is key, and what we learned in the past decade, is that the status quo will throw anything at the problem to kick the can, it will certainly not let any crisis go to waste... even the deadliest pandemic in over a century. And while many already knew that, the events of 2021 made it clear to a fault that not even a modest market correction can be tolerated going forward. After all, if central banks aim to punish all selling, then the logical outcome is to buy everything, and investors, traders and speculators did just that armed with the clearest backstop guarantee from the Fed, which in the deapths of the covid crash crossed the Rubicon when it formally nationalized the bond market as it started buying both investment grade bonds and junk bond ETFs in the open market. As such it is no longer even a debatable issue if the Fed will buy stocks after the next crash - the only question is when. Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past year showed vividly why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, the narrative over Biden's trillions proved to be one of the biggest market moving events for much of the year. And with the Biden stimulus plan off the table for now, the Fed will find it very difficult to tighten financial conditions, especially if it does so just as the economy is slowing. Here we like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening. As for predictions about the future, as the past two years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure courtesy of China's covid pandemic, dramatic changes in 2021 persisted, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China's ongoing fight with preserving stability in its gargantuan financial system which is now two and a half times the size of the US. As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from the KGB either, although now that the entire Russian hysteria episode is over, those allegations have finally quieted down), and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine. Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website. In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to accelerate in the coming year when key midterm elections will be held, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2021 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch out of fear of repercussions, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an orchestrated information vacuum and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which the public relations arm of established media outlets refused to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation. We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2021 - have realized it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news." * * * And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 11-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year. In 20th spot with 600,000 reads, was an article that touched on one of the most defining features of the market: the reflation theme the sparked a massive rally at the start of the year courtesy of the surprise outcome in the Georgia Senate race, where Democrats ended up wining both seats up for grabs, effectively giving the Dems a majority in both the House and the Senate, where despite the even, 50-seat split, Kamala Harris would cast the winning tie-breaker vote to pursue a historic fiscal stimulus. And sure enough, as we described in "Bitcoin Surges To Record High, Stocks & Bonds Battered As Dems Look Set To Take Both Georgia Senate Seats", with trillions in "stimmies" flooding both the economy and the market, not only did retail traders enjoy unprecedented returns when trading meme "stonks" and forcing short squeezes that crippled numerous hedge funds, but expectations of sharply higher inflation also helped push bitcoin and the entire crypto sector to new all time highs, which in turn legitimized the product across institutional investors and helped it reach a market cap north of $3 trillion.  In 19th spot, over 613,000 readers were thrilled to read at the start of September that "Biden Unveils Most Severe COVID Actions Yet: Mandates Vax For All Federal Workers, Contractors, & Large Private Companies." Of course, just a few weeks later much of Biden's mandate would be struck down in courts, where it is now headed to a decision by SCOTUS, while the constantly shifting "scientific" goal posts mean that just a few months later the latest set of CDC regulations have seen regulators and officials reverse the constant drone of fearmongering and are now even seeking to cut back on the duration of quarantine and other lockdown measures amid a public mood that is growing increasingly hostile to the government response. One of the defining political events of 2021 was the so-called "Jan 6 Insurrection", which the for America's conservatives was blown wildly out of proportion yet which the leftist media and Democrats in Congress have been periodically trying to push to the front pages in hopes of distracting from the growing list of failures of the Obama admin. Yet as we asked back in January, "Why Was Founder Of Far-Left BLM Group Filming Inside Capitol As Police Shot Protester?" No less than 614,000 readers found this question worthy of a response. Since then many more questions have emerged surrounding this event, many of which focus on what role the FBI had in organizing and encouraging this event, including the use of various informants and instigators. For now, a response will have to wait at least until the mid-term elections of 2022 when Republicans are expected to sweep one if not both chambers. Linked to the above, the 17th most read article of 2021 with 617,000 views, was an article we published on the very same day, which detailed that "Armed Protesters Begin To Arrive At State Capitols Around The Nation." At the end of the day, it was much ado about nothing and all protests concluded peacefully and without incident: perhaps the FBI was simply spread too thin? 2021 was a year defined by various waves of the covid pandemic which hammered poor Americans forced to hunker down at home and missing on pay, and crippled countless small mom and pop businesses. And yet, it was also a bonanza for a handful of pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna which made billions from the sale of "vaccines" which we now know do little if anything to halt the spread of the virus, and are instead now being pitched as palliatives, preventing a far worse clinical outcome. The same pharma companies also benefited from an unconditional indemnity, which surely would come in useful when the full side-effects of their mRNA-based therapies became apparent. One such condition to emerge was myocarditis among a subset of the vaxxed. And while the vaccines continue to be broadly rolled out across most developed nations, one place that said enough was Sweden. As over 620,000 readers found out in "Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition", not every country was willing to use its citizens as experimental guniea pigs. This was enough to make the article the 16th most read on these pages, but perhaps in light of the (lack of) debate over the pros and cons of the covid vaccines, this should have been the most read article this year? Moving on to the 15th most popular article, 628,000 readers were shocked to learn that "Chase Bank Cancels General Mike Flynn's Credit Cards." The action, which was taken by the largest US bank due to "reputational risk" echoed a broad push by tech giants to deplatform and silence dissenting voices by literally freezing them out of the financial system. In the end, following widespread blowback from millions of Americans, JPMorgan reversed, and reactivated Flynn's cards saying the action was made in error, but unfortunately this is just one example of how those in power can lock out any dissenters with the flick of a switch. And while democrats cheer such deplatforming today, the political winds are fickle, and we doubt they will be as excited once they find themselves on the receiving end of such actions. And speaking of censorship and media blackouts, few terms sparked greater response from those in power than the term Ivermectin. Viewed by millions as a cheap, effective alternative to offerings from the pharmaceutical complex, social networks did everything in their power to silence any mention of a drug which the Journal of Antibiotics said in 2017 was an "enigmatic multifaceted ‘wonder’ drug which continues to surprise and exceed expectations." Nowhere was this more obvious than in the discussion of how widespread use of Ivermectin beat Covid in India, the topic of the 14th most popular article of 2021 "India's Ivermectin Blackout" which was read by over 653,000 readers. Unfortunately, while vaccines continue to fail upward and now some countries are now pushing with a 4th, 5th and even 6th vaccine, Ivermectin remains a dirty word. There was more covid coverage in the 13th most popular article of 2021, "Surprise Surprise - Fauci Lied Again": Rand Paul Reacts To Wuhan Bombshell" which was viewed no less than 725,000 times. Paul's reaction came following a report which revealed that Anthony Fauci's NIAID and its parent, the NIH, funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China, strongly hinting that the emergence of covid was the result of illicit US funding. Not that long ago, Fauci had called Paul a 'liar' for accusing him of funding the risky research, in which viruses are genetically modified or otherwise altered to make them more transmissible to humans. And while we could say that Paul got the last laugh, Fauci still remains Biden's top covid advisor, which may explain why one year after Biden vowed he would shut down the pandemic, the number of new cases just hit a new all time high. One hope we have for 2022 is that people will finally open their eyes... 2021 was not just about covid - soaring prices and relentless inflation were one of the most poignant topics. It got so bad that Biden's approval rating - and that of Democrats in general - tumbled toward the end of the year, putting their mid-term ambitions in jeopardy, as the public mood soured dramatically in response to the explosion in prices. And while one can debate whether it was due to supply-issues, such as the collapse in trans-pacific supply chains and the chronic lack of labor to grow the US infrastructure, or due to roaring demand sparked by trillions in fiscal stimulus, but when the "Big Short" Michael Burry warned that hyperinflation is coming, the people listened, and with over 731,000 reads, the 12th most popular article of 2021 was "Michael Burry Warns Weimar Hyperinflation Is Coming."  Of course, Burry did not say anything we haven't warned about for the past 12 years, but at least he got the people's attention, and even mainstream names such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey agreed with him, predicting that bitcoin will be what is left after the dollar has collapsed. While hyperinflation may will be the endgame, the question remains: when. For the 11th most read article of 2021, we go back to a topic touched upon moments ago when we addressed the full-blown media campaign seeking to discredit Ivermectin, in this case via the D-grade liberal tabloid Rolling Stone (whose modern incarnation is sadly a pale shadow of the legend that house Hunter S. Thompson's unforgettable dispatches) which published the very definition of fake news when it called Ivermectin a "horse dewormer" and claimed that, according to a hospital employee, people were overdosing on it. Just a few hours later, the article was retracted as we explained in "Rolling Stone Issues 'Update' After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked" and over 812,000 readers found out that pretty much everything had been a fabrication. But of course, by then it was too late, and the reputation of Ivermectin as a potential covid cure had been further tarnished, much to the relief of the pharma giants who had a carte blanche to sell their experimental wares. The 10th most popular article of 2021 brings us to another issue that had split America down the middle, namely the story surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse and the full-blown media campaign that declared the teenager guilty, even when eventually proven innocent. Just days before the dramatic acquittal, we learned that "FBI Sat On Bombshell Footage From Kyle Rittenhouse Shooting", which was read by over 822,000 readers. It was unfortunate to learn that once again the scandal-plagued FBI stood at the center of yet another attempt at mass misinformation, and we can only hope that one day this "deep state" agency will be overhauled from its core, or better yet, shut down completely. As for Kyle, he will have the last laugh: according to unconfirmed rumors, his numerous legal settlements with various media outlets will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  And from the great US social schism, we again go back to Covid for the 9th most popular article of 2021, which described the terrifying details of one of the most draconian responses to covid in the entire world: that of Australia. Over 900,000 readers were stunned to read that the "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps." Alas, the latest surge in Australian cases to nosebleed, record highs merely confirms that this unprecedented government lockdown - including masks and vaccines - is nothing more than an exercise in how far government can treat its population as a herd of sheep without provoking a violent response.  The 8th most popular article of 2021 looks at the market insanity of early 2021 when, at the end of January, we saw some of the most-shorted, "meme" stocks explode higher as the Reddit daytrading horde fixed their sights on a handful of hedge funds and spent billions in stimmies in an attempt to force unprecedented ramps. That was the case with "GME Soars 75% After-Hours, Erases Losses After Liquidity-Constrained Robinhood Lifts Trading Ban", which profiled the daytrading craze that gave an entire generation the feeling that it too could win in these manipulated capital markets. Then again, judging by the waning retail interest, it is possible that the excitement of the daytrading army is fading as rapidly as it first emerged, and that absent more "stimmies" markets will remain the playground of the rich and central banks. Kyle Rittenhouse may soon be a very rich man after the ordeal he went through, but the media's mission of further polarizing US society succeeded, and millions of Americans will never accept that the teenager was innocent. It's also why with just over 1 million reads, the 7th most read article on Zero Hedge this year was that "Portland Rittenhouse Protest Escalates Into Riot." Luckily, this is not a mid-term election year and there were no moneyed interests seeking to prolong this particular riot, unlike what happened in the summer of 2020... and what we are very much afraid will again happen next year when very critical elections are on deck.  With just over 1.03 million views, the 6th most popular post focused on a viral Twitter thread on Friday from Dr Robert Laone, which laid out a disturbing trend; the most-vaccinated countries in the world are experiencing  a surge in COVID-19 cases, while the least-vaccinated countries were not. As we originally discussed in ""This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit": mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries", this trend has only accelerated in recent weeks with the emergence of the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in a constructive discussion to see why the science keeps failing again and again, Twitter's response was chilling: with just days left in 2021, it suspended the account of Dr. Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology. Which brings to mind something Aaron Rogers said: "If science can't be questioned it's not science anymore it's propaganda & that's the truth." In a year that was marked a flurry of domestic fiascoes by the Biden administration, it is easy to forget that the aged president was also responsible for the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, when the botched evacuation of Afghanistan made the US laughing stock of the world after 12 US servicemembers were killed. So it's probably not surprising that over 1.1 million readers were stunned to watch what happened next, which we profiled in the 5th most popular post of 2021, where in response to the Afghan trajedy, "Biden Delivers Surreal Press Conference, Vows To Hunt Down Isis, Blames Trump." One person watching the Biden presser was Xi Jinping, who may have once harbored doubts about reclaiming Taiwan but certainly does not any more. The 4th most popular article of 2021 again has to do with with covid, and specifically the increasingly bizarre clinical response to the disease. As we detailed in "Something Really Strange Is Happening At Hospitals All Over America" while emergency rooms were overflowing, it certainly wasn't from covid cases. Even more curiously, one of the primary ailments leading to an onslaught on ERs across the nation was heart-related issues, whether arrhytmia, cardiac incidents or general heart conditions. We hope that one day there will be a candid discussion on this topic, but until then it remains one of the topics seen as taboo by the mainstream media and the deplatforming overlords, so we'll just leave it at that. We previously discussed the anti-Ivermectin narrative that dominated the mainstream press throughout 2021 and the 3rd most popular article of the year may hold clues as to why: in late September, pharma giant Pfizer and one of the two companies to peddle an mRNA based vaccine, announced that it's launching an accelerated Phase 2/3 trial for a COVID prophylactic pill designed to ward off COVID in those may have come in contact with the disease. And, as we described in "Pfizer Launches Final Study For COVID Drug That's Suspiciously Similar To 'Horse Paste'," 1.75 million readers learned that Pfizer's drug shared at least one mechanism of action as Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic used in humans for decades, which functions as a protease inhibitor against Covid-19, which researchers speculate "could be the biophysical basis behind its antiviral efficiency." Surely, this too was just another huge coincidence. In the second most popular article of 2021, almost 2 million readers discovered (to their "shock") that Fauci and the rest of Biden's COVID advisors were proven wrong about "the science" of COVID vaccines yet again. After telling Americans that vaccines offer better protection than natural infection, a new study out of Israel suggested the opposite is true: natural infection offers a much better shield against the delta variant than vaccines, something we profiled in "This Ends The Debate' - Israeli Study Shows Natural Immunity 13x More Effective Than Vaccines At Stopping Delta." We were right about one thing: anyone who dared to suggest that natural immunity was indeed more effective than vaccines was promptly canceled and censored, and all debate almost instantly ended. Since then we have had tens of millions of "breakout" cases where vaccinated people catch covid again, while any discussion why those with natural immunity do much better remains under lock and key. It may come as a surprise to many that the most read article of 2021 was not about covid, or Biden, or inflation, or China, or even the extremely polarized US congress (and/or society), but was about one of the most long-suffering topics on these pages: precious metals and their prices. Yes, back in February the retail mania briefly targeted silver and as millions of reddit daytraders piled in in hopes of squeezing the precious metal higher, the price of silver surged higher only to tumble just as quickly as it has risen as the seller(s) once again proved more powerful than the buyers. We described this in "Silver Futures Soar 8%, Rise Above $29 As Reddit Hordes Pile In", an article which some 2.4 million gold and silver bugs read with hope, only to see their favorite precious metals slump for much of the rest of the year. And yes, the fact that both gold and silver ended the year sharply lower than where they started even though inflation hit the highest level in 40 years, remains one of the great mysteries of 2021. With all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2022, and the next decade? We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try despite endless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2021 (even the Fed admitted it is clueless when Powell said it was time to retire the term "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of the "expertise class" with their bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it. We do know, however, that after a record $30 trillion in stimulus was conjured out of thin air by the world's central banks and politicians in the past two years, the attempt to reverse this monetary and fiscal firehose in a world addicted to trillions in newly created liquidity now that central banks are freaking out after finally getting ot the inflation they were hoping to create for so long, will end in tears. We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 13, we will be there to document every aspect of it. Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2022, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2021 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken system. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 03:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

Bitcoin is stabilizing but could still fall 24% if it breaks below this key support level, technical analyst says

"If initial support is broken, important long-term support will likely be tested, near $37.0K," Fairlead Strategies' Katie Stockton said. A visual representation of the digital crypto-currency Bitcoin, at the "Bitcoin Change" shop in the Israeli city of Tel AvivJACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty ImagesBitcoin prices are beginning to stabilize after falling 30% in a month, according to Katie Stockton of Fairlead Strategies.But the cryptocurrency could see further price declines if key support around $44,200 fails, Stockton said in a Monday note."If initial support is broken, important long-term support will likely be tested, near $37.0K," Stockton said. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.Bitcoin's 30% price decline over the past month has brought a swift bear market for the cryptocurrency, but prices are beginning to stabilize, according to technical analyst Katie Stockton of Fairlead Strategies.Stockton said in a Monday note that short-term momentum for bitcoin has neutralized after being bearish for a number of weeks. That's a good sign for crypto bulls as bitcoin consolidates above its initial support level of $44,200, which represents a 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level."An improved daily [moving average convergence divergence] and short-term oversold conditions suggest bitcoin could see stabilization around initial support in the days ahead," Stockton explained. But intermediate momentum remains bearish, meaning the potential for more downside in bitcoin prices remains, according to Stockton."The weekly stochastics are not yet oversold, suggesting the correction will resume. If initial support is broken, important long-term support at the bottom boundary of the weekly cloud will likely be tested, near $37,000," Stockton said.A decline to $37,000 would represent potential downside of 24% from current levels. Still, long-term momentum remains bullish, so any decline could be temporary if the monthly MACD doesn't flash a sell signal, according to the note."There has been a downtick in long-term momentum that has us watching the monthly MACD closely, but we maintain a long-term bullish bias with the rising weekly cloud still intact," Stockton concluded.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 21st, 2021

Bitcoin Is The Perfect Option, And Central Banks Will Have To Buy In

Bitcoin Is The Perfect Option, And Central Banks Will Have To Buy In Authored by Greg Foss and Seb Bunney via BitcoinMagazine.com, What happens if the market realizes that kicking the can down the road is delaying the inevitable? A sustainable form of insurance in this event would have to be bitcoin... In “part one” of this article, we provide a high-level overview on options, the components that make them valuable and how these components are priced in order to come up with a comprehensive value for any particular option. Readers who are not familiar with options and option pricing are encouraged to read “part one” before moving on to the rest of the article. For more option-savvy readers, you may jump immediately to “part two,” where we will explore why we believe bitcoin (BTC) is a long volatility position. Since most other assets in a diversified investment portfolio are in fact short volatility positions, bitcoin can offer portfolio hedges in the event of increased volatility in tangential markets. We then extend the analysis to determine why bitcoin is in fact a very valuable “exotic” option. Moreover, as an exotic option with no term, there is no time decay on your long volatility position. Finally, in a world where exotic options generally require a contract with a defined counterparty (they are not generic, thus don’t trade on exchanges per se), the fact that bitcoin has no counterparty risk leads to the conclusion that bitcoin is the perfect option that, over time, will come to be embraced by investors as a hedge to a short volatility-biased investing world. *Don’t fret if this introduction went over your head, instead just start with “part one” below. PART ONE: AN INTRODUCTION TO OPTIONS Before we can truly comprehend why bitcoin may be the “perfect” option instrument, we must first go over a little options theory. This will help us more easily grasp the concept of bitcoin as a long put option on the fiat ponzi. What is an option? In the most simplistic form, an option is a derivative that derives its price from its underlying asset. An insurance contract is very similar to an options contract and is a great starting point for understanding options. With any options/insurance contract, you have two parties looking to achieve different outcomes. For instance, with house insurance, you have: The buyer, who is looking to pay a premium upfront to obtain monetary protection in the event of a fire, flood or any other adverse event The seller, who is looking to obtain cash flow upfront and believes that the probability of payout due to an adverse event is less than the premium received from the buyer As a buyer of an option, you would say that you are long the option, and as a seller, you would say that you are short the option. Now, it should be noted that this article isn’t intended to be about teaching options 101, and therefore moving forward, we will focus on bitcoin as a long put option. With that being said, we will circle back once or twice to the house insurance example, as it’s a good analogy for trying to grasp the mechanics of a long put option. You may have noticed that the term “underlying” is mentioned above. We don’t blame you if you don’t know what this jargon means… you’re not alone. Essentially, with an option being a derivative, the option’s value is based upon several factors relating to its underlying assets. In the house insurance example, the underlying assets would be the house and the premium paid for the insurance is based upon, as well as things like: How long you are looking to insure your house Where your house is situated (flood plain, landslide zone, etc.) The condition of your house How is bitcoin a long put option?  Although bitcoin isn’t technically an option, one of the main narratives behind its rapid growth since inception is that bitcoin is effectively an insurance contract in the event that the fiat currency system were to become immersed in a credit deterioration that includes many eventual failures. With that in mind, you could liken buying bitcoin to buying a put option on the fiat system. If we were to see a failure of the fiat system, bitcoin will most likely disproportionately benefit. However, bitcoin is unique as it comes with many of the upsides of an option without some of the traditional downsides, which we will get into. Let us delve deeper. When analyzing an option, different options provide benefits under different conditions. You can determine what conditions impact an option’s price by studying what are called the “option greeks.” These metrics help you determine an option’s sensitivity to a multitude of factors such as time, volatility, interest rates, etc. With that said, we will dig into four of the more well-known greeks: theta, vega, gamma and rho. THE GREEKS Theta: measures an options change in price as we pass through time. Bitcoin is theta neutral. One of the major downsides to being an option buyer (long the option) is that you are confined by a time limit. When you initiate an options contract, you set an expiration date for when this contract will expire. At this pre-defined expiration date, you no longer have insurance/protection against the adverse event you initially paid for. In the options world, this creates something called “theta decay,” which means that, as time moves closer to expiration, your option decays in value as there is a decreased amount of time for an adverse event to happen. This is why the longer you are looking to insure something, the more costly it’ll be. Although bitcoin has many of the same benefits as a long option, bitcoin is unique in that it is not a time-constrained contract; it is its own asset. Ultimately, as bitcoin is not time-constrained, there is no loss of value over time due to theta decay. By owning and holding bitcoin, you have an indefinite immutable insurance contract that will reward you greatly in the event of a significant collapse of the fiat system. Vega: measures an option’s sensitivity to an increase or decrease in volatility. Bitcoin is long vega. If someone says they are long an option, that means they benefit from disorder and increased volatility. In our house example, if our house were to burn down, our insurance policy would pay out — we are benefiting from increased disorder and volatility. How does this relate to bitcoin? With bitcoin being a long put option on fiat, which is built upon debt, being long bitcoin means you are essentially short credit and benefit from disorder and volatility in the credit markets. With greater monetary and fiscal intervention causing an increase in the money supply and debt burden while decreasing the dollar’s purchasing power, we see greater economic instability. With greater instability comes greater uncertainty for the security of the dollar and the looming debt burden. This uncertainty leads to greater volatility and disorder. As bitcoin is a long put option on fiat and credit, it benefits from increased volatility and uncertainty. Gamma: measures the rate of change of delta. Bitcoin is long gamma. In the options world, gamma is a measure of something called “convexity.” More specifically, when you are long an option, you are exposed to something magical called positive convexity. In financial jargon, this is the non-linear return profile of the option. Let’s do some simple math to explain this: If we were to see continued inflation and the suppression of rates push 25% of bond holders to exit the $120 trillion credit market and step into bitcoin, valued at $1 trillion, most would expect to see a 25% rise in the value of bitcoin due to the 25% drop in the notional value of bonds. However, we would instead see the value of bitcoin increase by $30 trillion ($120 trillion * 25%) (this simplified equation doesn’t consider the non-linear effect that $1 flowing into bitcoin usually equates to greater than $1 of value creation). In percentage terms, this is a 3,000% increase. This non-linear return profile or asymmetry in upside potential is called “positive convexity.” It is a risk manager’s dream as you can hedge your portfolio with a small allocation to bitcoin while also gaining exposure to outsized returns. Over time, as we see further monetary expansion and the suppression of interest rates in order to quell the looming debt burden, more and more assets will start to lag inflation. Rough estimates put global assets excluding derivatives at $532 trillion ($12 trillion gold, $100 trillion equities, $120 trillion bond market, $300 trillion real estate). As investors look to exit these poorly performing assets and move to greener pastures, bitcoin is in prime position to benefit, and due to the long gamma exposure explained above, the upside potential is unchallenged. Rho: measures an option’s sensitivity to a change in interest rates. Bitcoin is both long and short rho. Bitcoin is unique in that it is one of the few assets that can benefit regardless of the direction interest rates move. Due to the excessive debt burden in most countries, if interest rates start to rise, people will no longer be able to service their debt payments, contagion will increase, leading to a quickening of the collapse of the current financial system. This will increase the number of traditional asset holders looking to exit their positions in search of assets that offer them protection with no counterparty risk, such as bitcoin. On the other hand, if rates start to decrease, borrowing costs decrease, which encourages debt consumption and spending, increasing inflation and the availability of capital in the economy. In this event, we would see the purchasing power of the dollar collapse. This would push smart money out of the risk curve into positions that hedge their portfolios against this collapse of purchasing power. Where better to protect purchasing power than in bitcoin? Bringing it back to the greeks, as rho measures an option’s sensitivity to interest rates, bitcoin benefits regardless of the direction that rates move. Now that we have the option greeks out of the way, and we have laid out the framework for bitcoin as a long put option, what should be evident is bitcoin’s unique properties as an exotic option. In “part two” we will look at why bitcoin may be the perfect option instrument. PART TWO: BITCOIN IS THE “PERFECT” OPTION INSTRUMENT BITCOIN IS A LONG VOLATILITY POSITION Foss has stated in previous research that bitcoin is akin to owning credit insurance on a basket of sovereign issuers. He has calculated an intrinsic value for BTC using sovereign credit default swap (CDS) spreads and shared it with Bitcoin Magazine here. It is important for readers to understand that when you own credit insurance, you are “short” credit and thus you are “long” volatility. It is easy to appreciate this relationship as described below. When credit conditions are worsening — reflected by increasing credit spreads and reduced lending confidence — the knock-on effects always result in equity markets being dragged lower, and at a faster pace. This results in a reach for equity option “insurance” or “protection” and as such, the VIX index increases in lockstep. If credit conditions continue to deteriorate, and the VIX exceeds 25% annualized volatility for an extended period of time, it has been Foss’ experience that new issue markets shut down and financial conditions worsen. In other words, the contagion continues to bleed into other markets. Remember, credit is the dog, and equity is the tail. Due to the priority of claim in credit relative to equities, if the creditworthiness of the debt becomes a concern, a credit trader can always hedge their risk using a short position in the subordinate claim — the equity. Credit markets are also far larger than equity markets. Any equity investor who is not aware of the trading value of the senior claim (the debt) has only done partial research and is potentially flying blind to the signs coming from the credit market evaluation of the company. There is no question that the current level of understanding of most bitcoin investors is that bitcoin performance is directly correlated to equity markets. Accordingly — today — in a “risk-off” move in equities, the price of bitcoin likely falls in sympathy. However, as the level of sophistication of investors increases over time, and those investors come to appreciate the true beauty of the long volatility characteristic of bitcoin, we believe there will come a time when bitcoin price will be inversely correlated to equity market and credit market moves. BITCOIN AS A “PUT” OPTION ON THE FED PUT When Alan Greenspan was chairman of the Federal Reserve, he openly monitored the performance of the equity markets as an indicator of the performance of monetary policy. If equity markets were to fall by 20%, it became widely accepted that the Fed would step in to stabilize the markets and return the market to being open to new issuance of debt and equity. Hence the term, “the Fed put.” Since we argue that bitcoin can also be considered a long put option on the stability of the financial system, Bitcoin becomes a “put on a put.” This is an exciting angle that further increases the optionality of bitcoin. In essence, it has heretofore been assumed that the Fed would always be there to rescue markets. The tool chest includes quantitative easing, asset purchases and interest rate relief. But what happens if these tools do not work in the future? What happens if the market loses all confidence that continuously kicking the can down the road is only delaying an inevitable collapse, and that collapse starts to happen and cannot be stopped by any of the Fed’s tools? A suitable form of insurance in this catastrophic event would have to be an asset that is not fiat based. It would be an asset that is “short” credit on all fiat currencies, that is not centralized, and that is portable and transferable over time and space on payment rails that are not controlled by the legacy financial system. Enter stage left: bitcoin. A “put on a put” becomes a second derivative position. The Fed has essentially sold a put to the market. As the seller of a put, the Fed would use a technique called “delta hedging” in order to manage risk. If you recall from the explanation of “gamma” in “part one,” if the Fed is exposed to the gamma squeeze, in the event that the tools of the conventional Fed put do not work, and investors rush to exit traditional assets, what is the Fed to do? We argue that the Fed would have to buy the “put on the put,” i.e., the Fed would have to buy bitcoin. This opens an interesting game theory conundrum. When the global markets (finally) figure out that all central banks are also counting on the Fed put, and since all other global central banks will fail before the Federal Reserve fails, then shouldn’t all other central banks commence buying bitcoin as soon as possible? Moreover, when the Fed does the same exercise and realizes it could be forced to buy bitcoin in a catastrophic leverage unwind — gamma squeeze — that cannot be stopped by any Fed fiat action, perhaps it would be wise to start buying bitcoin in the here and now, too. BITCOIN, THE PERFECT EXOTIC OPTION In general, standardized option contracts trade on an exchange where the exchange will guarantee the settlement of the contract as an intermediary. This ensures that individual counterparty risk between the various buyers and sellers of the contracts is non-existent. The players would still be exposed to the failure of the exchange, but this is a much-reduced exposure. Generally, exotic options are individual contracts struck between buyer and seller. Since these options are not standardized, there is no exchange, and thus the players are exposed to counterparty risk. Since bitcoin possesses all of the attributes that are desired in a Fed put gamma squeeze, and since bitcoin has no counterparty risk and there is no time restriction (no theta) on the contract, it can reasonably be concluded that bitcoin is the perfect exotic option and the perfect insurance against an unravelling of the global fiat system. If you own zero bitcoin, you are exposed to insurance risks that are huge relative to the costs of the insurance. Every investor with exposure to short volatility biased assets, as well as all investors who require the ultimate in insurance protection against a global fiat collapse, need to hold a portion of their portfolio in bitcoin. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/17/2021 - 16:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 17th, 2021

Luna is now the 10th largest cryptocurrency, soaring past dogecoin, avalanche, and shiba inu

Driven by DeFi traders, Terra's cryptocurrency has rallied 12,000% in a year, according to CoinGecko data. A partial lunar eclipse in Brasilia, Brazil, July 16, 2019. Ueslei Marcelino/ReutersUeslei Marcelino/Reuters Terraform Labs' luna has taken the spot as the 10th largest cryptocurrency by market cap. It's now worth $25 billion, compared with bitcoin's near trillion-dollar valuation. The token has surged as DeFi traders look for a cheaper, faster alternative to ethereum. Terraform Labs' luna has soared into the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization — beating out the popular dogecoin, avalanche, and shiba inu coin.Even though the coin slumped about 6% Monday amid a broad crypto selloff, it still showed an approximate 25% gain in the last seven days — giving it a market cap of about $25 billion, according to CoinMarketCap data. That valuation is still far off from the top cryptocurrency, bitcoin. Though it's sunk 30% from its November highs, the original digital token still has a valuation near $1 trillion.  Dogecoin and shiba inu, which have previously fought for spots in the top 10 cryptocurrencies, sat at No. 11 and 13, respectively, with "ethereum killer" avalanche at No. 12, the data show. Launched in 2018, the terra blockchain uses stablecoins to run its payments system and uses the luna token to stabilize the price of the protocol's algorithmically-backed TerraUSD stablecoin, UST.  In the decentralized finance world, aka DeFi, terra is picking up steam and taking market share from leader ethereum with faster transactions and lower fees.DeFi investors have been looking for alternatives to ethereum. That's part of the reason coins such as avalanche, solana, and luna have been on the rise, Fortune reported. Luna has soared more than 12,000% in a year, with much of the rally coming in the last four months alone, according to CoinGecko. Avalanche, for its part, has risen 2,400% in a year, while Solana, the fifth-largest cryptocurrency, has risen 9,500%, the data show.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 6th, 2021

Davos Is Making The Central Bank Case For Gold

Davos Is Making The Central Bank Case For Gold Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog, A few months ago I talked about the upcoming changes to the way adoption of Basel III’s new bank reserve rules would alter the gold market. In short my conclusion was similar to that of Alistair MacLeod’s and others, that Basel III should collapse the egregious manipulation of the gold market through the use of using futures and unallocated gold as bank reserves. In May I wrote: In effect, Basel III, if implemented in its current form, would change the gold market from a speculative one based on perceptions of the efficacy of monetary policy to control real interest rates to one that should force price discovery in an almost purely physical market. As I told my Patrons in May 16th’s Market Report video, physical gold will go from being the price taker to the price maker.    I didn’t then nor do I think now that will happen immediately after Basel III goes into effect in the U.K. on January 1st. But I do think the recent weakness in gold has been an early sign of stress within the gold market brought on by the upcoming rules implementations. And that has sent gold lower in recent weeks despite rising inflation and falling real interest rates. Of course this is because the markets have been overpricing the ‘transitory inflation’ argument put forth by the major central banks. So, when Jerome Powell came out, in his first important statement post-reappointment announcement, and put a fork in ‘transitory’ inflation the markets were properly shocked. This happened on the heels of OmicronVID-9/11 dominating the headlines and also creating some overblown market reactions thanks to poorly-programmed headline trading algorithms. For those who have been confused or disagreed with my assessment of Powell for the past six months, thinking Powell was lying about inflation as proof he’s just another idiot Fed Chair, I give you the counter argument. He had to survive the obvious coup attempt put on by Obama and Lael Brainard to oust those not controlled by Davos from the FOMC. Once that happened, Powell could speak openly because the political storm clouds over his head dissipated. Cue his forcing Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to finally agree with him on inflation after he put his cards on the table. Now, we have policy clarity from the Fed. They will be tapering QE and they will be raising rates in 2022. Now the markets can begin the task of readjusting themselves into year-end. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to see gold, which has been a losing trade all year under pressure just from tax-loss selling alone, no less expectations of a stronger U.S. dollar. It also makes sense for high-flying equities to take a hit along with junk bonds which were yielding less than inflation. There are trillions in misallocated capital out there that go far beyond the simple idea that the Fed’s only mandate is to prop up the equity markets. Powell and those that stand behind him, I have strenuously argued, can see the fight for the future of the monetary system clearly, and it doesn’t include a place for the commercial banks in a world of CBDCs. While one could argue the Fed would like that power CBDCs confer, one could also clearly make the counter argument that it also loses a tremendous amount of power now being just one central bank among many and the dollar just another digital token without value. Does anyone really believe Wall St. is happy to sign up for this nonsense? City of London? To get a really good sense of where I think we are in this now, check out my recent appearance on Bitcoin Magazine’s Fed Watch Podcast and Livestream. Okay so, all that said, let’s really talk about what’s happening in gold. Because this week we saw two major announcements by two very different central banks vis a vis gold. All Roads to Singapore Singapore has now joined the ranks of Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Serbia, Poland and others in adding to their central bank gold reserves.  This is a very significant move because this is the first country outside of those in Russia’s nominal orbit.   Singapore, outside of Hong Kong, is a major clearinghouse for offshore Chinese yuan settlements.  ICBC opened up a branch there in 2012 to handle such transactions and things have only progressed from there. I don’t necessarily see this as a China-related move by the MAS — Monetary Authority of Singapore — as their monetary policy is very independent and pretty much algorithmic. They manage the exchange rate of the Singapore dollar (SGD) within a 1% band of expected rates against a basket of currencies, rather than publishing a benchmark rate.  Moreover, the MAS is moving away from the old SIBOR / SOR system. SIBOR is Singaporean LIBOR — the interbank overnight lending rate.  And SOR is the SGD overnight swap rate. They, like the U.S., are move to an analogue of SOFR — the Secured Overnight Funding Rate — to replace LIBOR.  SORA is Singaporean SOFR for all intents and purposes. So, why is this important?  If Singapore is worried, like everyone else is about a collapse of the current financial system which is expressly on the table via Davos and the Great Reset, then those with the gold will be in a much better position to defend their currencies during a crisis and maintain a relatively stable global exchange rate. Since Singapore aims to be the independent broker between East and West, especially now that Hong Kong has all but been taken over by China, this move is very interesting to say the least. From the Zerohedge article on this there’s is this great point: For a central bank which actively publishes reams of publications and reports on all sorts of topics related to Singapore’s financial sector and markets and it’s international financial position, this omission about Singapore’s sizeable gold purchases could be considered quite strange, but then again, given that we are dealing with the secretive world of gold and central banks, maybe it’s not so strange. In addition, MAS is famous for it’s obsession with maintaining and controlling the exchange rate of the Singaporean dollar (versus a basket of currencies), so perhaps MAS prefers not to draw attention to the amount of gold in it’s international reserves as this might encourage FX markets to view the gold purchase as a move that strengthens Singapore’s reserve position and hence could put upward pressure on it’s exchange rate. Singapore is a key player for the future of pan-Asian finance.  If the very savvy MAS is buying gold then they are scared. They are making plans for a very different future where debt becomes the dirtiest word in English. Moreover, they bought this gold back in May and June and it has only now been discovered on their balance sheet. Why would they not announce these purchases? For the same reason the Bank of Ireland didn’t tell anyone they nibbled on some physical gold over the summer, so as to not move the price. What’s really significant here is that Ireland is the first euro-zone country to announce gold purchases. Previous to this it was only non-euro EU members like Hungary, Poland and Czechia. That we’re seeing euro-zone countries begin shoring up their currency reserves with gold feeds the argument I made back in May. Moreover, just so everyone is also clear what both of these central banks are facing, it isn’t just Europe that is now dealing with insane natural gas prices. Singapore is looking at a catastrophic rise in energy costs. So, if you think the MAS isn’t still toe-dipping without telling anyone into gold to stabilize the SingDollar well, you have a reading comprehension problem. The Golden Circle Now let’s go back to Basel III and talk about how it was supposed to be the thing that finally got gold out of its slump. Back in May, Powell hadn’t begun defending the U.S. dollar. He hadn’t even had his public spat with ECB President Christine Lagarde yet. Nor had he raised the Reverse Repo Rate he was paying to 0.05%. So, with Basel III on the horizon and the U.K. exempt until January 1st, 2022, there is still the basic infrastructure in place that if the Fed tightens, which it did through the RRP rate, then gold would be under constant pressure by those needing dollars at cheap rates regardless of the fundamentals. Short term funding needs always trump long-term fundamentals. So, the Fed still needs gold kept under wraps to maintain its primacy. But at the same time, the ECB and other Central Banks accumulating gold need it to rise, or at least keep pace with their currency vs. the dollar. I still believe that dynamic is in play for 2022 and it will finally be the full expression of Basel III that will continue putting a higher floor underneath gold.   Remember, as I wrote back in that May article: The ECB, on the other hand [vs. the Fed], can go bankrupt, since it has no capacity to [create infinite amounts of elastic money].  All it can do is buy the sovereign debt of the member countries’ central banks and hand them back euros, while swapping around deckchairs on this monetary Titanic. There is a definable limit to this process, especially if rates rise as people lose confidence in the underlying economic activity of those countries and their fiscal positions. Europe is locking down its economy over OmicronVID-9/11 and removing the unvaccinated from society. They are between steps 7 and 8of 10 on the path to genocide. Does any rational person believe there will be a renaissance of European economic dynamism in 2022 under these conditions? If you do, you might be a shitlib who believes in unicorn farts, 69 genders and that Elizabeth Warren is an economic genius. For the rest of us who live in reality-land, of course Europe is the most vulnerable here. Once Basel III goes fully into effect and paper and unallocated physical gold will no longer be considered as bank collateral for balance sheet purposes, the demand for physical gold because of this need for it as a central bank asset to back national currencies, becomes even more acute.  Those countries lining up on the opposite side of the Great Reset are buying gold while it is still cheap.  Powell’s dollar drain since June’s RRP rate hike has gifted everyone with cheaper gold prices for another 6 months.   The MAS buying gold is telling you that what I said back in May is reality: So, Basel III is coming to destroy the paper gold markets and destroy the money center banks in New York and London while setting the stage to bail out the euro-zone. Higher gold prices are the answer to all of these things. Think of it this way, in a world where debt assets are failing and new private forms of custodial assets are rising in mindshare [bitcoin and crypto], what’s the only real weapon the central banks have to maintain credibility? Their gold reserves. This is the essence of why Davos, I think inadvertently, is creating the new role for gold during these times of change. For the ECB to survive the bankruptcy of Europe gold has to rise. For emerging market central banks to survive the turmoil unleashed by an epic U.S. dollar rally because of Europe’s bankruptcy gold has to rise. When China decides to assert itself as the dominant economic player, which I think it would do in the event of a kinetic conflict between it and the U.S., it’s first move will be upwardly revising its official gold reserves… by a lot. Gold will really rise on that. The Great Quagmire Remember the entire Great Reset rests on Davos destroying the current banking system and rolling it up to the central banks, cutting out the classic two-track monetary system with the commercial bankers being the transmission mechanism. It means them getting control over the Fed, which looks like a lost cause now. Powell is fully in control of FOMC policy, which I expect him to make very clear at the next meeting. This is why Pelosi so easily cut a deal over the debt ceiling. There will be no further stupid and dangerous brinksmanship calling into question U.S. policy. The markets are demanding clarity from the U.S. Davos’ manufactured chaos through the Democrats’ shenanigans on Capitol Hill should be a thing of the past. That alone will help push capital back towards the U.S. Davos’ agenda has failed on Capitol Hill, despite winning battles all across Europe and in the English Commonwealth. Those countries are now dead letters until their current governments are overthrown or the people throw off their shackles… not likely. Despite the market jitters because of the necessary reallocation to global capital, Powell and the Fed now have to pursue tight monetary policy to force the ECB into openly inflationary policy. This will further trash the euro and finally overwhelm the ECB’s bond buying to the point where rates there start rising. Davos has responded with gutting Europe to the bone with OmicronVID-9/11 lockdowns and forced vaccinations to take down the global demand side of the monetary equation while forcing diplomatic conflicts on China and Russia neither want to stop the flow of goods around the world. This is why NATO and the Neocons are going wild in Eastern Europe. It’s why the Israelis are threatening a war with Iran. And it’s why the O’Biden administration is looking increasingly desperate to bring us to the brink of war without there actually being one. Just enough conflict, sanctions, sabre rattling and embarrassments to upset China and Russia’s domestic politics while draining them of their economic dynamism through provocations in places like Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, Belarus and yes, even Taiwan while trying to force energy prices higher. Europe is Davos’ power base. That power looks tenuous at best in a geopolitical sense. The best way for it to reassert what power it has left over the U.S. is forcing a massive revaluation in the price of gold while preparing Europe for further federalization, debt default and population reduction, as I discussed in my last article. The main path for the central banks to maintain any semblance of credibility in the minds of investors rightly freaked out over the events of the past two years is to add to their gold reserves to offset any currency risk to their fiat reserves. And while the Fed has fought the good fight against this, with the end of QE and rising rates, a flattening yield curve and more turmoil in overseas funding markets as a result of a much stronger dollar, gold will assert itself (alongside bitcoin) as the safe haven asset of choice in 2022. So, watch the news flow for more signs of Central Bank gold purchases.   So far in 2021, through September, according to the World Gold Council, central banks have purchased 385.4 tonnes of gold, after adding Singapore’s numbers but not Ireland’s.  This is roughly on track with expectations for this year of around 15% of total gold demand.   If not for Turkey’s net outflows thanks to the collapse of its banking system (-27.8 tonnes) and the Philippines who sell local mine production to finance the government, the demand would be well over 400 tonnes this year. But, as I said throughout this piece, it is the players who are doing this now that matters.  Earlier Japan made headlines, adding 80.8 tonnes in March. Then Poland began a very Russian monthly buying program in May.  Now Singapore is on board trying to offset US dollar strength with gold in an inflationary environment. And the Irish are now trying to stave off a monetary famine in Europe. The times they are a’changing rapidly. *  *  * Join my Patreon if you have a role for gold in your life. BTC: 3GSkAe8PhENyMWQb7orjtnJK9VX8mMf7Zf BCH: qq9pvwq26d8fjfk0f6k5mmnn09vzkmeh3sffxd6ryt DCR: DsV2x4kJ4gWCPSpHmS4czbLz2fJNqms78oE LTC: MWWdCHbMmn1yuyMSZX55ENJnQo8DXCFg5k DASH: XjWQKXJuxYzaNV6WMC4zhuQ43uBw8mN4Va WAVES: 3PF58yzAghxPJad5rM44ZpH5fUZJug4kBSa ETH: 0x1dd2e6cddb02e3839700b33e9dd45859344c9edc DGB: SXygreEdaAWESbgW6mG15dgfH6qVUE5FSE Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 06:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 6th, 2021

: Bitcoin Cash price spikes, falls following Kroger fraud

The price of bitcoin cash rose 3.6% in less than an hour Friday morning, following the posting of a fraudulent news release saying on food retailer Kroger Co.'s KR website and PR Newswire......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchNov 5th, 2021

Bitcoin Jumps, Ether Hits Record High On Deflationary Issuance, Futures News

Bitcoin Jumps, Ether Hits Record High On Deflationary Issuance, Futures News A day after headlines on Stablecoin regulation were expected to shake confidence (but in fact do the opposite), cryptos are extending 'Uptober' gains overnight, pushing the total crypto market cap above $2.6 trillion... Source ...with Bitcoin spiking $1500 this morning, back above $63,000 (and up over $105% YTD)... Source: Bloomberg As it appears 'Whales' have been buying the dip in bitcoin: Conclusions: The ratio between the two groups; whales and other fishes gives a measurement of supply dynamics. Thus, can help visualize the supply shortage coins held by whales can cause and it's affect on price. Along with that, a more sensitive macro top indication. — Dor Shahar (@dorinvesting) November 1, 2021 But Ethereum is making the headlines as it spikes above... Source: Bloomberg To a new record high... Source: Bloomberg While catalysts for the move are numerous, some are pointing to the fact that the Ethereum network has seen its first consecutive week of negative supply issuance as bubbling markets drive persistently high transaction fees. As CoinTelegraph reports, with the highly anticipated London upgrade introducing a burn mechanism into Ethereum’s fee market in early August, a small quantity of Ether (ETH) has since been destroyed with every transaction executed on the network. With gas prices sustaining at high levels, Ethereum has seen seven consecutive days of deflationary issuance for the network, meaning that more ETH has been removed from supply than created through mining. In order for Ethereum to consistently produce deflationary blocks, gas prices must consistently remain roughly above 150 gwei. EthHub co-founder Anthony Sassano commented that deflationary Ethereum was not expected until “the merge” — when the Ethereum blockchain is set to merge with Ethereum 2.0’s Beacon Chain, which is currently expected to occur during the first half of 2022. According to the Ultrasound.Money fee burning tracker, around 15,000 ETH ($65 million at current prices) is being burnt daily. When factoring in the rate of new ETH being created, Watch the Burn reports a weekly net issuance of minus 8,034 ETH (roughly $34 million) at the time of writing. Ethereum is likely also buoyed by news that CME will expand its crypto offerings to Micro Ether Futures (sized at one tenth of one ether). CME launched ether futures in February and more than 675,500 contracts have traded to date and micro ether futures are scheduled to launch on Dec. 6, pending regulatory review. For now, ETH is outperforming BTC having found support at around 0.06x... Source: Bloomberg Finally, as Goldman recently noted, the local backdrop looks supportive for Ethereum as "it has tracked inflation markets particularly closely, likely reflecting the pro-cyclical nature as "network based" asset." And, as Rzymelka notes, "the latest spike in inflation breakevens suggests upside risk if the leading relationship of recent episodes was to hold." All of which suggest significant further upside for Ethereum. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/02/2021 - 08:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 2nd, 2021

Bitcoin & The US Fiscal Reckoning

Bitcoin & The US Fiscal Reckoning Authored by Avik Roy via NationalAffairs.com, Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have few fans in Washington. At a July congressional hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren warned that cryptocurrency "puts the [financial] system at the whims of some shadowy, faceless group of super-coders." Treasury secretary Janet Yellen likewise asserted that the "reality" of cryptocurrencies is that they "have been used to launder the profits of online drug traffickers; they've been a tool to finance terrorism." Thus far, Bitcoin's supporters remain undeterred. (The term "Bitcoin" with a capital "B" is used here and throughout to refer to the system of cryptography and technology that produces the currency "bitcoin" with a lowercase "b" and verifies bitcoin transactions.) A survey of 3,000 adults in the fall of 2020 found that while only 4% of adults over age 55 own cryptocurrencies, slightly more than one-third of those aged 35-44 do, as do two-fifths of those aged 25-34. As of mid-2021, Coinbase — the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States — had 68 million verified users. To younger Americans, digital money is as intuitive as digital media and digital friendships. But Millennials with smartphones are not the only people interested in bitcoin; a growing number of investors are also flocking to the currency's banner. Surveys indicate that as many as 21% of U.S. hedge funds now own bitcoin in some form. In 2020, after considering various asset classes like stocks, bonds, gold, and foreign currencies, celebrated hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones asked, "[w]hat will be the winner in ten years' time?" His answer: "My bet is it will be bitcoin." What's driving this increased interest in a form of currency invented in 2008? The answer comes from former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who once noted, "the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press...that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation...the U.S. government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to...inflation." In other words, governments with fiat currencies — including the United States — have the power to expand the quantity of those currencies. If they choose to do so, they risk inflating the prices of necessities like food, gas, and housing. In recent months, consumers have experienced higher price inflation than they have seen in decades. A major reason for the increases is that central bankers around the world — including those at the Federal Reserve — sought to compensate for Covid-19 lockdowns with dramatic monetary inflation. As a result, nearly $4 trillion in newly printed dollars, euros, and yen found their way from central banks into the coffers of global financial institutions. Jerome Powell, the current Federal Reserve chairman, insists that 2021's inflation trends are "transitory." He may be right in the near term. But for the foreseeable future, inflation will be a profound and inescapable challenge for America due to a single factor: the rapidly expanding federal debt, increasingly financed by the Fed's printing press. In time, policymakers will face a Solomonic choice: either protect Americans from inflation, or protect the government's ability to engage in deficit spending. It will become impossible to do both. Over time, this compounding problem will escalate the importance of Bitcoin. THE FIAT-CURRENCY EXPERIMENT It's becoming clear that Bitcoin is not merely a passing fad, but a significant innovation with potentially serious implications for the future of investment and global finance. To understand those implications, we must first examine the recent history of the primary instrument that bitcoin was invented to challenge: the American dollar. Toward the end of World War II, in an agreement hashed out by 44 Allied countries in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the value of the U.S. dollar was formally fixed to 1/35th of the price of an ounce of gold. Other countries' currencies, such as the British pound and the French franc, were in turn pegged to the dollar, making the dollar the world's official reserve currency. Under the Bretton Woods system, foreign governments could retrieve gold bullion they had sent to the United States during the war by exchanging dollars for gold at the relevant fixed exchange rate. But enabling every major country to exchange dollars for American-held gold only worked so long as the U.S. government was fiscally and monetarily responsible. By the late 1960s, it was neither. Someone needed to pay the steep bills for Lyndon Johnson's "guns and butter" policies — the Vietnam War and the Great Society, respectively — so the Federal Reserve began printing currency to meet those obligations. Johnson's successor, Richard Nixon, also pressured the Fed to flood the economy with money as a form of economic stimulus. From 1961 to 1971, the Fed nearly doubled the circulating supply of dollars. "In the first six months of 1971," noted the late Nobel laureate Robert Mundell, "monetary expansion was more rapid than in any comparable period in a quarter century." That year, foreign central banks and governments held $64 billion worth of claims on the $10 billion of gold still held by the United States. It wasn't long before the world took notice of the shortage. In a classic bank-run scenario, anxious European governments began racing to redeem dollars for American-held gold before the Fed ran out. In July 1971, Switzerland withdrew $50 million in bullion from U.S. vaults. In August, France sent a destroyer to escort $191 million of its gold back from the New York Federal Reserve. Britain put in a request for $3 billion shortly thereafter. Finally, that same month, Nixon secretly gathered a small group of trusted advisors at Camp David to devise a plan to avoid the imminent wipeout of U.S. gold vaults and the subsequent collapse of the international economy. There, they settled on a radical course of action. On the evening of August 15th, in a televised address to the nation, Nixon announced his intention to order a 90-day freeze on all prices and wages throughout the country, a 10% tariff on all imported goods, and a suspension — eventually, a permanent one — of the right of foreign governments to exchange their dollars for U.S. gold. Knowing that his unilateral abrogation of agreements involving dozens of countries would come as a shock to world leaders and the American people, Nixon labored to re-assure viewers that the change would not unsettle global markets. He promised viewers that "the effect of this action...will be to stabilize the dollar," and that the "dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it is today." The next day, the stock market rose — to everyone's relief. The editors of the New York Times "unhesitatingly applaud[ed] the boldness" of Nixon's move. Economic growth remained strong for months after the shift, and the following year Nixon was re-elected in a landslide, winning 49 states in the Electoral College and 61% of the popular vote. Nixon's short-term success was a mirage, however. After the election, the president lifted the wage and price controls, and inflation returned with a vengeance. By December 1980, the dollar had lost more than half the purchasing power it had back in June 1971 on a consumer-price basis. In relation to gold, the price of the dollar collapsed — from 1/35th to 1/627th of a troy ounce. Though Jimmy Carter is often blamed for the Great Inflation of the late 1970s, "the truth," as former National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow has argued, "is that the president who unleashed double-digit inflation was Richard Nixon." In 1981, Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker raised the federal-funds rate — a key interest-rate benchmark — to 19%. A deep recession ensued, but inflation ceased, and the U.S. embarked on a multi-decade period of robust growth, low unemployment, and low consumer-price inflation. As a result, few are nostalgic for the days of Bretton Woods or the gold-standard era. The view of today's economic establishment is that the present system works well, that gold standards are inherently unstable, and that advocates of gold's return are eccentric cranks. Nevertheless, it's important to remember that the post-Bretton Woods era — in which the supply of government currencies can be expanded or contracted by fiat — is only 50 years old. To those of us born after 1971, it might appear as if there is nothing abnormal about the way money works today. When viewed through the lens of human history, however, free-floating global exchange rates remain an unprecedented economic experiment — with one critical flaw. An intrinsic attribute of the post-Bretton Woods system is that it enables deficit spending. Under a gold standard or peg, countries are unable to run large budget deficits without draining their gold reserves. Nixon's 1971 crisis is far from the only example; deficit spending during and after World War I, for instance, caused economic dislocation in numerous European countries — especially Germany — because governments needed to use their shrinking gold reserves to finance their war debts. These days, by contrast, it is relatively easy for the United States to run chronic deficits. Today's federal debt of almost $29 trillion — up from $10 trillion in 2008 and $2.4 trillion in 1984 — is financed in part by U.S. Treasury bills, notes, and bonds, on which lenders to the United States collect a form of interest. Yields on Treasury bonds are denominated in dollars, but since dollars are no longer redeemable for gold, these bonds are backed solely by the "full faith and credit of the United States." Interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds have remained low, which many people take to mean that the creditworthiness of the United States remains healthy. Just as creditworthy consumers enjoy lower interest rates on their mortgages and credit cards, creditworthy countries typically enjoy lower rates on the bonds they issue. Consequently, the post-Great Recession era of low inflation and near-zero interest rates led many on the left to argue that the old rules no longer apply, and that concerns regarding deficits are obsolete. Supporters of this view point to the massive stimulus packages passed under presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden  that, in total, increased the federal deficit and debt by $4.6 trillion without affecting the government's ability to borrow. The extreme version of the new "deficits don't matter" narrative comes from the advocates of what has come to be called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), who claim that because the United States controls its own currency, the federal government has infinite power to increase deficits and the debt without consequence. Though most mainstream economists dismiss MMT as unworkable and even dangerous, policymakers appear to be legislating with MMT's assumptions in mind. A new generation of Democratic economic advisors has pushed President Biden to propose an additional $3.5 trillion in spending, on top of the $4.6 trillion spent on Covid-19 relief and the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. These Democrats, along with a new breed of populist Republicans, dismiss the concerns of older economists who fear that exploding deficits risk a return to the economy of the 1970s, complete with high inflation, high interest rates, and high unemployment. But there are several reasons to believe that America's fiscal profligacy cannot go on forever. The most important reason is the unanimous judgment of history: In every country and in every era, runaway deficits and skyrocketing debt have ended in economic stagnation or ruin. Another reason has to do with the unusual confluence of events that has enabled the United States to finance its rising debts at such low interest rates over the past few decades — a confluence that Bitcoin may play a role in ending. DECLINING FAITH IN U.S. CREDIT To members of the financial community, U.S. Treasury bonds are considered "risk-free" assets. That is to say, while many investments entail risk — a company can go bankrupt, for example, thereby wiping out the value of its stock — Treasury bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Since people believe the United States will not default on its obligations, lending money to the U.S. government — buying Treasury bonds that effectively pay the holder an interest rate — is considered a risk-free investment. The definition of Treasury bonds as "risk-free" is not merely by reputation, but also by regulation. Since 1988, the Switzerland-based Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has sponsored a series of accords among central bankers from financially significant countries. These accords were designed to create global standards for the capital held by banks such that they carry a sufficient proportion of low-risk and risk-free assets. The well-intentioned goal of these standards was to ensure that banks don't fail when markets go down, as they did in 2008. The current version of the Basel Accords, known as "Basel III," assigns zero risk to U.S. Treasury bonds. Under Basel III's formula, then, every major bank in the world is effectively rewarded for holding these bonds instead of other assets. This artificially inflates demand for the bonds and enables the United States to borrow at lower rates than other countries. The United States also benefits from the heft of its economy as well as the size of its debt. Since America is the world's most indebted country in absolute terms, the market for U.S. Treasury bonds is the largest and most liquid such market in the world. Liquid markets matter a great deal to major investors: A large financial institution or government with hundreds of billions (or more) of a given currency on its balance sheet cares about being able to buy and sell assets while minimizing the impact of such actions on the trading price. There are no alternative low-risk assets one can trade at the scale of Treasury bonds. The status of such bonds as risk-free assets — and in turn, America's ability to borrow the money necessary to fund its ballooning expenditures — depends on investors' confidence in America's creditworthiness. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve's interference in the markets for Treasury bonds have obscured our ability to determine whether financial institutions view the U.S. fiscal situation with confidence. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton's advisors prioritized reducing the deficit, largely out of a conern that Treasury-bond "vigilantes" — investors who protest a government's expansionary fiscal or monetary policy by aggressively selling bonds, which drives up interest rates — would harm the economy. Their success in eliminating the primary deficit brought yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond down from 8% to 4%. In Clinton's heyday, the Federal Reserve was limited in its ability to influence the 10-year Treasury interest rate. Its monetary interventions primarily targeted the federal-funds rate — the interest rate that banks charge each other on overnight transactions. But in 2002, Ben Bernanke advocated that the Fed "begin announcing explicit ceilings for yields on longer-maturity Treasury debt." This amounted to a schedule of interest-rate price controls. Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has succeeded in wiping out bond vigilantes using a policy called "quantitative easing," whereby the Fed manipulates the price of Treasury bonds by buying and selling them on the open market. As a result, Treasury-bond yields are determined not by the free market, but by the Fed. The combined effect of these forces — the regulatory impetus for banks to own Treasury bonds, the liquidity advantage Treasury bonds have in the eyes of large financial institutions, and the Federal Reserve's manipulation of Treasury-bond market prices — means that interest rates on Treasury bonds no longer indicate the United States' creditworthiness (or lack thereof). Meanwhile, indications that investors are growing increasingly concerned about the U.S. fiscal and monetary picture — and are in turn assigning more risk to "risk-free" Treasury bonds — are on the rise. One such indicator is the decline in the share of Treasury bonds owned by outside investors. Between 2010 and 2020, the share of U.S. Treasury securities owned by foreign entities fell from 47% to 32%, while the share owned by the Fed more than doubled, from 9% to 22%. Put simply, foreign investors have been reducing their purchases of U.S. government debt, thereby forcing the Fed to increase its own bond purchases to make up the difference and prop up prices. Until and unless Congress reduces the trajectory of the federal debt, U.S. monetary policy has entered a vicious cycle from which there is no obvious escape. The rising debt requires the Treasury Department to issue an ever-greater quantity of Treasury bonds, but market demand for these bonds cannot keep up with their increasing supply. In an effort to avoid a spike in interest rates, the Fed will need to print new U.S. dollars to soak up the excess supply of Treasury bonds. The resultant monetary inflation will cause increases in consumer prices. Those who praise the Fed's dramatic expansion of the money supply argue that it has not affected consumer-price inflation. And at first glance, they appear to have a point. In January of 2008, the M2 money stock was roughly $7.5 trillion; by January 2020, M2 had more than doubled, to $15.4 trillion. As of July 2021, the total M2 sits at $20.5 trillion — nearly triple what it was just 13 years ago. Over that same period, U.S. GDP increased by only 50%. And yet, since 2000, the average rate of growth in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Urban Consumers — a widely used inflation benchmark — has remained low, at about 2.25%. How can this be? The answer lies in the relationship between monetary inflation and price inflation, which has diverged over time. In 2008, the Federal Reserve began paying interest to banks that park their money with the Fed, reducing banks' incentive to lend that money out to the broader economy in ways that would drive price inflation. But the main reason for the divergence is that conventional measures like CPI do not accurately capture the way monetary inflation is affecting domestic prices. In a large, diverse country like the United States, different people and different industries experience price inflation in different ways. The fact that price inflation occurs earlier in certain sectors of the economy than in others was first described by the 18th-century Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon. In his 1730 "Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General," Cantillon noted that when governments increase the supply of money, those who receive the money first gain the most benefit from it — at the expense of those to whom it flows last. In the 20th century, Friedrich Hayek built on Cantillon's thinking, observing that "the real harm [of monetary inflation] is due to the differential effect on different prices, which change successively in a very irregular order and to a very different degree, so that as a result the whole structure of relative prices becomes distorted and misguides production into wrong directions." In today's context, the direct beneficiaries of newly printed money are those who need it the least. New dollars are sent to banks, which in turn lend them to the most creditworthy entities: investment funds, corporations, and wealthy individuals. As a result, the most profound price impact of U.S. monetary inflation has been on the kinds of assets that financial institutions and wealthy people purchase — stocks, bonds, real estate, venture capital, and the like. This is why the price-to-earnings ratio of S&P 500 companies is at record highs, why risky start-ups with long-shot ideas are attracting $100 million venture rounds, and why the median home sales price has jumped 24% in a single year — the biggest one-year increase of the 21st century. Meanwhile, low- and middle-income earners are facing rising prices without attendant increases in their wages. If asset inflation persists while the costs of housing and health care continue to grow beyond the reach of ordinary people, the legitimacy of our market economy will be put on trial. THE RETURN OF SOUND MONEY Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, was acutely concerned with the increasing abundance of U.S. dollars and other fiat currencies in the early 2000s. In 2009 he wrote, "the root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust." Bitcoin was created in anticipation of the looming fiscal and monetary crisis in the United States and around the world. To understand how bitcoin functions alongside fiat currency, it's helpful to examine the monetary philosophy of the Austrian School of economics, whose leading figures — especially Hayek and Ludwig von Mises — greatly influenced Nakamoto and the early developers of Bitcoin. The economists of the Austrian School were staunch advocates of what Mises called "the principle of sound money" — that is, of keeping the supply of money as constant and predictable as possible. In The Theory of Money and Credit, first published in 1912, Mises argued that sound money serves as "an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments" that belongs "in the same class with political constitutions and bills of rights." Just as bills of rights were a "reaction against arbitrary rule and the nonobservance of old customs by kings," he wrote, "the postulate of sound money was first brought up as a response to the princely practice of debasing the coinage." Mises believed that inflation was just as much a violation of someone's property rights as arbitrarily taking away his land. After all, in both cases, the government acquires economic value at the expense of the citizen. Since monetary inflation creates a sugar high of short-term stimulus, politicians interested in re-election will always have an incentive to expand the money supply. But doing so comes at the expense of long-term declines in consumer purchasing power. For Mises, the best way to address such a threat is to avoid fiat currencies altogether. And in his estimation, the best sound-money alternative to fiat currency is gold. "The excellence of the gold standard," Mises wrote, is "that it renders the determination of the monetary unit's purchasing power independent of the policies of governments and political parties." In other words, gold's primary virtue is that its supply increases slowly and steadily, and cannot be manipulated by politicians. It may appear as if gold was an arbitrary choice as the basis for currency, but gold has a combination of qualities that make it ideal for storing and exchanging value. First, it is verifiably unforgeable. Gold is very dense, which means that counterfeit gold is easy to identify — one simply has to weigh it. Second, gold is divisible. Unlike, say, cattle, gold can be delivered in fractional units both small and large, enabling precise pricing. Third, gold is durable. Unlike commodities that rot or evaporate over time, gold can be stored for centuries without degradation. Fourth, gold is fungible: An ounce of gold in Asia is worth the same as an ounce of gold in Europe. These four qualities are shared by most modern currencies. Gold's fifth quality is more distinct, however, as well as more relevant to its role as an instrument of sound money: scarcity. While people have used beads, seashells, and other commodities as primitive forms of money, those items are fairly easy to acquire and introduce into circulation. While gold's supply does gradually increase as more is extracted from the ground, the rate of extraction relative to the total above-ground supply is low: At current rates, it would take approximately 66 years to double the amount of gold in circulation. In comparison, the supply of U.S. dollars has more than doubled over just the last decade. When the Austrian-influenced designers of bitcoin set out to create a more reliable currency, they tried to replicate all of these qualities. Like gold, bitcoin is divisible, unforgeable, divisible, durable, and fungible. But bitcoin also improves upon gold as a form of sound money in several important ways. First, bitcoin is rarer than gold. Though gold's supply increases slowly, it does increase. The global supply of bitcoin, by contrast, is fixed at 21 million and cannot be feasibly altered. Second, bitcoin is far more portable than gold. Transferring physical gold from one place to another is an onerous process, especially in large quantities. Bitcoin, on the other hand, can be transmitted in any quantity as quickly as an email. Third, bitcoin is more secure than gold. A single bitcoin address carried on a USB thumb drive could theoretically hold as much value as the U.S. Treasury holds in gold bars — without the need for costly militarized facilities like Fort Knox to keep it safe. In fact, if stored using best practices, the cost of securing bitcoin from hackers or assailants is far lower than the cost of securing gold. Fourth, bitcoin is a technology. This means that, as developers identify ways to augment its functionality without compromising its core attributes, they can gradually improve the currency over time. Fifth, and finally, bitcoin cannot be censored. This past year, the Chinese government shut down Hong Kong's pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper not by censoring its content, but by ordering banks not to do business with the publication, thereby preventing Apple Daily from paying its suppliers or employees. Those who claim the same couldn't happen here need only look to the Obama administration's Operation Choke Point, a regulatory attempt to prevent banks from doing business with legitimate entities like gun manufacturers and payday lenders — firms the administration disfavored. In contrast, so long as the transmitting party has access to the internet, no entity can prevent a bitcoin transaction from taking place. This combination of fixed supply, portability, security, improvability, and censorship resistance epitomizes Nakamoto's breakthrough. Hayek, in The Denationalisation of Money, foresaw just such a separation of money and state. "I believe we can do much better than gold ever made possible," he wrote. "Governments cannot do better. Free enterprise...no doubt would." While Hayek and Nakamoto hoped private currencies would directly compete with the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies, bitcoin does not have to replace everyday cash transactions to transform global finance. Few people may pay for their morning coffee with bitcoin, but it is also rare for people to purchase coffee with Treasury bonds or gold bars. Bitcoin is competing not with cash, but with these latter two assets, to become the world's premier long-term store of wealth. The primary problem bitcoin was invented to address — the devaluation of fiat currency through reckless spending and borrowing — is already upon us. If Biden's $3.5 trillion spending plan passes Congress, the national debt will rise further. Someone will have to buy the Treasury bonds to enable that spending. Yet as discussed above, investors are souring on Treasurys. On June 30, 2021, the interest rate for the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond was 1.45%. Even at the Federal Reserve's target inflation rate of 2%, under these conditions, Treasury-bond holders are guaranteed to lose money in inflation-adjusted terms. One critic of the Fed's policies, MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, compares the value of today's Treasury bonds to a "melting ice cube." Last May, Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and a former bitcoin skeptic, said "[p]ersonally, I'd rather have bitcoin than a [Treasury] bond." If hedge funds, banks, and foreign governments continue to decelerate their Treasury purchases, even by a relatively small percentage, the decrease in demand could send U.S. bond prices plummeting. If that happens, the Fed will be faced with the two unpalatable options described earlier: allowing interest rates to rise, or further inflating the money supply. The political pressure to choose the latter would likely be irresistible. But doing so would decrease inflation-adjusted returns on Treasury bonds, driving more investors away from Treasurys and into superior stores of value, such as bitcoin. In turn, decreased market interest in Treasurys would force the Fed to purchase more such bonds to suppress interest rates. AMERICA'S BITCOIN OPPORTUNITY From an American perspective, it would be ideal for U.S. Treasury bonds to remain the world's preferred reserve asset for the foreseeable future. But the tens of trillions of dollars in debt that the United States has accumulated since 1971 — and the tens of trillions to come — has made that outcome unlikely. It is understandably difficult for most of us to imagine a monetary world aside from the one in which we've lived for generations. After all, the U.S. dollar has served as the world's leading reserve currency since 1919, when Britain was forced off the gold standard. There are only a handful of people living who might recall what the world was like before then. Nevertheless, change is coming. Over the next 10 to 20 years, as bitcoin's liquidity increases and the United States becomes less creditworthy, financial institutions and foreign governments alike may replace an increasing portion of their Treasury-bond holdings with bitcoin and other forms of sound money. With asset values reaching bubble proportions and no end to federal spending in sight, it's critical for the United States to begin planning for this possibility now. Unfortunately, the instinct of some federal policymakers will be to do what countries like Argentina have done in similar circumstances: impose capital controls that restrict the ability of Americans to exchange dollars for bitcoin in an attempt to prevent the digital currency from competing with Treasurys. Yet just as Nixon's 1971 closure of the gold window led to a rapid flight from the dollar, imposing restrictions on the exchange of bitcoin for dollars would confirm to the world that the United States no longer believes in the competitiveness of its currency, accelerating the flight from Treasury bonds and undermining America's ability to borrow. A bitcoin crackdown would also be a massive strategic mistake, given that Americans are positioned to benefit enormously from bitcoin-related ventures and decentralized finance more generally. Around 50 million Americans own bitcoin today, and it's likely that Americans and U.S. institutions own a plurality, if not the majority, of the bitcoin in circulation — a sum worth hundreds of billions of dollars. This is one area where China simply cannot compete with the United States, since Bitcoin's open financial architecture is fundamentally incompatible with Beijing's centralized, authoritarian model. In the absence of major entitlement reform, well-intentioned efforts to make Treasury bonds great again are likely doomed. Instead of restricting bitcoin in a desperate attempt to forestall the inevitable, federal policymakers would do well to embrace the role of bitcoin as a geopolitically neutral reserve asset; work to ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in accumulating bitcoin-based wealth, jobs, and innovations; and ensure that Americans can continue to use bitcoin to protect themselves against government-driven inflation. To begin such an initiative, federal regulators should make it easier to operate cryptocurrency-related ventures on American shores. As things stand, too many of these firms are based abroad and closed off to American investors simply because outdated U.S. regulatory agencies — the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Treasury Department, and others — have been unwilling to provide clarity as to the legal standing of digital assets. For example, the SEC has barred Coinbase from paying its customers' interest on their holdings while refusing to specify which laws Coinbase has violated. Similarly, the agency has refused to approve Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) without specifying standards for a valid ETF application. Congress should implement SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce's recommendations for a three-year regulatory grace period for decentralized digital tokens and assign to a new agency the role of regulating digital assets. Second, Congress should clarify poorly worded legislation tied to a recent bipartisan infrastructure bill that would drive many high-value crypto businesses, like bitcoin-mining operations, overseas. Third, the Treasury Department should consider replacing a fraction of its gold holdings — say, 10% — with bitcoin. This move would pose little risk to the department's overall balance sheet, send a positive signal to the innovative blockchain sector, and enable the United States to benefit from bitcoin's growth. If the value of bitcoin continues to appreciate strongly against gold and the U.S. dollar, such a move would help shore up the Treasury and decrease the need for monetary inflation. Finally, when it comes to digital versions of the U.S. dollar, policymakers should follow the advice of Friedrich Hayek, not Xi Jinping. In an effort to increase government control over its monetary system, China is preparing to unveil a blockchain-based digital yuan at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Jerome Powell and other Western central bankers have expressed envy for China's initiative and fret about being left behind. But Americans should strongly oppose the development of a central-bank digital currency (CBDC). Such a currency could wipe out local banks by making traditional savings and checking accounts obsolete. What's more, a CBDC-empowered Fed would accumulate a mountain of precise information about every consumer's financial transactions. Not only would this represent a grave threat to Americans' privacy and economic freedom, it would create a massive target for hackers and equip the government with the kind of censorship powers that would make Operation Choke Point look like child's play. Congress should ensure that the Federal Reserve never has the authority to issue a virtual currency. Instead, it should instruct regulators to integrate private-sector, dollar-pegged "stablecoins" — like Tether and USD Coin — into the framework we use for money-market funds and other cash-like instruments that are ubiquitous in the financial sector. PLANNING FOR THE WORST In the best-case scenario, the rise of bitcoin will motivate the United States to mend its fiscal ways. Much as Congress lowered corporate-tax rates in 2017 to reduce the incentive for U.S. companies to relocate abroad, bitcoin-driven monetary competition could push American policymakers to tackle the unsustainable growth of federal spending. While we can hope for such a scenario, we must plan for a world in which Congress continues to neglect its essential duty as a steward of Americans' wealth. The good news is that the American people are no longer destined to go down with the Fed's sinking ship. In 1971, when Washington debased the value of the dollar, Americans had no real recourse. Today, through bitcoin, they do. Bitcoin enables ordinary Americans to protect their savings from the federal government's mismanagement. It can improve the financial security of those most vulnerable to rising prices, such as hourly wage earners and retirees on fixed incomes. And it can increase the prosperity of younger Americans who will most acutely face the consequences of the country's runaway debt. Bitcoin represents an enormous strategic opportunity for Americans and the United States as a whole. With the right legal infrastructure, the currency and its underlying technology can become the next great driver of American growth. While the 21st-century monetary order will look very different from that of the 20th, bitcoin can help America maintain its economic leadership for decades to come. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/19/2021 - 23:25.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 20th, 2021

Futures Surge On Debt Ceiling Reprieve, Slide In Energy Prices

Futures Surge On Debt Ceiling Reprieve, Slide In Energy Prices The nausea-inducing rollercoaster in the stock market continued on Thursday, when US index futures continued their violent Wednesday reversal - the biggest since March - and surged with Nasdaq futures up more than 1%, hitting a session high, as Chinese technology stocks rebounded from a record low, investors embraced progress on the debt-ceiling impasse in Washington, a dip in oil prices eased worries of higher inflation and concerns eased about the European energy crisis fueled a risk-on mood. At 7:30am ET, S&P futures were up 44 points or 1.00% and Dow futures were up 267 points or 0.78%. Oil tumbled as much as $2, dragging breakevens and nominal yields lower, while the dollar dipped and bitcoin traded around $54,000. Wednesday's reversal started after Mitch McConnell on Wednesday floated a plan to support an extension of the federal debt ceiling into December, potentially heading off a historic default, a proposal which Democrats have reportedly agreed to after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested an agreement would be in place by this morning. While the deal is good news for markets worried about an imminent default, it only kicks the can to December when the drama and brinksmanship may run again. Markets have been rocked in the past month by worries about the global energy crisis, elevated inflation, reduced stimulus and slower growth. Meanwhile, the prospect of a deal to boost the U.S. debt limit into December is easing concern over political bickering, while Friday’s payrolls report may shed light on the the Federal Reserve’s timeline to cut bond purchases. “We have several things that we are watching right now -- certainly the debt ceiling is one of them and that’s been contributing to the recent volatility,” Tracie McMillion, head of global asset allocation strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said on Bloomberg Television. “But we look for these 5% corrections to add money to the equity markets.” Tech and FAAMG stocks including Apple (AAPL US +1%), Nvidia (NVDA +2%), Microsoft (MSFT US +0.9%), Tesla (TSLA US 0.8%) led the charge in premarket trading amid a dip in 10-year Treasury yields on Thursday, helped by a slide in energy prices on the back of Putin's Wednesday announcement that Russia could ramp up nat gas deliveries to Europe, something it still has clearly not done. Perhaps sensing that not all is at Putin said, after plunging on Wednesday UK nat gas futures (NBP) from 407p/therm to a low of 209, prices have ominously started to rise again. As oil fell, energy stocks including Chevron, Exxon Mobil and APA led declines with falls between 0.6% and 2.1%. Here are some of the other big movers today: Twitter (TWTR US) shares rise 2% in U.S. premarket trading after it agreed to sell MoPub to AppLovin for $1.05 billion in cash Levi Strauss (LEVI US) rises 4% in U.S. premarket trading after it boosted its adjusted earnings per share forecast for the full year; the guidance beat the average analyst estimate NRX Pharmaceuticals (NRXP US) drops in U.S. premarket trading after Relief Therapeutics sued the company, alleging breach of a collaboration pact Osmotica Pharmaceuticals (OSMT US) declined 28% in premarket trading after launching an offering of shares Rocket Lab USA (RKLB US) shares rose in Wednesday postmarket trading after the company announced it has been selected to launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System, or ACS3, on the Electron launch vehicle U.S. Silica Holdings (SLCA US) rose 7% Wednesday postmarket after it started a review of strategic alternatives for its Industrial & Specialty Products segment, including a potential sale or separation Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT US) climbed 2.6% in Wednesday after hours trading while Sage Therapeutics (SAGE US) dropped 3.9% after Jefferies analyst Akash Tewari kicked off his biotech sector coverage On the geopolitical front, a senior U.S. official said President Joe Biden’s plans to meet virtually with his Chinese counterpart before the end of the year. Tensions are escalating between the two countries, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticizing China’s recent military maneuvers around Taiwan. European equities rebounded, with the Stoxx 600 index surging as much as 1.3% boosted by news that the European Central Bank was said to be studying a new bond-buying program as emergency programs are phased out. Also boosting sentiment on Thursday, ECB Governing Council member Yannis Stournaras said that investors shouldn’t expect premature interest-rate increases from the central bank. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Iberdrola shares rise as much as 6.8% after an upgrade at BofA, and as Spanish utilities climbed following a report that the Ministry for Ecological Transition may suspend or modify the mechanism that reduces the income received by hydroelectric, nuclear and some renewables in relation to gas prices. Hermes shares climb as much as 3.8%, the most since February, after HSBC says “there isn’t much to worry about” from a possible slowdown in mainland China or questions over trend sustainability in the U.S. Edenred shares gain as much as 5.2%, their best day since Nov. 9, after HSBC upgrades the voucher company to buy from hold, saying that Edenred, along with Experian, offers faster recurring revenue growth than the rest of the business services sector. Valeo shares gain as much as 4.9% and is Thursday’s best performer in the Stoxx 600 Automobiles & Parts index; Citi raised to neutral from sell as broker updated its model ahead of 3Q results. Sika shares rise as much as 4.2% after company confirms 2021 guidance, which Baader said was helpful amid market concerns of sequentially declining margins due to rising raw material prices. Centrica shares rise as much as 3.6% as Morgan Stanley upgrades Centrica to overweight from equalweight, saying the utility provider will add market share as smaller U.K. companies fail due to the spike in wholesale energy prices. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rallied, boosted by a rebound in Hong Kong-listed technology shares and optimism over the progress made toward a U.S. debt-ceiling accord. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 1.3%, on track for its biggest jump since Aug. 24. Alibaba, Tencent and Meituan were among the biggest contributors to the benchmark’s advance. Equity gauges in Hong Kong and Taiwan led a broad regional gain, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 also rebounded from its longest losing run since 2009. Thursday’s rally in Asia came after U.S. stocks closed higher overnight on a possible deal to boost the debt ceiling into December. Focus now shifts to the reopening of mainland China markets on Friday following the Golden Week holiday, and also the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due that day. READ: China Tech Gauge Posts Best Day Since August After Touching Lows “Risk off sentiment has persisted due to a number of negative factors, but worry over some of these issues has been alleviated for the near term,” said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in Tokyo. “One is that concern over stagflation has abated, with oil prices pulling back.” Sentiment toward risks assets was also supported as a senior U.S. official said President Joe Biden plans to meet virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping before the end of the year. Of note, holders of Evergrande-guaranteed Jumbo Fortune bonds have yet to receive payment; the holders next step would be to request payment from Evergrande. The maturity of the bond in question was Sunday October 3rd, with a Monday October 4th effective due data, though the bond does have a five-day grace period only in the event that payment failure is due to an administrative/technical error. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7% to close at 7,256.70. All subgauges finished the day higher, with the exception of energy stocks as Asian peers tumbled with a retreat in crude oil prices.  Collins Foods was among the top performers after the company signed an agreement to become KFC’s corporate franchisee in the Netherlands. Whitehaven tumbled, dropping the most for a session since June 17.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 13,104.61. Oil extended its decline from a seven-year high as U.S. stockpiles grew more than expected, and European natural gas prices tumbled on signals from Russia it may increase supplies to the continent. The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury was 1.526%, little changed on the day after erasing a 2.4bp increase; bunds outperformed by ~1.5bp, gilts by less than 1bp; long-end outperformance flattened 2s10s, 5s30s by ~0.5bp each. Treasuries pared losses during European morning as fuel prices ebbed and stocks gained. Bunds and gilts outperform while Treasuries curve flattens with long-end yields slightly richer on the day. WTI oil futures are lower after Russia’s offer to ease Europe’s energy crunch. Negotiations on a short-term increase to U.S. debt-ceiling continue.    In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed and the greenback was weaker against most Group-of-10 peers, though moves were confined to relatively tight ranges. The U.S. jobs report Friday is the key risk for markets this week as a strong print could boost the dollar. Options traders see a strong chance that the euro manages to stay above a key technical support, at least on a closing basis. Risk sensitive currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars as well as Sweden’s krona led G-10 gains, while Norway’s currency was the worst performer as European natural gas and power prices tumbled early Thursday after signals from Russia it may increase supplies to the continent. The pound gained against a broadly weaker dollar as concerns over the U.K. petrol crisis eased and focus turned to Bank of England policy. A warning shot buried deep in the BoE’s policy documents two weeks ago indicating that interest rates could rise as early as this year suddenly is becoming a more distinct possibility. Australia’s 10-year bonds rose for the first time in two weeks as sentiment was bolstered by a short-term deal involving the U.S. debt ceiling. The yen steadied amid a recovery in risk sentiment as stocks edged higher. Bond futures rose as a debt auction encouraged players to cautiously buy the dip. Looking ahead, investors will be looked forward to the release of weekly jobless claims data, likely showing 348,000 Americans filed claims for state unemployment benefits last week compared with 362,000 in the prior week. The ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday showed private payrolls increased by 568,000 jobs last month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a rise of 428,000 jobs. This comes ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls data due on Friday. It is expected to cement the case for the Fed’s slowing of asset purchases. We'll also get the latest August consumer credit print. From central banks, we’ll be getting the minutes from the ECB’s September meeting, and also hear from a range of speakers including the ECB’s President Lagarde, Lane, Elderson, Holzmann, Schnabel, Knot and Villeroy, along with the Fed’s Mester, BoC Governor Macklem and PBoC Governor Yi Gang. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1% to 4,395.5 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.03% to 455.96 MXAP up 1.2% to 193.71 MXAPJ up 1.8% to 633.78 Nikkei up 0.5% to 27,678.21 Topix down 0.1% to 1,939.62 Hang Seng Index up 3.1% to 24,701.73 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17 Sensex up 1.2% to 59,872.01 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.7% to 7,256.66 Kospi up 1.8% to 2,959.46 Brent Futures down 1.8% to $79.64/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,762.96 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.19 German 10Y yield fell 0.6 bps to -0.188% Euro little changed at $1.1563 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Democrats signaled they would take up Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s offer to raise the U.S. debt ceiling into December, alleviating the immediate risk of a default but raising the prospect of another bruising political fight near the end of the year The European Central Bank is studying a new bond-buying program to prevent any market turmoil when emergency purchases get phased out next year, according to officials familiar with the matter Market expectations for interest-rate hikes “are not in accordance with our new forward guidance,” ECB Governing Council member Yannis Stournaras said in an interview with Bloomberg Television Creditors have yet to receive repayment of a dollar bond they say is guaranteed by China Evergrande Group and one of its units, in what could be the firm’s first major miss on maturing notes since regulators urged the developer to avoid a near-term default Boris Johnson’s plan to overhaul the U.K. economy is a 10-year project he wants to see out as prime minister, according to a senior official. The time frame, which has not been disclosed publicly, illustrates the scale of Johnson’s gamble that British voters will accept a long period of what he regards as shock therapy to redefine Britain The U.K.’s surge in inflation has boosted the cost of investment-grade borrowing in sterling to the most since June 2020. The average yield on the corporate notes climbed just past 2%, according to a Bloomberg index A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded positively as the region took impetus from the mostly positive close in the US where the major indices spent the prior session clawing back opening losses, with sentiment supported amid a potential Biden-Xi virtual meeting this year, and hopes of a compromise on the debt ceiling after Senate Republican Leader McConnell offered a short-term debt limit extension to December. The ASX 200 (+0.7%) was led higher by strength in the tech sector and with risk appetite also helped by the announcement to begin easing restrictions in New South Wales from next Monday. The Nikkei 225 (+0.5%) attempted to reclaim the 28k level with advances spearheaded by tech and amid reports Tokyo is to lower its virus warning from the current top level. The Hang Seng (+3.1%) was the biggest gainer owing to strength in tech and property stocks, with Evergrande shareholder Chinese Estates surging in Hong Kong after a proposal from Solar Bright to take it private. Reports also noted that the US and China reportedly reached an agreement in principle for a Biden-Xi virtual meeting before year-end and with yesterday’s talks in Zurich between senior officials said to be more meaningful and constructive than other recent exchanges. Finally, 10yr JGBs retraced some of the prior day’s after-hours rebound with haven demand hampered by the upside in stocks and after the recent choppy mood in T-notes, while the latest enhanced liquidity auction for longer-dated JGBs resulted in a weaker bid-to-cover. Top Asian News Vietnam Faces Worker Exodus From Factory Hub for Gap, Nike, Puma Japan’s New Finance Minister Stresses FX Stability Is Vital Korea Lures Haven Seekers With Bonds Sold at Lowest Spread Africa’s Free-Trade Area to Get $7 Billion in Support From AfDB Bourses in Europe hold onto the gains seen at the cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.5%; Stoxx 600 +1.1%) following on from an upbeat APAC handover, albeit the upside momentum took a pause shortly after the cash open. US equity futures are also firmer across the board but to a slightly lesser extent, with the tech-laden NQ (+1.0%) getting a boost from a pullback in yields and outperforming its ES (+0.7%), RTY (+0.6%) and YM (+0.6%). The constructive tone comes amid some positive vibes out of the States, and on a geopolitical note, with US Senate Minority Leader McConnell offered a short-term debt ceiling extension to December whilst US and China reached an agreement in principle for a Biden-Xi virtual meeting before the end of the year. Euro-bourses portray broad-based gains whilst the UK's FTSE 100 (+1.0%) narrowly lags the Euro Stoxx benchmarks, weighed on by its heavyweight energy and healthcare sectors, which currently reside at the foot of the bunch. Further, BoE's Chief Economist Pill also hit the wires today and suggested that the balance of risks is currently shifting towards great concerns about the inflation outlook, as the current strength of inflation looks set to prove more long-lasting than originally anticipated. Broader sectors initially opened with an anti-defensive bias (ex-energy), although the configuration since then has turned into more of a mixed picture, although Basic Resource and Autos still reside towards the top. Individual movers are somewhat scarce in what is seemingly a macro-driven day thus far. Miners top the charts on the last day of the Chinese Golden Week Holiday, with base metal prices also on the front foot in anticipation of demand from the nation – with Antofagasta (+5.1%), Anglo American (+4.2%) among the top gainers, whist Teamviewer (-8.2%) is again at the foot of the Stoxx 600 in a continuation of the losses seen after its guidance cut yesterday. Ubisoft (-5.1%) are also softer, potentially on a bad reception for its latest Ghost Recon game announcement. Top European News ECB’s Stournaras Reckons Investor Rate-Hike Bets Are Unwarranted Shell Flags Financial Impact of Gas Market Swings, Hurricane Johnson’s Plans for Economy Signal Ambitions for Decade in Power U.K. Grid Bids to Calm Market Saying Winter Gas Supply Is Enough In FX, the latest upturn in broad risk sentiment as the pendulum continues to swing one way then the other on alternate days, has given the Aussie a fillip along with news that COVID-19 restrictions in NSW remain on track for being eased by October 11, according to the state’s new Premier. Aud/Usd is eyeing 0.7300 in response to the above and a softer Greenback, while the Aud/Nzd cross is securing a firmer footing above 1.0500 in wake of a slender rise in AIG’s services index and ahead of the latest RBA FSR. Conversely, the Pound is relatively contained vs the Buck having probed 1.3600 when the DXY backed off further from Wednesday’s w-t-d peak to a 94.102 low and has retreated through 0.8500 against the Euro amidst unsubstantiated reports about less hawkish leaning remarks from a member of the BoE’s MPC. In short, the word is that Broadbent has downplayed the prospects of any fireworks in November via a rate hike, but on the flip-side new chief economist Pill delivered a hawkish assessment of the inflation situation in the UK when responding to a TSC questionnaire (see 10.18BST post on the Headline Feed for bullets and a link to his answers in full). Back to the Dollar index, challenger lay-offs are due and will provide another NFP guide before claims and commentary from Fed’s Mester, while from a technical perspective there is near term support just below 94.000 and resistance a fraction shy of 94.500, at 93.983 (yesterday’s low) and the aforementioned midweek session best (94.448 vs the 94.283 intraday high, so far). NZD - Notwithstanding the negative cross flows noted above, the Kiwi is also taking advantage of more constructive external and general factors to secure a firmer grip of the 0.6900 handle vs its US counterpart, but remains rather deflated post-RBNZ on cautious guidance in terms of further tightening. EUR/CHF/CAD/JPY - All narrowly mixed against their US peer and mostly well within recent ranges as the Euro reclaims 1.1500+ status in the run up to ECB minutes, the Franc consolidates off sub-0.9300 lows following dips in Swiss jobless rates, the Loonie weighs up WTI crude’s further loss of momentum against the Greenback’s retreat between 1.2600-1.2563 parameters awaiting Canada’s Ivey PMIs and a speech from BoC Governor Macklem, and the Yen retains an underlying recovery bid within 111.53-23 confines before a raft of Japanese data. Note, little reaction to comments from Japanese Finance Minister, when asked about recent Jpy weakening, as he simply said that currency stability is important, so is closely watching FX developments, but did not comment on current levels. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are on the backfoot, in part amid the post-Putin losses across the Nat Gas space, with the UK ICE future dropping some 20% in early trade. This has also provided further headwinds to the crude complex, which itself tackles its own bearish omens. WTI underperforms Brent amid reports that the US was mulling a Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) release and did not rule out an export ban. Desks have offered their thoughts on the development. Goldman Sachs says a US SPR release would likely be of up to 60mln barrels, only representing a USD 3/bbl downside to the year-end USD 90/bbl Brent forecast and stated that relief would only be transitory given structural deficits the market will face from 2023 onwards. GS notes that any larger price impact that further hampers US shale activity would lead to elevated US nat gas prices in 2022, and an export ban would lead to significant disruption within the US oil market, likely bullish retail fuel price impact. RBC, meanwhile, believes that these comments were to incentivise OPEC+ to further open the taps after the producers opted to maintain a plan to hike output 400k BPD/m. On that note, sources noted that the OPEC+ decision against a larger supply hike at Monday's meeting was partly driven by concern that demand and prices could weaken – this would be in-fitting with sources back in July, which suggested that demand could weaken early 2022. The downside for crude prices was exacerbated as Brent Dec fell under USD 80/bbl to a low of near 79.00/bbl (vs 81.14/bbl), whilst WTI Nov briefly lost USD 75/bbl (vs high 77.23/bbl). Prices have trimmed some losses since. Metals in comparison have been less interesting; spot gold is flat and only modestly widened its overnight range to the current 1,756-66 range, whilst spot silver remains north of USD 22.50/bbl. Elsewhere, the risk tone has aided copper prices, with LME copper still north of USD 9,000/t, whilst some also cite supply concerns as a key mining road in Peru (second-largest copper producer) was blocked, with the indigenous community planning to continue the blockade indefinitely, according to a local leader. It is also worth noting that Chinese markets will return tomorrow from their Golden Week holiday. US Event Calendar 7:30am: Sept. Challenger Job Cuts YoY, prior -86.4% 8:30am: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 348,000, prior 362,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.76m, prior 2.8m 9:45am: Oct. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 54.7 11:45am: Fed’s Mester Takes Part in Panel on Inflation Dynamics 3pm: Aug. Consumer Credit, est. $17.5b, prior $17b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap On the survey, given how fascinating markets are at the moment I think the results of this month’s edition will be especially interesting. However the irony is that when things are busy less people tend to fill it in as they are more pressed for time. So if you can try to spare 3-4 minutes your help would be much appreciated. Many thanks. It was a wild session for markets yesterday, with multiple asset classes swinging between gains and losses as investors sought to grapple with the extent of inflationary pressures and potential shock to growth. However US equities closed out in positive territory and at the highs as the news on the debt ceiling became more positive after Europe went home. Before this equities had lost ground throughout the London afternoon, with the S&P 500 down nearly -1.3% at one point with Europe’s STOXX 600 closing -1.03% lower. Cyclical sectors led the European underperformance, although it was a fairly broad-based decline. However after Europe went home – or closed their laptops in many cases – the positive debt ceiling developments saw risk sentiment improve throughout the rest of New York session. The S&P rallied to finish +0.41% and is now slightly up on the week, as defensive sectors such as utilities (+1.53%) and consumer staples (+1.00%) led the index while US cyclicals fell back like their European counterparts. Small cap stocks didn’t enjoy as much of a boost as the Russell 2000 ended the day -0.60% lower, while the megacap tech NYFANG+ index gained +0.82%. Risk sentiment improved following reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was willing to negotiate with Democrats to resolve the debt ceiling impasse and allow Democrats to raise the ceiling until December. This means President Biden and Congressional Democrats would be able to finish their fiscal spending package – now estimated at around $1.9-2.2 trillion – and include a further debt ceiling raise into one large reconciliation package near year-end. Senate Majority Leader Schumer has not publicly addressed the deal yet, but Democrats have signaled that they’ll accept the deal, although they’ve also indicated they’d still like to pass the longer-term debt ceiling bill under regular order in a bipartisan manner when the time came near year-end. Interestingly, if we did see the ceiling extended until December, this would put another deadline that month, since the government funding extension only went through to December 3, so we could have yet another round of multiple congressional negotiations in just a few weeks’ time. The news of a Republican offer coincided with President Biden’s virtual meeting with industry leaders, where the President implored them to join him in pressuring legislators to raise the debt limit. Treasury Secretary Yellen also attended the meeting, and re-emphasised her estimate for the so-called “drop dead date” to be October 18. Potentially at risk Treasury bills maturing shortly thereafter rallied a few basis points, signaling investors took yesterday afternoon’s debt ceiling developments as positive and credible. This was a far cry from where markets opened the London session as turmoil again gripped the gas market. UK and European natural gas futures both surged around +40% to reach an intraday high shortly after the open. However, energy markets went into reverse following comments from Russian President Putin that the country was set to supply more gas to Europe and help stabilise energy markets, with European futures erasing those earlier gains to actually end the day down -6.75%, with their UK counterpart similarly reversing course to close -6.96% too. The U.K. future traded in a stunning 255 to 408 price range on the day. We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves here though, since even with the latest reversal, prices are still up by more than five-fold since the start of the year, and this astonishing increase over recent weeks has attracted attention from policymakers across the world as governments look to step in and protect consumers and industry. In the EU, the Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simson, said that the price shock was “hurting our citizens, in particular the most vulnerable households, weakening competitiveness and adding to inflationary pressure. … There is no question that we need to take policy measures”. However, the potential response appeared to differ across the continent. French President Macron said that more energy capacity was required, of which renewables and nuclear would be key elements, while Italian PM Draghi said that joint EU gas purchases had wide support. However, Hungarian PM Orban took the opportunity to blame the European Commission, saying that the Green Deal’s regulations were “indirect taxation”, which shows how these price spikes could create greater resistance to green measures moving forward. Elsewhere, blame was also cast on carbon speculators, with Spanish environment minister Rodriguez saying that “We don’t want to be hostages of external financial investors”, and outside the EU, Serbian President Vucic said that his country could ban power exports if there were further issues, which just shows how energy has the potential to become a big geopolitical issue this winter. Those declines in natural gas prices were echoed across the energy complex, with both Brent Crude (-1.79%) and WTI (-1.90%) oil prices subsiding from their multi-year highs the previous day, just as coal also fell -10.20%. In turn, that served to alleviate some of the concerns about building price pressures and helped measures of longer-term inflation expectations decline across the board. Indeed by the close, the 10yr breakeven in the US had come down -1.4bps, and the equivalent measures in Germany (-4.6bps), Italy (-6.1bps) and the UK (-4.2bps) had likewise seen declines of their own. In spite of those moves for inflation expectations, this proved little consolation for European sovereign bonds as higher real rates put them under continued pressure, even if yields had pared back some of their gains from the morning. Yields on 10yr bunds (+0.6bps), OATs (+0.9bps) and BTPs (+3.2bps) were all at their highest levels in 3 months, whilst those on Polish 10yr debt were up +13.7bps after the central bank there unexpectedly became the latest to raise rates, with the 40bps hike to 0.5% marking the first increase since 2012. However, for the US it was a different story, with yields on 10yr Treasuries down -0.5bps to 1.521%, having peaked at 1.57% earlier in the London morning. There was a late story in Europe that could bear watching in the coming weeks as Bloomberg reported that the ECB is studying a new bond-buying tool that could help ease market volatility if a “taper tantrum”-esque move were to happen when the PEPP purchases end in March. The plan would reportedly target purchases selectively if there were to be a larger selloff in more heavily indebted economies, which differs from the existing programs that buys debt in relation to the size of each member’s economy. Asian stocks overnight have performed strongly, with the Hang Seng (+2.28%), Nikkei (+1.68%) and KOSPI (+1.61%) all advancing after the positive news on the debt-ceiling, as well on news that US President Biden was set to meeting with Chinese President Xi by the end of the year. All the indices were lifted by the IT and consumer discretionary sectors, and the Hang Seng Tech index has rebounded by +3.29% this morning. Separately, Evergrande-related news has been subsiding in recent days, but China Estates, a company controlled by a backer of Evergrande, rose 30% after the company disclosed an offer to take it private for $245mn. Otherwise, US futures are pointing to a positive start later, with those on the S&P 500 (+0.50%) and DAX (+1.19%) both advancing. Turning to Germany, exploratory talks will be commencing today between the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the Liberal FDP, who together would make up a so-called “traffic-light” coalition. That marks a boost for the SPD, who beat the CDU/CSU bloc into first place in the September 26 election, although CDU leader Armin Laschet said that his party were “still ready to hold talks”. However, the CDU/CSU have faced internal tensions after they slumped to their worst-ever election result, whilst a Forsa poll out on Tuesday said that 53% of voters wanted a traffic-light coalition, versus just 22% who favoured the Jamaica option led by the CDU/CSU. So momentum seems clearly behind the traffic light option for now. Looking at yesterday’s data, in the US the ADP’s report at private payrolls came in at an unexpectedly strong +568k (vs. +430k expected), which is the highest in their series for 3 months and comes ahead of tomorrow’s US jobs report. However in Germany, factory orders in August fell by -7.7% (vs. -2.2% expected) amidst various supply issues. To the day ahead now, and data releases include German industrial production and Italian retail sales for August, whilst in the US we’ve got the weekly initial jobless claims and August’s consumer credit.From central banks, we’ll be getting the minutes from the ECB’s September meeting, and also hear from a range of speakers including the ECB’s President Lagarde, Lane, Elderson, Holzmann, Schnabel, Knot and Villeroy, along with the Fed’s Mester, BoC Governor Macklem and PBoC Governor Yi Gang. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/07/2021 - 07:57.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 7th, 2021

Luongo: Energy Subsidies, Bitcoin, & The Socialist Takeover That Isn"t

Luongo: Energy Subsidies, Bitcoin, & The Socialist Takeover That Isn't Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog, “When you subsidize something, you get more of it." - RON PAUL I have a friend who once described Bitcoin to me as an organism which feeds on electricity subsidies. Bitcoin searches out the lowest cost of electricity available and consumes as much of it as it can to produce profit for the miners, since electricity costs are their biggest costs. This is partly why China, for years, attracted the lion’s share of Bitcoin mining. Miners could co-locate next to hydroelectric power plants in China and suck up every extra available cheap and subsidized kilowatt-hour. This is the essence of the free market. It finds inefficiencies and exploits them as capital flows to where it is treated best. It may be ‘predatory’ from the central planners’ point of view, but they opened themselves up to this effect the moment they intervened by subsidizing the market in the first place. Bitcoin exposed a structural weakness in China’s electricity grid this summer which was under massive stress thanks to drought conditions there dimming the output of its hydroelectric generators. This is partly why Chairman Xi Jinping took the aggressive steps to kick the Bitcoin miners out of China this summer. He could see the real costs of electricity rising as coal, oil and natural gas prices skyrocketed but, because of rate subsidies to end-users, revenue to power generating companies was flat. It served him in other strategic ways, like kicking out the flow of Bitcoin within the Chinese economy, cutting down would-be mining company financial oligarchs and ultimately lessening competition for the Digital Yuan. The response from the Socialist is always the same, however. Today Russia is getting blamed for gas prices in Europe. Price gouging in a crisis a moral failure, not the original wealth transfer (itself a theft) from one group of people to another, which is what an electrical subsidy is. They see this as a market failure because to them the greater good is served by subsidizing certain aspects of the economy to achieve political and/or social goals. And, in some ways, they may be correct, but you’ll never know it because there can be no rational calculation of the costs versus the benefits, c.f. Mises’ critique of Socialism from 1921. You see, the market is neutral. It doesn’t have a perspective other than expressing the very human response of seeing an arbitrage opportunity and exploiting it. Rather than being a failure of the free market, Bitcoin miners seeking out and exposing the unsustainability of electricity subsidies is a massive success of market principles. It is firmly rooted in actual human behavior rather than some fantastical one created by a central committee and the force of the gun. China kicking out the Bitcoin miners only forestalled the day of reckoning for its energy industry because their presence was a symptom of a deeper problem not the source of the problem itself. Today, four months later China is now rationing electricity to force demand down. Rather than let market forces raise the prices, divert capital away from energy intensive (and possibly uneconomic) activity and give accurate signals to producers and consumers, China will do the authoritarian thing to blame the people and take away a basic function of a first world society. This is a simple, yet dramatic, example of what’s fundamentally wrong with the world we live in today. China isn’t the only one guilty of this. Subsidies like these are everywhere and they do nothing except create pricing dislocations which attract massive amounts of capital creating economic bubbles in price. If you’re wondering where this headline could come from: Zerohedge answers it with the pullquote. In fact, it is the Austrian School critique of these subsidies which is its core competency; to explain in real terms why government intervention in a market ultimately subsidizes overinvestment in one activity at the expense of another. Capital at any given moment is finite. That means there is competition for it ceteris paribus. That competition means that if better profits can be made mining Bitcoin in China rather than building a new road or gas pipeline, then that’s what will happen. We can create more capital but that requires time, ingenuity and labor. Capital compounds at a pretty linear rate and all we do with things like deficit spending is pull forward capital from the future to subsidize production in the present. Today we produce far more electricity than we use. It’s estimated that as much as 30% of global electricity goes to ground. Bitcoin uses up less than 0.5% of that wasted electricity. It’s actually performing a major market function to blow apart these layers of bureaucratic insanity by preying on a fraction of this over-production. Since prices are set at the margin, small demand or supply shocks can create massive spikes or drops in price if the market is operating at peak capacity. If you really stop to think about it, it’s quite astounding that the world’s economic system is this vulnerable to this basic application of free market principles. Today Bitcoin mining is co-locating next to the cheapest electricity produced on the planet, next to volcanos and nuclear power plants. It’s coming to America in a big, big way where it will further expose rural electrical subsidies here in the U.S. just like it did in China. But, for now, this organism is healthy, strong and in no danger of dying from the heavy hand of inept socialists. French Fried Grid Lines What prompted this article was my reading with a certain perverse glee that France is dealing with the same problem China has but in a different way. They are now suspending a planned tax hike in electricity tariffs because prices to the French consumer are spiking thanks to rising gas, oil and coal prices that its nuclear power infrastructure can’t overcome. Even if France fully passed on the input cost rises to the consumer, the tariffs the government charges for using electricity are another form of subsidy, not to the electricity generator, but to government itself. Why was France considering raising taxes on electricity during a global energy price spike? Because its government spends too much money, doing what…? …regulating its economy, which it has done an objectively miserable job of. So, to subsidize its bloated and now openly tyrannical government France wanted to squeeze its citizens for more money to keep that arrangement in place: to fund The Davos Crowd’s mandates about COVID-9/11 vaccines, restrictions on travel, blasting protestors with water cannons… you know, protecting and serving the public. But with massive protests around the country and the people’s falling confidence and patience with its government, France had to back off lest this latest tax hike enflame passions there even more six months out from a Presidential election. In typical central planner Newspeak they called the simple act of not raising taxes, the ultimate form of government aggression, ‘price protection.’ It’s patently absurd for them to frame it this way when the last thing the French government actually does is protect its people, except those that work for it, from, well, anything. He {French Prime Minister Jean Castex} said any new natgas tariffs following Friday’s scheduled 12.6% hike would be postponed until prices decrease in late March/April, adding that it will shield 5 million households who are on floating-rate contracts. Castex said the French government would lower taxes on power prices, capping the scheduled increase in residential electricity tariffs at 4% in February. In the midst of an energy price crisis the French government, in a blatant pander to voters for the 2022 election, not only scrapped raising taxes but also further subsidized lower income households, encouraging them to use even more electricity and worsening the government’s fiscal position. Someone has to pay to move those electrons around just not those that might vote to re-elect Emmanuel Macron. These are decisions not made with any long-term economic benefits in mind, but rather the most crass short-term political consequences trying to put a band-aid on a government-inflicted wound on the people themselves. “The government is good at one thing. It knows how to break your legs, and then hand you a crutch and say, ‘See if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.” - HARRY BROWNE Capital Gone Walkabout Meanwhile, Germany is now running out of coal, as a major coal power plant there had to shut down because it ran out. German utility Steag halted its coal-fired power plant Bergkamen-A after it ran out of hard coal supplies amid an energy crunch globally and logistics challenges domestically, the company told Bloomberg on Friday. “We are short of hard coal,” Steag spokesman Daniel Muhlenfeld told Bloomberg via email. Germany has been the poster child for Europe’s Quixotic quest for carbon-neutrality. What it’s wound up with is windmills not spinning (and the birds chirped in excitement), solar panels covered in snow when the cloud cover clears and gas prices never before seen in history, at over $1200 per thousand cubic meters. Oil prices keep trying to fall and new conflicts and controls keep trying to push the price higher, be it from OPEC+ members trying to subsidize their national governments, or the U.S. actively pushing supply off the market to subsidize its LNG exports. But, none of the price rise is because we’re running out but because supply is being artificially restricted by central planners wanting to create a false reality. How does anyone expect the mighty German industrial economy to absorb these costs without some kind of output slowdown? The answer is no one. In fact, if you think through the situation, it’s clear Davos is happy about this because this puts downward pressure on growth, starving out Germany’s powerful industrial and middle class, who stand confused as to the cause, if the results of the election there are any indication. Because those people produce wealth. Growing wealth to those of limited understanding is problematic. If the world is finite, they argue, growth must be finite. That’s only true, however, at any single point on the timeline of our understanding of the universe. Tomorrow we’ll figure out some new thing, some new efficiency, material or overcome some obstacle we didn’t have time for yesterday. We’ll take our surplus time we earned as profit today and deploy it to fix some other problem tomorrow, opening up new pathways for growth. But this type of growth, where it isn’t directed by oligarchs and governments who stand in front of them, is somehow evil or unsustainable. Yeah, for them. For the past fifty years they’ve been telling us peak oil would end modern civilization and yet, absent their manipulations of energy markets through lockdowns, wars, currency manipulation and regulation, the real price of oil has risen just 12% over the past fifty years, when indexed for inflation, which they manipulate to the downside to sustain their power. One could easily argue that today’s price shocks aren’t any more sustainable than any other commodity whose supply and demand fundamentals are driven by politics more than they are the markets themselves. Remove those obstacles and I bet we’ll see oil production subsidies driven out of the market the same way that bitcoin drove China and France to ‘protect consumers’ from electricity subsidies. We had to invent a new word to describe the fight over energy, geopolitics, because of our adherence to the socialists’ maleducation on basic human behavior. We also had to invent a new definition of inflation in the age of money unmoored from the stored energy of gold and other hard assets, based on prices not the supply of money. Instead of basing our money on our past work, tokenized by gold, they gave us a money based on what we will produce for them, debt. What I didn’t show in the above graph is the stability of oil in real terms before we entered this era. All Malthusian arguments about the end of cheap energy are themselves indefensible and unsustainable and yet that is all we are ever told is coming. They deny the Marginal Revolution (1871-74) in economics, which negated all of Marx’s complaints about capitalism before his death (1883), and yet his idiotic ideas fuel the unquenchable thirst for power of midwit oligarchs and the envy of their socialist useful idiots. When someone is lying to you, you really owe it to yourself to ask why. Davos has broken the world supply chain for energy for the sole purpose of proving a point that history itself has already debunked, Facebook be damned. They do this, nominally, in the name of sustainability, arguing the wastefulness of capitalism is the end state of it. But, as I’ve already shown with bitcoin and electricity, oil and money printing, it is the over-production of something through subsidization that creates unsustainable waste and malinvestment which eventually has to be liquidated in a rational system. But instead of bowing to the rational, ending that system of privilege for them, they make the monetary system ever more irrational to the point of absurdity. Last year, Paul Krugman was calling the $1 trillion coin “an accounting gimmick” that “wouldn’t even fool anyone”, now he’s all in on the illegal power grab with a New York Times column headlined, “Biden Should Ignore the Debt Limit and Mint a $1 Trillion Coin”. That only took a little over a year.   The End of Socialism This brings me to the final point of this essay. They are losing. They are losing not because they aren’t powerful or aren’t making our lives miserable but because their system of subsidy, which produces unearned wealth (or rent) for them is failing rapidly. They embarked on this Great Reset solely for the purpose of defaulting on their socialist promises made by buying off present generations with the labor of future generations. We call this in modern parlance debt. Now that the debt is unpayable and the future liabilities of their governments overwhelming everything they have unleashed a torrent of policies around the world to starve, freeze and kill off entire generations of taxpayers who they can’t afford to bribe anymore. COVID-9/11, no matter how you look at it, as a political operation has shortened lifespans in the U.S. by 18 months in 2020, according to the CDC. What will those numbers look like in 2021? This is a radical contraction which lifted trillions of unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare payments from future U.S. governments. And they call libertarians heartless? Draw your own conclusions from this but I think you know what it means. Davos is purposefully shrinking the division of labor in order to prove the Marxist critique of capitalism correct when it has done nothing but lift billions out of poverty which the Malthusian central planners told us a century ago then was unsustainable. Central planners aren’t rational. They are simply tyrants who prey on the fear and weakness of people grown soft through abundance. Because in their mind sustainability is only measured by the continuity of their power over society not the actual economics of that society. The instability, chaos and conflict come from their inability to accept that someone else may have a better solution to society’s problems than they do. And what truly keeps them up at night is the gnawing feeling that the best system is the one where no one person or group of people could ever manage a system as complex and dynamic as seven-plus billion people acting in their own self-interest creating a spontaneous and self-correcting order which doesn’t need their help. When I look out today and see bills in the U.S. Congress to deny unvaccinated people from flying or children from getting an education all I see is a failing system of energy distribution and subsidy trying to protect itself from the ravages of its own stupidity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here, power doesn’t prove you’re smart, it simply makes you stupid. Bitcoin, among other technologies, is slowly eating away at these unsustainable markets while the socialists in China, France and yes, Washington D.C. scramble to keep the central planners’ dream alive of a world where they control access to everything you need to live your most productive life. They are scared to death of a private banking system that doesn’t need them or a division of labor that coordinates production where their toll booths can’t collect. To them we are just livestock to be farmed, batteries to be discharged and liabilities on their balance sheets to be written down. Energy isn’t scarce, it is abundant. Human energy, that is. Oil is finite. So is gas. So is coal. But until we properly price its costs, we’ll never figure out what’s the best replacement for them and at what point in time that change should occur. Between now and then it will be a long, cold winter. “I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you, a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries, a world where anything is possible. Where we go from there, is a choice I leave to you.”. - NEO, THE MATRIX *  *  * Join my Patreon if you want to subsidize the truth BTC: 3GSkAe8PhENyMWQb7orjtnJK9VX8mMf7ZfBCH: qq9pvwq26d8fjfk0f6k5mmnn09vzkmeh3sffxd6rytDCR: DsV2x4kJ4gWCPSpHmS4czbLz2fJNqms78oELTC: MWWdCHbMmn1yuyMSZX55ENJnQo8DXCFg5kDASH: XjWQKXJuxYzaNV6WMC4zhuQ43uBw8mN4VaWAVES: 3PF58yzAghxPJad5rM44ZpH5fUZJug4kBSaETH: 0x1dd2e6cddb02e3839700b33e9dd45859344c9edcDGB: SXygreEdaAWESbgW6mG15dgfH6qVUE5FSE Tyler Durden Sun, 10/03/2021 - 13:32.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 3rd, 2021

Leveraged Trading Is Not The Source Of Recent Crypto Weakness: So What Is?

Leveraged Trading Is Not The Source Of Recent Crypto Weakness: So What Is? By Marcel Kasumovich, One River Asset Management head of research Macro narratives are driving digital asset sentiment, from asset swings to regulatory decisions. This alone speaks to a maturing ecosystem – investors want the macro story. But digital asset volatility has been mostly uncorrelated to other macro markets in the recent past. It is more about a shift in investor behavior. 1/ As digital assets enter the mainstream, market commentary focuses on price. And in a world where exchange rate volatility is near all-time lows, attention has naturally shifted to digital assets where volatility against the US dollar is breathtaking by comparison. The megatrend towards the digitalization of finance will not be defined by the shorter-term gyrations. The innovation happening more behind the scenes will dictate the secular formations. Recent advancements in the Lightning Network illustrate the quiet determination to digitalize finance. 2/ The Lightning Network was proposed in 2015 as a way of scaling smaller payments, able to accommodate billions of transactions in a second (here). It addressed the tiring argument of Bitcoin’s inefficiency head-on. And after a slow start, user adoption surged last year with a 3-fold rise in network capacity (Figure 1). It is also integrating into the regulatory mainstream. This week, Bottlepay, a payment provider built on the Lightning Network, was approved by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. These new technologies can hold up to regulatory standards including anti-money laundering (here). It is a powerful example of technologists and regulators working together to encourage innovation in a complacent legacy system. 3/ Innovation may drive the megatrends, but investors are still left to manage and explain portfolio volatility from digital assets. And just as digital innovation is garnering more institutional attention, so too are the narratives around the volatility of digital assets. Investors are looking for macro thematic narratives, including the sharp downturn since November and the abrupt decline to start the year. Explanations center on the downturn in inflation expectations, the Fed pivot toward faster rate hikes and balance sheet normalization, as well as the decline in growth stocks tied to the rise in real interest rates. The high correlation of bitcoin returns to inflation expectations last year (56%) reinforces a desire to put a tidy macro narrative to the digital ecosystem. 4/ But the analytics tell a different story. We run a simple empirical exercise to evaluate bitcoin returns as explained by three macro factors: market-based inflation expectations (5y5y inflation swaps), the inflation-adjusted terminal policy rate (5y5y overnight interest rate swap less 5y5y inflation swaps), and Nasdaq 100 equity returns. These factors only explain 10-45% of the variation in bitcoin over the past two years and with various representations of the data. More importantly, there is almost no relevance of these factors in explaining the bitcoin downturn since November. Those factors would imply a bitcoin price of 50-60k, much higher than the current price. 5/ What does that mean for investors? Digital assets volatility has been largely independent of macro factors in the recent past. To be sure, the independent volatility that most investors hope for is skewed to the upside. But in assets where volatility expectations have ranged from 55% to 158% in the past two years, there will be plenty of periods where idiosyncratic moves detract from a portfolio. The test for any investor is asking about the structural trends. What tokens will prosper with the digitalization of finance? How broad will token pluralism extend? If the answers to the structural questions are positive, then downside volatility should be met with programmatic rebalancing into digital assets. 6/ Of course, idiosyncratic volatility is not satisfying. It is a polite way of saying we need to dig deeper for an explanation. What is behind the swings in digital assets if the macro narrative falls flat? The hunt for the explanation is partly a process of elimination and partly identifying new patterns of behavior. There are three key elements of the market microstructure of interest. 7/ First, the bitcoin forward yield curve has been stable, indicating leveraged trading is not a source of downside volatility. Figure 2 illustrates the one-month annualized yield implied by bitcoin futures on the Deribit exchange, where leverage is more readily available to traders. A rise in speculative demand leads to higher forward bitcoin prices and higher implied yields (vice versa). In periods of excess leverage, forward prices fall more than spot as speculative traders forced to close positions at unfavorable prices. Last May, one-month yields fell to an annualized –75%, reflecting a costly, steep inversion of the forward curve to speculative long traders. On this downturn, the compression in yields is barely visible. 8/ Second, option markets have decoupled from previous correlations to spot prices, with declining volatility expectations. The one-week implied volatility on Ether is 70%, near the lows of the past year (Figure 3). Ordinarily, declines in spot prices, particularly severe ones, would have seen a surge in volatility expectations. However, volatility is low despite a sharp decline in spot prices. The same pattern is evident in 25-delta put-call volatility skew. The one-week skew in Ether options is only marginally positive, near the average of the past year. This is strongly counter to past downturns in spot prices, where option skew spiked well above 40%! Again, leveraged trading is not the source of the recent price weakness. 9/ Third, a rise in the dispersion of digital asset prices hints at a change in investor behavior. We illustrate this point with a unique parsing of the data based on the last two downturns: May 8, 2021 and Nov 9, 2021. Dispersion is measured by the median difference between the individual returns on the 12 assets of our Core Index and bitcoin returns. When Index asset returns are evenly dispersed around bitcoin returns, the measure is zero. The one-month dispersion in the latest downturn measures near-zero (–0.4%). This is vastly different from May 2021, where the one-month dispersion index measured –9.1%. Index assets exhibited higher beta to the bitcoin downturn. No doubt, two cyclical periods don’t make a trend, but it does call for attention. 10/ Market behavior is bifurcating. It is evident in futures markets, where the decline in yields has been greater in regulated markets (CME) than in unregulated ones (Deribit). It is evident in active supply, where the percentage of longer-term holders has dropped alongside a more-than 20% fall in large-value bitcoin addresses (greater than $10mn). It is evident in the surge of interest in venture applications (here). Investors focused on macro narratives have mattered more than leveraged traders. And it is these ebbs and flows that should remind investors that we are at the very early stages in the digitalization of finance. It is precisely in those imperfect, inefficient early stages where megatrend assets are most additive to a portfolio. Figure 1 – Lightning Network Capacity Surge, Adoption Rising Figure 2 – Bitcoin Futures’ Yield Stable, No Sign of Speculative Excess Figure 3 – Ether Volatility Low Despite Declining Prices Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 22:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt22 hr. 58 min. ago

Distributed Ledger: Will the crypto market always follow bitcoin’s price lead? It may not in the future, this asset manager explains.

A weekly look at the most important moves and news in crypto and what's on the horizon in digital assets......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchJan 15th, 2022

Meme stocks are fading as retail traders rotate into cryptocurrencies and the metaverse, trading fintech CEO says

Meme stocks began losing their lift at the end of 2021 as metaverse stocks like Roblox and Meta grew in popularity. SOPA Images/Getty ImagesSOPA Images/Getty Images Meme stocks came onto the stage in 2021 as retail traders drove massive rallies in some names. The trend may be fading though, as retail traders rotate into cryptocurrencies. Crypto regulation will legitimize the asset class and lead to further adoption among retail investors. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. One year since GameStop started it all, the meme stock craze is fading.Last January, millions of retail traders banded together to drive eye-popping rallies in highly shorted, nostalgic companies, like GameStop, AMC Theaters, and BlackBerry. Day traders minted a new asset class dubbed the "meme stock" and regularly added new companies to the basket over the course of the year. At one point a tiny Danish biotech company surged more than 1,300% in a day on interest from individual investors looking for the next short squeeze. But observers say those wild spikes are likely to subside as retail traders look to new horizons to replicate last year's massive gains."Meme stock rallies are going to taper off," said Dan Raju, the cofounder and chief executive officer of Tradier. "I expect in 2022 the active traders jump into crypto."Tradier is a financial technology and software firm that powers much of the active retail trading in the market. Last year, the brokerage-as-a-service provider processed about $46 billion in assets for 2 million traders worldwide.The factors that contributed to meme-stock rallies, like people working from home and volatile pandemic markets, are subsiding, Raju said. To top it off, retail traders have "graduated" from simple equities trading and are moving into more complicated assets, like cryptocurrencies.A report from Apex Fintech Solution published on Friday shows meme stocks began losing their lift at the end of 2021, with many popular names slipping in the rankings of top stock holdings. Meanwhile, metaverse stocks grabbed the attention of the youngest investors, with companies like Facebook parent Meta, metaverse-platform Roblox, and Nike, moving up in the rankings, Apex said. Though it is still loosely defined, the metaverse is a virtual world where people interact as avatars and can game, interact, and shop using cryptocurrencies.Raju said volumes in cryptocurrency trading still remain relatively low among retail investors, with most active traders doing fewer than three trades per month.But that's about to change."2022 is going to be the year of regulation," Raju said. "Regulation is good for crypto because it legitimizes the asset class. A lot of active traders have not jumped into crypto, so as regulation comes in, active traders will engage."Many prominent investors have shied away from cryptocurrencies as they await more regulatory clarity from US agencies. Even popular trading app Robinhood has avoided calls to add more cryptocurrencies to its platform, citing regulatory uncertainty.So far, legislators and regulators, like the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve, have been hesitant to act. One exception in congress has been Cynthia Lummis, a bitcoin evangelist and a Republican senator from Wyoming who is said to be planning a bill that would be one of the first attempts to create a legal framework for crypto. Regulators, for their part, have begun exploring their own rules for the space, mostly focused on investor protections."Regulation is going to drive legitimacy," Raju said, and for retail traders, it's going to "funnel into creating crypto volume."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 15th, 2022

US stocks whiplashed as banks drop on earnings results and bond yields surge

US retail sales dropped 1.9% in December amid the Omicron surge and rising inflation, well below economists' expectations for a decline of only 0.1%. Traders have been cheered by earnings but are still concerned about inflation.Brendan McDermid/ReutersUS stocks experienced a volatile trading session on Friday as bond yields surged and banks reported earnings results.A big miss in December retail sales initially sent the Nasdaq lower before recovering.US retail sales dropped 1.9% in December from the prior month, while economists expected a drop of only 0.1%.Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.December retail sales data, a surge in bond yields, and earnings results from banks sent mixed messages to investors and led to a choppy day of trades on Friday.US retail sales dropped 1.9% in December from the prior month, well below economists' expectations for a decline of only 0.1%. The weak results follow November's print of a 0.2% gain in sales. The weak sales last month came amid the Omicron surge, rising inflation, and an earlier-than-usual holiday shopping season due to logistical concerns.Meanwhile, the 10-Year US Treasury yield surged from 1.70% to 1.78% on Friday, but tech stocks that have typically been hurt by a rise in yields led the market higher throughout the day.Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Friday:S&P 500: 4,662.82, up 0.08% Dow Jones Industrial Average: 35,911.35, down 0.56% (202.27 points)Nasdaq Composite: 14,893.75, up 0.59% Banks kicked off earnings season on Friday, resulting in a 6% and 2% stock price drops for JPMorgan, and Citigroup, respectively. Wells Fargo bucked the trend and jumped 3% on Friday after it reported better-than-expected earnings results. The Supreme Court's decision to strike down President Biden's vaccine mandate for private employers led to a continued decline in COVID-19 vaccine makers Moderna and Novavax.The bad news keeps rolling in for Peloton, which fell 4% on Friday after it was kicked out of the Nasdaq 100 Index just one year after its inclusion. The connected-fitness company has seen its stock fall 81% from its record high.Dogecoin prices surged about 11% on Friday after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the electric vehicle manufacturer would accept the meme-inspired cryptocurrency as a form of payment for certain merchandise.Rio de Janeiro's mayor is following the lead of Miami's bitcoin-loving Francisco Suarez and will invest 1% of the city's reserves in the cryptocurrency.West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose as much as 2.56% to $84.22 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, jumped as much as 2.33% to $86.44 per barrel.Gold fell as much as 0.25% to $1,816.80 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose 8 basis points to 1.78%.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 14th, 2022

Block (SQ) to Boost Cryptocurrency Efforts With Latest Plans

Block (SQ) intends to introduce a bitcoin mining system, which will strengthen its presence in the promising crypto mining market. Block SQ intends to develop a bitcoin mining system in a bid to bolster its presence in the cryptocurrency market.The company strives to carry out the process of mining, maintaining, setting up and purchasing bitcoin efficiently with its bitcoin mining system.Block has started hiring for a team that will focus on building the underlined system. The team will focus on ensuring the reliability of the equipment, dealing with its power consumption, and solving issues associated with accessing the system.We note that the latest move bodes well for the company’s growing efforts in the bitcoin space, which have been driving its business growth well.Notably, the company generated bitcoin revenues of $1.82 billion (47% of total revenues) in third-quarter 2021, up 11% year over year.Block Inc. Price and Consensus  Block Inc. price-consensus-chart | Block Inc. QuoteGrowth Prospects a PlentyCryptocurrencies, which hold the potential to revolutionize the process of peer-to-peer and remittance transactions, are gaining strength from the decentralized system, low fees, transparency of distributed ledger technology, protection from consumer chargebacks and quick international transfers.Moreover, the higher uptake of digital and contactless trading and payments via blockchain-backed digital currencies in this coronavirus-hit world is expected to sustain the momentum in the cryptocurrency market.Per a Fortune Business Insights report, the cryptocurrency market is expected to reach $1.9 billion by 2028, seeing a CAGR of 11.1% between 2021 and 2028.The solid adoption of bitcoin, the most popular and widely used digital currency despite being highly volatile, has been a key catalyst for crypto miners.The growing proliferation of other digital currencies like litecoin, ethereum and zcash will continue to boost prospects of crypto miners further.All the factors are encouraging companies to foray into the crypto mining market, which holds promise.Per a Data Bridge Market Research report, the global crypto mining market is likely to witness a CAGR of 11.5% between 2021 and 2028.The latest plans with the bitcoin mining system position Block well to capitalize on the above-mentioned growth prospects.Intensifying CompetitionBlock, which carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) at present, will face strong competition from the existing crypto mining players such as NVIDIA NVDA, Marathon Digital Holdings MARA and Hut 8 Mining HUT, which are making concerted efforts to bolster their crypto mining capabilities.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Hence, strong competitive pressure from these companies might turn investors worrisome about Block. Coming to the price performance, Block has lost 39.9% in a year.Notably, NVIDIA, which has returned 106.6% in the past year, is gaining from the growing momentum of its GPUs in the cryptocurrency space. NVDA’s launch of Cryptocurrency Mining Processor (CMP), which is ideal for professional mining, remains noteworthy. The processors are well-equipped to boost the mining power efficiency as these feature a lower peak core voltage and frequency.Marathon Digital, which has gained 25.5% in the past year, is benefiting from the increasing deployment of miners, the growing production of bitcoins, strong bitcoin holdings and a hike in its hash rate. Apart from this, the purchase of 30,000 S19j Pro miners from BITMAIN remains a major step toward expanding bitcoin production. Further, MARA recently signed a contract with BITMAIN to buy ANTMINER S19 XP (140 TH/s) bitcoin miners.Meanwhile, Hut 8 Mining, which has gained 50.5% in a year, is gaining from the solid momentum across its self-mining operations and expanding hosting services. Further, HUT’s increasing bitcoin holdings and prospects around its purchase of NVIDIA GPUs remain noteworthy. Recently, Hut 8 Mining received the entire fleet of high-performance NVIDIA GPUs, which got deployed at its Medicine Hat site. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA): Free Stock Analysis Report Block Inc. (SQ): Free Stock Analysis Report Marathon Digital Holdings, Inc. (MARA): Free Stock Analysis Report Hut 8 Mining Corp. (HUT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022

Consider These ETF Strategies to Tackle Hot Inflation Data

Take a look at some ETF areas that can be considered good investment options amid rising inflation concerns. Rising inflation levels continue to be a concern for the U.S. economy. Per the latest Labor Department report, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in December rose 7% year over year, on par with the Dow Jones estimate, according to a CNBC article. The metric came in at the highest level since June 1982 and covers a basket of products, ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents. It also increased 0.5% for the month, surpassing the 0.4% Dow Jones estimate. The soaring food, shelter and used vehicle prices might be primarily responsible for the higher inflation levels.Excluding food and energy prices, the core CPI was up 0.6%, worse than the estimate of 0.5%. Annual core inflation also increased at a 5.5% pace, in comparison with the 5.4% expectation and came in at the highest level since February 1991 (per a CNBC article).The Federal Reserve has considered constrained labor availability the major reason for supply crunches. With higher chances of rising omicron cases and winter conditions in the northeast region, the labor shortage may remain and put increased pressure on prices (per a CNBC article).Going on, considering the consistently hot inflation readings, the central bank has already started tapering bond purchases, which it expects to complete by March. The Fed is expected to begin raising its benchmark interest rate in March. The Federal Reserve may take a more aggressive approach in raising interest rates. In fact, Goldman Sachs is expecting the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates four times this year, according to a CNBC article.Notably, the hot inflation data has compelled investors to look for alternative investment options that may fare better than cash or bonds in an inflationary environment. Moreover, certain companies with compromised pricing power may take a severe hit amid inflation and future earnings may also look less attractive amid high inflation levels. Against this backdrop, let’s take a look at some ETF trades that can be considered:Gold ETFs to Hedge InflationConsidering the current scenario, gold prices have been rising. The inflationary backdrop in the United States is favorable for gold as the metal is viewed as a hedge against inflation. Going by an article on kitco.com, Commerzbank also predicts 2022 to be a favorable year for gold. The report further mentioned that, “in the United States, inflation is currently at a 39-year high of 6.8%, in Germany at more than 5%, the highest level in 29 years, and in the Eurozone at 4.9%, the highest since the start of the monetary union in 1999.”Going on, the report mentioned that “This means that market participants do not expect inflation to return to the Fed's 2% inflation target in the medium to long term. Should the higher inflation become entrenched and the central banks fail to react appropriately to it, gold would probably benefit from this as an inflation hedge. According to a study by the World Gold Council, gold stands out with its price performance in phases of high inflation (inflation >5%). Even with inflation rates between 2% and 5%, the performance of gold is still significantly positive."Gold ETFs mostly move in tandem with gold prices. The SPDR Gold Shares GLD and iShares Gold Trust IAU are some of the popular ETFs (read: Play This New ETF PPI to Beat Inflation).TIPS ETFs at RescueTIPS ETFs offer robust real returns during inflationary periods, unlike their unprotected peers in the fixed-income world. It provides shelter from increasing prices and protects income for the long term. While there are several options in the space to tap the rising consumer prices, we have highlighted iShares TIPS Bond ETF TIP and Schwab U.S. TIPS ETF SCHP, which can be compelling investment choices. TIP and SCHP have a High-risk outlook (read: Why Reopening-Friendly ETFs Can be Bought on the Dip?).Bitcoins Gaining Popularity as ‘Digital Gold’According to The Guardian report, bitcoin is generally seen as an alternative to the traditional safe-haven investment — gold. Some analysts also expect to see tough competition between both assets in the near future. According to the market pundits, growing retail interest in bitcoin may soon be observed as a form of digital gold. In fact, following the release of hot inflation data, investors can consider the first fund to track the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF BITO, which was up 0.4% on Nov 10 (read: ETFs to Win or Lose on Hawkish Fed Minutes). Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): ETF Research Reports iShares Gold Trust (IAU): ETF Research Reports iShares TIPS Bond ETF (TIP): ETF Research Reports Schwab U.S. TIPS ETF (SCHP): ETF Research Reports ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022

NCR Closes LibertyX Acquisition, Bolsters Digital Portfolio

NCR Corporation's (NCR) acquisition of the cryptocurrency software provider, LibertyX, will help it in enhancing its ability to provide complete digital currency solutions to its customers. NCR Corporation NCR recently concluded the previously announced buyout of the Miami-based LibertyX, a leading cryptocurrency solution provider. The company acquired the privately-held business for an undisclosed amount. The deal includes LibertyX’s cryptocurrency remittance business, LibertyPay.The buyout, announced in August 2021, is likely to expand NCR’s capabilities in offering a complete digital currency solution to its customers. The solutions will aid its clients in conducting cross-border payments and remittances as well as buying and selling cryptocurrency. Also, clients will be able to accept digital currency payments across digital and physical channels.LibertyX is the first and largest network of bitcoin automated teller machines (“ATMs”), cashiers and kiosks in the United States. Founded in 2013, the company provides software for powering a nationwide network of bitcoin consumers.Currently, LibertyX has 10,000 ATMs and 20,000 chain stores across 44 states in the United States. With LibertyX, NCR will utilize its Pay360 platform, a solution to power cardless cash transactions, while offering solutions to banks, retailers and restaurants.Over the past few decades, NCR has been supplementing its business growth via acquisitions which in turn, have helped it in enhancing its capabilities in different areas. In January 2021, the company acquired Freshop, a grocery e-commerce solution provider, to enable faster deployment of buy-online, pickup-in-store capabilities for retailers, including regional and small grocery chains.In February 2021, NCR acquired Terafina, a leading solution provider for customer account opening and onboarding across digital, branch and call center channels. This expanded the company’s sales and marketing capabilities in its Digital First Banking platform.In June, it completed the buyout of Cardtronics, which further expanded its payments platform and helped the firm connect to retail and bank customers.In August 2021, NCR signed a definitive agreement to acquire Foremost Business Systems, a Minneapolis-based point-of-sale and restaurant solutions provider.NCR Corporation Price and Consensus NCR Corporation price-consensus-chart | NCR Corporation QuoteWe believe that such buyouts will keep contributing to NCR’s growth. However, competition with bigwigs like Fidelity, Fiserv, HP, Diebold, Nautilus Hyosung, Toshiba Tec and Oracle in the technology industry remains a concern.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderNCR currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).Some better-ranked stocks from the broader computer and technology sector include the largest global Customer Relationship Management vendor Salesforce CRM and Hewlett Packard HPE, both flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Advanced Micro Devices AMD carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Salesforce’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2022 earnings has been revised downward by 7.6% to 73 cents per share over the past 60 days. For fiscal 2022, earnings estimates have moved upward by 0.43% to $4.68 per share in the last 60 days.Salesforce’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 44.2%. CRM stock has appreciated 6% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for HPE’s first-quarter fiscal 2022 earnings has been revised downward by 6.1% to 46 cents per share over the past 60 days. For fiscal 2022, earnings estimates have moved north by 1.5% to $2.03 per share in the past 90 days.HPE’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 14.4%. Shares of HPE have rallied 40.1% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Advanced Micro Devices’ fourth-quarter 2021 earnings has been revised upward by 7 cents to 75 cents per share over the past 90 days. For 2021, earnings estimates have moved north by a penny to $2.65 per share in the last 60 days.Advanced Micro Devices’ earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 14%. Shares of AMD have rallied 46.2% in the past year. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD): Free Stock Analysis Report salesforce.com, inc. (CRM): Free Stock Analysis Report NCR Corporation (NCR): Free Stock Analysis Report Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (HPE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022

Treasury Yields Spike After Jamie Dimon Forecasts "Six Or Seven" Rate Hikes In 2022

Treasury Yields Spike After Jamie Dimon Forecasts "Six Or Seven" Rate Hikes In 2022 Despite suffering the worst post-earnings stock price drop in a decade, Jamie Dimon - whose bank is suddenly facing major compensation and cost pressures - was in good enough spirits to regale participants in his earnings call with some more of his predictive prowess, the same "forecasting ability" which 4 years ago prompted him to predict that bitcoin is worthless and now JPM has a dedicated crypto desk. According to Dimon, the Federal Reserve might raise its benchmark interest rate as many as "six or seven times" to fight rising inflation, oblivious of the fact that the US economy is already clearly slowing and six or seven rate hikes coupled with balance sheet runoff would push the US economy into recession (and likely trigger a crash as Kyle Bass said yesterday), especially once economists realize that without Biden's BBB, the fiscal cliff is about to grow into a mountain. Today's retail sales number points to near-flat readings for Q4 real consumer spending and the hand-off to the first quarter. The GDP contraction is starting. Good luck, Jay! #Economy #GDP #DavidRosenberg — David Rosenberg (@EconguyRosie) January 14, 2022 “My view is a pretty good chance there will be more than four,” Dimon said Friday on a conference call with analysts after the biggest U.S. bank released its fourth-quarter results. “It could be six or seven.” Not that the recent barrage of Fed officials did anything to dissaude Dimon's predictions: Fed speakers have signaled that higher borrowing costs are in the works amid the highest inflation in nearly four decades, and as a result money markets are wagering on six 25-basis-point hikes in the next two years -- before the policy rate plateaus and dips slightly in 2025. Dimon also predicted it would be a mistake to assume the economy won’t grow during a period in which interest rates are increasing, which of course will be proven dead wrong just like his bitcoin forecast. However, for better or worse, bond markets still listen to the most important banker in the US, and 10Y yields spiked from a session low of 1.70% to as high as 1.76%, completely undone yesterday’s rally, while Eurodollars are also sharply off with yields in the red pack up as much as 9 bps.  The good news is tath Fed speakers - all of whom have turned uberhawkish in the past month - are entering their blackout period, and the new FOMC appointments announced yesterday skew dovish. That means that for the next two weeks the market will be able to calmly asses the trend of the US economy and realize that it is clearly shifting in a direction where the Fed may soon have to ease to avoid a recession. . Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 11:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 14th, 2022

All Aboard The Inflation Freight-Train, Schiff Says Fed Doing "Too Little, Too Late"

All Aboard The Inflation Freight-Train, Schiff Says Fed Doing "Too Little, Too Late" Via SchiffGold.com, December Consumer Price Index data came out on Wednesday (Jan. 12). Month-on-month, it was again even hotter than expected. Peter called it an inflationary freight train that the Fed’s “field of dreams” monetary policy will not stop. “Transitory” inflation has now been running hot for a full year. The year-on-year CPI was 7%. It was the biggest annual CPI increase since 1982. Month-on-month, the CPI spiked another 0.5%. This was hotter than the consensus 0.4% projection. Core CPI (stripping out food and energy — as if you don’t have to eat or put gas in your car) was up 5.5%. Goods prices were up a staggering 10.7% That was the biggest 1-year increase since 1975. Keep in mind, this is using the cooked government CPI formula that understates inflation. If the government was still using the formula that it used in 1982, inflation would be higher in 2021 than it was then. In fact, we’d have the highest level of inflation in history. According to ShadowStats, it would be just over 15%. Based on the methodology the government uses to calculate housing prices (owners’ equivalent rent), housing prices were up 3.8% in 2021. Meanwhile, the actual home prices rose about 16.5%.  If you take owners’ equivalent rent out and put home prices in the calculation, 2021 CPI suddenly becomes 10%. Some people have recently claimed we shouldn’t worry about inflation. They say that wages go up along with prices, so it’s basically a wash. But wages are not going up as fast as prices. Real wages (nominal wage increases minus CPI) were down 2.4% in 2021. That means even with your raise, you have lost purchasing power. And you’ve lost even more than the official numbers reveal. If you use an honest inflation measure, real wages were down somewhere in the neighborhood of 10.4%. As Peter Schiff said, “Consumers are going to have to live in the real world, not in the government’s fantasy world.” Over the last year, the dollar has gone up and gold has dropped on hot CPI data. Instead of looking at inflation, they were focused on the possibility of Fed rate hikes. But on Wednesday, the dollar got clobbered and gold held steady with modest gains. Peter said he thinks this shows investors are starting to figure out that it doesn’t matter if the Fed hikes rates. Any rate hikes that we get are going to be too little too late to do anything to derail this inflationary freight train.” There has been a misperception in the markets over the last year. People have focused on nominal interest rates and ignored real interest rates. In fact, real rates are historically negative. The real interest rate is -7% using the government CPI number. The Federal Reserve is only talking about slowly raising rates to 2% over the next two years. If inflation remains constant, real rates would still be -5% after two years of hiking. That is not a positive environment for the US dollar and investors are starting to realize that and they are dumping dollars.” And while there wasn’t a rush into gold, at least investors didn’t dump it. Meanwhile, if you thought the Fed was about to embark on a successful war on inflation, Jerome Powell’s Senate testimony should have cleared up any confusion. Powell admitted that even when the Fed raises rates and ends quantitative easing, monetary policy will still be “accommodative.” Peter questioned that policy. If we have an inflation problem; if inflation is at 7%; why are we accommodating with easy money? If the Fed really wants to fight inflation, you can’t fight inflation with an accommodative policy. That’s the type of policy you have when there is no inflation. When you’re trying to simulate a weak economy, that’s when you do loose monetary policy.” Powell is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He’s saying he’s going to fight inflation and continue stimulating the economy. You can’t do both. You can’t put out a fire with gasoline. But that is what Powell is bluffing that he is going to do.” Powell is still insisting that “supply chain problems” will resolve in 2022 and lower some of the inflationary pressure. In other words, even though the Fed, or Powell, has claimed that they were wrong about inflation being transitory, they’re basically still clinging to that lie. Because they’re just saying that the transition is going to take longer than we thought because they think the inflation problem is going to take care of itself.” Peter called it a “field of dreams” monetary policy. The Fed is living in this fantasy land and they just think, ‘If we print it, the supply will come.’ They think we can keep on with our easy-money supply, but just eventually, the goods are going to be there. As long as people want to buy stuff, eventually, the stuff for them to buy is somehow going to magically appear. It doesn’t work that way. Stuff has to be produced before it’s consumed.” In this podcast, Peter also talks about Elizabeth Warren trying to blame inflation on price gouging, makes the case that Democrats are laying the foundation for price controls, and discusses Paul Tudor Jones’s bitcoin forecast. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 09:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 14th, 2022

Anthony Scaramucci says he"s not buying the dip in bitcoin as he expects more "sloppiness" and volatility

The bitcoin price is likely to consolidate for a while, SkyBridge Capital CEO Anthony Scaramucci said. Former Trump White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci is a big bitcoin investor.AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File Anthony Scaramucci has said he's not buying the dip in bitcoin after its sharp fall to around $42,000. The SkyBridge Capital CEO told CNBC that he sees more "sloppiness" and volatility ahead for the token. Scaramucci has recommended buying the dip in the past, but investors are uncertain about bitcoin in 2022. SkyBridge Capital CEO Anthony Scaramucci has said he's not buying the dip in bitcoin after it tumbled to near $40,000, saying he expects more volatility and "sloppiness" ahead."I think what happens next is just more consolidation," Scaramucci told CNBC Thursday. Consolidation is when an asset trades in a narrow band, often at a lower level than recent highs.When asked whether he has been buying more bitcoin he said: "No, not really… [SkyBridge Capital is] not really adding any more or taking any away at this point.""There'll likely be some sloppiness near term," he said. "You're gonna see these volatility waves as people jump on, they get scared, [they] jump off."Bitcoin has fallen sharply over the last couple of weeks as financial markets have been hit by expectations that the Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates numerous times in 2022, bringing an end to the ultra-loose monetary policy which boosted assets over the previous two years.The world's biggest cryptocurrency traded at around $42,195 Friday, having fallen roughly 4% over the previous 24 hours. It was far below its November record high of close to $69,000.Read more: Bitcoin's hashrate is sitting close to all-time highs, but the price keeps falling. 8 experts break down what investors need to know about trading bitcoin in 2022Scaramucci has previously recommended buying bitcoin when it has fallen in the past, suggesting he's now more worried about the outlook for the token.The Fed is likely to hike interest rates at least three times this year, according to analysts. So far, those expectations have been particularly bad for assets that are seen as very risky, notably, speculative tech stocks and cryptocurrencies.Investors have pivoted away from tech and crypto towards stocks that stand to do better as interest rates rise, inflation remains elevated and the economy grows, such as banks and energy companies.Scaramucci, who briefly served as President Donald Trump's White House communications chief, said he doesn't think bitcoin is a good hedge against inflation, saying it's "too immature."But he did say bitcoin can lower the cost of sending money around the world, saying this has been beneficial to people in El Salvador, where the digital asset is legal tender.Scaramucci also said he thinks long-term holders of bitcoin are going to be fine, despite the recent volatility. "This is an early-adoption technology story," he said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 14th, 2022