Category Archives: Economy

What Amazon Did To Malls, It Will Now Do To Grocery Stores

Amazon bought Whole Foods today. Widespread carnage in the grocery stock prices followed. Jim Cramer called it a major deflationary disruption saying stores cannot compete.

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“If I was the Federal Reserve, I would have a meeting on this. Inflation is going to go down…. You have to rethink food … Costco knows how to compete. It will be in there tooth and nail with toilet paper and paper towels. … But Kroger, a crisis in Cincinnati, crisis.”

“Major Disruption of Society”

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SupplyChain247 reports Amazon’s Move to Purchase Whole Foods Is ‘Disruption of Society’

TheStreet’s Action Alerts PLUS Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer said Amazon’s move to acquire Whole Foods is a disruption of society, “this is what I regard to be a move by Amazon to destroy the margins and own the business of food and groceries in this country,” Cramer said.

With Amazon putting down $13.7 billion to buy Whole Foods, Bezos is sending a powerful message to his retail rivals;

  • Food suppliers will now be dealing with an even larger grocery store, meaning potentially pressured profit margins for organic players such as Hain Celestial.
  • Amazon officially shows intent to enter bricks-and-mortar retail in a larger way than just bookstores. Combine that with its unmatched digital presence, Walmart, Target and others have been put on notice.
  • Grocer stores like Kroger will now be in an even bigger price war.
  • Amazon Prime integrated into Whole Foods could hurt Costco over time. Many Costco members are also Prime members.

“What Amazon did to the mall, it will now do to grocery stores,” said Cramer.

Here is a Tweet to think about:

https://s15-us2.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Fww2.hdnux.com%2Fphotos%2F61%2F76%2F72%2F13102721%2F3%2F1024x1024.jpg&sp=b76e76c7757b7554682dd83e6c322f6e

By Mike “Mish” Shedlock

 

I was wrong about Ethereum

https://martinhladyniuk.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/8e8ec-1pefoggpju2yc3xlxyvnlnq.png?w=625

I was wrong about Ethereum because it’s such a good store of value…

no wait, let me try again.

I was wrong about Ethereum because it’s such a decentra…

nope.

I was wrong about Ethereum because everyone is using it as a supercomputer…

No.

I do admit I didn’t see this Ethereum bubble coming, but then again I wrongly assumed that no startup would need or even dare to ask $50 million in funding and I also wrongly assumed that people would use common sense and that leading developers would speak out against this sort of practice. Quite the opposite it seems.

Ethereum’s sole use case at the moment is ICOs and token creation.

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What’s driving the Ethereum price?

Greed.

Greed from speculators, investors and developers.

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Can you blame them? 

Speculators and investors: No.

Developers: Absolutely.

So let’s think for a minute and think what determines the price? Supply + demand. Pretty straightforward.

Supply: the tokens that are available on the market, right? But with every ICO there are more tokens that are being “locked up”. Obviously the projects will liquidate some, to get fiat to pay for development of their project, but they also see the rising price of Ethereum. So at that point greed takes over and they think, totally understandable, “We should probably just cash out what we really need and keep the rest in ETH, that’s only going up anyway it seems.”
And obviously there are new coins being mined, but if you look at the amount of ETH these ICOs raise, at this point, it’s just a drop in a bucket.

Demand: You have the normal investors (who are already very late to the game at this point… as usual), but the buy pressure that these ICOs are creating is crazy and scary. Take TenX for example, it’s an upcoming ICO at the end of the month. The cap is 200,000 ETH (at current ETH price of $370) that’s $74,000,000 for a startup. Here’s the best part: it’s only 51% of the tokens. Effectively giving it an instant $150 million valuation (if it sells out, which it probably will).
Another example is Bancor, a friend of mine runs a trading group, he collected 1,100+ BTC to put into Bancor. This needs to be converted into ETH before the sale starts. These are decent size players, but not even the big whales who participate in these ICOs.

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What will the price do next?

It can go quite a bit higher, there are so many coins being taken off the market by these ICOs, that it can still continue for a while and everyone is seeing this and thinking: “Why aren’t I doing an ICO”. There are lots more coming.

At one point it will crash, hard. What the trigger will be? Bug(s) in smart contracts, major hack, big ICO startup that fails/fucks up, network split, even something as silly as not having a decent ICO for a couple of weeks which creates sell pressure from miners and ICO projects can cause a big crash. It’s not a question of “if”, it’s a question of “when”. That being said: Markets can remain irrational for quite a long time.

Usually when a bubble like this pops we could easily see 70–80% loss of value (for reference: Bitcoin went from $1,200 to $170 after 2013–2014 bubble). This is however quite the unusual situation and I’m not sure to what kind of bubble I can really compare it.

I’m sure most of you have seen “Wolf of Wall Street”. Just re-watch this clip and see if you find any similarities with the current situation. (bonus clip)

What I really find interesting is what the ICO startups will do, Bitcoin had hodlers and investors mainly, individuals who most of the time had a fulltime job and didn’t need to sell. With Ethereum there is this huge amount being held by companies who need to pay bills. Will they panic dump to secure a “healthy” amount of fiat funding, will they try to hold through a bear cycle?

Taking Responsibility:

Everyone loves making money, you can’t blame traders or investors from taking advantage of this hype. That would be silly. People will buy literally anything if they can make a quick buck out of it.

The responsibility here is with the developers, Consensys and the Ethereum Foundation but they don’t take responsibility since they’re getting more money. This will end with the regulators stepping in.

The reason why I say that it’s with developers, Consensys and the Ethereum Foundation is simple:

  • The developers of a project assign these crazy token sale caps, more money than any startup would ever need.
  • The Ethereum foundation members+ core developers use their own celeb status to actively promote these projects as advisors, for which they’re compensated well, luring in people who have no clue what they’re buying.
  • Consensys promotes all of this since it’s the marketing branch of Ethereum. The more fools that buy in, the better.

Let me illustrate this with an example. Have you heard of primalbase? It’s an ICO with a token for shared work spaces. Why would a shared work space need its own token? It doesn’t, it really really really doesn’t. Let’s take a look at the advisors:

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First thing that an advisor should’ve said in this case was: “Don’t do it, it’s stupid, it makes no sense.” But well there we have Mr Ethereum himself.

We all know that Vitalik has a cult-like following with the Ethereum investors so it will be very easy for primal base to launch their ICO and use Vitalik’s face and name to get itself funded.

This is just one example, if you go through all of these ICOs you find a lot of familiar names and faces. Nothing wrong with being an advisor, but when you’re just sending people to the slaughterhouse…

The sad part is that a lot of people will lose a lot of money on this, some of them obviously more than they can afford to lose, that’s how it always goes. The regulators will step in after this bubble pops and what scares me is the fact that it will damage all of crypto, including Bitcoin, not just Ethereum and its ICO’s.

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But you’re just an Ethereum hater

I’ve heard all the accusations:

  • I hate Ethereum because I’m a Bitcoin Maximalist. I’m not, I like other projects too, like Siacoin for example.
  • I hate Ethereum because I missed out. I did miss out on the crowdsale, but I traded plenty of Ethereum and it’s ICOs and made some nice profit.
  • I hate Ethereum because I don’t understand it. Really? Do you? The only smart contracts running on it are ICO token sales. Or contracts to buy ICO tokens the second they become available.
  • I hate Ethereum because I’m jealous of Vitalik. No, it’s impressive what he did at his young age. At the same time I think he’s largely responsible for this bubble and he has made a lot of mistakes. We all make mistakes, but bailing out your friends from the DAO while other hacks and losses aren’t compensated or fixed just shows total lack of integrity. Or it’s everything or it’s nothing. And when it comes to immutability in crypto, it should be nothing.

For the people that are scared that Ethereum will replace Bitcoin

Ethereum is not a store of value. It isn’t capped. Yes, I know they’re planning to switch to PoS (which it already kind of is). Do you think they managed to create the first software implementation ever without any bugs? Doing such a major change on a (currently) $30 billion market is completely irresponsible, borderline insanity. Even if we assume that there are no bugs, what about the miners? The miners who bought their equipment to mine Ethereum, the miners that supported the network for years. “But they knew we were switching to PoS.” Of course they knew, and do you think they’ll just give up on such a profitable coin? Some might switch immediately to Zcash and Ethereum Classic but there will be another fork and we’ll have ETHPoS and ETHPoW, with of course all the Ethereum tokens being on both chains. Even Ethereum developers think that his is a very likely scenario.

Ethereum’s fees are lower. They are, sometimes, by a bit. If you’re trying to send something when no token sale is active obviously, else you have people spending $100’s to get in on the token sale and clog up the network. Also doesn’t apply when you send something from exchanges since for example with Poloniex it’s about $1.9 vs $0.28 for Bitcoin. Oh and another exception is when you actually use it for smart contracts, which require more gas to process than a normal transactions from account A to account B. You know.. the actual reason why Ethereum was created.

Ethereum is not decentralized. Bitcoin isn’t as decentralized as it should be, we all know that, but compared to most other coins, Bitcoin is very decentralized. Vitalik has called himself a benevolent dictator in the past. He is the single point of failure in this project and if he gets compromised in any way that’s the end. There is no way of knowing if this happens and since people blindly follow everything he says, he has the power to do anything. Satoshi was smart enough to remove himself from the Bitcoin project.

Ethereum is not immutable. Don’t have to spend much time on this: see DAO and split that lead to Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.

Ethereum has the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. But but but.. all those big banks use Ethereum. No, they don’t. They use “an” Ethereum, which is a (private) fork of Ethereum. By that definition 99% of all altcoins are using Bitcoin. Still a separate chain. The fact that we’re talking about a private blockchain here actually makes altcoins more like Bitcoin than “an Ethereum” that EEA uses like Ethereum. You can compare it to 2013–2014 when some companies started to get interested in blockchain vs Bitcoin, only difference here is that for Ethereum it’s part of their marketing campaign to lure in potential investors.

If you think I’m just full of crap, which is fair, I am just some random popular guy on Twitter who has been around from before Ethereum. Have a look at what Vlad has to say about the current state of Ethereum here and here. Vlad Zamfir is probably the smartest guy on the Ethereum team, and I say this while I don’t agree with him on many of his opinions, I do respect him.

Conclusion:

If you’re an actual developer, be realistic and honest with your investors. Do you really ever need more than $5 mill? Finish a MVP first and then do a tokensale, if you really really need to do an ICO. Plenty of rich crypto investors and traders now that would love to be part of your project and who would be happy to just invest for equity. Yes, it will probably be less than what you can get in an ICO, but at least you didn’t sell out and it shows you actually really care about your product/service/…

If you’re a trader or investor, be realistic about the bubble. I know you hear this a 100 times when you’re trading but: don’t invest what you can’t afford to lose. 
I have some Ethereum, not as a long term investment, but because the price is going up and I need it to invest in tokens which I can quickly flip as soon as they come on the market. That’s just the type of market we’re in. Everyone is making a lot of money, awesome right? What could potentially go wrong.

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By Whale Panda | Medium

China Says “Don’t Panic” As Yield Curve Inversion Deepens Amid Liquidity Collapse

The curious case of the inverted yield curve in China’s $1.7 trillion bond market is worsening as WSJ notes that an odd combination of seasonally tight funding conditions and economic pessimism pushed long-dated yields well below returns on one-year bonds, the shortest-dated government debt.

10-Year China bond yields fell to 3.55% overnight as the 1-Year yield rose to 3.61% – the most inverted in history, more so than in June 2013, when an unprecedented cash crunch jolted Chinese markets and nearly brought the nation’s financial system to its knees.

https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/06/11/20170613_china2_0.jpgThis inversion is being exacerbated by seasonally tight funding conditions.

June is traditionally a tight time for banks because of regulatory checks, and, as Bloomberg reports, this year, lenders are grappling with an official campaign to reduce the level of borrowing as well.

Wholesale funding costs climbed to the most expensive in history, and the 30-day Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate has jumped 51 basis points this month to the highest level in more than two years.

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And this demand for liquidity comes as Chinese banks’ excess reserve ratio, a gauge of liquidity in the financial system, fell to 1.65 percent at the end of March, according to data from the China Banking Regulatory Commission. The index measures the money that lenders park at the PBOC above and beyond the mandatory reserve requirement, usually to draw risk-free interest.

“Major banks don’t have much extra funds, as is shown by the excess reserve data,”
analysts at China Minsheng Banking Corp.’s research institute wrote in a June 5 note. Lenders have become increasingly reliant on wholesale funding and central bank loans this year, they said.

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As The Wall Street Journal reports, an inverted yield curve defies common understanding that bonds requiring a longer commitment should compensate investors with a higher return. It usually reflects investor pessimism about a country’s long-term growth and inflation prospects.

“But the curve inversion we are seeing right now is one with Chinese characteristics and it’s different from the previous one in the U.S.,” said Deng Haiqing, chief economist at JZ Securities.

The current anomaly in the Chinese bond market is partly the result of mild inflation and expectations of a slowing economy, Mr. Deng said. “At the same time, short-term interest rates will likely stay elevated because the authorities will keep borrowing costs high so as to facilitate the deleveraging campaign,” he said.

Notably, it appears officials are concerned at the potential for fallout from this crisis situation.

In an article published Saturday, the central bank’s flagship newspaper, Financial News, said that the severe credit crunch four years ago won’t repeat itself this month because the central bank will keep liquidity conditions “not too loose but also not too tight.”


Chinese financial markets tend to be particularly jittery come June due to a seasonal surge of cash demand
arising from corporate-tax payments and banks’ need to meet regulatory requirements on capital.

On Sunday, the official Xinhua News Agency ran a similar commentary that sought to stabilize markets expectations. “Don’t panic,” it urged investors.

Sounds like exactly the time to ‘panic’ if your money is in this.

Source: ZeroHedge

The Math Of Bitcoin And Why It’s Not Yet In A Bubble [video]

I have read many articles lately claiming that Bitcoin is in a bubble.  Some proclaim it similar to the famous Great Tulip bubble of 1637… but that comparison is only for those who do not understand the significance of what is happening currently with blockchain technology.  If you are new to Bitcoin and blockchain technology, I would suggest that it’s highly important for you to take the time to research the basics of how it works and why it’s different – simply Google “how does Bitcoin work.”

The main argument of those who proclaim it to be in a bubble is that the people buying it at these prices are not buying it for its original purpose – which they believe to be enabling transactions.  Yes, it is being used for transactions, much more than 100,000 businesses now take Bitcoin for transactions.  But instead naysayers believe that others are buying it as an “investment” and thus will surely be burned.

For me, and I believe most who understand what is happening, we are not buying it for either of those reasons.  We own it because we see it acting as a “store of value,” where nothing else priced in dollars is.  With interest rates artificially low (manipulated by central banks), a normal person cannot earn even near the pace of actual inflation with any type of traditional savings account.  Bonds are artificially in a bubble, stocks are artificially in a bubble, real estate is in yet another bubble, everywhere one who understands bubble dynamics looks they see a bubble (but not Bitcoin, people are trading in their worth less and less dollars for them).  The bubble is the dollar – the world’s “reserve” and “petro” dollar is being drowned by central banks all over the globe, not just our own “FED.”

And thus there is no store of value to be found.  This is a terribly ugly situation for people who believe in hard work and saving to get ahead; to someday retire comfortably.  Retirees on fixed incomes simply cannot, and will not be able to keep up as the impossible math of dollar debt continues on its vertical ascent.

We would love to love gold and silver, but those too, are manipulated by central banks who own the majority of it.  They manipulate and derivative the markets to artificially keep devaluation of the dollar hidden.

Control of the dollar is centralized with the banks, that’s why we refer to them as “central” banks.  All the power and control resides with them; as private individuals were wrongly, and illegally, given the power to “coin” money with the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

What makes Bitcoin a better store of value?

1.  It is decentralized.  This is huge!  It means that it is not under the control of central banks, and thus cannot be manipulated directly by them.  This is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect, it is a game changer as it changes the WHO is behind it – something that gold and silver do not do because central banks have printed “money” to buy the majority of it.

Caution – Central banks may be able to indirectly manipulate blockchain currencies in the future if they create ETFs and other derivatives based upon them.  This, however, will not change the underlying store of value, and when it happens I would encourage you not to own the derivative, but to instead buy Bitcoin directly, again because it’s not in control of the central banks, is decentralized versus their centralized everything which makes them vulnerable.  Yes – Central Banks can print dollars and use them to buy Bitcoin, but that will only drive the price up and cause others to enter as well.  In the end they cannot manipulate what they don’t control.

Even if central banks were to “ban” exchanges in one country, all one will have to do is join an exchange overseas.  This has the central banks trumped, it cannot be stopped.

To better understand the power of decentralization, please take the time to watch the video at the end of this post, or (click on this link).

2.  Unlike tulips, dollars, or even precious metals, Bitcoin is strictly limited in its supply.  This is where the math comes in.  Bitcoin was founded in 2008 and there will ultimately be only 21 million Bitcoin ever mined.  Today we are approaching the 80% mark, the remaining 20% will take years to mine, and the “mining” gets more difficult and slow as we go.

This is a hard feature built into the coding.  It’s what makes Bitcoin a store of value – the more money that comes in, the more each Bitcoin is worth.  As I type, that is $2,774.00 per Bitcoin according to Coinbase where you can go to open an account, much like a brokerage account (there are currently 7.3 million Coinbase users).  Of course you can buy Bitcoin in any increment, you don’t have to buy them in whole units.

People all over the world can buy, own, and transact in Bitcoin.  There are now 7.3 billion people on the planet, so if all 21 million Bitcoin were distributed evenly to every person on the planet, each person would have only .0028767 of one bitcoin!

Another way of stating that math is that only 1 person out of every 347.6 people can possibly ever own a whole Bitcoin.

Today the market cap of Bitcoin is $45.17 Billion.  The more money that comes in, the higher the market cap, the higher the price of Bitcoin.

Many analysts start to compare Bitcoin’s market cap with that of large companies like Apple, whose current market cap is 18 times that of Bitcoin’s at $810 Billion.

But here’s the deal.  Bitcoin is not a company, it is a form of money.  Unlike dollars, there will not be an endless supply.  In fact, if you took the entire M2 money supply of the United States, currently $13.5 trillion, and put it all into Bitcoin instead, then each Bitcoin would be worth $642,857.  But Bitcoin is not just traded in dollars – it’s traded in every currency in the world.  And right now global M2 money supply is calculated as roughly $72 trillion, or $3.4 million per Bitcoin.

It’s true that other blockchain currencies are springing up like daisies, or tulips.  But their market caps combined are just now rivaling that of Bitcoin’s.  So, yes, they will be “diluting” bitcoin’s math.  Not all crypto currencies have hard limits to their supply, and that will mean that they will always be worth less.  Right now Ethereum is in second place with a market cap of about $24 billion compared to Bitcoin’s $45 billion.  Litecoin is another cryptocurrency designed to be “silver” compared to Bitcoin’s “gold.”  There will only be 84 million Litecoins ever mined, exactly 4 times the amount of Bitcoins.  However, Litecoins are currently trading for roughly 1/100th the price of Bitcoin, I would expect the math to eventually catch up as more people become aware of Litecoin’s also limited supply.

3.  Bitcoin is a better store of value because it is secure.  Decentralization and encryption make it secure.  It can be stored in electronic cyber “vaults” where you keep a hard copy of the encryption cypher.  This means that your exchange can be hacked, your computer hacked, but your bitcoin don’t actually reside in either!  They reside on someone else’s computer somewhere – and only you have the code to get to it.  Thus they cannot be confiscated by a government, a banker, or a hacker.

I liken this to the pursuit of freedom versus the pursuit of security.  When you pursue freedom, you get security at very little cost.  That’s what decentralization does.  Bitcoin is the pursuit of freedom – whereas centralized systems, such as central banking, or even socialism, are the pursuit of security and the abandonment of freedom.

Pursue freedom!

4.  Bitcoin transactions are stored on a public ledger, all confirmed transactions are included in the blockchain.  Again, decentralized bookkeeping is less vulnerable and more secure than centralized legers.  This is where Ethereum, another blockchain currency, shines.  Ethereum is built upon an encrypted ledger and can be used for many purposes, not just as a currency.

One use is that these encrypted ledgers will enable safe and secure online voting one day soon.

Someday Bitcoin will, in fact, be in a bubble.  But that day is not now, not even close.  The great thing about all cryptocurrencies is that they can and do exist alongside of whatever “money” we use for our transactions.  They also exist alongside of gold/silver, and may in fact be drawing money that otherwise would be seeking a store of value there.

So I say, let competition reign!  I will use dollars for transactions because I have to (for now), but I will use cryptocurrencies, gold, and silver to park my dollars so that the central banks cannot destroy their value.  And that in a nutshell is why Bitcoin is NOT in a bubble, and won’t be for quite some time.

That said, do expect many sharp pullbacks along the way.  Remember that NOTHING moves in a straight line, EVERYTHING moves in waves.  You need to pullback to fuel the next push higher – this is true with all waves.   The chart shape is definitely showing parabolic growth, but I expect that when looked at across many more years this will simply be a part of building a base.

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/06/07/20170609_btc_0.jpg

So how will we know that a true bubble has formed?  For me I know that cryptocurrencies are the future and that they will trade alongside sovereign currencies and will eventually replace them.  I will NOT own any cryptocurrency created or “managed” by a bank.  Until the market cap of Bitcoin rivals that of the United States, I will not be convinced that growth has stalled.  There are, of course, other signs we can look for.

As a review, here are HYMAN MINSKY’S SEVEN BUBBLE STAGES:

The late Hyman Minsky, Ph.D., was a famous economist who taught for Washington University’s Economics department for more than 25 years prior to his death in 1996. He studied recurring instability of markets and developed the idea that there are seven stages in any economic bubble:

Stage One – Disturbance:

Every financial bubble begins with a disturbance. It could be the invention of a new technology, such as the Internet (Bitcoin). It may be a shift in laws or economic policy. The creation of ERISA or unexpected reductions of interest rates are examples. No matter what the cause, the outlook changes for one sector of the economy.

Stage Two – Expansion/Prices Start to Increase:

Following the disturbance, prices in that sector start to rise. Initially, the increase is barely noticed. Usually, these higher prices reflect some underlying improvement in fundamentals. As the price increases gain momentum, more people start to notice.

*I THINK THIS IS WHERE BITCOIN IS NOW

Stage Three – Euphoria/Easy Credit:

Increasing prices do not, by themselves, create a bubble. Every financial bubble needs fuel; cheap and easy credit is, in most cases, that fuel (central banks creating it still like mad). Without it, there can’t be speculation. Without it, the consequences of the disturbance die down and the sector returns to a normal state within the bounds of “historical” ratios or measurements. When a bubble starts, that sector is inundated by outsiders; people who normally would not be there (not yet with Bitcoin). Without cheap and easy credit, the outsiders can’t participate.

The rise in cheap and easy credit is often associated with financial innovation. Many times, a new way of financing is developed that does not reflect the risk involved. In 1929, stock prices were propelled into the stratosphere with the ability to trade via a margin account. Housing prices today skyrocketed as interest-only, variable rate, and reverse amortization mortgages emerged as a viable means for financing overpriced real estate purchases. The latest financing strategy is 40, or even 50 year mortgages.

Stage Four – Over-trading/Prices Reach a Peak:

As the effects of cheap and easy credit digs deeper, the market begins to accelerate. Overtrading lifts up volumes and spot shortages emerge. Prices start to zoom, and easy profits are made. This brings in more outsiders, and prices run out of control. This is the point that amateurs, the foolish, the greedy, and the desperate enter the market. Just as a fire is fed by more fuel, a financial bubble needs cheap and easy credit and more outsiders.

(I believe stage 4 is still in the distant future for Bitcoin)

Stage Five – Market Reversal/Insider Profit Taking:

Some wise voices will stand up and say that the bubble can no longer continue. They argue that long run fundamentals, the ratios and measurements, defy sound economic practices. In the bubble, these arguments disappear within one over-riding fact – the price is still rising. The voices of the wise are ignored by the greedy who justify the now insane prices with the euphoric claim that the world has fundamentally changed and this new world means higher prices. Then along comes the cruelest lie of them all, “There will most likely be a ‘soft’ landing!”

This stage can be cruel, as the very people who shouldn’t be buying are. They are the ones who will be hurt the most. The true professionals have found their ‘greater fool’ and are well on their way to the next ‘hot’ sector.  Those who did not enter the market are caught in a dilemma. They know that they have missed the beginning of the bubble. They are bombarded daily with stories of easy riches and friends who are amassing great wealth. The strong will not enter at stage five and reconcile themselves to the missed opportunity. The ‘fool’ may even realize that prices can’t keep rising forever… however, they just can’t act on their knowledge. Everything appears safe as long as they quit at least one day before the bubble bursts. The weak provide the final fuel for the fire and eventually get burned late in stage six or seven.

Stage Six – Financial Crisis/Panic:

A bubble requires many people who believe in a bright future, and so long as the euphoria continues, the bubble is sustained. Just as the euphoria takes hold of the outsiders, the insiders remember what’s real. They lose their faith and begin to sneak out the exit. They understand their segment, and they recognize that it has all gone too far. The savvy are long gone, while those who understand the possible outcome begin to slowly cash out. Typically, the insiders try to sneak away unnoticed, and sometimes they get away without notice. Whether the outsiders see the insiders leave or not, insider profit taking signals the beginning of the end.

(This is where I believe Stocks, Bonds, Real Estate, Auto prices, Student loans, etc. are today; although it is wise to remember that the best performing markets in terms of percentage rise are the ones where hyperinflation is occurring – Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and today Venezuela.  An interesting thought is that we may see cryptocurrencies appear to be inflating while real assets move to another round of deflation – dollars seek safety/store of value)

Stage seven – Revulsion/Lender of Last Resort:

Sometimes, panic of the insiders infects the outsiders. Other times, it is the end of cheap and easy credit or some unanticipated piece of news. But whatever it is, euphoria is replaced with revulsion. The building is on fire and everyone starts to run for the door. Outsiders start to sell, but there are no buyers. Panic sets in, prices start to tumble downwards, credit dries up, and losses start to accumulate.

(When this happens to stocks, I expect Bitcoin and other cryptos to benefit).

By Nathan Martin | Economic Edge Blog

FANGs Flash Crashed – Worst Day Since Election

FANG Stocks: Coined by CNBC business pundit Jim Cramer, the term refers to four publicly-traded tech giants Facebook Inc. (FB), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Netflix Inc. (NFLX), and Google (GOOGL), which is now Alphabet Inc. All four of the companies are online or tech-centric, command massive market shares in their respective industries and are valued and traded at very high prices.

The sudden rotation out of growth/momentum stocks, highlighted earlier, sure escalated quickly…

… With growth getting dumped…

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/06/07/20170609_EOD4.jpg

… and AMZN flash-crashing:
https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/06/07/20170609_AMZN.jpg
Some zoomed in context:
https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/06/07/20170609_AMZN1.jpg
Even AAPL got hammered:
https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/06/07/20170609_AMZN2.jpg
In fact, all the FANG stocks were in trouble, on their biggest down day since the election:
https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/06/07/20170609_EOD3.jpg

“Nothing Else Matters”: Central Banks Have Bought A Record $1.5 Trillion Of Risk Assets YTD In 2017

One month ago, when observing the record low vol coupled with record high stock prices, we reported a stunning statistic: central banks have bought $1 trillion of financial assets just in the first four months of 2017, which amounts to $3.6 trillion annualized, “the largest CB buying on record” according to Bank of America. Today BofA’s Michael Hartnett provides an update on this number: he writes that central bank balance sheets have now grown to a record $15.1 trillion, up from $14.6 trillion in late April, and says that “central banks have bought a record $1.5 trillion in assets YTD.”

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/06/04/CBs%201.5tn_0.jpg

The latest data means that contrary to previous calculations, central banks are now injecting a record $300 billion in liquidity per month, above the $200 billion which Deutsche Bank recently warned is a “red-line” indicator for risk assets.

This, as we said last month, is why “nothing else matters” in a market addicted to what is now record central bank generosity.

What is ironic is that this unprecedented central bank buying spree comes as a time when the global economy is supposedly in a “coordinated recovery” and when the Fed, and more recently, the ECB and BOJ have been warning about tighter monetary conditions, raising rates and tapering QE.

To this, Hartnett responds that “Fed hikes next week & “rhetorical tightening” by ECB & BoJ beginning, but we fear too late to prevent Icarus” by which he means that no matter what central banks do, a final blow-off top in the stock market is imminent.

He is probably correct, especially when looking at the “big 5” tech stocks, whose performance has an uncanny correlation with the size of the consolidated central bank balance sheet.

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/06/04/Central%20banks%20vs%20tech%20stocks_0.jpg

Source, ZeroHedge

 

Japanese And South Koreans Fueling Bitcoin’s Meteoric Rise

Bitcoin’s 150% surge since the beginning of the year has caught the attention of “Mrs. Watanabe,” the metaphorical Japanese housewife investor, and a legion of South Korean retirees who’re hoping to escape rock-bottom interest rates by investing in cryptocurrencies, according to Reuters.  

Retail investors in Asia, many of whom are already regular investors in stock and futures markets, are turning to bitcoin in droves. Trading volume on Asia-based exchanges exploded following a Japanese law that officially designated bitcoin as legal currency. And now that the largest Chinese exchanges have reinstated customer withdrawals, the bitcoin market in China will likely stabilize, and the price will likely rise as a result.

Bitcoin was recently trading in South Korea at a $400 premium to its value on US-based exchanges, in part due to tough money-laundering rules that make it difficult to move bitcoin in and out of those markets, Reuters reports.

One of the retail traders interviewed by Reuters said she started with bitcoin because she’s worried she won’t be able to rely on her pension.

 

After I first heard about the bitcoin scheme, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. It’s like buying a dream,” said Mutsuko Higo, a 55-year-old Japanese social insurance and labor consultant who bought around 200,000 yen ($1800) worth of bitcoin in March to supplement her retirement savings.”

Everyone says we can’t rely on Japanese pensions anymore,” she said. “This worries me, so I started bitcoins.”

Another trader noted that most South Korean buyers see bitcoin as an investment; few plan to use it for payments purposes.

https://s16-us2.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Fstatic1.businessinsider.com%2Fimage%2F54db4b97eab8ea4223fac3ee-1200-750%2Fscreenshot%25202015-02-11%252007.31.04.png&sp=b365104fa280190cd5e8d82898fc8074

The risks for these traders are high, Reuters says, alluding to the collapse of Mt. Gox, which led to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for its customers.

The digital currency is largely unregulated in Asia. In Hong Kong, exchanges operate with a money-changer’s license, while in South Korea they are regulated like online shopping malls, Reuters says.

There’s also a burgeoning cottage industry of seminars, social media and blogs all designed to promote bitcoin or bitcoin-like schemes. The cryptocurrency world is rife with scams, and pyramid schemes are becoming increasingly common.

Police in South Korea last month uncovered a $55 million cryptocurrency pyramid scheme that sucked in thousands of homemakers, workers and self-employed businessmen seduced by slick marketing and promises of wealth, Reuters reported.

Seminars in Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong promote schemes that require investors to pay an upfront membership fee of as much as $9,000, according to Reuters. Investors in these scams are encouraged to promote the cryptocurrency and bring in new members in return for some bitcoins and other benefits.

One Tokyo scheme offered members-only shopping websites that accept bitcoin, 24-hour car assistance and computer problems, and bitcoin-based gifts when a member gets married, has a baby – or even dies, according to marketing materials seen by Reuters.

Leonhard Weese, president of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong and a bitcoin investor, warned amateur investors against speculating in the digital currency.

“Trading carries huge risk: there is no investor protection and plenty of market manipulation and insider trading. Some of the exchanges cannot be trusted in my opinion.”

Regulators in China have already cracked down on money laundering at local exchanges. South Korea’s Financial Services Commission has set up a task force to explore regulating cryptocurrencies, but it has not set a timeline for publishing its conclusions, Reuters reported.

And Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) supervises bitcoin exchanges, but not traders or investors.

“The government is not guaranteeing the value of cryptocurrencies. We are asking for bitcoin exchanges to fully explain the risk of sharp price moves,” an FSA official told Reuters.

Bitcoin was trading $2,529 on Coinbase Sunday, while it traded at $2,593 on Bitflyer, one of the largest Japanese exchanges.

One Japanese finance blogger said his most popular article has been an explanation of bitcoin. Readership of the article doubled last month when bitcoin was on its record run.

Rachel Poole, a Hong Kong-based kindergarten teacher, said she read about bitcoin in the press, and bought five bitcoins in March for around HK$40,000 ($5,100) after studying blogs on the topic. She kept four as an investment and has made HK$12,000 tax-free trading the fifth after classes.

“I wish I’d done it earlier,” she said.


Clif High – Crypto Currencies Break Loose, then Gold & Silver (video)


Where does Internet data mining expert Clif High see Bitcoin going in the hyperinflation we are heading into? Clif High says, “I’ve got what you call a strike point, a numeric value our data sets are aiming at that shows Bitcoin should be about $13,800 sometime in early February of 2018. That will basically be a fivefold increase at what we are at now. . . . I always thought cryptos would have to break out first in order to upset . . . the structure of the central banks so silver and gold could break loose. I suspect silver will break loose. The rocket shot on that will be staggering, but bear in mind I am the Internet’s worst silver forecaster. I have had silver at $600 per ounce in our data since 2003. If that occurs, look at how shocking and rapid that rise is going to be.”

High goes on to say, “Gold and silver are the most undervalued assets on the planet.” . . . And he predicts “by early February, gold will be at $4,800 per ounce and silver will be around $600 per ounce.”

High also says, “The Fed can’t kill crypto currencies . . . The elites are fearful because they can’t control crypto currencies, and they can’t suppress them. There will be no more source of free printed money for bribing people. . . . When the dollar dies, the corruption and crime will be revealed.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Internet data mining expert Clif High of HalfPastHuman.com.

Source: ZeroHedge