The Israel Deception

Is the return of Israel in the 20th century truly a work of God, or is it a result of a cosmic chess move to deceive the elect by the adversary?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

As China's Yuan oil contract goes online in advance of Monday's trading, Beijing adds a sweetner by removing income tax from foreigners who participate

Forget tariffs and trade wars, the real battlefield may have just opened up between the U.S. and China with Beijing bringing online its new Yuan-denominated oil contract.

However while most of the world knew that March 26 was the Red Letter day for this competitor of the Petrodollar, China decided to 'sweeten the pot' so to say by announcing on March 24 that foreigners who participate in their new oil futures market will also have their income taxes exempted.
Beijing will waive income tax for overseas investors trading yuan-denominated crude oil futures contracts, the Finance Ministry announced on Tuesday. The measure, to cover both institutional and individual investors is aimed at attracting foreign capital. 
Foreign brokers will also be exempted from paying income tax on commissions they earn from dealing in the new futures contracts to be launched at Shanghai’s International Energy Exchange on March 26, the Xinhua news agency reported. – Sputnik News
This move appears not only intended to entice oil producing nations to sell their output to China rather than London or the U.S., but to also bring in foreign capital in competition to America's tax reform policies meant to do the same thing.

As global stock markets appear to have reached their peaks, central banks mulling the buying of cryptocurrencies to replace their portfolio of equities

Since 2009-10, the rise in global equity markets have been primarily due to a combination of Quantitative Easing (2011 - 2015), and then outright buying from the central banks themselves (2016 - 2018).

But as it is now appearing likely that the current bull market in stocks has reached a peak in January of this year, these same central banks are mulling over what to do with their proceeds as they start to dump stocks.  And according to a couple of reports out over the past month, there is a very strong likelihood that some of that money will move into the buying of cryptocurrencies.

Amidst central banks’ active reserve management skills, as elucidated above, a former central banker with the South African Reserve Bank believe in 2018, G7 central banks will start buying cryptocurrencies to propel their foreign reserves. Considering the recent popularity and upsurge witnessed in prices of cryptocurrencies, the former central banker predicts the special drawing rights and G7 country currencies will be forced to alter their foreign reserve weightages by ultimately including a basket of cryptocurrencies.
Yet besides buying cryptocurrencies as a safe haven over bond purchases or simply holding cash, there is also a growing movement among central banks to create their own cryptos, which the BIS has cautioned in their own study.
Alluding to the rapidly evolving area of central banks’ interest in digital currencies, Bank for International Settlement has come out with a report this month titled: “Central bank digital currencies”. The report published by BIS’ two committees viz.: Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures and Markets Committee suggests central banks should carefully consider the implications for financial stability and monetary policy of issuing digital currencies. 
Terming Central bank digital currencies (CBDC) as a potentially new form of digital central bank money, the BIS report underscores two main CBDC variants viz.: a wholesale (for use in financial market) and a general purpose (for use by the general public). – Gold Telegraph

In a roundabout way, the U.S. government is subsidizing cryptocurrency buying as college students use loans to buy Bitcoin

We already know from past news reports that many college students use their loans for things other than education such as paying for spring break vacations, car payments, and buying iPhones.  But a new study out on March 23 shows that upwards of 20% of these students are also using that money to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The irony of course is that over 90% of all student loans are underwritten by the U.S. government (Sallie Mae), which means Washington is inadvertently subsidizing the buying of cryptocurrencies.

Chart courtesy of The Student Loan Report
Founder of the Student Loan Report, Drew Cloud, explained, “Younger Americans are certainly the most enthusiastic about cryptocurrency; they are the most active investors and want to get involved in the space in any way possible. However, I truly thought the percentage would be lower. As a college student, your budget is thin and that extra money could be used on rent, groceries, or books,” he told the Boston Globe
The survey “found that 21.2 percent of current college students with student loan debt have used financial aid money to fund a cryptocurrency investment,” the study found. Over four days students with debt were asked one question about buying cryptocurrency with loan money, and over one-fifth responded in the affirmative. – Bitcoin News
With an estimated 40% of students expected to default on their loans over the next 10 years, if the government should one day vote to forgive these debts would they also now inadvertently be providing a bailout to the cryptocurrency sector as well?

Friday, March 23, 2018

What a novel concept! Hong Kong gives money back to taxpayers after earning budget surplus

There are very few politicians who would ever dream of giving back money that they did not need or use to either the people, or their departments.  And the only individuals I can recall in recent times who have done this were the Father-Son duo of Ron and Rand Paul.

However even with this anomaly, when was the last time you ever heard of a municipality giving back excess monies to their citizens (taxpayers) when they were prudent enough to run a tight fiscal budget?  None that I can remember certainly in my lifetime... until now when it was announced on March 23 that the City of Hong Kong was going to redistribute a portion of their $18 billion surplus they had ending the last fiscal year back to the people.

The government of Hong Kong has announced its decision to share the city’s record $18 billion surplus with more than one-third of its residents. 
“[We are] trying to cover more people who may not directly benefit from the budget,” said Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po at a press conference on Friday. 
According to him, the handout was meant for Hong Kong residents who are 18 years old and over; who do not own a property; do not receive any government allowances; and will not pay income tax for the financial year ending next week. 
Those who meet the above criteria but have to pay income tax can still get some cash, he said. If the tax concession they receive is under $500, they will receive the difference between the two amounts. 
The finance chief singled out the “small number of people” who pay no tax but live in properties they own. If they receive less than $500 in rates waivers announced in the budget, they will get the difference between the amount waived and the cash handout. 
The handouts would cost the government an extra $1.4 billion, Chan said, explaining that they were in response to views that Hong Kong lawmakers and people had expressed “loud and clear.” – Russia Today

Netherlands labels Bitcoin as a legitimate store of 'transferable value', but doesn't go as far as saying it is a medium of exchange

On March 20, a Dutch court ruled that Bitcoin was a legitimate store of 'transferable value', which means that The Netherlands is the newest country to label the cryptocurrency as property or a security rather than as a currency.

Holding off from extending their ruling that the cryptocurrency was a legally accepted medium of exchange, the courts did open the door however for Bitcoin to be accepted as a legal monetary instrument.

Image courtesy of CoinTelegraph
A Dutch court classifies Bitcoin as a “transferable value” after the court ruled in favour of a plaintiff who was owed 0.591 Bitcoins (BTC), according to a court document published March 20.   
The claim was filed in a Dutch court by Mr. J.W. de Vries on 2 February 2018 against Koinz Trading BV, a non-public company, which was previously ordered by a lower court of Midden-Nederland to pay mining proceeds in the amount of 0.591 BTC owed to the petitioner, or a penalty payment up to a €10,000 maximum. 
As a consequence of the company’s failure to comply with its obligations to pay the required volume in BTC, the court ordered that the company either pay up or be declared insolvent. 
The court judgement explicitly states that Bitcoin demonstrates all the characteristics of a “property right”, and hence a claim to transfer BTC under property rights is legitimate: 
Bitcoin exists, according to the court, from a unique, digitally encrypted series of numbers and letters stored on the hard drive of the right-holder’s computer. 
Bitcoin is ‘delivered’ by sending bitcoins from one wallet to another wallet. 
Bitcoins are stand-alone value files, which are delivered directly to the payee by the payer in the event of a payment. It follows that a Bitcoin represents a value and is transferable. 
In the court’s view, it thus shows characteristics of a property right. A claim for payment in Bitcoin is therefore to be regarded as a claim that qualifies for verification.” - Zerohedge

Russia announces they are ready to disconnect from the dollar if needed as well as facilitate a new oil currency standard

For a few years now, China has prepared itself to be independent of the dollar through the establishment of their CIPS alternative platform to SWIFT.  And as of this month, we can also add Russia to this list as they appear to have completed all necessary testing of their own alternative messaging platform.

With testing taking place back in December between the banking system and Russia's largest oil company, Moscow believes they are fully prepared for either the ending of the dollar as the global reserve currency, or in the case that the West deciding to sanction them with greater severity, to be able to function outside the current monetary standard.

Global oil giant Rosneft has prepared itself for shutdown of SWIFT interbank cash transfer services, should Russia be shut out of the system as part of Western sanctions. 
A Russian equivalent of SWIFT was tested by Rosneft in December, Gazprombank Vice-President Andrey Korolyov told TASS news agency. It is the first time that the Russian SWIFT analogue has been used by a huge corporation since its introduction in 2014. 
The potential exclusion of Russia from SWIFT has worried the country’s banks since 2014, when the EU and the US introduced the first round of international sanctions against Moscow over alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis and the reunification with Crimea. However, SWIFT itself has fended off such talks. 
“Certainly, it is unpleasant, as it will prove a stumbling block for companies and banks, and will slow down work. It will be inevitable to deploy some aged technologies for information transfer and calculations. However, the companies are technically and psychologically ready for the shutdown as this threat was repeatedly voiced,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said in February. – Russia Today

Interest rates, trade wars, and Trump veto threat send gold price up over $40 in past three days

On March 20, gold had been hard pressed to hold above $1300 as a combination of weak sentiment and front-running the Fed drove down the price to $1306.  However ever since that intra-week low, gold has not only rebounded soundly, but is nearly pushing $1350 just three days later.

At the heart of this move is the turmoil over rising interest rates, the acceleration of a trade war with China, and news out early this morning that President Trump may veto the Omnibus Spending Bill which would lead to the government shutting down at the end of the day.

On the technical side, gold has just broken through a short-term resistance level of $1345, and if it can sustain the momentum upwards to $1378, then it is likely to make a serious push towards $1400 as domestic and geo-political events will all be good for gold.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Godfather Part III? Brother of drug lord Pablo Escobar going straight with introduction of Diet Bitcoin cryptocurrency

One of the primary themes from the 1990 film The Godfather Part III was how Michael Corleone wanted to eliminate his family's history of illegal business dealings and establish a legitimate conglomerate that was completely disconnected from mafia ties.  In the end however, Michael could never truly escape his family's past and it ended up costing him his daughter as well as his legacy.

This idea of someone from a notorious family trying to escape their situation and circumstances is not a new concept, but rarely does it end without tragedy.  And interestingly enough, the latest chapter of an individual trying to do this is none other than the brother of drug lord Pable Escobar who on March 21 announced he was creating his own cryptocurrency.

The blockchain space is truly full of surprises. It appears that Roberto Escobar, the biological brother of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, has launched his own cryptocurrency: Diet Bitcoin (DDX). 
A hard fork of the Bitcoin network, the new currency promises to offer a faster and lighter alternative to Bitcoin. Roberto’s eponymous venture investment firm, Escobar Inc, is currently running an initial coin offering (ICO), where users can buy the token at a 96-percent discount: down to $2 from $50. 
A spokesperson for Escobar Inc has since exclusively confirmed Roberto’s involvement in the project in an email to TNW. 
The Diet Bitcoin website says the total supply of 1,000,000 DDX will be split in three separate token sales: 300,000 DDX will be sold at $50 (currently discounted to $2), another 300,000 will go for $100 a coin, and the remaining 400,000 will be priced at $1,000. – The Next Web

Human nature is the same no matter the platform as Blockchain now being used to transmit child porn as well as money laundering

When the powers that be come out and jawbone that cryptocurrencies and the blockchain are evil because they can be used for transactions like tax evasion and money laundering, they are not entirely incorrect.  However what they leave out in their rhetoric and in their attempts to crucify these growing technologies is that financial crimes, tax evasion, and even funding human trafficking occur far more in their own controlled systems than it does on the Dark Web or the Blockchain.

Yet sadly, the root problem has never been the tools, technology, or innovations which can always be used for either good or evil, and instead lie at the feet of human nature, which has been engaging in corrupt, fraudulent, and diabolical activities since the beginning of time.

So with this in mind it should actually come as no surprise that in the short amount of time Blockchain technology has been available, wicked individuals are already using the platform to deal in child pornography and other illegal activities.

Researchers discovered 59 rogue files buried within Bitcoin's blockchain which contain "objectionable content such as links to child pornography," which raises risks related to storing content unrelated to cryptocurrencies on the blockchain and the potential legal pitfalls.  
The discovery of the illegal content on Bitcoin's blockchain could, according to the scientists, "jeopardize a whole cryptocurrency" with more than 600 transactions containing logged conversations, emails and forums discussing Bitcoin and including money laundering and backups of the WikiLeaks Cablegate data also unearthed.  
The threats to the blockchain have been exposed for the first time in a paper presented at the Financial Cyrptography and Data Security conference on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao: A Quantitative Analysis of the Impact of Arbitrary Blockchain Content on Bitcoin
"As of now, this can affect at least 112 countries in which possessing content such as child pornography is illegal. This especially endangers the multi-billion dollar markets powering cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin," the paper states. -  Sputnik News
While 99.9% of individuals conducting business on the Blockchain are doing so in a fair and legal manner, that last .1% is always just enough to put a crack into the doorway for politicians and agenda mongers to propagandize their evil for their own benefit, and allow them to usher in more laws and regulations which will over time restrict the Blockchain from evolving fully into the platform it was originally intended for.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Daily Economist update for March 21 2018 - FED DAY! And other financial and economic news

UK exchange to initiate their own cryptocurrency futures contract that will not just provide cash settlement, but also deliver cryptocurrencies

When the CME opened up a Bitcoin futures contract back in December of last year, the one interesting caveat within it was that there would be no actual delivery of  the cryptocurrency.  In fact all contracts would be cash settled, meaning the contract acts simply as a paper trade versus a normal contract for a commodity that would allow for delivery of physical goods.

However there may soon be a cryptocurrency futures contract arriving that will provide investors access to the cryptos upon demand as a company in the UK is preparing to initiate a futures contract that will provide settlement through cryptocurrency delivery.

Coinfloor, a London-based group of cryptocurrency exchanges for institutional and sophisticated investors and traders, plans to launch a futures exchange for digital assets that will include the first physically delivered bitcoin futures contracts. 
The new exchange, CoinfloorEX, will allow miners, hedge funds, traders and sophisticated investors to unlock the financial potential of bitcoin at scale, through specifically designed cryptocurrency contracts and operational controls, supported by institutional grade risk management and governance, Coinifloor announced in a press release. 
By offering the first physically delivered cryptocurrency futures contracts, CoinfloorEX was designed to protect investors and traders against price slippage on positions at the time of settlement, as well as concerns of market manipulation. 
The settlement is based on physical delivery rather than an index price from across other exchanges, providing greater pricing transparency. 
Access to Coinfloor’s spot exchange will allow investors to convert bitcoin to fiat currency post-physical delivery, providing opportunities for longer-term currency appreciation or through meeting bitcoin-denominated obligations. 
The exchange is secured by 100% multi-signature cold storage, protecting client portfolios from theft, loss or other security issues associated with partially online or online only storage. - CCN

Global central banks provide reasons behind their accumulation of gold while the U.S. remains silent in new survey

It seems that nearly all central banks except the United States are now focusing on either repatriation, or accumulating gold as the global financial system spirals towards its next liquidity or debt crisis.  And in a survey conducted by Bullionstar earlier this month, 41 of the top gold holding central banks responded to the questionnaire while only one remained silent.

And that one was the United States.

Taking the list of official sector gold holders compiled by the World Gold Council (which uses IMF data sourced from the individual banks), the Top 40 gold holders on this list were identified. While most of the Top 40 gold holders are national central banks or equivalent, there are also a small number of international monetary institutions in the Top 40, namely, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A similar question was sent out to each bank and institution. The question was: 
“in the context that central banks hold gold as a reserve asset on their balance sheets, can Central Bank X clarify the main reasons why it continues to hold gold as a reserve asset?”Bullionstar via Silver Doctors

Gold is a type of emergency reserve which can also be used in crisis situations when currencies come under pressure.”


“Gold is an essential part within our strategy for crisis prevention and crisis handling and is held as liquidity reserve but is also a means to diversity our investments.”


“As part of a good diversification of currency reserves, a certain proportion of gold can help reduce the balance sheet risk. The Swiss Federal Constitution, art. 99 stipulates that the SNB has to hold a part of its currency reserves in gold.


“Gold, due to its attributes is a quite specific asset, and traditionally has been an important component of central bank’s foreign reserves.


While these are just a few of the over three dozen central banks that responded to the questionnaire, you can see that the primary reason for each bank is nearly the same... to act as a reserve and to protect their currencies in the event of a monetary or financial crisis.

Which begs the question then... would gold accumulation accelerate if the world decides to go back to a form of the gold standard?  And outside of completely devaluing their currencies, how much gold, or how high a gold price, would be necessary to backstop their debt and money supplies?

Gold bounces back nearly $20 from yesterday's declines as markets await another expected rate hike from the Fed

For no particular reason yesterday, the dollar soared over 40 bps while gold fell to a three week low of around $1307.  However as the Fed prepares in a few hours to announce their next interest rate policy shift, not only has the dollar lost all of yesterday's gains, but gold has recovered all of its losses and is now well above even where it started at the beginning of Tuesday's market open.

Gold futures on Wednesday edged up from the three-week lows notched in the previous session, shaking off a firmer dollar ahead of a widely expected interest-rate hike by the Federal Reserve and potential clues on how aggressive the central bank panel will be with rates from here. 
Investors across financial markets have priced in expectations the Fed will raise its benchmark rate by a quarter-percentage point. Investors are watching for hints that new Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and team will signal four rate rises in 2018 rather than three as previously signaled. 
The rate announcement comes out at 2 p.m. Eastern, followed by Powell’s press conference at 2:30 p.m. -  Marketwatch

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The StableCoin sector of cryptocurrencies is picking up steam as new one will back its crypto with Swiss real estate

It appears that resource backed cryptocurrencies finally have a label in the industry as more and more are falling under the term of a StableCoin.

StableCoins are cryptocurrencies that represent stability in price and have much lower volatility than unbacked cryptos such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.  And they encompass a myriad of resources such as gold, diamonds, oil, and now real estate.

Liquidity and volatility are two issues that dog almost every blockchain technology startup and cryptocurrency, which is why “stablecoins” are becoming popular. Backed by gold, oil, fiat, and other, more established currencies, assets, and utilities, stablecoins offer an interesting alternative to regular cryptocurrencies. 
Today, SwissRealCoin (SRC) has announced its estate-backed cryptocurrency platform, which enables access to Swiss real estate value for investors around the world.
By backing the coin with real estate, SwissRealCoin hopes to provide a more stable option. 
“Real estate is a very traditional and stable asset class and therefore a very good choice for a real stablecoin,” Marc P. Bernegger, cryptocurrency entrepreneur and ICO advisor at SwissRealCoin, told me. “Switzerland stands out for its stable economic fundamentals in international comparison. Positive GDP growth, very low unemployment, a stable and liberal government, and a very low debt-to-GDP ratio help ensure a prosperous environment for our stablecoin.” 
The money raised through the SwissRealCoin ICO will be invested in Swiss commercial real estate assets. A percentage will also go into the development of its blockchain platform, which includes algorithms that the company claims will  help maintain a reasonable profit and minimize the downside. – Venture Beat
To date, cryptocurrencies falling under the guise of a StableCoin have held their value much better than unbacked cryptos, as seen by the fact that most gold backed ones have increased in price at the same time that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have declined by more than 50% since their all-time highs back in December of 2017.

Trump's tax cuts and reform already creating liquidity problems for European banks

Shortly after Congress and the President passed and signed a bill to institute tax cuts and reform, we had mentioned in a podcast how this law had to the potential to create serious liquidity issues for Europe as U.S. companies that held deposits overseas may bring them back to be used domestically.  And now just a few months later, this very fear appears to be coming to pass.

The European inter-bank market is going through the biggest shortage of US-dollar liquidity in nearly nine years. According to analysts, US tax reform may be behind the largest deficit since the financial crisis. 
As the Federal Reserve took a more hardline position towards the US monetary policy, LIBOR, a benchmark rate tied to finance products and debts of over $350 trillion, soared to the highest level in over eight years. Current unsecured dollar loans for the last three months are forcing European banks pay 2.2 percent in annual interest, according to financial news website 
The finance sector has seen a widening of the so-called Libor-OIS spread. This indicator shows the level of availability of the US currency. Its mean value has nearly doubled over the past two years. 
The rapid widening of the Libor-OIS spread shows that the market faces a dollar deficit, according to an economist at VTB Capital Neil McKinnon, as cited by the media. The tax reform, currently implemented by the US government, could reportedly have an impact on dollar liquidity across the globe. The measure seeks to encourage American corporations to bring nearly $2 trillion from foreign accounts back home.  – Russia Today

Survey results show that around 8% of Americans have jumped onto the cryptocurrency bandwagon

It is difficult to try to determine at what percentage an investment changes from being alternative to mainstream.  And perhaps this is why gold and silver fall into the alternative category since only an estimated 1% of the population owns the precious metal in bullion form.

However can that same alternative label now be tied to the cryptocurrency sector as a new survey out from February shows that around 8% of Americans own some form of cryptocurrency, which is up 7% from a previous survey conducted back in December of 2016.

Graphic courtesy of
Nearly 16.3 million Americans, or 8 percent of the country, own some form of cryptocurrency, according to a new survey by, which also found slightly more than 5 percent of Americans owned Bitcoin. If accurate, the results mark an increase from a study the Pew Research Center published in December 2016 that revealed roughly half of Americans had heard of Bitcoin but only 1 percent had traded, collected or used it. - Bitcoinist
Also included in the survey was the question to the 92% who have never bought or owned cryptocurrencies as to why they have abstained, with their responses listed below.

27% - Too complicated

18% - It's a scam

17% - It's a bubble

11% - Too difficult to use

6% - Too many fees

Interestingly from these responses, it appears that many have at least looked into cryptos and made their decisions based upon a combination of media persuasion and negative stories, attempting to use a wallet or exchange at some point, or a decision made from the fact that cryptocurrencies are radically different than the current monetary system.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Daily Economist update for March 19 2018 - Financial markets and Economics Report

Bitcoin rebounds over $1000 as G20 and Japan's central banker give positive outlook for the cryptocurrency

Over the past week Bitcoin had been in a steady decline, falling from over $9700 on Monday to a low of $7400 just yesterday.  But as G20 leaders meeting over the weekend in Buenos Aires decided to ignore the IMF's recommendation for a global framework of regulations on the cryptocurrency industry, it has helped Bitcoin rebound over $1000 to its current level of $8610.

An international group of central bank regulators and government ministers has told the G20 countries that bitcoin poses no threat to global financial stability, sending the cryptocurrency market higher. 
The Financial Stability Board’s chairman, Mark Carney, who also heads the Bank of England, has sent a letter to the G20, saying that the organization doesn't see bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a threat to the global economy. The FSB is an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system. 
"The FSB's initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time. This is in part because they are small relative to the financial system," Carney wrote. – Russia Today
The G20's recommendations were also mirrored earlier this morning by Japan's central bank chief who stated that "Cryptocurrencies could be a plus for the financial system".

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018

It's already past the point of no return to Make America Great Again if you are about to retire

It is perhaps ironic that the ending of the Cold War truly began the decline of the American economy as so much industry and manufacturing was tied to the military industrial complex and the need to protect the world from a 'perceived' enemy.  And we can easily see how this change began to take place starting with the 1987 stock market crash and followed quickly by fiscal and monetary policies focusing more on debt creation rather than in actual productivity.

Wages and GDP - 1987-2018

You can see in this chart that beginning in 1987, wages peaked in 1990 (around the time of the ending of the Cold War) then began to fall precipitously over the next 30 years.  And on the GDP side, growth held itself up moderately thanks primarily to the lowering of interest rates and massive increases in debt, the creation of asset bubbles (Dot Com, Housing, Equities), and the move towards the financialization of everything versus real productivity.

But unfortunately, these fiscal and monetary policies based on debt rather than productivity have lent itself to increased inflation.  And when wages stagnate or are in decline, then every single year American workers lose both savings capacity and purchasing power.

Inflation 1989 - 2018

What this means today is that for the first time in America's history, the current generations working (Gen X, Millennials) will earn and achieve much less than their parents did.  And as many of them get ready to hit the home stretch towards retirement, nearly half have little or no savings prepared.

Some 42 percent of elderly US citizens have less than $10,000 put aside for their golden years, according to the report by a personal finance resource GoBankingRates, which polled over 1,000 adults last month. 
The survey, carried out for the third consecutive year, suggests that a lack of planning and savings, along with a longer life expectancy, may shatter people’s retirement dreams. The California-based financial advisor also found out that the percentage of Americans with no savings at all had increased from 2016 through 2017. 
Low salaries or lack of opportunities to earn more is identified as the key factor for 40.1 percent of the surveyed, while 24.9 percent told the personal finance site that they were already struggling to pay bills. Adults 65 and older annually spend almost $46,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly 10.3 percent do not stash away money, as they don’t need any retirement savings. – Russia Today
While it is still too early to determine if the election of President Trump will succeed in creating good paying jobs over the course of the next decade, it appears to already be too late for many who lost most of their wealth during the 2008 Financial Crisis, and are standing on the precipice of retiring within the next 10-15 years.  Because at the rate both inflation and wages are going, the 42% number of Americans currently being forecast to have less than $10,000 saved could balloon up much higher, and mean that it is beyond the point of no return for America to actually become great again for the current population.

Is Venezuela an example of what will happen to gold when the dollar falls and the global currency reset finally takes place?

Throughout history gold more than any other commodity has held an intrinsic tie to sovereign currencies, and even much more than today's oil based Petrodollar system.  And you can see this of course in how gold's purchasing power in a given currency has held its strength as said currencies themselves devalued over time.

I use this chart because it brings up an interesting ratio.  Ie... how many gold ounces could one purchase in 1960 just prior to the United States removing the currency from the Gold Standard (1964), and how many ounces could one purchase today for that same amount.

From 1960-65 you could purchase (if it were legal back then) around 29 ounces per $1000.

(Fast forward to today).

With the price of gold being around $1310 per ounce, this means that one could not even purchase a full ounce of gold for that same $1000.  In fact the amount would be .763 ounces.

This means that the purchasing power in relation to gold has fallen 3800%.

So the questions that need to be asked are why is this important, and is there some reason why gold would ever revert back to its historic ratios?

The answers may lie in two things... the world rushing headlong towards a global currency reset, and an example in the nation of Venezuela that shows what happens when the government is forced to reprice gold.

Global Currency Reset:

A report released by the Nikkei Asian Review indicates that China is prepared to release a yuan-denominated oil futures contract that is convertible (backed by) physical gold.  The contract will enable China’s largest oil suppliers to settle  oil sales in yuan, rather than in dollars, and then convert the yuan into gold on exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai. 
This is a significant step in removing the global reserve currency status of the dollar and resetting the the global economic and geopolitical “landscape.”  Over the past several years, China has quietly established yuan-based currency exchange facilities, which has set up the ability to implement this new non-dollar trade settlement financial instrument. 
According to the Brookings Institute, 34 Central Banks around the world have signed bilateral local currency swap agreements with the PBoC as of of the end of September 2016, including the major oil-producing countries.  With this new contract, China’s largest oil suppliers will now be able to transact directly with China, and other oil importing countries, using yuan which are directly convertible into gold to settle the trade. – Investment Research Dynamics
Venezuela Reprices Gold 360,359%:

Chart courtesy of ITM Trading
What is it likely to look like when this global retirement crisis explodes? Venezuela gives us a peak. Drowning in unpayable debts, hyperinflation took off. First the market acknowledges gold as a store of value but ultimately, governments do too. 
The Venezuelan government prepared for the death of their currency and in 2011 Venezuela confiscated and repatriated monetary gold. They wanted to hide the hyperinflation that ensued, so they “managed” the spot gold price. 
Bankers and corporations knew better, and markets reflected that, but not the official price, that remained flat, until February 9th. On that day, “officially” gold in terms of bolivars, jumped over 2,488 times! This part of the “reset” is now in place. And that my friends, is how it is done. -  ITM Trading
In the end the current status of over $250 trillion in global debt, over $1 quadrillion in derivatives, underfunded pensions, an insolvent Social Security system, bankrupt states, and an estimated $225 trillion in unfunded liabilities owed by the U.S. government will not sustain itself much longer.  And when that system collapses, only a few choice items will be able to protect you when everything else is reset and devalued, and at the top of this list of course is that of gold.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Thanks to price declines or manipulation, Bitcoin mining operations now on par with resource mining as production costs outweigh output profitability

With the average electrical cost of mining a single Bitcoin floating in the range of around $4500, large scale operations need the price of Bitcoins to remain above $10,000 to sustain real profitability.  However thanks to what appears to be either a fleeing of the cryptocurrency by the investment community as well as the probability of price manipulation ever since Bitcoin trading entered into the paper markets, Bitcoin mining has now become on par with the headwinds endured by physical resource miners.

A recent report by Fundstrat’s Tom Lee notes that Bitcoin (BTC) mining earnings are currently almost breaking even, as the activity has temporarily become less profitable the midst of the current decline in the markets, CNBC reported yesterday, March 15.
Lee notes in the report that the current figure for the cost of mining one bitcoin is $8,038, while BTC is trading at around $8,221 by press time, down a quarter of a percent over a 24 hour period, according to data from CoinMarketCap
The model Fundstrat used for calculating the cost of mining one BTC includes the cost of equipment, overhead such as sustaining cooling apparatuses, and the cost of electricity, assumed to be 6 cents per kilowatt. The head of quantitative data science at Fundstrat, Sam Doctor, said that the cost of replacing equipment takes up more than half of the overall cost of mining. 
Crypto miners also earn money from transaction fees, which have recently been falling. According to data from BitInfoCharts, the median transaction fee on March 15 was around $0.21, while it had been over $34 dollars on Dec. 23 of last year. Charlie Hayter, CEO of website CryptoCompare, told CNBC that miners are now earning half of what they were in December also due to a rise in popularity of BTC mining, measured by hashrate. 
According to Fundstrat’s Doctor, miners are likely to stop mining operations if BTC’s price sank to around $3,000 or $4,000. Doctor added that BTC mining had been breaking even in January 2015, when one BTC was equal to between $200 and $300. – Coin Telegraph
Perhaps one of the more interesting caveats regarding an attribute of Bitcoin is that its limited supply does not necessarily equate to it being a valuable commodity.  Ie... U.S. and Western investors are today more intrinsically followers of price action versus value, and supply and demand very rarely have an effect on investor interest.

Are Stablecoins the next evolution of cryptocurrencies? A company called Quintric wants to find out if they can make resource backed cryptos legal tender

Out of all the actual and potential attributes that cryptocurrencies represent, volatility still remains high up on that list.  And because of this, the chances of the majority of them ever reaching a critical mass where they can be used as a viable medium of exchange remains low.

However as we have mentioned here a number of times at The Daily Economist, 2018 is appearing more and more to be the year of the gold, oil, diamond, and resource backed crypto.  And a company called Quintric believes that this evolution could give rise to a class of cryptocurrencies known as Stablecoins, which have their own potential to emerge one day as legal tender instruments.

Cryptocurrencies do not always carry the label of “legal tender” in most countries. In fact, the number of countries where Bitcoin and altcoins are legal tender can almost be counted on one hand. Quintric is trying to change that by issuing legal cryptocurrencies backed by silver and gold. It is quite an interesting project, although its chances of success are unknown. 
It is safe to say stablecoins are becoming the new hot commodity in the financial sector. For those who are unaware, a stablecoin is a (digital) currency pegged to the US dollar, precious metals, or other types of assets which tend to retain their value most of the time. In the case of Quintric, the team aims to issue cryptocurrencies which are legal tender and backed by both gold and silver. It is an interesting decision, although it’s one that will also be somewhat controversial. 
Quintric wants to combine the best aspects of precious metals, cryptocurrencies, and legal tender in one package. This is all much easier said than done, as not everyone in the US is legally allowed to issue their own digital currency, regardless of what it is backed by. In the case of Quintric, it will be interesting to see how that venture plays out in the long run. 
The advantages Quintric offers over traditional cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, and precious metals are quite evident. This token is not a security, as its official legal definition is a “deed to legal tender”. At the same time, Quintric wants to ensure these coins – known as Quints – are spendable, tangible, scarce, and possess inherent value. We may see a lot more currencies backed by precious metals and other natural resources in the future if this project proves successful. – The Merkle

IMF informs upcoming G20 that cryptocurrencies could play a role in undermining the global financial system

Whether hyperbole or actual fear, the IMF has now raised the stakes in the call for sovereign governments to establish a regulatory framework over the cryptocurrency sphere.

In a report released on March 16 that will provide context to the upcoming G20 summit in Buenos Aires, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde gave the bank's insight on what they believe should be done to regulate the growing cryptocurrency industry, and at one point intimated that its decentralization could have real effects in helping to undermine the global financial system.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), international body advancing global economic cooperation and financial stability, released a report amid their preparations for next week's meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank leaders in Argentina.
Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors from the world’s 20 wealthiest economies (G-20) should begin developing a global regulatory framework for trading in crypto-assets such as Bitcoin, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde wrote in a press release on Thursday. 
"There is also room to develop international regulatory principles for crypto-assets, including initial coin offerings (ICOs)," Lagarde said. "The goal should be to harness the potential of the underlying technology, while ensuring financial stability and mitigating the risks from money laundering and terrorist financing." 
The release accompanied a separate IMF report predicting annual global economic growth of 3.9 percent in the next two years, also prepared for the March 19-20 financial summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. – Russia Today
Money laundering and funding terrorism is the bread and butter of many banks already residing in G20 countries, so if they are seeking to direct their efforts towards cryptocurrencies rather than towards their own financial institutions, then it means that they fear the potential of decentralized authority, and are becoming desperate in seeking to bring down the hammer before critical mass is achieved.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Strippers, escorts, and now Playboy all welcoming in the tokenization of everything on the Blockchain

With vice historically being a perfect commodity for barter and trade, it should come as no surprise that much of the sex industry is welcoming cryptocurrencies with some zest.  And with strippers, dancers, and adult clubs even going to the point of putting tattoos on their bodies to instantly accept Bitcoin for payment, the next evolution would obviously be the industry standard creating its own crypto.

Introducing the Vice Industry Coin, a token on the blockchain being created by none other than Playboy.

Playboy has a long history of leading the adult entertainment industry in new directions. Now, it’s leading the charge into cryptocurrencies. 
Playboy Enterprises announced Wednesday it was developing an online payment wallet that will support several crypto payment types, beginning with the Vice Industry token.
Subscribers to Playboy.TV will be able to use the Vice token to view Playboy.Tv’s videos and other content. The wallet is expected to be available by the end of the year. PlayboyMagazine, which recently featured actress Jane Seymour, will not yet be folded into the crypto wallet. 
“As the popularity of alternative payment methods continues to grow around the world, along with the reach of Playboy’s digital platforms, we felt it was important to give our 100 million monthly consumers increased payment flexibility,” said Reena Patel, chief operations officer of licensing and media at Playboy. - Fortune

Gold backed payment systems rapidly growing as cryptocurrencies fail to get traction as an alternative medium of exchange

With the problems that Bitcoin has manifested regarding speed and number of transactions, the potential of cryptocurrencies competing with current payment systems has so far failed to really get off the ground.  However in a new report over in Europe, gold backed accounts tied to payment platforms are starting to really take off.

The standard of course is GoldMoney, which allows individuals to hold their wealth in an account backed by physical gold while still being able to function as if it were a traditional bank.  And now another company is rapidly growing to compete with them in the alternative banking arena.

While companies are racing into the future to create the latest digital currency, one company has looked to the past for the ultimate global currency. 
U.K.-Based fintech start-up Glint Pay continues to grow in popularity throughout Britain and Europe as the company has breathed new life into the gold market, monetizing the precious metal for the 21 century. 
The company made international headlines in late 2017 after it announced a partnership with Mastercard and Lloyds Banking Group to create a gold-backed debit card. Through its online app, consumers can load money into their account and then convert that money to gold. Consumers can then use the debit card to make everyday purchases. 
In an interview with Kitco News, co-creator of Glint Pay, Ben Davies, said that his firm has no intention of moving into the frenzied cryptocurrency sector because the world already has the perfect international payment system. - Kitco

Glass-Steagall repeal part 2? Senate to remove Dodd-Frank protections and allow banks to take Wall Street casino speculation to even higher levels

Despite tens of trillions of dollar printed out of thin air to recapitalize the banking system following the 2008 financial crisis, it appears to not be enough as the U.S. Senate just passed a measure which would remove many safeguards put in place under the Dodd-Frank Banking Reform Act and allow Wall Street banks to take speculation even above their current all-time levels for asset prices.

Glass-Steagall repeal part 2?

A bipartisan bill which would relax restrictions placed on the financial industry during the credit-crisis has cleared the Senate with a vote of 67-31, on the 10-year anniversary of the collapse of Bear Stearns - but not before several changes to the original legislation were made, which would benefit big banks. 
"A bill that began as a well-intentioned effort to satisfy some perhaps legitimate community bank grievances has instead mushroomed, sparking fears that Washington is paving the way for the next financial meltdown," writes David Dayen of The Intercept
Key Provisions 
  • Relaxes a host of reporting requirements for small - medium banks, and to a smaller extent, large banks
  • Eliminates a reporting requirement introduced by Dodd-Frank designed to avoid discriminatory lending
  • Relaxes stress testing requirements intended to show how banks would survive another financial crisis
  • Raises the threshold for banks which are not subject to enhanced liquidity requirements, stress tests, and enhanced risk management, from $50 billion to $250 billion - exempting several institutions which could pose systemic risks down the road.
  • Allows megabanks such as Citi to count municipal bonds as "highly liquid assets" that could be used towards the "liquidity coverage ratio," - assets which can be quickly liquidated during a crisis. 
  • Calls for a report on the risks and benefits of algorithmic trading within 18 months
Introduced by Idaho Republican Mike Crapo and co-authored by North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and several other Democrats, S.2155 was originally intended to relax regulations on community banks, credit unions, and so-called custodial banks - institutions which do not primarily make loans, but instead keep assets safe. In addition to relaxed reporting and disclosure requirements, the bill reduced the supplementary leverage ratio (SLR) - or how much equity they must have on hand compared to total assets (such as loans). As it was first written, the SLR modification would have benefitted just two U.S. banks; State Street and Bank of New York Mellon.  
After a vociferous protest by Citigroup CFO John Gerspach, among others, the language in the bill was vastly changed - along with the definition of a custodial bank so as to include virtually any large financial institution, such as Citigroup.  
Citi is making a very aggressive effort,” according to one bank lobbyist who asked The Intercept not to be named because he’s working on the bill. “It’s a game changer and that’s why they’re pushing hard.” 
Aside from the gifts to Citigroup and other big banks, the bill undermines fair lending rules that work to counter racial discrimination and rolls back regulation and oversight on large regional banks that aren’t big enough to be global names, but have enough cash to get a stadium named after themselves. In the name of mild relief for community banks, these institutions — which have been christened “stadium banks” by congressional staff opposing the legislation — are punching a gaping hole through Wall Street reform. Twenty-five of the 38 biggest domestic banks in the country, and globally significant foreign banks that have engaged in rampant misconduct, would get freed from enhanced supervision. -The Intercept 
Relaxed reporting, relaxed leverage ratios, relaxed disclosures 
One of the biggest giveaways is relaxed reporting requirements. Currently, banks with over $50 billion are subject to enhanced regulatory standards introduced by Dodd-Frank - which include additional capital and liquidity requirements, stress tests, and enhanced risk management. The new bill raises that threshold to $100 billion immediately, and to $250 billion in another 18 months.  
This would primarily benefit so-called "stadium banks," as explained by a Senate aide: "If you can get naming rights to a stadium, you're not a community banks."  
The relaxed rules would benefit 25 of the 38 largest banks in the United States, including Citizens Bank (Philadelphia Phillies), Comerica (Detroit Tigers), M&T Bank (Baltimore Ravens), SunTrust (Atlanta Braves), KeyBank (Buffalo Sabres), BB&T (Wake Forest University), Regions Bank (AA baseball’s Birmingham Barons), and Zions Bank (Salt Lake City’s Real Monarchs of Major League Soccer). 
While smaller banks don't pose much systemic risk in the event of another banking crisis - banks in the $250 billion range may be a different story. - Zerohedge

How long can gold manipulation continue now that the World Gold Council has admitted the world has reached Peak Gold?

We have already shown numerous times how the government instituted the gold paper Futures market during the 1970's to protect the Petrodollar following Nixon's closing the gold window 47 years ago, and how the issuance of unlimited paper contracts has become the primary means of manipulation to ensure gold prices do not explode even as the dollar declines.

But even this mechanism inevitably has a flaw, and that flaw is the ability for miners and wholesalers to be able to supply enough gold to at least provide a veneer of allocation to backstop these futures contracts.

Already we are seeing cracks in the Comex system, as reports are becoming public that the U.S. is having to transfer contracts to London to fulfill gold delivery requests since the Comex appears to be unable to follow through with this on their own.  And with news out by the World Gold Council and other sources like SRS Rocco that the world may have reached Peak Gold production, this unstable system may very soon not be able to handle any type of strong demand in the event of a financial crisis.

Jim (Willie) says London is importing gold because they have none, and soon, the ‘Oil-Yuan-Gold Triangle’ will cause a major default.
And from the Gold Telegraph yesterday (March 14)...

In addition to the stock market, the global gold supply is weakening, leaving investors anticipating higher prices. In 2017, the gold supply plummeted the most since any year since 2008. If the supply of gold is really plateauing, experts are predicting a “peak gold” period.
World Gold Council Chairman Randall Oliphant has indicated that global gold production may have reach its peak. The time may come soon when the supply is not expected to meet the demand. The price of gold usually rises during times of economic slowdowns. How will the global financial market react when the supply of gold is running low and gold becomes an even rarer commodity? 
China is not the only country producing less gold. South African and Australian gold deposits are showing signs of becoming depleted. The cost of exploring for new gold has become cost prohibitive and viable deposits are becoming more difficult to reach. 
The potential of a worldwide shortage is good news for investors. Even as mines become exhausted, gold as a commodity will still exist. Gold differs from oil, which, once used up, is physically gone. – Gold Telegraph
Peak Gold + Comex or London default = Gold Price > $????? 

Cryptocurrencies continue slide as sector loses $60 billion in market cap overnight and Bitcoin struggles to hold $8000 handle

For anyone with even a modicum of financial sense, you knew it would only be a matter of time before sovereign governments and financial regulators would begin to crack down on cryptocurrencies, especially as their own monetary systems show vast signs of weakness.  Yet while these same entities have as yet chosen not to simply destroy the cryptocurrency market outright, there are still many ways they can affect these markets, including using proxies like Google to make it much more difficult to conduct good due diligence before investing.

In fact it was just this very threat on March 14 of Google eliminating cryptocurrency advertising that emerged as a primary catalyst for the market hemorrhaging $60 billion in market cap overnight, and where even the industry's bellweather crypto Bitcoin is experiencing headwinds to keep their price above $8000 per coin.

Prices of major cryptocurrencies saw a sharp downward slide Thursday, amid closer regulatory scrutiny on the space and after Google announced plans to ban advertising related to the sector. 
The market capitalization or value of all the world's digital coins stood at $310.4 billion early on Thursday morning, down from $372.9 billion a day before, according to, which tracks prices based on different exchanges. 
Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency by market cap, traded as low as $7,676.52 on Thursday, the lowest since February 8, according to CoinDesk data. However, by 4.00 a.m ET the price had recovered to $8,219.77, pushing the total cryptocurrency market cap to $331.7 billion. -  CNBC

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Daily Economist update for March 14 2018 - Financial markets and economic Report

Cryptocurrencies: With great potential for wealth comes great potential for theft as an estimated $9 million worth of tokens are stolen everyday

In the scope of the industry's half a trillion market cap, the loss of $1.36 billion during the first two months of 2018 may not seem like a lot, but averaged out over the entire year this number equates to 1.6% of the entire value of all cryptocurrencies combined.  And sadly, this number represents the value of cryptocurrency tokens stolen from owners, businesses, or exchanges as the 'Wild West' that is the crypto market brings as much potential for theft as it does for one to achieve great wealth.

While you may be tempted to think that open-source, decentralized, anonymous cryptocurrencies are safe because they are free of control from a single authority and work in a transparent manner, the reality is, they are constant targets for scams, including digital theft, phishing, fraud, and hacking.
In a recent finding by News, $1.36 billion worth of cryptocurrencies have been stolen by fraudsters during the first two months of 2018. 
Fraud constituted the majority of virtual currency scams, at 30 percent. It was followed by hacking attempts (22 percent), theft and exit scams (17 percent each), and phishing (13 percent). - Investopedia

Alabama the newest state to remove sales taxes from U.S. gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion

It is hard to imagine, but 37 states have now passed legislation recognizing gold and silver as money, with the state of Alabama becoming the latest when they signed into law a measure which removes taxation from the purchasing of U.S. based precious metals.

On March 6, the Alabama Senate approved Bill 156 which was signed quickly by Governor Kay Ivey and set in motion what lawmakers believe will be an economic win as passage of the bill could potentially create jobs and economic development in a number of areas.

Alabama becomes the 37th state to exempt sales of gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion and money, ICTA’s David Crenshaw reports. 
Numismatic commerce can blossom thanks to Gov. Kay Ivey. She signed into law Senate Bill 156 on March 6 to create a sales and use tax exemption on U.S.. coins and currency and precious metals bullion sales. 
According to Crenshaw, in the summer of 2016, Darby and Steve Caiola (Alabama Gold Refinery of Homewood) started collaborating with ICTA to obtain the exemption. 
“We promoted the sales tax exemption as a legitimate jobs and economic development issue with the legislators,” Champion said. 
“We were pleased with the unanimous support of our legislation in both houses, recognizing the benefits to the state’s revenue, to in-state businesses, and to in-state investors and collectors from eliminating the sales tax,” Champion said. - Numismatic News

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

De-centralized Petrodollar? New cryptocurrency seeks to compete with Petro as an oil backed crypto

Get ready for the Petrodollar to live forever... or at least as long as investors are willing to put down cash for an oil backed cryptocurrency.

This is because Signal Capital Management has announced the creation of the Petrodollar crypto which will launch an ICO later this year, and potentially compete with Venezuela's Petro as an oil backed token.  However the difference between the two is that while the Petro is owned and controlled by a sovereign government, the Petrodollar will be decentralized and run through an established Asset Management company.

Signal Capital Management announced the launch of their PetroDollar cryptocurrency (XPD) on March 12. Saying PetroDollars will allow investors to use peer to peer exchanged digital currency backed by the value of crude oil and natural gas instead of “thin air” the management group hopes to launch its ICO by late this year. 
According to the group’s white paper each PetroDollar will be backed by a commodities grouping of crude oil, natural gas, and gas assets. The token issuance will be hard capped at 500 million with 450 million to be retained for future sales. 
A reported 25 million has already been issued to an affiliated oil company to be sold in order to develop the oil and gas reserves that will back the PetroDollar. The group expects the ICO to raise $700 million. 
Their white paper explains how investors will treat the PetroDollar as a currency in order to avoid certain tax obligations and that it is “not expected to be subject to annual tax but instead will be taxed only upon any gains (or losses) from their sale of PetroDollars,” – News BTC

Is Hungary preparing for the end of the dollar system and an eventual return to gold backed money or trade?

Last week, Hungary's central bank ordered its gold reserves to be repatriated from London as the Eastern European power moves further and further away from EU control.

Already at odds with Brussels over forced immigration schemes, this move by Hungary compliments moves already made by Germany and Holland to have their gold repatriated from London and New York vaults.

The leadership of the Hungarian National Bank (MNB) has decided to bring back home Hungary’s gold reserves. Up to now, 100,000 ounces (3 tons) of the precious metal were stored in London, which is in total worth some 33 billion forint ($130 million) at current gold prices
The decision seems to be in line with international trends as storage of gold reserves out of the country is now considered risky by more and more central banks. AustrianGerman, and Dutch central banks are among those who have recently decided to repatriate their gold reserves. According to MNB, this may also further strengthen market confidence towards Hungary. – Gold Broker
Interestingly as well, it was only a few years ago that Hungary exited from the Rothschild dominated central banking cartel and sought to regain control over issuance of their own currency.  And as only an ancillary member of the EU, the opportunity to shift towards the East and the growing Eurasian and Asian trade partnerships means that Hungary's gold repatriation may be a vital second step in one day soon disconnecting completely from dollar hegemony.