How to Recover Your Funds If You Lose Your Bitcoin Wallet

The events of a SIM swap attack (and defense tips)

Posted this on Coinbase and someone recommend it also be posted here. The information below on an attempted SIM swap attack was pieced together through a combination of login and security logs, recovering emails initiated by the attacker that were deleted and then deleted again from the trash folder, and learning from AT&T’s fraud representatives. The majority if this is factual, and we do our best to note where we are speculating or providing a circumstantial suspicion. TLDRs at the bottom.
The full story:
We were going about our business and received a text from AT&T that says “…Calls & texts will go to your new phone/SIM card. Call 866-563-4705 if you did not request.” We did not request this, and were suspicious that the text itself could be a phishing scam since we searched the phone number and it wasn’t overtly associated with AT&T. Thus, we tried calling AT&T’s main line at 611 but all we hear is beep beep beep. The phone number is already gone. We use another phone to call AT&T and at the same time start working on our already compromised email.
While we didn’t see everything real time, this is what the recovered emails show. In less than 2 minutes after receiving the text from AT&T, there is already an email indicating that the stolen phone number was used to sign into our email account associated with Coinbase. 2 minutes after that, there is an email from Coinbase saying:
"We have received your request for password reset from an unverified device. As a security precaution, an e-mail with a reset link will be sent to you in 24 hours. Alternatively, if you would like your password reset to be processed immediately, please submit a request using a verified device.
This 24 hour review period is designed to protect your Coinbase account."
This is where Coinbase got it right to have a 24 hour review period (actually a recovery period) before allowing the password to be reset. However, the attackers knew this and planned to steal the second email from Coinbase by setting email rules to forward all emails to a burner address and also have any emails containing “coinbase” re-routed so they don’t appear in the Inbox. 5 minutes later, they request a password reset from Gemini and the password was reset to the attacker’s password within a minute after that. The next minute they target and reset DropBox’s password followed immediately with Binance. Less than 2 minutes later, an email from Binance indicates that the password has been reset and another email arrives a minute later indicating a new device has been authorized.
It’s at this point that we begin locking the attacker out by (1) removing the phone number as 2FA (2) changing the email password, (3) and three forcing a logout of all sessions from the email. There was a bit of back and forth where they still had an active login and re-added the stolen phone number as 2FA.
They added only one more password reset to a gaming account that was not deleted. I can only suspect that was a decoy to make it look like the attack was directed at gaming rather than finances.
The Gemini and Binance accounts were empty and effectively abandoned, with no balances and inactive bank accounts (if any), and no transactions in 1-3 years. DropBox had no meaningful files (they probably look for private keys and authenticator backups) and the phone number they stole from us was suspended, so as far as the attacker is concerned, there is no meat on this bone to attack again… unless they had inside information.
This is where I suspect someone internal at Coinbase receiving wire deposits has been compromised in tipping off ripe accounts – accounts with new and somewhat large balances. We had completed a full withdrawal of funds from Coinbase earlier in the year, and had a balance of less than $20 heading into May. Deposits to Coinbase staggered in to get above six figures through mid-May then stopped. The attack occurred 7 days after the last large wire deposit was made to Coinbase.
From the perspective of an attacker that had no inside information, we were a dead end with abandoned Gemini and Binance accounts with zero balances and stale transactions, no DropBox information, and the suspended phone number access. Our Coinbase deposits were known to no one except us, Coinbase, and our bank. We were also able to stop the hacker’s email forwarding before Coinbase’s 24 hour period to send the password reset, so this one didn’t work out for the attackers and it would make sense for them to move on to the next rather than put efforts into a second attack only for Coinbase - for what would appear to be a zero-balance Coinbase account based on the other stale accounts.
Then…23 hours and 42 minutes after the first attack, another message from AT&T “…Calls & texts will go to your new phone/SIM card. Call 866-563-4705 if you did not request.” Here we go again. We had been confident in AT&T’s assurances that our account had been locked and would not be SIM swapped again, so we unwisely added the phone number back to our email account as a backup (it’s now removed permanently and we use burner emails for account recovery like we should have all along).
Upon seeing that our phone number had been stolen again I knew they were after the Coinbase reset email that was delayed by 24 hours from Coinbase as part of their security. We did 4 things within 2 minutes of that text: (1) removed the phone number again from the email account – this time for good, (2) market sell all Bitcoin on Coinbase, (3) withdraw from Coinbase, (4) have AT&T suspend service on the phone line.
In speaking with AT&T, they were floored that our SIM would be transferred again in light of all the notes about fraud on the account and the PIN being changed to random digits that had never been used by us before. Based on the response of disbelief from AT&T on the second port, I suspect that this attack also involved a compromised AT&T employee that worked with the attacker to provide timely access to the Coinbase password reset email. Apparently, this has been going on for years: https://www.flashpoint-intel.com/blog/sim-swap-fraud-account-takeove
with phone carrier employees swapping SIMs for $80s a swap.
Remember that most of this was hidden in real time, and was only known because we were able to recover emails deleted from Trash by the attacker.
Since we require any withdrawals to use Google Authenticator on Coinbase, our funds may have been secure nonetheless. However, under the circumstances with attackers that were apparently working with insiders to take our phone number twice in attempts to steal Bitcoin, and it being unknown if they had additional tools related to our Google Authenticator, we decided it was safer on the sidelines. The coins were held on the exchange for a quick exit depending on whether Bitcoin was going to break up or down from $10,000. A hardware wallet is always safest, but we were looking to time the market and not have transaction delays.
For some some security recommendations:
AT&T: If you are going to send a text saying that calls and texts are moving to a new number, provide a 10 minute window for the phone number to reply with a “NO” or “STOP” to prevent the move. This can escalate the SIM dispute to more trusted employees to determine who actually owns the line. Don’t let entry level employees swap SIMs.
Coinbase: Do not default to phone numbers as 2FA. Also, if someone logs in successfully with the password before the 24 hours are up, the password is known and there is no need to send the password reset email again for attacker to have forwarded to them. At least have an option to stop the password reset email from being sent. We did not tag our account at Coinbase with fraud because of the stories of frozen funds once an account is tagged. I’m not sure what the solution is there, but that is another problem.
Being a trader, it would be nice to think of Coinbase as any other type of security brokerage where your assets are yours (someone can’t steal your phone number and transfer your stocks to their account). We fell into that mindset of security, yet this experience has reminded us of the uniqueness of cryptocurrency and the lack of custodial assurance and insurance from exchanges because of the possession-is-everything properties of cryptocurrency.
As many have said before, 2FA with a phone number quickly becomes 1-factor authentication as soon as that phone number is associated with password recovery on your email or other accounts. Our overall recommendation is to avoid having a phone number associated with any recovery options across all your accounts.
TLDR on the process:
Scammers will steal your phone number (in our case twice in 24 hours) and use your phone number to access your email and accounts. They will use your email to reset passwords at financial accounts and file hosting such as DropBox. They will then use that combination to transfer any assets they can access from your accounts to theirs. They will do their best to hide this from you by
(1) not resetting your email password so as to raise suspicion,
(2) immediately delete any password reset emails you may receive from financial accounts to hide them from you,
(3) attempt to forward all emails sent to your address to a burner email, and
(4) set email rules to forward emails containing “coinbase” to an email folder other than your Inbox so that you don’t see the transactions and password reset emails that arrive to your inbox.
TLDR on defense tips: If your phone stops working or you receive a text of your number being ported do the following as soon as possible:
(1) log into your email account(s) associated with your financial accounts and remove your phone number as 2FA immediately
(2) change your email password,
(3) force a logout of all sessions from your email (at this point you have locked them out), then
(4) check your mail forwarding settings for forwards to burner addresses,
(5) check your mail rules for rerouting of emails from accounts such as Coinbase, and
(6) call your carrier to have them suspend service on your lost phone number and ask them to reinstate your SIM or get a new SIM. This will require a second phone because your personal phone number has been stolen.
We hope this helps some others be safe out there in protecting their coins. The more we know, the more we can protect ourselves. Wishing you all the best!
submitted by etheregg to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

The events of a SIM swap attack directed at Coinbase (and defense tips)

The information below on an attempted SIM swap attack was pieced together through a combination of login and security logs, recovering emails initiated by the attacker that were deleted and then deleted again from the trash folder, and learning from AT&T’s fraud representatives. The majority if this is factual, and we do our best to note where we are speculating or providing a circumstantial suspicion. TLDRs at the bottom.
The full story:
We were going about our business and received a text from AT&T that says “…Calls & texts will go to your new phone/SIM card. Call 866-563-4705 if you did not request.” We did not request this, and were suspicious that the text itself could be a phishing scam since we searched the phone number and it wasn’t overtly associated with AT&T. Thus, we tried calling AT&T’s main line at 611 but all we hear is beep beep beep. The phone number is already gone. We use another phone to call AT&T and at the same time start working on our already compromised email.
While we didn’t see everything real time, this is what the recovered emails show. In less than 2 minutes after receiving the text from AT&T, there is already an email indicating that the stolen phone number was used to sign into our email account associated with Coinbase. 2 minutes after that, there is an email from Coinbase saying:
"We have received your request for password reset from an unverified device. As a security precaution, an e-mail with a reset link will be sent to you in 24 hours. Alternatively, if you would like your password reset to be processed immediately, please submit a request using a verified device.
This 24 hour review period is designed to protect your Coinbase account."
This is where Coinbase got it right to have a 24 hour review period (actually a recovery period) before allowing the password to be reset. However, the attackers knew this and planned to steal the second email from Coinbase by setting email rules to forward all emails to a burner address and also have any emails containing “coinbase” re-routed so they don’t appear in the Inbox. 5 minutes later, they request a password reset from Gemini and the password was reset to the attacker’s password within a minute after that. The next minute they target and reset DropBox’s password followed immediately with Binance. Less than 2 minutes later, an email from Binance indicates that the password has been reset and another email arrives a minute later indicating a new device has been authorized.
It’s at this point that we begin locking the attacker out by (1) removing the phone number as 2FA (2) changing the email password, (3) and three forcing a logout of all sessions from the email. There was a bit of back and forth where they still had an active login and re-added the stolen phone number as 2FA.
They added only one more password reset to a gaming account that was not deleted. I can only suspect that was a decoy to make it look like the attack was directed at gaming rather than finances.
The Gemini and Binance accounts were empty and effectively abandoned, with no balances and inactive bank accounts (if any), and no transactions in 1-3 years. DropBox had no meaningful files (they probably look for private keys and authenticator backups) and the phone number they stole from us was suspended, so as far as the attacker is concerned, there is no meat on this bone to attack again… unless they had inside information.
This is where I suspect someone internal at Coinbase receiving wire deposits has been compromised in tipping off ripe accounts – accounts with new and somewhat large balances. We had completed a full withdrawal of funds from Coinbase earlier in the year, and had a balance of less than $20 heading into May. Deposits to Coinbase staggered in to get above six figures through mid-May then stopped. The attack occurred 7 days after the last large wire deposit was made to Coinbase.
From the perspective of an attacker that had no inside information, we were a dead end with abandoned Gemini and Binance accounts with zero balances and stale transactions, no DropBox information, and the suspended phone number access. Our Coinbase deposits were known to no one except us, Coinbase, and our bank. We were also able to stop the hacker’s email forwarding before Coinbase’s 24 hour period to send the password reset, so this one didn’t work out for the attackers and it would make sense for them to move on to the next rather than put efforts into a second attack only for Coinbase - for what would appear to be a zero-balance Coinbase account based on the other stale accounts.
Then…23 hours and 42 minutes after the first attack, another message from AT&T “…Calls & texts will go to your new phone/SIM card. Call 866-563-4705 if you did not request.” Here we go again. We had been confident in AT&T’s assurances that our account had been locked and would not be SIM swapped again, so we unwisely added the phone number back to our email account as a backup (it’s now removed permanently and we use burner emails for account recovery like we should have all along).
Upon seeing that our phone number had been stolen again I knew they were after the Coinbase reset email that was delayed by 24 hours from Coinbase as part of their security. We did 4 things within 2 minutes of that text: (1) removed the phone number again from the email account – this time for good, (2) market sell all Bitcoin on Coinbase, (3) withdraw from Coinbase, (4) have AT&T suspend service on the phone line.
In speaking with AT&T, they were floored that our SIM would be transferred again in light of all the notes about fraud on the account and the PIN being changed to random digits that had never been used by us before. Based on the response of disbelief from AT&T on the second port, I suspect that this attack also involved a compromised AT&T employee that worked with the attacker to provide timely access to the Coinbase password reset email. Apparently, this has been going on for years: https://www.flashpoint-intel.com/blog/sim-swap-fraud-account-takeove with phone carrier employees swapping SIMs for $80s a swap.
Remember that most of this was hidden in real time, and was only known because we were able to recover emails deleted from Trash by the attacker.
Since we require any withdrawals to use Google Authenticator on Coinbase, our funds may have been secure nonetheless. However, under the circumstances with attackers that were apparently working with insiders to take our phone number twice in attempts to steal Bitcoin, and it being unknown if they had additional tools related to our Google Authenticator, we decided it was safer on the sidelines. The coins were held on the exchange for a quick exit depending on whether Bitcoin was going to break up or down from $10,000. A hardware wallet is always safest, but we were looking to time the market and not have transaction delays.
For some some security recommendations:
AT&T: If you are going to send a text saying that calls and texts are moving to a new number, provide a 10 minute window for the phone number to reply with a “NO” or “STOP” to prevent the move. This can escalate the SIM dispute to more trusted employees to determine who actually owns the line. Don’t let entry level employees swap SIMs.
Coinbase: Do not default to phone numbers as 2FA. Also, if someone logs in successfully with the password before the 24 hours are up, the password is known and there is no need to send the password reset email again for attacker to have forwarded to them. At least have an option to stop the password reset email from being sent. We did not tag our account at Coinbase with fraud because of the stories of frozen funds once an account is tagged. I’m not sure what the solution is there, but that is another problem.
Being a trader, it would be nice to think of Coinbase as any other type of security brokerage where your assets are yours (someone can’t steal your phone number and transfer your stocks to their account). We fell into that mindset of security, yet this experience has reminded us of the uniqueness of cryptocurrency and the lack of custodial assurance and insurance from exchanges because of the possession-is-everything properties of cryptocurrency.
As many have said before, 2FA with a phone number quickly becomes 1-factor authentication as soon as that phone number is associated with password recovery on your email or other accounts. Our overall recommendation is to avoid having a phone number associated with any recovery options across all your accounts.
TLDR on the process:
Scammers will steal your phone number (in our case twice in 24 hours) and use your phone number to access your email and accounts. They will use your email to reset passwords at financial accounts and file hosting such as DropBox. They will then use that combination to transfer any assets they can access from your accounts to theirs. They will do their best to hide this from you by
(1) not resetting your email password so as to raise suspicion,
(2) immediately delete any password reset emails you may receive from financial accounts to hide them from you,
(3) attempt to forward all emails sent to your address to a burner email, and
(4) set email rules to forward emails containing “coinbase” to an email folder other than your Inbox so that you don’t see the transactions and password reset emails that arrive to your inbox.
TLDR on defense tips: If your phone stops working or you receive a text of your number being ported do the following as soon as possible:
(1) log into your email account(s) associated with your financial accounts and remove your phone number as 2FA immediately
(2) change your email password,
(3) force a logout of all sessions from your email (at this point you have locked them out), then
(4) check your mail forwarding settings for forwards to burner addresses,
(5) check your mail rules for rerouting of emails from accounts such as Coinbase, and
(6) call your carrier to have them suspend service on your lost phone number and ask them to reinstate your SIM or get a new SIM. This will require a second phone because your personal phone number has been stolen.
We hope this helps some others be safe out there in protecting their coins. The more we know, the more we can protect ourselves. Wishing you all the best!
submitted by etheregg to CoinBase [link] [comments]

Haven't you started your first transaction yet? Bityard will explain everything you need to know.

Haven't you started your first transaction yet? Bityard will explain everything you need to know.
In 2020, Bitcoin ushered in the third halving. Many people predicted that the Bitcoin price would be raising again, and yes, it reached the mark of $10,000 on June 2nd, and the price once stood at 10,444 US dollars, becoming a hot spot in the currency circle. Search news, and soon fell 870 US dollars within 15 minutes to 9,720 US dollars, fluctuations attracted many people's attention.
But if you happen to be attracted by trading but you still do now know how to start, just read this article carefully, follow us to understand step by step on how to get yourself into this world.

https://preview.redd.it/e0qdnwypiu951.jpg?width=1529&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=7eb61b9cfe3943d8db06a882a74b8366ebef3ef9
For new investors:
📷Trading time.
Unlike stock market, cryptocurrency transactions can be traded 24 hours a day.There is no limit to the buying and selling time, You can even purchase a second before, and sell a second later. Freedom transactions, all up to you.
Bityard is a 24 hour trading platform, always online, in order to allow users to freely do their transactions, the platform has also 24-Hour customer service, we will be there if you need anything, be safe taking your first steps. But we also would like to reminds you that although the trading time is very free, you must also pay attention to the right time to trade, in order to get a good return.

https://preview.redd.it/cbvbbdnsiu951.png?width=524&format=png&auto=webp&s=9fd6efdda32c25f7ccc81167d05ac395156a49f6
You don’t need to much money to buy Bitcoins
Bitcoin's current market is around 9,000 US dollars. As you can see the cost of one single bitcoin is not low. However, the smallest unit of Bitcoin is as small as one-hundredth of a billion, and you can freely choose how many units to buy, such as 0.01 or 0.001, and the amount is determined by itself.
Bityard reminds you that whether the sale can be achieved depends on the willingness of both traders. The amount of the bid is too low, and you may not find a seller willing to sell. Assuming a successful purchase, you can start accumulating your own bitcoin.
Bityard is the world's leading digital currency contract trading platform.Our platform can support the recharge of fiat currencies in China, Vietnam, and Indonesian, and can directly trade pairs with digital currencies. In the future, we will continue to expand the recharge of fiat currencies in other countries.
What is the right time to buy?
Everyone wants to buy cheap and sell higher, this is the way to profit, but no one can guarantee where and when the price will be cheap. Therefore, in addition to buying bitcoin directly, so called spot transactions, you can also choose contract transactions.
Bityard is the world's leading digital currency contract trading platform. During the trading process, if you think that the price of Bitcoin will fall, then you can sell CFDs through the Bityard trading platform to open a position. In this way, even if Bitcoin drops you still can profit. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what contract trading is.
Bityard Exchange provides a simulated trading service. Before starting a formal transaction, you can continue to practice using the demo trading, and then put into actual trading after you get started.

https://preview.redd.it/es034u4viu951.png?width=1906&format=png&auto=webp&s=2e9e569705cb1fe252787c49b2a0986b7f348315
How to ensure asset security?
For small capital investors, the trading platform is dazzling. How to choose a safe and trustworthy exchange, there are several indicators that you can follow to pick up the best one for you.
  1. Go for Exchanges with financial licenses:
For example, Bityard is a Singapore Blockchain Foundation whose main business entity is the United States Financial Supervisory Authority (MSB), Singapore Enterprise Authority (ACRA), Estonian Financial Supervisory Authority (MTR), and Australian transactions. The financial legal license submitted by the Report and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC).
Bityard's platform is a complete, global compliance system to protect our users. In other words, Bityard’s risk prevention system has established a strong position with the consent and approval of the relevant regulatory authorities.
New investors can go to the official website of the regulatory agency and enter the name of the trading platform to find relevant information about the dealer's registration with the regulatory agency.
Or you can check our Bityard youtube video on "how to check exchanges financial licenses" at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR8WYy0R8lc

https://preview.redd.it/d6u4n2gxiu951.png?width=1267&format=png&auto=webp&s=0274dfb520b970accf86a1b88683b25dd0c8d073
2 . Multiple settings to ensure user safety.
For your safety, Bityard has account double authentication, permanent anonymity, multiple offline signatures, deep cold storage assets and other settings to ensure the security of user account and we also takes full advance payment. For new users who are not yet familiar with risk management, under strict control of risks, investors' relative trust in the platform is relatively established.
Finally, Bityard reminds new users the importance of private keys, private keys, as the name implies, is the key to open their own assets. Once lost, the bitcoin stored in the wallet will not be recovered, so be careful and take good care of yours.
How can Bityard help new investors?
Bityard is about to launch a new function. There are alot of experienced investors using our platform who no longer need to spend long hours of hard work watching investment. So we tought about doing a function that you basically copy their transactions, no need to pay for a bunch of tuition fees, lose money then lose all confidence in the investment.
This copy function function is a simple system, you can query the investor's performance, what others buy, just follow the purchase, follow the star to buy his investment strategy, and enjoy the same profit as him, Bityard will do everything to help you on your first steps.
Bityard: Complex Contract, Simple Trade
Bityard is the world's leading digital currency contract trading platform, headquartered in Singapore, providing safe, simple, and fast digital asset trading services to customers in more than 150 countries. Bityard adheres to the product concept of "complex contract, simple trade", and develops to bring customers extremely simple digital currency trading experience.
Want to start? Open an account immediately in 30 seconds, and get your registration gift at: (www.bityard.com)
submitted by bityardadmin to u/bityardadmin [link] [comments]

My wife is about to ruin me in the divorce. I am planning to liquidate everything and leave the country. Bring me to reality. [United States]

I will keep it short. I am a French citizen living inside the United States on a work permit. I thought I was in love with a woman and stupidly decided to get married. I do not want to make this a relationship post, but she ended up cheating on me multiple times. I am stupid so I have little evidence of this to show a court. We had a big fight when talking about getting divorced and she said she was going to take everything from me! We got married when I was a bit poorer, so I did not get a prenuptial. But now I make six figures as a programmer in California, but I am not worried about that too much. I own a significant portfolio of cryptocurrencies, and when bitcoin price went up in 2017 I told my wife about it. I never sold it, but I told her how much the value was at the time (5 million). If you follow cryptocurrency you probably know that bitcoin is worth half of that today. But in a divorce she will claim the I owe her 2.5 million! Even though the portfolio is worth less than that! Even if I proved the actual value of the cryptocurrency she will still want half, i don't want to give anything to the woman who hurt me so bad. So for this reason I have liquidated my 401K, IRA and bank account and converted all my bitcoin and liquid assets into an untraceable coin called monero. Then i'm going back to France and leaving America forever unfortunately. I am a French citizen, and France will not extradite their own. Once everything is settled, I should have enough to generate my current income through dividend stocks and buy a house in the country or I will live with my grandmother for a little. I will leave a note for my wife just so she doesn’t think I died. My flight leaves in two days in the dead of night. All I will take is my laptop, phone, and private keys to my cryptocurrency. I think I will give my grandmother a good shock when she sees me haha.
The reason I write all this is because I understand I am very emotional right now, and I figure the people on this website are not. I have already made some hard to reverse choices financially, but my main concerns are legal. I understand that my wife will begin divorce proceedings but will I still have a legal requirement to pay her anything? And if i do have to what are the consequences of never paying her as a citizen of France? I fear I may be too deep to be talked down but I will read the comments regardless.
For reference me and my wife are in our late 20s my grandmother is 79.
I am sorry for poor English
Edit:
For those curious. I have consulted French and American lawyers. I will leave as planned tomorrow. I will not leave a note, and i will pay US taxes! I'm going to live with my grandmother for the foreseeable future as I recover emotionally. I am very happy with this decision. I miss France, my family, and i started to be unhappy at my job. Thank you Reddit for the advice!
Edit 2:
I made it back home and the first thing I did was meet my lawyer. We went over multiple legal scenarios and everyone was in my favor. The worst scenario would result in a 10,000 euro fine, but that would be rare. I will go back to using reddit from my normal account now, if anything significant happens I might do an update. But if this is my last edit assume the best!
submitted by vivafrance1789 to legaladvice [link] [comments]

Market Weekly Report - Week of 23/03/2020

Market Weekly Report - Week of 23/03/2020

Point95 Global Market Weekly Report

BTC/USD hourly chart
The Bitcoin recovered from past week’s fall and broke above the $6,000 resistance level, to reach almost $7,000 as suggested last week. It has since retraced but was able to hold above the upward trend line. The intraday volatility was relatively low compared to the stock market.
The BTC price is expected to go sideways and has potential to go back up to $7,200. Wait for the price to break above the upper Keltner band at around $6,524, and enter into a long position. The support is at $5,660.
Review of the week:
Morgan Creek Digital co-founded Anthony Pompliano and published a paper analyzing that in the next 18-24 months, almost all asset prices will rise sharply. Specifically, non-COVID-19 epidemic-related enterprise stocks (CIS) will receive a return of 40-70% in the next two years (based on the current overall market decline of 40-50%). It is expected that the stocks that have fallen the most so far may get the greatest returns. Gold will not exceed $2,500 in the next two years, with a return of 35% to 65%. Bitcoin's outlook is similar to gold, but with some key differences. As the dollar depreciates, investors will seek inflation to hedge assets, and Bitcoin and gold will be two of the beneficiaries. But one major difference is that Bitcoin is much more volatile than gold. Although he thinks that gold has a 35-65% upside, he has relatively high confidence (more than 85%) that the price of Bitcoin will be at least three times higher than it is now. This will bring it back to an all-time high of over $ 20,000. In summary, Bitcoin will be the best performing asset in the next 24 months.
As a borderless digital asset not controlled by governments or centralized companies, Bitcoin’s price should, in theory, travel its own path, independent of other currencies and markets. Crypto’s pioneer asset, however, has seen varied views suggesting correlations to traditional markets, such as stocks, “safe-haven” investments such as gold, or even arguments that bitcoin is not correlated to anything. But available data shows no firm answer so far. Tone Vays, Veteran Wall Street trader and crypto analyst, yet expects a positive reaction from Bitcoin during relatively uncertain economic times: “I believe that bitcoin does have a correlation with traditional stock markets because they are both private assets, and Bitcoin benefitted a lot from the ten year bull market because people got generally wealthier, and they were more willing to speculate on something like Bitcoin.”
Disclaimer: The above market commentary is based on technical analysis using historical pricing data, and is for reference only. It does not serve as investment or trading advice.
Check Bitcoin Price on Coinviva: Coinviva
submitted by Coinviva to u/Coinviva [link] [comments]

So these Mandalorian Tracking FOBs, do they use an Imperial Blockchain? Im not trying to inject cryptocurrency talk, but they are literally talking about private keys and such. Its so cool to include that in Starwars. I imagine the trade guilds having massive exchanges that trade stars and planets.

So I watched episode one, and then I saw the second episode on Disney Plus and I just paused it after seeing a Tracking Fob and I just had to ask, what blockchain are using, a centralized Imperial blockchain? or a decentralized bounty hunter network? ;) In the first episode's meeting between the Protagonist and the guy who gives out the "Pucks" ..... Im not trying to inject cryptocurrency talk, but he literally is talking about private keys and such. Its so cool to include that in Starwars. Reminds me of the Ferengi in Starwars, intergalactic exchanges where people sell planets, people, trop moons like Lando in Solo, where he mentions winning a moon, but in a poker game BUT im sure they use credits that have to be checked somehow....

Also people obviously had bounties which was a form of a wallet in a way, I mean a person could be identified maybe genetically with the bio scanner, and then, frozen in carbonite and a private key matched, however, im sure there will be episodes where people swap FOBs and capture the wrong people etc, hacking tracking FOBs etc. Proof of Work wont work in Star Wars universe when people have death star loads of power to generate hash power to essentially break ur encryption with probably just one Star Destroyers onboard computers lol. I imagine the time AFTER the empire however, is still full of finance and fintech galore, with trade guilds filling the void, but I havent read the Canon of what comes next, I mean I know the new Order and the whatever happens but i just cant accept that new star wars stuff it makes me sad i dunno, its like a zoomer got to the star wars we all know and loved, and tried way too hard, i dunno, maybe episode 9 will be better? Ill go see it soon. Anyway I have some plans to inject Keylontic Science UFO lore into Star Wars and connect it to earth in an interesting way, but first id like to do this with Star Trek. I think we have to ramp up all sci fi for our up coming Mars and Moon missions thanks to Space X and Nasa etc, its essential to make Sci Fi and space travel and engineering as interesting to young people as possible. ANyway sorry for rambling I just had some ideas wanted tow rite about anyway BACK to my question about what MONEY system they use in the mandalorean.....

Also in that first table sit down exchange they have a talk about "Imperial credits" being just as spendable lol... seems like they need more volume. I noticed some interesting historical political stuff with the whole money exchange in the second meeting between the protagonist and the vestigial Imperial Boss (like an old Nazi left over after ww2) he gives him what is basically Nazi Gold lol, but its Mandalorian metal thats been looted, and he repays him in his own peoples looted metal, maybe the Mandalorians are like in a Diaspora, like Israelis hunting down the nazis after ww2?

I wonder if the Empire had a fiat currency or had to rely on a decentralized math backed currency due to the same problems we see in Warhammer 40k where the empire of a galaxy is so vast its hard to communicate monetary policy and things just sort of collapse into medieval shit in some places while other places look like coruscant.... theres a disparity between worlds and I guess thats the whole point , we must be Planetary Chauvanists and think about our planet first unless we had some sort of portal system, only then could I see people caring enough between planets

Anyway the idea of a inter planetary galactic stock market or crypto currency exchange is so interesting, Ive seen it in Star Wars Enterprise with the orisons slave market, and DS9 with the ferrengi markets visible to Quark maybe over sub space

Im not sure if Starwars has Subspace tech to have faster than light internet for communication and finance?

If we humans already have Bitcoin and smart contracts like eosio then I imagine Star Wars bounty hunters had some sort of BLOCKCHAIN for tracking Bounties using oh i dunno..quantum kyber crystals that have to be matched and can never be faked, like tally sticks but using the force, maybe thats how the FOB's can get activated, its like the challengedac or something, GPS smart contracts but for the whole galaxy, tracking FObs are interesting so i looked it up wondering what "FOB" stood for as i knew it couldnt just mean a keyless entry keychain thing.,...

FOB stands for “free on board” or “freight on board” and is a designation that is used to indicate when liability and ownership of goods is transferred from a seller to a buyer.

That blew me away... that this mandaloran show is using the lingo of the industry and I had no idea FOB stood for Freight on Board.

Ok anyway guys i was just recovering from the flu and wanted to have some fun talking about star wars and Bounty Hunter Blockchain crypto currency for validation of bounties captured.... just so fun to talk about tracking FOBs and space X and if we can have real M. Falcon and tie fighter shaped space hotels on the ISS and private spaceX space hotels VERY soon in the next few years, obviously Disney will have to be involved so they can sell the rooms directly from Disney Land and have a space port AT Disney land for real....... and tesla will have star wars looking speeders and star wars themed boring tunnel "rides" that will just be normal boring tunnel tunnels from LAX to Disney land but will be fitted out with projectors, lasers, in tunnel screens and extra stuff to make the boring tunnel rude more of a disney land ride in itself :D We could have a Disney mandalorian hired actor for every train, with LED weapons and armor accessories that light up in the dark when the whole tunnel goes dark when the train appears to be hijacked by raiders or other bounty hunters, and youll have a WHOLE experience in a boring tunnel ride for DIsney Star Wars Space X Space Port ride, lol, on your way to Disney MARS or disney MOON park, because who else is going to make us feel at home on the moon but Disney?

Galaxies Edge could be so incredibly REAL with a SPaceX Deal for a real space port out in the desert using same boring tunnels that would take you from DIsney to Las Vegas anyway, so halfway there youd get out to a Disney Space Port to take you to a SpaceX launched Space Hotel just like the International Space Station. Im sure Disney and SPaceX working together could raise the funds to launch a Millenium Falcon shaped Space Hotel.

Anyway I know thats different from my title but now I just wanna write a proposal for SPaceX DIsney Star Wars Space Hotel, and Disney SpaceX Space Port in desert outside Galaxies Edge using Boring Tunnel to get there, use the money from the space hotel to build the Disney Moon and Mars bases.
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Wealth Formula Episode 179: Buy, Borrow and Die: Bitcoin Style

Catch the full episode: https://www.wealthformula.com/podcast/179-buy-borrow-and-die-bitcoin-style/
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Zack Prince. He's Founder and CEO of BlockFi. BlockFi bridges the gap between blockchain and the basic financial products that you're used to including interest-bearing accounts and loans. Zack, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. I think you we might have had you on before as a Consensus Network replay but first time on Wealth Formula Podcast specifically, so welcome.
Zac: Yeah, excited to be here, Buck. Thanks for having me. And it's good to chat with you again
Buck: Yeah so remind me how you got into this you know Bitcoin stuff in the first place, I mean you were as I understand you were a traditional finance guy right so where did the blockchain part come in?
Zac: Sure so I was I was working at a company in the FinTech world that provided data and technology solutions to institutional investors that wanted to participate in some of the new online lending platforms, whether they were real estate platforms or consumer lending platforms, and I kind of became the FinTech guy amongst my friend group and people would ask me you know should I invest in these real estate deals on fund rise or buy loans from Lending Club and I started writing a blog to share the information more efficiently with my friends basically and I started expanding a little bit writing about Robo advisory and some other things that were going on in the FinTech space and that's what led me to Bitcoin, and this is back in early 2015. I didn't start BlockFi until 2017 because I started following the market in the background, still working in traditional financial services in FinTech and then in early 2017 it started to feel like mainstream adoption was starting to happen in the crypto ecosystem. I'm started going to some meetups in New York City because at a certain point my wife said Zac, you're talking about crypto all the time and you're talking to me about it and I don't want to talk about it so you should find some other people to talk about this with. And the meetup composition started to change and in 2016 when I started going to these meetups it was the early crypto adopters you know libertarians, computer scientists and then in early 2017 I started to see some venture capitalists, some guys who had just left their job at Wall Street still wearing a suit, some more entrepreneurs and it was a really exciting time in the ecosystem, things like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance were getting announced which had participation microsoft and a lot of other you know fortune 500 companies and I had started to believe in it. I was drinking the kool-aid a little bit so I decided to find a way to get involved in the space full-time and that's what led me to start BlockFi.
Buck: So I have to imagine that the response you got from the traditional finance people around that time when you started talking about the blockchain space and when you started being more and more involved with that was probably not a very positive response initially or did you did you experience some of that sort of you know rejection initially to what you were doing?
Zac: Yeah absolutely. But you know throughout my career this is now kind of the third emerging technology industry that I've worked in. I was originally an advertising technology starting like you know 15 years ago and I was in FinTech specifically the online lending side of FinTech which in its early days was called peer-to-peer lending and now in crypto. So having to do a lot of education explain it you know why something isn't crazy and it might work and here's why and here's the value proposition and here's what it is, I've gotten very used to that and comfortable with it. But yeah there were a lot of people who are like you know I've heard Bitcoin is only used by drug dealers and money launderers. I've heard that I'm supposed to care about blockchain and not Bitcoin. And you know at BlockFi we’re providing financial products into the market so it's a heavily regulated business so we also had to communicate with regulators. We had to explain to state regulators, federal regulators why what we were doing with Bitcoin and other cryptos than when you're doing these same types of things with assets that they're more familiar with.
Buck: So when you were talking to people back in, I don't know I guess 2016/17 and it's not a long time ago, it's only two years ago, but I have to imagine that the response or the you know the approach that people take to you when you speak to investors is very different. Has it become more mainstream in that regard for you know for big money investors?
Zac: It's absolutely become more mainstream you know the end of 2017 Q3/Q4. Point was going on that parabolic run it started to get covered everywhere, I mean it was on CNBC every day it was in Bloomberg New York Times Wall Street Journal. If you were paying attention to the financial industry and markets you heard about Bitcoin at that time if you hadn't heard about it before. So from a baseline of awareness perspective it got a lot better and then in 2018 you had a number of positive developments for the sector including one that I think is probably the most noteworthy which is that Bitcoin futures were listed on the CME the institutional investor perspective that's massive. You now have a well regulated well known super trustworthy venue where you can get exposure to this asset class, you also had companies like Grayscale bringing products to the market which are accessible to certain types of investors and their low bridge accounts and you started to see some adoption from companies like FinTech companies like Robin Hood and Square making Bitcoin available on their platforms. So the conversation has absolutely changed a lot and it's become less about whether or not this is something that's going to continue to exist whether or not it's something that was just a bubble and is going to die and now it's more about ok how is it going to get used how big could it get what are the interesting applications of it and what could have potentially disrupt in the traditional financial ecosystem.
Buck: So you know we had obviously following this you know pop in 2017, you know I actually like you kind of really got into this early 2017 so timing was pretty good I guess now regards. Good or bad depending how you look at it but I was there before before the parabolic move. And then we have you know then we followed this up with a crypto winter and and you know who knows if we're done with it, I guess we certainly are much better off than we were. You know a unit buddy it's funny Zac I don’t know if you remember this but I was about to, we'll talk about BlockFi specifically in a minute but, I was about to use BlockFi for borrowing because I like this idea of borrowing you know collateralized debt and collateralized debt on assets and buying something else. So I was about to do it and then Bitcoin lost a clip and I was like literally and I remember I was just emailing with somebody somebody over there and I was like sorry dude I guess I just sold it, I just sold all that Bitcoin I had and you sent one email back to me and it said “capitulation” but it you know and so now we're looking back at these we go down from 3,000 back up you know been sort of flirting around this 10,000 and it seems like we're kind of maybe that we're stuck there, maybe we're kind of out of winter, maybe we're in a holding pattern but it seems like to me that since that two years not only is the awareness increase but the development of the ecosystem itself is so much further advanced than it was in 2017. Is this an unusual case where the technology and maybe even the infrastructure is actually outpacing the price?
Zac: You know it's really hard to say. I would argue that in some ways it's typical. In other industries that showed a lot of promise where investors could you know participate maybe a little bit ahead of the adoption curve you saw crazy price run ups with the tech bubble and you know ‘99-2000 being the one that's kind of top of mind in recent memory and then on the other side of things, are we behind where the price should be now? It's really hard to say because this is kind of like a commodity type asset built on a payment network and valuing that is challenging and there's not a perfect model for for doing it today. It's not as easy as something that's cashflow producing but I'm incredibly bullish. I'm on record as saying at the beginning of this year that Bitcoin has only had one year in its 10-year existence where it had a lower low than the year before and parted this year around the low price for 2018 and I predicted that we would in the year had a higher price than where we started the year pretty soon and now we're up and you know around 300 percent from where we started the year. As that happens in investing is people frequently look at things on a year-to-year performance basis and when people are looking at Bitcoin even if all we do is stay around 10 K from here when they're looking at how Bitcoin performed rather than other relative to other assets at the end of 2019 it's probably going to look fantastic. And you also have an event coming up and in the summer of next year called The Halvening where basically the supply that's produced by miners is going to get cut in half and so if you believe in the stock the flow type models of valuation for Bitcoin that is usually a very big driver of price appreciation.
Buck: I believe May of 2020, right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: In May of 2020. Can you just talked a little bit about that just so people know because people hear about it, I've been talking about it but I don't think that it really explained it.
Zac: Yeah and you know I'm not I'm not a computer scientist so I can explain it in a you know in a very simple…
Buck: No one else here is either.
Zac: So basically the way that new Bitcoin is created is through this process called mining. And it's analogous to mining gold except instead of finding a place in the earth where gold exists and then getting your trucks and mining equipment and digging it out of the ground, the way bitcoin is mined is using this computer program and there is now specialized computer hardware that's built specifically and optimized for mining Bitcoin. And you have this network of machines around the world where the input is energy into the mining hardware and the output is new Bitcoin and those miners are what provides the power for the payment network a Bitcoin to run and when we say that there is this event called The Halvening, what that basically means is that the output that's built into the Bitcoin program that the miners are receiving as their payment for contributing energy to the network, is going to get cut in half. So the miners are going to have the same you know relative input but the amount that they're receiving is going to get cut in half for that input. This should, if the demand side for Bitcoin remains equal, it should drive up the price and historically Bitcoin has had three of these Halvening events in its lifetime so far I believe and around each Halvening you have seen you know six months before or six months after a pretty material run up in price.
Buck: Yeah so it also goes along with that sort of that the entire idea that Bitcoin unlike you know other assets including gold is it's a deflationary asset ultimately and and that's one of the things that makes that happening really significant. Apart from and I have one more question before we get to block five which is apart from the Halvening, you know thing that's happening, what is maybe the biggest development or upcoming thing that's coming up that makes you the most bullish on the future of Bitcoin or blockchain in general?
Zac: Sure so I think I wouldn't actually point to any one specific thing, I would point to two broad trends. So one is institutional adoption and participation in the asset class and the other is better ramps for retail participation into the asset class and just focusing here you know on the US market because it really is an international story but just in the US market. In September we should have Bakkt launching their futures platform. Bakkt is owned by ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, and there's a big core difference between their futures and the current futures that are available on the CME in that futures on Bakkt platform are going to be physically settled so that means that actual Bitcoin is going to be needed to facilitate the trading on Bakkt’s platform which does not happen on CMEs exchange so that's that should be a very positive catalyst in terms of demand for physical Bitcoin that could have an impact on the price. Also on the institutional side this year I believe earlier this year, the first pension fund made an investment into an asset management vehicle that was focused on investing in Bitcoin and private equity opportunities in the Bitcoin and blockchain sector. So that will be a trend.
Buck: Which pension fund was it?
Zac: It was in North Carolina so I think it was like the North Carolina Firefighters and the group that raised the money from them was Morgan Creek Digital it’s actually invested in BlockFi by Anthony Pompliano Twitter and Mark Yusko so that's on the institutional side. And then on the retail side you've seen FinTech companies like Square and Robin Hood offer Bitcoin trading to their users. But soon you will also have companies like TD Ameritrade E-Trade and others offer Bitcoin to their users sometimes be a partnership sometimes because they've built it directly. You also at some point might see progress made in terms of an ETF getting approved that would give retail investors in the US market exposure to Bitcoin in a really easy and familiar way. All of those things are tremendously positive catalysts and the caliber of people working on them only continues to increase. Talent was attracted into the sector very, very rapidly these days.
Buck: You know one question that leads me to is that all of this is happening with Bitcoin for the most part. Are alt coins in your opinion is that market coming back or is that something that we're gonna see probably select you know group of tokens projects emerge and then the rest will kind of just get left in the dust, what do you think?
Zac: I mean I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing with my portfolio and then I'll provide a bit more color. So my asset allocation in the crypto side of my investing is I'm like 90% Bitcoin 5% Ethereum and 5% B&B; which is the Binance right. So I'm super bullish on Bitcoin. I think that you know there's a chance that Ether makes a comeback specifically I think that a lot of the stable coins that have been launched have been built on Ethereum if you're not familiar with stable coins it's basically the concept of a dollar but on a blockchain which could be really really powerful because it creates the opportunity for the delivery of US dollar denominated financial services at a global scale not using the traditional banking rails. And then B&B; I mean Binance is the biggest and most successful exchange they have a history of innovating, creating new products, going fast and so I'm taking a bit of a flyer with them but I'm 90% Bitcoin. I don't think that I'm not bullish on any of the other all coins frankly I struggle to see you know the big upside I have heard whispers in the community that there's kind of like a new wave of altcoins 3.0 might emerge, you know could see some some good returns similar to what some of the ICOs did in 2017 but it's not an area of focus for me. So that's my view.
Buck: Yeah let's talk about BlockFi. Remind us exactly what BlockFi is.
Zac: Sure so we're a wealth management platform for crypto investors. Today we have two products that we offer. One product is analogous to a savings account from a traditional bank where you're able to earn interest on your holdings except on BlockFi, the assets instead of being dollars are bitcoin and Ether and we don't have FDIC insurance so it's not exactly the same risk profile as a savings account at a bank, but conceptually you're able to hold Bitcoin and an account with BlockFi and earn interest on it paid in Bitcoin every month. That's one product that we have. The second product that we have which you are alluding to earlier offers our clients the ability to borrow dollars secured by the value of their cryptocurrency and it's analogous to a securities backed loan or a liquidity access line in the traditional world except instead of securities we're taking Bitcoin or other digital assets as collateral and lending it rates as low as four point five lending USD that rates as low as four point five percent a year.
Buck: I wanna pick these apart a little bit if you don't mind. In terms of this savings account first of all is it just bitcoin or is it bitcoin, Ethereum?
Zac: We actually support three assets in the interest account currently Bitcoin, Ether and GUSD which is the stable coin from Gemini.
Buck: Got it. And talk about the interest because it's not one flat interest rate right it's different depending on how much cryptocurrency actually is held?
Zac: Correct so there's a tiered interest rate structure. Currently on Bitcoin for balances up to ten Bitcoin, we offer a six point two percent annual yield and for balances above ten Bitcoin it's a 2.2 percent annual yield. On Ether, for balances up to two hundred Ether it's a 3.3 percent annual yield and balances above two hundred Ether is 0.5% annual yield and for GUSD the stable coin it's an eight point six percent interest rate with no tier so yeah those are the different rates.
Buck: Why did, I mean was it just a matter of like an issue with people dumping like a thousand Bitcoin and trying to get six you know 6% of that, was it just too hard to you know make that a long-term part of the business model or why did the higher levels end up changing to a lower rate?
Zac: Sure so I wanted to function of market conditions and to it's a function of supply and demand. So we launched the interest account in March of this year. We were just starting to come out of the bear market and one of the things that happened as we switched from being in a bear market to being in a bull market is the futures switched from being in backwardation to contango which basically means that our institutional borrowers the groups that we lend to that enable us to pay the rate to depositors had less of a need they had less demand to borrow and they were willing to pay lower rates to borrow crypto than they were when we were building and planning to launch this product. The second thing that happened is we were surprised to the upside in terms of the level of interest that we received from depositors and especially depositors with very large sums of cryptocurrency. So to give you an example you know within a day or two of making the product available publicly, we had a number of groups that were depositing 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars worth of Bitcoin and so the supply-demand that we have to manage is, the amount that we have on deposit relative to the size of this market that will borrow Bitcoin size of the market that will borrow Bitcoin is partially a function of market sentiments partially a function of number of trading venues and the liquidity profile and it's partially a function of you know BlockFi’s efforts in terms of sales and client development relationship management. So the supply side got a little bit ahead of the demand side on deposit and how much there was available to borrow so we made a few tweaks. We want to keep the 6%, 6.2% rate on Bitcoin available to as many people as possible for as long as possible so that's why we went with the tiered structure where we made it available on balances up to 10 and reduced it for balances above that.
Buck: Got it and the interest on that, when you say 6.2 percent that six point like it's all denominated in Bitcoin, you're not paying cash out right?
Zac: Correct so to use round numbers to provide an easy example you start on January first with a hundred Bitcoin in an account, by the subsequent January first you will have 106 point 2 Bitcoin in your account.
Buck: Yeah and that that's kind of neat too because then you're you know you're also getting potentially the upside of that you know I mean they made 6% but if you if you're really bullish on the market you could be potentially looking at a lot more than 6% on your money. How about in terms of the, is there like a you know do you do it sort of a month-to-month or six month or month you know year-long contracts for these things?
Zac: It's month-to-month. So the rates are subject to change on a monthly basis. We provide notifications at least a week in advance before the end of one month on what the rates will be for the subsequent month and people are able to you know withdraw any time without penalty. We reserve up to 7 days to process withdrawals but we've never taken more than one business day to process a withdrawal so they're pretty quick but not instant for security reasons and yeah it's pretty flexible.
Buck: How about the lump in the lending side how does how does that work? So now I've got like 10 Bitcoin and so I would deposit that I guess and you guys I understand that maybe that that goes into like a Gemini account or something, is that still how it works?
Zac: Correct so we have a partnership with Gemini for custody. So when you log into a BlockFi account you'll have a deposit address. When you send Bitcoin to that deposit address it actually goes directly into storage with Gemini. Gemini was the first custodian in the crypto sector to receive insurance against cyber hacks on their platform. They were also the first custodian to get to complete a SOC 2 compliance audit and they have a really long track record of custody billions of dollars worth of crypto without ever having any issues. So it goes directly to Gemini and then you're able to interact with block-wise platform to take any actions that you might deem necessary. So you can view your interest payments you can withdraw you can deposit more you can also take out a loan. So in terms of taking out a loan, if you have ten Bitcoin that's worth roughly a hundred thousand US dollars at this point in time, you can borrow up to fifty percent of that value in a US dollar loan which can be funded be a wire or stable coin and then the structure of those loans is that you make interest-only payments on the amount that you borrowed throughout the duration and you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: And what's the typical you said it was four point six.
Zac: We have interest rates as low as four point five. The interest rates on borrowing USD vary according to your initial loan to value ratio. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin we actually have three loan-to-value ratio options. You can borrow at a 50 percent initial loan-to-value ratio which would mean you're borrowing 50k, the interest rate on that will be eleven point two five, if you borrow thirty five percent of the value so 35k the interest rate is seven point nine, and if you borrow twenty five percent of the value of the interest rate is four point five percent per year.
Buck: Got it. In terms of you know the technical, so you basically pay that on a month-to-month basis and then in terms of contracts, are those also month-to-month loans or how does that work?
Zac: Those are one-year term loans well now it's the ability to renew without repaying the principal at the end of the term at current rates and our rates for those loans have always come down so far. So it's a one-year term loan BlockFi committed for a year at that rate your payments stay the same but you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: Right. When do you do when would you do an actual sort of I guess a cap will call like what loan-to-value because you can go up to say you're borrowing at you know you're borrowing at the lowest rate you know you're at 4.5% you're borrowing see you know just for round numbers 100 Bitcoin you borrowed or you said 10 Bitcoin hundred thousand dollars but you only borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars at four point five percent, what if Bitcoin you know loses 50 percent of its value then what happens?
Zac: Well you wouldn't have a margin call based on on that example. If your loan to value ratio hits 70 percent that's when we have a margin call and the way the margin call works is our clients have the option to either post more collateral, pay down the loan using USD or some of the collateral that's posted for the loan or take no action. If they take no action there's a 72-hour window where we'll wait to see if the price recovers, if it does then no action is required, if the price keeps going down further then we will initiate a partial collateral sale to rebalance that LTV to a healthy level at the end of that window.
Buck: So in terms of the clients that you see doing this kind of stuff, I mean who are you seeing borrowing because you don't have a cap I mean you can on the borrow side, I mean and the rates don't really change like if you're depositing a hundred Bitcoin you're getting the same rate differences as somebody who's depositing ten for borrowing right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: So who are the people who are putting I mean what are these businesses that are putting are using these loans who are the typical clients?
Zac: Sure so it's a mix of retail and corporate. On the retail side we actually did a survey recently on use cases and the number one use case about a third of our borrowers expressed is that they were using the funds that they borrowed to start a business, which we were really excited about. So the other popular use cases were investing in real estate, investing in other types of traditional assets like stocks and bonds, home improvement, larger purchases, vacations were all used cases, paying down higher cost debt was another use case, and then on the corporate side the loans are used for operating capital. So we have some mining companies that borrow from BlockFi. Other types of companies who you know maybe have crypto denominated inventory like exchanges or crypto ATM businesses our frequent borrowers from BlockFi and our loan sizes rearranged from you know as low as five thousand dollars all the way up to seven figures. So it's a pretty diverse group of borrowers.
Buck: So recently it sounds like you guys partnered with another company called Casa. What is Casa and I guess how does that benefit both companies?
Zac: Sure. So Casa is a leader in fighting self sovereign storage solutions for cryptocurrency owners so if you're alone that owns Bitcoin and to use a gold analogy. If you want to own gold but you keep it in your vault or in your backyard you want to have physical possession of it yourself if you want to do that same type of custody with Bitcoin. Casa has a solution that makes that really easy. Our partnership with Casa provides mutual benefits to clients on either side. So Casa clients are able to receive some discounts in terms of accessing BlockFi products and vice-versa BlockFi clients are able to receive discounts in terms of accessing kasam products and over time we'll build some things in to the user experience specifically on Casa’s platform that will make it you know a bit more seamless to interact with BlockFi products while you're on their platform. In general that partnership strategy is something that you'll see more of we think there are in the ecosystem that are specializing in areas that BlockFi's not focused on and doing things where we can provide benefits to clients on both sides is a win-win for us then and our clients.
Buck: Last thing I want to ask you about, last time I spoke to you, you had talked about the idea of potentially Bitcoin backed credit cards meaning like you know getting Bitcoin back instead of miles or dollars back. You guys any closer to that, because I definitely want one of those cards.
Zac: I'm so glad you brought it up. We're definitely closer, but we're not you're not going to have the card until like Q3 of next year probably. It's getting worked on, these things you know for better or worse they take a long time launching a credit program is no small feat you know we're working on it. We've identified some of the key partners that we'll be working with to bring that product to market it is going to happen and I share your sentiment like I wish I had it now.
Buck: Yeah seriously that'd be great. Well listen it was great talking you. So it's BlockFi.com and it's spelled like block and then fi and tell us you know tell us the process of doing is pretty simple okay how long does it take to apply for these things…
Zac: Yeah I mean nothing takes any time really. So you could come in and start earning interest and get a loan from us all in under five minutes. And we also have a client service team that's super responsive in in terms of communication however you want to communicate with them, over email, over the phone, over text message so you know don't don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're also on twitter. My twitter handle is BlockFiZac and our company twitter handle is @therealBlockFi so we're very active on those platforms and happy to chat with you there as well.
Buck: Zac Prince, thank you very much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today.
Zac: Thanks for having me, Buck, I appreciate it.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
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Consensus Network EP36: Buy, Borrow and Die: Bitcoin Style

Catch the full episode: https://www.consensusnetwork.io/podcastepisodes/2019/10/5/ep36-buy-borrow-and-die-bitcoin-style-1
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Zack Prince. He's Founder and CEO of BlockFi. BlockFi bridges the gap between blockchain and the basic financial products that you're used to including interest-bearing accounts and loans. Zack, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. I think you we might have had you on before as a Consensus Network replay but first time on Wealth Formula Podcast specifically, so welcome.
Zac: Yeah, excited to be here, Buck. Thanks for having me. And it's good to chat with you again
Buck: Yeah so remind me how you got into this you know Bitcoin stuff in the first place, I mean you were as I understand you were a traditional finance guy right so where did the blockchain part come in?
Zac: Sure so I was I was working at a company in the FinTech world that provided data and technology solutions to institutional investors that wanted to participate in some of the new online lending platforms, whether they were real estate platforms or consumer lending platforms, and I kind of became the FinTech guy amongst my friend group and people would ask me you know should I invest in these real estate deals on fund rise or buy loans from Lending Club and I started writing a blog to share the information more efficiently with my friends basically and I started expanding a little bit writing about Robo advisory and some other things that were going on in the FinTech space and that's what led me to Bitcoin, and this is back in early 2015. I didn't start BlockFi until 2017 because I started following the market in the background, still working in traditional financial services in FinTech and then in early 2017 it started to feel like mainstream adoption was starting to happen in the crypto ecosystem. I'm started going to some meetups in New York City because at a certain point my wife said Zac, you're talking about crypto all the time and you're talking to me about it and I don't want to talk about it so you should find some other people to talk about this with. And the meetup composition started to change and in 2016 when I started going to these meetups it was the early crypto adopters you know libertarians, computer scientists and then in early 2017 I started to see some venture capitalists, some guys who had just left their job at Wall Street still wearing a suit, some more entrepreneurs and it was a really exciting time in the ecosystem, things like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance were getting announced which had participation microsoft and a lot of other you know fortune 500 companies and I had started to believe in it. I was drinking the kool-aid a little bit so I decided to find a way to get involved in the space full-time and that's what led me to start BlockFi.
Buck: So I have to imagine that the response you got from the traditional finance people around that time when you started talking about the blockchain space and when you started being more and more involved with that was probably not a very positive response initially or did you did you experience some of that sort of you know rejection initially to what you were doing?
Zac: Yeah absolutely. But you know throughout my career this is now kind of the third emerging technology industry that I've worked in. I was originally an advertising technology starting like you know 15 years ago and I was in FinTech specifically the online lending side of FinTech which in its early days was called peer-to-peer lending and now in crypto. So having to do a lot of education explain it you know why something isn't crazy and it might work and here's why and here's the value proposition and here's what it is, I've gotten very used to that and comfortable with it. But yeah there were a lot of people who are like you know I've heard Bitcoin is only used by drug dealers and money launderers. I've heard that I'm supposed to care about blockchain and not Bitcoin. And you know at BlockFi we’re providing financial products into the market so it's a heavily regulated business so we also had to communicate with regulators. We had to explain to state regulators, federal regulators why what we were doing with Bitcoin and other cryptos than when you're doing these same types of things with assets that they're more familiar with.
Buck: So when you were talking to people back in, I don't know I guess 2016/17 and it's not a long time ago, it's only two years ago, but I have to imagine that the response or the you know the approach that people take to you when you speak to investors is very different. Has it become more mainstream in that regard for you know for big money investors?
Zac: It's absolutely become more mainstream you know the end of 2017 Q3/Q4. Point was going on that parabolic run it started to get covered everywhere, I mean it was on CNBC every day it was in Bloomberg New York Times Wall Street Journal. If you were paying attention to the financial industry and markets you heard about Bitcoin at that time if you hadn't heard about it before. So from a baseline of awareness perspective it got a lot better and then in 2018 you had a number of positive developments for the sector including one that I think is probably the most noteworthy which is that Bitcoin futures were listed on the CME the institutional investor perspective that's massive. You now have a well regulated well known super trustworthy venue where you can get exposure to this asset class, you also had companies like Grayscale bringing products to the market which are accessible to certain types of investors and their low bridge accounts and you started to see some adoption from companies like FinTech companies like Robin Hood and Square making Bitcoin available on their platforms. So the conversation has absolutely changed a lot and it's become less about whether or not this is something that's going to continue to exist whether or not it's something that was just a bubble and is going to die and now it's more about ok how is it going to get used how big could it get what are the interesting applications of it and what could have potentially disrupt in the traditional financial ecosystem.
Buck: So you know we had obviously following this you know pop in 2017, you know I actually like you kind of really got into this early 2017 so timing was pretty good I guess now regards. Good or bad depending how you look at it but I was there before before the parabolic move. And then we have you know then we followed this up with a crypto winter and and you know who knows if we're done with it, I guess we certainly are much better off than we were. You know a unit buddy it's funny Zac I don’t know if you remember this but I was about to, we'll talk about BlockFi specifically in a minute but, I was about to use BlockFi for borrowing because I like this idea of borrowing you know collateralized debt and collateralized debt on assets and buying something else. So I was about to do it and then Bitcoin lost a clip and I was like literally and I remember I was just emailing with somebody somebody over there and I was like sorry dude I guess I just sold it, I just sold all that Bitcoin I had and you sent one email back to me and it said “capitulation” but it you know and so now we're looking back at these we go down from 3,000 back up you know been sort of flirting around this 10,000 and it seems like we're kind of maybe that we're stuck there, maybe we're kind of out of winter, maybe we're in a holding pattern but it seems like to me that since that two years not only is the awareness increase but the development of the ecosystem itself is so much further advanced than it was in 2017. Is this an unusual case where the technology and maybe even the infrastructure is actually outpacing the price?
Zac: You know it's really hard to say. I would argue that in some ways it's typical. In other industries that showed a lot of promise where investors could you know participate maybe a little bit ahead of the adoption curve you saw crazy price run ups with the tech bubble and you know ‘99-2000 being the one that's kind of top of mind in recent memory and then on the other side of things, are we behind where the price should be now? It's really hard to say because this is kind of like a commodity type asset built on a payment network and valuing that is challenging and there's not a perfect model for for doing it today. It's not as easy as something that's cashflow producing but I'm incredibly bullish. I'm on record as saying at the beginning of this year that Bitcoin has only had one year in its 10-year existence where it had a lower low than the year before and parted this year around the low price for 2018 and I predicted that we would in the year had a higher price than where we started the year pretty soon and now we're up and you know around 300 percent from where we started the year. As that happens in investing is people frequently look at things on a year-to-year performance basis and when people are looking at Bitcoin even if all we do is stay around 10 K from here when they're looking at how Bitcoin performed rather than other relative to other assets at the end of 2019 it's probably going to look fantastic. And you also have an event coming up and in the summer of next year called The Halvening where basically the supply that's produced by miners is going to get cut in half and so if you believe in the stock the flow type models of valuation for Bitcoin that is usually a very big driver of price appreciation.
Buck: I believe May of 2020, right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: In May of 2020. Can you just talked a little bit about that just so people know because people hear about it, I've been talking about it but I don't think that it really explained it.
Zac: Yeah and you know I'm not I'm not a computer scientist so I can explain it in a you know in a very simple…
Buck: No one else here is either.
Zac: So basically the way that new Bitcoin is created is through this process called mining. And it's analogous to mining gold except instead of finding a place in the earth where gold exists and then getting your trucks and mining equipment and digging it out of the ground, the way bitcoin is mined is using this computer program and there is now specialized computer hardware that's built specifically and optimized for mining Bitcoin. And you have this network of machines around the world where the input is energy into the mining hardware and the output is new Bitcoin and those miners are what provides the power for the payment network a Bitcoin to run and when we say that there is this event called The Halvening, what that basically means is that the output that's built into the Bitcoin program that the miners are receiving as their payment for contributing energy to the network, is going to get cut in half. So the miners are going to have the same you know relative input but the amount that they're receiving is going to get cut in half for that input. This should, if the demand side for Bitcoin remains equal, it should drive up the price and historically Bitcoin has had three of these Halvening events in its lifetime so far I believe and around each Halvening you have seen you know six months before or six months after a pretty material run up in price.
Buck: Yeah so it also goes along with that sort of that the entire idea that Bitcoin unlike you know other assets including gold is it's a deflationary asset ultimately and and that's one of the things that makes that happening really significant. Apart from and I have one more question before we get to block five which is apart from the Halvening, you know thing that's happening, what is maybe the biggest development or upcoming thing that's coming up that makes you the most bullish on the future of Bitcoin or blockchain in general?
Zac: Sure so I think I wouldn't actually point to any one specific thing, I would point to two broad trends. So one is institutional adoption and participation in the asset class and the other is better ramps for retail participation into the asset class and just focusing here you know on the US market because it really is an international story but just in the US market. In September we should have Bakkt launching their futures platform. Bakkt is owned by ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, and there's a big core difference between their futures and the current futures that are available on the CME in that futures on Bakkt platform are going to be physically settled so that means that actual Bitcoin is going to be needed to facilitate the trading on Bakkt’s platform which does not happen on CMEs exchange so that's that should be a very positive catalyst in terms of demand for physical Bitcoin that could have an impact on the price. Also on the institutional side this year I believe earlier this year, the first pension fund made an investment into an asset management vehicle that was focused on investing in Bitcoin and private equity opportunities in the Bitcoin and blockchain sector. So that will be a trend.
Buck: Which pension fund was it?
Zac: It was in North Carolina so I think it was like the North Carolina Firefighters and the group that raised the money from them was Morgan Creek Digital it’s actually invested in BlockFi by Anthony Pompliano Twitter and Mark Yusko so that's on the institutional side. And then on the retail side you've seen FinTech companies like Square and Robin Hood offer Bitcoin trading to their users. But soon you will also have companies like TD Ameritrade E-Trade and others offer Bitcoin to their users sometimes be a partnership sometimes because they've built it directly. You also at some point might see progress made in terms of an ETF getting approved that would give retail investors in the US market exposure to Bitcoin in a really easy and familiar way. All of those things are tremendously positive catalysts and the caliber of people working on them only continues to increase. Talent was attracted into the sector very, very rapidly these days.
Buck: You know one question that leads me to is that all of this is happening with Bitcoin for the most part. Are alt coins in your opinion is that market coming back or is that something that we're gonna see probably select you know group of tokens projects emerge and then the rest will kind of just get left in the dust, what do you think?
Zac: I mean I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing with my portfolio and then I'll provide a bit more color. So my asset allocation in the crypto side of my investing is I'm like 90% Bitcoin 5% Ethereum and 5% B&B; which is the Binance right. So I'm super bullish on Bitcoin. I think that you know there's a chance that Ether makes a comeback specifically I think that a lot of the stable coins that have been launched have been built on Ethereum if you're not familiar with stable coins it's basically the concept of a dollar but on a blockchain which could be really really powerful because it creates the opportunity for the delivery of US dollar denominated financial services at a global scale not using the traditional banking rails. And then B&B; I mean Binance is the biggest and most successful exchange they have a history of innovating, creating new products, going fast and so I'm taking a bit of a flyer with them but I'm 90% Bitcoin. I don't think that I'm not bullish on any of the other all coins frankly I struggle to see you know the big upside I have heard whispers in the community that there's kind of like a new wave of altcoins 3.0 might emerge, you know could see some some good returns similar to what some of the ICOs did in 2017 but it's not an area of focus for me. So that's my view.
Buck: Yeah let's talk about BlockFi. Remind us exactly what BlockFi is.
Zac: Sure so we're a wealth management platform for crypto investors. Today we have two products that we offer. One product is analogous to a savings account from a traditional bank where you're able to earn interest on your holdings except on BlockFi, the assets instead of being dollars are bitcoin and Ether and we don't have FDIC insurance so it's not exactly the same risk profile as a savings account at a bank, but conceptually you're able to hold Bitcoin and an account with BlockFi and earn interest on it paid in Bitcoin every month. That's one product that we have. The second product that we have which you are alluding to earlier offers our clients the ability to borrow dollars secured by the value of their cryptocurrency and it's analogous to a securities backed loan or a liquidity access line in the traditional world except instead of securities we're taking Bitcoin or other digital assets as collateral and lending it rates as low as four point five lending USD that rates as low as four point five percent a year.
Buck: I wanna pick these apart a little bit if you don't mind. In terms of this savings account first of all is it just bitcoin or is it bitcoin, Ethereum?
Zac: We actually support three assets in the interest account currently Bitcoin, Ether and GUSD which is the stable coin from Gemini.
Buck: Got it. And talk about the interest because it's not one flat interest rate right it's different depending on how much cryptocurrency actually is held?
Zac: Correct so there's a tiered interest rate structure. Currently on Bitcoin for balances up to ten Bitcoin, we offer a six point two percent annual yield and for balances above ten Bitcoin it's a 2.2 percent annual yield. On Ether, for balances up to two hundred Ether it's a 3.3 percent annual yield and balances above two hundred Ether is 0.5% annual yield and for GUSD the stable coin it's an eight point six percent interest rate with no tier so yeah those are the different rates.
Buck: Why did, I mean was it just a matter of like an issue with people dumping like a thousand Bitcoin and trying to get six you know 6% of that, was it just too hard to you know make that a long-term part of the business model or why did the higher levels end up changing to a lower rate?
Zac: Sure so I wanted to function of market conditions and to it's a function of supply and demand. So we launched the interest account in March of this year. We were just starting to come out of the bear market and one of the things that happened as we switched from being in a bear market to being in a bull market is the futures switched from being in backwardation to contango which basically means that our institutional borrowers the groups that we lend to that enable us to pay the rate to depositors had less of a need they had less demand to borrow and they were willing to pay lower rates to borrow crypto than they were when we were building and planning to launch this product. The second thing that happened is we were surprised to the upside in terms of the level of interest that we received from depositors and especially depositors with very large sums of cryptocurrency. So to give you an example you know within a day or two of making the product available publicly, we had a number of groups that were depositing 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars worth of Bitcoin and so the supply-demand that we have to manage is, the amount that we have on deposit relative to the size of this market that will borrow Bitcoin size of the market that will borrow Bitcoin is partially a function of market sentiments partially a function of number of trading venues and the liquidity profile and it's partially a function of you know BlockFi’s efforts in terms of sales and client development relationship management. So the supply side got a little bit ahead of the demand side on deposit and how much there was available to borrow so we made a few tweaks. We want to keep the 6%, 6.2% rate on Bitcoin available to as many people as possible for as long as possible so that's why we went with the tiered structure where we made it available on balances up to 10 and reduced it for balances above that.
Buck: Got it and the interest on that, when you say 6.2 percent that six point like it's all denominated in Bitcoin, you're not paying cash out right?
Zac: Correct so to use round numbers to provide an easy example you start on January first with a hundred Bitcoin in an account, by the subsequent January first you will have 106 point 2 Bitcoin in your account.
Buck: Yeah and that that's kind of neat too because then you're you know you're also getting potentially the upside of that you know I mean they made 6% but if you if you're really bullish on the market you could be potentially looking at a lot more than 6% on your money. How about in terms of the, is there like a you know do you do it sort of a month-to-month or six month or month you know year-long contracts for these things?
Zac: It's month-to-month. So the rates are subject to change on a monthly basis. We provide notifications at least a week in advance before the end of one month on what the rates will be for the subsequent month and people are able to you know withdraw any time without penalty. We reserve up to 7 days to process withdrawals but we've never taken more than one business day to process a withdrawal so they're pretty quick but not instant for security reasons and yeah it's pretty flexible.
Buck: How about the lump in the lending side how does how does that work? So now I've got like 10 Bitcoin and so I would deposit that I guess and you guys I understand that maybe that that goes into like a Gemini account or something, is that still how it works?
Zac: Correct so we have a partnership with Gemini for custody. So when you log into a BlockFi account you'll have a deposit address. When you send Bitcoin to that deposit address it actually goes directly into storage with Gemini. Gemini was the first custodian in the crypto sector to receive insurance against cyber hacks on their platform. They were also the first custodian to get to complete a SOC 2 compliance audit and they have a really long track record of custody billions of dollars worth of crypto without ever having any issues. So it goes directly to Gemini and then you're able to interact with block-wise platform to take any actions that you might deem necessary. So you can view your interest payments you can withdraw you can deposit more you can also take out a loan. So in terms of taking out a loan, if you have ten Bitcoin that's worth roughly a hundred thousand US dollars at this point in time, you can borrow up to fifty percent of that value in a US dollar loan which can be funded be a wire or stable coin and then the structure of those loans is that you make interest-only payments on the amount that you borrowed throughout the duration and you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: And what's the typical you said it was four point six.
Zac: We have interest rates as low as four point five. The interest rates on borrowing USD vary according to your initial loan to value ratio. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin we actually have three loan-to-value ratio options. You can borrow at a 50 percent initial loan-to-value ratio which would mean you're borrowing 50k, the interest rate on that will be eleven point two five, if you borrow thirty five percent of the value so 35k the interest rate is seven point nine, and if you borrow twenty five percent of the value of the interest rate is four point five percent per year.
Buck: Got it. In terms of you know the technical, so you basically pay that on a month-to-month basis and then in terms of contracts, are those also month-to-month loans or how does that work?
Zac: Those are one-year term loans well now it's the ability to renew without repaying the principal at the end of the term at current rates and our rates for those loans have always come down so far. So it's a one-year term loan BlockFi committed for a year at that rate your payments stay the same but you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: Right. When do you do when would you do an actual sort of I guess a cap will call like what loan-to-value because you can go up to say you're borrowing at you know you're borrowing at the lowest rate you know you're at 4.5% you're borrowing see you know just for round numbers 100 Bitcoin you borrowed or you said 10 Bitcoin hundred thousand dollars but you only borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars at four point five percent, what if Bitcoin you know loses 50 percent of its value then what happens?
Zac: Well you wouldn't have a margin call based on on that example. If your loan to value ratio hits 70 percent that's when we have a margin call and the way the margin call works is our clients have the option to either post more collateral, pay down the loan using USD or some of the collateral that's posted for the loan or take no action. If they take no action there's a 72-hour window where we'll wait to see if the price recovers, if it does then no action is required, if the price keeps going down further then we will initiate a partial collateral sale to rebalance that LTV to a healthy level at the end of that window.
Buck: So in terms of the clients that you see doing this kind of stuff, I mean who are you seeing borrowing because you don't have a cap I mean you can on the borrow side, I mean and the rates don't really change like if you're depositing a hundred Bitcoin you're getting the same rate differences as somebody who's depositing ten for borrowing right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: So who are the people who are putting I mean what are these businesses that are putting are using these loans who are the typical clients?
Zac: Sure so it's a mix of retail and corporate. On the retail side we actually did a survey recently on use cases and the number one use case about a third of our borrowers expressed is that they were using the funds that they borrowed to start a business, which we were really excited about. So the other popular use cases were investing in real estate, investing in other types of traditional assets like stocks and bonds, home improvement, larger purchases, vacations were all used cases, paying down higher cost debt was another use case, and then on the corporate side the loans are used for operating capital. So we have some mining companies that borrow from BlockFi. Other types of companies who you know maybe have crypto denominated inventory like exchanges or crypto ATM businesses our frequent borrowers from BlockFi and our loan sizes rearranged from you know as low as five thousand dollars all the way up to seven figures. So it's a pretty diverse group of borrowers.
Buck: So recently it sounds like you guys partnered with another company called Casa. What is Casa and I guess how does that benefit both companies?
Zac: Sure. So Casa is a leader in fighting self sovereign storage solutions for cryptocurrency owners so if you're alone that owns Bitcoin and to use a gold analogy. If you want to own gold but you keep it in your vault or in your backyard you want to have physical possession of it yourself if you want to do that same type of custody with Bitcoin. Casa has a solution that makes that really easy. Our partnership with Casa provides mutual benefits to clients on either side. So Casa clients are able to receive some discounts in terms of accessing BlockFi products and vice-versa BlockFi clients are able to receive discounts in terms of accessing kasam products and over time we'll build some things in to the user experience specifically on Casa’s platform that will make it you know a bit more seamless to interact with BlockFi products while you're on their platform. In general that partnership strategy is something that you'll see more of we think there are in the ecosystem that are specializing in areas that BlockFi's not focused on and doing things where we can provide benefits to clients on both sides is a win-win for us then and our clients.
Buck: Last thing I want to ask you about, last time I spoke to you, you had talked about the idea of potentially Bitcoin backed credit cards meaning like you know getting Bitcoin back instead of miles or dollars back. You guys any closer to that, because I definitely want one of those cards.
Zac: I'm so glad you brought it up. We're definitely closer, but we're not you're not going to have the card until like Q3 of next year probably. It's getting worked on, these things you know for better or worse they take a long time launching a credit program is no small feat you know we're working on it. We've identified some of the key partners that we'll be working with to bring that product to market it is going to happen and I share your sentiment like I wish I had it now.
Buck: Yeah seriously that'd be great. Well listen it was great talking you. So it's BlockFi.com and it's spelled like block and then fi and tell us you know tell us the process of doing is pretty simple okay how long does it take to apply for these things…
Zac: Yeah I mean nothing takes any time really. So you could come in and start earning interest and get a loan from us all in under five minutes. And we also have a client service team that's super responsive in in terms of communication however you want to communicate with them, over email, over the phone, over text message so you know don't don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're also on twitter. My twitter handle is BlockFiZac and our company twitter handle is @therealBlockFi so we're very active on those platforms and happy to chat with you there as well.
Buck: Zac Prince, thank you very much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today.
Zac: Thanks for having me, Buck, I appreciate it.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
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US Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses – by Michael Hudson • 23 July 2019

https://outline.com/VM2DEM • 5,400 Words •
Today’s world is at war on many fronts. The rules of international law and order put in place toward the end of World War II are being broken by U.S. foreign policy escalating its confrontation with countries that refrain from giving its companies control of their economic surpluses. Countries that do not give the United States control of their oil and financial sectors or privatize their key sectors are being isolated by the United States imposing trade sanctions and unilateral tariffs giving special advantages to U.S. producers in violation of free trade agreements with European, Asian and other countries.
This global fracture has an increasingly military cast. U.S. officials justify tariffs and import quotas illegal under WTO rules on “national security” grounds, claiming that the United States can do whatever it wants as the world’s “exceptional” nation. U.S. officials explain that this means that their nation is not obliged to adhere to international agreements or even to its own treaties and promises. This allegedly sovereign right to ignore on its international agreements was made explicit after Bill Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeline Albright broke the promise by President George Bush and Secretary of State James Baker that NATO would not expand eastward after 1991. (“You didn’t get it in writing,” was the U.S. response to the verbal agreements that were made.)
Likewise, the Trump administration repudiated the multilateral Iranian nuclear agreement signed by the Obama administration, and is escalating warfare with its proxy armies in the Near East. U.S. politicians are waging a New Cold War against Russia, China, Iran, and oil-exporting countries that the United States is seeking to isolate if cannot control their governments, central bank and foreign diplomacy.
The international framework that originally seemed equitable was pro-U.S. from the outset. In 1945 this was seen as a natural result of the fact that the U.S. economy was the least war-damaged and held by far most of the world’s monetary gold. Still, the postwar trade and financial framework was ostensibly set up on fair and equitable international principles. Other countries were expected to recover and grow, creating diplomatic, financial and trade parity with each other.
But the past decade has seen U.S. diplomacy become one-sided in turning the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, SWIFT bank-clearing system and world trade into an asymmetrically exploitative system. This unilateral U.S.-centered array of institutions is coming to be widely seen not only as unfair, but as blocking the progress of other countries whose growth and prosperity is seen by U.S. foreign policy as a threat to unilateral U.S. hegemony. What began as an ostensibly international order to promote peaceful prosperity has turned increasingly into an extension of U.S. nationalism, predatory rent-extraction and a more dangerous military confrontation.
Deterioration of international diplomacy into a more nakedly explicit pro-U.S. financial, trade and military aggression was implicit in the way in which economic diplomacy was shaped when the United Nations, IMF and World Bank were shaped mainly by U.S. economic strategists. Their economic belligerence is driving countries to withdraw from the global financial and trade order that has been turned into a New Cold War vehicle to impose unilateral U.S. hegemony. Nationalistic reactions are consolidating into new economic and political alliances from Europe to Asia.
We are still mired in the Oil War that escalated in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq, which quickly spread to Libya and Syria. American foreign policy has long been based largely on control of oil. This has led the United States to oppose the Paris accords to stem global warming. Its aim is to give U.S. officials the power to impose energy sanctions forcing other countries to “freeze in the dark” if they do not follow U.S. leadership.
To expand its oil monopoly, America is pressuring Europe to oppose the Nordstream II gas pipeline from Russia, claiming that this would make Germany and other countries dependent on Russia instead of on U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG). Likewise, American oil diplomacy has imposed unilateral sanctions against Iranian oil exports, until such time as a regime change opens up that country’s oil reserves to U.S., French, British and other allied oil majors.
U.S. control of dollarized money and credit is critical to this hegemony. As Congressman Brad Sherman of Los Angeles told a House Financial Services Committee hearing on May 9, 2019: “An awful lot of our international power comes from the fact that the U.S. dollar is the standard unit of international finance and transactions. Clearing through the New York Fed is critical for major oil and other transactions. It is the announced purpose of the supporters of cryptocurrency to take that power away from us, to put us in a position where the most significant sanctions we have against Iran, for example, would become irrelevant.”[1]
The U.S. aim is to keep the dollar as the transactions currency for world trade, savings, central bank reserves and international lending. This monopoly status enables the U.S. Treasury and State Department to disrupt the financial payments system and trade for countries with which the United States is at economic or outright military war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly responded by describing how “the degeneration of the universalist globalization model [is] turning into a parody, a caricature of itself, where common international rules are replaced with the laws… of one country.”[2] That is the trajectory on which this deterioration of formerly open international trade and finance is now moving. It has been building up for a decade. On June 5, 2009, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev cited this same disruptive U.S. dynamic at work in the wake of the U.S. junk mortgage and bank fraud crisis.
Those whose job it was to forecast events … were not ready for the depth of the crisis and turned out to be too rigid, unwieldy and slow in their response. The international financial organisations – and I think we need to state this up front and not try to hide it – were not up to their responsibilities, as has been said quite unambiguously at a number of major international events such as the two recent G20 summits of the world’s largest economies.
Furthermore, we have had confirmation that our pre-crisis analysis of global economic trends and the global economic system were correct. The artificially maintained uni-polar system and preservation of monopolies in key global economic sectors are root causes of the crisis. One big centre of consumption, financed by a growing deficit, and thus growing debts, one formerly strong reserve currency, and one dominant system of assessing assets and risks – these are all factors that led to an overall drop in the quality of regulation and the economic justification of assessments made, including assessments of macroeconomic policy. As a result, there was no avoiding a global crisis.[3]
That crisis is what is now causing today’s break in global trade and payments.
Warfare on many fronts, with Dollarization being the main arena
Dissolution of the Soviet Union 1991 did not bring the disarmament that was widely expected. U.S. leadership celebrated the Soviet demise as signaling the end of foreign opposition to U.S.-sponsored neoliberalism and even as the End of History. NATO expanded to encircle Russia and sponsored “color revolutions” from Georgia to Ukraine, while carving up former Yugoslavia into small statelets. American diplomacy created a foreign legion of Wahabi fundamentalists from Afghanistan to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya in support of Saudi Arabian extremism and Israeli expansionism.
The United States is waging war for control of oil against Venezuela, where a military coup failed a few years ago, as did the 2018-19 stunt to recognize an unelected pro-American puppet regime. The Honduran coup under President Obama was more successful in overthrowing an elected president advocating land reform, continuing the tradition dating back to 1954 when the CIA overthrew Guatemala’s Arbenz regime.
U.S. officials bear a special hatred for countries that they have injured, ranging from Guatemala in 1954 to Iran, whose regime it overthrew to install the Shah as military dictator. Claiming to promote “democracy,” U.S. diplomacy has redefined the word to mean pro-American, and opposing land reform, national ownership of raw materials and public subsidy of foreign agriculture or industry as an “undemocratic” attack on “free markets,” meaning markets controlled by U.S. financial interests and absentee owners of land, natural resources and banks.
A major byproduct of warfare has always been refugees, and today’s wave fleeing ISIS, Al Qaeda and other U.S.-backed Near Eastern proxies is flooding Europe. A similar wave is fleeing the dictatorial regimes backed by the United States from Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia and neighboring countries. The refugee crisis has become a major factor leading to the resurgence of nationalist parties throughout Europe and for the white nationalism of Donald Trump in the United States.
Dollarization as the vehicle for U.S. nationalism
The Dollar Standard – U.S. Treasury debt to foreigners held by the world’s central banks – has replaced the gold-exchange standard for the world’s central bank reserves to settle payments imbalances among themselves. This has enabled the United States to uniquely run balance-of-payments deficits for nearly seventy years, despite the fact that these Treasury IOUs have little visible likelihood of being repaid except under arrangements where U.S. rent-seeking and outright financial tribute from other enables it to liquidate its official foreign debt.
The United States is the only nation that can run sustained balance-of-payments deficits without having to sell off its assets or raise interest rates to borrow foreign money. No other national economy in the world can could afford foreign military expenditures on any major scale without losing its exchange value. Without the Treasury-bill standard, the United States would be in this same position along with other nations. That is why Russia, China and other powers that U.S. strategists deem to be strategic rivals and enemies are looking to restore gold’s role as the preferred asset to settle payments imbalances.
The U.S. response is to impose regime change on countries that prefer gold or other foreign currencies to dollars for their exchange reserves. A case in point is the overthrow of Libya’s Omar Kaddafi after he sought to base his nation’s international reserves on gold. His liquidation stands as a military warning to other countries.
Thanks to the fact that payments-surplus economies invest their dollar inflows in U.S. Treasury bonds, the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit finances its domestic budget deficit. This foreign central-bank recycling of U.S. overseas military spending into purchases of U.S. Treasury securities gives the United States a free ride, financing its budget – also mainly military in character – so that it can taxing its own citizens.
Trump is forcing other countries to create an alternative to the Dollar Standard
The fact that Donald Trump’s economic policies are proving ineffective in restoring American manufacturing is creating rising nationalist pressure to exploit foreigners by arbitrary tariffs without regard for international law, and to impose trade sanctions and diplomatic meddling to disrupt regimes that pursue policies that U.S. diplomats do not like.
There is a parallel here with Rome in the late 1st century BC. It stripped its provinces to pay for its military deficit, the grain dole and land redistribution at the expense of Italian cities and Asia Minor. This created foreign opposition to drive Rome out. The U.S. economy is similar to Rome’s: extractive rather than productive, based mainly on land rents and money-interest. As the domestic market is impoverished, U.S. politicians are seeking to take from abroad what no longer is being produced at home.
What is so ironic – and so self-defeating of America’s free global ride – is that Trump’s simplistic aim of lowering the dollar’s exchange rate to make U.S. exports more price-competitive. He imagines commodity trade to be the entire balance of payments, as if there were no military spending, not to mention lending and investment. To lower the dollar’s exchange rate, he is demanding that China’s central bank and those of other countries stop supporting the dollar by recycling the dollars they receive for their exports into holdings of U.S. Treasury securities.
This tunnel vision leaves out of account the fact that the trade balance is not simply a matter of comparative international price levels. The United States has dissipated its supply of spare manufacturing capacity and local suppliers of parts and materials, while much of its industrial engineering and skilled manufacturing labor has retired. An immense shortfall must be filled by new capital investment, education and public infrastructure, whose charges are far above those of other economics.
Trump’s infrastructure ideology is a Public-Private Partnership characterized by high-cost financialization demanding high monopoly rents to cover its interest charges, stock dividends and management fees. This neoliberal policy raises the cost of living for the U.S. labor force, making it uncompetitive. The United States is unable to produce more at any price right now, because its has spent the past half-century dismantling its infrastructure, closing down its part suppliers and outsourcing its industrial technology.
The United States has privatized and financialized infrastructure and basic needs such as public health and medical care, education and transportation that other countries have kept in their public domain to make their economies more cost-efficient by providing essential services at subsidized prices or freely. The United States also has led the practice of debt pyramiding, from housing to corporate finance. This financial engineering and wealth creation by inflating debt-financed real estate and stock market bubbles has made the United States a high-cost economy that cannot compete successfully with well-managed mixed economies.
Unable to recover dominance in manufacturing, the United States is concentrating on rent-extracting sectors that it hopes monopolize, headed by information technology and military production. On the industrial front, it threatens to disrupt China and other mixed economies by imposing trade and financial sanctions.
The great gamble is whether these other countries will defend themselves by joining in alliances enabling them to bypass the U.S. economy. American strategists imagine their country to be the world’s essential economy, without whose market other countries must suffer depression. The Trump Administration thinks that There Is No Alternative (TINA) for other countries except for their own financial systems to rely on U.S. dollar credit.
To protect themselves from U.S. sanctions, countries would have to avoid using the dollar, and hence U.S. banks. This would require creation of a non-dollarized financial system for use among themselves, including their own alternative to the SWIFT bank clearing system. Table 1 lists some possible related defenses against U.S. nationalistic diplomacy.
As noted above, what also is ironic in President Trump’s accusation of China and other countries of artificially manipulating their exchange rate against the dollar (by recycling their trade and payments surpluses into Treasury securities to hold down their currency’s dollar valuation) involves dismantling the Treasury-bill standard. The main way that foreign economies have stabilized their exchange rate since 1971 has indeed been to recycle their dollar inflows into U.S. Treasury securities. Letting their currency’s value rise would threaten their export competitiveness against their rivals, although not necessarily benefit the United States.
Ending this practice leaves countries with the main way to protect their currencies from rising against the dollar is to reduce dollar inflows by blocking U.S. lending to domestic borrowers. They may levy floating tariffs proportioned to the dollar’s declining value. The U.S. has a long history since the 1920s of raising its tariffs against currencies that are depreciating: the American Selling Price (ASP) system. Other countries can impose their own floating tariffs against U.S. goods.
Trade dependency as an aim of the World Bank, IMF and US AID
The world today faces a problem much like what it faced on the eve of World War II. Like Germany then, the United States now poses the main threat of war, and equally destructive neoliberal economic regimes imposing austerity, economic shrinkage and depopulation. U.S. diplomats are threatening to destroy regimes and entire economies that seek to remain independent of this system, by trade and financial sanctions backed by direct military force.
Dedollarization will require creation of multilateral alternatives to U.S. “front” institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and other agencies in which the United States holds veto power to block any alternative policies deemed not to let it “win.” U.S. trade policy through the World Bank and U.S. foreign aid agencies aims at promoting dependency on U.S. food exports and other key commodities, while hiring U.S. engineering firms to build up export infrastructure to subsidize U.S. and other natural-resource investors.[4] The financing is mainly in dollars, providing risk-free bonds to U.S. and other financial institutions. The resulting commercial and financial “interdependency” has led to a situation in which a sudden interruption of supply would disrupt foreign economies by causing a breakdown in their chain of payments and production. The effect is to lock client countries into dependency on the U.S. economy and its diplomacy, euphemized as “promoting growth and development.”
U.S. neoliberal policy via the IMF imposes austerity and opposes debt writedowns. Its economic model pretends that debtor countries can pay any volume of dollar debt simply by reducing wages to squeeze more income out of the labor force to pay foreign creditors. This ignores the fact that solving the domestic “budget problem” by taxing local revenue still faces the “transfer problem” of converting it into dollars or other hard currencies in which most international debt is denominated. The result is that the IMF’s “stabilization” programs actually destabilize and impoverish countries forced into following its advice.
IMF loans support pro-U.S. regimes such as Ukraine, and subsidize capital flight by supporting local currencies long enough to enable U.S. client oligarchies to flee their currencies at a pre-devaluation exchange rate for the dollar. When the local currency finally is allowed to collapse, debtor countries are advised to impose anti-labor austerity. This globalizes the class war of capital against labor while keeping debtor countries on a short U.S. financial leash.
U.S. diplomacy is capped by trade sanctions to disrupt economies that break away from U.S. aims. Sanctions are a form of economic sabotage, as lethal as outright military warfare in establishing U.S. control over foreign economies. The threat is to impoverish civilian populations, in the belief that this will lead them to replace their governments with pro-American regimes promising to restore prosperity by selling off their domestic infrastructure to U.S. and other multinational investors.
chart hudson
There are alternatives, on many fronts
Militarily, today’s leading alternative to NATO expansionism is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), along with Europe following France’s example under Charles de Gaulle and withdrawing. After all, there is no real threat of military invasion today in Europe. No nation can occupy another without an enormous military draft and such heavy personnel losses that domestic protests would unseat the government waging such a war. The U.S. anti-war movement in the 1960s signaled the end of the military draft, not only in the United States but in nearly all democratic countries. (Israel, Switzerland, Brazil and North Korea are exceptions.)
The enormous spending on armaments for a kind of war unlikely to be fought is not really military, but simply to provide profits to the military industrial complex. The arms are not really to be used. They are simply to be bought, and ultimately scrapped. The danger, of course, is that these not-for-use arms actually might be used, if only to create a need for new profitable production.
Likewise, foreign holdings of dollars are not really to be spent on purchases of U.S. exports or investments. They are like fine-wine collectibles, for saving rather than for drinking. The alternative to such dollarized holdings is to create a mutual use of national currencies, and a domestic bank-clearing payments system as an alternative to SWIFT. Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela already are said to be developing a crypto-currency payments to circumvent U.S. sanctions and hence financial control.
In the World Trade Organization, the United States has tried to claim that any industry receiving public infrastructure or credit subsidy deserves tariff retaliation in order to force privatization. In response to WTO rulings that U.S. tariffs are illegally imposed, the United States “has blocked all new appointments to the seven-member appellate body in protest, leaving it in danger of collapse because it may not have enough judges to allow it to hear new cases.”[5] In the U.S. view, only privatized trade financed by private rather than public banks is “fair” trade.
An alternative to the WTO (or removal of its veto privilege given to the U.S. bloc) is needed to cope with U.S. neoliberal ideology and, most recently, the U.S. travesty claiming “national security” exemption to free-trade treaties, impose tariffs on steel, aluminum, and on European countries that circumvent sanctions on Iran or threaten to buy oil from Russia via the Nordstream II pipeline instead of high-cost liquified “freedom gas” from the United States.
In the realm of development lending, China’s bank along with its Belt and Road initiative is an incipient alternative to the World Bank, whose main role has been to promote foreign dependency on U.S. suppliers. The IMF for its part now functions as an extension of the U.S. Department of Defense to subsidize client regimes such as Ukraine while financially isolating countries not subservient to U.S. diplomacy.
To save debt-strapped economies suffering Greek-style austerity, the world needs to replace neoliberal economic theory with an analytic logic for debt writedowns based on the ability to pay. The guiding principle of the needed development-oriented logic of international law should be that no nation should be obliged to pay foreign creditors by having to sell of the public domain and rent-extraction rights to foreign creditors. The defining character of nationhood should be the fiscal right to tax natural resource rents and financial returns, and to create its own monetary system.
The United States refuses to join the International Criminal Court. To be effective, it needs enforcement power for its judgments and penalties, capped by the ability to bring charges of war crimes in the tradition of the Nuremberg tribunal. U.S. to such a court, combined with its military buildup now threatening World War III, suggests a new alignment of countries akin to the Non-Aligned Nations movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Non-aligned in this case means freedom from U.S. diplomatic control or threats.
Such institutions require a more realistic economic theory and philosophy of operations to replace the neoliberal logic for anti-government privatization, anti-labor austerity, and opposition to domestic budget deficits and debt writedowns. Today’s neoliberal doctrine counts financial late fees and rising housing prices as adding to “real output” (GDP), but deems public investment as deadweight spending, not a contribution to output. The aim of such logic is to convince governments to pay their foreign creditors by selling off their public infrastructure and other assets in the public domain.
Just as the “capacity to pay” principle was the foundation stone of the Bank for International Settlements in 1931, a similar basis is needed to measure today’s ability to pay debts and hence to write down bad loans that have been made without a corresponding ability of debtors to pay. Without such an institution and body of analysis, the IMF’s neoliberal principle of imposing economic depression and falling living standards to pay U.S. and other foreign creditors will impose global poverty.
The above proposals provide an alternative to the U.S. “exceptionalist” refusal to join any international organization that has a say over its affairs. Other countries must be willing to turn the tables and isolate U.S. banks, U.S. exporters, and to avoid using U.S. dollars and routing payments via U.S. banks. To protect their ability to create a countervailing power requires an international court and its sponsoring organization.
Summary
The first existential objective is to avoid the current threat of war by winding down U.S. military interference in foreign countries and removing U.S. military bases as relics of neocolonialism. Their danger to world peace and prosperity threatens a reversion to the pre-World War II colonialism, ruling by client elites along lines similar to the 2014 Ukrainian coup by neo-Nazi groups sponsored by the U.S. State Department and National Endowment for Democracy. Such control recalls the dictators that U.S. diplomacy established throughout Latin America in the 1950s. Today’s ethnic terrorism by U.S.-sponsored Wahabi-Saudi Islam recalls the behavior of Nazi Germany in the 1940s.
Global warming is the second major existentialist threat. Blocking attempts to reverse it is a bedrock of American foreign policy, because it is based on control of oil. So the military, refugee and global warming threats are interconnected.
The U.S. military poses the greatest immediate danger. Today’s warfare is fundamentally changed from what it used to be. Prior to the 1970s, nations conquering others had to invade and occupy them with armies recruited by a military draft. But no democracy in today’s world can revive such a draft without triggering widespread refusal to fight, voting the government out of power. The only way the United States – or other countries – can fight other nations is to bomb them. And as noted above, economic sanctions have as destructive an effect on civilian populations in countries deemed to be U.S. adversaries as overt warfare. The United States can sponsor political coups (as in Honduras and Pinochet’s Chile), but cannot occupy. It is unwilling to rebuild, to say nothing of taking responsibility for the waves of refugees that our bombing and sanctions are causing from Latin America to the Near East.
U.S. ideologues view their nation’s coercive military expansion and political subversion and neoliberal economic policy of privatization and financialization as an irreversible victory signaling the End of History. To the rest of the world it is a threat to human survival.
The American promise is that the victory of neoliberalism is the End of History, offering prosperity to the entire world. But beneath the rhetoric of free choice and free markets is the reality of corruption, subversion, coercion, debt peonage and neofeudalism. The reality is the creation and subsidy of polarized economies bifurcated between a privileged rentier class and its clients, their debtors and renters. America is to be permitted to monopolize trade in oil and food grains, and high-technology rent-yielding monopolies, living off its dependent customers. Unlike medieval serfdom, people subject to this End of History scenario can choose to live wherever they want. But wherever they live, they must take on a lifetime of debt to obtain access to a home of their own, and rely on U.S.-sponsored control of their basic needs, money and credit by adhering to U.S. financial planning of their economies. This dystopian scenario confirms Rosa Luxemburg’s recognition that the ultimate choice facing nations in today’s world is between socialism and barbarism.
Keynote Paper delivered at the 14th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy, July 21, 2019.
Notes
[1] Billy Bambrough, “Bitcoin Threatens To ‘Take Power’ From The U.S. Federal Reserve,” Forbes, May 15, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/billybambrough/2019/05/15/a-u-s-congressman-is-so-scared-of-bitcoin-and-crypto-he-wants-it-banned/#36b2700b6405.
[2] Vladimir Putin, keynote address to the Economic Forum, June 5-6 2019. Putin went on to warn of “a policy of completely unlimited economic egoism and a forced breakdown.” This fragmenting of the global economic space “is the road to endless conflict, trade wars and maybe not just trade wars. Figuratively, this is the road to the ultimate fight of all against all.”
[3] Address to St Petersburg International Economic Forum’s Plenary Session, St Petersburg, Kremlin.ru, June 5, 2009, from Johnson’s Russia List, June 8, 2009, #8,
[4] https://www.rt.com/business/464013-china-russia-cryptocurrency-dollar-dethrone/ . Already in the late 1950s the Forgash Plan proposed a World Bank for Economic Acceleration. Designed by Terence McCarthy and sponsored by Florida Senator Morris Forgash, the bank would have been a more truly development-oriented institution to guide foreign development to create balanced economies self-sufficient in food and other essentials. The proposal was opposed by U.S. interests on the ground that countries pursuing land reform tended to be anti-American. More to the point, they would have avoided trade and financial dependency on U.S. suppliers and banks, and hence on U.S. trade and financial sanctions to prevent them from following policies at odds with U.S. diplomatic demands.
[5] Don Weinland, “WTO rules against US in tariff dispute with China,” Financial Times, July 17, 2019.
https://xenagoguevicene.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/u-s-economic-warfare-and-likely-foreign-defenses-by-michael-hudson-%e2%80%a2-23-july-2019/
submitted by finnagains to conspiracy [link] [comments]

Proposed method to email crypto-coins directly.

Below are some ideas I have been working on to allow direct off-blockchain transfer of Bitcoin Private Keys while preventing Double-Spend and Counterfeiting . There is a reference to tamper-proof Physical Bitcoin as DA BOMB- Directly Available Bitcoin On Metal Banknotes. These Physical Bitcoins and their digitally encrypted representations are the basis for off-blockchain exchange of value. Off-Blockchain exchanges are completely private and as fast as sending an email.

FAST BITCOIN

Daily settlement between corporations, instant settlement on trading or funded shopping channels, physical bitcoin possession for investors .
Each platform which offers FAST BITCOIN will purchase a large amount of DA BOMB to power their digital envelope re-sale network. All networks will be compatible and fungible assets composed of.
When a customer places an order for DA BOMB I load a certain amount of BTC in various denominations onto a selection of bitcoin wallets, which are then manufactured as physical bitcoin.
This amount of BTC is the amount this customer can spend on the FAST BITCOIN network.
The Bitcoin the customer spends never moves on the BTC Blockchain.
The envelope containing the customer’s BTC is credited or debited a certain combination of addresses that contain a known amount of BTC, adding up to the exact amount of the transaction.
Transactions can only be made in ROUND NUMBERS of a certain resolution, such as 0.0001 BTC , and the resolution will be finer at a later date to account for the rise of value of BTC in the future.
The contents of a customer’s envelope will be maintained to allow for making change and to account for his spending or funding of his account.
The main issuer of FAST BITCOIN will be Satoshi Bitcoin Incorporated, with other platforms buying enough DA BOMB to issue their own FAST BITCOIN on their own shopping platforms.
Customers can always write to the platform and request that their remaining envelope balance be mailed to their physical address.
The envelope contents are tracked on a separate blockchain, the FAST BITCOIN blockchain.
Customers can use their physical bitcoin like paper money, or break the hologram seal and view the private key to use as regular bitcoin on the bitcoin blockchain.
Only TRUSTED NODES are on the FAST BITCOIN Blockchain. The Network is composed of the corporate members who offer FAST BITCOIN shopping at their websites, and join by invitation only. Large networks can fuel their own branded shopping tokens with FAST BITCOIN after paying a co-branding fee, or simply use FAST BITCOIN without re-branding to their own token name.
Software can equate all prices at a website to the token value of choice on the platform, so that the shopper may make purchases via FAST BITCOIN while referring to prices in stable fiat equivalent tokens, or re-branded token values.
The customer’s purchasing power varies with the price of Bitcoin, but the visible prices remain stable.
The customer may buy a StableCoin (not Tethers) to fund all or part of their account, or switch from BTC to StableCoin at will; or let the system do this for him. BTC going up, funding remains in BTC, BTC going down, Funding switches too StableCoin.
A purely electronic version of FAST BITCOIN will rely on a hardware device to store the private keys offline and always in encrypted form when connected to the internet.
There is object “A” : the FAST BITCOIN Wallet
There is object “B” : the individual private keys
The system works with a combination of Master System Key Encryption and Asymmetrical Key Encryption.
The Hardware device is called a SPLIT WALLET. It is a combination of a HOT WALLET and a COLD WALLET. The two halves of the split wallet can only communicate with each other when the device is unplugged from the device being used to access the Internet.
The Master System Key resides on the Cold Wallet and can’t be viewed without destroying the function of the Hardware Wallet.
To send bitcoin to a person on the network, the hardware wallet takes the addresses needed to add up to the desired amount and encrypts them with the PUBLIC KEY of the receiving device.
The BITCOIN CASH BLOCKCHAIN is used as a KEY SERVER to store the PUBLIC KEY of every device manufactured, linked to its registration number and owner identity. The OWNER IDENTITY is an EMAIL ADDRESS which is [[email protected]_BITCOIN.COM](mailto:[email protected]_bitcoin.com) .
The addresses are encrypted by the SYSTEM MASTER KEY , then by the RECIPIENT PUBLIC KEY and emailed to the above email address.
The whole network is sustained by a peer-to-peer email remailer network. Software on the machine used by the hardware device to connect to the INTERNET is designed to run a peer-to-peer email remailer node.
As well as sending the recipient an email via the re-mailer network, an entry is made on the BITCOIN CASH BLOCKCHAIN containing the double encrypted bitcoin private keys, recipient email address, and transaction identifier . This also contains the device registration number as part of the owner email address.
Thus even if the domain is blocked from sending email the information needed to use the bitcoin is available from the data stored on the BITCOIN CASH BLOCKCHAIN.
The value of Bitcoin Cash does not impact the cost of sending bitcoin, since the transaction sizes to record data on its blockchain are very small.

When FAST BITCOIN is sent to a recipient, he must plug his hardware device into a laptop, phone, or other internet device to download the keys to the device. At this time while the hardware device is still connected to the internet the just received FAST BITCOIN will not yet be available to spend. It will show on the device as STILL ENCRYPTED. The user unplugs the device from the internet and then transfers the amount from the COLD SIDE to the HOT SIDE of his wallet while offline. If he wishes he may leave this amount on the COLD SIDE or transfer up to the entire contents of the SPLIT WALLET to the HOT SIDE to enable immediate spending as soon as connected to the internet.
The COLD SIDE contains the SYSTEM MASTER KEY and decrypts the PRIVATE BITCOIN KEYS in order to enable spending.
The hardware device checks the bitcoin blockchain to verify the amount of bitcoin held by each bitcoin private key, and also checks that the private keys it contains map properly to the public bitcoin keys used to view the balance on the device when it is connected to the internet.

DA Bomb

Directly Available Bitcoin On Metal Banknote (Da Bomb)
Bitcoin Metal Wallet Cold Storage on BTC Blockchain. A Crypto-Currency version of money, which may be exchanged for fiat currency.
Other major cryptos such as Ethereum , LiteCoin, and Bitcoin Cash may be substituted for bitcoin without affecting the usefulness of this offering. These versions will come out later, using the same physical format. (hopefully patented)
The design of the card should be modified enough from any existing patents to be patentable itself. The manufacturing, loading and documenting of the card should be done by proprietary and open-source software. This process should be patented as well or be part of the same patent.
These are physical BTC coins, in the form of a metal card the size and shape of a credit card. The Bitcoin Wallet is composed of two sets of engraved alpha-numeric and QR codes highlighted by black ink. One set is public and is on the outside of the card. A pull-tab almost exactly like the kind on a soup can is removed from the front of the card to reveal the inner contents . This is the engraving of the private key which is required to spend the BTC. Viewing it or detecting the exact nature of this code is equivalent to ownership of the associated BTC.
The public key on the outside of the card is used to deposit to or send to the card. In normal operations the card would come loaded with a certain amount of BTC.
The cards will be protected by security features and the quality control process during their manufacture.
The cards will be dipped in a coating of compounds to indicate a unique identity for each card, with short lengths of coloured fibres and paint floating on the surface of the clear lacquer compound and creating a unique visual identity. Each card is photographed and the image file uploaded to a database with the blockchain address and item id from manufacture all associated together.
A label is created and affixed to the outside of the card. On it are the blockchain address, photo of the untampered card, and amount of BTC deposited to card.
The private keys are not retained in file form at the manufacturer’s facility, or recorded in any way.
Before the key is deleted from memory and fully erased from all data storage devices, the photo of the engraving of it is compared to the key via character recognition software. When photo verifies as true then key is deleted from memory. Now the card is tracked by my own “in-house” item id, linked in the database to the blockchain address which displays the public key, and the photo file of the card. The card is photographed twice, the photo of the private key is deleted just after verifying the engraving matches the private key. The photo of the exterior of the card showing the paint lines and fibre positions on the card is kept on file. The offline computer takes the photo of the private key, the online computer takes the photo of the card after dipping.
The card is meant to circumvent the horribly high fees associated with using BTC as a payment method. Possession of the card is deemed to be legally equivalent to the ability to spend the associated BTC available via the private key. The nature of the tamper proof and hack proof aspects of the card manufacture lends credence to the continued value of the card as it is passed through consecutive transactions. The fees which would have been normally paid to enable these transactions on the Blockchain, will now have been saved by the people utilizing the physical Bitcoin cards. The Bitcoin transactions on the Blockchain are enabled by paying fees to “bitcoin miners”, who use large amounts of energy and computing power to solve complicated mathematical problems in order to process transactions and also to earn newly created bitcoins, of which there will only ever be 21,000,000. The fees for bitcoin transactions have become so high that paying for an item with bitcoin wouldn’t make sense for anything under $280 or so; and you had better be rich enough not to care about the $30 to $75 fee to buy just about any size purchase.
Instead of this, cold wallets containing small denominations of BTC can be exchanged via strong encryption and sending password and wallet via different delivery modes; or by physical bitcoin wallets.
At any time one may pull the tab on the metal card and reveal the private key, in order to obtain control of the BTC for use in a different cold wallet, or an online wallet. You will now have to pay transaction fees as per your new wallet details.
There is an instant financial advantage as soon as a group of people trust the value of physical bitcoin in transactions. All the miner fees for each transaction done with physical bitcoin are saved by the group. These transactions are valued in BTC, worth real dollars if exchanged for dollars; but with the dollar value always changing.
Volatility is a fact of life with Bitcoin (BTC), but the market has always trended upwards if you wait long enough. And the value has often nose-dived as well, in an unpredictable manner. A lot of people are holding (or “hodling”) BTC as a very risky and speculative investment, hoping the price will go up.
There is a great demand for bitcoin and that demand is going to increase in the near future.
How will I pay to load the BTC on to the cards? The cards will be loaded on an “on-demand” order process. The cards can be made up to a certain stage, where they have been dipped in tamper-proofing but not yet labeled. Up to this point they can be any denomination (amount) of BTC. When the payment for the order is taken at the online website then the card is loaded, labeled and shipped to the customer.
Besides the metal coin wallets denominated in various amounts of BTC; there will be “piggy-bank” versions of the card available. The BTC is loaded onto the card via the visible wallet public key engraved on the front of the card. The card owner can be paid debts owed to him via the public key. The card owner can send any amount of BTC to this receive address and it will become associated via the blockchain with the private key hidden inside the card. To spend the BTC loaded onto the card he will have to view the private key and send it to the hot wallet he uses online. Technical advice about fees, security, hacking and safety will be available at the company website, as well as many other helpful resources.
The denominated versions of the card are identical to the piggy-bank versions except for the label. The label covers the “receive” address on the denominated versions, as no further deposits to the blockchain are needed. The label on the piggy-bank version doesn’t cover the public key address, has a photo of the card and the manufacturer’s ID number. It also has a link to the Blockchain.info webpage associated with the public key address. Anyone with this address can see how much BTC is associated with the Public Key shown here.
Thus the intact tamper-proof BTC Card can be used with confidence, as the public key can be viewed on the Blockchain by anyone. As long as the amount on the card label matches the amount shown on the Blockchain.info webpage then the card’s private key can be trusted. This renders the card a form of “trust-less” currency equivalent to legal tender in value and usefulness .
The card format and manufacturing process is tested to obtain a hack proof product. The private key is not detectable by examination or any technical means without opening the pull-tab. This is essential to prevent theft and fraud. The card can not be opened, viewed , and sealed again.
A card without a label would be suspect, a card which had been opened and re-sealed obvious. Checking the blockchain address reveals the status of the BTC in question in any event.
The manufacturing process is outlined below:

The engraving is deep enough to be permanent but still not detected while wallet card is in closed position. The alpha-numeric and QR code versions of the keys are engraved and inked.
After the engraving, the private key is deleted from memory of the engraving controlling computer. This computer is never connected to the internet. Only verified software is used on this computer.
A separate computer controls the camera, label maker, and database connection to the internet.

The same file is used to generate the labels.
Addresses are checked for BTC before coin Cards are offered for sale. A second stamp is placed on label when transaction confirms.
Coin is offered for sale at Amazon.com if allowed.
Coins can be exchanged as if fiat currency, with full confidence in BTC amount displayed on seal.
Sale price on Amazon will reflect BTC amount cost when loaded- possibly a great deal if BTC has gone up since loading, or actual cost of production plus 2%, plus miner fee and distribution fee.
Savings could be significant if BTC surges in value after coins are minted. coins are bought at time of minting by purchases of BTC at market price.
“Would you like to buy some free money?”
Demand for product is assured, as the value once for sale at Amazon increases over time. You will not be able to find cheaper bitcoin anywhere, sometimes. A small portion of my stock at Amazon will remain on sale at a very low price when the Bitcoin price rises. I plan on adjusting the price of my stock to reflect the current price of Bitcoin at the time; but not all of it, and not immediately. Every time the price of BTC increases by 10%, I will reset the price of my cards to initial values.
The initial values are the current price of BTC plus 2% , miner fees and distribution costs. As the market price increases after loading the cards, they are more and more of a deal for the customer.
This forms the basis of a great promotional value to sell the metal card coin wallets.
The profit.
Profit is calculated to be 2% of the BTC value when minted. Values from 0.001 BTC to 1 BTC are minted. This generates from $0.18 Cad to $180 CAD per card depending on value. I will focus on minting in the 0.01 to 0.11 BTC range, with profits of $1.80 to $19.80 a card.
customer pays: Cost of BTC when minted
miner fees, distribution fees, 2% over cost fee, Cost of manufacture. I estimate all costs not BTC or profit to be about $11 Cad per card.
Price of card is: BTC cost + 2% + $11.00 .
After purchase the card can be traded for cash, items or value of services. Miner fees are saved by every person after the initial purchaser of the card.
I want to mint around 1000 cards a day. This averages out to $18,000 profit per day.
The plan is to produce only lower value coin wallets until cash reserves are big enough to pay for larger denominations.
Customers can order from the lower denominations in stock or special order cards of any amount that they pay for at the time, shipped after production on demand.
This involves simply loading the customer’s purchase of BTC onto the card address and attaching the label.
As the price of BTC rises then stock available and loaded previously will be a special discount offer until the price resets after a ten percent increase in the BTC market value.
When selling the BTC coin metal cards at Amazon.com :

Card is dipped in clear sealer with paint filaments floating in dip tank. Also small lengths of coloured fibre are floating in the resin coating. The unique pattern formed is photographed and printed on label stored in database with item number. Private key is not stored.
Sell in vending machines in Japan, Airports,New York Subway System, Pizza Hut, etc.
On the Directly Available Bitcoin On Metal Banknote (Da Bomb), the blockchain webpage address of the public key is displayed. To check that BTC are in the account, just go to that page. Unless tampered with, BTC amount will match that shown on label.
Full label is artwork, denomination in BTC, photo and blockchain.info webpage address associated with public key.
This idea is patentable due to the unique packaging of the cold bitcoin wallet in a pull-tab metal card. In this writing read “coin” as “card” as well. The card is evolved out of a sardine can with a pull tab lid closure, with very short sides and pressed flat all around the edge.
The goal is to have a design where the pull tab can easily be removed by an adult. It should be hard for a child to open without being shown how. The card should be only slightly thicker than a regular credit card, and not open while in a leather wallet’s card holder.The pull tab should not open accidentally while being carried in a wallet. The pull tab will be manufactured so that it must be rotated by 180 degrees before opening. A small screwdriver, nail file or fingernail must be placed into a small slot to twist the pull tab into the correct position to open, before this it is restrained by a shallow metal lip on the top of the card.
Research and development are required for this idea to be a success. The manufacturing process, security features and bitcoin loading and labeling must all be tested and verified as hack and tamper-proof. The customer must never receive a hacked or empty or unloaded card after purchase and delivery.
Attempts at fraud by the customer will be obvious. Only Intact cards will be accepted for refund. Product must always ship in perfect condition, as customer can only return intact card for full refund, no opened, missing or tampered with cards will be credited to customer for refund, and this will be part of the agreement with the customer at time of purchase. Before refund the balance of the card must match the denomination on the label.
Notes on manufacturing process:



In the above I refer to not recording the private keys and deleting the server records as soon as the cards have been manufactured and checked for accuracy. please note that the recording of the private key for a certain amount of DA BOMB is required to power the FAST BITCOIN encrypted private key network.

thank-you
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