Bitcoin Value History: Tracking the History of Bitcoin 9 ...

Proposal: The Sia Foundation

Vision Statement

A common sentiment is brewing online; a shared desire for the internet that might have been. After decades of corporate encroachment, you don't need to be a power user to realize that something has gone very wrong.
In the early days of the internet, the future was bright. In that future, when you sent an instant message, it traveled directly to the recipient. When you needed to pay a friend, you announced a transfer of value to their public key. When an app was missing a feature you wanted, you opened up the source code and implemented it. When you took a picture on your phone, it was immediately encrypted and backed up to storage that you controlled. In that future, people would laugh at the idea of having to authenticate themselves to some corporation before doing these things.
What did we get instead? Rather than a network of human-sized communities, we have a handful of enormous commons, each controlled by a faceless corporate entity. Hey user, want to send a message? You can, but we'll store a copy of it indefinitely, unencrypted, for our preference-learning algorithms to pore over; how else could we slap targeted ads on every piece of content you see? Want to pay a friend? You can—in our Monopoly money. Want a new feature? Submit a request to our Support Center and we'll totally maybe think about it. Want to backup a photo? You can—inside our walled garden, which only we (and the NSA, of course) can access. Just be careful what you share, because merely locking you out of your account and deleting all your data is far from the worst thing we could do.
You rationalize this: "MEGACORP would never do such a thing; it would be bad for business." But we all know, at some level, that this state of affairs, this inversion of power, is not merely "unfortunate" or "suboptimal" – No. It is degrading. Even if MEGACORP were purely benevolent, it is degrading that we must ask its permission to talk to our friends; that we must rely on it to safeguard our treasured memories; that our digital lives are completely beholden to those who seek only to extract value from us.
At the root of this issue is the centralization of data. MEGACORP can surveil you—because your emails and video chats flow through their servers. And MEGACORP can control you—because they hold your data hostage. But centralization is a solution to a technical problem: How can we make the user's data accessible from anywhere in the world, on any device? For a long time, no alternative solution to this problem was forthcoming.
Today, thanks to a confluence of established techniques and recent innovations, we have solved the accessibility problem without resorting to centralization. Hashing, encryption, and erasure encoding got us most of the way, but one barrier remained: incentives. How do you incentivize an anonymous stranger to store your data? Earlier protocols like BitTorrent worked around this limitation by relying on altruism, tit-for-tat requirements, or "points" – in other words, nothing you could pay your electric bill with. Finally, in 2009, a solution appeared: Bitcoin. Not long after, Sia was born.
Cryptography has unleashed the latent power of the internet by enabling interactions between mutually-distrustful parties. Sia harnesses this power to turn the cloud storage market into a proper marketplace, where buyers and sellers can transact directly, with no intermediaries, anywhere in the world. No more silos or walled gardens: your data is encrypted, so it can't be spied on, and it's stored on many servers, so no single entity can hold it hostage. Thanks to projects like Sia, the internet is being re-decentralized.
Sia began its life as a startup, which means it has always been subjected to two competing forces: the ideals of its founders, and the profit motive inherent to all businesses. Its founders have taken great pains to never compromise on the former, but this often threatened the company's financial viability. With the establishment of the Sia Foundation, this tension is resolved. The Foundation, freed of the obligation to generate profit, is a pure embodiment of the ideals from which Sia originally sprung.
The goals and responsibilities of the Foundation are numerous: to maintain core Sia protocols and consensus code; to support developers building on top of Sia and its protocols; to promote Sia and facilitate partnerships in other spheres and communities; to ensure that users can easily acquire and safely store siacoins; to develop network scalability solutions; to implement hardforks and lead the community through them; and much more. In a broader sense, its mission is to commoditize data storage, making it cheap, ubiquitous, and accessible to all, without compromising privacy or performance.
Sia is a perfect example of how we can achieve better living through cryptography. We now begin a new chapter in Sia's history. May our stewardship lead it into a bright future.
 

Overview

Today, we are proposing the creation of the Sia Foundation: a new non-profit entity that builds and supports distributed cloud storage infrastructure, with a specific focus on the Sia storage platform. What follows is an informal overview of the Sia Foundation, covering two major topics: how the Foundation will be funded, and what its funds will be used for.

Organizational Structure

The Sia Foundation will be structured as a non-profit entity incorporated in the United States, likely a 501(c)(3) organization or similar. The actions of the Foundation will be constrained by its charter, which formalizes the specific obligations and overall mission outlined in this document. The charter will be updated on an annual basis to reflect the current goals of the Sia community.
The organization will be operated by a board of directors, initially comprising Luke Champine as President and Eddie Wang as Chairman. Luke Champine will be leaving his position at Nebulous to work at the Foundation full-time, and will seek to divest his shares of Nebulous stock along with other potential conflicts of interest. Neither Luke nor Eddie personally own any siafunds or significant quantities of siacoin.

Funding

The primary source of funding for the Foundation will come from a new block subsidy. Following a hardfork, 30 KS per block will be allocated to the "Foundation Fund," continuing in perpetuity. The existing 30 KS per block miner reward is not affected. Additionally, one year's worth of block subsidies (approximately 1.57 GS) will be allocated to the Fund immediately upon activation of the hardfork.
As detailed below, the Foundation will provably burn any coins that it cannot meaningfully spend. As such, the 30 KS subsidy should be viewed as a maximum. This allows the Foundation to grow alongside Sia without requiring additional hardforks.
The Foundation will not be funded to any degree by the possession or sale of siafunds. Siafunds were originally introduced as a means of incentivizing growth, and we still believe in their effectiveness: a siafund holder wants to increase the amount of storage on Sia as much as possible. While the Foundation obviously wants Sia to succeed, its driving force should be its charter. Deriving significant revenue from siafunds would jeopardize the Foundation's impartiality and focus. Ultimately, we want the Foundation to act in the best interests of Sia, not in growing its own budget.

Responsibilities

The Foundation inherits a great number of responsibilities from Nebulous. Each quarter, the Foundation will publish the progress it has made over the past quarter, and list the responsibilities it intends to prioritize over the coming quarter. This will be accompanied by a financial report, detailing each area of expenditure over the past quarter, and forecasting expenditures for the coming quarter. Below, we summarize some of the myriad responsibilities towards which the Foundation is expected to allocate its resources.

Maintain and enhance core Sia software

Arguably, this is the most important responsibility of the Foundation. At the heart of Sia is its consensus algorithm: regardless of other differences, all Sia software must agree upon the content and rules of the blockchain. It is therefore crucial that the algorithm be stewarded by an entity that is accountable to the community, transparent in its decision-making, and has no profit motive or other conflicts of interest.
Accordingly, Sia’s consensus functionality will no longer be directly maintained by Nebulous. Instead, the Foundation will release and maintain an implementation of a "minimal Sia full node," comprising the Sia consensus algorithm and P2P networking code. The source code will be available in a public repository, and signed binaries will be published for each release.
Other parties may use this code to provide alternative full node software. For example, Nebulous may extend the minimal full node with wallet, renter, and host functionality. The source code of any such implementation may be submitted to the Foundation for review. If the code passes review, the Foundation will provide "endorsement signatures" for the commit hash used and for binaries compiled internally by the Foundation. Specifically, these signatures assert that the Foundation believes the software contains no consensus-breaking changes or other modifications to imported Foundation code. Endorsement signatures and Foundation-compiled binaries may be displayed and distributed by the receiving party, along with an appropriate disclaimer.
A minimal full node is not terribly useful on its own; the wallet, renter, host, and other extensions are what make Sia a proper developer platform. Currently, the only implementations of these extensions are maintained by Nebulous. The Foundation will contract Nebulous to ensure that these extensions continue to receive updates and enhancements. Later on, the Foundation intends to develop its own implementations of these extensions and others. As with the minimal node software, these extensions will be open source and available in public repositories for use by any Sia node software.
With the consensus code now managed by the Foundation, the task of implementing and orchestrating hardforks becomes its responsibility as well. When the Foundation determines that a hardfork is necessary (whether through internal discussion or via community petition), a formal proposal will be drafted and submitted for public review, during which arguments for and against the proposal may be submitted to a public repository. During this time, the hardfork code will be implemented, either by Foundation employees or by external contributors working closely with the Foundation. Once the implementation is finished, final arguments will be heard. The Foundation board will then vote whether to accept or reject the proposal, and announce their decision along with appropriate justification. Assuming the proposal was accepted, the Foundation will announce the block height at which the hardfork will activate, and will subsequently release source code and signed binaries that incorporate the hardfork code.
Regardless of the Foundation's decision, it is the community that ultimately determines whether a fork is accepted or rejected – nothing can change that. Foundation node software will never automatically update, so all forks must be explicitly adopted by users. Furthermore, the Foundation will provide replay and wipeout protection for its hard forks, protecting other chains from unintended or malicious reorgs. Similarly, the Foundation will ensure that any file contracts formed prior to a fork activation will continue to be honored on both chains until they expire.
Finally, the Foundation also intends to pursue scalability solutions for the Sia blockchain. In particular, work has already begun on an implementation of Utreexo, which will greatly reduce the space requirements of fully-validating nodes (allowing a full node to be run on a smartphone) while increasing throughput and decreasing initial sync time. A hardfork implementing Utreexo will be submitted to the community as per the process detailed above.
As this is the most important responsibility of the Foundation, it will receive a significant portion of the Foundation’s budget, primarily in the form of developer salaries and contracting agreements.

Support community services

We intend to allocate 25% of the Foundation Fund towards the community. This allocation will be held and disbursed in the form of siacoins, and will pay for grants, bounties, hackathons, and other community-driven endeavours.
Any community-run service, such as a Skynet portal, explorer or web wallet, may apply to have its costs covered by the Foundation. Upon approval, the Foundation will reimburse expenses incurred by the service, subject to the exact terms agreed to. The intent of these grants is not to provide a source of income, but rather to make such services "break even" for their operators, so that members of the community can enrich the Sia ecosystem without worrying about the impact on their own finances.

Ensure easy acquisition and storage of siacoins

Most users will acquire their siacoins via an exchange. The Foundation will provide support to Sia-compatible exchanges, and pursue relevant integrations at its discretion, such as Coinbase's new Rosetta standard. The Foundation may also release DEX software that enables trading cryptocurrencies without the need for a third party. (The Foundation itself will never operate as a money transmitter.)
Increasingly, users are storing their cryptocurrency on hardware wallets. The Foundation will maintain the existing Ledger Nano S integration, and pursue further integrations at its discretion.
Of course, all hardware wallets must be paired with software running on a computer or smartphone, so the Foundation will also develop and/or maintain client-side wallet software, including both full-node wallets and "lite" wallets. Community-operated wallet services, i.e. web wallets, may be funded via grants.
Like core software maintenance, this responsibility will be funded in the form of developer salaries and contracting agreements.

Protect the ecosystem

When it comes to cryptocurrency security, patching software vulnerabilities is table stakes; there are significant legal and social threats that we must be mindful of as well. As such, the Foundation will earmark a portion of its fund to defend the community from legal action. The Foundation will also safeguard the network from 51% attacks and other threats to network security by implementing softforks and/or hardforks where necessary.
The Foundation also intends to assist in the development of a new FOSS software license, and to solicit legal memos on various Sia-related matters, such as hosting in the United States and the EU.
In a broader sense, the establishment of the Foundation makes the ecosystem more robust by transferring core development to a more neutral entity. Thanks to its funding structure, the Foundation will be immune to various forms of pressure that for-profit companies are susceptible to.

Drive adoption of Sia

Although the overriding goal of the Foundation is to make Sia the best platform it can be, all that work will be in vain if no one uses the platform. There are a number of ways the Foundation can promote Sia and get it into the hands of potential users and developers.
In-person conferences are understandably far less popular now, but the Foundation can sponsor and/or participate in virtual conferences. (In-person conferences may be held in the future, permitting circumstances.) Similarly, the Foundation will provide prizes for hackathons, which may be organized by community members, Nebulous, or the Foundation itself. Lastly, partnerships with other companies in the cryptocurrency space—or the cloud storage space—are a great way to increase awareness of Sia. To handle these responsibilities, one of the early priorities of the Foundation will be to hire a marketing director.

Fund Management

The Foundation Fund will be controlled by a multisig address. Each member of the Foundation's board will control one of the signing keys, with the signature threshold to be determined once the final composition of the board is known. (This threshold may also be increased or decreased if the number of board members changes.) Additionally, one timelocked signing key will be controlled by David Vorick. This key will act as a “dead man’s switch,” to be used in the event of an emergency that prevents Foundation board members from reaching the signature threshold. The timelock ensures that this key cannot be used unless the Foundation fails to sign a transaction for several months.
On the 1st of each month, the Foundation will use its keys to transfer all siacoins in the Fund to two new addresses. The first address will be controlled by a high-security hot wallet, and will receive approximately one month's worth of Foundation expenditures. The second address, receiving the remaining siacoins, will be a modified version of the source address: specifically, it will increase the timelock on David Vorick's signing key by one month. Any other changes to the set of signing keys, such as the arrival or departure of board members, will be incorporated into this address as well.
The Foundation Fund is allocated in SC, but many of the Foundation's expenditures must be paid in USD or other fiat currency. Accordingly, the Foundation will convert, at its discretion, a portion of its monthly withdrawals to fiat currency. We expect this conversion to be primarily facilitated by private "OTC" sales to accredited investors. The Foundation currently has no plans to speculate in cryptocurrency or other assets.
Finally, it is important that the Foundation adds value to the Sia platform well in excess of the inflation introduced by the block subsidy. For this reason, the Foundation intends to provably burn, on a quarterly basis, any coins that it cannot allocate towards any justifiable expense. In other words, coins will be burned whenever doing so provides greater value to the platform than any other use. Furthermore, the Foundation will cap its SC treasury at 5% of the total supply, and will cap its USD treasury at 4 years’ worth of predicted expenses.
 
Addendum: Hardfork Timeline
We would like to see this proposal finalized and accepted by the community no later than September 30th. A new version of siad, implementing the hardfork, will be released no later than October 15th. The hardfork will activate at block 293220, which is expected to occur around 12pm EST on January 1st, 2021.
 
Addendum: Inflation specifics
The total supply of siacoins as of January 1st, 2021 will be approximately 45.243 GS. The initial subsidy of 1.57 GS thus increases the supply by 3.47%, and the total annual inflation in 2021 will be at most 10.4% (if zero coins are burned). In 2022, total annual inflation will be at most 6.28%, and will steadily decrease in subsequent years.
 

Conclusion

We see the establishment of the Foundation as an important step in the maturation of the Sia project. It provides the ecosystem with a sustainable source of funding that can be exclusively directed towards achieving Sia's ambitious goals. Compared to other projects with far deeper pockets, Sia has always punched above its weight; once we're on equal footing, there's no telling what we'll be able to achieve.
Nevertheless, we do not propose this change lightly, and have taken pains to ensure that the Foundation will act in accordance with the ideals that this community shares. It will operate transparently, keep inflation to a minimum, and respect the user's fundamental role in decentralized systems. We hope that everyone in the community will consider this proposal carefully, and look forward to a productive discussion.
submitted by lukechampine to siacoin [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

MicroStrategy's $425M BTC investment thesis - "buy something that can either get cut in half or 10x"

Amidst all of the DeFi volatility, drama and excitement, Bitcoin has started to seem rather boring. Its price is more or less flat to where it was a year ago and you can’t even farm Yams with it.
While some have started to view Bitcoin as a useless digital rock, someone did find an interesting use case for it. This week, more details surfaced around how MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor convinced the board of a publicly traded company to allocate nearly all of the company’s $500M cash position to bitcoin.
Michael Saylor
Saylor graduated from MIT in 1987 and founded Microstrategy at the age of 24. MicroStrategy is a “Business Intelligence” company, which basically creates software that allows companies to use their own data to drive decision making.
Interesting side note - Saylor, like any good 90’s internet entrepreneur, also bought a bunch of internet domains and was the guy who ultimately sold Voice.com to Block.One (EOS) for $30M.
MicroStrategy’s’ $500M Problem
To most people, having $500 million in cash doesn’t sound like a problem. Up until recently, it wasn’t for large corporations either. There was a time before the ‘08 financial crisis when the risk free rate of return on cash was 5% a year. This means a company could sit on $500M, earn $25M a year for doing nothing, and have cash on hand for a rainy day.
Fast forward to today, when the risk free rate of return has plummeted to 0.69% due to loose fiscal policies (money printer go BRRRR) alongside inflating asset prices, and it’s a different story. In Saylor’s own words, “we just had the awful realization that we were sitting on top of a $500 million ice cube that’s melting.”
Cash is Trash
So what’s a corporation to do with a $500M melting ice cube? It turns out it’s not that easy to unload half a billion dollars in a short amount of time.
You could buy back half a billion of your own company’s shares. For a company like MSTR, Saylor estimated that would take 4 years. Time MiscroStrategy didn’t have.
You could buy real estate. However, commercial real estate prices have collapsed post COVID while property owners still believe their assets are worth what they were in January. In other words, good luck getting a fair market price.
You could buy blue chip equities. Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook. However, your risk is symmetric. They can each fall 50% just as easily as they can go up 50%.
That left Saylor with silver, gold, Bitcoin, and other alternative assets. A move the company announced it was exploring on a July earnings call.
A Bold Purchase
Saylor ultimately wanted something that could either get cut in half, or go up by a factor of 10. An investment akin to what buying Amazon or Apple in 2012 was. In other words, asymmetric risk.
As a student of technological history, Saylor observed that the winning strategy over the last ten years has been to find some kind of “digitally dominant network” that dematerializes something fundamental to society. Apple dematerialized mobile communications. Amazon dematerialized commerce. Google dematerialized the process of gathering information.
Something Saylor noted was common to all recent 10X opportunities is buying when they’ve achieved $100B+ marketcaps and are ten times the size of their next biggest competitor. As Bitcoin is the dominant digital network dematerializing money that’s 10x the size of any cryptocurrency competing to be a store-of-value (not counting ETH here), it fit the bill.
Making the purchase
With the thesis in place, the next thing Saylor had to do was get everyone at MicroStrategy to sign-off on the unorthodox decision. To do this, he simply made everyone go down the same Bitcoin rabbithole that most people in the industry have gone down.
He made everyone at the company watch Andreas Antonopoulous videos, read The Bitcoin Standard, watch Eric Vorhees debate Peter Schiff and listen to Pomp and NLW podcasts. With no strong detractors, MicroStrategy turned to execution. They first put $250M to work purchasing 21,454 BTC in August and another $175M (16,796 BTC) in September for a total $425M and 38,250 BTC.
What’s fascinating is that MicroStrategy was able to open such a large position without really moving the market or anyone even taking notice. This speaks to just how liquid of an asset BTC has become. To acquire the September tranche of BTC, Saylor disclosed that they traded continuously for 74 hours, executing 88,617 trades of .19 BTC every 3 seconds.
One for the history books
Skeptics noted that shares of MSTR have been on the downtrend since 2013, as the real reason behind MicroStrategy’s bold move. Regardless, the move has interesting implications for the company’s shareholders. As TBI observed, MicroStrategy is now both a software company and with ⅓ of its marketcap in Bitcoin, a pseudo Bitcoin ETF. At the time of writing, MSTR is up 20% on the week.
Only time will tell if history looks back on this move as a brilliant strategic decision or a massive corporate blunder. In the short term, it scores a massive win for Bitcoin’s digital gold investment thesis.
Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones is in. A publicly traded corporation has made Bitcoin it’s primary treasury asset. As CFOs and fund managers around the world undoubtedly take notice, one has to wonder, who’s next?
PS - I based a lot of this article on Pomp’s interview with Michael Saylor, which I recommend giving a listen.
Original article
Source
submitted by CryptigoVespucci to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to investing_discussion [link] [comments]

Why Osana takes so long? (Programmer's point of view on current situation)

I decided to write a comment about «Why Osana takes so long?» somewhere and what can be done to shorten this time. It turned into a long essay. Here's TL;DR of it:
The cost of never paying down this technical debt is clear; eventually the cost to deliver functionality will become so slow that it is easy for a well-designed competitive software product to overtake the badly-designed software in terms of features. In my experience, badly designed software can also lead to a more stressed engineering workforce, in turn leading higher staff churn (which in turn affects costs and productivity when delivering features). Additionally, due to the complexity in a given codebase, the ability to accurately estimate work will also disappear.
Junade Ali, Mastering PHP Design Patterns (2016)
Longer version: I am not sure if people here wanted an explanation from a real developer who works with C and with relatively large projects, but I am going to do it nonetheless. I am not much interested in Yandere Simulator nor in this genre in general, but this particular development has a lot to learn from for any fellow programmers and software engineers to ensure that they'll never end up in Alex's situation, especially considering that he is definitely not the first one to got himself knee-deep in the development hell (do you remember Star Citizen?) and he is definitely not the last one.
On the one hand, people see that Alex works incredibly slowly, equivalent of, like, one hour per day, comparing it with, say, Papers, Please, the game that was developed in nine months from start to finish by one guy. On the other hand, Alex himself most likely thinks that he works until complete exhaustion each day. In fact, I highly suspect that both those sentences are correct! Because of the mistakes made during early development stages, which are highly unlikely to be fixed due to the pressure put on the developer right now and due to his overall approach to coding, cost to add any relatively large feature (e.g. Osana) can be pretty much comparable to the cost of creating a fan game from start to finish. Trust me, I've seen his leaked source code (don't tell anybody about that) and I know what I am talking about. The largest problem in Yandere Simulator right now is its super slow development. So, without further ado, let's talk about how «implementing the low hanging fruit» crippled the development and, more importantly, what would have been an ideal course of action from my point of view to get out. I'll try to explain things in the easiest terms possible.
  1. else if's and lack any sort of refactoring in general
The most «memey» one. I won't talk about the performance though (switch statement is not better in terms of performance, it is a myth. If compiler detects some code that can be turned into a jump table, for example, it will do it, no matter if it is a chain of if's or a switch statement. Compilers nowadays are way smarter than one might think). Just take a look here. I know that it's his older JavaScript code, but, believe it or not, this piece is still present in C# version relatively untouched.
I refactored this code for you using C language (mixed with C++ since there's no this pointer in pure C). Take a note that else if's are still there, else if's are not the problem by itself.
The refactored code is just objectively better for one simple reason: it is shorter, while not being obscure, and now it should be able to handle, say, Trespassing and Blood case without any input from the developer due to the usage of flags. Basically, the shorter your code, the more you can see on screen without spreading your attention too much. As a rule of thumb, the less lines there are, the easier it is for you to work with the code. Just don't overkill that, unless you are going to participate in International Obfuscated C Code Contest. Let me reiterate:
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This is why refactoring — activity of rewriting your old code so it does the same thing, but does it quicker, in a more generic way, in less lines or simpler — is so powerful. In my experience, you can only keep one module/class/whatever in your brain if it does not exceed ~1000 lines, maybe ~1500. Splitting 17000-line-long class into smaller classes probably won't improve performance at all, but it will make working with parts of this class way easier.
Is it too late now to start refactoring? Of course NO: better late than never.
  1. Comments
If you think that you wrote this code, so you'll always easily remember it, I have some bad news for you: you won't. In my experience, one week and that's it. That's why comments are so crucial. It is not necessary to put a ton of comments everywhere, but just a general idea will help you out in the future. Even if you think that It Just Works™ and you'll never ever need to fix it. Time spent to write and debug one line of code almost always exceeds time to write one comment in large-scale projects. Moreover, the best code is the code that is self-evident. In the example above, what the hell does (float) 6 mean? Why not wrap it around into the constant with a good, self-descriptive name? Again, it won't affect performance, since C# compiler is smart enough to silently remove this constant from the real code and place its value into the method invocation directly. Such constants are here for you.
I rewrote my code above a little bit to illustrate this. With those comments, you don't have to remember your code at all, since its functionality is outlined in two tiny lines of comments above it. Moreover, even a person with zero knowledge in programming will figure out the purpose of this code. It took me less than half a minute to write those comments, but it'll probably save me quite a lot of time of figuring out «what was I thinking back then» one day.
Is it too late now to start adding comments? Again, of course NO. Don't be lazy and redirect all your typing from «debunk» page (which pretty much does the opposite of debunking, but who am I to judge you here?) into some useful comments.
  1. Unit testing
This is often neglected, but consider the following. You wrote some code, you ran your game, you saw a new bug. Was it introduced right now? Is it a problem in your older code which has shown up just because you have never actually used it until now? Where should you search for it? You have no idea, and you have one painful debugging session ahead. Just imagine how easier it would be if you've had some routines which automatically execute after each build and check that environment is still sane and nothing broke on a fundamental level. This is called unit testing, and yes, unit tests won't be able to catch all your bugs, but even getting 20% of bugs identified at the earlier stage is a huge boon to development speed.
Is it too late now to start adding unit tests? Kinda YES and NO at the same time. Unit testing works best if it covers the majority of project's code. On the other side, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you decide to start refactoring your code, writing a unit test before refactoring will help you to prove to yourself that you have not broken anything without the need of running the game at all.
  1. Static code analysis
This is basically pretty self-explanatory. You set this thing once, you forget about it. Static code analyzer is another «free estate» to speed up the development process by finding tiny little errors, mostly silly typos (do you think that you are good enough in finding them? Well, good luck catching x << 4; in place of x <<= 4; buried deep in C code by eye!). Again, this is not a silver bullet, it is another tool which will help you out with debugging a little bit along with the debugger, unit tests and other things. You need every little bit of help here.
Is it too late now to hook up static code analyzer? Obviously NO.
  1. Code architecture
Say, you want to build Osana, but then you decided to implement some feature, e.g. Snap Mode. By doing this you have maybe made your game a little bit better, but what you have just essentially done is complicated your life, because now you should also write Osana code for Snap Mode. The way game architecture is done right now, easter eggs code is deeply interleaved with game logic, which leads to code «spaghettifying», which in turn slows down the addition of new features, because one has to consider how this feature would work alongside each and every old feature and easter egg. Even if it is just gazing over one line per easter egg, it adds up to the mess, slowly but surely.
A lot of people mention that developer should have been doing it in object-oritented way. However, there is no silver bullet in programming. It does not matter that much if you are doing it object-oriented way or usual procedural way; you can theoretically write, say, AI routines on functional (e.g. LISP)) or even logical language if you are brave enough (e.g. Prolog). You can even invent your own tiny programming language! The only thing that matters is code quality and avoiding the so-called shotgun surgery situation, which plagues Yandere Simulator from top to bottom right now. Is there a way of adding a new feature without interfering with your older code (e.g. by creating a child class which will encapsulate all the things you need, for example)? Go for it, this feature is basically «free» for you. Otherwise you'd better think twice before doing this, because you are going into the «technical debt» territory, borrowing your time from the future by saying «I'll maybe optimize it later» and «a thousand more lines probably won't slow me down in the future that much, right?». Technical debt will incur interest on its own that you'll have to pay. Basically, the entire situation around Osana right now is just a huge tale about how just «interest» incurred by technical debt can control the entire project, like the tail wiggling the dog.
I won't elaborate here further, since it'll take me an even larger post to fully describe what's wrong about Yandere Simulator's code architecture.
Is it too late to rebuild code architecture? Sadly, YES, although it should be possible to split Student class into descendants by using hooks for individual students. However, code architecture can be improved by a vast margin if you start removing easter eggs and features like Snap Mode that currently bloat Yandere Simulator. I know it is going to be painful, but it is the only way to improve code quality here and now. This will simplify the code, and this will make it easier for you to add the «real» features, like Osana or whatever you'd like to accomplish. If you'll ever want them back, you can track them down in Git history and re-implement them one by one, hopefully without performing the shotgun surgery this time.
  1. Loading times
Again, I won't be talking about the performance, since you can debug your game on 20 FPS as well as on 60 FPS, but this is a very different story. Yandere Simulator is huge. Once you fixed a bug, you want to test it, right? And your workflow right now probably looks like this:
  1. Fix the code (unavoidable time loss)
  2. Rebuild the project (can take a loooong time)
  3. Load your game (can take a loooong time)
  4. Test it (unavoidable time loss, unless another bug has popped up via unit testing, code analyzer etc.)
And you can fix it. For instance, I know that Yandere Simulator makes all the students' photos during loading. Why should that be done there? Why not either move it to project building stage by adding build hook so Unity does that for you during full project rebuild, or, even better, why not disable it completely or replace with «PLACEHOLDER» text for debug builds? Each second spent watching the loading screen will be rightfully interpreted as «son is not coding» by the community.
Is it too late to reduce loading times? Hell NO.
  1. Jenkins
Or any other continuous integration tool. «Rebuild a project» can take a long time too, and what can we do about that? Let me give you an idea. Buy a new PC. Get a 32-core Threadripper, 32 GB of fastest RAM you can afford and a cool motherboard which would support all of that (of course, Ryzen/i5/Celeron/i386/Raspberry Pi is fine too, but the faster, the better). The rest is not necessary, e.g. a barely functional second hand video card burned out by bitcoin mining is fine. You set up another PC in your room. You connect it to your network. You set up ramdisk to speed things up even more. You properly set up Jenkins) on this PC. From now on, Jenkins cares about the rest: tracking your Git repository, (re)building process, large and time-consuming unit tests, invoking static code analyzer, profiling, generating reports and whatever else you can and want to hook up. More importantly, you can fix another bug while Jenkins is rebuilding the project for the previous one et cetera.
In general, continuous integration is a great technology to quickly track down errors that were introduced in previous versions, attempting to avoid those kinds of bug hunting sessions. I am highly unsure if continuous integration is needed for 10000-20000 source lines long projects, but things can be different as soon as we step into the 100k+ territory, and Yandere Simulator by now has approximately 150k+ source lines of code. I think that probably continuous integration might be well worth it for Yandere Simulator.
Is it too late to add continuous integration? NO, albeit it is going to take some time and skills to set up.
  1. Stop caring about the criticism
Stop comparing Alex to Scott Cawton. IMO Alex is very similar to the person known as SgtMarkIV, the developer of Brutal Doom, who is also a notorious edgelord who, for example, also once told somebody to kill himself, just like… However, being a horrible person, SgtMarkIV does his job. He simply does not care much about public opinion. That's the difference.
  1. Go outside
Enough said. Your brain works slower if you only think about games and if you can't provide it with enough oxygen supply. I know that this one is probably the hardest to implement, but…
That's all, folks.
Bonus: Do you think how short this list would have been if someone just simply listened to Mike Zaimont instead of breaking down in tears?
submitted by Dezhitse to Osana [link] [comments]

I'm making a video targeting right-wingers - Please critique and give feedback ASAP before I commit to recording? "Axiomatic Warfare and the Fatal Flaws of Modern Fascism"

[Video Essay Script] - Links will be used in video as images and segments. https://docs.google.com/document/d/12OX9TTfLhgNEfdDaMWfsHYyAMzTx9G7bSwu_0Ke1Ksc/edit?usp=sharing

Introduction to Modern Fascism

“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”- Nazi Propagandists, Joseph Goebbels.

Axioms are our base assumptions about the world. They act as filters for new information coming into our consciousness.
In classic philosophy, an axiom is a statement that is so evident or well-established, that it is accepted without controversy or question. As used in modern logic, an axiom is a premise or starting point for reasoning.
We use these axiomatic assumptions to build our internal models of the world around us. They allow us to compare new information we receive from the outside with our internal narratives, which helps us to decide whether to reject or accept that new information. They are, for want of a better world, your "common sense" beliefs.
So how do you go about changing a relatively normal person's core beliefs and base assumptions to the point of rejecting their fellow citizens as traitors, committing acts of murderous terrorist or vigilante violence like Fascist white supremacists running down protesters in acts of terror, ISIS beheadings or mass genocide?

Shock Treatment and Slow Repetition

When I was a child I was subjected to regular mental and physical abuse from my dad. I would also see my mother repeatedly beaten up and then flee to a women's refuge where I would stay with her.
Each time my mom left, whenever I visited my dad at weekends, he would constantly try to pressure and manipulate me into convincing my mom to get back together with him.
This never worked of course. But what it did do, is make me highly sensitive to manipulation techniques.
I was fascinated by people like the magician Derren Brown and the economist Naomi Klein - who both reveal the tricks of the trade used in the advertising and marketing industries to convince people.
One way of changing people into killing machines or obedient sheep is through a big shock to the system, like how electroshock therapy allows for a clean slate to rebuild peoples intern mental models.
Psychedelics are another way, having a similar effect in the brain. Encouraged by the alt right and alt-light influencers like Jordan Peterson and Rebel Wisdom as they try to “Red Pill” people (an expression taken from the film The Matrix as a metaphor for revealing revealing the truth about the world).
They use this shock and disorientation as a way to prepare a “blank-slate” in order to rebuild peoples internal axiomatic models with different core beliefs.
Remaking people by shocking them into obedience and gas-lighting them about their existing internal models, making them seem irrational, silly or outdated. Reducing them to a mental state of a child and then rebuilding them with a new ideology and worldview, known as “shock therapy”.
As Naomi Klein explains in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, these techniques work on larger scales with use of trauma and shock to influence political outcomes has been used since at least Milton Friedman coined the term “Economic Shock Treatment”. He advised that politicians push through painful and unpopular policies all at once during a time of crisis, before people could regain their footing.
The technique is used in economic markets on the large scale, and also against individuals on a small scale with individuals too. Economics and politics is just human interaction on a larger scale, after all.
Regular repetition and gentle suggestions of ideas can also instil new axiomatic models and core beliefs into people's minds. As Derren Brown demonstrates how powerful subtly suggestions can be alone, without the need for hypnosis, shocks or drugs.
But used in combination, shock and repetition can shift people until they have moved their positions, perceptions and beliefs about the world, to a place they could never have imagined.
But luckily once you deconstruct the deception and understand how the trick works, the illusion falls apart.

Defining and Deconstructing Modern Fascism

Firstly, we must define Modern Fascism. Modern Fascism ticks every box of the traditional definitions in Umberto Eco’s essay Ur-Fascism, and not only does it fulfil every criteria, it reveals other motivational forces and has evolved to include new aspects, and has changed into something worse, while it’s main weakness remain the same - the fact that it is primarily motivated by weakness.
As General Franco said in a 1938 interview with Henri Massis: "Fascism presents, wherever it manifests itself, characteristics which are varied to the extent that countries and national temperaments vary. It is essentially a defensive reaction of the organism, a manifestation of the desire to live, of the desire not to die, which at certain times seizes a whole people. So each people reacts in its own way, according to its conception of life… What can it have in common with Hitlerism, which was, above all, a reaction against the state of things created by the defeat, and by the abdication and the despair that followed it?"
This quote perfectly illustrates the transient nature of the ideology, but also the core motivations of Fascism. It is an ideology based on the assumption of weakness which yearns for restoration of a past greatness or to get revenge and recognition. But the way that it manifests itself is different in each place it takes hold.
Therefore the aim of this isn’t to make the case that any particular party or country has embraced out-right fascism (plenty of other people have made that case already), the aim is to reveal the underlying motivations, highlight threats and weaknesses and analyse the less obvious negative effects of Modern Fascism.

History Doesn’t Repeat, But It Rhymes

A false equivalence that is often used is that Liberal Imperialism is just the same as Fascism. And while it is true that imperialists use fascist dictators to extract cheap labour and resources and also dominate smaller counties in a similar way to how fascist empires aspire to rule, the key difference is that the populations of those countries are not gripped by the same fear based delusions.
And therefore more Liberal democracies are better equipped to hold their imperial position of power long term because they are better able to assess risks and react accordingly, rather than over-react based on paranoia and competing egos under excessive pressure.
This false equivalence was also used in 1930’s Germany, because far-left Communists had been co opted and infiltrated by Fascists. They would repeat the mantra that “the Social Democrats were the real racists”.
Contrary to the assumptions of most people, Fascism, as an ideology and political system of government is very distinct to white supremacy. It does of course include white supremecists, but In fact includes many other groups who have been co-opted by Fascist propaganda, or who implicitly support and enable their agenda.
Examples of modern opposition which has been repeatedly infiltrated or just simply made up by Fascists include innumerable conspiracy theories, police groups like Blue Lives Matter, militant Black nationalists, the Boogaloo movement who call for a race war, the “Proud Boys” and even sometimes supposed Anarchists, far-left Communists and Left Accelerationists.

Motivations of Fascism

Fascism distilled down to its core reason for existing is the suppression of opposition who represent workers rights and economic justice. So they patently DON’T look after their own people. They con them into submission of the state by generating jingoistic fear of “the other” - whoever is convenient on that day to blame for their problems.
Fascism is is an economic shock doctrine upon the inhabitants of the country. We don't spread fascist propaganda in tip-pot dictators because we care about the indiginous people there. We install Fascist dictators in order to remove workers rights and open up access to their natural resources.
Artificial moral panics can be engineered and real disasters used to allow corrupt oligarchs and financial predators to consolidate power further by buying up small innovative businesses who don’t have the excess capital to survive the turmoil on their own without external support. Or as a way to eradicate public services by sabotaging them and building mistrust.
They are used to erode faith in public services and institutions by rich people who simply want to pay less tax and don’t see why they should subsidise other human beings who haven’t had the same luck as them. So a major motivation of fascism is to suppress the opposition left-wing party who represent workers rights and egalitarian freedoms.
Populists claim to be against free trade and to some extent they are, but whatever they do will fail because they are interfering with the markets, so they will retreat to the power of market domination. They use their threats of trade barriers as more just more shock treatment for markets, rather than protecting actual jobs or industries.
This is a trick that has been played by Neoliberals too. But while Neoliberals use fascism as a tool for opening markets to Imperialism, they differ from Libertarians, not only because they embrace guns and weed, but they are starting from different positions to achieve the same goal;
Neoliberals seek to remove already existing public services and workers rights that lift bargaining power. But Libertarians want to STOP the government from ever providing those services and investments into the poor or enshrining workers rights.

Modern Fascist Ideology has TWO Core Reasons to Exist; Fear and Freed.

I have been researching and analysing how economic systems differ, using a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threads). For each economic system I tried to be as neutral, fair and balanced as possible - which included Fascism.
I might seem strange that someone who is anti-Fascist would want to explore the strenghts and opportunities of Fascist ideologies, but in doing so it reveals the real weaknesses and threats which are too important for us to ignore.
So what exactly IS Fascism? Is it just an economic doctrine or a personal philosophy about the world? The answer is both.
The ideology has TWO core reasons to exist, and TWO distinct audiences types - with one based primarily on fear and the other greed, with each having a malignant and symbiotic relationship with each other.
Fear - Authoritarian/Conservative Fascists
Greed - Libertarian Fascists
There are very few people who actually buy into full Fascist ideology, most believe a watered down version of which resembles Conservatism or right-wing populism or accelerationism, and most of them genuinely believe they aren’t fascist, even though they are being constantly fed subtle suggestions fascist ideology or that align with their plans.
But the most ironic thing is that these groups are mostly being used by the second group of rich Libertarians globalist elites pulling a confidence trick on the host nation. Often posing “anti-establishment” conspiracists who actually uphold the establishment through misinformation. See: Russia Today and Youtube Bitcoin and Gold shills who subtly suggest fascist talking points.
With those rich Libertarians at the top more than happy for those below them, who they deem less worthy, living in even more delusional ideologies with fake enemies to fear, often resembling traditional Christian but values wrapped in modern conspiracies with added elements of “satanic panic”.
Modern Fascism has clearly inspired the modern day equivalents of Brownshirts and Blackshirts, self-styled vigilantes like QAnon, The Proud Boys and “The Boogaloo” - white nationalist violent extremists who want to accelerate towards a full-on race war.
It has also infiltrated numerous alternative groups, such as hyper-evangelical “end times” cults, alternative health scenes, internet conspiracy scenes like flat earth and occult magic.

Lockdown Conspiracies

A commonly missing hallmark of fascism that is present in history during the rise of fascism is a controlled opposition and explicit suppression of opposition. This distorts a healthy society and has unforeseen consequences and blowback.
Fantasies and political thought bubbles are self delusional custom realities resembling an episode of Black Mirror. They act as coping and escape mechanisms. Especially during the Covid 19 lock-down, these tendencies have gone into overdrive with massive events entering the real world featuring David Ike leading protesters alongside fascists as people ignore rising Fascism, climate change destruction and Covid deaths tolls.
Using disasters like Covid or irrational scare tactics such as the "Satanic Panic" style Fascist propaganda from QAnon, can shock people using their fear and disgust response, while making them distrust the news - allowing the government to evade valid criticism from experts while suggesting to people that government public services are inherently evil or Communist.
This type of propaganda is a Libertarians wet dream - making a population not only give up on tax funded public services, but actively fear them. An example is Trump trying to discredit and defund the US Postal Service and other public institutions and regulatory bodies.
Anti Semitism has been used throughout history by those in power to provoke an “us vs. them” mentality, leading to today's establishment still sanctioning and allowing Qanon on major media platforms, provoking and agitating terrorist attackers from the far-left and the far-right.
Those in power in fascist regimes allow and encourage mistrust in the mainstream media, while the long-tail niche political and interest groups keep people separated from each other, who each live in their own custom realities while the real elites continue to dominate and increase their power.
With each bubble framing realities based of identity, race, class, nationality, or even subculture special interests like alternative medicine and “gamer bro” culture, so that when they interact in real life or online, they are speaking past each other because they don’t even agree on the basic principles of how they view society.

The Fatal Flaws of Living in a Fantasy

While the main flaws and weaknesses of Fascism remain the same, they are in-fact exacerbated by this new hybrid model. It’s main weakness is the very fact that it is motivated by weaknesses, fear and greed - rather than true strength, self-confidence or heroic benevolent power, as their adherents like to believe.
A misconception of fascists themselves that it is based on strength, when it is actually based on weakness - even when the driving force is greed rather than fear. Libertarian fascists want to extract labour and materials at cheaper prices, while inflating their own asset values.
In other words; international financiers with little allegiance to any country. Ironically the very type of people who Conservative fascists claim to be opposed to.
Fascism claims to make society more successful, but it actually accelerates the destruction of the culture, country or people, rather than preserving and conserving it, because it betrays a fundamental weakness of insecurity. Competitors and rivals can easily see through the charade of and take advantage.
If anything does the exact opposite. Russian and China are clearly goading Western nations into becoming more divided and totalitarian, as they themselves benefit from becoming more Liberal and open and reap the competitive advantages that brings. See Kraut’s excellent video about Trump on China as an example.
Keynesian investment in the country and people, giving workers more rights, opportunities and a more bargaining power is what makes a country successful and innovative, rather than the faux Keynesian policy of giving kickbacks to corrupt officials for government contracts and widening inequality by supporting the already rich, rather than the ordinary people.

Who Benefits in This Memetic War?

Who is going to war with who? Who is winning? A modern adage is that tankies are just fascists because of their support of authoritarian proto-fascist leaders and regimes who often claim to be Communist.
But from my experience talking to actual fascists, they crave a more multi-polar world where other strong leaders rise up as competition and form alliances with dictators.
So to me, it looks like Fascists are the real Tankies; wishing our enemies be stronger and wanting to accelerate towards race war or civil war that weakens the society.
Not only did Donald Trump have knowledge of Russia allowing ISIS bounties on US troops and withhold that from the public while courting Putin, I have personally heard white supremacists backing extremists Islamists in Discord servers.
Trump jumped to the defense of the people who put a 17 year old with a gun against civil rights protesters and assumed the intent before saying that the outcome should be decided by the legal system.
They share common values and beliefs like Anti Semitism, accelerationist end-times fantasies, patriarchal traditional values and a fear of outside progressive cultures. In fact modern extremists white supremecist groups share recruitment and terrorist strategies and tactics with militant islamists.
You could argue that it was inflicted by Russian or Imperialist propagandists onto the German people in order to take control of larger areas of Europe after the destabilisation of war.
Hitler and Stalin came to a non agression truce called The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which as was a secret non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those two powers to partition Poland between them.
The pact, signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov was officially known as the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
They divided Poland under the banner of fighting “Polish Fascism” nearly a century ago with both sides ultimately lying to their own people about spreading freedom while being authoritarian to their core and being able to blame “the other” as being the cause of all their problems.
But these days fascism seems to be a rogue meme that no longer serves any particular group. It is pathologically damaging to any society that it happens to grip.
Even the aforementioned Libertarians and accelerationists who think they are benefiting are only temporarily gaining by market price volatility. They ultimately lose through the blowback effect of the whirlpool they create.

Psychopathy, Alienation Nihilism and Insecurity

It is well established that Fascist dictators are driven by psychopathic characters and tendencies. They either don’t care about the truth, or disregard it if it’s not convenient to their narrative.
In totalitarian despotic societies facts are reversed. As George Orwell proclaimed throughout his writings; “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”.
Similar to how authoritarian Starlinist Communists harnessed people’s alienation and tricked them into thinking that it’s possible for the state to fully decommodify everything without having markets, money to account for things, domination or hierarchy or try to convince people that a revolution is just around the corner.
But of course, a council representative is still the head of an organisation, for all intents and purposes, because they wield executive power over others, even if the name has changed. Markets are emergent properties when groups of humans want or need a certain commodity when it becomes available.
But while both Communist and Fascist ideologies are based on lies that harness peoples alienation, fear and envy, Fascism is also especially to the weak. It is attractive to those who want to be strong again (or were never to begin with), or those who want to have a strong leader to help them.
Fascism betrays to others the inherent weakness. Like the insecure kid in school who lashes out - others around can see that it is because of their own insecurity which makes them appear even weaker. Fascism is a psychopathy driven by insecurity.
When people become so absorbed in an ideology there is a phenomena of people to self identify as an actual ideology? This produces a phenomena called Identity Protective Cognition, where people's self worth becomes attached to a belief system or ideology. So that when new information contradicts their worldview it is seen as an attack on the person themselves.
Therefore irrational, emotional quick fix thinking is the default when there is too much pressure and they feel attacked. They no longer use their slow effortful reflective thinking. (See Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow)
This approach has parallels in evolutionary biology, in which a central issue is the ability to adapt to changing environments. Competency - over-competitiveness in management causes chaos which STOPS hierarchies of competence. (Insert video clips of Sapolsky on Chaos vs Reductionism etc. timestamps linked).
Fascists try to reduce variability in culture and outcomes - causes weakness of less adaptability - because as Sapolsky explains, the variability is not just noise in that type of system CAS (Complex Adaptive Systems) - the variability IS the system. It is fractal and scale free. The noise and variability is an intrinsic part of the system.
But the system doesn’t function properly when the agreed-upon parameters that individuals believe to be true aren’t universal enough to have any form of group coherence.
Birds and swarms of animals can produce amazing complex phenomena, which are greater than the sum of their individual parts. There is a “network effect” once a certain threshold and certain conditions and rules are met.
These rules can be very simple, like repulsion or attraction, or staying a certain distance apart while traveling in a similar direction, but collectively they create patterns that emerge with complexity and I dear say, a certain amount of beauty.
So what happens when millions of people are being brainwashed and misled by cults that are leaving them with a reduced ability to make decisions?
Giving them shit-for-brains just so that some rich people at the top can pay a few percentage less tax? That is the sign of a deeply sick system that cannot continue to function effectively. It is sick on so many levels.

Emergence, Complexity and Human Evolution - A Social-Biological Analysis

The problem with viewing the world through only one lens of analysis (or bucket of knowledge) is that you can fall into unnecessarily reductive thinking. (Sapolsky clips)
I describe myself as a philosophical anarchist. Which does NOT mean I want total chaos and disorder - it means I want the optimal solution to emerge - including the influences and experiences from the bottom-up.
I also think that a bottom-up (or anarchist) lens of analysis is necessary for society to run cohesively in an optimal state. If it is repressed it distorts the overall picture of reality for everyone - similar to a CEO that doesn’t listen to employees and workers on the ground.
I interpret as constantly holding authority to account - to justify its existence and reason for dominating others. I also believe it is every citizen's responsibility to hold authority to account. This would be necessary under ANY economic system or society.
Anarchists also believe in stigmenric, rhizomatic action to make the world better, organically, not from a top-down authority, which fascism seeks to instill on society.
Human beings are collectively parts of a bigger chaotic but stable system known as a CAS (Complex Adaptive System). CAS’s are chaotic systems that can reach periodic steady states of equilibrium.
As Professor Sapolsky explains, humans uniquely exist with a mixture of both communal and individualistic tendencies; known in the scientific world as Tournament vs. pair bonding.
All the evidence suggests that this tendency has greatly improved our success as a species. But those tendencies distorted too far one way or another lead to pathologies and the worst collective misdeeds and wars.
Because as Professor Sapolsky also explains in his brilliant lecture series (which I have condensed the pertinent parts of into a 4 part YouTube video) about CAS; the signals coming from the randomness is being suppressed or repressed, it interferes with the functioning of the system.
Pressure in the system makes the patterns more complex but at a certain point of increasing pressure in the complex system, it stops being linear and the doubling of patterns and periodicity totally stops. Order completely begins to break down because of the butterfly effect.
Fascist regimes fettishise order and rigidity but in a complex adaptive system, the noise IS the phenomena, not a byproduct to be discarded, ignored or repressed.
The majority of people on the right genuinely want to help society by bringing order, using top-down draconian measures if necessary. Whereas the left generally wants to help society by proactively building from the bottom up.
I think both of these approaches are necessary to be balanced properly for a healthy functioning society to emerge.
It seems our tendency to harness both traits and to focus intently on one or the other is our greatest collective strength, while also being our greatest weakness.
And similarly, on an individual level I believe our greatest strengths and weakness are the fact that our brains work efficiently by categorising information to filter out the unimportant bits that slow us down.
As the book by Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow, brilliantly explains, slow deliberate, consideration thinking takes energy and time, so our brains developed filters which come out as biases. This is an inherent weakness of the human brain.
Now imagine the butterfly effect on the life of just one person who is influenced by the brainworms of QAnon cults or conspiracies which distorts their internal models of the world which they use to filter information about the world
The sad and shocking stories on forums like QanonCasualties show the devastating effects on their close friends, family and work life - amplified by their ever increasingly disconnected lives. (insert Flat earther clip - zoom in on idiot rolling head)
Now scale that up to the level of a whole of a society, a country, or the world? This is a collective madness to cope with and avoid the reality facing us as a species.
Only collective action with agreed basic facts to work from will do to avoid the total descent into actual chaos and destruction.

TLDR; Conclusion and Final Thoughts

In this essay I will have put forward the case for the following four key arguments being true and I have present supporting evidence to explain the logical reasoning for why our current definitions need updating and the threat levels reassed, from a non-hysterical but critical perspective. The overall claims I made are:
  1. Modern Fascism has taken over right-wing populism and bears all the hallmarks of early 20th Century Fascist ideologies.
  2. The ideology has two main reasons to exist, and two distinct audiences which both have a symbiotic, pathological relationship with each other.
  3. The main flaws and weaknesses of fascist ideology remain the same as ever - that fascism is motivated by irrational fears, greed and self deception.
  4. Modern Fascism has major unforeseen damaging consequences for individuals, governments, organisational dynamics, and society at large.
This reality is something I think a lot of fascists, ultra-nationalists and people who have been influenced by the propaganda know deep down on some level already - that they are avoiding the realities of pandemics and ecological harms of ignoring science and reality as it is.
They ignore it because fantasies are simpler to understand. And a narrative based on fear of the other is a simpler way to to process a complex world.
It is also attractive to the part of us that is drawn to conflict and drama - that hunger for something genuinely interesting to happen.
But I would argue from my experience that the beautiful complexity of life in all it’s shades of grey is much more interesting, fun and genuinely fulfilling to understand and engage in, even if it might be harder to deal with and even harder to explain.
I believe doing so is also vital for the very survival of our species - we can no longer afford to live in a fantasy, we need to collectively take responsibility for the world as it exists in reality.
Thank you to my two Patrons:
Carmen Jongepier
E.V. Roske
Original Script on Patreon
submitted by Upper-Range to BreadTube [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to InvestmentEducation [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to Capitalism [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to economy [link] [comments]

The Fed's Losing Battle with Technological Deflation

PART 1/4 - FREE MARKET?
First off, let's set the scene.
The stock market is telling you nothing about the real economy anymore.
Economic fundamentals have never mattered as little for the stock market as has been the case during this 11-year bull market.
The correlation between gross-domestic-product growth and the direction of the S&P 500 Index has only been 7% in this cycle - historically it has been 30% to 70%.
Why?
Well, it is the Central Banks, led by the Fed, who printed their way out of the Recession in '08.
In doing so, they have papered over the cracks, and we have seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
However, this is not a particularly meritocratic process: money creation itself increases inequality via the Cantillon Effect, as money printing leads to asset price inflation, which disproportionately benefits the rich and hurts the poor.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker told the New York Times in 2018:
“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy. We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive."
The reality of course is that this is largely not the case - it is because the game is rigged in their favour.
Now, it is important to emphasise the fact that the path we have taken has resulted in the highest living standards we have seen in human history.
However, the issue, particularly since the US completely abandoned the gold standard in 1971, is that debt has exploded to obscene levels.
We are not operating in a free market if it takes $185 trillion of debt over the last 20 years to create 'growth'.
In fact, the global debt to GDP ratio hit an all-time high of 322% in the third quarter of 2019.
Inflation means that your dollar loses value and thus your purchasing power goes down.
Deflation means that the value of your dollar goes up and your purchasing power goes up.
That's a good thing right? You get more goods and services for less.
Well, no.
If you have deflation, debt explodes in real terms and you can never pay it back.
As the economy is based on debt, if you allow deflation, then you have to reset the debt.
This is why central banks fear deflation so much.
However, the major force driving the human race is technological progress - and this stops for no mortal...
PART 2/4 - TECHNOLOGICAL DEFLATION:
The increased abundance created by technology will result in massive job losses.
Throughout history, doom porn enthusiasts have screamed that the machines are coming for jobs. This is not a new phenomenon.
All technological revolutions are deflationary - since they create "supply side shocks", meaning that they allow for more intensive use of resources and thus higher production. With more goods being produced, all other things being equal, the price of those goods will fall.
In the last 20 years or so, software has disrupted and replaced many established goods and services.
It is in the next 20 years that another disruptive technology is set to take the stage: AI
According to Steve Schwarzman, the co-founder and CEO of The Blackstone Group who has a net worth of $17.6BN:
"This is going to touch everyone's life....you're not going to be able to get away from this technology"
Moreover, this virus will only accelerate this trend towards tech. Zoom is a fantastic example of exactly this.
Old legacy economic systems were not built for this tech deflation, and the thing about exponential growth is that we humans do not intuitively understand it.
As an example, if you folded a piece of paper 51 times, of course you can only fold it seven times, but if you could fold it 51 times, it would reach the Sun!
PART 3/4 - IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY:
The question is: how does this play out?
In the long term, it is the fundamental structure of the economic system that has a significant impact on people's lives, not who is President for 4 to 8 years.
In reality, politicians have limited power and are effectively all puppets. We have seen what happens when a President doesn't stay in their lane...
One could argue that the two main mechanisms of control are:
  1. Divide and Conquer and
  2. Order from Chaos
As we have seen many times in the past, herd psychology is worryingly easy to manipulate...
Speaking of the censorship, in his book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb discusses the anti fragility of information.
Information feeds more on attempts to harm it than it does on efforts to promote it.
A fantastic example of this process is what has happened with London Real: they were banned on LinkedIn and David Icke's interview was censored. Now, regardless of what you think of this particular channel or your thoughts on David Icke and the theories provided, censoring information in this way actually spreads it more virally.
It's fascinating to observe how many views the videos regarding the bans and censorship have relative to the others. And the impact this has had on subscribers.
It is always easier to blame a bigger enemy (or create a new one) rather than to admit it's a structural problem.
Therefore, you avoid short term pain...whatever the cost.
The real question is if and when this situation will lead to social unrest...
PART 4/4 - INTELLECTUAL CAPITALISM:
The depth and width of jobs impacted by AI will continue to increase in the future.
Now this will not necessarily happen straight away.
However, our transition from commodity capitalism to intellectual capitalism is inevitable and the people and nations who fight against this trend will be on the wrong side of history.
From a practical investment perspective, and disclaimer this is not investment advice, network effects are a crucial aspect to consider moving forwards.
Essentially, this means that the value of the network increases with each additional user - all of the tech monopolies have exhibited this property.
An asset which could in time demonstrate very strong network effects is Bitcoin.
Looking at the market cap relative to other asset classes, Bitcoin provides an asymmetric investment opportunity.
Only time will tell...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nFbKzt-uwE
submitted by financeoptimum to Money [link] [comments]

I'm kinda ok with MCO -> CRO Swap; a indepth personal view

EDIT: this post https://www.reddit.com/Crypto_com/comments/i2yhuz/open_letter_to_kris_from_one_of_cdcs_biggest/ from u/CryptoMines expresses my sentiments and concerns better than I could ever put into words myself. I'd say read his/her post instead.
Very long post ahead, but TL;DR, I actually see this swap as a positive change, despite fearing for what it may do to my portofolio, and having mixed feelings about its consequences on CDC reputation.Before I start, for the sake of context and bias, here's my personal situation as a CDC user:
  1. I'm just a average Joe, with a 500 MCO Jade card. I bough 50 MCO at 5,22€ in September 2019 and staked for Ruby, then bough 440 MCO at 2.47€ in March 2020 and upgraded to Jade. The total amount of MCO I own is currently 515, and everything above the 500 stake is cashback rewards.
  2. I bought MCO exclusively for the card and bonus Earn interest benefits, and had no plans to unstake my MCO. Now with the swap, definetly won't unstake.
  3. The MCO -> CRO conversion rates increased the fiat value of my MCO in about 1000€.
  4. I own a decent amount of CRO, wich I bought at ~0,031€ in March 2020.
  5. The country where I live is crypto friendly and completely crypto-tax free; I only have to pay income tax if I deposit a certain threshold of fiat in my bank.
Take all these factors into account as possible (if not major) influencers or bias on my opinions; both the emotional and economical ones. Call me a fool or a devil's advocate if you want, but keep your torches and pitchforks down. As we say here on Reddit: "Remember the human".-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Like all of you, I woke up to find this anouncement, wich came right the #[email protected] out of nowere, and gives you little to no options. Good or bad, this announcement arrived as basicly a "comply or die" choice. Emotionally, this came as both terrifying and disgusting; but rationally, I cannot blame CDC for it.
Because wether we like it or not, CDC is a centralized company, and the MCO tokens were never a stock or legally binding contract; something wich pretty much every crypto company or ICO warns in their T&C and risk warnings. Not to mention the mostly unregulated status of the cryptocurrency and. I'll call this "dishonest" any day, but I cannot see it as a "scammy" since I can't see how they broke any rules or terms.
A scammer would take your money/assets away, but CDC is offering you to swap it for another asset wich you can sell right away if you want. And at current price, it is still worth more or less as much fiat as MCO cost at the 5 $/€ wich was more or less the comunity standard used for calculating the card prices. And by that, I mean that the fiat value of 50/500/5000 MCO (as CRO) is actually not far from the 250/2500/25'000 $/€ that the comunity commonly used as standard when calculating the ROI and (under)valuation of MCO.
So CDC is at least trying to give us the option to get (some) our money back, and not at a unfair rate. If you happened to buy MCO at a price higher than this, I can't see how that's CDC's fault, just as I don't see anyone blaming Bitcoin or Altcoins for getting them stuck at the top of the 2017 bubble burst.
I read many posts in this reddit calling this a "backstab" and "betrayal" of early investors and for the people who "believed in MCO". Emotionally, I share your sentiment.But after thinking it for a while, I'd say this was actually very rewarding for early investors and long term MCO supporters. As CDC clearly sates in the swap rules; nobody is going to lose their card tier or MCO stake benefits (at least not yet), and your stake DOES NOT unstake automatically after 180 days. Actually, so far they never did unstake automatically, you had to manually unstake yourself.
With this in mind, everyone who already got their cards, or at least staked MCO to reserve one, basicly got them 3-5 times cheaper than future users; and IMHO, now the $/€ price of cards feels more fair and sustainable compared to their benefits.So in a sense, everyone who supported and believed on the MCO for its utility (i.e. the card and app benefits) has been greatly rewarded with perks that they get to keep, but are now out of reach for a lot of people.Likewise, the people who believed and invested in CRO (for whatever reason), have also been rewarded, as their CRO tokens now have more utility.
So either the price of CRO crashes down to around 0.05 $/€, or the people who bought MCO/CRO early or cheap are now massively benefited. But then again, so is everyone who bought or mined Bitcoin in its early days, or invested in Bitcoin at crucial points of its history... how is that unfair? Some people bought Ethereum at 1'400 $ on a mix of hopes/promises that it would continue to rise; it didn't. And even today with DeFi and ETH 2.0 ever closer, it is still far from that price.
And I know what some of you are thinking: "The cards aren't avaiable in my country yet, that's why I didn't buy/stake."Well, they weren't avaiable in my country either when I staked 50 MCO. Heck, the cards weren't avaiable in anyones country when MCO started, but many people still bought it and staked it. That's exacly what "early adopter", "long supporter" and "believing in MCO" means.
On the other hand, the people who invested on MCO as a speculative asset and decided to HODL and hoard MCO, hoping for its price to moon and then sell MCO at big profit, had their dreams mercilessly crushed by this swap... and good lord, I feel their pain.But this is also where I'll commit the sin of being judgemental, because IMHO, speculating on MCO never made any sense to me; MCO was a utility token, not a value token, so it should not (and could not) ever be worth more than the value of its utility. That's basicly how stablecoins and PAXG are able to stay stable; because nobody will pay more/less than the value of the asset/service they represent.
Tough now that I'm looking at the new card stake tiers in CRO, I have to give credit to the MCO hodlers I just now criticised; maybe you were right all along. Unless the price of CRO crashes or corrects, I wich case, I un-rest my case.
One thing I'll agree with everyone tough, is that I fell that CDC just suckerpunched it's comunity. Because even if we have no vote on its decisions (wich again, we aren't necessarily entitled to, since they are a privante and centralized business) they should/could have warned that this was in their plans well in advance; if anything to allow those who wouldn't like it to exit this train calmly.
Also the CRO stake duration reset. The mandatory reset of your CRO stake for taking advantage of the early swap bonus feels like another gut-punch.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now that we got emotional feelings out of the way, here's my sentiment about how this will affect the overall CDC ecossystem.
One common criticism of the sustainability of MCO was that its supply cap could never allow a large number of cards to be issued, and how could CDC keep paying the cashbacks and rebates. On the oposite corner, one of the major criticisms of the sustainability of CRO, was it's ridiculously huge supply cap and inflation caused by the gradual un-freezing and release of more CRO into the system.
But now that MCO and CRO became one, it might just have made both issues more sustainable. Now the huge supply cap of CRO makes more sense, as it allows a much larger number of future users to stake for cards (at higher costs, but still). And because most card cashback is small parcels, this large supply also ensures that CDC can keep paying said cashbacks for a long time; especially since it can be semi-renewable trough the trading fees we pay in CRO.
Before this, the MCO you got as cashback had no use, other than selling it for fiat or speculate on its price. But CRO can be used, at the very least, to receive a discount on trading fees. And everytime you pay trading fees in CRO or spend CRO on a Syndicate event, some of that CRO goes back to CDC, wich they can use to keep paying the cahsback/rebates.
And keep in mind, the technicalities of CRO can be changed, as well as the perks and utilities it can be used for. So even if this current model doesn't fix everything (wich it probably doesn't) it can still be changed to patch problems or expand its use.
Another obvious potentially positive outcome of this, is that now CDC only has to focus on 1 token, so it makes it easier to manage and drive its value. People complained that CDC was neglecting MCO over promoting CRO, but now they can focus on both services (cards/exchange) at the same time. Sure, this might not bring much advantage to the common customer, but its probably a major resource saver and optimizer at corporate levels; wich in the long term ultimately benefits its customers.
Much like Ethereum is undergoing major changes to ensure its scalability, the crypto companies themselves also have to change to acommodate the growing number of users, especially as the cryptomarket and DeFi are growing and becoming more competitive. Business strategies that were once successfull became obsolete, and exchanges that once held near-monopolies had to adjust to rising competitors. There is no reason why CDC shouldn't keep up with this, or at least try to.
Point is, the financial markets, crypto or otherwise, are not a status quo haven. And when something is wrong, something has to be changed, even if it costs. The very rise of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, wich is why we are here in the first place, is a perfect example of this, as it experiments and provides alternatives to legacy/traditional products and technologies.
Was this the best solution to its current problems? Is this what will protect us as customers from a potentially unsustainable business model? I have no idea.
This change ripped me too from my previous more or less relaxed status quo (the safety of the value of the CRO I bough for cheap), along with CRO late investors wich now probably fear for the devaluation of their CRO. To say nothing of the blow this represents for my trust (and I believe everyone elses trust) on CDC and its public relations. It's not what CDC did, it's how they did it.
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Wether you actually bothered to read all I wrote or just skip everything (can't blame you), I'm eager to hear your opinions and whatever criticisms on my opinions you may have.
If you just want to vent at me, you are welcome too; now you can raise your pitchforks and torches.
submitted by BoilingGarbage to Crypto_com [link] [comments]

Lines of Navigation | Monthly Portfolio Update - July 202

Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be
- Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H.
This is my forty-fourth portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal.
Portfolio goal
My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars).
This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent.
Portfolio summary
Total portfolio value: $1 800 119 (+$34 376 or 1.9%)
Asset allocation
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio.
[Chart]
Comments
The portfolio has substantially increased this month, continuing the recovery in portfolio value since March.
The strong portfolio growth of over $34 000, or 1.9 per cent, returns the value of the portfolio close to that achieved at the end of February this year.
[Chart]
This month there was minimal movement in the value of Australian and global equity holdings, There was, however, a significant lift of around 6 per cent in the value of gold exchange traded fund units, as well as a rise in the value of Bitcoin holdings.
These movements have pushed the value of gold holdings to their highest level so far on the entire journey. Their total value has approximately doubled since the original major purchases across 2009 to 2015.
For most of the past year gold has functioned as a portfolio stabiliser, having a negative correlation to movements in Australian equities (of around -0.3 to -0.4). As low and negative bond rates spread across the world, however, the opportunity cost of holding gold is reduced, and its potential diversification benefits loom larger.
The fixed income holdings of the portfolio also continued to fall beneath the target allocation, making this question of what represents a defensive (or negatively correlated to equity) asset far from academic.
This steady fall is a function of the slow maturing of Ratesetter loans, which were largely made between 2015 and 2017. Ratesetter has recently advised of important changes to its market operation, and placed a fixed maximum cap on new loan rates. By replacing market set rates with maximum rates, the peer-to-peer lending platform appears to be shifting to more of a 'intermediated' role in which higher past returns (of around 8 to 9 per cent) will now no longer be possible.
[Chart]
The expanding value of gold and Bitcoin holdings since January last year have actually had the practical effect of driving new investments into equities, since effectively for each dollar of appreciation, for example, my target allocation to equities rises by seven dollars.
Consistent with this, investments this month have been in the Vanguard international shares exchange-traded fund (VGS) using Selfwealth. This has been directed to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares.
Fathoming out: franking credits and portfolio distributions
Earlier last month I released a summary of portfolio income over the past half year. This, like all before it, noted that the summary was prepared on a purely 'cash' basis, reflecting dividends actually paid into a bank account, and excluding consideration of franking credits.
Franking credits are credits for company tax paid at the company level, which can be passed to individual shareholders, reducing their personal tax liability. They are not cash, but for a personal investor with tax liabilities they can have equivalent value. This means that comparing equity returns to other investments without factoring these credits can produce a distorted picture of an investor's final after-tax return.
In past portfolio summaries I have noted an estimate for franking credits in footnotes, but updating the value for this recently resulted in a curiosity about the overall significance of this neglected element of my equity returns.
This neglect resulted from my perception earlier in the journey that they represented a marginal and abstract factor, which could effectively be assumed away for the sake of simplicity in reporting.
This is not a wholly unfair view, in the sense that income physically received and able to be spent is something definably different in kind than a notional 'pre-payment' credit for future tax costs. Yet, as the saying goes, because the prospect of personal tax is as certain as extinction from this world, in some senses a credit of this kind can be as valuable as a cash distribution.
Restoring the record: trends and drivers of franking credits
To collect a more accurate picture of the trends and drivers of franking credits I relied on a few sources - tax statements, records and the automatic franking credit estimates that the portfolio tracking site Sharesight generates.
The chart below sets out both the level and major different sources of franking credits received over the past eleven years.
[Chart]
From this chart some observations can be made.
The key reason for the rapid growth over the recent decade has been the increased investment holdings in Australian equities. As part of the deliberate rebalancing towards Australian shares across the past two years, these holdings have expanded.
The chart below sets out the total value of Australian shares held over the comparable period.
[Chart]
As an example, at the beginning of this record Australian equities valued at around $276 000 were held. Three years later, the holding were nearly three times larger.
The phase of consistently increasing the Australian equities holding to meet its allocated weighting is largely complete. This means that the period of rapid growth seen in the past few years is unlikely to repeat. Rather, growth will revert to be in proportion to total portfolio growth.
Close to cross-over: the credit card records
One of the most powerful initial motivators to reach financial independence was the concept of the 'cross over' point in Vicki Robins and Joe Dominguez's Your Money or Your Life. This was the point at which monthly expenses are exceeded by investment income.
One of the metrics I have traced is this 'cross-over' point in relation to recorded credit card expenses. And this point is now close indeed.
Expenditures on the credit card have continued their downward trajectory across the past month. The three year rolling average of monthly credit card spending remains at its lowest point over the period of the journey. Distributions on the same basis now meet over 99 per cent of card expenses - with the gap now the equivalent of less than $50 per month.
[Chart]
The period since April of the achievement of a notional and contingent form of financial independence has continued.
The below chart illustrates this temporary state, setting out the the extent to which to which portfolio distributions (red) cover estimated total expenses (green), measured month to month.
[Chart]
An alternative way to view the same data is to examine the degree to which total expenses (i.e. fixed payments not made on credit card added to monthly credit card expenses) are met by distributions received.
An updated version of this is seen in the chart below.
[Chart]
Interestingly, on a trend basis, this currently identifies a 'crossing over' point of trend distributions fully meeting total expenditure from around November 2019. This is not conclusive, however, as the trend curve is sensitive to the unusual COVID-19 related observations of the first half of this year, and could easily shift further downward if normal expense patterns resume.
One issue this analysis raises is what to do with the 'credit card purchases' measure reported below. This measure is designed to provide a stylised benchmark of how close the current portfolio is to a target of generating the income required to meet an annual average credit card expenditure of $71 000.
The problem with this is that continued falling credit card spending means that average credit card spending is lower than that benchmark for all time horizons - measured as three and four year averages, or in fact taken as a whole since 2013. So the set benchmark may, if anything, be understating actual progress compared the graphs and data above by not reflecting changing spending levels.
In the past I have addressed this trend by reducing the benchmark. Over coming months, or perhaps at the end of the year, I will need to revisit both the meaning, and method, of setting this measure.
Progress
Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below.
Measure Portfolio All Assets
Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 82.6% 111.5%
Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 100.7% 136.0%
Total expenses – $89 000 pa 80.7% 109.0%
Summary
One of the most challenging aspects of closing in on a fixed numerical target for financial independence with risk assets still in place is that the updrafts and downdrafts of market movements can push the goal further away, or surprisingly close.
There have been long period of the journey where the total value of portfolio has barely grown, despite regular investments being made. As an example, the portfolio ended 2018 lower than it started the year. The past six months have been another such period. This can create a sense of treading water.
Yet amidst the economic devastation affecting real lives and businesses, this is an extremely fortunate position to be in. Australia and the globe are set to experience an economic contraction far more severe than the Global Financial Crisis, with a lesser capacity than previously for interest rates to cushion the impact. Despite similar measures being adopted by governments to address the downturn, it is not clear whether these are fit for purpose.
Asset allocation in this environment - of being almost suspended between two realities - is a difficult problem. The history of markets can tell us that just when assets seem most 'broken', they can produce outsized returns. Yet the problem remains that far from being surrounded by broken markets, the proliferation appears to be in bubble-like conditions.
This recent podcast discussion with the founder of Grant's Interest Rate Observer provided a useful historical context to current financial conditions this month. One of the themes of the conversation was 'thinking the unthinkable', such as a return of inflation. Similar, this Hoover Institute video discussion, with a 'Back from the future' premise, provides some entertaining, informed and insightful views on the surprising and contingent nature of what we know to be true.
Some of our little systems may well have had their day, but what could replace them remains obscured to any observer.
The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
submitted by thefiexpl to fiaustralia [link] [comments]

Bob The Magic Custodian



Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses.
Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes.

First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure:

Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:

But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are!

"On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid".
"Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since."

"As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!"
"Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?"

"Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party."
"Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!"

"What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven."
"Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!"

"We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies.
And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often".

How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen?
Just one.

Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so?
If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security.

The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle.

And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet?

Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds.
So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever.

Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see.
It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation.
A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7.

History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance.
Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.)
Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive.

Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today.
Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well.
Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do.

Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):



Thoughts?
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