This Week in Bitcoin: The IRS Targets Coinbase, Venezuela to Mint Its Own Cryptocurrency

Posted by Frank Holmes - US Global Investors

on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 06:32


Writing about blockchain and bitcoin right now is a little like buying a new computer in the 1990s. The tech was advancing so fast in those days that as soon as you brought the thing home, it was sorely outdated. Similarly, the cryptocurrency world is changing so rapidly at the moment that even before “the ink dries” on one of my posts, some important new development has already surfaced.

Case in point: When Bloomberg ran a particular story last Monday—Bitcoin Is Now Bigger Than Buffett, Boeing and New Zealand”—bitcoin’s market cap hovered just above $185 billion, making it worth more than the likes of PepsiCo, Boeing and McDonald’s.

Bitcoin is now worth more than some of the worlds biggest companies as of decemeber 4
click to enlarge

Well, here it is a week later, and this chart is already outdated. As of Monday morning, bitcoin’s market cap topped $275 billion, bringing its total value comfortably above Coca-Cola, Toyota and Verizon (and now Bank of America, Walmart, Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, AT&T and Chevron). Next stop is Alphabet, which had a market cap of $288 billion at the end of the third quarter.



Energy & Commodities

Where Will All That Lithium Come From?

Posted by Sean Broderick - The Edelson Institute

on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 06:21

Lithium prices have traveled sideways recently. So the shares of lithium miners, developers and explorers have suffered a correction. As they often like to do, speculators are temporarily rushing out of a market simply because it’s no longer going up, up, up. They’re probably piling into Bitcoin.

Folks, nothing goes straight up (not even Bitcoin). A cooling off in the lithium market is just what the doctor ordered. 

Look at these charts:

Click image for larger view

The chart on the left shows the prices of lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate in Asia. Asia is the major buyer of lithium. Since the metal doesn’t trade on an exchange (yet), we have to use transactions in Asia to track it. You can see that 2016 and ’17 were rocket rides for the metal.



Bonds & Interest Rates

Albert Edwards: "Why The Current Situation Is Even Worse Than The 2008 Crisis"

Posted by ZeroHedge

on Monday, 11 December 2017 06:40

Back in May, we first reported that Goldman became the first bank to dare to ask if the Fed has lost control of the market, if in slightly more polite terms of course. This is how Jan Hatzius phrased it: "Despite two rate hikes and indications of impending balance sheet runoff, financial conditions have continued to loosen in recent months. Our financial conditions index is now about 50bp below its November 2016 average and near the easiest levels of the past two years." Several months later, after the third rate hike, Goldman found that once again, paradoxically, financial conditions eased further, and the market rose even more in direct opposition of what Fed rate hikes are supposed to do!


Fast forward to this weekend, when we reported that that lovely word which describes the new normal so well -"paradox" - made a repeat appearance, this time in the last quarterly report by the Bank of International Settlement, which for the nth time issued an alert on the state of the stock market, an alert which will be summarily ignored by everyone until after the crash, and reminded everyone what happened the last time financial conditions eased instead of tightening when the Fed hiked rates (spoiler alert: biggest crash in modern history). This is what the BIS' chief economist Claudio Borio said (among other things)"

....continue reading HERE



Bitcoin – Millennial's Fake Gold

Posted by Vitaliy Katsenelson - Contrarian Edge

on Monday, 11 December 2017 06:28

UnknownI’ve been asked about Bitcoin a lot lately. I’ haven’t written anything about it because I find myself in an uncomfortable place in agreeing with the mainstream media: It’s a bubble. Bitcoin started out as what I’d call “millennial gold” – the young (digital) generation looked at it as their gold substitute.

Bitcoin is really two things: a blockchain technology and a (perceived) currency. The blockchain element of Bitcoin may have enormous future applications: It may be used for electronic contracts, voting, money transfers – and the list goes on. But there is a very important misconception about Bitcoin: Ownership of Bitcoin doesn’t give you ownership of the technology. I, without owning a single bitcoin, own as much Bitcoin technology as someone who owns a million bitcoins; that is, exactly none. It’s just like when you have $1,000 on a Visa debit card: That $1,000 doesn’t give you part ownership of the Visa network unless you actually own some Visa’ stock.

Owning Bitcoin gives you a right to … what, actually? Digital bits?

I can understand gold bugs and the original Bitcoin aficionados. The global economy is living beyond its means and financing its lifestyle by issuing a lot of debt. Normally this behavior would cause higher interest rates and inflation. But not when you have central banks. Our local central bankers simply bought this newly issued debt and brought global interest rates down to near-zero levels (and in many cases to what would have been previously unthinkable negative levels). If you think investing today is difficult, being a parent is even more difficult. I tried to explain the above to my 16-year-old son, Jonah. I saw the same puzzled look in his eyes as when he found out where babies come from. I also felt embarrassed, for my inability to explain how governments can buy the debt they just issued. The concept of negative interest rates goes against every logical fiber in my body and is as confusing to this forty-four-year-old parent as it is to my sixteen-year-old.



Economic Outlook

Saxo Bank's Outrageous 2018 Predictions

Posted by Saxo Bank

on Monday, 11 December 2017 06:18

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 6.27.01 AMWe’ve delved deep again this year in penning our annual list of 10 Outrageous Predictions. As usual, we roam the world and ride roughshod over consensus in sni ng out these supposedly highly unlikely events with underappreciated potential – events that could have tremendous implications if they come to pass. Enjoy! 

For 2018

- Fed loses independence as US Treasury takes charge

- Treasury enacts 2.5% yield cap after massive spike

- Bank of Japan loses control of its monetary policy

- USDJPY rises to 150 and then collapses to 100

- China issues CNY-denominated oil futures contract

- Petro-renminbi surges, USDCNY below 6.0

- Volatility spikes on sudden S&P 500 ‘ ash crash’

- S&P 500 drops 25% in spectacular plunge

- US voters push left in 2018 mid-terms, bonds spike

- US 30-year Treasury yields rip beyond 5%

- ‘Austro-Hungarians’ launch hostile EU takeover

- EURUSD to 1.00 after hitting new highs

- Investors ee Bitcoin as governments strike back

- Bitcoin @ $1,000

- South Africa resurgent after ‘African Spring’

- ZAR gains 30% versus EM currencies

- Tencent topples Apple as market cap king

- Tencent shares gain 100%

- Women take the reins of corporate power

- Female CEOs at more than 60 Fortune 500 companies 

....continue reading HERE


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