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Meet Brock Pierce, the Presidential Candidate With Ties to Pedophiles Who Wants to End Human Trafficking
thedailybeast.com | Sep. 20, 2020. The “Mighty Ducks” actor is running for president. He clears the air (sort of) to Tarpley Hitt about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and more. In the trailer for First Kid, the forgettable 1996 comedy about a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the president’s son, the title character, played by a teenage Brock Pierce, describes himself as “definitely the most powerful kid in the universe.” Now, the former child star is running to be the most powerful man in the world, as an Independent candidate for President of the United States. Before First Kid, the Minnesota-born actor secured roles in a series of PG-rated comedies, playing a young Emilio Estevez in The Mighty Ducks, before graduating to smaller parts in movies like Problem Child 3: Junior in Love. When his screen time shrunk, Pierce retired from acting for a real executive role: co-founding the video production start-up Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) alongside businessman Marc Collins-Rector. At age 17, Pierce served as its vice president, taking in a base salary of $250,000. DEN became “the poster child for dot-com excesses,” raising more than $60 million in seed investments and plotting a $75 million IPO. But it turned into a shorthand for something else when, in October of 1999, the three co-founders suddenly resigned. That month, a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit alleging Collins-Rector had molested him for three years beginning when he was 13 years old. The following summer, three teens filed a sexual-abuse lawsuit against Pierce, Collins-Rector, and their third co-founder, Chad Shackley. The plaintiffs later dropped their case against Pierce (he made a payment of $21,600 to one of their lawyers) and Shackley. But after a federal grand jury indicted Collins-Rector on criminal charges in 2000, the DEN founders left the country. When Interpol arrested them in 2002, they said they had confiscated “guns, machetes, and child pornography” from the trio’s beach villa in Spain. While abroad, Pierce had pivoted to a new venture: Internet Gaming Entertainment, which sold virtual accessories in multiplayer online role-playing games to those desperate to pay, as one Wired reporter put it, “as much as $1,800 for an eight-piece suit of Skyshatter chain mail” rather than earn it in the games themselves. In 2005, a 25-year-old Pierce hired then-Goldman Sachs banker Steve Bannon—just before he would co-found Breitbart News. Two years later, after a World of Warcraft player sued the company for “diminishing” the fun of the game, Steve Bannon replaced Pierce as CEO. Collins-Rector eventually pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. In the years that followed, Pierce waded into the gonzo economy of cryptocurrencies, where he overlapped more than once with Jeffrey Epstein, and counseled him on crypto. In that world, he founded Tether, a cryptocurrency that bills itself as a “stablecoin,” because its value is allegedly tied to the U.S. dollar, and the blockchain software company Block.one. Like his earlier businesses, Pierce’s crypto projects see-sawed between massive investments and curious deals. When Block.one announced a smart contract software called EOS.IO, the company raised $4 billion almost overnight, setting an all-time record before the product even launched. The Securities and Exchange Commission later fined the company $24 million for violating federal securities law. After John Oliver mocked the ordeal, calling Pierce a “sleepy, creepy cowboy,” Block.one fired him. Tether, meanwhile, is currently under investigation by the New York Attorney General for possible fraud. On July 4, Pierce announced his candidacy for president. His campaign surrogates include a former Cambridge Analytica director and the singer Akon, who recently doubled down on developing an anonymously funded, $6 billion “Wakanda-like” metropolis in Senegal called Akon City. Pierce claims to be bipartisan, and from the 11 paragraphs on the “Policy” section of his website it can be hard to determine where he falls on the political spectrum. He supports legalizing marijuana and abolishing private prisons, but avoids the phrase “climate change.” He wants to end “human trafficking.” His proposal to end police brutality: body cams. His political contributions tell a more one-sided story. Pierce’s sole Democratic contribution went to the short-lived congressional run of crypto candidate Brian Forde. The rest went to Republican campaigns like Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, John McCain, and the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Last year alone, Pierce gave over $44,000 to the Republican National Committee and more than $55,000 to Trump’s re-election fund. Pierce spoke to The Daily Beast from his tour bus and again over email. Those conversations have been combined and edited for clarity. You’re announcing your presidential candidacy somewhat late, and historically, third-party candidates haven’t had the best luck with the executive office. If you don’t have a strong path to the White House, what do you want out of the race? I announced on July 4, which I think is quite an auspicious date for an Independent candidate, hoping to bring independence to this country. There’s a lot of things that I can do. One is: I’m 39 years old. I turn 40 in November. So I’ve got time on my side. Whatever happens in this election cycle, I’m laying the groundwork for the future. The overall mission is to create a third major party—not another third party—a third major party in this country. I think that is what America needs most. George Washington in his closing address warned us about the threat of political parties. John Adams and the other founding fathers—their fear for our future was two political parties becoming dominant. And look at where we are. We were warned. I believe, having studied systems, any time you have a system of two, what happens is those two things come together, like magnets. They come into collision, or they become polarized and become completely divided. I think we need to rise above partisan politics and find a path forward together. As Albert Einstein is quoted—I’m not sure the line came from him, but he’s quoted in many places—he said that the definition of insanity is making the same mistake or doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result. [Ed. note: Einstein never said this.] It feels like that’s what our election cycle is like. Half the country feels like they won, half the country feels like they lost, at least if they voted or participated. Obviously, there’s another late-comer to the presidential race, and that’s Kanye West. He’s received a lot of flak for his candidacy, as he’s openly admitted to trying to siphon votes away from Joe Biden to ensure a Trump victory. Is that something you’re hoping to avoid or is that what you’re going for as well? Oh no. This is a very serious campaign. Our campaign is very serious. You’ll notice I don’t say anything negative about either of the two major political candidates, because I think that’s one of the problems with our political system, instead of people getting on stage, talking about their visionary ideas, inspiring people, informing and educating, talking about problems, mentioning problems, talking about solutions, constructive criticism. That’s why I refuse to run a negative campaign. I am definitely not a spoiler. I’m into data, right? I’m a technologist. I’ve got digital DNA. So does most of our campaign team. We’ve got our finger on the pulse. Most of my major Democratic contacts are really happy to see that we’re running in a red state like Wyoming. Kanye West’s home state is Wyoming. He’s not on the ballot in Wyoming I could say, in part, because he didn’t have Akon on his team. But I could also say that he probably didn’t want to be on the ballot in Wyoming because it’s a red state. He doesn’t want to take additional points in a state where he’s only running against Trump. But we’re on the ballot in Wyoming, and since we’re on the ballot in Wyoming I think it’s safe—more than safe, I think it’s evident—that we are not here to run as a spoiler for the benefit of Donald Trump. In running for president, you’ve opened yourself up to be scrutinized from every angle going back to the beginning of your career. I wanted to ask you about your time at the Digital Entertainment Network. Can you tell me a little bit about how you started there? You became a vice president as a teenager. What were your qualifications and what was your job exactly? Well, I was the co-founder. A lot of it was my idea. I had an idea that people would use the internet to watch videos, and we create content for the internet. The idea was basically YouTube and Hulu and Netflix. Anyone that was around in the ‘90s and has been around digital media since then, they all credit us as the creators of basically those ideas. I was just getting a message from the creator of The Vandals, the punk rock band, right before you called. He’s like, “Brock, looks like we’re going to get the Guinness Book of World Records for having created the first streaming television show.” We did a lot of that stuff. We had 30 television shows. We had the top most prestigious institutions in the world as investors. The biggest names. High-net-worth investors like Terry Semel, who’s chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers, and became the CEO of Yahoo. I did all sorts of things. I helped sell $150,000 worth of advertising contracts to the CEOs of Pepsi and everything else. I was the face of the company, meeting all the major banks and everything else, selling the vision of what the future was. You moved in with Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley at a mansion in Encino. Was that the headquarters of the business? All start-ups, they normally start out in your home. Because it’s just you. The company was first started out of Marc’s house, and it was probably there for the first two or three months, before the company got an office. That’s, like, how it is for all start-ups. were later a co-defendant in the L.A. County case filed against Marc Collins-Rector for plying minors with alcohol and drugs, in order to facilitate sexual abuse. You were dropped from the case, but you settled with one of the men for $21,600. Can you explain that? Okay, well, first of all, that’s not accurate. Two of the plaintiffs in that case asked me if I would be a plaintiff. Because I refused to be a part of the lawsuit, they chose to include me to discredit me, to make their case stronger. They also went and offered 50 percent of what they got to the house management—they went around and offered money to anyone to participate in this. They needed people to corroborate their story. Eventually, because I refused to participate in the lawsuit, they named me. Subsequently, all three of the plaintiffs apologized to me, in front of audiences, in front of many people, saying Brock never did anything. They dismissed their cases. Remember, this is a civil thing. I’ve never been charged with a crime in my life. And the last plaintiff to have his case dismissed, he contacted his lawyer and said, “Dismiss this case against Brock. Brock never did anything. I just apologized. Dismiss his case.” And the lawyer said, “No. I won’t dismiss this case, I have all these out-of-pocket expenses, I refuse to file the paperwork unless you give me my out-of-pocket expenses.” And so the lawyer, I guess, had $21,000 in bills. So I paid his lawyer $21,000—not him, it was not a settlement. That was a payment to his lawyer for his out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses so that he would file the paperwork to dismiss the case. You’ve said the cases were unfounded, and the plaintiffs eventually apologized. But your boss, Marc Collins-Rector later pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. Were you aware of his behavior? How do you square the fact that later allegations proved to be true, but these ones were not? Well, remember: I was 16 and 17 years old at the time? So, no. I don’t think Marc is the man they made him out to be. But Marc is not a person I would associate with today, and someone I haven’t associated with in a very long time. I was 16 and 17. I chose the wrong business partner. You live and you learn. You’ve pointed out that you were underage when most of these allegations were said to take place. Did you ever feel like you were coerced or in over your head while working at DEN? I mean, I was working 18 hours a day, doing things I’d never done before. It was business school. But I definitely learned a lot in building that company. We raised $88 million. We filed our [form] S-1 to go public. We were the hottest start-up in Los Angeles. In 2000, you left the country with Marc Collins-Rector. Why did you leave? How did you spend those two years abroad? I moved to Spain in 1999 for personal reasons. I spent those two years in Europe working on developing my businesses. Interpol found you in 2002. The house where you were staying reportedly contained guns, machetes, and child pornography. Whose guns and child porn were those? Were you aware they were in the house, and how did those get there? My lawyers have addressed this in 32 pages of documentation showing a complete absence of wrongdoing. Please refer to my webpage for more information. [Ed. Note: The webpage does not mention guns, machetes, or child pornography. It does state:“It is true that when the local police arrested Collins-Rector in Spain in 2002 on an international warrant, Mr. Pierce was also taken into custody, but so was everyone at Collins-Rector’s house in Spain; and it is equally clear that Brock was promptly released, and no charges of any kind were ever filed against Brock concerning this matter.”] What do you make of the allegations against Bryan Singer?[Ed. Note: Bryan Singer, a close friend of Collins-Rector, invested at least $50,000 in DEN. In an Atlantic article outlining Singer’s history of alleged sexual assault and statutory rape, one source claimed that at age 15, Collins-Rector abused him and introduced him to Singer, who then assaulted him in the DEN headquarters.] I am aware of them and I support of all victims of sexual assault. I will let America’s justice system decide on Singer’s outcome.
In 2011, you spoke at the Mindshift conference supported by Jeffrey Epstein. At that point, he had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Why did you agree to speak? I had never heard of Jeffrey Epstein. His name was not on the website. I was asked to speak at a conference alongside Nobel Prize winners. It was not a cryptocurrency conference, it was filled with Nobel Prize winners. I was asked to speak alongside Nobel Prize winners on the future of money. I speak at conferences historically, two to three times a week. I was like, “Nobel Prize winners? Sounds great. I’ll happily talk about the future of money with them.” I had no idea who Jeffrey Epstein was. His name was not listed anywhere on the website. Had I known what I know now? I clearly would have never spoken there. But I spoke at a conference that he cosponsored. What’s your connection to the Clinton Global Initiative? Did you hear about it through Jeffrey Epstein? I joined the Clinton Global Initiative as a philanthropist in 2006 and was a member for one year. My involvement with the Initiative had no connection to Jeffrey Epstein whatsoever.
You’ve launched your campaign in Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed by a police officer. How do you feel about the civil uprising against police brutality? I’m from Minnesota. Born and raised. We just had a press conference there, announcing that we’re on the ballot. Former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley was there. So that tells you, when former U.S. Senators are endorsing the candidate, right? [Ed. note: Barkley was never elected to the United States Senate. In November of 2002, he was appointed by then Minnesota Governor Jesse Venture to fill the seat after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Barkley’s term ended on Jan. 3, 2003—two months later.] Yes, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. My vice-presidential running mate Karla Ballard and I, on our last trip to Minnesota together, went to visit the George Floyd Memorial. I believe in law and order. I believe that law and order is foundational to any functioning society. But there is no doubt in my mind that we need reform. These types of events—this is not an isolated incident. This has happened many times before. It’s time for change. We have a lot of detail around policy on this issue that we will be publishing next week. Not just high-level what we think, not just a summary, but detailed policy. You said that you support “law and order.” What does that mean? “Law and order” means creating a fair and just legal system where our number one priority is protecting the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all people. This means reforming how our police intervene in emergency situations, abolishing private prisons that incentivize mass incarceration, and creating new educational and economic opportunities for our most vulnerable communities. I am dedicated to preventing crime by eliminating the socioeconomic conditions that encourage it. I support accountability and transparency in government and law enforcement. Some of the key policies I support are requiring body-cams on all law enforcement officers who engage with the public, curtailing the 1033 program that provides local law enforcement agencies with access to military equipment, and abolishing private prisons. Rather than simply defund the police, my administration will take a holistic approach to heal and unite America by ending mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial injustice. Did you attend any Black Lives Matter protests? I support all movements aimed at ending racial injustice and inequality. I have not attended any Black Lives Matter protests. My running-mate, Karla Ballard, attended the March on Washington in support of racial justice and equality. Your platform doesn’t mention the words “climate change.” Is there a reason for that? I’m not sure what you mean. Our policy platform specifically references human-caused climate change and we have a plan to restabilize the climate, address environmental degradation, and ensure environmental sustainability. [Ed. Note: As of writing the Pierce campaign’s policy platform does not specifically reference human-caused climate change.] You’ve recently brought on Akon as a campaign surrogate. How did that happen? Tell me about that. Akon and I have been friends for quite some time. I was one of the guys that taught him about Bitcoin. I helped make some videogames for him, I think in 2012. We were talking about Bitcoin, teaching him the ropes, back in 2013. And in 2014, we were both speaking at the Milken Global Conference, and I encouraged him to talk about how Bitcoin, Africa, changed the world. He became the biggest celebrity in the world, talking about Bitcoin at the time. I’m an adviser to his Akoin project, very interested in the work that he’s doing to build a city in Africa. I think we need a government that’s of, for, and by the people. Akon has huge political aspirations. He obviously was a hugely successful artist. But he also discovered artists like Lady Gaga. So not only is he, himself, a great artist, but he’s also a great identifier and builder of other artists. And he’s been a great businessman, philanthropist. He’s pushing the limits of what can be done. We’re like-minded individuals in that regard. I think he’ll be running for political office one day, because he sees what I see: that we need real change, and we need a government that is of, for, and by the people. You mentioned that you’re an adviser on Akoin. Do you have any financial investments in Akoin or Akon City? I don’t believe so. I’d have to check. I have so much stuff. But I don’t believe that I have any economic interests in his stuff. I’d have to verify that. We’ll get back to you. I don’t believe that I have any economic interests. My interest is in helping him. He’s a visionary with big ideas that wants to help things in the world. If I can be of assistance in helping him make the world a better place, I’m all for it. I’m not motivated by money. I’m not running for office because I’m motivated by power. I’m running for office because I’m deeply, deeply concerned about our collective future. You’ve said you’re running on a pro-technology platform. One week into your campaign last month, a New York appeals court approved the state Attorney General’s attempt to investigate the stablecoin Tether for potentially fraudulent activity. Do you think this will impact your ability to sell people on your tech entrepreneurship? No, I think my role in Tether is as awesome as it gets. It was my idea. I put it together. But I’ve had no involvement in the company since 2015. I gave all of my equity to the other shareholders. I’ve had zero involvement in the company for almost six years. It was just my idea. I put the initial team together. But I think Tether is one of the most important innovations in the world, certainly. The idea is, I digitized the U.S. dollar. I used technology to digitize currency—existing currency. The U.S. dollar in particular. It’s doing $10 trillion a year. Ten trillion dollars a year of transactional volume. It’s probably the most important innovation in currency since the advent of fiat money. The people that took on the business and ran the business in years to come, they’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m not sure they’ve done anything criminal. But they certainly did things differently than I would do. But it’s like, you have kids, they turn 18, they go out into the world, and sometimes you’re proud of the things they do, and sometimes you shake your head and go, “Ugh, why did you do that?” I have zero concerns as it relates to me personally. I wish they made better decisions. What do you think the investigation will find? I have no idea. The problem that was raised is that there was a $5 million loan between two entities and whether or not they had the right to do that, did they disclose it correctly. There’s been no accusations of, like, embezzlement or anything that bad. [Ed. Note: The Attorney General’s press release on the investigation reads: “Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds.”] But there’s been some disclosure things, that is the issue. No one is making any outrageous claims that these are people that have done a bunch of bad—well, on the internet, the media has said that the people behind the business may have been manipulating the price of Bitcoin, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the New York investigation. Again, I’m so not involved, and so not at risk, that I’m not even up to speed on the details. [Ed note: A representative of the New York State Attorney General told Forbes that he “cannot confirm or deny that the investigation” includes Pierce.] We’ve recently witnessed the rise of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Hollywood is an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles and Trump is the person waging war on them. You mentioned human trafficking, which has become a cause for them. What are your thoughts on that? I’ve watched some of the content. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m an internet person, so Anonymous is obviously an organization that has been doing interesting stuff. It’s interesting. I don’t have a big—conspiracy theory stuff is—I guess I have a question for you: What do you think of all of it, since you’re the expert? You know, I think it’s not true, but I’m not running for president. I do wonder what this politician [Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene], who’s just won her primary, is going to do on day one, once she finds out there’s no satanic cabal room. Wait, someone was running for office and won on a QAnon platform, saying that Hollywood did—say what? You’re the expert here. She won a primary. But I want to push on if we only have a few minutes. In 2006, your gaming company IGE brought on Steve Bannon as an investor. Goldman later bought out most of your stock. Bannon eventually replaced you as CEO of Affinity. You’ve described him as your “right-hand man for, like, seven years.” How well did you know Bannon during that time? Yes, so this is in my mid-twenties. He wasn’t an investor. He worked for me. He was my banker. He worked for me for three years as my yield guide. And then he was my CEO running the company for another four years. So I haven’t worked with Steve for a decade or so. We worked in videogame stuff and banking. He was at Goldman Sachs. He was not in the political area at the time. But he was a pretty successful banker. He set up Goldman Sachs Los Angeles. So for me, I’d say he did a pretty good job. During your business relationship, Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News, which has pretty consistently published racist material. How do you feel about Breitbart? I had no involvement with Breitbart News. As for how I feel about such material, I’m not pleased by any form of hate-mongering. I strongly support the equality of all Americans. Did you have qualms about Bannon’s role in the 2016 election? Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign got me to pay closer attention to what he was doing but that’s about it. Whenever you find out that one of your former employees has taken on a role like that, you pay attention. Bannon served on the board of Cambridge Analytica. A staffer on your campaign, Brittany Kaiser, also served as a business director for them. What are your thoughts on their use of illicitly-obtained Facebook data for campaign promotional material? Yes, so this will be the last question I can answer because I’ve got to be off for this 5:00 pm. But Brittany Kaiser is a friend of mine. She was the whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. She came to me and said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Tell the truth. The truth will set you free.” [Ed. Note: Investigations in Cambridge Analytica took place as early as Nov. 2017, when a U.K. reporter at Channel 4 News recorded their CEO boasting about using “beautiful Ukranian girls” and offers of bribes to discredit political officials. The first whistleblower was Christopher Wylie, who disclosed a cache of documents to The Guardian, published on Mar. 17, 2018. Kaiser’s confession ran five days later, after the scandal made national news. Her association with Cambridge Analytica is not mentioned anywhere on Pierce’s campaign website.] So I’m glad that people—I’m a supporter of whistleblowers, people that see injustice in the world and something not right happening, and who put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for what they believe in. So I stand up for Brittany Kaiser. Who do you think [anonymous inventor of Bitcoin] Satoshi Nakamoto is? We all are Satoshi Nakamoto. You got married at Burning Man. Have you been attending virtual Burning Man? I’m running a presidential campaign. So, while I was there in spirit, unfortunately my schedule did not permit me to attend. OP note: please refer to the original article for reference links within text (as I've not added them here!)
There is a tendency to accumulate BTC in the cryptomarket, according to Delphi Digital analysts. They found that this year the time horizons of digital coin holders have increased. In 2020, Bitcoin is in a more stable upward trend than last year, according to a new report by the analytical company Delphi Digital. Experts have found that this year the balances of cryptocurrency exchange wallets continued to fall, despite the rise in the price of the main digital coin. This suggests that traders and investors, selling the asset, put less pressure on its quotes, Cointelegraph. “This indicates a more stable upward trend in bitcoin compared to 2019. The data indicate that the time horizons of crypto holders have increased,” — experts believe. Over the past 6 months, the balance of crypto-exchange wallets has fallen from a historical high of 2.96 million BTC in late February to 2.59 million BTC in mid-September. Then the cryptocurrency was traded at the level of $9580, now it costs $10,430. Delphi Digital emphasized that when the rate of crypto is growing and its stocks on the stock exchanges are decreasing, it indicates a tendency to accumulate an asset.
DOGE Coin could it be the first fully adopted digital transaction medium?
I preface this - with this is NOT investment advice. Just my curiosity, interest in economics, and data science drove me to want to better understand why the founders of DOGE Crypto chose to be one of the few crypto currencies to take the approach of making it, "Inflationary" vs. "Deflationary" like many other cryptos. I analyzed the currencies historical data, what it’s circulation rates, and coin generation is each year. They set no cap - which is inverse of most cryptos. Here's the interesting thing, and it's brillantly done - they may have created the first crypto currency that will actually have the potential when it hits maturity to be a stable crypto currency. Now first piece to discuss is the inflation rate - they ear marked a $5B coin influx per annum. However, this also means the rate of inflation decreases each year as shown here: Year Circulating Value Rate of Inflation 2020 $125,541,910,543.00 3.98% 2021 $130,741,910,543.00 3.82% 2022 $135,941,910,543.00 3.68% 2023 $141,141,910,543.00 3.54% 2024 $146,341,910,543.00 3.42% 2025 $151,541,910,543.00 3.30% 2026 $156,741,910,543.00 3.19% 2027 $161,941,910,543.00 3.09% 2028 $167,141,910,543.00 2.99% 2029 $172,341,910,543.00 2.90% 2030 $177,541,910,543.00 2.82% 2031 $182,741,910,543.00 2.74% 2032 $187,941,910,543.00 2.66% 2033 $193,141,910,543.00 2.59% 2034 $198,341,910,543.00 2.52% 2035 $203,541,910,543.00 2.46% 2036 $208,741,910,543.00 2.40% 2037 $213,941,910,543.00 2.34% 2038 $219,141,910,543.00 2.28% 2039 $224,341,910,543.00 2.23% 2040 $229,541,910,543.00 2.18% Now here is the interesting thing - market cap determines circulation value - most people will invest small amounts, not large amounts to minimize risk and hold it in hopes of striking it rich. Keeping the value stable, and steady in increase slowly people will realize its better to hold it then to sell it. The stability, and small value of the currency encourages increased exchanges, and transactions. Making it easier for merchants to approve the currency for purchases of goods and services once accepted. Inflationary currencies gain momentum through usage adoption. Think of it like if you pegged everything to Bitcoin - could you buy a Pizza easily for $9,000? - no, it makes Bitcoin ineffective for real transactional exchange because its value is far too great making it a hoarded currency - a savings account essentially; same as if you were to keep gold - not an effective medium for exchange. Here's the fascinating aspect of this - currency in general has to have a lot of people to agree to it as an exchange medium for it to gain popularity and be commonly accepted - it also has to be easily broken for transactions. So, two keys to any currency success is, 1.)Popularity as a medium of exchange for goods and services w/capability of being easily broke for exchanges. 2.) Culturally accepted, and perpetuated as a part of a cultural frame. DOGE is a meme currency, that started off as a joke - but, has continued a steady very tiny incremental increase in value YOY - the pop-culture insignia is making people find it fun for exchange, and it's perpetuating itself through that cultural acceptance - the pop culture perpetuation, and the users pushing it for usage are increasingly making it a fascinating case study. Each year as people invest small amounts in it - holding onto it hoping to strike it rich the currency inches closer to the $0.01 parity. Once it closes in on this parity it will secure larger, longer term investors and mutuals that will buy and hold, - but, the distance in cap from circulation will keep the rise small, incremental and stable, and still easily transacted across businesses. If it hits the parity of $0.01 and stabilizes - I modeled it will take about 23 years before it would hit the $1.00 mark. Think about that - it's rather brilliant. If the environment stays right - it could essentially become the first fully adopted digital transaction currency. It is not a currency that will make you rich - but, if you bought a tiny amount and held on for a few decades and factors conditionally stayed right - you may have a chance to make a few bucks - but, also could become a part of the history of making DOGE the first fully adopted digital currency as a fully accepted exchange medium for goods and services. Just a very interesting approach - and experiment by the founders. Who knows if it will net out, but if it does would be interesting.
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
Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund - $716 680
Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund - $41 103
Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund - $77 788
Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund - $111 667
Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) - $202 336
Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) - $54 872
Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) - $230 058
Telstra shares (TLS) -$1 785
Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) - $6 449
NIB Holdings shares (NHF) - $5 316
Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) - $124 756
Secured physical gold - $20 070
Ratesetter (P2P lending) - $9 881
Bitcoin - $173 010
Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) - $17 258
Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) -$2 619
BrickX (P2P rental real estate) - $4 471
Total portfolio value: $1 800 119 (+$34 376 or 1.9%) Asset allocation
Australian shares - 41.1%
Global shares- 22.2%
Emerging market shares - 2.2%
International small companies - 2.9%
Total international shares - 27.3%
Total shares - 68.4% (6.6% under)
Total property securities - 0.2% (0.2% over)
Australian bonds - 4.5%
International bonds - 9.1%
Total bonds - 13.6% (1.4% under)
Gold - 8.0%
Bitcoin - 9.6%
Gold and alternatives - 17.7% (7.7% over)
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 level of franking credits has grown substantially over the past ten years - from a total of under $1 000 per year to around $8 000 annually.
Recent years have seen a particularly high accrual of franking credits - such that by value, over half of the total value of franking credits has been received over the past three financial years.
These credits now constitute a significant element in total realised returns - in the last financial year the value of franking credits represented a 12 per cent boost to the total level of cash distributions, and over the past two years they have contributed around $8 000 each year to the total level of after-tax returns. This is the equivalent of the portfolio paying nearly $700 per month in tax liabilities.
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.
Wall Street Breakfast: Volatile Week Ends In Quad Witching Session
U.S. equity futures held up overnight following another selloff on Wall Street that was led by major tech names. Contracts tied to the Dow and S&P 500 are hugging the flatline, while Nasdaq futures pared recent losses by climbing 0.6%. Mixed messaging around a potential coronavirus vaccine, as well as the passage of further fiscal stimulus, weighed on the market, while investors are gearing up for consumer sentiment data set for release at 10 a.m. ET. Don't forget that it's also quad witching day, which refers to the simultaneous expiration of market index futures, stock futures, market index options and stock options. "These days tend to get a lot of press for all of the volume they create, but historically they are nearly always a non-event," said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial. Spending deal to avoid government shutdown While there may be disagreement over another round of coronavirus relief, lawmakers are aiming to unveil a bipartisan spending bill today to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1. The "clean" legislation, largely devoid of any controversial measures, should keep the government funded into mid-December. "I don't think anybody wants to be responsible for shutting down the government on the eve of an election in the middle of a pandemic, so it's a rare outbreak of common sense on both sides," said Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. New round of farm aid "Starting next week my administration is committing an additional $13B in relief to help farmers recover from the China virus," President Trump announced a campaign rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin. The new aid is the second tranche of money issued as part of the Trump administration's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. In April, the administration unveiled $19B in relief for the agriculture sector under the CARES Act, including $16B in direct payments to farmers and ranchers and $3B in mass purchases of dairy, meat and produce. Fed mulls extension of bank dividend curbs Due to heightened economic uncertainty, the Federal Reserve is considering extending its caps on banks' dividends and stock repurchases for the rest of the year. The U.S. central bank made the announcement along with its release of hypothetical scenarios for the second round of stress tests that it's requiring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike an earlier round of stress tests this year, the Fed will release the results of the tests for each of the 33 lenders, rather than providing aggregate results for the group. Sub-zero rates The Bank of England held its benchmark policy rate at 0.1% on Thursday, but indicated it could cut interest rates below zero for the first time in its 326-year history. While recent domestic economic data has been a bit stronger than expected, it's "unclear how the economy will perform further out," according to the Monetary Policy Committee. Another major risk facing the U.K. economy relates to the post-Brexit trade discussions between the U.K. and the EU, which have recently soured. Terms of a TikTok deal The Trump administration spent Thursday reviewing proposals on the TikTok-Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) partnership, which currently has many moving parts. TikTok owner ByteDance (BDNCE) agreed to list the video-sharing app on a U.S. stock exchange, which could happen within a year, though there are still concerns over whether the Chinese parent would be allowed to retain a majority stake in the new company. Meanwhile, shares in China's Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) tumbled into the U.S. closing bell following reports that its investments are drawing new national security attention. Exchange dealmaking Seeing off competing bids from Deutsche Borse (OTCPK:DBORY) and Switzerland's SIX, the London Stock Exchange (OTCPK:LNSTY) is in exclusive talks to sell Borsa Italiana to France's Euronext (OTCPK:EUXTF). Offloading the Milan stock exchange would help LSE achieve regulatory remedies for its $27B purchase of data provider Refinitiv, which is owned by Blackstone (NYSE:BX) and Thomson Reuters (NYSE:TRI). The deal is politically sensitive in Rome because of concerns about who could take control of Borsa Italiana's bond platform, which handles trading of Italy's government debt. New COVID-19 restrictions across Europe Targeted lockdowns and local restrictions are returning to Europe as the region tries to avoid broad economic damage amid a surge in coronavirus cases. "Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March," the WHO's regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told an online news conference. "Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region." Pubs and restaurants must shut early and household mixing has been limited in northeast England, while social gatherings of more than six people have been banned across the country. French authorities are meanwhile preparing tighter restrictions in several cities, while Spain's Madrid has moved to "reduce mobility and contacts" in areas with high infection rates. Go Deeper: Israel becomes first developed country to enforce a second nationwide shutdown. Pandemic closures see restaurants hit the hardest About 60% of businesses that have closed their doors during the coronavirus pandemic will never reopen, and restaurants have suffered the most, according to new data from Yelp. The National Restaurant Association also said this week that 100,000 restaurants have closed either permanently or long term, adding that the sector is on track to lose $240B in sales this year. A number of factors have made it especially difficult for eateries, which tend to operate on thin margins even in the best of times. What else is happening... Unity (NYSE:U) to raise $1.3B in IPO, prices 25M shares above range. New York files civil charges against J&J (NYSE:JNJ) over opioids. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) hikes pay for about 165,000 hourly employees. Dave & Buster's (NASDAQ:PLAY) stumbles on bankruptcy speculation. Proposed Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737 MAX safety upgrades endorsed by NTSB. Nat gas tumbles by most in two years after stockpile gain. Today's Markets In Asia, Japan +0.2%. Hong Kong +0.5%. China +2.1%. India -0.3%. In Europe, at midday, London -0.2%. Paris -0.3%. Frankfurt +0.1%. Futures at 6:20, Dow flat. S&P flat. Nasdaq +0.6%. Crude +0.9% to $41.34. Gold +0.6% to $1961.40. Bitcoin +1.6% to $11005. Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 0.68%
The Next Crypto Wave: The Rise of Stablecoins and its Entry to the U.S. Dollar Market
Author: Christian Hsieh, CEO of Tokenomy This paper examines some explanations for the continual global market demand for the U.S. dollar, the rise of stablecoins, and the utility and opportunities that crypto dollars can offer to both the cryptocurrency and traditional markets. The U.S. dollar, dominant in world trade since the establishment of the 1944 Bretton Woods System, is unequivocally the world’s most demanded reserve currency. Today, more than 61% of foreign bank reserves and nearly 40% of the entire world’s debt is denominated in U.S. dollars1. However, there is a massive supply and demand imbalance in the U.S. dollar market. On the supply side, central banks throughout the world have implemented more than a decade-long accommodative monetary policy since the 2008 global financial crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the need for central banks to provide necessary liquidity and keep staggering economies moving. While the Federal Reserve leads the effort of “money printing” and stimulus programs, the current money supply still cannot meet the constant high demand for the U.S. dollar2. Let us review some of the reasons for this constant dollar demand from a few economic fundamentals.
Demand for U.S. Dollars
Firstly, most of the world’s trade is denominated in U.S. dollars. Chief Economist of the IMF, Gita Gopinath, has compiled data reflecting that the U.S. dollar’s share of invoicing was 4.7 times larger than America’s share of the value of imports, and 3.1 times its share of world exports3. The U.S. dollar is the dominant “invoicing currency” in most developing countries4. https://preview.redd.it/d4xalwdyz8p51.png?width=535&format=png&auto=webp&s=9f0556c6aa6b29016c9b135f3279e8337dfee2a6 https://preview.redd.it/wucg40kzz8p51.png?width=653&format=png&auto=webp&s=71257fec29b43e0fc0df1bf04363717e3b52478f This U.S. dollar preference also directly impacts the world’s debt. According to the Bank of International Settlements, there is over $67 trillion in U.S. dollar denominated debt globally, and borrowing outside of the U.S. accounted for $12.5 trillion in Q1 20205. There is an immense demand for U.S. dollars every year just to service these dollar debts. The annual U.S. dollar buying demand is easily over $1 trillion assuming the borrowing cost is at 1.5% (1 year LIBOR + 1%) per year, a conservative estimate. https://preview.redd.it/6956j6f109p51.png?width=487&format=png&auto=webp&s=ccea257a4e9524c11df25737cac961308b542b69 Secondly, since the U.S. has a much stronger economy compared to its global peers, a higher return on investments draws U.S. dollar demand from everywhere in the world, to invest in companies both in the public and private markets. The U.S. hosts the largest stock markets in the world with more than $33 trillion in public market capitalization (combined both NYSE and NASDAQ)6. For the private market, North America’s total share is well over 60% of the $6.5 trillion global assets under management across private equity, real assets, and private debt investments7. The demand for higher quality investments extends to the fixed income market as well. As countries like Japan and Switzerland currently have negative-yielding interest rates8, fixed income investors’ quest for yield in the developed economies leads them back to the U.S. debt market. As of July 2020, there are $15 trillion worth of negative-yielding debt securities globally (see chart). In comparison, the positive, low-yielding U.S. debt remains a sound fixed income strategy for conservative investors in uncertain market conditions. Source: Bloomberg Last, but not least, there are many developing economies experiencing failing monetary policies, where hyperinflation has become a real national disaster. A classic example is Venezuela, where the currency Bolivar became practically worthless as the inflation rate skyrocketed to 10,000,000% in 20199. The recent Beirut port explosion in Lebanon caused a sudden economic meltdown and compounded its already troubled financial market, where inflation has soared to over 112% year on year10. For citizens living in unstable regions such as these, the only reliable store of value is the U.S. dollar. According to the Chainalysis 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report, Venezuela has become one of the most active cryptocurrency trading countries11. The demand for cryptocurrency surges as a flight to safety mentality drives Venezuelans to acquire U.S. dollars to preserve savings that they might otherwise lose. The growth for cryptocurrency activities in those regions is fueled by these desperate citizens using cryptocurrencies as rails to access the U.S. dollar, on top of acquiring actual Bitcoin or other underlying crypto assets.
The Rise of Crypto Dollars
Due to the highly volatile nature of cryptocurrencies, USD stablecoin, a crypto-powered blockchain token that pegs its value to the U.S. dollar, was introduced to provide stable dollar exposure in the crypto trading sphere. Tether is the first of its kind. Issued in 2014 on the bitcoin blockchain (Omni layer protocol), under the token symbol USDT, it attempts to provide crypto traders with a stable settlement currency while they trade in and out of various crypto assets. The reason behind the stablecoin creation was to address the inefficient and burdensome aspects of having to move fiat U.S. dollars between the legacy banking system and crypto exchanges. Because one USDT is theoretically backed by one U.S. dollar, traders can use USDT to trade and settle to fiat dollars. It was not until 2017 that the majority of traders seemed to realize Tether’s intended utility and started using it widely. As of April 2019, USDT trading volume started exceeding the trading volume of bitcoina12, and it now dominates the crypto trading sphere with over $50 billion average daily trading volume13. https://preview.redd.it/3vq7v1jg09p51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=46f11b5f5245a8c335ccc60432873e9bad2eb1e1 An interesting aspect of USDT is that although the claimed 1:1 backing with U.S. dollar collateral is in question, and the Tether company is in reality running fractional reserves through a loose offshore corporate structure, Tether’s trading volume and adoption continues to grow rapidly14. Perhaps in comparison to fiat U.S. dollars, which is not really backed by anything, Tether still has cash equivalents in reserves and crypto traders favor its liquidity and convenience over its lack of legitimacy. For those who are concerned about Tether’s solvency, they can now purchase credit default swaps for downside protection15. On the other hand, USDC, the more compliant contender, takes a distant second spot with total coin circulation of $1.8 billion, versus USDT at $14.5 billion (at the time of publication). It is still too early to tell who is the ultimate leader in the stablecoin arena, as more and more stablecoins are launching to offer various functions and supporting mechanisms. There are three main categories of stablecoin: fiat-backed, crypto-collateralized, and non-collateralized algorithm based stablecoins. Most of these are still at an experimental phase, and readers can learn more about them here. With the continuous innovation of stablecoin development, the utility stablecoins provide in the overall crypto market will become more apparent.
In addition to trade settlement, stablecoins can be applied in many other areas. Cross-border payments and remittances is an inefficient market that desperately needs innovation. In 2020, the average cost of sending money across the world is around 7%16, and it takes days to settle. The World Bank aims to reduce remittance fees to 3% by 2030. With the implementation of blockchain technology, this cost could be further reduced close to zero. J.P. Morgan, the largest bank in the U.S., has created an Interbank Information Network (IIN) with 416 global Institutions to transform the speed of payment flows through its own JPM Coin, another type of crypto dollar17. Although people argue that JPM Coin is not considered a cryptocurrency as it cannot trade openly on a public blockchain, it is by far the largest scale experiment with all the institutional participants trading within the “permissioned” blockchain. It might be more accurate to refer to it as the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) instead of “blockchain” in this context. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that as J.P. Morgan currently moves $6 trillion U.S. dollars per day18, the scale of this experiment would create a considerable impact in the international payment and remittance market if it were successful. Potentially the day will come when regulated crypto exchanges become participants of IIN, and the link between public and private crypto assets can be instantly connected, unlocking greater possibilities in blockchain applications. Many central banks are also in talks about developing their own central bank digital currency (CBDC). Although this idea was not new, the discussion was brought to the forefront due to Facebook’s aggressive Libra project announcement in June 2019 and the public attention that followed. As of July 2020, at least 36 central banks have published some sort of CBDC framework. While each nation has a slightly different motivation behind its currency digitization initiative, ranging from payment safety, transaction efficiency, easy monetary implementation, or financial inclusion, these central banks are committed to deploying a new digital payment infrastructure. When it comes to the technical architectures, research from BIS indicates that most of the current proofs-of-concept tend to be based upon distributed ledger technology (permissioned blockchain)19. https://preview.redd.it/lgb1f2rw19p51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=040bb0deed0499df6bf08a072fd7c4a442a826a0 These institutional experiments are laying an essential foundation for an improved global payment infrastructure, where instant and frictionless cross-border settlements can take place with minimal costs. Of course, the interoperability of private DLT tokens and public blockchain stablecoins has yet to be explored, but the innovation with both public and private blockchain efforts could eventually merge. This was highlighted recently by the Governor of the Bank of England who stated that “stablecoins and CBDC could sit alongside each other20”. One thing for certain is that crypto dollars (or other fiat-linked digital currencies) are going to play a significant role in our future economy.
There is never a dull moment in the crypto sector. The industry narratives constantly shift as innovation continues to evolve. Twelve years since its inception, Bitcoin has evolved from an abstract subject to a familiar concept. Its role as a secured, scarce, decentralized digital store of value has continued to gain acceptance, and it is well on its way to becoming an investable asset class as a portfolio hedge against asset price inflation and fiat currency depreciation.Stablecoins have proven to be useful as proxy dollars in the crypto world, similar to how dollars are essential in the traditional world. It is only a matter of time before stablecoins or private digital tokens dominate the cross-border payments and global remittances industry. There are no shortages of hypes and experiments that draw new participants into the crypto space, such as smart contracts, new blockchains, ICOs, tokenization of things, or the most recent trends on DeFi tokens. These projects highlight the possibilities for a much more robust digital future, but the market also needs time to test and adopt. A reliable digital payment infrastructure must be built first in order to allow these experiments to flourish. In this paper we examined the historical background and economic reasons for the U.S. dollar’s dominance in the world, and the probable conclusion is that the demand for U.S. dollars will likely continue, especially in the middle of a global pandemic, accompanied by a worldwide economic slowdown. The current monetary system is far from perfect, but there are no better alternatives for replacement at least in the near term. Incremental improvements are being made in both the public and private sectors, and stablecoins have a definite role to play in both the traditional and the new crypto world. Thank you. Reference:  How the US dollar became the world’s reserve currency, Investopedia  The dollar is in high demand, prone to dangerous appreciation, The Economist  Dollar dominance in trade and finance, Gita Gopinath  Global trades dependence on dollars, The Economist & IMF working papers  Total credit to non-bank borrowers by currency of denomination, BIS  Biggest stock exchanges in the world, Business Insider  McKinsey Global Private Market Review 2020, McKinsey & Company  Central banks current interest rates, Global Rates  Venezuela hyperinflation hits 10 million percent, CNBC  Lebanon inflation crisis, Reuters  Venezuela cryptocurrency market, Chainalysis  The most used cryptocurrency isn’t Bitcoin, Bloomberg  Trading volume of all crypto assets, coinmarketcap.com  Tether US dollar peg is no longer credible, Forbes  New crypto derivatives let you bet on (or against) Tether’s solvency, Coindesk  Remittance Price Worldwide, The World Bank  Interbank Information Network, J.P. Morgan  Jamie Dimon interview, CBS News  Rise of the central bank digital currency, BIS  Speech by Andrew Bailey, 3 September 2020, Bank of England
Testing the Tide | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - June 2020
We would rather be ruined than changed. -W H Auden, The Age of Anxiety This is my forty-third 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 Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $726 306 Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $42 118 Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $78 730 Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $111 691 Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $201 745 Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $39 357 Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $231 269 Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 668 Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $7 310 NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $5 532 Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $117 757 Secured physical gold – $18 913 Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $10 479 Bitcoin – $148 990 Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 841 Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 553 BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 484 Total portfolio value: $1 765 743 (+$8 485 or 0.5%) Asset allocation Australian shares – 42.2% (2.8% under) Global shares – 22.0% Emerging markets shares – 2.3% International small companies – 3.0% Total international shares – 27.3% (2.7% under) Total shares – 69.5% (5.5% under) Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over) Australian bonds – 4.7% International bonds – 9.4% Total bonds – 14.0% (1.0% under) Gold – 7.7% Bitcoin – 8.4% Gold and alternatives – 16.2% (6.2% over) Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. [Chart] Comments The overall portfolio increased slightly over the month. This has continued to move the portfolio beyond the lows seen in late March. The modest portfolio growth of $8 000, or 0.5 per cent, maintains its value at around that achieved at the beginning of the year. [Chart] The limited growth this month largely reflects an increase in the value of my current equity holdings, in VAS and A200 and the Vanguard retail funds. This has outweighed a small decline in the value of Bitcoin and global shares. The value of the bond holdings also increased modestly, pushing them to their highest value since around early 2017. [Chart] There still appears to be an air of unreality around recent asset price increases and the broader economic context. Britain's Bank of England has on some indicators shown that the aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown represent the most challenging financial crisis in around 300 years. What is clear is that investor perceptions and fear around the coronavirus pandemic are a substantial ongoing force driving volatility in equity markets (pdf). A somewhat optimistic view is provided here that the recovery could look more like the recovery from a natural disaster, rather than a traditional recession. Yet there are few certainties on offer. Negative oil prices, and effective offers by US equity investors to bail out Hertz creditors at no cost appear to be signs of a financial system under significant strains. As this Reserve Bank article highlights, while some Australian households are well-placed to weather the storm ahead, the timing and severity of what lays ahead is an important unknown that will itself feed into changes in household wealth from here. Investments this month have been exclusively in the Australian shares exchange-traded fund (VAS) using Selfwealth.* This has been to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares. A moving azimuth: falling spending continues Monthly expenses on the credit card have continued their downward trajectory across the past month. [Chart] The rolling average of monthly credit card spending is now at its lowest point over the period of the journey. This is despite the end of lockdown, and a slow resumption of some more normal aspects of spending. This has continued the brief period since April of the achievement of a notional and contingent kind of financial independence. The below chart illustrates this temporary state, setting out the degree to which portfolio distributions cover estimated total expenses, measured month to month. [Chart] There are two sources of volatility underlying its movement. The first is the level of expenses, which can vary, and the second is the fact that it is based on financial year distributions, which are themselves volatile. Importantly, the distributions over the last twelve months of this chart is only an estimate - and hence the next few weeks will affect the precision of this analysis across its last 12 observations. Estimating 2019-20 financial year portfolio distributions Since the beginning of the journey, this time of year usually has sense of waiting for events to unfold - in particular, finding out the level of half-year distributions to June. These represent the bulk of distributions, usually averaging 60-65 per cent of total distributions received. They are an important and tangible signpost of progress on the financial independence journey. This is no simple task, as distributions have varied in size considerably. A part of this variation has been the important role of sometimes large and lumpy capital distributions - which have made up between 30 to 48 per cent of total distributions in recent years, and an average of around 15 per cent across the last two decades. I have experimented with many different approaches, most of which have relied on averaging over multi-year periods to even out the 'peaks and troughs' of how market movements may have affected distributions. The main approaches have been:
An 'adjusted income' approach - stripping out the capital gains components of Vanguard funds to reach an estimate of underlying income generation, both across the entire investment period, and during the sharpest low of the Global Financial Crisis
A long-term asset class approach - relying on long-term historical data on averages of the income produced by various asset classes
A 'tax method' approach - this derives an income estimate as a percentage of the portfolio by drawing on taxable investment income totals from tax return records
Simple historical rolling average - this is a rolling three-year measure, based on the actual distributions record of the portfolio
Average distribution rate approach - this method uses a long-term average of annual distributions received as a percentage of the total portfolio since 1999
Each of these have their particular simplifications, advantages and drawbacks. Developing new navigation tools Over the past month I have also developed more fully an alternate 'model' for estimating returns. This simply derives a median value across a set of historical 'cents per unit' distribution data for June and December payouts for the Vanguard funds and exchange traded funds. These make up over 96 per cent of income producing portfolio assets. In other words, this model essentially assumes that each Vanguard fund and ETF owned pays out the 'average' level of distributions this half-year, with the average being based on distribution records that typically go back between 5 to 10 years. Mapping the distribution estimates The chart below sets out the estimate produced by each approach for the June distributions that are to come. [Chart] Some observations on these findings can be made. The lowest estimate is the 'adjusted GFC income' observation, which essentially assumes that the income for this period is as low as experienced by the equity and bond portfolio during the Global Financial Crisis. Just due to timing differences of the period observed, this seems to be a 'worst case' lower bound estimate, which I do not currently place significant weight on. Similarly, at the highest end, the 'average distribution rate' approach simply assumes June distributions deliver a distribution equal to the median that the entire portfolio has delivered since 1999. With higher interest rates, and larger fixed income holdings across much of that time, this seems an objectively unlikely outcome. Similarly, the delivery of exactly the income suggested by long-term averages measured across decades and even centuries would be a matter of chance, rather than the basis for rational expectations. Central estimates of the line of position This leaves the estimates towards the centre of the chart - estimates of between around $28 000 to $43 000 as representing the more likely range. I attach less weight to the historical three-year average due to the high contribution of distributed capital gains over that period of growth, where at least across equities some capital losses are likely to be in greater presence. My preferred central estimate is the model estimate (green) , as it is based in historical data directly from the investment vehicles rather than my own evolving portfolio. The data it is based on in some cases goes back to the Global Financial Crisis. This estimate is also quite close to the raw average of all the alternative approaches (red). It sits a little above the 'adjusted income' measure. None of these estimates, it should be noted, contain any explicit adjustment for the earnings and dividend reductions or delays arising from COVID-19. They may, therefore represent a modest over-estimate for likely June distributions, to the extent that these effects are more negative than those experienced on average across the period of the underlying data. These are difficult to estimate, but dividend reductions could easily be in the order of 20-30 per cent, plausibly lowering distributions to the $23 000 to $27 000 range. The recently announced forecast dividend for the Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) is, for example, the lowest in four years. As seen from chart above, there is a wide band of estimates, which grow wider still should capital gains be unexpectedly distributed from the Vanguard retail funds. These have represented a source of considerable volatility. Given this, it may seem fruitless to seek to estimate these forthcoming distributions, compared to just waiting for them to arrive. Yet this exercise helps by setting out reasoning and positions, before hindsight bias urgently arrives to inform me that I knew the right answer all along. It also potentially helps clearly 'reject' some models over time, if the predictions they make prove to be systematically incorrect. 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) 81.0% 109.4% Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 98.8% 133.5% Total expenses – $89 000 pa 79.2% 106.9% Summary The current coronavirus conditions are affecting all aspects of the journey to financial independence - changing spending habits, leading to volatility in equity markets and sequencing risks, and perhaps dramatically altering the expected pattern of portfolio distributions. Although history can provide some guidance, there is simply no definitive way to know whether any or all of these changes will be fundamental and permanent alterations, or simply data points on a post-natural disaster path to a different post-pandemic set of conditions. There is the temptation to fit past crises imperfectly into the modern picture, as this Of Dollars and Data post illustrates well. Taking a longer 100 year view, this piece 'The Allegory of the Hawk and Serpent' is a reminder that our entire set of received truths about constructing a portfolio to survive for the long-term can be a product of a sample size of one - actual past history - and subject to recency bias. This month has felt like one of quiet routines, muted events compared to the past few months, and waiting to understand more fully the shape of the new. Nonetheless, with each new investment, or week of lower expenditure than implied in my FI target, the nature of the journey is incrementally changing - beneath the surface. Small milestones are being passed - such as over 40 per cent of my equity holdings being outside of the the Vanguard retail funds. Or these these retail funds - which once formed over 95 per cent of the portfolio - now making up less than half. With a significant part of the financial independence journey being about repeated small actions producing outsized results with time, the issue of maintaining good routines while exploring beneficial changes is real. Adding to the complexity is that embarking on the financial journey itself is likely to change who one is. This idea, of the difficulty or impossibility of knowing the preferences of a future self, is explored in a fascinating way in this Econtalk podcast episode with a philosophical thought experiment about vampires. It poses the question: perhaps we can never know ourselves at the destination? And yet, who would rationally choose ruin over any change? The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
https://preview.redd.it/cbru7x9rcep51.jpg?width=1440&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=f2b765d2a7685fad23c96ebc128b7098a9daf51e Next Bitcoin halving event is expected in 2024, when Bitcoin block reward will be reduced to 3.125 bitcoins per block from the current amount of 6.25 bitcoins per block. This means the daily Bitcoin supply will be reduced to approximately 450 bitcoins per day from the current supply of approximately 900 bitcoins per day. We assume that Bitcoin price will continue increasing in the foreseeable future, due to the algorithmically predetermined decrease of its supply and presumably steady if not increasing demand for Bitcoin from both institutional and retail investors. You can learn more about Bitcoin investment products and strategieshere. Legal Disclosure:The information contained in this article is the property ofDigital Finance LLCandcannot be republished without our prior permission. Digital Financeis a Washington, DC, financial company that specializes exclusively in the Bitcoin market. We provide easy and compliant exposure to digital assets and help our customers from all over the world toinstantly buy Bitcoinandearn up to 6% annuallyon their Bitcoin holdings.
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Two Roads Diverge | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - May 2020
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken This is my forty-second 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 Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $727 917 Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $42 128 Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $78 569 Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $110 009 Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $187 003 Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $39 987 Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $225 540 Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 726 Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $7 741 NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $5 652 Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $117 714 Secured physical gold – $18 982 Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $11 395 Bitcoin – $159 470 Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 357 Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 492 BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 477 Total portfolio value: $1 757 159 (+$62 325 or 3.7%) Asset allocation Australian shares – 41.4% (3.6% under) Global shares – 22.2% Emerging markets shares – 2.3% International small companies – 3.0% Total international shares – 27.4% (2.6% under) Total shares – 68.8% (6.2% under) Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over) Australian bonds – 4.4% International bonds – 9.7% Total bonds – 14.1% (0.9% under) Gold – 7.8% Bitcoin – 9.1% Gold and alternatives – 16.9% (6.9% over) Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. [Chart] Comments This month featured a further recovery in the overall portfolio, continuing to effectively reduce the size of the large losses across the first quarter. The portfolio has increased by around $62 000, leading to a portfolio growth of 3.7 per cent. This means that around half of the large recent falls have been made up, and the portfolio sits around levels last reached in October of last year. [Chart] Leading the portfolio growth has been increases in Australian shares - particularly those held through the Betashares A200 and Vanguard VAS exchange traded funds, with both gaining over four per cent. Most other holdings remained steady, or fell slightly. Markets appear to be almost entirely disconnected from the daily announcements of the sharp effects of the global coronavirus pandemic and the resulting restrictions. Bond and equity markets seem to have different and competing expectations for the future, and equity markets - at best - are apparently intent on looking through the immediate recovery phase to a new period of strong expansion. [Chart] On some metrics, both major global and Australian equity markets can be viewed as quite expensive, especially as reduced dividends announced have largely yet to be delivered. Yet if historically low bond yields are considered, it can be argued that some heightening compared to historical equity market valuations may be sustainable. Reflecting this moment of markets holding their breath before one of two possible futures plays out, gold and Bitcoin remain elevated, and consequently above their target weightings. Perhaps the same contending forces are in evidence in a recent Australian Securities and Investment Commission study (pdf) which has found that average Australian retail investors have reacted to uncertainty by activating old brokerage accounts, trading more frequently, and holding securities for shorter periods. My own market activity has been limited to purchases of Vanguard Australian shares ETF (VAS) and the international share ETF (VGS), to bring the portfolio closer to its target allocations. Will Australia continue to be lucky through global slow downs? Despite this burst of market activity in the retail market, it is unclear how Australian markets and equities will perform against the background of a global economic slowdown. A frequently heard argument is that a small open trade exposed commodities provider such as Australia, with a more narrowly-based economy, may perform poorly in a phase of heightened risk. This recent Bank of England paper (pdf) makes the intriguing suggestion that this argument is not borne out by the historical record. In fact, the paper finds that industrial production in Australia, China and a mere handful of other economies has tended to increase following global risk shocks. A question remaining, however, is whether the recovery from this 'risk shock' may have different characteristics and impacts than similar past events. One key question may be the exact form of government fiscal and monetary responses adopted. Another is whether inflation or deflation is the likely pathway - an unknown which itself may rely on whether long-term trends in the velocity of money supply continue, or are broken. Facing all uncertainties, attention should be on tail risks - and minimising the odds of extreme negative scenarios. The case for this is laid out in this moving reflection by Morgan Housel. For this reason, I am satisfied that my Ratesetter Peer-to-Peer loans have been gradually maturing, reducing some 'tail risk' credit exposures in what could be a testing phase for borrowers through new non-bank lending channels in Australia. With accrued interest of over $13 000, at rates of around 9 per cent on average, over the five years of the investment, the loans have performed relatively well. A temporary sheltering port - spending continues to decline This month spending has continued to fall even as lockdown and other restrictions have slowly begun to ease. These extraordinary events have pushed even the smoothed average of three year expenditure down. [Chart] On a monthly basis credit card spending and total expenses have hit the lowest levels in more than six years. Apparently, average savings rates are up across many economies, though obviously individual experiences and starting points can differ dramatically. Total estimated monthly expenditure has also fallen below current estimates of distributions for the first time since a period of exceptionally high distributions across financial year 2017-18. The result of this is that I am briefly and surprisingly, for this month, notionally financially independent based on assumed distributions from the FIRE portfolio alone - at least until more normal patterns of expenditure are resumed. Following the lines of drift - a longer view on progress made Yet taking a longer view - and accounting for the final portfolio goal set - gives a different perspective. This is of a journey reaching toward, but not at, an end. The chart below traces in purely nominal dollar terms the progress of the total portfolio value as a percentage of the current portfolio goal of $2.18 million over the last 13 years. It also shows three labels, with the percentage progress at the inception of detailed portfolio data in 2007, at the start of this written record in January 2017, and as at January 1 of this year. [Chart] Two trend lines are shown - one a polynomial and the other exponential function - and they are extended to include a projection of future progress out to around 18 months. The line of fit is close for the early part of the journey, but larger divergences from both trend lines are evident in the past two years as the impact of variable investment returns on a larger portfolio takes hold. There are some modest inaccuracies introduced by the nominal methodology adopted - such as somewhat discounting early progress. A 2007 dollar had greater 'real' value and significance than is assigned to it by this representation. The chart does demonstrate, however, the approximate shape and length of the early journey - with it taking around 5 years to reach 20 per cent of the target, and 10 years to reach around half way. 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) 80.6% 108.4% Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 98.3% 132.3% Total expenses – $89 000 pa 78.8% 106.0% Summary With aspects of daily life slowly and incrementally adjusting to a 'new normal', the longer-term question for the portfolio remains around how markets and government actions interact in a recovery phase. The progress of the portfolio over the past 13 years has seemed, when viewed from afar as in chart above, predictable, and almost inevitable. Through the years it has felt anything but so smoothly linear. Rather, tides and waves have pushed and pulled, in turn stalling progress, or pushing it further ahead than hopes have dared. It is possible that what lays ahead is a simple 'return leg', or more of the same. That through simple extrapolation around 80 per cent of the challenges already lay behind. Yet that is not the set of mind that I approach the remainder of the journey with. Rather, the shortness of the distance to travel has lent an extra focus on those larger, lower probability, events that could delay the journey or push it off-course. Those 'third' risks types of tail risks which Morgan Housel points out. In one sense the portfolio allocation aims to deal - in a probabilistic way - with the multiple futures that could occur. Viewed in this way, a gold allocation (and also Bitcoin) represents a long option on an extreme state of the economic world arising - as it did in the early 1980s. The 75 per cent target allocation to equities can be viewed as a high level of assurance around a 'base case' that human ingenuity and innovation will continue to create value over the long term. The bond portfolio, similarly, can be seen as assigning a 15 per cent probability that both of these hypotheses are incorrect, and that further market falls and possible deflation are ahead. That perhaps even an experience akin to the lengthy, socially dislocating, post-bubble phase in Japan presided over by its central bank lays in store. In other interesting media consumed this month, 'Fire and Chill', the brand new podcast collaboration between Pat the Shuffler and Strong Money Australia got off to an enjoyable start, tackling 'Why Bother with FIRE' and other topics. Additionally, investment company Incrementum has just published the latest In Gold We Trust report, which gives an arrestingly different perspective on potential market and policy directions from traditional financial sources. The detailed report questions the role and effectiveness of traditionally 'risk-free' assets like government bonds in the types of futures that could emerge. On first reading, the scenarios it contains appear atypical and beyond the reasonable contemplation of many investors - until it is recalled that up to a few years ago no mainstream economics textbook would have entertained the potential for persistent negative interest rates. As the paths to different futures diverge, drawing on the wisdom of others to help look as far as possible into the bends in the undergrowth ahead becomes the safest choice. The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
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https://federationofglobalmerchants.com/2020/08/14/gold-and-silver-where-do-they-go-from-here/ Investors know by now that one of the leading indicators of an unstable and unpredictable stock market is a surge in the price of precious metals like gold and silver. In February, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the markets officially entered a recession, even though just months later several of the major indices have reached all-time highs. It was a brief dip into recessionary territory, but this sort of volatility is what gives investors hesitation in putting their money into the stock market, rather than something that is perceived to be more stable. Gold future contracts are selling well above $2000 per ounce for the rest of 2020 and well into 2021 as well showing that investors are confident that gold will continue to rise in price. Silver is also surging reaching new all-time highs on a daily basis. So investors may be curious as to how to get into this red-hot market, especially as the markets continue to fluctuate. Gold: For centuries now gold has been literally the ‘gold-standard’ of currency and wealth. Dating back all the way to around 40,000 B.C. in Spanish caves, gold is a naturally occurring element that has both fascinated and lured people for as long as barter systems and wealth has been recorded. Currently, gold is enjoying its highest valuations in history as investors flock to the stability of the precious metal through various streams. So what is the allure of gold and why is it so stable? Warren Buffett once said, “Gold is a way of going long on fear.” That is quite a statement from perhaps the greatest investment mind of our generation. But what does this mean for the novice investor? Even the most successful blue-chip stocks can crash. Obviously the more prominent and profitable companies with mega market caps will not crash as easily as smaller companies, but given the volatility of the pandemic, we can see anything happen. But as stock markets fluctuate on a daily basis, the price of gold remains mostly stoic. Not as manipulatable as stock prices, gold is as steady as it gets for investors. What makes gold so stable? It is a combination of factors, first and foremost, it is a physical and tangible element which makes it possible for people to store and stockpile. It does not corrode or wear down over time, making it durable and ensuring that the value remains. There is also a finite supply of it in the world. This reinforces that it will always keep a certain level of valuation as the supply is kept in check. Today, as the Federal Reserve tries desperately to pump money into the American economy to stave off a global recession and keep companies afloat. Printing more American dollars helps in the interim, but it is a temporary band-aid for the bigger problem. As more of the dollar gets created the more it gets devalued as a form of currency. This is another reason why gold is skyrocketing. The two valuations always work inversely to each other, so as the greenback continues to plummet, the price of gold will continue to surge which makes perfect sense if one thinks about it. The value of gold is priced in American dollars per ounce, so if the value of an American dollar retreats, the cost of gold will rise in response. So how can investors take advantage of the current state of gold? In the age of internet investing, there are plenty of ways to invest in gold or anything in that matter. Most American platforms give inventors the ability to buy fractional shares of companies. While this comes in handy for expensive stocks like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), or Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), it also allows investors to diversify their funds across multiple companies to form a basket approach to an industry. There are also plenty of ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds, available for investors to consider. These funds have the diversification of a mutual fund or index fund, but trade like individual stocks. Here’s a few of the better gold ETFs to consider if you are looking to get into the industry:
IAU – iShares Gold Trust: One of the better known gold ETFs out there, iSHARES is a reputable brand with great overall market performance. The fund has returned over 17% to inventors already this year, and with the price of gold projected to continue to rise, this fund should keep delivering for investors into next year.
DGL – Invesco DB Gold Fund: Another well known and reputable ETF, the Invesco Gold Fund has slightly higher fees than iSHARES but has also had a slightly better return so far this year.
IAUF – iShares Gold Strategy ETF: Another iSHARES ETF, this one has parts of IAU, as well as gold futures contracts, to get a long term forecast of the price of gold so the investor gets exposure to a wider range of gold options.
There are dozens of other ETFs available for investors that cover everything from miners to the finished products. Mining company stocks are another great way to get exposure. As the demand for gold increases, these mining companies should see a rise in their revenues and eventually, their profits as well. These changes will be reflected in their stock prices and we have already seen some of this already this year.
ABX – Barrick Gold: One of the largest gold mining companies in the world, this Canadian company has seen healthy gains in their stock price so far in 2020. Over the last 52 weeks, Barrick investors have enjoyed a 131% increase in stock price. With mining projects ongoing in Canada, America, Australia, South America, and Africa, Barrick has already announced that it is on track to achieve guidance this year despite closures from COVID-19.
FNV – Franco-Nevada Gold: This stock price rose almost 15% in July alone. Franco-Nevada operates as a funding company to gold mining companies, rather than actually doing the mining themselves. Sustainalytics, a guidance and analysis company, rated Franco-Nevada number one amongst 104 precious metal companies.
NEM – Newmont Goldcorp: The largest gold stock by market-cap and the only stock to trade on the S&P 500, Newmont is probably the safest company for gold investors to invest in. On top of steady returns and low volatility in the stock price, the company pays a fairly healthy dividend as well.
With gold at all-time highs, we can begin to question how high the precious metal may go. With a second wave of the coronavirus making its way around some parts of the world, and America, still making its way through their initial wave, the uncertainty that exists in today’s markets may continue into 2021. Some Wall Street analysts have forecast gold to rise as high as $10,000 per ounce, but that seems like a little ambitious. Gold has just recently hit all-time highs at $2000 per ounce and to imagine that it can run up another 500% in the next few years seems far-fetched at this point in time. That would require the markets to enter an extended bear-market, which of course is possible after a decade of a bullish run, but it would also require the American dollar to continue to be further devalued. Gold is pegged to continue to rise for the rest of this year though and well into 2021. That means investors and analysts are foreseeing a further devaluation of the American greenback as well as continued volatility in the markets and economy. Is gold a safe haven? Some people believe it is, but if you are an investor that enjoys high returns over long periods of time, investing in precious metals may not be for you. Investors love the stability of gold but the returns are never astronomical, with the last few months being an exception. It helps to have a portion of your portfolio dedicated to precious metals to diversify and protect you from any sudden market corrections, but investors should not be looking at gold as a short-term way to get wealthy. Silver: The other precious metal that has been flying sky-high of recent months is silver, the eternal younger brother to gold. Mined from silver-ore, it is a highly malleable metal that was once valued higher than gold by the Ancient Egyptians. Today, it is relatively low in price per ounce compared to gold, reaching all-time highs recently of just under $30 per ounce. Silver is another stable alternative to gold, and at lower prices, it may be a little more affordable for the novice investor to jump into. Like with gold, silver has an inverse relationship to the American dollar, and to all currencies in general. Again, this is another reason why silver is hitting all-time highs right now, with silver future contracts predicting a steady rise to mirror gold, well into 2021. There is also something that Wall Street calls the gold silver ratio, which is exactly what it sounds like: the ratio of the price of gold per ounce to the price of silver per ounce. This ratio has historically moved together, which makes logical sense if both precious metals are independently moving inverse to paper currencies. Historically, the gold and silver prices do move together though as the general ratio has been in the range of 17:1 to 20:1. Silver also has numerous ways for investors to get involved in, including silver mining and production companies, as well as the ever popular silver ETFs. These Exchange Traded Funds have gained popularity amongst retail investors in recent years as a way of purchasing a diversified product as a single equity with low costs, and no trading fees if your platform allows it. Here are a few of the better performing silver ETFs that investors can look into adding to their portfolios if they are interested in the precious metal:
SLV – iShares Silver Trust: Probably one of the better known silver ETFs, this is fully backed by silver bullion and coins held in a vault. While usually fairly steady, this ETF has enjoyed a 52-week increase of 152% with much of that coming in the last few months.
SIVR – Aberdeen Standard Physical Silver Shares ETF: Very similar to SLV but with lower fees, this is an ideal fund for novice and experienced investors to get into as they start to diversify their portfolios.
DBS – Invesco DB Silver Fund: Again another stable ETF for investors to get into, and another good performing one as well. Just as with their gold ETF, Invsco focuses on silver futures contracts for this fund, so it is a nice long-term play if investors are bullish on silver.
Just as with gold, investors can get a slice of the silver pie by buying shares of silver mining companies as well. Here are a few of the top silver mining company stocks that investors can look into adding to their portfolios.
PAAS – Pan American Silver Corp.: This Canada based miner is focussed on the exploration, development, extraction, refining, processing, and reclamation of silver. They operate mines in Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, and are developing more as well for the future.
WPM – Wheaton Precious Metals: Another Canadian based company that deals with miners of gold, silver, palladium, and cobalt. Wheaton is not a direct miner, rather they purchase these precious metals from other mining companies.
AG – First Majestic Silver Corp.: Canadian companies seem to be dominating the silver industry, and First Majestic is another of those. This company focuses mainly in Mexico for gold and silver.
Silver may never be as popular as gold for investors to keep track of but the two precious metals move in a synchronized fashion, and both are looked upon by investors as safe havens for their money when the market is in flux. The rest of 2020 seems like a wildcard right now, with many analysts expecting a further correction to the markets at any point. There seems to be an inevitability to a market crash of some sort, whether it is as big as the one that happened back in February and March, remains to be seen. Investors are looking at the precious metal industry to hold their funds to wait out any sort of correction or crash. If this does happen, we may expect a pullback in precious metals too as investors selloff to get back into some stocks at their low levels. Such is the ebb and flow of the economy during turbulent times like the current one we are in. At the same time, what if a market correction does not happen? Will the uncertainty continue or will investors feel relatively secure in the way the markets are progressing? This could cause a reduction in the demand for silver and gold, culminating in lower prices in the future. Of course this also depends on the Federal Reserve diminishing their rate of printing paper currency to bailout the economy, which does not seem like a reality in the short-term at least. Another point of contention for investors is the ongoing economical and political tensions between China and America. The two world powers have been feuding for the past couple of months over various things, but it escalated as China social media app Tik Tok gained popularity in North America. It was alleged that TikTok was sending data and information from mobile phones back to China, though nobody is sure of their intended use of this data. Regardless, the markets have stumbled several times lately because of this. Both sides have threatened economic sanctions and the banning of certain product use in each country. The prices of silver and gold have shot up as the tensions have escalated between the two governments, as investors flock to the precious metals. Many of the biggest companies on the major stock indices rely on China for materials or production, so any sort of breakdown in supply chains could cause an enormous change to their stock prices. An example of this is a sudden 5% correction in the price of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), as it was thought that iPhone sales would decline if China’s chat platform WeChat was banned in America. There are other factors that may have an effect on gold and silver prices as well. In this modern economy, many of the retail investors have trended towards younger adults with a sudden influx of income. Popular platforms such as Robinhood combined with increased time at home during the quarantine, have caused retail investor usage to skyrocket during the pandemic. Many of these investors are more lured in by the shiny new objects of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Perhaps we will start thinking of these cryptocurrencies as a modern day version of precious metals one day, as many investors and some analysts, believe that Bitcoin may be a safe haven in the future. Already, the price of Bitcoin has risen above $12,000 in August, mirroring the highs of gold and silver. If the demand for Bitcoin rises higher than the demand for precious metals, we may see an investor migration to cryptocurrencies rather than tangible metals. Conclusion: Gold and silver are staples of our global economy, and will continue to be so as long as the demand for precious metals exists. In times of uncertainty, gold and silver are viewed as safe relative to the volatility of the stock market. Sure, their prices can vary as well, but because they are tied to a less dynamic valuation that is based on an inverse relation to paper currency, their prices will not and can not fluctuate as much as the liquidity of individual stocks. As long as the world remains in flux, there will be a general feeling of instability, especially for global markets. A second wave of COVID-19 in the third or fourth quarter of 2020 could prove to be enough to push the markets over the edge and into another recession. The bull market has been rallying for over a decade now, with astronomical gains over the last few years, especially for sectors like the big tech FAANG stocks. Another factor to consider is what a Biden government could bring to the world if he is elected over President Donald Trump in October. A new government could ease some of the tensions with China, as well as within America itself. These are all big what ifs, and could all have potential impacts on the economy and the world. As long as all of these factors are up in the air, investors will be looking to gold and silver as ways of stabilizing their portfolios and protecting their finances from a potential market crash in the future.
In this Bitcoin Circuit inspection, we tend to are going to test and check every feature of this software to be in a position to ascertain as it guarantees to whether it delivers. From the minute you enter the Bitcoin Circuit site, it will become clear that you'll become a millionaire by investing Bitcoin. The video on the site makes it evident that the likes of Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt and Richard Branson grasp the worth of Bitcoin to high it off. https://preview.redd.it/tmx1us9i3cf51.jpg?width=730&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=461951a8e53a275a095caf5f66b9ec7c6160968c Should you're taking a shut examine the testimonials on the Bitcoin Circuit web site, it’s also clear that this program resolution has made many individuals terribly wealthy in a temporary period of your time and with very very little effort on the shoppers’ half. 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This means that that when it disturbs a trading opportunity, the trade will be executed by it mechanically with no intervention, within the trading account of the trader. To allow the applications you'll need to ascertain trading parameters. That is, it is attainable to line which resources you would prefer it to trade, simply how abundant to take a position and abundant additional. Your Bitcoin Circuit software can create lucrative trades for you within the trade whenever they arise. It does not get any easier than this. Another benefit of trading is that enables traders to exchange Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies even while not any experience. Automated trading offers another major profit in the Bitcoin Circuit software. It eliminates any emotions from the trading procedure. As a dealer, it's quite easy to get held on your own emotions. 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Bitcoin’s Rally Toward $12,000 Abruptly Stalls—And There’s A Catch
The price of Bitcoin has stalled under $11,000 after rallying to as high as $11,488 across major exchanges. According to cryptocurrency trader and on-chain analyst Nik Yaremchuk, BTC faces strong resistance that dates back to 2018. https://preview.redd.it/zb46xjntvqd51.jpg?width=960&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=402302eb184164479156e46d8c226ffd9c887e4e Since February 2018, the $11,500 level has acted as a crucial resistance level for Bitcoin. When BTC first rejected $11,500 two years ago, the price of Bitcoin dropped below $7,000 in the following month. In August 2019, BTC rejected the same level. The price of Bitcoin declined to $7,800 in the month that followed. Historical Data Suggests a Big Resistance Level is Ahead: Arguments For Sellers Whether the price of Bitcoin will struggle to break above $11,500 in the near term remains an uncertainty. Historical data indicates it is a large area of resistance for Bitcoin. But that can be comprehended as a price point of significance. If BTC surges past a level it failed to reclaim for years, it could indicate the formation of a potential bull run. Traders also consider a critical resistance level as an area with large selling pressure. Once that level breaks, it could trigger an uptrend. Some investors and technical analysts expect the upward momentum of Bitcoin to continue in the near-term. A large part of the expectation is the optimism for a breakout above $11,500. For sellers, there are three strong arguments to support a bearish scenario. First, the Bitcoin market is currently heavily skewed to buyers. The overwhelming majority of the market are longing Bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies. Second, the funding rates of perpetual swaps are nearing levels that are not sustainable over a prolonged period. Perpetual swaps are a type of futures contract that does not have an expiration date. It is also the most popular form of Bitcoin futures contract. Funding rates of perpetual swaps across exchanges are surging because the number of long contracts is rising. Third, the multi-year resistance at $11,500 could serve as an area for sellers to defend. One Highly Optimistic Metric Suggests A Difficult Battle Between Bulls And Bears While sellers have several viable reasons to be bearish, the exchange inflows of Bitcoin are not increasing. The term exchange inflow refers to Bitcoin received by exchanges. Investors typically send BTC to trading platforms to sell and as such, exchange inflows often hint at heightened selling pressure. Data from on-chain market analysis firm Glassnode spotted no large-scale deposits of BTC into exchanges. That could indicate that whales are not selling BTC yet. “Despite BTC's recent price surge, we haven't seen large-scale deposits of funds into exchanges. So far, the Bitcoin balance on exchanges remains stable – at around 14.5% of the circulating BTC supply.” A key resistance level at $11,500 and high funding rates could raise chances of a market cool-off. But investors are seemingly optimistic in the medium-term, and expect BTC to overcome it.
The team’s overall technical background is good, and the CTO and CEO of the project have rich experience in related industries;
The current business scope of CoinEx has been expanded, and the development of the public chain has a decisive role in promoting the development of the exchange business;
The project operation information is transparent, and the development process is consistent with the road map;
The unlocking schedule is clear, and the token held by the team will be unlocked continuously in the next five years;
The project uses POS consensus mechanism. At present, it has been launched on the main network, and the block time is stable, between 2–3 seconds.
It is not clear enough yet whether the trichain operation planning can achieve the project’s development goals;
There is limited information on implementation details about cross-chain and other related technologies, and the development status needs to be assessed based on the later project development disclosure information;
The team currently hold a large share of the token, hence the distribution of tokens is relatively concentrated;
There are few application scenarios for project tokens, and more ecosystem scenarios need to be developed;
As a deflationary token, CET needs to be balanced by dealing with the contradiction between public chain users and token holders.
The development of CoinEx Chain contributes to the future development of CoinEx’s centralized and decentralized exchanges; the concept of trichain operation simplifies the functions of each chain, improving their performance. At present, there are few exchanges working on the public chain, and no fierce competition has occurred.
Considering the status and development prospects of the project, TokenInsight gives CoinEx a rating of BB with a stable outlook.
1. Multidimensional evaluation
2. Project analysis
CoinEx (CoinEx Technology Limited) was established in December 2017 and is headquartered in Hong Kong, China. It is a sub-brand of the ViaBTC mining pool. At present, CoinEx’s business scope includes CoinEx exchange, CoinEx public chain, and CoinEx decentralized exchange. The current development focus of the CoinEx platform are public chain and exchange. The main purpose of the public chain is to build a decentralized exchange (DEX) infrastructure and an ecosystem around DEX. CoinEx business structure，Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight
“ CoinEx Chain uses the parallel operation of three chains which are DEX, Smart, and Privacy, as well as cross-chain technologies to create a rich decentralized exchange ecosystem and blockchain financial infrastructure. The core of CoinEx’s early business was the exchange, consisted of two major categories which were spot and derivatives trading. Currently, there are 123 trading currencies online, covering 302 trading pairs. On June 28, 2019, CoinEx released the CoinEx Chain public chain white paper, aiming to build a decentralized trading system (CoinEx DEX) with community-based operations and transparent transaction rules, and providing user-controlled asset trading scenario by the highest technical standards in the industry; CoinEx Chain has become another development focus of CoinEx. CoinEx Token (CET), which was originally a native token of the CoinEx exchange, will also be developed mainly as a built-in token of the public chain. CoinEx Chain is a public chain based on the Tendermint consensus protocol and Cosmos SDK, and it uses POS mechanism. CoinEx Chain plans to support 42 nodes when the project starts, and any entity in the ecosystem can participate in the validator’s campaign by staking CET. CoinEx Chain will use the new block reward and the transaction fee contained in the block as the reward for running the node. CoinEx Chain has developed three public chains with different positioning and different functions in order to meet the needs of blockchain transactions for transaction performance, smart contracts, and privacy protection at the same time. They operate in parallel and collaborate with each other through cross-chain technology. At present, the block time of the public chain is between 2–3 seconds. According to the observation of TokenInsight, the block time is stable, but the number of transactions through the CoinEx public chain is still low at present, the number of transactions in 24 hours is about 30,000; The TPS on public chain disclosed by CoinEx can reach up to 1500 per second. CoinEx Chain uses a trichain parallel model to build a more vibrant ecosystem around DEX. The three chains are DEX public chain, Smart public chain, and Privacy public chain, respectively responsible for decentralized transactions, smart contracts, and on-chain privacy protection. CETs that need to participate in complex financial contracts can be transferred to the Smart public chain through the DEX public chain, then moved back to the DEX public chain after that. CET tokens that need to participate in token confusion can also be carried out through the privacy transaction of the Privacy public chain, and can eventually be returned to the DEX public chain. The three public chains are responsible for their respective duties, and they are interconnected through the cross-chain technology through the relay mechanism. In addition to ensuring their respective transaction processing speed and functional attributes, they can also jointly provide richer and safer functions, and synergistically constitute the CoinEx decentralized public chain ecosystem. In addition, CoinEx Chain also supports any participant to issue new tokens on the chain and create new trading pairs for the issued tokens. CoinEx Chain guarantees the circulation of new tokens by establishing a trading pair between the new token and CET.
2.2 Component architecture
“ Tendermint Core and Cosmos SDK have improved the performance and operation capability of the blockchain. The SDK packaging reduces the consideration of non-related logic, hence reducing the development complexity. CoinEx Chain is based on Tendermint Core and Cosmos SDK, both of which have brought a big boost to the development of CoinEx public chain performance. Cosmos-SDK will implement the application logic of the blockchain. Together with the Tendermint consensus engine, it implements the three-layer architecture of the CoinEx public chain: the application layer, the consensus layer, and the network layer. Tendermint Tendermint is based on the state machine replication technology and is suitable for blockchain ledger storage. It is a list of transactions making consensus with Byzantine fault tolerance, the transactions are executed in the same order, and eventually the same state is obtained. Tendermint can be used to build various distributed applications. Cosmos SDK Cosmos-SDK is a blockchain framework that supports the construction of multiple assets with a consensus mechanism of POS (Proof of Stake) or POA (Proof of Authority). The goal of the Cosmos SDK is to allow developers to easily build custom blockchains from 0, while enabling the interaction with other blockchains. Cosmos-SDK is a blockchain framework that supports the construction of multiple assets with a consensus mechanism of POS (Proof of Stake) or POA (Proof of Authority). The goal of the Cosmos SDK is to allow developers to easily build custom blockchains from 0, while enabling the interaction with other blockchains. The blockchain development framework Cosmos SDK implements general functions such as account management, community governance, and staking in a modular form. Therefore, using the Cosmos SDK to build a public chain can simplify development procedures and facilitate operation. Tendermint is a fixed protocol in a partially synchronized environment, which can achieve throughput within a delay range of the network and each process itself. The CoinEx public chain is developed based on both, improving the performance and operability of the blockchain. The SDK packaging further reduces considerations of non-related logic and reduces the complexity of developers creating. The two components of Tendermint and Cosmos SDK are connected and interacted through the Application Blockchain Interface. Cosmos SDK and Tendermint interworking structure，Source:CoinEx; TokenInsight
2.3 Project public chain planning
The development plan of the CoinEx public chain is to create a series of public chains with specific application directions, including:
DEX public chain: solve the problems of lack of security and opacity that are widely criticized by centralized exchanges at present; aim to build a transparent, safe, and permission-free financial platform; restore the experience of central exchanges to the greatest extent；
Smart public chain: a public chain that specifically supports smart contracts and provides a platform for building complex financial applications;
Privacy public chain: mainly provides transaction amount, account balance, and information protection and the hiding of both parties to the transaction.
In order to achieve the performance of each specific application public chain, each public chain in the CoinEx public chain focuses on the development of a certain function. For example, in order to improve the transaction processing speed of the DEX public chain, the DEX public chain only supports the necessary functions and does not support smart contracts. To achieve the smart contract function support, cross-chain connection between the DEX public chain and the Smart public chain is required.
2.4 Operation analysis
“ The CoinEx platform publishes monthly ecosystem reports with high transparency; but the monthly reports are limited to contents about transactions and development, and lack progress in ecosystem and community construction, making them relatively simple. 2.4.1 Disclosure of ecosystem information Operational risks have a direct impact on platform users. Whether platform operations are smooth and whether there is transparency are issues that platform users care about. The CoinEx platform was established in 2017 and has around 3 years of development. It is also one of the platforms that has been developing for a long time in the exchange industry. It has obtained a digital currency trading license issued by the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and the platform’s compliance is guaranteed to some degree. The actual operation of the CoinEx platform will be displayed in the form of ecosystem monthly reports. The monthly report contains various types of content such as online currencies, new activities, plans for the next month, and ecosystem dynamics. It involves multiple business dimensions including the CoinEx exchange, CoinEx Public Chain, and CET token. https://preview.redd.it/4mt0999ere551.png?width=631&format=png&auto=webp&s=cba27a7c90275f4c033bdd2445a72e6f294265e8 Snippet of a CoinEx ecosystem monthly report，Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight 2.4.2 Roadmap CoinEx Chain released its development roadmap for the four quarters of 2020 in January 2020. The roadmap shows that CoinEx Chain will undergo major updates on smart contracts and DEX hard fork upgrades. The project roadmap is basically planned on a monthly basis, with a clear plan and a clear direction of development. CoinEx Public Chain 2020 Development Roadmap，Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight In addition to the development route planned in the roadmap, CoinEx public chain also discloses its goals for next month in its monthly ecological report. The project’s main net was launched online in November 2019. According to TokenInsight’s review of the development of CoinEx public chain from January to April and the disclosure of the project’s ecosystem monthly report, the project’s plan about development of the smart contract Demo in February failed to be completed as planned; the project completed launching of the new version of the blockchain browser and the Asian Atlantis upgrade; the smart contract virtual machine development was planned to be completed in April, but the progress related to supporting cross-chain agreements was not disclosed yet. Overall, the project’s development route planning is clear, and the project’s development schedule is consistent with the plan, but there are still some discrepancies. Operation and development information is disclosed every month, and information transparency is high.
3. Industry & Competitors
The earliest origin of the exchange layout in the public chain field began in early 2018 when Binance released an announcement to start the development of the Binance Public Chain officially. In June of the same year, Huobi announced at its brand upgrade conference that it will combine the technical capabilities of the Huobi technical team and the community developers to develop the Huobi public chain called “Huobi Chain”. In December of the same year, OK Group announced the launch of its self-developed public chain OKchain, dedicating to provide underlying technical support and services for startups stationed in B-Labs. The successful launch of the public chain brings huge strategic significance to the exchange, which can not only improve the performance of the existing business of the exchange but also achieve further expansion of its influence. As one of the most important blockchain infrastructures, the public chain can benefit the exchanges behind it. As a platform for developing public chain technology exchanges, CoinEx’s main competitors in the field of public chain development include Binance, Huobi, and OKEx. Although they are all exchange platforms for deploying public chains, the above four are different in terms of specific functions, economic models, and critical points of the public chain.
3.1 Development progress comparison
In 2019, Binance became the first exchange to launch a public chain among all digital asset exchanges, and its main product is Binance exchange (DEX). In April 2020, Binance announced the launch of a second smart contract chain, using Ethereum’s virtual machine, so that developers can build decentralized applications without affecting the performance and functionality of their original chain. OKEx launched OKChain’s testnet in February 2020 and completed open source two months later. OKChain is designed as the basis of large-scale blockchain-driven business applications, with the characteristics of source code decentralization, point-to-point, irreversibility, and efficient autonomy. Huobi released Huobi Chain for the first time in July 2019, the code is open source, and the testnet was released in February 2020. As a “regulator-friendly financial blockchain”, Huobi Chain focuses on providing compliance services for companies and financial institutions. The CoinEx public chain officially completed the main online launch in November 2019 and completed the new block browser’s launch in March 2020. On April 3, 2020, CoinEx DEX uploaded the underlying code to Github to achieve open source. The CoinEx public chain is more inclined to build a full DEX ecosystem to achieve a one-stop solution for issuing, listing, storing, and trading. The long-term goal is to create a blockchain financial infrastructure.
3.2 Comparison of economic models
At present, the exchange is more inclined to use its existing platform currency as the native token of the public chain in the construction of public chain ecology. CoinEx’s CET, Binance’s BNB, and Huobi’s HT all fall into this category. OKEx is the only exchange that issues new tokens for its OKChain, which means OKT is the only ‘inflation token’ in the exchange’s public chain, while CET, HT, and BNB are all deflationary.
3.3 Decentralization of public chain
The initial number of CoinEx public chain verification nodes is 42, which is currently the most decentralized among all exchange public chains, and able to take both efficiency and decentralization into account; OKChain also currently has a relatively high degree of decentralization in the exchange public chain (21 verification nodes), its nodes have a high degree of autonomy; by contrast, Binance still firmly controls the operation of nodes and transactions; In terms of encourages cooperation between regulators and the private financial aspects, Huobi provides a lesser degree of decentralization. Huobi Chain uses a variant of the DPoS consensus algorithm to provide functions such as “supervision nodes”, allowing regulators to become validators. Comparison of some dimensions of CoinEx, Huobi, Binance and OKEx public chain，Source: TokenInsight
4. Token Economy
CoinEx Token (CET) is a native token of the CoinEx ecosystem. It was issued in January 2018. Token holders can enjoy some user value-added services within the ecosystem. Currently, it is mainly used as a native token on the CoinEx Chain. As of 11 am on April 23, 2020, the current circulation of CET tokens in the market is 3,215,354,906.31, with a total of 5,842,177,609.53. CET tokens will not be further issued or inflated. Currently, daily repurchase and quarterly destruction are carried out. The repurchase destruction dynamics can now be tracked real-time on the CET repurchase system on the platform.
4.1 Token Distribution
The CET token used to be based on the ERC-20 token developed by Ethereum. Since the CoinEx Chain mainnet was launched in November 2019, some ERC-20 CET tokens have been mapped to the mainnet CET, and the rest of the CET will be mapped before November 10, 2020. CET holders need to deposit ERC-20 CET to the COinEX exchange, and the exchange will conduct the main network mapping. At present, CET is mainly circulated in the form of mainnet tokens, and only a small portion of ERC-20 CET has not been mapped. The distribution of token holdings currently circulating on the mainnet can be seen in the figure below. At present, the number of tokens held by the top ten holders accounts for about 60.44% of all mainnet CET tokens. Distribution of CET token holding addresses，Source: Etherscan; TokenInsight The following figure shows the initial distribution of tokens after the mainnet mapping preset by CoinEx. From the initial distribution map of CET, it shows that, after mapping, a large portion of CET remains concentrated in the hands of the team (31%), and the actual number of CET circulating in the market only accounts for 49% of the total. The initial distribution of CET token，Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight After the main net mapping, the 31% of the total CET (1.8 billion) held by the team will be gradually unlocked in the five years from 2020 to 2024, and 360 million CET will be unlocked each year. By 2024, the CET held by the team will be completely unlocked. From the current CET dynamics, the CET share held by some teams has been used for destruction purposes to achieve the purpose of CET austerity. If the frozen 1.8 billion CET held by the team are used for similar purposes, the development of CET and its platform can benefit from it. Team’s CET unlocking plan，Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight
4.2 Token economic model
4.2.1 Deflation mechanism Since the CET token went online in January 2018, CoinEx has increased the circulation of CET through airdrops, transaction fee refunds, operation promotion, and team unlocking. As one of the existing platform coins with long development time, the deflation mechanism of CET token has undergone a series of changes with the development of the industry. In 2018, when the concept of coin-based mining prevailed, CET used transaction mining, stake mining, and pending order mining, which were cancelled in October, December and, April respectively of the following year. The repurchase and destruction model currently used by CET was updated by CoinEx on April 11, 2020. The original CET quarterly repurchase and destruction policy of the platform will be adjusted to daily repurchase and quarterly destruction. After the implementation of the daily repurchase policy, CoinEx will take out 50% of the daily fee income for CET repurchase in the secondary market and implement quarterly destruction until the total remaining circulation is 3 billion (currently about 5.8 billion). At the same time that CoinEx updated the repurchase and destruction plan on April 11, the platform also launched a page dedicated to displaying CET repurchase information, so that users can clearly understand the progress of CET repurchase and destruction. As of April 23, 2020, the platform has destroyed 4,157,822,390.46 CET tokens, accounting for 41.6% of the initial total issuance. At the end of January 2019, it had destroyed 4 billion CETs (single destruction volume peak) at the end of this quarter. The number of CETs to be destroyed is 3,422,983.56. CET historical destruction data，Source: CoinEx; TokenInsight 4.2.2 Application scenarios The current usage scenarios of CET are discounted platform transaction fees, VIP services, special activities rights and interests, CoinEx Chain internal circulation fuel, and use of external scenarios. Deduction and discount of platform transaction fees CoinEx platform users can use CET to deduct transaction fees when conducting transactions within the platform. At the same time, using CET to pay transaction fees can enjoy the exclusive preferential rates provided by the platform. CET fee discount amount，Source：CoinEx; TokenInsight VIP service Holding a certain number of CETs can make a user become a platform VIP user. Users can also use CET to purchase platform VIPs to obtain corresponding privileges such as discounted rates, accelerated withdrawals, and exclusive customers. Special activity rights CET holders can enjoy special rights and interests in platform marketing activities, such as participating in the airdrop of tokens on the platform or accelerating opportunities for high-quality projects. CoinEx Chain built-in token CET will serve as a native token of CoinEx Chain, circulate and serve as fuel in CoinEx Chain, and users can also use CET to invest or trade other digital assets. In addition, CET can also serve as transaction fees and function fees (issuing Token, creating new trading pairs, account activation), etc. in the platform, and users can also participate in the campaign of validators by staking CET tokens. CET is currently used as a circulation token as well for CoinEx DEX to issue tokens, create orders, Bancor, address activation, set address aliases, and other application scenarios. In general, the types of application scenarios of CET are not plenty enough. In order to better develop the internal ecosystem of the platform, it is necessary to design and develop more CET usage scenarios and incentive mechanisms to increase the retention rate of users while adding new users. 4.2.3 Token incentive As the native token of the CoinEx public chain, CET will be used as a block incentive to increase community participation after the mainnet of the public chain launched. The 315 million CET held by the foundation in the total CET issuance will be used to incentivize initial verification nodes and Staking participants. CET annual incentive information，Source：CoinEx; TokenInsight
CoinEx’s investment is led by Bitmain and its main partners include Matrixport, Bitcoin.com, CoinBull, Consensus Lab, BTC.com, BTC.top, Hoo Exchange, Wa Yi, ChainFor.com, etc. Investment institutions and major partners have rich experience in the industry, which can promote the development of projects to a certain extent. However, the current industry involved by the partners is not wide enough, and it will have a limited role in promoting the future of CoinEx’s enriching business lines and increasing ecosystem functions. https://preview.redd.it/zjgzvv6ise551.png?width=533&format=png&auto=webp&s=a3f7fe3abb2c2d522e289213ae6fbc4e899825e0
6. Community Analysis
According to TokenInsight’s research of the CoinEx platform community, as of April 23, 2020, its official Twitter has 19,800 followers and 932 tweets; the official Telegram has 45 official groups, 3 in Chinese and English, and the other is Korean, Arabic, Vietnamese, Indian and other small language groups, with a total number of 56088 people; the current number of followers on Facebook accounts is 3,107. The overall community followers still have a lot of room for improvement, and community activeness needs to be improved. Number of followers on the CoinEx social platform，Source:TokenInsight At present, the project’s search popularity and official website visits are both top-notch, and monthly visits have slowly returned to their previous visit levels after experiencing a significant decline in December 2019. CoinEx visit popularity，Source: TokenInsight, Similarweb, Google At present, the visitors of the CoinEx website are distributed in multiple countries, and there are no visits concentration from a single country or region. Therefore, CoinEx’s comprehensive global influence is widely distributed and has a reasonable degree of internationalization. CoinEx official website’s top 5 countries by number of visitors，Source: CoinEx, TokenInsight Original article Click here to register on CoinEx!
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