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Consensus Network EP35: Cryptocurrency and Asymmetric Risk with Teeka Tiwari

Catch the full episode: https://www.consensusnetwork.io/podcastepisodes/2019/9/8/ep35-cryptocurrency-and-asymmetric-risk-with-teeka-tiwari
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is no stranger to the show. He's a guy who grew up in foster care and came over the US at the age of 16 with just 150 bucks in his pocket and the clothes on his back. And then by the age of 18 becomes the youngest employee at Lehman Brothers. By 20 he becomes the youngest vice president in Lehman history. Later in his career he goes on to launch successful hedge fund and lived the Wall Street dream. I mean he's known on Wall Street as the guy who's made a fortune on what is known as asymmetric risk which is what we’re going to talk about in quite a bit and for the rest of us, for many of us that is, he is best known for being the editor of the Palm Beach confidential newsletter which focuses on digital currencies and I am a subscriber to this by the way. Teeka, welcome back to Wealth Formula Podcast, Teeka Tiwari.
Teeka: Thanks Buck. It’s a pleasure to be here and thank you for having me.
Buck: Yeah so you know you were on not too long ago and some people are listening to the stuff about cannabis and they're probably thinking to themselves, why is this guy talking about cannabis and digital currencies like what is his specialty? In fact the way I'm thinking about this there's one main thing that they have in common, they're both in this area that you call and we call asymmetric risk which is really your thing. Discuss what that means and if you would how have you applied it to your own growth and ultimately to your own wealth.
Teeka: So before I get into asymmetric risk I want to talk about how I discovered asymmetric risk and how I changed the way that I yeah. So when I was in my 20s I developed a lot of wealth by taking massive risk in the stock options and commodities market. And I would bet huge positions. And then that all came to an end in the late 90s when I was on the wrong side of a series of trades that were triggered by the Asian financial crisis which ultimately compelled me to file for bankruptcy. And so I had lost about ten years of wealth creation which was considerable at the time. And what I learned was that I had to change my approach that I couldn't get it all every single time otherwise I would never get off this boom-and-bust merry-go-round. So what I realized was is that I would I would build the portfolio of somewhat safer more income oriented investments and then I would focus on these ideas that are called asymmetric risk trade. So what's an asymmetric risk trade? An asymmetric risk trade is where you can take a relatively trivial sum of money and if the idea doesn't work out it doesn't impact your net your net worth or your day-to-day lifestyle in any way shape or form. But the asymmetric part of it is is that if it does work out it can absolutely move the needle on your net worth. So an example of that would be something like neo which I recommended at around 12 cents that ended up going up to about a hundred and sixty one dollars so that's something that you could have put a thousand dollars in and turn it into over a million dollars. That's a classic asymmetric trade. So what I what I tell my readers is you can't build your whole portfolio around high-risk asymmetric trades. But if you take let's say five to ten percent of your liquid net worth and allocate it to these types of situations in a and one of the things I talk about is using uniform position sizing, what you put yourself in the position to do is absolutely grow your network sometimes three four five six X without putting your current lifestyle at risk and it is a sweet spot of wealth creation that I've created and popularized now for several years that has not only transformed my financial life but the financial life of many of my readers.
Buck: So as you know Teeka my group the Wealth Formula Group in general I mean there's a lot of people who are well-to-do they're you know accredited investors they have you know typically probably more money to invest than others they're you know and I say this because there is a little bit of a difference there when it comes to somebody who's barely getting by living check to check, that there is an opportunity in your portfolio to say okay what percentage of this portfolio could I put in that I mean listen if I lose it no big deal I mean I won't be happy about it but it won't hurt me that much on the other hand this could explode. Now when you look at it from the perspective of somebody who's got a fair amount of money and link who's investing you know several hundred thousand dollars a year or maybe a million dollars or something like that like what do you think is a reasonable amount of a portfolio? Like I know for example that even universities are getting into this and they're looking at hey maybe you know 1/2 of 1% or something like that I mean I know you're not in the business of giving financial advice but I'm just curious kind of what your approach would be in terms of allocation.
Teeka: So again generally speaking I would say 5 to 10% of your liquid net worth. So let's say you've got a business that kicks out a million a year that you have to allocate for your investment 50 to $100,000. Definitely nobody likes to lose 50 or a hundred thousand dollars but it's not going to have a material impact on your lifestyle but if you invest 50 to $100,000 and these asymmetric bets pay off you're talking about five six seven eight ten twelve million dollars in returns on what is a relatively tiny investment relative to your net worth and that is the beauty of this approach.
Buck: Yeah and and I'm glad you said that because that's exactly kind of where I'm at sort of lingering between five and ten percent you know and for me you know I I kind of put this in there about you know I kind of put this in that area with startups right I'm not gonna I'm not gonna have a separate category just for digital currencies but anything that is super high risk and high reward and I'm sitting about five or ten percent.
Teeka: That all goes into the same bucket so that's right that for everybody it's not just oh this is crypto currencies five to ten percent and startups is five to ten percent. No all go into the same bucket is asymmetric risk.
Buck: Yeah now okay so we kind of got ahead of ourselves and you know you haven't been on the show talking about crypto currency in a fair amount of time we have a lot more new listeners now so for those who know very little about cryptocurrency but they're smart they're sophisticated say they're a group of you know I know worth investors you're talking to you they've not heard about this how do you explain this in the most efficient way possible and what the significance of it is?
Teeka: Okay so that's a really big question.
Buck: Yeah no I don't but I bet you've answered it a few times.
Teeka: I'm gonna take a shot at it. So listen as a wealthy investor myself why would I want to bother with cryptocurrency? I'm already rich why do I want to mess around with this? So I'm gonna answer it from that perspective. One it's always nice to make more money. But two the bigger reason is, is what I want people to understand especially wealthy investors is that it's very rare to invest at the beginning of a brand-new asset class very very rare right it's brand-new asset classes though just don't come about. Digital currency is a brand-new asset class that has legs. So why does it have legs? It has legs because we have never had an asset class that is completely non correlated with the business cycle. It's never existed before. Every asset class in the world is somehow tied to the business cycle gold, industrial, metals, currencies, stocks, bonds, they're all tied to the business cycle in one way shape or form things like Bitcoin are not so why why does that make it valuable it makes it valuable because if you are pension fund you're allocating capital across traditional and non-traditional assets you still have this problem of deep correlation right the business cycle falls apart and you're taking hits across the board. So there have been studies that have shown just with a small allocation of Bitcoin anywhere from one to five percent across the portfolio even though Bitcoin is wildly volatile because it is not correlated and not tied to the business cycle it actually reduces your overall volatility and your overall risk in your portfolio and that is incredibly valuable. So just from a high level portfolio construction standpoint you will see the world's hedge funds, pension funds, massive allocators of capital start to move tiny slivers of their money into things like Bitcoin and we're talking tiny slivers of an 80 trillion dollar pie right it's in real terms its enormous money in relative terms relative to what they have under management it's a small amount but when you're coming off a base where the whole markets only worth 300 billion it doesn't take much to move the market. So that's from the high level that's why you must have some cryptocurrency. And then the next level beyond that is that mankind has never had an asset there's never been an asset we're a stronger man couldn't take it from a weaker man. So whether it was the caveman knocking one guy over the head for his shells or the government coming in in Venezuela and confiscating money or the Argentinian government saying oh we're having a holiday and taking all your assets from the bank something Brazil has done on multiple occasions. You know the everyday person has not had this ability to hold an asset that has been beyond the confiscationability of a government so something like Bitcoin and digital currency if you are smart and how you buy it if you don't talk about it you buy quietly and you store it appropriately it is absolutely impossible short of somebody putting a literally putting a gun next to your head for them to take that asset from you and that is remarkable because even if you've got a million dollars in gold and you somehow manage to hide it how are you gonna travel the world with a million dollars in gold how are you gonna spend a million dollars in gold you just gonna go to the store and break a piece off with a piece of pliers you just can't do that the beauty of digital currency is you can walk around with a thumb drive that big with a billion dollars in it and nobody knows and let's say hey oh I don't want to keep a billion in Bitcoin I want to do it in a stable coin fine put it in a stable coin. But this idea this portability of money and this complete ownership of an asset that nobody else has any ability to take from you that is valuable that is incredibly valuable.
Buck: So let me ask you a what may seem like a very basic simple question but I think it's worth asking. So why is it so volatile why is Bitcoin Ethereum for example why these are the major the two biggest by market cap why are they so volatile and you know to the extent that they are uncorrelated do you see that as a function of the size of the market cap or is it something else inherent about digital currencies that makes it this volatile?
Teeka: I think it's both. One they're relatively small so if for instance if you look at Microsoft in its early days it was a crazy volatile stock up 40% down 40% down 30% going through bear markets that lasted two years wrecking billions of dollars in value you look at the early days of Microsoft from the 80s into the mid 90s the stock was all over the place and then as the stock got bigger and more mature of course volatility tamp down so you will see that. So what I say with volatility is that welcomed that volatility without it the opportunity to make enormous amounts of money off a small amount of money won't exist. At some point Bitcoin and the theorem will move to this more blue chip status where maybe you make eight percent a year or six percent a year or something or something like that thank goodness we're not there yet. The other side of it is is that there you know the markets that are built around trading these are completely unregulated. They're wild. And there's all types of crazy manipulation that goes on in the market you have some Bitcoin whale let's sell a thousand coins and scare the market down and then let's go buy back 2000 coins it's the Wild West and somebody a skeptic might say well why do I want to buy now why don't I buy when the market calms down because when you buy when the market calms down and it's moved to this very highly regulated very low volatility asset it could have ten x between now and then. So yes there is volatility but I believe if you position size rationally you will be well rewarded for that moment for that volatility and that uncertainty.
Buck: So admittedly I was skeptical of cryptocurrency early on and you know I finally did get in and my timing was actually really good it was a fall early fall 2017 right before a massive bull run. And that of course was followed by what has been called crypto winter. So the question is, is winter over because it sure seems like it's an awful long thawing period I mean no we seem like to have gotten there but there's a stall is it over or do you still see some you know rocky shores ahead before there's a you know big move potentially to all-time highs?
Teeka: Well no crypto winter was over in April. I put out a report talking about that and I pinpointed when that happened it happened when Bitcoin broke its downtrend line. So if you go back and if you look at each of the so-called crypto winters or horrible bear markets that have been in the space Bitcoin will always lead the market first always and then the altcoins play catch up right so it feels worse than it is right now because the alt coins got crushed and many of them have stayed crushed they haven't come back that’s probably the most popular question I get take okay bitcoins up and it's you know been up as much as 400 percent this year but why aren't the old coins moving and my answer is because it's not yet time. If you look back at the data generally there is at least a six-month time lag between the time Bitcoin breaks its downtrend line and the time that the alt coins move higher. So that that next stage we'll be entering to in about October and you'll see a percolation in the alt coins and they'll start playing catch-up.
Buck: Does that also correlate Teeka with Bitcoin like an all-time high for Bitcoin though? I mean I mean obviously Bitcoin has recovered substantially we're like you know three four hundred percent up from you know where we were when Bitcoin was at you know three thousand. The question I have is and I have not looked at this history closely even though there's this recovery, do you have to start approaching all-time highs for those alts to really make their move is that what you've seen historically?
Teeka: No you look back when they all started playing catch up in 2016 Bitcoin was starting to move higher and then going into 2017 and then the alts really didn't start kicking in until around May and that's when they started moving and eventually the alts outpaced the type of action that was going on with bitcoins. So if we look back at how the altcoins move generally what happens is you have a new series of buyers that come into the market and they're all centered around Bitcoin. And that's happening right now. Kelly Lafleur just announced from backed that they're gonna have physically backed futures have been approved September 23rd I believe is the date that they're actually gonna start trading. So this brings in a whole new group of traders a whole new group of investors and then so they start getting their feet with Bitcoin and all of a sudden they're there they might not even know anything about alt coins Buck that that's the thing right for a lot of people out there to them when they think digital currency the only thing they really think of is Bitcoin.
Buck: So as the alt coins are just anything that's not Bitcoin for anybody what we keep talking about so anything Ethereum, any other and any other token that's not Bitcoin generally it's called an altcoin.
Teeka: Right so as they come in they start getting exposed to these other coins and then they start playing with them and they start investing and then they start trading with them and all of a sudden people look at look at Bitcoin and they look at something else it's a little bit smaller and they say okay let's let's play around here and then you start seeing this broadening of the rally.
Buck: So you think that this time around though specifically I know you you you're part of your thesis is that this time around may be different because you know bigger money institutional money, but one of the things that we've really looked at or you've looked at and talked about is you know one of the limitations to big money coming into this stuff is custodianship but the altcoins a lot of the old coins most of them are not gonna have that kind of infrastructure so does that I mean just playing devil's advocate does that then say well they may just stick to whatever they can buy on Coinbase and Bakkt.
Teeka: Well they have well these coins most of the all coins are ERC 20 coins so in terms of having the infrastructure as long as you can support ERC 20 you can support hundreds of coins that currently trade and so if you look at what Bakkt is doing they're gonna be supporting Bitcoin first and then they're going to be supporting Ethereum. So if they support a theory they will naturally support every other ERC20 that's out there and remember companies like Bakkt they're in the business of incentivizing trading because they get paid for everything that that goes through their network. So it would be odd to imagine that they're only going to limit their entire business models with just the trading of Bitcoin it doesn't make any sense. If you look at what they've done in the securities market they haven't just limited themselves to the trading of the S&P 500 they trade everything so I do think that liquidity will trickle down into the whole market and of course the ERC 20 coins I think will be the first to get the most amount of liquidity because it will be the easiest to support from from a back end technology standpoint. The other thing I want to mention is that another driver of the alt coins would be what I believe will be a proliferation of securitization products. So ETF's different types of futures I see a world I've gotta believe within the next 12 months we will see an ETF that will give us the ability to own 20 30 40 maybe 50 coins in one ETF that trades or one type of security that trades maybe it's a coin put out by back and says okay you buy this coin and you've got the top hundred altcoins exposure to the top hundred alt coins.
Buck: Right and then you know I know a lot of people bring do you talk about the ETF for Bitcoin and this has been sort of bounce back but yeah you know we're delayed with the SEC several times do you really think of that as a big deal compared to some of the other movements that you you mentioned Bakkt and I think there's LedgerX things like that where that are allowing for institutional buyers to dissipate is an etf really make much of a difference in your view?
Teeka: I think an ETF is important but I think the SEC is becoming less important in that process and I'll tell you why. Several very large brokerage firms from the Fidelity to eTrade to TD Ameritrade have announced that they want to offer Bitcoin trading to their users. So I'm talking about a system where you can log in click on a button on your Fidelity account and you can start trading Bitcoin the way you with the sp500. Once that comes out let's assume it comes out this year which they've talked about but they want to do it this year but we'll see everything seems to run a little slower than people think. But if that that comes out this year and something like 15 to 20 million people can now trade Bitcoin directly from their brokerage accounts to me it makes an ETF a foregone conclusion because the SEC has no reason now to stand in the way of it. And that's what I'm think that they're waiting for Buck the SEC is not known for blazing a trail the SEC is not known for moving ahead of the market. So if they can look and say well Fidelity is offering it TD Ameritrade is offering it Schwab is offering it we are asses covered if we approve an ETF I think it's really a CYA problem with the SEC they don't want to be the first to make this move and let's say there's a problem with it and everybody blames the SEC.
Buck: You know there is this product data that I know of maybe you could talk about this because then you know in the context of an ETF and being able to buy Bitcoin easily you know.
Teeka: I look at the there's a grayscale Bitcoin trust gbtc which is publicly traded I mean what's the difference what am I missing there I mean that's a closed-end fund that has limited liquidity and sometimes trade at a hundred percent premium.
Buck: Yeah okay so lots of things happening in the spaces you mentioned and one of the things that I think that that you said that is very seems very clearly true whether or not what you know whether or not you believe there's gonna be another bull market is there's a ton of of Technology improvements and infrastructure and all these things that are going on and price mean a lot more by the way then back in 2017 when prices were off the charts so within that context what are you know say they the one or two things that are you most excited about in the space that gives you the greatest confidence that this is you know this is the the new you know the new dot-com era I guess after the rebels fell as you mentioned before offline and you know the rise of the Amazons and the apples in the crypto world.
Teeka: I'll tell you why it's because I'm finally seeing major corporations real corporations doing partnerships with crypto companies not memorandums of understanding MOU’s are meaningless but real partnerships where they're actually using the technology this is stuff i talked about a year ago. Eighteen and a half months ago I said like real companies are going to start coming into this space they're gonna start partnering with some of these companies and start using the technology and it's happening. I'm seeing real businesses like Barclays put up their own money to back certain platforms I was like for instance with trade finance. BMW putting up their own money for back in logistics. So this is a huge shift in in in the type of person that is getting involved in the marketplace. I'm seeing massive credit card processors get involved with tiny startups because they want to piggy back what's going on and the markets that they're opening up with with their with their applications. So this to me Buck is is such a difference maker right like if we came into 2019 and none of these deals were happening I would say I would be on here and I would say buck you know what the cake just isn't baked yet man we just probably gotta wait another year. But when I start seeing very large very smart corporate players making strategic moves to align themselves to certain projects, you can't ignore that. This is something you can't ignore. And so this is what has me incredibly excited for this next phase that I see taking place in crypto.
Buck: You know one of the one things that you mentioned earlier and you've mentioned in the past which I agree with generally speaking is that you know some level of regulation is a good thing so that it becomes less of a manipulated market. So it becomes something that you know larger big money investors and institutional investors take an interest in because they don't want to be in something that's you know that's that's not legit. There is a negative a little bit to that and that some opportunities out there are you know start or you're starting to get restricted in terms of American investors. You know one of the examples I can think of to me is one of what I'm probably one of the biggest things is Binance which is you know the number one trading platform in the world is now effectively you know saying US investors we'll see you later we're gonna build something you know sometime and we're gonna call it you know Binance US and we're gonna have a lot fewer tokens there what concerns me is an investor in some of the various digital currencies at that point is well how does that affect my liquidity as a US investor and I'm wondering how it is affecting your your portfolio?
Teeka: Okay so there's a couple of things around that and I can't advise people to do this I can only report on what some people are doing to get around this geofencing. They're using Virtual Private Networks. With the use of a virtual private network can get access to any exchange in the world so long as they're using a VPN that mimics a country that this exchange is allowed to operate in. So as far as I know Binance is not doing anything to prevent anybody from using a VPN so just want to get that out there.
Buck: Jut to interrupt there I mean that that in itself is a little tricky though right I mean isn't it because then you've got to deal with you know US taxes and all that if you're dealing…
Teeka: Well you always have to deal with US taxes no matter what whether you're using a VPN or not.
Buck: So it wouldn't be illegal technically to use Virtual Private Network to use Binance?
Teeka: For me as an individual would I be breaking any laws, I don't think so but I'm not an attorney. Binance might be breaking some laws or but I don't think that I would be but again this is something everybody has to make their own decision with. But the other side of this is that by Nance is putting together their own decks which is a decentralized exchange which will allow for peer-to-peer trading and I think you'll see more of these types of decentralized exchanges which I'm a big fan of I hate the idea of centralized exchanges anyway. So there are some speed problems with decentralized exchanges but they're getting ironed out and I think within in the future a lot of trading is going to move to peer-to-peer but you're right it's certainly a concern for now I would say the biggest solution that I have read about and again I can't formally tell people to do this is to use a virtual private network.
Buck: The other question though I think as just as a follow-up on that Teeka is that okay so say you use a VPN but not everybody's gonna do that you know probably most people aren't gonna do that didn't then there's an issues just in terms of liquidity right or don't you think that's a problem anymore?
Teeka: I do think it's a problem but I also rely on the greed factor of the participants in this market that they will figure out a solution because there's too much money to be made for liquidity that wants to come into the market somebody will find a way to bring that liquidity into that okay so anyway so like you you know I believe that Bitcoin bull run is inevitable what do you think of anything what are you looking for that might trigger and I know you you're saying already that we're kind of in a bull market already but what triggers that sort of next level all-time high thing is there anything or do you think this is something that's gonna be more of a gradual rise or organic than it was in 2017?
Teeka: Well there are several things which I'm gonna be talking about specifically I don't really want to spill the beans on that here but I have an event coming up which I talk in more detail about a very specific event that I think will act as a massive catalyst. Outside of that I think this whole idea of I call it this kind of new narrative right among institutions where before two years ago three years ago they looked at Bitcoin and they said oh my gosh Bitcoin that's for Gun Runners and pornographers where we we have no interest in Bitcoin. And now they're starting to see Bitcoin as a way to eliminate this correlation risk in their portfolio. So I think that narrative will gain more ground in fact I've been invited to a conference in San Moritz with 500 top-tier investors and I will be putting forward that research that I've drawn together to that audience and really helping propagate that narrative because it is transformational if you manage a large pool of capital what you can do with your overall volatility and how you can adjust it lower through just a tiny amount of Bitcoin is absolutely remarkable. So I think that's more of a slow burn Buck, but as that gains speed I mean can you just imagine just the amount of buying if pension funds say okay going forward half of 1% of all our assets are going to be in digital currency.
Buck: I mean in part of part of understanding that for people is to understand one of the the great things about Bitcoin in particular is that this is an asset with that is fixed to a certain number of Bitcoin that'll ever be created so you know we've never really had a that kind of monetary thing before I mean to a certain extent gold is that way of course but even you know gold there's always more gold every year a little bit more gold. This is a truly deflationary asset that really where you know you put more money in the pot you know each one of those bitcoins gonna be worth a lot more and that I can't think of anything else that's out there like that.
Teeka: I agree.
Buck: I know you've got you know the the Palm Beach Confidential Newsletter Teeka I just have to compliment you because I you know I have been a reader for a couple years it is one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful investment newsletters I've ever subscribed to. I mean it is totally the real deal and I appreciate that and one of the things that people can't join any time and it opens and closes and I know that it is going to be opening up and you're going to do a webinar coming up on that but can you talk a little bit about the newsletter and the event that's coming up?
Teeka: Yeah sure so in the newsletter what I do is I will typically find one idea each month and give you a complete breakdown on the idea. And what I try to do I understand not everybody is a cryptocurrency enthusiastic of their currency investor and so what I try to do is write in a way that is easy to digest, easy to understand, not simplistic but very easy for the layperson to get their head around and to really understand the concept that we're talking about. And I have not opened up Palm Beach confidential for any new members for this whole year, this is the first time that I've done that and the reason is, is I only open up Palm Beach confidential to new members when there's an event that I think can have a massive impact on the broad market. So on September 18th at 8 p.m. I'm going to talk about one of these events and the last time this event took place you could literally take 500 dollars and turn it into five million dollars. There's only a few times in the history of crypto where you have those types of windows of opportunity and so one of those windows of opportunity is about to open and so at this event I'm gonna explain what it is why it works and why it will absolutely happen this particular event will absolutely happen there's nothing that can stop the event from taking place. And so I'm gonna share my five top coins, one of which I'll give away for free during the webinar that I think have that ability to go from five hundred dollars literally into five million. So it's an exciting time and I'm really kind of chomping at the bit to kind of get in front of everybody and talk about this research that I've discovered.
Buck: One last thing I want to point out is I get you know when we talk like this sometimes people get really skeptical they're like yeah that sounds a little salesy Buck that's not really kind of the usual thing that you're talking about and I get it right. The reality is this is a situation this isn't you know there are real people out there there are kids out there who've become multimillionaires by doing exactly this. And so it's real, that's why I'm interested.
Teeka: In my own investing I've seen a thousand dollar investment go to as much as 1.6 million dollars, ok so it's real. The other thing I want to convey to everybody I don't have to write newsletters anymore I don't have to come on podcast I can sit on a beach all I want ok. So why do I do this I do this because moving the needle on somebody's net worth maybe not this audience maybe my broader audience it's incredibly gratifying right helping people change their lives without putting their current lifestyle at risk that's I mean if that's my one legacy in this life could you ask for anything more Buck? Really it's incredibly gratifying to be able to do that and we have this opportunity now and but this opportunity won't last forever at some point this will be a multi trillion dollar asset class and the ability to make gains like that just won't exist.
Buck: Teeka, as always it's been a pleasure talking to you and thanks again for being on Wealth Formula Podcast.
Teeka: Thank you Buck.
Buck: We'll be right back.
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Wealth Formula Episode 175: Cryptocurrency and Asymmetric Risk with Teeka Tiwari

Wealth Formula Episode 175: Cryptocurrency and Asymmetric Risk with Teeka Tiwari

Catch the full episode: https://www.wealthformula.com/podcast/175-cryptocurrency-and-asymmetric-risk-with-teeka-tiwari/
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is no stranger to the show. He’s a guy who grew up in foster care and came over the US at the age of 16 with just 150 bucks in his pocket and the clothes on his back. And then by the age of 18 becomes the youngest employee at Lehman Brothers. By 20 he becomes the youngest vice president in Lehman history. Later in his career he goes on to launch successful hedge fund and lived the Wall Street dream. I mean he’s known on Wall Street as the guy who’s made a fortune on what is known as asymmetric risk which is what we’re going to talk about in quite a bit and for the rest of us, for many of us that is, he is best known for being the editor of the Palm Beach confidential newsletter which focuses on digital currencies and I am a subscriber to this by the way. Teeka, welcome back to Wealth Formula Podcast, Teeka Tiwari.
Teeka: Thanks Buck. It’s a pleasure to be here and thank you for having me.
Buck: Yeah so you know you were on not too long ago and some people are listening to the stuff about cannabis and they’re probably thinking to themselves, why is this guy talking about cannabis and digital currencies like what is his specialty? In fact the way I’m thinking about this there’s one main thing that they have in common, they’re both in this area that you call and we call asymmetric risk which is really your thing. Discuss what that means and if you would how have you applied it to your own growth and ultimately to your own wealth.
Teeka: So before I get into asymmetric risk I want to talk about how I discovered asymmetric risk and how I changed the way that I yeah. So when I was in my 20s I developed a lot of wealth by taking massive risk in the stock options and commodities market. And I would bet huge positions. And then that all came to an end in the late 90s when I was on the wrong side of a series of trades that were triggered by the Asian financial crisis which ultimately compelled me to file for bankruptcy. And so I had lost about ten years of wealth creation which was considerable at the time. And what I learned was that I had to change my approach that I couldn’t get it all every single time otherwise I would never get off this boom-and-bust merry-go-round. So what I realized was is that I would I would build the portfolio of somewhat safer more income oriented investments and then I would focus on these ideas that are called asymmetric risk trade. So what’s an asymmetric risk trade? An asymmetric risk trade is where you can take a relatively trivial sum of money and if the idea doesn’t work out it doesn’t impact your net your net worth or your day-to-day lifestyle in any way shape or form. But the asymmetric part of it is is that if it does work out it can absolutely move the needle on your net worth. So an example of that would be something like neo which I recommended at around 12 cents that ended up going up to about a hundred and sixty one dollars so that’s something that you could have put a thousand dollars in and turn it into over a million dollars. That’s a classic asymmetric trade. So what I what I tell my readers is you can’t build your whole portfolio around high-risk asymmetric trades. But if you take let’s say five to ten percent of your liquid net worth and allocate it to these types of situations in a and one of the things I talk about is using uniform position sizing, what you put yourself in the position to do is absolutely grow your network sometimes three four five six X without putting your current lifestyle at risk and it is a sweet spot of wealth creation that I’ve created and popularized now for several years that has not only transformed my financial life but the financial life of many of my readers.
Buck: So as you know Teeka my group the Wealth Formula Group in general I mean there’s a lot of people who are well-to-do they’re you know accredited investors they have you know typically probably more money to invest than others they’re you know and I say this because there is a little bit of a difference there when it comes to somebody who’s barely getting by living check to check, that there is an opportunity in your portfolio to say okay what percentage of this portfolio could I put in that I mean listen if I lose it no big deal I mean I won’t be happy about it but it won’t hurt me that much on the other hand this could explode. Now when you look at it from the perspective of somebody who’s got a fair amount of money and link who’s investing you know several hundred thousand dollars a year or maybe a million dollars or something like that like what do you think is a reasonable amount of a portfolio? Like I know for example that even universities are getting into this and they’re looking at hey maybe you know 1/2 of 1% or something like that I mean I know you’re not in the business of giving financial advice but I’m just curious kind of what your approach would be in terms of allocation.
Teeka: So again generally speaking I would say 5 to 10% of your liquid net worth. So let’s say you’ve got a business that kicks out a million a year that you have to allocate for your investment 50 to $100,000. Definitely nobody likes to lose 50 or a hundred thousand dollars but it’s not going to have a material impact on your lifestyle but if you invest 50 to $100,000 and these asymmetric bets pay off you’re talking about five six seven eight ten twelve million dollars in returns on what is a relatively tiny investment relative to your net worth and that is the beauty of this approach.
Buck: Yeah and and I’m glad you said that because that’s exactly kind of where I’m at sort of lingering between five and ten percent you know and for me you know I I kind of put this in there about you know I kind of put this in that area with startups right I’m not gonna I’m not gonna have a separate category just for digital currencies but anything that is super high risk and high reward and I’m sitting about five or ten percent.
Teeka: That all goes into the same bucket so that’s right that for everybody it’s not just oh this is crypto currencies five to ten percent and startups is five to ten percent. No all go into the same bucket is asymmetric risk.
Buck: Yeah now okay so we kind of got ahead of ourselves and you know you haven’t been on the show talking about crypto currency in a fair amount of time we have a lot more new listeners now so for those who know very little about cryptocurrency but they’re smart they’re sophisticated say they’re a group of you know I know worth investors you’re talking to you they’ve not heard about this how do you explain this in the most efficient way possible and what the significance of it is?
Teeka: Okay so that’s a really big question.
Buck: Yeah no I don’t but I bet you’ve answered it a few times.
Teeka: I’m gonna take a shot at it. So listen as a wealthy investor myself why would I want to bother with cryptocurrency? I’m already rich why do I want to mess around with this? So I’m gonna answer it from that perspective. One it’s always nice to make more money. But two the bigger reason is, is what I want people to understand especially wealthy investors is that it’s very rare to invest at the beginning of a brand-new asset class very very rare right it’s brand-new asset classes though just don’t come about. Digital currency is a brand-new asset class that has legs. So why does it have legs? It has legs because we have never had an asset class that is completely non correlated with the business cycle. It’s never existed before. Every asset class in the world is somehow tied to the business cycle gold, industrial, metals, currencies, stocks, bonds, they’re all tied to the business cycle in one way shape or form things like Bitcoin are not so why why does that make it valuable it makes it valuable because if you are pension fund you’re allocating capital across traditional and non-traditional assets you still have this problem of deep correlation right the business cycle falls apart and you’re taking hits across the board. So there have been studies that have shown just with a small allocation of Bitcoin anywhere from one to five percent across the portfolio even though Bitcoin is wildly volatile because it is not correlated and not tied to the business cycle it actually reduces your overall volatility and your overall risk in your portfolio and that is incredibly valuable. So just from a high level portfolio construction standpoint you will see the world’s hedge funds, pension funds, massive allocators of capital start to move tiny slivers of their money into things like Bitcoin and we’re talking tiny slivers of an 80 trillion dollar pie right it’s in real terms its enormous money in relative terms relative to what they have under management it’s a small amount but when you’re coming off a base where the whole markets only worth 300 billion it doesn’t take much to move the market. So that’s from the high level that’s why you must have some cryptocurrency. And then the next level beyond that is that mankind has never had an asset there’s never been an asset we’re a stronger man couldn’t take it from a weaker man. So whether it was the caveman knocking one guy over the head for his shells or the government coming in in Venezuela and confiscating money or the Argentinian government saying oh we’re having a holiday and taking all your assets from the bank something Brazil has done on multiple occasions. You know the everyday person has not had this ability to hold an asset that has been beyond the confiscationability of a government so something like Bitcoin and digital currency if you are smart and how you buy it if you don’t talk about it you buy quietly and you store it appropriately it is absolutely impossible short of somebody putting a literally putting a gun next to your head for them to take that asset from you and that is remarkable because even if you’ve got a million dollars in gold and you somehow manage to hide it how are you gonna travel the world with a million dollars in gold how are you gonna spend a million dollars in gold you just gonna go to the store and break a piece off with a piece of pliers you just can’t do that the beauty of digital currency is you can walk around with a thumb drive that big with a billion dollars in it and nobody knows and let’s say hey oh I don’t want to keep a billion in Bitcoin I want to do it in a stable coin fine put it in a stable coin. But this idea this portability of money and this complete ownership of an asset that nobody else has any ability to take from you that is valuable that is incredibly valuable.
Buck: So let me ask you a what may seem like a very basic simple question but I think it’s worth asking. So why is it so volatile why is Bitcoin Ethereum for example why these are the major the two biggest by market cap why are they so volatile and you know to the extent that they are uncorrelated do you see that as a function of the size of the market cap or is it something else inherent about digital currencies that makes it this volatile?
Teeka: I think it’s both. One they’re relatively small so if for instance if you look at Microsoft in its early days it was a crazy volatile stock up 40% down 40% down 30% going through bear markets that lasted two years wrecking billions of dollars in value you look at the early days of Microsoft from the 80s into the mid 90s the stock was all over the place and then as the stock got bigger and more mature of course volatility tamp down so you will see that. So what I say with volatility is that welcomed that volatility without it the opportunity to make enormous amounts of money off a small amount of money won’t exist. At some point Bitcoin and the theorem will move to this more blue chip status where maybe you make eight percent a year or six percent a year or something or something like that thank goodness we’re not there yet. The other side of it is is that there you know the markets that are built around trading these are completely unregulated. They’re wild. And there’s all types of crazy manipulation that goes on in the market you have some Bitcoin whale let’s sell a thousand coins and scare the market down and then let’s go buy back 2000 coins it’s the Wild West and somebody a skeptic might say well why do I want to buy now why don’t I buy when the market calms down because when you buy when the market calms down and it’s moved to this very highly regulated very low volatility asset it could have ten x between now and then. So yes there is volatility but I believe if you position size rationally you will be well rewarded for that moment for that volatility and that uncertainty.
Buck: So admittedly I was skeptical of cryptocurrency early on and you know I finally did get in and my timing was actually really good it was a fall early fall 2017 right before a massive bull run. And that of course was followed by what has been called crypto winter. So the question is, is winter over because it sure seems like it’s an awful long thawing period I mean no we seem like to have gotten there but there’s a stall is it over or do you still see some you know rocky shores ahead before there’s a you know big move potentially to all-time highs?
Teeka: Well no crypto winter was over in April. I put out a report talking about that and I pinpointed when that happened it happened when Bitcoin broke its downtrend line. So if you go back and if you look at each of the so-called crypto winters or horrible bear markets that have been in the space Bitcoin will always lead the market first always and then the altcoins play catch up right so it feels worse than it is right now because the alt coins got crushed and many of them have stayed crushed they haven’t come back that’s probably the most popular question I get take okay bitcoins up and it’s you know been up as much as 400 percent this year but why aren’t the old coins moving and my answer is because it’s not yet time. If you look back at the data generally there is at least a six-month time lag between the time Bitcoin breaks its downtrend line and the time that the alt coins move higher. So that that next stage we’ll be entering to in about October and you’ll see a percolation in the alt coins and they’ll start playing catch-up.
Buck: Does that also correlate Teeka with Bitcoin like an all-time high for Bitcoin though? I mean I mean obviously Bitcoin has recovered substantially we’re like you know three four hundred percent up from you know where we were when Bitcoin was at you know three thousand. The question I have is and I have not looked at this history closely even though there’s this recovery, do you have to start approaching all-time highs for those alts to really make their move is that what you’ve seen historically?
Teeka: No you look back when they all started playing catch up in 2016 Bitcoin was starting to move higher and then going into 2017 and then the alts really didn’t start kicking in until around May and that’s when they started moving and eventually the alts outpaced the type of action that was going on with bitcoins. So if we look back at how the altcoins move generally what happens is you have a new series of buyers that come into the market and they’re all centered around Bitcoin. And that’s happening right now. Kelly Lafleur just announced from backed that they’re gonna have physically backed futures have been approved September 23rd I believe is the date that they’re actually gonna start trading. So this brings in a whole new group of traders a whole new group of investors and then so they start getting their feet with Bitcoin and all of a sudden they’re there they might not even know anything about alt coins Buck that that’s the thing right for a lot of people out there to them when they think digital currency the only thing they really think of is Bitcoin.
Buck: So as the alt coins are just anything that’s not Bitcoin for anybody what we keep talking about so anything Ethereum, any other and any other token that’s not Bitcoin generally it’s called an altcoin.
Teeka: Right so as they come in they start getting exposed to these other coins and then they start playing with them and they start investing and then they start trading with them and all of a sudden people look at look at Bitcoin and they look at something else it’s a little bit smaller and they say okay let’s let’s play around here and then you start seeing this broadening of the rally.
Buck: So you think that this time around though specifically I know you you you’re part of your thesis is that this time around may be different because you know bigger money institutional money, but one of the things that we’ve really looked at or you’ve looked at and talked about is you know one of the limitations to big money coming into this stuff is custodianship but the altcoins a lot of the old coins most of them are not gonna have that kind of infrastructure so does that I mean just playing devil’s advocate does that then say well they may just stick to whatever they can buy on Coinbase and Bakkt.
Teeka: Well they have well these coins most of the all coins are ERC 20 coins so in terms of having the infrastructure as long as you can support ERC 20 you can support hundreds of coins that currently trade and so if you look at what Bakkt is doing they’re gonna be supporting Bitcoin first and then they’re going to be supporting Ethereum. So if they support a theory they will naturally support every other ERC20 that’s out there and remember companies like Bakkt they’re in the business of incentivizing trading because they get paid for everything that that goes through their network. So it would be odd to imagine that they’re only going to limit their entire business models with just the trading of Bitcoin it doesn’t make any sense. If you look at what they’ve done in the securities market they haven’t just limited themselves to the trading of the S&P 500 they trade everything so I do think that liquidity will trickle down into the whole market and of course the ERC 20 coins I think will be the first to get the most amount of liquidity because it will be the easiest to support from from a back end technology standpoint. The other thing I want to mention is that another driver of the alt coins would be what I believe will be a proliferation of securitization products. So ETF’s different types of futures I see a world I’ve gotta believe within the next 12 months we will see an ETF that will give us the ability to own 20 30 40 maybe 50 coins in one ETF that trades or one type of security that trades maybe it’s a coin put out by back and says okay you buy this coin and you’ve got the top hundred altcoins exposure to the top hundred alt coins.
Buck: Right and then you know I know a lot of people bring do you talk about the ETF for Bitcoin and this has been sort of bounce back but yeah you know we’re delayed with the SEC several times do you really think of that as a big deal compared to some of the other movements that you you mentioned Bakkt and I think there’s LedgerX things like that where that are allowing for institutional buyers to dissipate is an etf really make much of a difference in your view?
Teeka: I think an ETF is important but I think the SEC is becoming less important in that process and I’ll tell you why. Several very large brokerage firms from the Fidelity to eTrade to TD Ameritrade have announced that they want to offer Bitcoin trading to their users. So I’m talking about a system where you can log in click on a button on your Fidelity account and you can start trading Bitcoin the way you with the sp500. Once that comes out let’s assume it comes out this year which they’ve talked about but they want to do it this year but we’ll see everything seems to run a little slower than people think. But if that that comes out this year and something like 15 to 20 million people can now trade Bitcoin directly from their brokerage accounts to me it makes an ETF a foregone conclusion because the SEC has no reason now to stand in the way of it. And that’s what I’m think that they’re waiting for Buck the SEC is not known for blazing a trail the SEC is not known for moving ahead of the market. So if they can look and say well Fidelity is offering it TD Ameritrade is offering it Schwab is offering it we are asses covered if we approve an ETF I think it’s really a CYA problem with the SEC they don’t want to be the first to make this move and let’s say there’s a problem with it and everybody blames the SEC.
Buck: You know there is this product data that I know of maybe you could talk about this because then you know in the context of an ETF and being able to buy Bitcoin easily you know.
Teeka: I look at the there’s a grayscale Bitcoin trust gbtc which is publicly traded I mean what’s the difference what am I missing there I mean that’s a closed-end fund that has limited liquidity and sometimes trade at a hundred percent premium.
Buck: Yeah okay so lots of things happening in the spaces you mentioned and one of the things that I think that that you said that is very seems very clearly true whether or not what you know whether or not you believe there’s gonna be another bull market is there’s a ton of of Technology improvements and infrastructure and all these things that are going on and price mean a lot more by the way then back in 2017 when prices were off the charts so within that context what are you know say they the one or two things that are you most excited about in the space that gives you the greatest confidence that this is you know this is the the new you know the new dot-com era I guess after the rebels fell as you mentioned before offline and you know the rise of the Amazons and the apples in the crypto world.
Teeka: I’ll tell you why it’s because I’m finally seeing major corporations real corporations doing partnerships with crypto companies not memorandums of understanding MOU’s are meaningless but real partnerships where they’re actually using the technology this is stuff i talked about a year ago. Eighteen and a half months ago I said like real companies are going to start coming into this space they’re gonna start partnering with some of these companies and start using the technology and it’s happening. I’m seeing real businesses like Barclays put up their own money to back certain platforms I was like for instance with trade finance. BMW putting up their own money for back in logistics. So this is a huge shift in in in the type of person that is getting involved in the marketplace. I’m seeing massive credit card processors get involved with tiny startups because they want to piggy back what’s going on and the markets that they’re opening up with with their with their applications. So this to me Buck is is such a difference maker right like if we came into 2019 and none of these deals were happening I would say I would be on here and I would say buck you know what the cake just isn’t baked yet man we just probably gotta wait another year. But when I start seeing very large very smart corporate players making strategic moves to align themselves to certain projects, you can’t ignore that. This is something you can’t ignore. And so this is what has me incredibly excited for this next phase that I see taking place in crypto.
Buck: You know one of the one things that you mentioned earlier and you’ve mentioned in the past which I agree with generally speaking is that you know some level of regulation is a good thing so that it becomes less of a manipulated market. So it becomes something that you know larger big money investors and institutional investors take an interest in because they don’t want to be in something that’s you know that’s that’s not legit. There is a negative a little bit to that and that some opportunities out there are you know start or you’re starting to get restricted in terms of American investors. You know one of the examples I can think of to me is one of what I’m probably one of the biggest things is Binance which is you know the number one trading platform in the world is now effectively you know saying US investors we’ll see you later we’re gonna build something you know sometime and we’re gonna call it you know Binance US and we’re gonna have a lot fewer tokens there what concerns me is an investor in some of the various digital currencies at that point is well how does that affect my liquidity as a US investor and I’m wondering how it is affecting your your portfolio?
Teeka: Okay so there’s a couple of things around that and I can’t advise people to do this I can only report on what some people are doing to get around this geofencing. They’re using Virtual Private Networks. With the use of a virtual private network can get access to any exchange in the world so long as they’re using a VPN that mimics a country that this exchange is allowed to operate in. So as far as I know Binance is not doing anything to prevent anybody from using a VPN so just want to get that out there.
Buck: Jut to interrupt there I mean that that in itself is a little tricky though right I mean isn’t it because then you’ve got to deal with you know US taxes and all that if you’re dealing…
Teeka: Well you always have to deal with US taxes no matter what whether you’re using a VPN or not.
Buck: So it wouldn’t be illegal technically to use Virtual Private Network to use Binance?
Teeka: For me as an individual would I be breaking any laws, I don’t think so but I’m not an attorney. Binance might be breaking some laws or but I don’t think that I would be but again this is something everybody has to make their own decision with. But the other side of this is that by Nance is putting together their own decks which is a decentralized exchange which will allow for peer-to-peer trading and I think you’ll see more of these types of decentralized exchanges which I’m a big fan of I hate the idea of centralized exchanges anyway. So there are some speed problems with decentralized exchanges but they’re getting ironed out and I think within in the future a lot of trading is going to move to peer-to-peer but you’re right it’s certainly a concern for now I would say the biggest solution that I have read about and again I can’t formally tell people to do this is to use a virtual private network.
Buck: The other question though I think as just as a follow-up on that Teeka is that okay so say you use a VPN but not everybody’s gonna do that you know probably most people aren’t gonna do that didn’t then there’s an issues just in terms of liquidity right or don’t you think that’s a problem anymore?
Teeka: I do think it’s a problem but I also rely on the greed factor of the participants in this market that they will figure out a solution because there’s too much money to be made for liquidity that wants to come into the market somebody will find a way to bring that liquidity into that okay so anyway so like you you know I believe that Bitcoin bull run is inevitable what do you think of anything what are you looking for that might trigger and I know you you’re saying already that we’re kind of in a bull market already but what triggers that sort of next level all-time high thing is there anything or do you think this is something that’s gonna be more of a gradual rise or organic than it was in 2017?
Teeka: Well there are several things which I’m gonna be talking about specifically I don’t really want to spill the beans on that here but I have an event coming up which I talk in more detail about a very specific event that I think will act as a massive catalyst. Outside of that I think this whole idea of I call it this kind of new narrative right among institutions where before two years ago three years ago they looked at Bitcoin and they said oh my gosh Bitcoin that’s for Gun Runners and pornographers where we we have no interest in Bitcoin. And now they’re starting to see Bitcoin as a way to eliminate this correlation risk in their portfolio. So I think that narrative will gain more ground in fact I’ve been invited to a conference in San Moritz with 500 top-tier investors and I will be putting forward that research that I’ve drawn together to that audience and really helping propagate that narrative because it is transformational if you manage a large pool of capital what you can do with your overall volatility and how you can adjust it lower through just a tiny amount of Bitcoin is absolutely remarkable. So I think that’s more of a slow burn Buck, but as that gains speed I mean can you just imagine just the amount of buying if pension funds say okay going forward half of 1% of all our assets are going to be in digital currency.
Buck: I mean in part of part of understanding that for people is to understand one of the the great things about Bitcoin in particular is that this is an asset with that is fixed to a certain number of Bitcoin that’ll ever be created so you know we’ve never really had a that kind of monetary thing before I mean to a certain extent gold is that way of course but even you know gold there’s always more gold every year a little bit more gold. This is a truly deflationary asset that really where you know you put more money in the pot you know each one of those bitcoins gonna be worth a lot more and that I can’t think of anything else that’s out there like that.
Teeka: I agree.
Buck: I know you’ve got you know the the Palm Beach Confidential Newsletter Teeka I just have to compliment you because I you know I have been a reader for a couple years it is one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful investment newsletters I’ve ever subscribed to. I mean it is totally the real deal and I appreciate that and one of the things that people can’t join any time and it opens and closes and I know that it is going to be opening up and you’re going to do a webinar coming up on that but can you talk a little bit about the newsletter and the event that’s coming up?
Teeka: Yeah sure so in the newsletter what I do is I will typically find one idea each month and give you a complete breakdown on the idea. And what I try to do I understand not everybody is a cryptocurrency enthusiastic of their currency investor and so what I try to do is write in a way that is easy to digest, easy to understand, not simplistic but very easy for the layperson to get their head around and to really understand the concept that we’re talking about. And I have not opened up Palm Beach confidential for any new members for this whole year, this is the first time that I’ve done that and the reason is, is I only open up Palm Beach confidential to new members when there’s an event that I think can have a massive impact on the broad market. So on September 18th at 8 p.m. I’m going to talk about one of these events and the last time this event took place you could literally take 500 dollars and turn it into five million dollars. There’s only a few times in the history of crypto where you have those types of windows of opportunity and so one of those windows of opportunity is about to open and so at this event I’m gonna explain what it is why it works and why it will absolutely happen this particular event will absolutely happen there’s nothing that can stop the event from taking place. And so I’m gonna share my five top coins, one of which I’ll give away for free during the webinar that I think have that ability to go from five hundred dollars literally into five million. So it’s an exciting time and I’m really kind of chomping at the bit to kind of get in front of everybody and talk about this research that I’ve discovered.
Buck: One last thing I want to point out is I get you know when we talk like this sometimes people get really skeptical they’re like yeah that sounds a little salesy Buck that’s not really kind of the usual thing that you’re talking about and I get it right. The reality is this is a situation this isn’t you know there are real people out there there are kids out there who’ve become multimillionaires by doing exactly this. And so it’s real, that’s why I’m interested.
Teeka: In my own investing I’ve seen a thousand dollar investment go to as much as 1.6 million dollars, ok so it’s real. The other thing I want to convey to everybody I don’t have to write newsletters anymore I don’t have to come on podcast I can sit on a beach all I want ok. So why do I do this I do this because moving the needle on somebody’s net worth maybe not this audience maybe maybe my broader audience it’s incredibly gratifying right helping people change their lives without putting their current lifestyle at risk that’s I mean if that’s my one legacy in this life could you ask for anything more Buck? Really it’s incredibly gratifying to be able to do that and we have this opportunity now and but this opportunity won’t last forever at some point this will be a multi trillion dollar asset class and the ability to make gains like that just won’t exist.
Buck: Teeka, as always it’s been a pleasure talking to you and thanks again for being on Wealth Formula Podcast.
Teeka: Thank you Buck.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
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Why Bitcoin and Tulip Mania are two vastly different, and entirely unrelated, phenomena: a comprehensive analysis

I keep seeing all these comparisons of Bitcoin to tulip mania, such as in this extremely inaccurate chart Convoy investments recently published. It’s a bunch of bullshit. Bitcoin is about as far from 17th century tulip bulbs as you can get so I’m gonna debunk this claim right now. Here are the facts —
  1. This chart only goes back to 3 years before the “bubble peak.” If they’re talking about now being the peak, it would start at 2014. Bitcoin was founded in 2009 & experienced its first “bubble” if you will, in 2013.
  2. Bubbles do not typically burst and then come back. Tulip bulb prices crashed once and it was over. That’s why this chart conveniently left out the pre-2014 era.
  3. This chart puts the value of bitcoin in 2014, using its Y axis label “multiple of starting price” at next to 0. Bitcoin started at less than a dollar. Its value in 2014 was in the hundreds of dollars.
  4. It is not known exactly how long tulip mania lasted as there is no data available from February of 1637 to the beginning of may. Low estimates for its duration fall around 3 months. At the highest estimate, it may have lasted 6 months (Source) Convoy’s chart incorrectly depicts the tulip boom as almost a full year long.
Bitcoin on the other hand, has been around for 8 years. In Jan 2018 it’ll be 9.
Let’s disregard this for a sec, lets play devils advocate and look only at bitcoin’s latest increase which began around March 2017 (Source) It consistently began hitting ATHs back in March of this year, and gained even more traction later on from June-July. So, disregarding everything else Bitcoin’s current meteoric rise has already lasted approx 9 months, which is longer than the rise, peak and collapse of tulip bulbs altogether.
Let me point out here that Convoy got the dates for tulip mania wrong as well! it lasted from late 1636- early 1637, not 1619-1622.
  1. Tulips are not scarce. People can plant tulips and collect bulbs all they want. Bitcoin is inherently scarce. 21 million bitcoins - and only 21 million - can ever be made. That’s it.
  2. Tulips are irrelevant. Investors invested in them regardless of what they were, to make a quick buck. They could have been daisies or pigeons or lumps of rock. This brings us to:
  3. Tulip prices were doomed to crash from the start because they had no intrinsic value. Investments were made in them ONLY because investors thought the price was going to go up, and that was it. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has intrinsic value as a currency and as a technology. People think the price will go up, yes; this part can be labeled speculative and it does add fuel to the spaceship. However, the difference is that there are real solid reasons for its price increase.
An asset price cannot increase forever based on speculation alone, but if the asset has inherent value, then its price sure can continue to increase.
If we look at the Apple stock chart from 1980 to 2012, we can see a pattern that’s actually quite similar to Bitcoin’s rise. Was Apple a bubble? Did it burst? No and no.
But Michael Dell once made fun of Apple for “trying to be a company”.
And nobody knows who Michael Dell is anymore.
Bitcoin is not Tulip Mania.
That is all.
Edit: thanks joecoin for linking me to a compelling article from Smithsonian Mag. This source makes a very convincing argument that tulip mania never actually happened. I figured I should point this out, because the facts are all important to me. That being said, the concept of tulip mania remains, and there are people who try likening it to bitcoin as if the two are any more similar than apples and oranges. Those people are wrong. :)
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Decred Journal — May 2018

Note: New Reddit look may not highlight links. See old look here. A copy is hosted on GitHub for better reading experience. Check it out, contains photo of the month! Also on Medium

Development

dcrd: Significant optimization in signature hash calculation, bloom filters support was removed, 2x faster startup thanks to in-memory full block index, multipeer work advancing, stronger protection against majority hashpower attacks. Additionally, code refactoring and cleanup, code and test infrastructure improvements.
In dcrd and dcrwallet developers have been experimenting with new modular dependency and versioning schemes using vgo. @orthomind is seeking feedback for his work on reproducible builds.
Decrediton: 1.2.1 bugfix release, work on SPV has started, chart additions are in progress. Further simplification of the staking process is in the pipeline (slack).
Politeia: new command line tool to interact with Politeia API, general development is ongoing. Help with testing will soon be welcome: this issue sets out a test plan, join #politeia to follow progress and participate in testing.
dcrdata: work ongoing on improved design, adding more charts and improving Insight API support.
Android: design work advancing.
Decred's own DNS seeder (dcrseeder) was released. It is written in Go and it properly supports service bit filtering, which will allow SPV nodes to find full nodes that support compact filters.
Ticket splitting service by @matheusd entered beta and demonstrated an 11-way split on mainnet. Help with testing is much appreciated, please join #ticket_splitting to participate in splits, but check this doc to learn about the risks. Reddit discussion here.
Trezor support is expected to land in their next firmware update.
Decred is now supported by Riemann, a toolbox from James Prestwich to construct transactions for many UTXO-based chains from human-readable strings.
Atomic swap with Ethereum on testnet was demonstrated at Blockspot Conference LATAM.
Two new faces were added to contributors page.
Dev activity stats for May: 238 active PRs, 195 master commits, 32,831 added and 22,280 deleted lines spread across 8 repositories. Contributions came from 4-10 developers per repository. (chart)

Network

Hashrate: rapid growth from ~4,000 TH/s at the beginning of the month to ~15,000 at the end with new all time high of 17,949. Interesting dynamic in hashrate distribution across mining pools: coinmine.pl share went down from 55% to 25% while F2Pool up from 2% to 44%. [Note: as of June 6, the hashrate continues to rise and has already passed 22,000 TH/s]
Staking: 30-day average ticket price is 91.3 DCR (+0.8), stake participation is 46.9% (+0.8%) with 3.68 million DCR locked (+0.15). Min price was 85.56. On May 11 ticket price surged to 96.99, staying elevated for longer than usual after such a pump. Locked DCR peaked at 47.17%. jet_user on reddit suggested that the DCR for these tickets likely came from a miner with significant hashrate.
Nodes: there are 226 public listening and 405 normal nodes per dcred.eu. Version distribution: 45% on v1.2.0 (up from 24% last month), 39% on v1.1.2, 15% on v1.1.0 and 1% running outdaded versions.

ASICs

Obelisk team posted an update. Current hashrate estimate of DCR1 is 1200 GH/s at 500 W and may still change. The chips came back at 40% the speed of the simulated results, it is still unknown why. Batch 1 units may get delayed 1-2 weeks past June 30. See discussions on decred and on siacoin.
@SiaBillionaire estimated that 7940 DCR1 units were sold in Batches 1-5, while Lynmar13 shared his projections of DCR1 profitability (reddit).
A new Chinese miner for pre-order was noticed by our Telegram group. Woodpecker WB2 specs 1.5 TH/s at 1200 W, costs 15,000 CNY (~2,340 USD) and the initial 150 units are expected to ship on Aug 15. (pow8.comtranslated)
Another new miner is iBelink DSM6T: 6 TH/s at 2100 W costing $6,300 (ibelink.co). Shipping starts from June 5. Some concerns and links were posted in these two threads.

Integrations

A new mining pool is available now: altpool.net. It uses PPLNS model and takes 1% fee.
Another infrastructure addition is tokensmart.io, a newly audited stake pool with 0.8% fee. There are a total of 14 stake pools now.
Exchange integrations:
OpenBazaar released an update that allows one to trade cryptocurrencies, including DCR.
@i2Rav from i2trading is now offering two sided OTC market liquidity on DCUSD in #trading channel.
Paytomat, payments solution for point of sale and e-commerce, integrated Decred. (missed in April issue)
CoinPayments, a payment processor supporting Decred, developed an integration with @Shopify that allows connected merchants to accept cryptocurrencies in exchange for goods.

Adoption

New merchants:
An update from VotoLegal:
michae2xl: Voto Legal: CEO Thiago Rondon of Appcívico, has already been contacted by 800 politicians and negotiations have started with four pre-candidates for the presidency (slack, source tweet)
Blockfolio rolled out Signal Beta with Decred in the list. Users who own or watch a coin will automatically receive updates pushed by project teams. Nice to see this Journal made it to the screenshot!
Placeholder Ventures announced that Decred is their first public investment. Their Investment Thesis is a clear and well researched overview of Decred. Among other great points it noted the less obvious benefit of not doing an ICO:
By choosing not to pre-sell coins to speculators, the financial rewards from Decred’s growth most favor those who work for the network.
Alex Evans, a cryptoeconomics researcher who recently joined Placeholder, posted his 13-page Decred Network Analysis.

Marketing

@Dustorf published March–April survey results (pdf). It analyzes 166 responses and has lots of interesting data. Just an example:
"I own DECRED because I saw a YouTube video with DECRED Jesus and after seeing it I was sold."
May targeted advertising report released. Reach @timhebel for full version.
PiedPiperCoin hired our advisors.
More creative promos by @jackliv3r: Contributing, Stake Now, The Splitting, Forbidden Exchange, Atomic Swaps.
Reminder: Stakey has his own Twitter account where he tweets about his antics and pours scorn on the holders of expired tickets.
"Autonomy" coin sculpture is available at sigmasixdesign.com.

Events

BitConf in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Jake Yocom-Piatt presented "Decentralized Central Banking". Note the mini stakey on one of the photos. (articletranslated, photos: 1 2 album)
Wicked Crypto Meetup in Warsaw, Poland. (video, photos: 1 2)
Decred Polska Meetup in Katowice, Poland. First known Decred Cake. (photos: 1 2)
Austin Hispanic Hackers Meetup in Austin, USA.
Consensus 2018 in New York, USA. See videos in the Media section. Select photos: booth, escort, crew, moon boots, giant stakey. Many other photos and mentions were posted on Twitter. One tweet summarized Decred pretty well:
One project that stands out at #Consensus2018 is @decredproject. Not annoying. Real tech. Humble team. #BUIDL is strong with them. (@PallerJohn)
Token Summit in New York, USA. @cburniske and @jmonegro from Placeholder talked "Governance and Cryptoeconomics" and spoke highly of Decred. (twitter coverage: 1 2, video, video (from 32 min))
Campus Party in Bahia, Brazil. João Ferreira aka @girino and Gabriel @Rhama were introducing Decred, talking about governance and teaching to perform atomic swaps. (photos)
Decred was introduced to the delegates from Shanghai's Caohejing Hi-Tech Park, organized by @ybfventures.
Second Decred meetup in Hangzhou, China. (photos)
Madison Blockchain in Madison, USA. "Lots of in-depth questions. The Q&A lasted longer than the presentation!". (photo)
Blockspot Conference Latam in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (photos: 1, 2)
Upcoming events:
There is a community initiative by @vj to organize information related to events in a repository. Jump in #event_planning channel to contribute.

Media

Decred scored B (top 3) in Weiss Ratings and A- (top 8) in Darpal Rating.
Chinese institute is developing another rating system for blockchains. First round included Decred (translated). Upon release Decred ranked 26. For context, Bitcoin ranked 13.
Articles:
Audios:
Videos:

Community Discussions

Community stats: Twitter 39,118 (+742), Reddit 8,167 (+277), Slack 5,658 (+160). Difference is between May 5 and May 31.
Reddit highlights: transparent up/down voting on Politeia, combining LN and atomic swaps, minimum viable superorganism, the controversial debate on Decred contractor model (people wondered about true motives behind the thread), tx size and fees discussion, hard moderation case, impact of ASICs on price, another "Why Decred?" thread with another excellent pitch by solar, fee analysis showing how ticket price algorithm change was controversial with ~100x cut in miner profits, impact of ticket splitting on ticket price, recommendations on promoting Decred, security against double spends and custom voting policies.
@R3VoLuT1OneR posted a preview of a proposal from his company for Decred to offer scholarships for students.
dcrtrader gained a couple of new moderators, weekly automatic threads were reconfigured to monthly and empty threads were removed. Currently most trading talk happens on #trading and some leaks to decred. A separate trading sub offers some advantages: unlimited trading talk, broad range of allowed topics, free speech and transparent moderation, in addition to standard reddit threaded discussion, permanent history and search.
Forum: potential social attacks on Decred.
Slack: the #governance channel created last month has seen many intelligent conversations on topics including: finite attention of decision makers, why stakeholders can make good decisions (opposed to a common narrative than only developers are capable of making good decisions), proposal funding and contractor pre-qualification, Cardano and Dash treasuries, quadratic voting, equality of outcome vs equality of opportunity, and much more.
One particularly important issue being discussed is the growing number of posts arguing that on-chain governance and coin voting is bad. Just a few examples from Twitter: Decred is solving an imagined problem (decent response by @jm_buirski), we convince ourselves that we need governance and ticket price algo vote was not controversial, on-chain governance hurts node operators and it is too early for it, it robs node operators of their role, crypto risks being captured by the wealthy, it is a huge threat to the whole public blockchain space, coin holders should not own the blockchain.
Some responses were posted here and here on Twitter, as well as this article by Noah Pierau.

Markets

The month of May has seen Decred earn some much deserved attention in the markets. DCR started the month around 0.009 BTC and finished around 0.0125 with interim high of 0.0165 on Bittrex. In USD terms it started around $81 and finished around $92, temporarily rising to $118. During a period in which most altcoins suffered, Decred has performed well; rising from rank #45 to #30 on Coinmarketcap.
The addition of a much awaited KRW pair on Upbit saw the price briefly double on some exchanges. This pair opens up direct DCR to fiat trading in one of the largest cryptocurrency markets in the world.
An update from @i2Rav:
We have begun trading DCR in large volume daily. The interest around DCR has really started to grow in terms of OTC quote requests. More and more customers are asking about trading it.
Like in previous month, Decred scores high by "% down from ATH" indicator being #2 on onchainfx as of June 6.

Relevant External

David Vorick (@taek) published lots of insights into the world of ASIC manufacturing (reddit). Bitmain replied.
Bitmain released an ASIC for Equihash (archived), an algorithm thought to be somewhat ASIC-resistant 2 years ago.
Three pure PoW coins were attacked this month, one attempting to be ASIC resistant. This shows the importance of Decred's PoS layer that exerts control over miners and allows Decred to welcome ASIC miners for more PoW security without sacrificing sovereignty to them.
Upbit was raided over suspected fraud and put under investigation. Following news reported no illicit activity was found and suggested and raid was premature and damaged trust in local exchanges.
Circle, the new owner of Poloniex, announced a USD-backed stablecoin and Bitmain partnership. The plan is to make USDC available as a primary market on Poloniex. More details in the FAQ.
Poloniex announced lower trading fees.
Bittrex plans to offer USD trading pairs.
@sumiflow made good progress on correcting Decred market cap on several sites:
speaking of market cap, I got it corrected on coingecko, cryptocompare, and worldcoinindex onchainfx, livecoinwatch, and cryptoindex.co said they would update it about a month ago but haven't yet I messaged coinlib.io today but haven't got a response yet coinmarketcap refused to correct it until they can verify certain funds have moved from dev wallets which is most likely forever unknowable (slack)

About This Issue

Some source links point to Slack messages. Although Slack hides history older than ~5 days, you can read individual messages if you paste the message link into chat with yourself. Digging the full conversation is hard but possible. The history of all channels bridged to Matrix is saved in Matrix. Therefore it is possible to dig history in Matrix if you know the timestamp of the first message. Slack links encode the timestamp: https://decred.slack.com/archives/C5H9Z63AA/p1525528370000062 => 1525528370 => 2018-05-05 13:52:50.
Most information from third parties is relayed directly from source after a minimal sanity check. The authors of Decred Journal have no ability to verify all claims. Please beware of scams and do your own research.
Your feedback is precious. You can post on GitHub, comment on Reddit or message us in #writers_room channel.
Credits (Slack names, alphabetical order): bee, Richard-Red, snr01 and solar.
submitted by jet_user to decred [link] [comments]

Rumors Of The Demise Of The Blockchain Industry Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Authored by Omid Malekan via Medium.com,
The sharp decline in the price of cryptocoins has spurred an outpouring of commentary from columnists and academics who - suspicious of the asset class all along - now feel vindicated. But their focus on falling prices this year is just as foolhardy as the evangelists focus on gains last year, and somewhat misses the point. The biggest blockchain headline of 2018 isn’t that prices have crashed, but that adoption has accelerated throughout the decline.

Among the entrepreneurs and developers building out the technology, there is a growing sense of satisfaction that an industry primarily known for its hypothetical promise is finally starting to deliver. If you can manage to look past sensational stories of “who lost how much in Bitcoin,” what you’ll find are far more interesting stories on adoption and implementation. Whereas 2017 was the year of whether, 2018 is going out as the year of when _and _how.This is an important shift, despite ongoing challenges. Blockchain is a foundational technology, so adoption isn’t just about new systems, but a re-architecting of how business is done. That’s no small task, as we were reminded recently when the parent of the New York Stock Exchange announced a delay in the launch of its physical-backed Bitcoin futures. Tempting as it might be to interpret that news as yet another setback in the midst of a bear market, it’s a startling reminder of how far things have come. Not that long ago, the idea of one of the worlds biggest financial companies adopting Bitcoin felt like a pipe dream. Today, we lament a short delay.
Once rolled out, those futures will be an important bridge between legacy financial markets and natively digital ones. This sort of infrastructure is vital to making good on the industry’s loftier promises, and encouragingly, where progress seems to have accelerated, as told by the people who would know. Konstantin Richter, the CEO of Blockdaemon, a leading blockchain infrastructure company, recently told me:
“We are seeing a strong increase in individual nodes getting deployed. Enterprise demand has increased also.”
That simple statement says a lot, because nodes to a blockchain are like servers to a network. That people and companies are deploying them could only mean they plan on using the technology.
Progress is accelerating on the “re-architecting how business is done” front too. According to Christiana Cacciapuoti, the executive director of Adledger, a non-profit building new standards for blockchain-based online advertising, the consortium now counts all of the big four ad agencies as members, something that wouldn’t have happened if there was no there there.
The same could be said of names like Walmart and Fidelity, both of which announced major blockchain-based initiatives this past summer. Many more seem to be watching, as expressed by Mike Dudas, founder of The Block, a leading blockchain news and intelligence service. When I asked him whether interest had declined with price, he said “despite the decline, corporate interest is accelerating, and we’ve seen significant professional uptake in our coverage.”
Perhaps the strongest vote of confidence came from Clarissa Horowitz, VP of Marketing at Bitgo, a leading cryptocoin custody tech and service provider. Bitgo announced a new qualified custodian service aimed at institutions just a few months ago, just as the price decline accelerated. Custody being a service only needed by those who deal with the actual coins, I wondered if demand had been tepid. Her response? “Interest has been off the charts.”
From my own vantage point, demand for my education service and sales of my book are as strong as ever. The critics hear all of this, but still obsess over falling prices. To be fair, so do some industry insiders. But if there’s one lesson everyone watching crypto markets should heed from traditional ones, it’s that price seldom matters as much as most people think.
Just in the past two months, shares of graphic hardware maker Nvidia have lost half of their value. Tellingly, no one is interpreting this to mean the end of the industry. Semiconductor stocks have always been volatile, and a volatile asset making big moves is not that revealing. Naysayers have tried to pin the collapse on falling demand from crypto miners, but that doesn’t explain why the stock surged 50% earlier this as the price of Bitcoin got cut in half.
So why did the stock collapse? For a myriad of complicated reasons, including the broader correction in tech stocks. That correction, by the way, has knocked a trillion dollars off the market cap of just five tech companies, more than the losses in all cryptocoins combined. But nobody is interpreting it to mean the end of smartphones or social media. Wild price swings are often more about marginal changes in sentiment than actual changes in output, a fact perhaps even more true for commodities.
The recent decline in oil prices for example, has little to do with supply and demand, as neither has changed much as prices have fallen. Drawing major conclusions from short-term price swings is tempting, but can be a trap. Ten years ago, a far bigger collapse in oil lead many to predict the end of the US shale boom. History proved them wrong, as American oil output today is triple what it was back then, with most of the gains having occurred in the teeth of the bear market. The decline in prices only drove drillers to become even more efficient at fracking. A decade later, that new way of drilling has really taken over, for the simple reason that it’s a better way of doing things.
Blockchain technology is also a better way of doing things. It’s core tenets of transparency, democracy and cooperation are universally considered desirable in almost any other context. So why do so many remain skeptical? One answer is jealousy from those who missed out on the boom, but there’s more to it. The bigger issue — haunting enthusiasts and skeptics alike — is the truly transformative nature of this technology.
If optimists such as myself are proven right, then we are about to undergo a major re-architecting of many aspects of society, toppling incumbent leaders and anointing new ones. Entrepreneurs worship the mighty god of disruption, but in its path lies the pain of the disrupted.
Just recently, the CEO of the celebrated startup Transferwise declared that his company saw no implementation of blockchain tech that made its online payment service faster or cheaper. His comments made the rounds given the backdrop of falling coin prices, but I took them to be rather bullish. If my overall thesis pans out, then the Transferwises of the world will never find a good use for blockchain, because the technology eliminates the need for them altogether. People can already exchange and send digital dollars all over the world using decentralized blockchain rails, for a fraction of even what Transferwise charges. The only drawback is that the front-end and user experience is not nearly as polished as those offered by a centralized payment service.
That problem will eventually be solved, because a shared global ledger is a better way of handling payments than the fragmented and siloed solutions of today, in the same way that a shared spreadsheet in the cloud is a better way of cooperating with colleagues than passing around a notebook. So to all those who continue to obsess about prices, I offer a simple reminder that what matters most are the opportunities that lie ahead, not the price declines that lay behind. This was true in the energy sector a decade ago, and even more true in the tech sector two decades ago.
Back then, during the aftermath of the dot com bust, the shares of a little online bookseller traded at a mere $6, having lost 95% of their value. Critics took the magnitude of that decline — even greater than the current crypto one — to mean that the promise of eommerce had been exaggerated. But Jeff Bezos and his team still believed that online shopping was a better way of doing things, so despite the raging bear market, they proceeded to significantly expand Amazon’s offering. History, and a subsequent 30,000% appreciation in the stock, proved them right. Sometimes, the biggest takeaway from a major price decline is the emergence of a great opportunity.
submitted by rotoreuters to zerohedge [link] [comments]

Hussman On The Three Great Delusions: Paper Wealth, A Booming Economy, & Bitcoin

Authored by John Hussman via HussmanFunds.com,
"Let us not, in the pride of our superior knowledge, turn with contempt from the follies of our predecessors. The study of the errors into which great minds have fallen in the pursuit of truth can never be uninstructive.”
_– Charles Mackay
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds_Delusions are often viewed as reflecting some deficiency in reasoning ability. The risk of thinking about delusions in this way is that it encourages the belief that logical, intelligent people are incapable of delusion. An examination of the history of financial markets suggests a different view. Specifically, faced with unusual or extraordinary price advances, there is a natural tendency (particularly in the presence of crowds, feedback loops, and potential rewards) to look for explanations. The problem isn’t that logic or reason has failed, but that the inputs have been distorted, and in the attempt to justify the advance amid the speculative excitement, careful data-gathering is replaced by a tendency to confuse temporary factors for fundamental underpinnings.
While true psychological delusions are different from financial ones, a similar principle is suggested by psychological research. Delusions are best understood not as deficiencies in logic, but rather as explanations that have been logically reached on the basis of distorted inputs. For example, individuals with delusions appear vulnerable to differences in perception that may involve more vivid, intense, or emotionally-charged sensory input. While those differences might be driven by neurological factors, the person experiencing these unusual perceptions looks to develop an explanation. Maher emphasized that despite the skewed input, the delusions themselves are derived by completely normal reasoning processes. Similarly, Garety & Freeman found that delusions appear to reflect not a defect in reasoning itself, but a defect “which is best described as a data-gathering bias, a tendency for people with delusions to gather less evidence” so they tend to jump to conclusions.
The reason that delusions are so hard to fight with logic is that delusions themselves are established through the exercise of logic. Responsibility for delusions is more likely to be found in distorted perception or inadequate information. The problem isn’t disturbed reasoning, but distorted or inadequate inputs that the eyes, ears, and mind perceive as undeniably real.
Let’s begin by examining the anatomy of speculative bubbles. We’ll follow with a discussion of three popular delusions that have taken hold of the crowd, and the premises that drive them: the delusion of paper wealth, the delusion of a booming economy, and the delusion that is Bitcoin.

The anatomy of speculative bubbles

Across centuries of history, speculative financial bubbles have repeatedly emerged from the seeds of distorted financial environments, where speculative behavior increasingly produces self-reinforcing feedback. Specifically, the speculative behavior of the crowd results in rising prices that both impress and reward speculators, and in turn encourage even greater speculation. The more impressed the crowd becomes with the result of its own behavior, the more that behavior persists, and the more unstable the system becomes, until finally the flapping wings of a butterfly become sufficient to provoke a collapse, launching a self-reinforcing feedback loop in the opposite direction.
The 1929 bubble was built on the foundation of real economic prosperity during the roaring 20’s, but the late stages of that boom were largely fueled by debt and easy money. Observing the persistent market advance, investors largely ignored the contribution of their own speculation in producing that advance. Rather, as traditional valuation measures became increasingly stretched, the first impulse of investors was to try to justify_ the elevated valuations in novel ways, which gradually became nothing but excuses for continued speculation. As John Kenneth Galbraith wrote decades ago in his book, _The Great Crash 1929:
“It was still necessary to reassure those who required some tie, however tenuous, to reality. This process of reassurance eventually achieved the status of a profession. However, the time had come, as in all periods of speculation, when men sought not to be persuaded by the reality of things but to find excuses for escaping into the new world of fantasy.”
Keep in mind that yes, the economy was strong, business was booming, and money was easy. The problem was that investors stopped thinking about stocks as a claim on a very, very long-term stream of discounted cash flows. Valuations didn’t matter. It was enough that the economy was expanding. It was enough that earnings were rising. Put simply, the trend_ of earnings and the economy, not the actual _level of valuation, became the justification for buying stocks. Graham & Dodd described this process:
“During the latter stage of the bull market culminating in 1929, the public acquired a completely different attitude towards the investment merits of common stocks… Why did the investing public turn its attention from dividends, from asset values, and from average earnings to transfer it almost exclusively to the earnings trend, i.e. to the changes in earnings expected in the future? The answer was, first, that the records of the past were proving an undependable guide to investment; and, second, that the rewards offered by the future had become irresistibly alluring.
“Along with this idea as to what constituted the basis for common-stock selection emerged a companion theory that common stocks represented the most profitable and therefore the most desirable media for long-term investment. This gospel was based on a certain amount of research, showing that diversified lists of common stocks had regularly increased in value over stated intervals of time for many years past.
“These statements sound innocent and plausible. Yet they concealed two theoretical weaknesses that could and did result in untold mischief. The first of these defects was that they abolished the fundamental distinctions between investment and speculation. The second was that they ignored the price of a stock in determining whether or not it was a desirable purchase.
“The notion that the desirability of a common stock was entirely independent of its price seems incredibly absurd. Yet the new-era theory led directly to this thesis… An alluring corollary of this principle was that making money in the stock market was now the easiest thing in the world. It was only necessary to buy ‘good’ stocks, regardless of price, and then to let nature take her upward course. The results of such a doctrine could not fail to be tragic.”
– Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, Security Analysis, 1934The 2000 tech bubble featured the same process in a slightly different form. The inputs and premises that investors observed were valid, but incomplete. Economic growth and employment were strong, and money was easy. The internet did indeed have tremendous growth prospects. But again, as the advance became more speculative, investors largely ignored the impact of their own speculation in producing that advance. Instead, their first impulse was again to try to _justify_the elevated valuations in novel ways (recall “price-to-eyeballs”). By March 2000, on the basis of historically reliable valuation measures, I projected that a retreat to normal valuations would require an -83% plunge in tech stocks. In the 19 months that followed, that estimate turned out to be precise for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 Index.
The mortgage bubble leading up to the global financial crisis was built on the same sort of distorted inputs, this time fueled by the insistence of the Federal Reserve to hold interest rates at just 1% after the tech collapse. As yield-starved investors looked for relatively safe alternatives to low-yielding Treasury securities, they turned to mortgage securities, which had to-date never experienced major losses. Wall Street responded to the appetite for more “product” by creating new mortgage securities, which required the creation of new mortgages, and led to the creation of no-doc, zero-down mortgages and the willingness to lend to anyone with a pulse. All of this produced a glorious period of temporary prosperity and rising prices. As usual, instead of recognizing the impact of their own speculation in producing the advance, the first impulse of investors was to try to justify why elevated asset and housing valuations made sense.
As the bubble expanded, Janet Yellen, then the head of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, offered this benign assessment of the risks:
“First, if the bubble were to deflate on its own, would the effect on the economy be exceedingly large? Second, is it unlikely that the Fed could mitigate the consequences? Third, is monetary policy the best tool to use to deflate a house-price bubble? My answers to these questions in the shortest possible form are, ‘no,’ ‘no,’ and ‘no’ … It seems that the arguments against trying to deflate a bubble outweigh those in favor of it. So, my bottom line is that monetary policy should react to rising prices for houses or other assets only insofar as they affect the central bank’s goal variables—output, employment, and inflation.”
Missing from Yellen’s benign assessment was the fact that the speculative distortion and debt buildup _enabled by the bubble itself_ would be the primary driver of the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. The Fed appears to exclude such risks from its thinking, despite the fact that the worst economic collapses in history have generally gone hand-in-hand with episodes of financial speculation and their inevitable collapse.
In the apparent attempt to bookend her term as Fed Chair by brushing aside the current progression toward financial collapse with an equally benign and milquetoast risk assessment, Janet Yellen observed on December 14, 2017:
“If there were an adjustment in asset valuations, the stock market, what impact would it have on the economy, and would it provoke financial stability concerns? … I think when we look at other indicators of financial stability risks, there’s nothing flashing red there, or possibly even orange.”
Despite risks that I fully expect to devolve into a roughly -65% loss in the S&P 500 over the completion of the current market cycle, it’s absolutely critical to distinguish the long-term effects of valuation from the shorter-term effects speculative pressure. Historically-reliable valuation measures are remarkably useful in projecting long-term and full-cycle market outcomes, but the behavior of the market over shorter segments of the market cycle is driven by the psychological inclination of investors toward speculation or risk-aversion. The most useful measure we’ve found of that psychological inclination is the uniformity or divergence of market internals across a broad range of individual stocks, industries, sectors, and security types (including debt securities of varying creditworthiness). When investors are inclined to speculate, they tend to be indiscriminate about it.
In the recent advancing half-cycle, the speculation intentionally provoked by zero-interest rate policy forced us to elevate the priority of market internals to a far greater degree than was required during the tech and mortgage bubbles. It was necessary to prioritize the behavior of market internals even over extreme “overvalued, overbought, overbullish” features of market action. Those syndromes were effective in other cycles across history, but in the advancing half-cycle since 2009, our bearish response to those syndromes proved to be our Achilles Heel. The process of adaptation was very incremental, and therefore painful in the face of persistent speculation. We’ve adapted our investment discipline so that without exception, a negative market outlook can be established only in periods when our measures of market internals have also deteriorated. A neutral outlook is fine when conditions are sufficiently unfavorable, but establishing a negative outlook _requires_ deterioration and dispersion in market internals.
Faced with extreme valuations, the first impulse of investors should not be to try to justify those valuation extremes, but to recognize the impact of their own speculative behavior in producing and sustaining those extremes. It then becomes essential to monitor market conditions for the hostile combination of extreme valuations and deteriorating market internals. At present, we observe that combination, but would still characterize the deterioration in market internals as “early,” in the sense that it’s permissive of abrupt market losses, but not severe enough to infer a clear shift from speculation to risk-aversion among investors.

The delusion of paper wealth

Across history, the evaporation of paper wealth following periods of speculation has repeatedly taught a lesson that is never retained for long. Unfortunately, the lesson has to be relearned again and again because of what J.K. Galbraith referred to as “the extreme brevity of the financial memory.” Speculation is dangerous because it encourages the belief that just because prices are elevated, they must somehow actually _belong_ there. It encourages the belief that the paper _itself_is wealth, rather than the stream of future cash flows that investors can expect their securities to deliver over time.
On Saturday, December 16, the St. Louis Fed posted a rather disturbing tweet: “Negative interest rates may seem ludicrous, but not if they succeed in pushing people to invest in something more stimulating to the economy than government bonds.”
This tweet was disturbing because it reflects a strikingly flawed understanding of financial markets. A moment’s reflection should make it obvious that once a security is issued, whether it’s a government bond or a dollar of base money, that security must be held by someone, at every point in time, until that security is retired. The only way to get people to invest in something “more stimulating to the economy” than government bonds is to stop issuing government bonds.
It takes only a bit more thought to recognize that securities, in themselves, are not net_ wealth. Rather, every security is an asset to the holder, and an equivalent liability to the issuer. If Joe borrows dollars from Mary to buy something from Bob, Joe issues an IOU to Mary, Mary transfers her dollars to Joe, and the dollars end up in Bob’s hands. The IOU is a new security, but it doesn’t represent new economic _wealth. It’s just evidence of the transfer of current purchasing power from Mary to Joe, and a claim on the transfer of future purchasing power from Joe to Mary.
Neither the creation of securities, nor changes in their price, create _net_ wealth or purchasing power for the economy. Yes, an individual holder of a security can obtain a _transfer of wealth_from someone else in the economy, _provided that the holder actually sells the security_ to some new buyer while the price remains elevated. But in aggregate, the economy cannot consume off of its paper “wealth,” because in aggregate, those paper securities cannot be sold without someone else to buy them, and those paper securities must be held by _someone_ until they are retired.
What actually matters, in aggregate, is the stream of cash flows. Specifically, the activity that produces actual_ economic wealth is _value-added production, which results in goods and services that did not exist previously with the same value. Value-added production is what actually “injects” purchasing power into the economy, as well as the objects available to be purchased.
I’ve detailed the mechanics of “stock-flow accounting” in previous commentaries, so it will suffice here to cut to the bottom line. If one carefully accounts for what is spent, what is saved, and what form those savings take (securities that transfer the savings to others, or tangible real investment of output that is not consumed), one obtains a set of “stock-flow consistent” accounting identities that must be true at each point in time:
1) Total real saving in the economy must equal total real investment in the economy;
2) For every investor who calls some security an “asset” there’s an issuer that calls that same security a “liability”;
3) The _net_ acquisition of all securities in the economy is always precisely zero, even though the gross issuance of securities can be many times the amount of underlying saving;
4) When one nets out all the assets and liabilities in the economy, the only thing that is left – the true basis of a society’s net worth – is the stock of real investment that it has accumulated as a result of prior saving, and its unused endowment of resources. Everything else cancels out because every security represents an asset of the holder and a liability of the issuer. Securities are not _net_ wealth.
Conceptualizing the “stock of real investment” as broadly as possible, the wealth of a nation consists of its stock of real private investment (e.g. housing, capital goods, factories), real public investment (e.g. infrastructure), intangible intellectual capital (e.g. education, knowledge, inventions, organizations, and systems), and its endowment of basic resources such as land, energy, and water. In an open economy, one would include the net claims on foreigners (negative, in the U.S. case). A nation that expands and defends its stock of real, productive investment is a nation that has the capacity to generate a higher long-term stream of value-added production, and to sustain a higher long-term standard of living.
Understand that securities are not net economic wealth. They are a claim of one party in the economy – by virtue of past saving – on the future output produced by others. When paper “wealth” becomes extremely elevated or depressed relative to the value-added produced by an economy, it’s the paper “wealth” that adjusts to eliminate the gap.
Several years ago, I introduced what remains the single most reliable measure of valuation we’ve ever developed or tested, easily outperforming popular measures such as the Fed Model, price/forward operating earnings, the Shiller CAPE, price/NIPA profits, and a score of other alternatives. From the above discussion, it shouldn’t be surprising that this measure is based on the ratio of equity market capitalization to corporate gross-value added. Specifically, the chart below shows the market capitalization of U.S. nonfinancial equities, divided by the gross value-added of U.S. nonfinancial companies, including estimated foreign revenues. This measure is shown on an inverted log scale (blue line, left scale). The red line shows _actual subsequent_ S&P 500 average annual nominal total return over the following 12-year period. We prefer a 12-year horizon because that’s where the “autocorrelation profile” of valuations (the correlation between valuations at one point and valuations at any other point) reaches zero. Presently, we estimate negative total returns for the S&P 500 over the coming 12-year period.

Among the valuation measures we find best correlated with actual S&P 500 total returns in market cycles across history, the S&P 500 is currently more than 2.8 times its historical norms. Importantly, this estimate of overvaluation is not somehow improved by accounting for the level of interest rates. The reason is that interest rates and economic growth rates are highly correlated across history. Lower interest rates only “justify” higher market valuations provided that the trajectory of future cash flows is held constant. But if interest rates are low because growth rates are also low (which we’ll establish in the next section below), no valuation premium is “justified” at all.
So even given the level of interest rates, we expect a market loss of about -65% to complete the current speculative market cycle. That’s a much different proposition, however, than saying that this collapse will occur right away. If you watch financial television, you’ll hear a great deal of chatter about the “fundamental support” below current prices. But attend carefully, and you’ll find that nearly all of these arguments reduce to a list of factors that make the investment environment feel good at the moment. These feel-good factors are being extrapolated into the future just as surely as Irving Fisher did in 1929 when he proposed that stocks had reached “a permanently high plateau.”
The best place to watch for cracks in this narrative is not valuations; they are already extreme, and are uninformative about near-term outcomes. Rather, it’s essential to monitor the uniformity of market internals across a wide range of individual securities (when investors are inclined to speculate, they tend to be indiscriminate about it). We’ve already observed deterioration in our key measures of market internals, but I would still characterize that deterioration as “early.”
Extending our focus beyond immediate conditions, the chart below shows the total market capitalization of nonfinancial and financial U.S. corporations, along with three lines. The lowest red line shows total gross-value added (GVA) of U.S. corporations. The green line shows 1.2 times total GVA, representing the pre-bubble norm around which market capitalization has historically traded. That green line is the level historically associated with S&P 500 total returns of roughly 10% annually, though the same level today would be associated with lower expected future returns, because structural economic growth is lower today than in the past. The purple line is essentially the most “optimistic” value-line, in that no bear market in history, including the 2002 low, has failed to reach or violate that level.

The upshot is this. At present, U.S. investors are under the delusion that the $37.3 trillion of paper wealth in their equity portfolios represents durable purchasing power. Unfortunately, as in 2000 and 2007, they are likely to observe an evaporation of this paper wealth. Nobody will “get” that wealth. It will simply vanish. If a dentist in Poughkeepsie sells a single share of Apple a dime lower than the previous trade, over $500 million dollars of paper wealth is instantly wiped from the stock market. That’s how market capitalization works. Over the completion of this market cycle, we estimate that between $19.8 and $24.2 trillion in paper “wealth” will evaporate into thin air.
While our immediate market outlook remains only moderately negative, based on the still-early deterioration we observe in market internals, recognize that from a valuation perspective, we are now witnessing the single most offensive speculative extreme in history. The chart below shows my variant of Robert Shiller’s cyclically-adjusted P/E, which substantially improves the correlation with subsequent market returns by accounting for variation in the embedded profit margin. The current extreme exceeds both the 1929 and 2000 highs.

The chart below shows the correlation of our Margin-Adjusted CAPE with actual subsequent S&P 500 total returns, in nearly a century of market history. As we observe with MarketCap/GVA, the Margin-Adjusted CAPE presently implies negative expected S&P 500 total returns over the coming 12-year horizon.

The delusion of a booming economy

A second delusion, unleashed by exuberance over the prospect of tax reductions, is the notion that U.S. growth has even a remote likelihood of enjoying sustained 4% real growth in the coming years. The most frequent reference is to the years following the Reagan tax cut, followed closely by references to the Kennedy tax cuts. This particular delusion is undoubtedly an example what Garety & Freeman described as “a data-gathering bias, a tendency for people with delusions to gather less evidence.”
The central feature of both the Reagan and Kennedy tax cuts was that they were enacted at points that provided enormous slack capacity for growth. In particular, the Reagan cuts were enacted at a point where the unemployment rate had hit 10%, and an economic expansion was likely simply by virtue of cyclical mean-reversion. The Kennedy tax cuts (which brought the top marginal tax rate down from 90%) occurred as baby-boomers were just entering the labor force, again providing enormous capacity for growth.
Presently, the situation is the reverse. The structural drivers of U.S. economic growth are likely to constrain real U.S. GDP growth to less than 2% annually in the coming years, even in the unlikely event that corporate tax cuts encourage increased gross domestic investment. Corporate profits are already near record levels. The effective U.S. corporate tax rate (taxes actually paid as a fraction of pre-tax income) is already at 20% even without tax cuts. We know from the 2004 repatriation holiday that tax breaks on foreign profits encouraged little but special dividends and share buybacks. Already, the available corporate surplus is being primarily driven into dividend payouts, share buybacks, and mergers and acquisitions, rather than real investment.
Frankly, the notion that corporate tax cuts will unleash some renaissance in U.S. real investment and growth would be laughable if the bald-faced corporate giveaway wasn’t so offensive. The policy not only vastly favors the wealthy, but is even more preferential to wealthy individuals who take their income in the form of profits rather than wages. The current tax legislation isn’t some thoughtful reform to benefit Americans. It’s a quickly planned looting through a broken window in our nation’s character.
On the subject of economic growth, an examination of the structural drivers of economic growth will illuminate the current situation. _Real economic growth is the sum of two components: employment growth plus productivity growth._ That means growth in the number of employed workers, plus growth in the level of output per-worker.
We can further break employment growth into “structural” and “cyclical” components. The structural part is determined primarily by demographics, particularly population growth and the age distribution of the working-age population. The cyclical part is determined by fluctuations in the unemployment rate (which is equal to 1-civilian employment/civilian labor force). If civilian employment grows faster than the civilian labor force, the unemployment rate falls. If the civilian labor force grows faster than civilian employment, the unemployment rate rises.
Let’s take a look at these components, and how they’ve changed over the decades. You’ll quickly see that while a quarterly pop in GDP growth is always possible, expectations of _sustained_ 4% real GDP growth fall into the category of “delusion.”
The first chart below shows the civilian labor force, on a log scale (so trendlines of different slopes represent different growth rates). For much of the post-war period until about 1980, the growth rate of the civilian labor force averaged about 1.8% annually. That growth slowed to 1.2% until about 2010. That 2010 figure is 1945 plus 65; the year that the first post-war baby-boomers hit retirement age. Since then, the growth rate of the civilian labor force has dropped to just 0.4% annually. That’s demographics.

Now let’s take a look at productivity growth. In the early years of the post-war era, labor productivity increased at a rather explosive 2.6% annual growth rate. Growth then gradually slowed to about 1.9% annually, though in fits and starts, until about 2003. Over the past 14 years, U.S. productivity growth has slowed to just 0.6% annually.

One of the core drivers of long-term productivity growth is expansion in net U.S. domestic investment (in excess of depreciation). As a general rule, booms in real U.S. investment are closely associated with deterioration in the trade deficit, because we export securities to foreigners in order to finance the boom. Because payments have to balance, this means we also export fewer goods for any given level of imports. The bottom line is that investment booms tend to be associated with larger trade deficits, so not surprisingly, booms in U.S. real investment typically emerge from a position of near-balance or surplus in the U.S. current account.
Now, add the current 0.4% growth rate in the civilian labor force to 0.6% growth in productivity, and you get the current “structural” growth rate of the U.S. economy; that is, the growth rate we would observe in the absence of changes in the unemployment rate. That structural growth rate has deteriorated to just 1% annually. The labor force component of structural growth is largely baked in the cake due to demographics, which in the absence of a substantial increase in the rate of immigration, leaves productivity growth as the main factor that could raise structural U.S. growth.
Still, given civilian labor force growth of just 0.4%, even a steep acceleration of productivity growth from the current rate of 0.6% to the 1972-2008 rate of 1.9% would still produce only 2.3% structural economic growth. Anything greater than that would have to be driven by a decline in the unemployment rate from the already low level of 4.1%.
It’s worth noting that U.S. economic growth has expanded at a rate of 2.1% annually in the 7-year period since 2010 (I’ve chosen a 7-year period to confine growth to the recent expansion, without including data from the global financial crisis). What’s remarkable about this is that nearly half of this growth is attributable to a decline in the U.S. unemployment rate, which is a wholly cyclical factor.
The chart below shows what’s going on. The blue line shows actual 7-year real growth in U.S. GDP across history. The red line shows the “structural” component of GDP growth, excluding the effect of changes in the unemployment rate. The green line shows the contribution to 7-year growth from changes in unemployment. Put simply, in the absence of further declines in the U.S. unemployment rate, U.S. real GDP growth is likely headed toward 1% annually, not 4% annually.

If our policy makers are interested in boosting long-term structural U.S. GDP growth, they should be providing direct and targeted tax incentives for real investment, education, research & development, and other factors that could, over time, increase our nation’s productive capacity. Instead, they’ve opted for a giveaway to corporations and wealthy individuals, which will likely expand the deficit while doing virtually nothing for economic growth. Since 1950, the U.S. unemployment rate has been below 4.5% about 20% of the time. Over the following 5-year period, real federal tax revenues grew at an average rate of less than 1% annually. Given current structural economic constraints, and barring a further decline in the unemployment rate from an already low 4.1%, there’s a significant likelihood that government revenues will actually contract in the coming years.

The delusion of Bitcoin

“We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first”
– Charles Mackay With regard to Bitcoin, my view is that the Blockchain algorithm itself is brilliant. Bitcoin itself, however, is just one application of Blockchain, and a rather awkward one. It’s not unique, meaning that other competing “cryptocurrencies” can be established just as easily. It’s not fiat, meaning that no country requires it to be used as legal tender. But beyond anything else, its inefficiency is so mind-boggling that the continued operation of the Bitcoin network could plausibly contribute to global warming. So be careful to distinguish Blockchain from Bitcoin. The Blockchain algorithm will undoubtedly become a useful component of validating transactions, tracking supply chain movements, and all sorts of other applications, but Bitcoin itself is likely to become the same thing to cryptocurrencies as Visicalc was to spreadsheets, or if you’re younger, what MySpace was to social networking.
Bitcoin essentially uses a decentralized network of computers (anyone can join) that “listen” for transactions that are broadcast over the network. Each computer can accept and attempt to validate any “block” of transactions, which is done by discovering a particular “hash” for those transactions. The hash is a long string of ones and zeros corresponding to the input, and has to satisfy the current level of “difficulty” (specifically, a certain number of leading zeros). The difficulty is set so that only one block of transactions is validated every 10 minutes or so, across the entire network. The maximum size of a Bitcoin transaction block is 1MB, which is about 2000 transactions. That’s the total number of Bitcoin transactions that can be processed worldwide in any 10-minute interval.
When you’re trying to validate a block of transactions, an extra transaction is included which designates a reward to your own account if you’re successful. Whoever discovers a hash that validates their block gets a reward, in Bitcoin. That’s what “mining” means. The validated block is added to the Blockchain – essentially a running ledger of every transaction ever made. The header for the next block has to contain the hash of the previously validated block (which is what creates the block “chain”).
But here’s the thing. Every time a block is validated, a single node in the network gets a reward, and everyone else’s computing time is completely wasted. Those required computations already absorb the same amount of energy as the entire country of Denmark. Some people will get mad at that statement, arguing that it may only be half of Denmark. Ok. Ireland, along with more than 150 other countries. We can wait a few months to include Denmark.
So ultimately, the Bitcoin features a combination of breathtaking inefficiency and constrained scalability. The system already features a rather steep cost per transaction, and hardly any of those transactions are for the purchase of goods and services. I’ve regularly observed that the value of a currency is essentially the present value of the stream of “services” that the currency can be expected to deliver over time, either by serving as a means of payment or as a store of value. That depends greatly on the willingness of other individuals to hold it and accept it into the indefinite future. My sense is that, as with all speculative bubbles, buyers are conflating “rising price” with “store of value.” Meanwhile, there’s little evidence to suggest that Bitcoin will ever be an efficient means of payment for ordinary goods and services.
Episodes of speculation can persist for some time, so there may be some speculative profit potential in Bitcoin yet. Looking over the very long-term, it may also be worth something in the future, because value is always ascribed to things that have some combination of scarcity and usefulness. To the extent that Bitcoin is assured to have a limited supply, and is undoubtedly being used for money-laundering already, I doubt that the future value of Bitcoin will be identically zero, assuming governments refrain from any regulatory effort. There will likely be numerous alternative cryptocurrencies launched in the future, each one constructed to first enrich its originator with a large number of units, and then released in the hope that it will catch on. In evaluating these alternatives, efficiency and scalability will be worth considering.

A final note

While I have little to offer in support of speculative delusions about paper wealth, improbable growth expectations, or Bitcoin, I’d be remiss to write a commentary without acknowledging the many things that can be fully embraced. From an investment standpoint, every market cycle in history has ended at valuations consistent with prospective future market returns of at least 8% annually, and more often well above 10% annually. Even if the future will be permanently different, and even 8% return prospects will never ever be seen again, the prospect of _negative_12-year returns is likely to be resolved in far fewer than 12 years (as similarly poor prospects were within 2 years of the 2000 market peak).
The strongest expected market return/risk classifications we identify emerge when a material retreat in valuations is joined by an early improvement in market action. While we can’t identify when that opportunity will occur, I expect that the cumulative market return between now and that point will be negative, because even a gradual 2-year improvement in prospective 12-year S&P 500 returns to just 4% would require a market loss of more than 20% over that 2-year period. In my view, a defensive posture here is an optimistic stance, because it recognizes the likelihood that prospective returns will again be positive before too long. I actually expect a much more substantial improvement in prospective market returns, but as in 2000 and 2007, that would require much deeper market losses than investors seem to contemplate.
So if there is something in the financial markets to be optimistic about, it’s the prospect of opportunities that will evolve over the completion of the current market cycle. Despite extreme valuations in this cycle, we’ve learned to limit negative market outlooks to periods featuring deteriorating and divergent market internals. We observed that shift last month, but I’d still call it “early” deterioration; permissive of abrupt losses but not yet encouraging aggressive downside expectations. We’ll respond to market conditions as they change.
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1/9 Tuesday's Stock Market Movers & News

Good morning traders of the StockMarket sub! Welcome to Tuesday! Here are your stock movers & news this morning-

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Frontrunning: January 9

STOCK FUTURES NOW:

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TODAY'S MARKET HEAT MAP:

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YESTERDAY'S S&P SECTORS:

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TODAY'S ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

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THIS WEEK'S ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

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THIS WEEK'S IPO'S:

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THIS WEEK'S EARNINGS CALENDAR:

($JPM $LEN $KBH $WFC $SCHN $HELE $BLK $AYI $DAL $FCEL $MSM $SVU $PNC $SNX $WDFC $SJR $SHLM $SMPL $EXFO $SAR $LMNR$SLP$PRGS $NTIC $VOXX $INFY)
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THIS MORNING'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS CALENDAR:

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N/A.

EARNINGS RELEASES BEFORE THE OPEN TODAY:

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EARNINGS RELEASES AFTER THE CLOSE TODAY:

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THIS MORNING'S ANALYST UPGRADES/DOWNGRADES:

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THIS MORNING'S INSIDER TRADING FILINGS:

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TODAY'S DIVIDEND CALENDAR:

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THIS MORNING'S MOST ACTIVE TRENDING DISCUSSIONS:

  • AGN
  • PYPL
  • MSFT
  • UAA
  • ETH.X
  • TGT
  • AKS
  • OSTK

THIS MORNING'S STOCK NEWS MOVERS:

(source: cnbc.com)
Under Armour — Analysts at Susquehanna downgraded the athletics apparel to "negative" from "neutral," noting the Under Armour brand remains at risk. "Given poor brand distribution decisions, we believe UAA risks are becoming more like Reebok than Nike," analysts said.

STOCK SYMBOL: UAA

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Target — Target shares popped more than 4 percent in the premarket after the retailer reported stronger-than-expected sales for the holiday season. Target also raised its full-year outlook.

STOCK SYMBOL: TGT

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Amazon — Piper Jaffray hiked its price target on the e-commerce giant's stock to $1,400 from $1,200, representing a 12.3 percent upside from Monday's close. "Looking at data on overall holiday retail spend in the U.S. vs. our estimated Amazon domestic holiday GMV [gross merchandise value] suggests only low-to-mid single digit penetration for the company. The conclusion is that Amazon … is arguably still in the early innings of its share-gain potential."

STOCK SYMBOL: AMZN

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Allergan — Allergan issued weaker-than-expected guidance for fiscal 2018. CEO Brent Saunders attributing the weak expectations to "loss of exclusivity revenue headwinds in 2018."

STOCK SYMBOL: AGN

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Urban Outfitters — Urban Outfitter's stock dropped nearly 5 percent before the bell on the back of disappointing holiday sales.

STOCK SYMBOL: URBN

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Seagate Technology — The hardware technology company issued gross margin, revenue and shipment guidance that surpassed analyst expectations. Seagate shares got a 7.1 percent boost in the previous session on a report that the company invested in Ripple, which owns the cryptocurrency XRP.

STOCK SYMBOL: STX

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Berkshire Hathaway — Warren Buffett's conglomerate is set to take a $37 billion windfall from the recent tax-code overhaul. The boost results from Berkshire lowering its tax liability on appreciated investments, according to Barclays.

STOCK SYMBOL: BRK.A

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Intel — Intel unveiled its first autonomous car at the CES expo in Las Vegas. The car is the first in its 100-vehicle test fleet.

STOCK SYMBOL: INTC

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PayPal — Analysts at Cowen upgraded the payments platform's stock to "outperform" from "market perform" and raised their price target to $88 from $67. "We believe most of the bear theses have not and will not play out … while PYPL's growth trajectory remains among the most compelling in the Payments space."

STOCK SYMBOL: PYPL

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Alibaba — Founder Jack Ma said Alibaba will "seriously consider" listing shares in the Hong Kong stock market.

STOCK SYMBOL: BABA

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FULL DISCLOSURE:

bigbear0083 has no positions in any stocks mentioned. Reddit, moderators, and the author do not advise making investment decisions based on discussion in these posts. Analysis is not subject to validation and users take action at their own risk. bigbear0083 is an admin at the financial forums Stockaholics.net where this content was originally posted.

DISCUSS!

What is on everyone's radar for today's trading day ahead here at StockMarket?

I hope you all have an excellent trading day ahead today on this Tuesday, January 9th, 2018! :)

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How to Invest In Bitcoins/Altcoins With Charts! Bitcoin Market Update BTC USD would have fallen further if not for DeFi says Forbes, as price ... ALTCOIN BOOM! BITCOIN BREAKOUT!! CHAINLINK DOGECOIN CARDANO VERGECOIN PUMP! FOMO or SHORT THE RALLY? Interest Rates & Debt Impacting Bitcoin (BTC)! - Crypto Market Analysis & Cryptocurrency News Bitcoin MAJOR MARKET BOOM UPCOMING! - LIVE Crypto Trading Analysis & BTC Cryptocurrency Price News

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