Putting $400M of Bitcoin on your company balance sheet
Also posted on my blog as usual. Read it there if you can, there are footnotes and inlined plots. A couple of months ago, MicroStrategy (MSTR) had a spare $400M of cash which it decided to shift to Bitcoin (BTC). Today we'll discuss in excrutiating detail why this is not a good idea. When a company has a pile of spare money it doesn't know what to do with, it'll normally do buybacks or start paying dividends. That gives the money back to the shareholders, and from an economic perspective the money can get better invested in other more promising companies. If you have a huge pile of of cash, you probably should be doing other things than leave it in a bank account to gather dust. However, this statement from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor exists to make it clear he's buying into BTC for all the wrong reasons:
“This is not a speculation, nor is it a hedge. This was a deliberate corporate strategy to adopt a bitcoin standard.”
Let's unpack it and jump into the economics Bitcoin:
Is Bitcoin money?
No. Or rather BTC doesn't act as money and there's no serious future path for BTC to become a form of money. Let's go back to basics. There are 3 main economic problems money solves: 1. Medium of Exchange. Before money we had to barter, which led to the double coincidence of wants problem. When everyone accepts the same money you can buy something from someone even if they don't like the stuff you own. As a medium of exchange, BTC is not good. There are significant transaction fees and transaction waiting times built-in to BTC and these worsen the more popular BTC get. You can test BTC's usefulness as a medium of exchange for yourself right now: try to order a pizza or to buy a random item with BTC. How many additional hurdles do you have to go through? How many fewer options do you have than if you used a regular currency? How much overhead (time, fees) is there? 2. Unit of Account. A unit of account is what you compare the value of objects against. We denominate BTC in terms of how many USD they're worth, so BTC is a unit of account presently. We can say it's because of lack of adoption, but really it's also because the market value of BTC is so volatile. If I buy a $1000 table today or in 2017, it's roughly a $1000 table. We can't say that a 0.4BTC table was a 0.4BTC table in 2017. We'll expand on this in the next point: 3. Store of Value. When you create economic value, you don't want to be forced to use up the value you created right away. For instance, if I fix your washing machine and you pay me in avocados, I'd be annoyed. I'd have to consume my payment before it becomes brown, squishy and disgusting. Avocado fruit is not good money because avocadoes loses value very fast. On the other hand, well-run currencies like the USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, etc. all lose their value at a low and most importantly fairly predictible rate. Let's look at the chart of the USD against BTC While the dollar loses value at a predictible rate, BTC is all over the place, which is bad. One important use money is to write loan contracts. Loans are great. They let people spend now against their future potential earnings, so they can buy houses or start businesses without first saving up for a decade. Loans are good for the economy. If you want to sign something that says "I owe you this much for that much time" then you need to be able to roughly predict the value of the debt in at the point in time where it's due. Otherwise you'll have a hard time pricing the risk of the loan effectively. This means that you need to charge higher interests. The risk of making a loan in BTC needs to be priced into the interest of a BTC-denominated loan, which means much higher interest rates. High interests on loans are bad, because buying houses and starting businesses are good things.
BTC has a fixed supply, so these problems are built in
Some people think that going back to a standard where our money was denominated by a stock of gold (the Gold Standard) would solve economic problems. This is nonsense. Having control over supply of your currency is a good thing, as long as it's well run. See here Remember that what is desirable is low variance in the value, not the value itself. When there are wild fluctuations in value, it's hard for money to do its job well. Since the 1970s, the USD has been a fiat money with no intrinsic value. This means we control the supply of money. Let's look at a classic poorly drawn econ101 graph The market price for USD is where supply meets demand. The problem with a currency based on an item whose supply is fixed is that the price will necessarily fluctuate in response to changes in demand. Imagine, if you will, that a pandemic strikes and that the demand for currency takes a sharp drop. The US imports less, people don't buy anything anymore, etc. If you can't print money, you get deflation, which is worsens everything. On the other hand, if you can make the money printers go brrrr you can stabilize the price Having your currency be based on a fixed supply isn't just bad because in/deflation is hard to control. It's also a national security risk... The story of the guy who crashed gold prices in North Africa In the 1200s, Mansa Munsa, the emperor of the Mali, was rich and a devout Muslim and wanted everyone to know it. So he embarked on a pilgrimage to make it rain all the way to Mecca. He in fact made it rain so hard he increased the overall supply of gold and unintentionally crashed gold prices in Cairo by 20%, wreaking an economic havoc in North Africa that lasted a decade. This story is fun, the larger point that having your inflation be at the mercy of foreign nations is an undesirable attribute in any currency. The US likes to call some countries currency manipulators, but this problem would be serious under a gold standard.
Currencies are based on trust
Since the USD is based on nothing except the US government's word, how can we trust USD not to be mismanaged? The answer is that you can probably trust the fed until political stooges get put in place. Currently, the US's central bank managing the USD, the Federal Reserve (the Fed for friends & family), has administrative authority. The fed can say "no" to dumb requests from the president. People who have no idea what the fed does like to chant "audit the fed", but the fed is already one of the best audited US federal entities. The transcripts of all their meetings are out in the open. As is their balance sheet, what they plan to do and why. If the US should audit anything it's the Department of Defense which operates without any accounting at all. It's easy to see when a central bank will go rogue: it's when political yes-men are elected to the board. For example, before printing themselves into hyperinflation, the Venezuelan president appointed a sociologist who publicly stated “Inflation does not exist in real life” and instead is a made up capitalist lie. Note what happened mere months after his gaining control over the Venezuelan currency This is a key policy. One paper I really like, Sargent (1984) "The end of 4 big inflations" states:
The essential measures that ended hyperinflation in each of Germany,Austria, Hungary, and Poland were, first, the creation of an independentcentral bank that was legally committed to refuse the government'sdemand or additional unsecured credit and, second, a simultaneousalteration in the fiscal policy regime.
In english: *hyperinflation stops when the central bank can say "no" to the government." The US Fed, like other well good central banks, is run by a bunch of nerds. When it prints money, even as aggressively as it has it does so for good reasons. You can see why they started printing on March 15th as the COVID lockdowns started:
The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals.
In english: We're going to keep printing and lowering rates until jobs are back and inflation is under control. If we print until the sun is blotted out, we'll print in the shade.
BTC is not gold
Gold is a good asset for doomsday-preppers. If society crashes, gold will still have value. How do we know that? Gold has held value throughout multiple historic catastrophes over thousands of years. It had value before and after the Bronze Age Collapse, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and Gengis Khan being Gengis Khan. Even if you erased humanity and started over, the new humans would still find gold to be economically valuable. When Europeans d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ c̶o̶n̶q̶u̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ g̶e̶n̶o̶c̶i̶d̶e̶d̶ went to America, they found gold to be an important item over there too. This is about equivalent to finding humans on Alpha-Centauri and learning that they think gold is a good store of value as well. Some people are puzzled at this: we don't even use gold for much! But it has great properties: First, gold is hard to fake and impossible to manufacture. This makes it good to ascertain payment. Second, gold doesnt react to oxygen, so it doesn't rust or tarnish. So it keeps value over time unlike most other materials. Last, gold is pretty. This might sound frivolous, and you may not like it, but jewelry has actual value to humans. It's no coincidence if you look at a list of the wealthiest families, a large number of them trade in luxury goods. To paraphrase Veblen humans have a profound desire to signal social status, for the same reason peacocks have unwieldy tails. Gold is a great way to achieve that. On the other hand, BTC lacks all these attributes. Its value is largely based on common perception of value. There are a few fundamental drivers of demand:
Means of Exchange: if people seriously start using BTC to buy pizzas, then this creates a real demand for the currency to accomplish the short-term exchanges. As we saw previously, I'm not personally sold on this one and it's currently a negligible fraction of overall demand.
Criminal uses: Probably the largest inbuilt advantage of BTC is that it's anonymous, and so a great way to launder money. Hacker gangs use BTC to demand ransom on cryptolocker type attacks because it's a shared way for an honest company to pay and for the criminals to receive money without going to jail.
Apart from these, it's hard to argue that BTC will retain value throughout some sort of economic catastrophe.
BTC is really risky
One last statement from Michael Saylor I take offense to is this:
“We feel pretty confident that Bitcoin is less risky than holding cash, less risky than holding gold,” MicroStrategy CEO said in an interview
"BTC is less risky than holding cash or gold long term" is nonsense. We saw before that BTC is more volatile on face value, and that as long as the Fed isn't run by spider monkeys stacked in a trench coat, the inflation is likely to be within reasonable bounds. But on top of this, BTC has Abrupt downside risks that normal currencies don't. Let's imagine a few:
A critical software vulnerability is found in the BTC codebase, leading to a possible exploitation.
Xi Jinping decides he's had enough of rich people in China hiding their assets from him and bans BTC.
Some form of bank run takes hold for whatever reason. Because BTC wallets are uninsured, unlike regular banks, this compounds into a Black Tuesday style crash.
Blockchain solutions are fundamentally inefficient
Blockchain was a genius idea. I still marvel at the initial white paper which is a great mix of economics and computer science. That said, blockchain solutions make large tradeoffs in design because they assume almost no trust between parties. This leads to intentionally wasteful designs on a massive scale. The main problem is that all transactions have to be validated by expensive computational operations and double checked by multiple parties. This means waste:
BTC was estimated to use as much electricity as Belgium in 2019. It's hard to trace where the BTC mining comes from, but we can assume it has a huge carbon footprint.
A single transactions is necessarily expensive. A single transaction takes as much electricity as 800,000 VISA transactions, or watching 50,000 hours of youtube videos.
There is a large necessary tax on the transaction, since those checking the transaction extract a few BTC from it to be incentivized to do the work of checking it.
Many design problems can be mitigated by various improvements over BTC, but it remains that a simple database always works better than a blockchain if you can trust the parties to the transaction.
The Four Horsemen - Signs of Incoming Crashes, and things.
Hey y'all! I'm going to keep this brief, but I was asked by Mr. October to post this, since I briefly described this on a discord we're both in. I do a ton of market analysis, mostly on alternative data, so I don't have cool superpowers potentially, but I do fancy myself a good trendspotter. I wanted to share what I call my Four Horseman metric in brief, and I will fill it in more later when I get back/free from the clutches of homework. The Four Horsemen:
Rapid plunge in BTC/USD - This is an interesting metric, and makes sense if you understand that BTC has evolved from a hedge to a speculation play, which is why it arguably moves in lockstep with SPY most days. However, an interesting property I and many others have noticed is BTC seems to be a leading indicator of market movements, and rapid climbs/plunges tend to signal an incoming correction. See the chart on September 2nd, 2020 for an example.
NOPE_MAD >= 3 End of Day: NOPE, or Net Option Pricing Effect, in principle looks at how dominant options flow trading volume is on the market compared to the more conventional shares volume. When the NOPE_MAD (median absolute deviation) compared to the previous 30 days is 3 deviations higher than normal, this means a red day the next day about 88% of the time (backtested to Mar 2019). You can check NOPE_MAD intraday here - https://thenope.info/nope/default/charts/SPY/2020-10-13 (the URL changes per day, so tomorrow will be 2020-10-14)
The VIX rising with SPY - This usually is part of the parabolic phase, and means a metric fuck ton of calls are being written, which is pushing up option prices across the board. Usually VIX is a measure of downies-volatility, so when it and SPY both go up, it's a Very Bad Thing. Also see September 2nd, 2020.
Small Tech/Caps Leading Big Tech/Caps - This is a more interesting metric, and only makes sense when you understand what causes a Minsky Moment style correction (irrational exuberance). In a stable market, big caps tend to act as a source of strength/safe harbor, and when small caps are leading, this tends to signal intense bull mania, which usually precedes a correction.
Microsoft going up parabolically - Microsoft is our favorite boomer stock for a reason - it is much more stable than AMZN or AAPL, and doesn't like large movements. I noticed anecdotally this year that right before all the big tech corrections (3-5 days out) MSFT goes up exponentially, often more than the rest of the market, because smart money is looking for safe harbor.
I'd be happy to answer any questions later! Edit: Wanted to add some stuff given the comments below.
I did not write this to predict a crash based on today's behavior, but to generally inform about a metric I use to detect Minsky Moment style crashes. For more info on that - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minsky_moment
Lots of these indicators are new, and due in large part due to the relative fuckiness of the current market. Bitcoin and SPY did not track until this year, and I only noticed the Microsoft effect I mentioned since about 6/5 onwards. This likely also happens in other boomesafe stocks, but MSFT is by far my largest active trading position, hence why I noticed it.
I will be adding a post soon specifically dedicated to the interpretation of NOPE and NOPE_MAD.
Ultimate glossary of crypto currency terms, acronyms and abbreviations
The Bitcoin Conspiracy (an enthusiast's perspective)
I keep coming across comments, especially in this sub, from people claiming that Bitcoin was created by the CIA or some government agency as part of the plan for the NWO and cashless society. I want to share my experience and try to clear up the confusion surrounding this topic. I first got involved with Bitcoin in late 2016 when I heard about it and got some while at a libertarian festival. Back then it was still very popular among the agorist community and was being promoted as THE silver bullet that was going to disrupt the global fiat banking system. Putting preconceptions aside, a new user might ask, "what's so special about Bitcoin? We already have digital currencies." Well, you only need to read the first page of the whitepaper to discover what the original intent of Bitcoin was. It most definitely was not intended to be a tool for central banks to subjugate the world to a centralized global currency. Quite the opposite in fact. Read the full whitepaper here. When I first learned about Bitcoin, it forced me to learn about economics, then the Federal Reserve, then one by one the dominoes fell and down the conspiracy rabbit hole I went. In 2017 (actually it started a few years earlier, but I wasn't paying attention back then) there was a very heated debate in the Bitcoin community regarding scaling. I'll try to break it down simply: In the very early days, when Bitcoin was just a project being worked on by a few very technical people, no one knew about it. All it took was a handful of people running the software on their laptops to mine new coins. Since there was not much computing power on the network, it meant there could easily be a spam attack where a malicious user could join the network and generate many gigabytes of spam transactions that would overload and crash the network. To prevent this, Satoshi implemented a limit of 1MB per block, to protect the network until there was enough computing power to be able to handle larger blocks. This measure worked, and Bitcoin grew exponentially. Satoshi vanished in 2010, after WikiLeaks attracted unwanted attention to the project by accepting Bitcoin donations. He left clear instructions for his successors that the 1MB block size limit was meant to be increased once the network could support high levels of user traffic. At the time, there still was not much use, so it wasn't until around 2014 that blocks started hitting the 1MB cap and all of a sudden users had to compete (by paying higher transaction fees) in order to get their transaction mined into the next block. Up until then, sending a Bitcoin transaction would cost $0.0001 (hundredth of a penny) or less, no matter if you were sending $0.10 or $1,000,000. Now, since block space was limited, fees started to rise, as miners would only include the transactions with the highest fees. Over the next couple years, transaction fees went up dramatically, at times reaching as high as $100 to send a single transaction. The solution was obvious - raise the block size limit. But this led to a heated debate, and this is where the conspiracy became obvious to those who were paying attention. Since Bitcoin was decentralized and open source, anyone could contribute, but certain people controlled the commit access to the github repo, and it became apparent that those individuals had been compromised, as any and all mention of increasing the block size was met with fierce resistance. There was a misinformation campaign to discredit anyone arguing for larger blocks. The argument was that larger blocks would mean users could not run the software on their low-power personal devices and laptops; that by increasing the block size it would lead to mining centralization. Well, if you read the whitepaper linked above, you'll see that Satoshi predicted this. He knew mining would eventually be left to "specialized server farms" while normal users could use what he termed Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) wallets. But this point was consistently shot down in the community, and especially on /bitcoin. There was a MASSIVE censorship campaign in the bitcoin subreddit that continues to this day where anyone who questions the official narrative or even asks a basic technical question is immediately banned. /bitcoin today is nothing but a cesspit of price memes and misinformation. Go to /btc for the uncensored discussions (but beware of trolls). In 2017 the debate was finally settled, sort of. Now known as "Bitcoin Core" (the name of the official Bitcoin software), the developers implemented a change known as SegWit (Segregated Witness) which fundamentally altered the way the software validates transactions. It was implemented as a "soft fork" rather than a "hard fork". I'll explain the difference. In a fork, the network comes to a consensus on new rules that all participants must follow. In a hard fork, the changes are non-backwards compatible, so all users must update their software or else be left behind on a dead network. Hard forks happen all the time in software development, but in the case of SegWit, the developers refused to make any non-backwards compatible changes for fear it might alienate users. Again, another unfounded fear. "We can't ever upgrade the technical capabilities of the network (such as the block size) because some people might not go along with it." All kinds of mental gymnastics were performed to justify their refusal to increase the block size, and there was nothing anyone could do about it except fork as an independent project. The 1MB block limit is now essentially set in stone for BTC. So in August 2017, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard forked by increasing the block size limit to 8MB, along with some other changes. Fast forward to December 2017 and Bitcoin was at its all time high of nearly $20,000. But fees were also astronomical and because of the 1MB block size limit, a huge backlog formed, and some people had to wait days or even weeks for their transaction to confirm. If anyone was trying to cash out into fiat and didn't want to pay a $100 transaction fee, by the time their transaction got confirmed the price had already crashed. This event was largely responsible for the bear market of 2018. Everything that happened was predicted by those who knew what was going on. A company called Blockstream had essentially wrestled control of Bitcoin from the original developers and shut them out or gained control over them, and started working on turning Bitcoin into a settlement layer for their product called Lightning Network. LN is a complicated topic that I don't want to get into, but essentially it's a framework that recreates all the same problems inherent in the banking system that Bitcoin was meant to solve. Blockstream's goal is to profit from creating, and then "solving" those problems by charging users fees for all kinds of custodial services. In my personal opinion, it's obvious that the original Bitcoin project has been hijacked and repurposed into a tool for the central banks. The propaganda is being pushed in some conspiracy circles that Bitcoin was created BY the central banks in order to discourage people from researching the true history. What is now commonly called "Bitcoin" is not the original project, but a Trojan horse. The project that most closely follows the original design is Bitcoin Cash, and that is where almost all organic development is happening, and personally I feel that it's picking up steam lately as more people wake up to what's happening in the economy right now. Unfortunately most people are still unaware of how fundamentally broken BTC is now and so as new users run toward cryptocurrency to escape the dollar collapse, most will fall straight into the trap and be stuck with BTC that they won't be able to use without paying exorbitant fees and/or submitting to the very same tracking system they are trying to get away from. This is a very deep rabbit hole but I think I've written enough for now. I hope this info helps people make sense of what's going on with Bitcoin. I know it's confusing enough even without so much deception taking place so hopefully this helps. Read the Bitcoin FAQ over on /btc.
DDDD - The Rise of “Buy the Dip” Retail Investors and Why Another Crash Is Imminent
In this week's edition of DDDD (Data-driven DD), I'll be going over the real reason why we have been seeing a rally for the past few weeks, defying all logic and fundamentals - retail investors. We'll look into several data sets to see how retail interest in stock markets have reached record levels in the past few weeks, how this affected stock prices, and why we've most likely seen the top at this point, unless we see one of the "positive catalysts" that I mentioned in my previous post, which is unlikely (except for more news about Remdesivir). Disclaimer - This is not financial advice, and a lot of the content below is my personal opinion. In fact, the numbers, facts, or explanations presented below could be wrong and be made up. Don't buy random options because some person on the internet says so; look at what happened to all the SPY 220p 4/17 bag holders. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions on what you should do with your own money, and how levered you want to be based on your personal risk tolerance. Inspiration Most people who know me personally know that I spend an unhealthy amount of my free time in finance and trading as a hobby, even competing in paper options trading competitions when I was in high school. A few weeks ago, I had a friend ask if he could call me because he just installed Robinhood and wanted to buy SPY puts after seeing everyone on wallstreetbets post gains posts from all the tendies they’ve made from their SPY puts. The problem was, he actually didn’t understand how options worked at all, and needed a thorough explanation about how options are priced, what strike prices and expiration dates mean, and what the right strategy to buying options are. That’s how I knew we were at the euphoria stage of buying SPY puts - it’s when dumb money starts to pour in, and people start buying securities because they see everyone else making money and they want in, even if they have no idea what they’re buying, and price becomes dislocated from fundementals. Sure enough, less than a week later, we started the bull rally that we are currently in. Bubbles are formed when people buy something not because of logic or even gut feeling, but when people who previously weren’t involved see their dumb neighbors make tons of money from it, and they don’t want to miss out. A few days ago, I started getting questions from other friends about what stocks they should buy and if I thought something was a good investment. That inspired me to dig a bit deeper to see how many other people are thinking the same thing. Data Ever since March, we’ve seen an unprecedented amount of money pour into the stock market from retail investors. Google Search Trends \"what stock should I buy\" Google Trends 2004 - 2020 \"what stock should I buy\" Google Trends 12 months \"stocks\" Google Trends 2004 - 2020 \"stocks\" Google Trends 12 months Brokerage data Robinhood SPY holders \"Robinhood\" Google Trends 12 months wallstreetbets' favorite broker Google Trends 12 months Excerpt from E*Trade earnings statement Excerpt from Schwab earnings statement TD Ameritrade Excerpt Media cnbc.com Alexa rank CNBC viewership & rankings wallstreetbets comments / day investing comments / day Analysis What we can see from Reddit numbers, Google Trends, and CNBC stats is that in between the first week of March and first week of April, we see a massive inflow of retail interest in the stock market. Not only that, but this inflow of interest is coming from all age cohorts, from internet-using Zoomers to TV-watching Boomers. Robinhood SPY holdings and earnings reports from E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, and Schwab have also all confirmed record numbers of new clients, number of trades, and assets. There’s something interesting going on if you look closer at the numbers. The numbers growth in brokers for designed for “less sophisticated” investors (i.e. Robinhood and E*Trade) are much larger than for real brokers (i.e. Schwab and Ameritrade). This implies that the record number of new users and trade volume is coming from dumb money. The numbers shown here only really apply to the US and Canada, but there’s also data to suggest that there’s also record numbers of foreign investors pouring money into the US stock market as well. However, after the third week of March, we see the interest start to slowly decline and plateau, indicating that we probably have seen most of those new investors who wanted to have a long position in the market do so. SPX daily Rationale Pretty much everything past this point is purely speculation, and isn’t really backed up by any solid data so take whatever I say here with a cup of salt. We could see from the graph that new investor interest started with the first bull trap we saw in the initial decline from early March, and peaking right after the end of the crash in March. So it would be fair to guess that we’re seeing a record amount of interest in the stock market from a “buy the dip” mentality, especially from Robinhood-using Millennials. Here’s a few points on my rationalization of this behavior, based on very weak anecdotal evidence
They missed out of their chance of getting in the stock market at the start of the bull market that happened at the end of 2009
They’ve all seen the stock market make record gains throughout their adult lives, but believing that the market might be overheated, they were waiting for a crash
Most of them have gotten towards the stage of their lives where they actually have some savings and can finally put some money aside for investments
This stock market crash seems like their once-in-a-decade opportunity that they’ve been waiting for, so everyone jumped in
Everyone’s stuck at their homes with vast amounts of unexpected free time on their hands
Most of these new investors got their first taste in the market near the bottom, and probably made some nice returns. Of course, since they didn’t know what they were doing, they probably put a very small amount of money at first, but after seeing a 10% return over one week, validating that maybe they do know something, they decide to slowly pour in more and more of their life savings. That’s what’s been fueling this bull market. Sentiment & Magic Crayons As I mentioned previously, this bull rally will keep going until enough bears convert to bulls. Markets go up when the amount of new bullish positions outnumber the amount of new bearish positions, and vice versa. Record amounts of new investors, who previously never held a position in the market before, fueled the bullish side of this equation, despite all the negative data that has come out and dislocating the price from fundamentals. All the smart money that was shorting the markets saw this happening, and flipped to become bulls because you don’t fight the trend, even if the trend doesn’t reflect reality. From the data shown above, we can see new investor interest growth has started declining since mid March and started stagnating in early April. The declining volume in SPY since mid-March confirms this. That means, once the sentiment of the new retail investors starts to turn bearish, and everyone figures out how much the stocks they’re holding are really worth, another sell-off will begin. I’ve seen something very similar to this a few years ago with Bitcoin. Near the end of 2017, Bitcoin started to become mainstream and saw a flood of retail investors suddenly signing up for Coinbase (i.e. Robinhood) accounts and buying Bitcoin without actually understanding what it is and how it works. Suddenly everyone, from co-workers to grandparents, starts talking about Bitcoin and might have thrown a few thousand dollars into it. This appears to be a very similar parallel to what’s going on right now. Of course there’s differences here in that equities have an intrinsic value, although many of them have gone way above what they should be intrinsically worth, and the vast majority of retail investors don’t understand how to value companies. Then, during December, when people started thinking that the market was getting a bit overheated, some started taking their profits, and that’s when the prices crashed violently. This flip in sentiment now look like it has started with equities. SPY daily Technical Analysis, or magic crayons, is a discipline in finance that uses statistical analysis to predict market trends based on market sentiment. Of course, a lot of this is hand-wavy and is very subjective; two people doing TA on the same price history can end up getting opposite results, so TA should always be taken with a grain of salt and ideally be backed with underlying justification and not be blindly followed. In fact, I’ve since corrected the ascending wedge I had on SPY since my last post since this new wedge is a better fit for the new trading data. There’s a few things going on in this chart. The entire bull rally we’ve had since the lows can be modelled using a rising wedge. This is a pattern where there is a convergence of a rising support and resistance trendline, along with falling volume. This indicates a slow decline in net bullish sentiment with investors, with smaller and smaller upside after each bounce off the support until it hits a resistance. The smaller the bounces, the less bullish investors are. When the bearish sentiment takes over across investors, the price breaks below this wedge - a breakdown, and indicates a start of another downtrend. This happened when the wedge hit resistance at around 293, which is around the same price as the 200 day moving average, the 62% retracement (considered to be the upper bound of a bull trap), and a price level that acted as a support and resistance throughout 2019. The fact that it gapped down to break this wedge is also a strong signal, indicating a sudden swing in investor sentiment overnight. The volume of the break down also broke the downwards trend of volume we’ve had since the beginning of the bull rally, indicating a sudden surge of people selling their shares. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we will go straight from here, and I personally think that we will see the completion of a heads-and-shoulders pattern complete before SPY goes below 274, which in itself is a strong support level. In other words, SPY might go from 282 -> 274 -> 284 -> 274 before breaking the 274 support level. VIX Daily Doing TA is already sketchy, and doing TA on something like VIX is even more sketchy, but I found this interesting so I’ll mention it. Since the start of the bull rally, we’ve had VIX inside a descending channel. With the breakdown we had in SPY yesterday, VIX has also gapped up to have a breakout from this channel, indicating that we may see future volatility in the next week or so. Putting Everything Together Finally, we get to my thesis. This entire bull rally has been fueled by new retail investors buying the dip, bringing the stock price to euphoric levels. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been seeing the people waiting at the sidelines for years to get into the stock market slowly FOMO into the rally in smaller and smaller volumes, while the smart money have been locking in their profits at an even slower rate - hence an ascending wedge. As the amount of new retail interest in the stock market started slowed down, the amount of new bulls started to decline. It looks like Friday might have been the start of the bearish sentiment taking over, meaning it’s likely that 293 was the top, unless any significant bullish events happen in the next two weeks like a fourth round of stimulus, in which case we might see 300. This doesn’t mean we’ll instantly go back to circuit breakers on Monday, and we might see 282 -> 274 -> 284 -> 274 happen before panic, this time by the first-time investors, eventually bringing us down towards SPY 180. tldr; we've reached the top EDIT - I'll keep a my live thoughts here as we move throughout this week in case anyone's still reading this and interested. 5/4 8PM - /ES was red last night but steadily climbed, which was expected since 1h RSI was borderline oversold, leaving us to a slightly green day. /ES looks like it has momentum going up, but is approaching towards overbought territory now. Expecting it to go towards 284 (possibly where we'll open tomorrow) and bouncing back down from that price level 5/5 Market Open - Well there goes my price target. I guess at this point it might go up to 293 again, but will need a lot of momentum to push back there to 300. Seems like this is being driven by oil prices skyrocketing. 5/5 3:50PM - Volume for the upwards price action had very little volume behind it. Seeing a selloff EOD today, could go either way although I have a bearish bias. Going to hold cash until it goes towards one end of the 274-293 channel (see last week's thesis). Still believe that we will see it drop below 274 next week, but we might be moving sideways in the channel this week and a bit of next week before that happens. Plan for tomorrow is buy short dated puts if open < 285. Otherwise, wait till it goes to 293 before buying those puts 5/5 6PM - What we saw today could be a false breakout above 284. Need tomorrow to open below 285 for that to be confirmed. If so, my original thesis of it going back down to 274 before bouncing back up will still be in play. 5/6 EOD - Wasn't a false breakout. Looks like it's still forming the head-and-shoulders pattern mentioned before, but 288 instead of 284 as the level. Still not sure yet so I'm personally going to be holding cash and waiting this out for the next few days. Will enter into short positions if we either go near 293 again or drop below 270. Might look into VIX calls if VIX goes down near 30. 5/7 Market Open - Still waiting. If we break 289 we're probably heading to 293. I'll make my entry to short positions when we hit that a second time. There's very little bullish momentum left (see MACD 1D), so if we hit 293 and then drop back down, we'll have a MACD crossover event which many traders and algos use as a sell signal. Oil is doing some weird shit. 5/7 Noon - Looks like we're headed to 293. Picked up VIX 32.5c 5/27 since VIX is near 30. 5/7 11PM - /ES is hovering right above 2910, with 4h and 1h charts are bullish from MACD and 1h is almost overbought in RSI. Unless something dramatic happens we'll probably hit near 293 tomorrow, which is where I'll get some SPY puts. We might drop down before ever touching it, or go all the way to 295 (like last time) during the day, but expecting it to close at or below 293. After that I'm expecting a gap down Monday as we start the final leg down next week towards 274. Expecting 1D MACD to crossover in the final leg down, which will be a signal for bears to take over and institutions / day traders will start selling again 5/8 Market Open - Plan is to wait till a good entry today, either when technicals looks good or we hit 293, and then buy some SPY June 285p and July 275p 5/8 Noon - Everything still going according to plan. Most likely going to slowly inch towards 293 by EOD. Will probably pick up SPY puts and more VIX calls at power hour (3 - 4PM). Monday will probably gap down, although there's a small chance of one more green / sideways day before that happens if we have bullish catalysts on the weekend. 5/8 3:55PM - SPY at 292.60. This is probably going to be the closest we get to 293. Bought SPY 290-260 6/19 debit spreads and 292-272 5/15 debit spreads, as well as doubling down on VIX calls from yesterday, decreasing my cost basis. Still looks like there's room for one more green day on Monday, so I left some money on the side to double down if that's the case, although it's more likely than not we won't get there. 5/8 EOD - Looks like we barely touched 293 exactly AH before rebounding down. Too bad you can't buy options AH, but more convinced we'll see a gap down on Monday. Going to work on another post over the weekend and do my updates there. Have a great weekend everyone!
My Very Provisional List of COVID Anomalies, Red/ False Flags and Clear Indications of Scumbaggery. LIHOP, MIHOP Or HOAX/SCAM? Def Not As Described. Need Your Help To Source References and Links For Existing Categories And Add New Ones. This is WOEFULLY INCOMPLETE. I Know I've Missed Tonnes...Ideas?
Here’s my Top 22 list of suspicious shenanigans and red flags surrounding the COVID narrative:
The Imperial College Death data - Neil Ferguson and Gates-funded Imperial College, London Model that ‘persuaded’ Johnson and Trump to lockdown. 500K deaths in UK and 2.2m deaths projected in US, EVEN WITH LOCKDOWN. Less than 10% accuracy but 110% alarmist, and evidence that the coding was deliberately flawed and designed to inflate numbers. Gates funding everyone involved in the staged 'debacle'.
Link to Coindesk:https://www.coindesk.com/data-centralization-2030 The next 10 years will witness the systematic manipulation of human life at a scale unrivaled in history. For all the recent controversies over privacy and surveillance, the real threat is ahead of us. Unless new approaches to online identity and data management take hold, both governments and private actors will move inexorably from knowing you to shaping you. Blockchain-enabled decentralization will develop as the only viable response to the iron logic of data centralization. Blockchain believers often talk as though today’s early-adopter use cases, such as cryptocurrency trading and decentralized finance, will lead straight to mass market adoption. As the inevitable ‘killer apps’ appear, so the story goes, blockchain-based systems will conquer the mainstream. One might imagine that we’ll all soon be trading digital collectibles and relying on token-curated registries for accurate information. Governments will lose control over money, and blockchain-based smart contracts will replace court-enforced legal agreements. Uber, Facebook and the banks will wither away in the face of tokenized alternatives. This narrative is wishful thinking. In most markets, intermediaries will endure for the same reasons they always have: they provide value. The Ubers and Facebooks – and yes, even the banks – tame complexity and produce coherent, convenient, de-risked experiences that no decentralized community can ever match. Early adopters use blockchain-based systems for ideological reasons or to get rich on cryptocurrency speculation. The billions behind them in the mainstream will not. The lock-in power of network effects creates high barriers for alternative economic systems. And the need for trust disqualifies decentralized solutions that are havens for criminals, incapable of effective compliance or vulnerable to catastrophic attacks – which, regrettably, means virtually all of them today. Truly decentralized blockchain systems will reach critical mass not out of hope but out of necessity. Powerful actors and mainstream users will adopt blockchain as a counterbalance to digital behavior-shaping by governments and private platforms. Dramatic innovations such as decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), which manage activity automatically through smart contracts, will become significant at the end point of this process, once the foundations are in place. Big data and artificial intelligence, pitched as freeing us from human frailties, are becoming powerful tools for social control. This is occurring along two parallel tracks: surveillance authoritarianism and surveillance capitalism. Through massive data collection and aggregation, China’s social credit system envisions an airtight regime of perfect compliance with legal and social obligations. Many other governments, including liberal democracies, are adopting similar techniques. The potential for catching terrorists, child predators and tax evaders is simply too appealing – whether it’s the real objective or a cover story. "WHAT WE NEED IS A TECHNOLOGY THAT ALLOWS FOR SHARING WITHOUT GIVING UP CONTROL. FORTUNATELY, IT EXISTS." Meanwhile, private digital platforms are using troves of data to shape online experiences consistent with their business models. What you see online is, increasingly, what maximizes their profits. Companies such as Google, Amazon, Tencent and Alibaba can build the best algorithms because they have the most data. And they aren’t interested in sharing. Regulatory interventions will fail to derail the self-reinforcing momentum for ever more centralized data repositories. They may even accelerate it by creating layers of compliance obligations that only the largest firms can meet. Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) actually increased the market share of Google and Facebook in online advertising, and so it is not surprising to see such incumbents actively welcoming the prospect of more regulation. The only lasting solution is to change the economics of data, not to impose private property rights; that would accelerate the market forces promoting data centralization. Giving you “ownership” over your data means giving you legal cover to sell it, by clicking “OK” to a one-sided contract you’ll never read. The problem is not ownership, but control. In today’s algorithm-driven world, sharing and aggregating data increases its value, producing better models and better predictions. The trouble is that once we share, we lose control to centralized data hogs. What we need is a technology that allows for sharing without giving up control. Fortunately, it exists. It is called blockchain. Blockchain technology is, fundamentally, a revolution in trust. In the past, trust required ceding control to counter parties, government authorities or intermediaries who occupied the essential validating roles in transaction networks. Blockchain allows participants to trust the results they see without necessarily trusting any actor to verify them. That’s why major global firms in health care, finance, transportation, international trade and other fields are actively developing cross-organizational platforms based on blockchain and related technologies. No database can provide a trusted view of information across an entire transactional network without empowering a central intermediary. Blockchain can. Adopting any new platform at scale, along with the necessary software integration and process changes, takes time – especially when the technology is so immature. But today’s incremental deployments will serve as proofs-of-concept for the more radical innovations to come. Chinese blockchain networks are already managing tens of billions of dollars of trade finance transactions. Pharmaceutical companies are tracking drugs from manufacturing to pharmacies using the MediLedger platform. Boeing is selling a billion dollars of airline parts on Honeywell’s blockchain-based marketplace. Car insurance companies are processing accident claims in a unified environment for the first time. These and other enterprise consortia are doing the essential technical and operational groundwork to handle valuable transactions at scale. The need for transformative approaches to data will become acute in the next five years. Every week, it seems, another outrage comes to light. For instance, users who posted photos under Creative Commons licenses or default-public settings were shocked they were sucked into databases used to train facial-recognition systems. Some were even used in China’s horrific campaign against Uighur Muslims. Clearview AI, an unknown startup, scraped three billion social media images for a face identification tool it provided, with no oversight, to law enforcement, corporations and wealthy individuals. The examples will only get worse as firms and nations learn new ways to exploit data. The core problem is there is no way to share information while retaining control over how it gets used. Blockchain offers a solution. It will be widely adopted because, behind the scenes, the current data economy is reaching its breaking point. Outrage over abuses is building throughout the world. The immensely valuable online advertising economy attracts so much fraud that the accuracy of its numbers is coming into question. Communities are looking for new ways to collaborate. Governments are realizing the current system is an impediment to effective service delivery. The technologist Bill Joy famously stated that no matter how many geniuses a company employs, most smart people work somewhere else. The same is true of data. Even giants such as Google, Facebook and Chinese government agencies need to obtain information from elsewhere in their quest for perfect real-time models of every individual. These arrangements work mostly through contracts and interfaces that ease the flow of data between organisations. As Facebook discovered when Cambridge Analytica extracted massive quantities of user data for voter targeting, these connection points are also vulnerabilities. As tighter limits are placed on data-sharing, even the big players will look for ways to rebuild trust. The blockchain alternative will begin innocuously. Government authorities at the subnational level are deploying self-sovereign identity to pull together information securely across disparate data stores. This technology allows anyone to share private information in a fine-grained way while still retaining control. You shouldn’t have to reveal your address to confirm your age, or your full tax return to verify your stated income. The necessary cryptography doesn’t require a blockchain, but the desired trust relationships do. Once people have identities that belong to them, not to banks or social media services, they will use them as the basis for other interactions. Imagine a world where you never need to give a third-party unnecessary data to log into a website, apply for a job, refinance a mortgage or link your bank account to a mobile payment app. Where you can keep your personal and professional profiles completely separate if you choose. Where you can be confident in the reputation of a car mechanic or an Airbnb or a product made in China without intermediaries warping ratings for their own gain. The convenience of user experiences we enjoy within the walled gardens of digital platforms will become the norm across the vastness of independent services. We will gradually come to view access to our personal information as an episodic, focused interaction, rather than fatalistically accepting an open season based on preliminary formal consent. Major hardware companies such as Apple, which don’t depend on targeted advertising, will build decentralized identity capabilities into their devices. They will add cryptocurrency wallets linked behind the scenes to existing payment and messaging applications. Stablecoins – cryptocurrencies pegged to the dollar, pound or other assets – will help tame volatility and facilitate movement between tokens and traditional currencies. Privately created stablecoins will coexist with central bank digital currencies, which are under development in most major countries throughout the world. Once this baseline infrastructure is widely available, the real changes will start to occur. DAOs will begin to attract assets as efficient ways for communities to achieve their goals. These entities won’t replace state-backed legal systems; they will operate within them. As numerous controversies, crashes and hacks have already demonstrated, software code is too rigid for the range of situations in the real world, absent backstops for human dispute resolution. Fortunately, there are solutions under development to connect legal and digital entities, such as OpenLaw’s Limited Liability Autonomous Organisations and Mattereum’s Asset Passports. Today, the legal machinery of contracts strengthens the power of centralized platforms. User agreements and privacy policies enforce their control over data and limit individuals’ power to challenge it. Blockchain-based systems will flip that relationship, with the legal system deployed to protect technology-backed user empowerment. Large aggregations of information will be structured formally as “data trusts” that exercise independent stewardship over assets. They will operate as DAOs, with smart contracts defining the terms of data usage. Users will benefit from sharing while retaining the ability to opt out. "DATA WILL BE TREATED NOT AS PROPERTY BUT AS A RENEWABLE RESOURCE, WITH THE COMPETITION FOR ECONOMIC VALUE IN THE APPLICATIONS BUILT ON TOP OF IT." Many significant applications require aggregation of data to drive algorithms, including traffic monitoring (and eventually autonomous vehicles); insurance and lending products serving previously excluded or overcharged customer groups; diagnosis and drug dosing in health care; and demand forecasting for economic modeling. Collective action problems can prevent constructive developments even when rights in data are well defined. DAOs will gradually find market opportunities, from patronage of independent artists to mortgage securitization. The big data aggregators won’t go away. They will participate in the decentralized data economy because it provides benefits for them as well, cutting down on fraud and reinforcing user trust, which is in increasingly scarce supply. Over time, those who provide benefits of personalization and targeting will more and more be expected to pay for it. A wide range of brokering and filtering providers will offer users a choice of analytics, some embedded in applications or devices and some providing services virtually in the cloud. Governments will focus on making data available and defining policy objectives for services that take advantage of the flow of information. Data will be treated not as property but as a renewable resource, with the competition for economic value in the applications built on top of it. The most powerful benefit of open data built on blockchain-based decentralised control is that it will allow for new applications we can’t yet envision. If startups can take advantage of the power of data aggregation that today is limited to large incumbents, they are bound to build innovations those incumbents miss. The surveillance economy took hold because few appreciated what was happening with their data until it was too late. And the cold reality is that few will accept significantly worse functionality or user experience in return for better privacy. That is why the blockchain-powered revolution will make its way up from infrastructural foundations of digital identity and hardware, rather than down from novel user-facing applications. This vision is far from certain to be realized. Business decisions and government policies could make blockchain-based data decentralization more or less likely. The greatest reason for optimism is that the problem blockchain addresses – gaining trust without giving up control – is becoming ever more critical. The world runs on trust. Blockchain offers hope for recasting trust in the networked digital era.
Below are notable difficulty adjustments when hash rate fell and block times become slower for Bitcoin.
26 Mar 2020 [difficulty adjustment -15.95%, avg block time 11min 54secs]. On the 28th price crashed from $6674 to $6138 ( -8%).
8 Nov 2019 [difficulty adjustment -7.1%, avg block time 10min 46secs]. On the same day price crashed from $9234 to $8783 ( -4.88%).
The next big adjustment was around Nov to Dec 2018 and there were 3 big adjustments with high block times.
19 Dec 2018 [-9.56%, avg block time 11min 3secs]
3 Dec 2018 [-15.13%, avg block time 11min 47secs]
17 Nov 2018 [-7.39%, avg block time 10min 48secs]
There was huge drop off starting on 14th Nov all the way to a bottom on 14-15th Dec ($6351 to $3288 around -48%).
Current situation: We are 1 day 10 hours from the next difficulty adjustment. Projected difficulty adjustment is -5.61% (https://fork.lol/pow/retarget), which could indicate a small dip. However, take note that the date of last adjustment was the 5th and the 3rd halving was on the 11th, between the 5th to the 11th there was increased hashrate from miners trying to mine the final week of 12.5btc that offset the really slow block times after the halving. Therefore it will be the next difficulty adjustment after the one on the 20th that will completely reflect the slower block times after the halving. Currently the median block time taken on the 17th was around 14min (-28.5% difficulty adjustment). For people who do not understand blockchain, basically with the Bitcoin 3rd halving, mining profitability fell for a lot of miners and they probably turned off their miners therefore the blockchain mining time became considerably slower which is reflected with slow transaction speed and higher fees as seen currently. Bitcoin sellers moving their BTC from wallet to an exchange are faced with slow transaction speed and therefore the sell pressure of BTC fell considerably which will attribute to the current price increase. There is a correlation between sell pressure and blockchain congestion (the size of the correlation is undetermined). There is going to be a race. A race between BTC price hiking high enough to attract more miners to reduce avg block times versus the closing window of roughly 2 weeks before the next difficulty adjustment. If the price does not jump high enough, the next difficulty adjustment in the first week of June could signal a huge dip. I am not an expert. I just did some research on the above and wanted to share with fellow Bitcoin compatriots so that we can tread with caution and not lose our shirts. I do not plan to short BTC but I will exit my BTC positions if I expect double digit negative difficulty adjustment in early June. Please visit the original post here https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/gm23pe/warning_blockchain_difficulty_adjustment/ There are pictures in the original post as well as 2nd halving evidence with pics. I could not post pics here. If possible please upvote the original post, a lot of people downvote it. Not sure why people downvote it, maybe veterans attempting to hide information from newcomers to fleece them of their shirt. Update 1:>! As of writing, I have opened a small short position on Bitcoin. Stop loss around 10k, estimated take profit around 8500. The reason is because the difficulty adjustment in the next 20 hours, even though is just -5% roughly is still significant. I direct you to look into all the difficulty adjustments in the last 2 years and you will know how rare it is. The ones I caught were all listed at the very top of the post. Since it is my first time shorting BTC, I take this as a learning opportunity so that I will have some experience to face the bigger difficulty adjustment in the first week of June. Analysis into execution, even in failure I am happy.!< Update 2: The difficulty adjustment (DA) happened roughly 6 hours ago and the sell pressure from -6% DA did not seem to be affecting the market much. However, please take a look now at the estimation for the next DA. On https://bitcoin.clarkmoody.com/dashboard/ it is estimated to be -25%. On https://fork.lol/pow/retarget estimated to be -18%. On https://www.blockchain.com/charts/median-confirmation-time the median block time for the last day was 16.8min. My original proposition that the true DA of the halving can only be realized in the next DA stands and that it will be considerable. The increased sell pressure from that DA will be highly significant. That is why there is a race by current miners to get the BTC price up high enough to attract more miners to not have the DA drop too much. Update 3: Current BTC price at $9100 ( ~39 hours after DA). Then again BTC could have dropped from all sorts of reason. However the coincidence with the DA and with all the past DA is just too high to simply shrug off as irrelevant. Anyways past result cannot predict future ones, stay safe with the trading. Will no longer check on this post. References: Difficulty adjustment dates taken from https://btc.com/stats/diff Bitcoin graph history for price movement taken from coinmarketcap. Median confirmation time (block time) taken from https://www.blockchain.com/charts/median-confirmation-time Credits to people who assisted the analysis: kairepaire for pointing out faster block times between 5th-11th. babies_eater for https://fork.lol/pow/retarget moes_tavern_wifi for https://bitcoin.clarkmoody.com/dashboard/ Pantamis for https://diff.cryptothis.com/
Analyst Who Predicted Bitcoin’s Crash to $3,000 Says This Comes Next. by Nick Chong. 7 months ago. in Bitcoin. Reading Time: 2min read Over the past few days, Bitcoin saw some bullish price action for the first time in weeks. This rally took the asset as high as $6,900, up 80% from the $3,800 bottom seen last week and up 28% from the $5,400 baseline. Unfortunately, it ended abruptly just ... James Dale Davidson is the famed economist who correctly predicted the collapse of 1999 (2000 bubble burst) and 2007 (2008 bubble burst). And if Davidson calls for at least 50% market correction the predictions should be taken extremely seriously. Speaking to RT, eToro analyst Mikhail Mashchenko says financial institutions could look to Bitcoin when a major financial crash hits global markets. Earlier this year, in late-September, prominent Bitcoin analyst Filb Filb posted this chart below, showing that he expects for BTC to jump by dozens of percent to near $10,000, then collapse by 35% to the low-$6,000s to interact with the “miners bottom range.”. While some laughed this off as pure bearish sentiment at the time, Filb Filb’s prediction was proven to be nearly 100% accurate ... In just a few minutes the price flash crashed, having dropped down to $800, resulting in double-digit losses. The total decrease was around 11.4%. Although Bitcoin investors were expecting something as painful as that this Tuesday, Coin360 says. BTC/USD hovering close to $8,100 was a sign, impossible to ignore or consider a minor one. At the beginning of September the move started and resulted ... The next Bitcoin crash was on April 10th of 2013, after it reached a high of $263 at 12:00 PM UTC. Within minutes of obtaining such a feat, the price was in a chaotic freefall, and by 6:00 PM UTC, one bitcoin was valued at $126. Within six hours, the one bitcoin’s price dropped 52%! Most commentators blamed a banking crisis in Cyprus, while others placed the blame on increased mainstream ...
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