Tag Archives: Cyprus

Greeks are about to learn the virtues of Bitcoin

6/28/2015 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

It appears that the Greek government is once again on the brink of an inevitable default on its Euro denominated debt.  This time, however, Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appears determined to take it over the edge, calling for a referendum on the whether or not the Greek people should continue to abide by its creditors’ bailout terms and extend their own misery or to give the proverbial middle finger to their oppressors in the north.

Monetary oppression

Greece, Where the Euro pays tourist prices
Greece, Where the Euro pays tourist prices

We use the term oppressors, for the current state of affairs has been held in place to ensure that Germany maintains a death grip on the Eurozone.  Greece stopped benefiting from being a member of the Eurozone the moment it accepted the yoke of a common currency.  Sure, it was a nice run for the entire Eurozone when times were good, but when times got tough circa 2008 the Euro handlers at the ECB cut rates too slowly, citing a tired “stable currency” bias, and generally struggled to maintain liquidity, which is pretty much “job 1” when one is running a currency regime.

Maybe the Treaty of Lisbon wasn’t such a good idea after all.

What happened next was a catastrophe that is only possible in a Central Banking/Tax Farm disconnect that the Eurozone’s half baked approach to unity has left as the norm.  You see, fellow taxpayer, in the United States of America, we have one Central Bank which runs the tax collection mechanism for the government.  This means that, with localized exceptions, the tax farm’s tactics and the Central Bank’s liquidity functions can work in an awkward harmony.  For those of us who pay Cesar annually via the IRS, this means that in a demented sense we share society’s burdens across 50 states.  To those of us in Oregon, it matters not that the State of California cannot pay its obligations (unless, of course, one is a creditor of the State of California).  It is taken as a given that the Federal Government will bail them out and the Federal Reserve will provide the cash (indirectly) to the Feds in order to do so.  Then, and this is where the magic happens, we all pay for California’s misdeeds via Federal taxes and inflation.

This same scenario was possible in Europe until January 1, 1999 (a day that lives in infamy) and had played out throughout much of modern history.

Not so today.  For today, in Europe, when the government of Greece hits hard times and cannot pay its bills, it has to beg its rich neighbors to the north for Euros, and accept whatever conditions they impose.  What is funny is that neither Greece nor its northern benefactors can actively emit currency in sufficient quantities to ensure their new contract can be paid.

What does it mean?

Which brings us back to the upcoming referendum.  While in our mind it is still even money that there will be a further modification of the Greek bailout and that the Eurozone will carry on as it has for 16 years now, there exists the strong possibility that Greece will “opt out” of the inconvenient currency part of the European Union.  What does it mean?  Beyond getting comfortable with Drachma exchange rates again, nobody knows, nobody has ever opted out of the currency after opting in (Denmark and the UK never got in).

The Greek people have decided that it means they are in big trouble, and they have been lining up at ATMs in order to get their hands on as many Euros as possible before the lights go out.  For Mr. Tsipras, this in turn means he must declare a banking holiday and capital controls, which is a time tested recipe for causing any remaining economic activity to screech to a halt as anyone with a brain and more than a few Euros to their name starts working 24/7 on ways to keep their assets off the government’s confiscation radar.

Bitcoins: What they are and how to use them
Bitcoins: What they are and how to use them

However, as in Cyprus, smart Greeks with a working data connection have a medium at their disposal that may ensure that their assets stay well away from their government: Bitcoin.

The mini-spike in Bitcoin indicates that the Cyprus scenario is playing out again.  If anyone recalls that event, it took the Bitcoin from relative obscurity to trading at around $1,100 before the mania wore off.  Will it happen again?

It is anybody’s guess, but here are some statistics that may help guide your own educated ponderings:

Population of Cyprus: 1.14M, pre banking holiday bitcoin price: $49 (March 2013), post banking holiday Bitcoin spike: $1,124 (October 2013)

Population of Greece: 10.82M, pre banking holiday bitcoin price: $249 (June 2015) , post banking holiday Bitcoin spike:  ???? (January 2016????)

We’ll let you do the math on the hypothetical situation we have planted, but the dynamics of what is occurring in Greece, from a monetary standpoint, are extremely similar to the Cyprus scenario.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for June 28, 2015

Copper Price per Lb: $2.61
Oil Price per Barrel:  $58.74

Corn Price per Bushel:  $3.85
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.48%
Bitcoin price in US:  $249.46
FED Target Rate:  0.13%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,174

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  5.5%
Inflation Rate (CPI):   0.4%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  17,947
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,929,400,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $11,970,200,000,000

On Bitcoin deflation and why we are now accepting Bitcoins

3/19/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

On our two year anniversary here at Davidmint.com, we wish to take a brief moment to thank you, our fellow taxpayers, for tuning in and reading from time to time.  We pray that you are well and that we can continue to be of service to you.

In honor of this occasion, we have two announcements:

1.  We are giving away 100 PDF copies of our latest eBook, “What is Truth?  On the Nature of Empire” for free over the next 7 days.  Click here to download your copy from our new store.

What is Truth? On the Nature of Empire
Click here for your free download – Limited time offer

2.  We have launched a new store right here on the site.  We are taking measures towards accepting Bitcoins and, should the need arise, other forms of digital currency in exchange for our silver coin offerings.Bitcoin

While the first announcement is essentially shameless self promotion, the second is one that we suspect will be taken by any number of merchants in the Silver and Gold bullion space in the not too distant future.

Why?  While we do not advocate holding a significant amount of long term wealth in digital formats, it may become important to do so in the short term.  It may also be important to be able to transact in Bitcoins, regardless of whether or not the proceeds are held in Bitcoins or converted via an exchange to a national currency.

As the events in Cyprus continue to unfold, we here at The Mint have taken the decision to accept Bitcoins as a form of payment for Silver bullion products.  While we accept that the Bitcoin, as a purely digital medium of exchange, is not without its risks, the mere prospect of a week long banking holiday, like the one the Cypriot banks are currently on, occurring closer to home demands that we create a contingency plan.

Being locked out of the bank, as the residents of Cyprus appear to be, can be downright lethal for commerce.  Should the unthinkable happen in your neighborhood, it will be essential to have a backup plan.

Silver bullion is the ultimate backup plan.  Should the lights go out, it is the most likely to function as a medium of exchange once the inevitable chaos wanes into some sort of order.  Should the lights stay on and one’s bank accounts be randomly frozen by a government official, the ability to trade in Bitcoins will be essential for any merchant to be able to operate.

Will it work?  Only time will tell.  We can already foresee one possible glitch:  Bitcoins have the distinct advantage of being anonymous.  This is both their strength and weakness when it comes to selling bullion via mail, as in order to properly ship coins, this anonymity is likely to be temporarily relinquished into our care (silver coins are not like delivered pizzas as they must be paid for up front).  While we have no immediate plans, other than to subscribe our customers to The Mint, something we see as benign, if not beneficial.

Beyond having a plan B should the banking system become “Temporarily Unavailable” on an individual or collective basis, in theory, accepting Bitcoins is beneficial as they should theoretically continue to appreciate in value against the fiat currencies of the world.  The reason for this, for the uninitiated, is that Bitcoin creation is set to occur on a fixed timeline and to be ultimately finite.  As of this writing, Bitcoin adoption is running well ahead of the logarithm, which is causing massive deflation in terms of Bitcoin pricing.

Mind you, Bitcoins can be traded fractionally up to 8 decimal places.  Should Bitcoin adoption continue to take off, the Bitcoin’s rigid logarithm will not allow for the Bitcoin’s continued use in commerce.  This has been described as its fatal flaw.  The Bitcoin will, in theory, take its place in the digital realm as “Good money” in the terminology of Gresham’s Law and exit circulation.  In its place will appear a plethora of digital currencies which would then come into existence via their own logarithm and trade against the Bitcoin, as today’s fiat currencies do.

In this sense, Bitcoin is the current gold standard of digital currencies.  As such, our planned acceptance of Bitcoins for Silver is like trading physical silver for digital gold, as Bitcoin’s trajectory will theoretically track that of gold with one notable exception:  Barring any subsequent changes to the logarithm, there will be no new “discoveries” of Bitcoins to augment the stock.

It seems like a good trade, and one we are willing to engage in to a point.  However, we must reiterate that wealth must be held in the real world to be of any worldly good, and trading in Bitcoins, while temporarily solving the problem of rapidly depreciating fiat currencies, will serve to further throw the earth out of balance.  For man’s activities to achieve balance with the earth, the monetary premium must be attached to something in the physical realm, not an inordinate amount of credit or data stored on a servers.

Besides, credits and data on servers has a strange knack for disappearing when you most need them.  Silver typically does not.

One last word to the wise, NEVER, EVER GO SHORT BITCOINS IN FIAT CURRENCIES, as doing so places one on the wrong side of a trade against a deep pocketed adversary:  A fixed mathematical limit.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for March 19, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.40
Oil Price per Barrel:  $92.22
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.28
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.91%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,613 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.7%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,456
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,466,100,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,499,300,000,000

Cyprus – The Waterloo of Eurocratic management or the ultimate catalyst for Euro zone growth?

3/18/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

While the management of the ongoing banking crises on this side of the Atlantic has been dishonest, the management on the other side of the pond, or in today’s case, sea, has been an unmitigated disaster.  Or so it would seem.

We are talking about Cyprus.  For those who have yet to hear about Cyprus, it is an island nation located in the far eastern Mediterranean Sea, just below Turkey.  It is currently inhabited by a fiery mix of Greeks and Turks, who have lived in an uneasy peace with each other for some 40 years after the events that took place during the summer of 1974.

Like many island nations, Cyprus has been able to find common ground with those who have been unable to find common ground on the mainland.  It has found that it can leverage its sovereignty and willingness to bend the rules to offer banking services without the nagging regulations which increasingly plague banks and their clients in the Western nations on the mainland.

Now that the government of Cyprus is bankrupt and in need of a bailout, showing that even a tax and banking paradise can be poisoned by a bad currency, they have gone hat in hand to Belgium, a strange country in the north with absolutely nothing in common with Cyprus, save the currency in question.

The Eurocratic apparatus in Belgium, either on its own or at the behest of the global banking giants in Cyprus, has decided that the terms of the bailout, or “bail in”, which is the Euro friendly way to say “Corralito,” {Editor’s Note:  Corralito is the Argentinean term for when the Government decides to unilaterally make use of the funds in its country’s banks to fund the government because there is literally no one willing to lend them currency on any terms}, would be the direct confiscation of funds from depositors bank accounts in the form of a tax, in this case between 3 and 9.9% (because 10% just looks bad in print) to ultimately pay back the countries who have been generous enough to provide the funds, which, despite the technicalities involved, for most Europeans means Germany.

Predictably, the people of Cyprus, who caught wind of the confirmation of the rumors on Friday and awoke Monday to find that their government had declared what is, at this writing, an indefinite banking holiday (meaning banks and ATMs are closed) to prevent anyone who did not want to participate in the bail in from withdrawing their funds from the country’s banks, are channeling their anger at the German Embassy, quite naturally:

Henry Blodget has written a decent analysis on the details of the Cyprus bail in over at the Daily Ticker.  Blodget does a good job of analyzing the events up until the point where He presumes:

“…the moment depositors think that there is risk to their savings, they rush to banks to yank their money out.

That’s called a run on the bank.

And since no bank anywhere has enough cash on hand to pay off all its depositors at once, runs on the bank cause banks to go bust.

That’s what happened to hundreds of banks in the Great Depression.

And it’s what happened to Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and other huge banks during the financial crisis (though, with Bear and Lehman, the folks who yanked their money out weren’t mom and pop depositors but other big financial institutions). It’s what threatened to bring the entire U.S. financial system to its knees. And it’s why the U.S. and European governments have been frantically bailing out banks ever since.

But now, thanks to the eurozone’s bizarre decision in Cyprus, the illusion that depositors don’t need to yank their money out of threatened banks because they’ll be protected has been shattered.”

What Blodget presumes is that a bank run is bad for the bank.  Here at The Mint, we postulate that this tax on depositors is taken precisely for the benefit of the Cypriot banks.  Further, it has been taken not only for the benefit of the banks in Cypriot, but to serve as the catalyst for the Euro zone to return to growth, or the activities which pass as economic growth circa 2013.

How can this be?  To understand this will take a basic understanding of the banking revenue model.

Ever since 2008, the Federal Reserve and the ECB have been underwriting the banking sector by providing cheap cash to banks and, indirectly, the governments and people’s of their respective countries.  This is where Blodget’s parallel of today’s bank runs and those that occurred during the Great Depression falls apart.  For all of the mistakes that Ben Bernanke has made, the unconditional guarantee of liquidity in the banking system is the one that he will never relinquish, despite appeals to reason, for he mysteriously sees it as his life’s calling.

However, in an effort to stem the fall in asset prices, which is largely a product of the insane “jack the rate 25 basis points every month or so” policy that the Greenspan and Bernanke Fed followed from June 2004 until June 2006, the policy that caused markets to seize up like a car engine losing oil as they accelerated to record speeds, the Feds and the ECB have largely ignited an increase not in economic growth, but in bank deposits.

Bank deposits, far from being a boon to the receiving bank, are a huge problem when market conditions force them to reinvest (read lend out) those funds for rates that are unconscionably low (3.75% to consumers for 30 years, in a fiat currency system, are you out of your mind?).  Making matters worse, the consumers have been slow to take the bait, resulting in a big time squeeze on the traditional banking revenue model.

Enter Cyprus, an island that holds a disproportionate amount of bank deposits.  As a thinking Eurocrat, of which we suspect there are few, save Nile Farage, who is hunting for a way to both ensure that the banking revenue model continues to function, the government of Cyprus retains legitimacy, and that economic activity in the Euro zone will increase, the pile of Euros in Cypriot banks looks like a great target not to loot, as most analysis of the situation will paint this move as, but to force billions of Euros out of the digital vaults of the banking system to wash from the shores of Cyprus outwards into the other Euro zone countries in search of real goods, not simply another cash warehouse.

One sees the Eurocratic genius in the move at the moment one (again, that is you and I, fellow taxpayer) understands that the mere threat of a unilateral tax on deposits as a condition for a Euro zone bailout is causing lines to form at ATMs from Andalu to Cataluña, across the border into Torino and down to the lonely parts of Sicily.

Cyprus Flag
Will the Cyprus Misadventure by the catalyst for elusive economic growth in the Euro zone?

Within a matter of days, billions of Euros which were locked up in the accounts of villainous savers and otherwise useless to the European economy will be running around the Spanish and Italian streets in a desperate attempt to purchase anything real in which to hold said savings.

With what appears to have been a typically boneheaded Eurocratic move, the Eurocrats may have managed to do what Ben Bernanke and all of the helicopters in the world could not have done to the club Med economies:  Shower them with foolishly spent cash while at the same time bailing out both the banks and the governments as a grotesque side effect.

To be sure, it is a short term fix and will leave the Euro zone further down the scorched earth economy path in a matter of years.  Even so, you have to give the Eurocrats some credit for pulling out all the stops, even if they did stumble upon their ultimate stimulus, which relies upon their own stupidity to function, completely by accident.

Meanwhile in Cyprus, the latest is that the government wants to “think over” the terms of the bailout.  The formal vote has been postponed until Friday, and we presume that the banking holiday will remain in effect until after the vote is taken and any taxes are skimmed.

It is a hard assignment, and we do not envy them nor blame them for thinking it over.  The decision before Cyprus’ government officials is simple.  Should they accept the bailout, they face being blamed by their countrymen for sacrificing their parched island on the Eurocratic altar as well as spending the rest of their lives dodging the hit men of any oligarch’s who did not have sufficient forewarning of the move.

Should they reject the bailout, their government may even find a few contributions from said oligarchs to keep operating, and the only cost will be a few less German tourists on their shores, which, given the alternative, seems a small price to pay.

In the end, if our hunch is correct, the mere threat of corallito should be enough to stimulate the Euro zone.

Were we in their shoes, and we are glad we are not, we would reject the bailout.  Either way, it is a strong argument for exiting the formal banking system or becoming a large net creditor.  It is much easier for “crats” of any stripe to confiscate assets with a few keystrokes than for them to lift a finger to grab something in the real world.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for March 18, 2013 (PM)

Copper Price per Lb: $3.43
Oil Price per Barrel:  $93.79
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.20
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.96%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,606 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.7%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,452
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,466,100,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,499,300,000,000