This Orwell scrub, a boring summer, BRICs currency, block 800,000 and a celebratory speech.
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A light start for you. We have a tendency to be histrionic about privacy and the State and all manner of things here. Presumably with that in mind I was sent an alternative view of the Orwell classic 1984.
Reasonable to suggest that had Orwell included Def Leppard, the book’s reach would have been greatly enhanced.
“This Orwell scrub”. Splendid.
In unrelated news; WorldCoin launched this week. The brainchild of OpenAI’s Sam Altman,
After visiting an Orb, a biometric verification device, you will receive a World ID. This lets you prove you are a real and unique person online while remaining completely private.
You can find your nearest Orb here. All you have to do to sign up is hand over the retinal data from your eyeball and you’re good to go. To my immense disappointment the queues were huge.
Digital currency isn’t going away and you will have a choice. You will be encouraged to use Central Bank Digital Currencies. The second choice will be the privately administered but state-approved biometric trackers like WorldCoin. Then you will have the open-source, distributed assets like bitcoin. You will be discouraged from using this; but it will be the one everyone wants.
A boring summer
Save for 2022, when all hell broke loose, the Northern Hemisphere summer is a quiet time for bitcoin and digital assets generally. I’m happy to say that’s once again true in 2023. Volume last week reached a 30 month low. Last year, Luna had already collapsed by this stage, Celsius was in meltdown mode and Sam Bankman-Fried was still a billionaire.
Despite the apparent dearth of activity, the view from the exchanges is rather different. Bitcoin balances on the major exchanges are now at their lowest levels since 2017. Lots of that activity is in response to last year’s carnage. Investors know they need to keep their coins off exchanges and in cold storage. The lessons of counterparty risk are laid out below. Thankfully, half a million fewer bitcoins are now floating around on an excel spreadsheet, which is no small sum of change at nearly $15 billion.
70% of bitcoin’s total supply has not moved for over a year. That means those holders went down to $16k and were happy to keep holding. That figure is an all-time-high and it continually ticks upward.
Things are boring. People want to buy bitcoin and hold it. Of the 19.4 million coins in circulation only 5.8 million are active. Everything is quiet for now, but as we now know; a great deal can change in one year.
An excellent article here from Gold Money on the potential for the new BRICs currency. I mentioned it briefly last week but had not yet seen this: Why the dollar is finished.
Clearly it is written from the context of being good for gold, but it is equally good for any depoliticised money mechanism. The article lays out the full extent of the Chinese divestment of US bonds and the impact of rising US rates on China-US relations.
“Furthermore, with much of Africa and Latin America migrating away from America’s sphere of influence and towards Asia, rising dollar interest rates are creating a crisis for those of them owing dollars. China almost certainly believes that in bankrupting these emerging economies by raising interest rates, America is attempting to stop them from joining BRICS, and seeks to take over many of their assets and infrastructure which China has helped create.”
In the context of the BRICS situation it was perhaps not that much of a surprise to see Henry Kissinger rolled out in Beijing. The US has bombarded China with visits this year with mixed success. Kissinger got the red carpet treatment and Xi was glowing, which he certainly wasn’t when Bilken stuck his head in a few weeks back.
“The Chinese people never forget their old friends, and Sino-U.S. relations will always be linked with the name of Henry Kissinger.”
I suppose one shouldn’t read too much into these things but Kissinger is 100 years old. It’s a massive effort for such an old man to fly to China and credit to him for doing so; why on earth would he? It received almost no coverage in the Australian or US press either.
Something’s up I’d say.
You likely don’t follow the bitcoin block count. Perhaps you are vaguely aware that blocks are produced on average every 10 minutes. Personally, I own a block clock which as well as displaying price, also displays the blockcount, so I am now intensely familiar with both the count and the key milestones along the way.
This week we reached block 800,000 which has absolutely no significance at all other than being a round number. It happened around lunchtime on Monday and I actually sat by the clock waiting for it.
Then I saw this:
So profound is my block addiction I even wrote a small program that can predict important block dates. Naturally, we all want to know when block 1,000,000 will be, so here it is.
The blocks will keep coming. There is nothing else like it, which is why it is so addictive.
Earlier this year Christine Lagarde gave a speech celebrating 25 years of the Euro.
“We have now reached a position where people can separate institutions from policies – which in my view is the hallmark of success. They may like or dislike the policies of the ECB, but they mostly no longer question whether being part of the euro area is the right choice.
While the share of people who support the euro hit a low of around 60% during the sovereign debt crisis, that figure is now close to 80%.And the depth of this support has also been demonstrated at the ballot box whenever membership of the euro area has featured in national elections.”
It seems then, that those of us who don’t like the Euro much are in the minority. The numbers do not lie though. The American economy has doubled in size since 2008. Europe is virtually at a standstill. The project has been an economic failure and served only politics and not people.
Given the massive improvement in technology over that period the regression in Europe is absolute and amazing. Take the computing benchmark for desktops in 2008 which was 1547, it’s now 23770; 15x better (the site with these stats is interesting). With these productivity leaps it is almost impossible to go backwards and the Euro zone has managed it.
“They mostly never question whether being part of the Euro was the right choice”.
They should. The Euro era has been an economic disaster for Europe whichever way you look at it. They are at it again with their attempts to kill off digital currency and Artificial Intelligence. Anything that meaningfully improves efficiency they try to kill and it is at huge cost to the overall wealth of the region.
The AI buffs amongst you might enjoy this which I found very instructive on why holding back the tide will fail this time (it already has). Europe needs to hope so.
Read our bitcoin news wrap-up on Livewire: Laying the foundations for increased flows into digital assets.
Our June 2023 report to investors can be found here.
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