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2023-04-19 Japan Insurer’s Plan to Sell Foreign Debt Flashes Market Warning

A Japanese insurer with $65 billion of assets plans to offload all its currency-hedged foreign debt holdings, foreshadowing what may become a renewed wave of selling by some of the biggest investors in global bond markets. Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Co. is among the first of Japan’s life insurers to lay out investment strategies for the fiscal year. With combined assets of $2.9 trillion, the industry has long been a major force in overseas markets but has pulled back in the past year as hedging costs erase the yield premium on foreign debt, and expectations rise for an end to the Bank of Japan’s ultra-loose monetary policy. Last year’s surge in dollar-hedging costs for Japanese investors has eaten away most, if not all, of the returns they get from foreign sovereign debt. A 10-year Treasury bond with a yield of 3.6% has a negative return with hedging costs now at more than 5%. That’s making even low-yielding domestic debt attractive.

Tweets: @spomboy @GoldTelegraph_ $

2023-04-19 Intel Discontinues Bitcoin-Mining Blockscale Chips, No Future Gens Announced

Intel told Tom's Hardware that “As we prioritize our investments in IDM 2.0, we have end-of-lifed the Intel Blockscale 1000 Series ASIC while we continue to support our Blockscale customers.” Intel will continue to serve its existing Boockscale customers, implying it will satisfy its existing long-term contracts. Intel's customers have until October 2023 to order new chips, and shipments will end in April 2024. Meanwhile, Intel has scrubbed nearly all of the landing and product pages for the Blockscale chips from its website.

Tweets: @tomshardware @TheBlock__ $

2023-04-16 How Argentina went from one of the world's richest nations to 100 per cent inflation, with 'mountains of money worth nothing'

Before the Great Depression in 1930, Argentina stood among the world's 10 richest nations per capita. But since the 1950s, few countries have spent more years in recession. Today, more than four in 10 Argentines live in poverty. Argentina's central bank keeps printing more pesos in the face of stubborn deficit spending, constant devaluation and global price shocks. Among the most exhausting problems caused by galloping inflation is that nobody seems to know the price of anything anymore — a phenomenon economists refer to as "unanchored expectations". Yet this nationwide confusion about what anything should cost has done nothing to dampen the Argentine enthusiasm for spending. "You'll go to restaurants in Buenos Aires that are full, not because people are thriving financially but because they say, 'quema la plata', meaning 'burn the money'". Some experts believe Argentines hold more US currency than anywhere outside the US. "This is not just rich Argentine companies [chasing dollars]. This is service sector people. This is taxi drivers and store owners. This is any Argentine who wants to have savings of any kind." And so many Argentines spend like it's the end times, buying everything from towels to televisions in instalments. "In Argentina, the world is back to front. Houses are bought in a single cash payment; small items are paid over one or two years in fixed monthly instalments," Guido says. "That's part of the madness … because as long as the money is in pesos, the good is worth more than the money." "The truth is that the only way to save money is to buy goods."

Tweets: @Pat_Gillespie @ABCaustralia @stats_feed @elpaisinenglish @AJEnglish @business $

2023-04-14 Web3 is the future of the internet — and a16z’s exit liquidity

“There is zero proof that ‘web3’ exists, let alone that it would be some kind of new and better version of the internet,” Cory Klippsten, CEO of financial firm Swan Bitcoin, told Protos. He added, “All we‘ve seen from a16z and their co-conspirators over the past five years are scheme after scheme to market useless tokens and sell them without ever achieving any kind of product-market fit for the associated project. They can make all the science-y sounding slides they like, but it doesn‘t change the fact that this once-venerable firm is all-in on the pump-and-dump business.”

Tweets: @coryklippsten @coryklippsten @Protos @coryklippsten @edzitron $

2023-04-12 Banks Are Closing Customer Accounts, With Little Explanation

Because financial institutions have a front-row seat for watching the country’s cash flow, financial institutions are obligated to alert regulators and law enforcement through a Suspicious Activity Report if there’s irregular behavior that they cannot easily explain. Not all reports lead to account closures, and not all closures lead to reports. But if banks fail to report suspicious activity and regulators discover problematic transactions later, banks and their compliance employees are potentially on the hook for all manner of penalties. “So all their incentives are toward closing accounts,” according to an explanation of SARs on the website of the Bank Policy Institute, a research and advocacy organization that represents mid- and large-size banks. Financial institutions filed 1.4 million of these SARs in 2021, according to a bureau of the Treasury Department. That was nearly 70% higher than the 839,314 filed in 2014. Besides the overall rise in fraudulent activity, several factors could be behind the increase in filings — more alerts from government officials tipping off banks to specific activities, increasingly sophisticated technologies to detect them and more regulatory scrutiny. Yet most of the time, the customers are probably innocent.


2023-04-12 Jack Dorsey discusses Nostr with Politico

In a brief Friday afternoon interview with DFD, Dorsey said he had not even heard about Twitter’s decision to block engagement with tweets that link to the rival platform Substack. Instead, he pushed for his vision of an internet in which fights over the power of social media platforms would essentially cease to be relevant.


2023-04-11 Why FDR Limited FDIC Coverage

Unlimited deposit insurance means that when banks fail, the government pays more. More than 90% of the cost of Silicon Valley Bank’s failure went to bailing out the uninsured deposits of companies such as Roku and Roblox. SVB’s 10 largest customers had $13 billion in total deposits. Supporters of unlimited deposit insurance say that small businesses need this protection. They argue that businesses can’t be expected to keep an eye on the health of their bank. But the current system of limited deposit insurance seemed to be working before regulators bailed out Silicon Valley Bank. Most small businesses are already fully covered. One study of 600,000 small businesses found their median bank balance was $12,100, less than 5% of today’s deposit cap. There will always be some banks that fail. Government’s job is to protect the vulnerable, and existing deposit-insurance limits do that. When banks fail, losses should go to those who had their money at risk. Capitalism doesn’t work if the wealthy can never lose their money.

Tweets: @BrookingsInst @EconWithNick @Aarondklein @Aarondklein @Aarondklein @norbertjmichel @MMCOWRD @MartinDKennedy1 $

2023-04-10 Telltale Signs of a Recession

*What is a Recession? *Yield Curves *GDP, GDI & Corporate Profits *False Confidence Signals *How to Position Yourself

Tweets: @jameslavish $

2023-04-10 Former FTX US President Reportedly Quit After ‘Protracted Disagreement’ With SBF

A new report from the failed crypto exchange FTX’s current leadership says that former FTX US President Brett Harrison resigned last September partly because of a “protracted disagreement” with CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and members of his inner circle. The report, filed Sunday with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware, is FTX CEO John J. Ray III’s first detailed account of the control failures at the exchange since he took over after its spectacular collapse last November. Harrison, according to the report, had serious concerns about the way FTX US was being run, including “the lack of appropriate delegation of authority, formal management structure and key hires.” When he took those concerns to Bankman-Fried and Nishad Singh, former director of engineering, his bonus was “drastically reduced” and he was instructed by company lawyers to apologize to Bankman-Fried, according to the report. He refused.

Tweets: @BrettHarrison88 @BrettHarrison88 @BrettHarrison88 @BrettHarrison88 @BrettHarrison88 @BrettHarrison88 @BrettHarrison88 @lopp @CoinDesk @BrettHarrison88 $

2023-04-09 Drugs, Erratic Dismissals and Feuding Founders: Behind Bitcoin Marketplace Paxful’s Unraveling

Founded in 2015, Paxful became one of the most popular places to buy bitcoin in Africa and other emerging markets, with more than 200 employees. Behind the scenes, staff took paid trips to music festivals, bosses fought, dismissals reportedly occurred on a whim and the smell of cannabis permeated the office.

Tweets: @CoinDesk @bradmillscan @CoinDesk @CoinDesk @CoinDesk @CoinDesk @nic__carter $

2023-04-08 Bank Term Funding Program: A Primer On The Fed’s Shiny New Tool

For the layman, there is no dire need to get caught up in the schematics of the debate whether recent Fed policy is quantitative easing or not. Instead, the question that deserves to be asked is what would have happened to the financial system if the Federal Reserve didn’t conjure up $360 billion worth of liquidity from thin air over the last month? Widespread bank runs? Collapsing financial institutions? Soaring bond yields that send global markets spiraling downwards? All were possible and even likely and this highlights the increasing fragility of the system. Bitcoin offers an engineering solution to peacefully opt out of the politically corrupted construct colloquially known as fiat money. Volatility will persist, exchange rate fluctuations should be expected, but the end game is as clear as ever.


2023-04-08 How tiny, cheap smart speakers unlocked the rise of digital payments in India

The sound box device — first introduced by India’s largest fintech company, Paytm, in 2019 — has been a runaway hit among small Indian businesses. Neighborhood mom-and-pop stores (kiranas) and street vendors, who had traditionally shied away from paying for tech services, have warmed up to the sound box. The smart device — essentially a speaker bearing the logo of the fintech company facilitating the transactions — comes with a built-in SIM card. Most sound boxes can read out payment confirmation messages in English and multiple Indian languages.

Tweets: @Nithin0dha @restofworld @Adnanmbhat @moo9000 @hkanji @restofworld $

2023-04-05 Web3 Should Be Built on Bitcoin

Creating new applications on Bitcoin presents an opportunity to leverage the most secure, resilient and liquid network to build Web3. From social networks to financial services, Web3 applications look to convert our most sensitive daily touch points into trustless systems. Eliminating centralized control means that the systems underlying Web3 applications must be as stable and ironically trustworthy as possible. Bitcoin blockchain has proven, through over a decade of unfailingly solid and routine operations, that it is the most secure and economically viable blockchain network and therefore the ideal foundation for Web3. To neglect to build on Bitcoin would be to forsake key applications for the network that have the potential to make the internet, and the world at large, a better place.


2023-04-04 Is Leveraging Real Estate To Buy Bitcoin A Good Idea?

No one can predict the future, but we can safely assume that the adoption of bitcoin has reached the point of no return. This has been confirmed by bitcoin’s adoption as legal tender in nation states like El Salvador and its inclusion on a number of balance sheets by Nasdaq-listed companies like Tesla and MicroStrategy. Bitcoin’s use case as a digital store of value implies that continuous adoption is accompanied by a continuous increase in price, because bitcoin is fixed in supply. There is simply no better technology than Bitcoin that fulfils the role of a digital store of value. Just as humanity never went back to horses after the development of cars, we will not stop using bitcoin and return to an inferior money like the U.S. dollar, gold or U.S. Treasuries to store value.


2023-04-01 US Bank Regulators Waging Secret War on Crypto Says Law Firm

US federal regulators are allegedly waging a “clandestine financial war” against the crypto industry, according to Washington, D.C. law firm Cooper & Kirk PLLC. The FDIC, the OCC and others are allegedly using “regulatory tools and pressure tactics” to limit the extent digital assets have on the financial system, the law firm said Monday in a white paper. The law firm is calling the latest regulatory actions in the US “Operation Chokepoint 2.0.” The operation is modeled after a similar initiative under the Obama administration, which attempted to target fraudulent and high-risk industries, including the tobacco and payday lending industries.

Tweets: @bas_ornstein @exlawyernft $

2023-04-01 U.S. Government Sold $216M of Seized Silk Road Bitcoin This Month

The bitcoin sold is part of the 50,000 BTC seized in November following the arrest of James Zhong, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud after the government alleged he manipulated the transaction system on darknet market Silk Road in 2012. At the time, the government hailed it as the largest cryptocurrency seizure. The government intends to liquidate the remaining 41,490 bitcoins in four tranches over the course of this calendar year.

Tweets: @robert_ruschak @SpecialSitsNews @CoinDesk @broadmode @biztoc @Mahmood88239370 @PhilipObin $