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Let's quote some of the last lines of my last article on Bitcoin: "Witness the drivel that comes out of the the analyst's reports (and yes, I thoroughly ridiculed each one):

  1. Theres' Something Fishy In The House Of Morgan, Pt. 2: Bitcoin Fear, Envy & Loathing
  2. Does the Mainstream Media Assist Wall Street In Hypocritical Hypothesis For Fear Of The Next Paradigm Shift?"

You see, first JP Morgan threw baseless fear tactics, then Citibank jumped into the fray. Well, guess whose next? Goldman Sachs, of course. Everybody's favorite fair game player. As excerpted from Business Insider today:

"Dominic Wilson and Jose Ursua of the firm's markets research division are first up. They argue that Bitcoin fails to meet both basic criteria of a viable currency: while there remains an outside chance for widespread acceptance as a medium of exchange, as a stable source of value, it has so far failed. That undermines the premise that Bitcoin could serve as a way of short-circuiting exchange rates in inflation-prone countries."

 And Reggie, Chief of Bullshit Patrol & Related Crimes Division chimes in with a Google search on promintent "failed" currency processors:

Bitpay user growth google searchcoinbase user growth google search

But wait a minute! Goldman's business business is growing at a fraction of this pace, and actually negative in some areas. So, if Bitcoin as a currency and payment system is a failure, what the hell is Goldmam? Of course, Business Insider goes on to report...

For most users what matters is not the comparison with other currencies, but a comparison with the volatility of the currency that they hold (dollars in the US for instance) in terms of the things that they need to buy. The volatility of consumer prices (in dollars) has been even lower than FX rates, even if measured over a period including the 1970s. Put simply, if you hold cash today in most developed countries, you know within a few percentage points what you will be able to buy with it a day, a week or a year from now.  

This is Bullshit! Say it to the more mathematically challenged, my bonus hungry friends. Let's run the math using theusinflationcalculator.com:

Dollar as a store of value

As you can see, if you measure things from the '70s as the esteemed, erstwhile Wall Street aficiaondo from Goldman recommended, then you would have less than 17% of your buying power left. Yes, bitcoin is volatile, but its volatility stems from the price going up and down, while the USD has primarily just went down. You know that saying about the frog in the slowly heated boiling pot of water, right?

In addition, both of the largest Bitcoin payment processors absorb the exchange rate volatility for their customers, or did the best of breed Goldman analysts somehow overlook this pertinent fact?

 

Eliminate the bitcoin volatility risk with BitPay's guaranteed exchange rates. ... Import your BitPay sales into QuickBooks, to report and reconcile your bitcoin  ...

 

In addition, there are cutting edge products being introduced by tall, handsome, charsimatic and highly intelligent entrepeneurs who have a long track record of out gunning Goldman et. al. that allow anyone to hedge Bitcoin volatlity against any prominent fiat currency.

Back to those Goldman guys...

Wilson and Ursua include this graph showing volatility of Bitcoin versus the Argentine peso, the yen, the euro, the pound, and U.S. inflation. It's not even close. 

bitcoin volaitlity

But wait a minute! If the largest payment processors absorb the volatility and market risk of their customers, then Goldman must assuredly be referring to the currencies above from an investment perspective, no?

Yes! Bitcoin is truly volatile, indeed, but the guy at Goldman are cheating, hoping that the rest of us don't know our finance and/or basic common sense. You see, they are looking at just one side of the equation - the side that favors fiat currencies and disfavors bitcoin. You see, risk is the price of reward. For every reward you seek, you pay a price in risk. The goal, as a smart investor, is to pay little risk for much reward. Goldman is trying to make it appear as if you are paying nothing but risk for bitcoin and getting little reward in return. Let's see how that pans out when someone who knows what they're doing chimes in. From the BoomBustBlogresearch report File Icon Digital Currencies' Risks, Rewards & Returns - An Into Into Bitcoin Investing For Longer Term Horizons:

Bitcoin risk adjusted returns

You see, with high volatility (aka, risk), it's hard to earn your cost of capital, not to menton surpass it. Isn't that right, employess of Goldman Sachs? Let me jog your collective memories, as excerpted from the BoomBustBlog post on When the Patina Fades… The Rise and Fall of Goldman Sachs???

GS return on equity has declined substantially due to deleverage and is only marginally higher than its current cost of capital. With ROE down to c12% from c20% during pre-crisis levels, there is no way a stock with high beta as GS could justify adequate returns to cover the inherent risk. For GS to trade back at 200 it has to increase its leverage back to pre-crisis levels to assume ROE of 20%. And for that GS has to either increase its leverage back to 25x. With curbs on banks leverage this seems highly unlikely. Without any increase in leverage and ROE, the stock would only marginally cover returns to shareholders given that ROE is c12%. Even based on consensus estimates the stock should trade at about where it is trading right now, leaving no upside potential. Using BoomBustBlog estimates, the valuation drops considerably since we take into consideration a decrease in trading revenue or an increase in the cost of funding in combination with a limitation of leverage due to the impending global regulation coming down the pike.

gs_roe.jpg

 

 Now that we see how hard it is to truly produce Alpha, I query thee... What do you think would happen if a financial maverick, an out of the box thinker who's different from all of those other guys, got a seed round of funding for the most disruptive product to hit the finance world since the printing press? What if that seed round was for $8 million dollars, with a preferred A series coming right behind it? What would such a cash flush company do, being one of the most cash flush Bitcoin companies in the world? Hmmmnnn!!!

Speakin' of Goldman Sachs...

I anticipate being in the market very soon for (I'm not thier yet, but hopefully very soon):

CTO - Chief Technology Officer

COO - Chief Opertating Officer

General Counsel

CMO - Chief Marketing Officer 

CFO - Chief Financial Officer

As well as skilled Java and Blockchain developers.

Hit me via reggie at ultra-coin.com if you have an interest in coming on board.

Published in BoomBustBlog

With all of the brouhaha over Bitcoin and the downright irresponsible reporting by the mass media, I've decided to reveal the progress of my "UltraCoin: The Future of Money!!!" venture. What you see in the next few paragraphs should elucidate even the most blinded to the prospects and potential of the Bitcoin protocol and why I've always said that the price of the actual cryptocurrency is absolutely irrelevant (much as the price of AOL was highly irrelevant to the prospects of the Internet in 1993).

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 I know I said the MSM has simply butchered accurate coverage of Bitcoin, but this piece in Fortune Magazine was right on the money: 

 "[UltraCoin] is a shot directly across the bow of the financial industry. Still in early development, BTC Swap is planned to facilitate a variety of what Middleton calls "Zero-Trust Digital Contracts," which recreate financial functions in software code by matching offered and desired transactions between parties without the need for intermediary institutions. Because these contracts are automated, instantaneous, and executed with assets already represented in the Bitcoin blockchain, Middleton says they eliminate counterparty risk while also subtracting conventional banking and brokerage fees.

The most immediate function Middleton envisions for his system is for hedging bitcoin against existing national currencies. With bitcoin's valuation still showing huge volatility, Middleton claims the availability of distributed hedging will both ensure the value of bitcoin for individuals holding the asset and provide systemic stability. (Given persistent skepticism, there should be plenty of takers to short bitcoin against the dollar.) And the entire system relies on decentralization for its security and integrity: "My contracts are peer-to-peer," says Middleton. "If you hack my servers, there's nothing to get."

Find it hard to believe? Even children can do it...

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So, how does this work? Well, let's start from the beginning.

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The vast majority of the world does their spending out of a wallet like this, or using currency-like instruments such as these (both physical and digital) contained in the wallet. The problem is all of these devices are "dumb" and rely on central authority figures (government, servers, banks, etc.). So...

Along comes Bitcoin with its decentralized currency that solves many of these issues. Bitcoin is also kept in wallets, like these...

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These Bitcoin wallets give you considerably more freedom with your money, sending it faster, cheaper and with more privacy than the conventional wallet above. Of course, the typical Bitcoin wallet hasn't even scratched the surface of what's possible with this new technology. As a matter of fact, the tech is so over-encompassing and transformative that the mass media and even much of the specialized media simply CANNOT wrap their minds around what's about to happen to the worlds of money, finance and investment!

I've taken a radical step with this tech that makes even the newest Bitcoin wallets look old hat in comparison. What makes UltraCoin different from everything else?

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So, what is UltraCoin?

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Unlike Bitcoin wallets, it allows you to literally take control of both your money and gain exposure to financial assets such as stocks, bonds, forex, options, futures, oil, gas, commodities and precious metals. 

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You can even design your own "smart contracts" directly within the wallet itself.

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This stuff above is a pretty big difference from... this, eh?

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And that's how we come round robin back to that first graphic with my kids trading currency exposures.

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Of course, Wall Street is fearful. Why shouldn't they be? If the public realized the extent of the middleman markup they pack into otherwise low value-add services and product margin, there would be a mass revolt. When you create these products and services on a peer to peer basis, it's extremely hard to overcharge to the extent a recent MBA recipient with little to no real world experience can recieve 7 or 8 digit compensation. Don't believe me and my proclamations of fear? Witness the drivel that comes out of the the analyst's reports:

Theres' Something Fishy In The House Of Morgan, Pt. 2: Bitcoin Fear, Envy & Loathing

Does the Mainstream Media Assist Wall Street In Hypocritical Hypothesis For Fear Of The Next Paradigm Shift?

I'm looking for:

  1. Financial Capital
  2. Intellectual Capital
  3. Active and prolific traders to help beta test my wallets. 

If you are or know of any of the above, hit me up with a link to your LinkedIn and/or Wikipedia profile via reggie AT ultra-coin.com. You can also join me to trade live Bitcoin and currency exposures at 40 Broad Street, Friday at 6 pm if you wish. Equities, Silver and Gold exposures will be available next week and possibly by Friday as well. 

Published in BoomBustBlog

No, Facebook is not stupid for paying $19B for Whatsapp! If they didn’t do it, Google would have!

No, contrary to popular pro-Facebook belief, Whatsapp is not a synergistic buy. Remember, Facebook already has a near identical application (Facebook Messenger) already used by probably hundreds of millions.

So, why did Facebook spend this money (stock)? It’s quite simple and rather obvious, but my competitors in the sell side are remiss in not discussing it... Facebook is DYING as a GROWTH company! My analysis of Facebook's Q1-2013  results read much differently from all of sell side Wall Street's -  The Truth About Facebook That No Media Outlet Or Analyst Has Bothered To Notice:

In my previous warnings of Facebook euphoria, I brought up the topic of growth many times, particularly active user growth. Reference The World's First Phenomenally Forensic Facebook Analysis - This Is What You Need Before You Invest, Pt 1, while remaining cognizant that this was written exactly 1 year ago:

Thus, it is highly unlikely one can legitimately factor in the type of growth needed to justify the current Goldman $50B valuation - particularly when you consider that Facebook's growth is already slowing!

Well, let's see if I had a valid point now that we have clear and convincing historical evidence from which to base our analysis... (click any of these graphics to enlarge to print quality size)c

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Uh huh! Facebook is MOVING BACKWARDS! IT'S LOSING USERS! LOOK OUT BELOW!!!

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At this point, I can't help myself. I MUST point out the literal rippoff that Goldman Sachs pushed as a once in a life time investment a year and a half ago. As excerpted from Facebook Registers The WHOLE WORLD! Or At Least They Would Have To In Order To Justify Goldman's Pricing: Here's What $2 Billion Or So Worth Of Goldman HNW Clients Probably Wish They Read This Time Last Week! while remaining cognizant that this was written exactly 1 year ago...

Just a day or two later I penned Facebook Is Now Relying on Developing Markets For Growth, Is It Working? Let's Delve Into The Numbers...

Facebook is a farce even with the froth taken off of the IPO price. Why? As gleaned fromInternet World Stats...

 image004 copyimage004 copyimage012image012image013image013

These stats are from the 2011-2012 YEAR! Growth has likely slowed more since then! Here's a tidbit for those who don't subscribe that clearly illustrates... When it sounds too good to be true, it's probably not true!

FB IPO Analysis  Valuation Note Page 01FB IPO Analysis Valuation Note Page 01FB IPO Analysis  Valuation Note Page 02FB IPO Analysis Valuation Note Page 02FB IPO Analysis  Valuation Note Page 03FB IPO Analysis Valuation Note Page 03FB IPO Analysis  Valuation Note Page 04FB IPO Analysis Valuation Note Page 04

 

In More Doubts About "Liking" Facebook, I referenced the following infographic from Finance Degree Center:

facebook

As luck would have it, Whatsapp is the fastest growing company (in terms of active users) in the history of technology. Whatsapp also is the messaging market leader in nearly all major developing nations.

So, what Facebook is doing is buying user growth. It’s doing so because…

  • Not only can it not generate said user growth organically anymore, but
  • It is actually losing subscribers

How does Facebook remedy its growth problems? Well, it should be evident at this point, it’s buying the growth! Of course, this begs the question, does a growth company really have to purchase growth? This is a rhetoric question, which leads to this rather painful discovery (posed as a question): If Facebook is no longer a growth company, why doesn’t its valuation reflect that of a rollup instead of a growth company?

If Mr. or Mrs. Market Participant broaches this question, look out belowwwwwwwwww……

Dated Facebook analysis is available to download for all paying subscribers (FB Q4-2012 Analysis & Valuation Note - update with per share valuation). I'm available to discuss this with professional and institutional subscribers via phone or Google+. Click here to subscribe or upgrade.

Published in BoomBustBlog

Cryptocurrencies have been on a tear over the last 2 years, both in terms of mindshare and returns. This is particularly true of the last year, in which Bitcoin (the de facto proxy for cryptocurrencies) has heaved from $13 to $950, making a pit stop at $1200 along the way. This 7,308% return looks to be outrageously delectable to many a speculator and has even caught the eye of an institutional fund or two. The problem is, and what many novice investors have a problem conceptualizing, that astute institutional “investment” funds actually have a problem dipping their toes in the wilding appreciative yet hyper-volatile world that is cryptocurrencies.

The reason is because “investment funds” as opposed to beta chasing “trading” or “hedge" funds seek a measured return on investment. The raw returns that you see spouted for Bitcoin and the various alt.coins are actually not what the smart institutional money is looking for.

Put another way, you tend to get what you pay for. Risk is the price of reward, with risk being defined as deviation from expected return. You nearly never get a reward without bearing some risk to attain said reward. On the flip side, you should always demand a commensurate reward for the risk that you take. Measuring reward without taking into consideration the risk paid to attain such reward is akin to jumping out of the top floor of a 50 story building to revel in the exhilaration of the drop without taking into consideration what happens when you reach ground level. All in all, it tends to end ugly.

My clients are told that if you assumed $1 of risk to reap $1 of reward, then you effectively made nothing from an economic, risk adjusted reward perspective. This is difficult for the layperson to understand since those who reaped said dollar are left holding one dollar of nominal returns which looks, smells and spends like a dollar. They don't seem to get it until that third or fourth go around when they get 30 cents back for the dollar they invested (versus an amount over a dollar, hence a negative return). You see, probabilistically, you can reap more than you sow over the short term simply out of dumb luck. Realistically, the law of averages will catch up to you and eventually (and most likely close to immediately) you will reap what you sow, or... you get what you pay for!

Similarly, if bitcoin investors/traders believed they are doing well when bitcoin jumps from $13 to $950, they may be mistaken. The reason? Bitcoin has a modified beta of roughly 673! That means that it is volatile. Very volatile! More volatile than practically any basket of currencies or stocks you can think of. This volatility means that in a short period of time it's just as easy to be on the losing side of the trade of this asset as it is to be on the winning side. So, you're lucky if you bought at $500 and rode it to $950, but you could have just as easily bought at $1,200 and rode it down to $500.

With these concepts in mind, you should always adjust for risk before attempting to measure reward. By doing that you will find that you can compare disparate assets, ventures and opportunities that have different reward propositions and even different horizons by measuring the risk (or the economic cost) of the investments and then adjusting the actual or expected reward desired to compensate for said risk commensurately.

Notice how, if one were to take this approach, one can see the different risk adjusted returns between the top two cryptocurrencies by market value. Bitcoin is the most popular, but Litecoin is the most profitable - even when fully adjusted for risk.

ridk reward

The UltraCoin team has run these calculations, among many other currencies, on every cryptocurrency with a market value over $1 million. In addition, these currencies have been aggregated to form what we have coined as the "UltraCoin Cryptocurrency Composite Index" - a basket of cryptocurrencies upon which our custom UltraCoin derivatives can trade, hedge, invest and speculate.

These indices and calculations (not to mention a bevy of other calculations to assist in trading) are part and parcel of the UltraCoin client.

CryptoCurrencyComposite Index

The graph below depicts the outrageous raw returns had by holders of bitcoin. It also denotes the extreme volatility experienced therein, particularly from late 2013 onward.CryptoCurrencyComposite Index graphIf one were to place a hurdle rate of required return to compensate for said volatility, the return curve will look somewhat different.CryptoCurrencyComposite Index graph - adjusted

As you can see, all that glitters is not necessarily gold! I will be pushing for the beta release of the UltraCoin client quite soon, quite possibly at the Berlin Bicoin conference. In the meantime, for those of you who have not had a chance to play with the software, here are a few screen shots.

currency transalation errortest 

Published in BoomBustBlog

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This is a very educational show put on by Kim Greenhouse of "It's Rainmaking Time". She is one of the very few who eschew the soundbite driven media economy and chooses the long format, deep dive approach. While it may be too long for ADD crowd, it digs deep into a not so simple subject to foster understanding and comprehension. This was a pretty good show with an interesting cast of guests:

  • Reggie Middleton - brash blogger, entrepenurial investor and founder of UltraCoin ZeroTrust financial contracts
  • RootEleven founder, visionary, and Bitcoin programmer Andreas Antonopolous, who will explain why Bitcoin is like "the internet for money".
  • Bitcoin trader and programmer Dave Scotese will provide deep thinking about what makes Bitcoin so important, and why the public should be involved in its development.
  • Sam Guzik, one of the most sophisticated and knowledgeable SEC lawyers regarding crowdfunding and investment, will cut through the hype, misinformation, and wrong perceptions surrounding equity crowdfunding to highlight current SEC conditions and real opportunities in the crowdfunding arena.

This show is over an hour and a half long and I don't want the contet to be avoided simply because of its length, so I have included a hyperlinked menu below to assist in navigating to the topcis of your individual interests.

Published in BoomBustBlog

Bloomberg reports Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Britain’s biggest government-owned lender, is on track for its largest pretax loss since 2008 after setting aside 3.1 billion pounds more ($5.1 billion) for legal and compensation claims. We will delve into this report in detail, but first a little background so we're all viewing 20/20.

I've been spending a lot of time rebuilding the banking system as software over a cryptocurrency framework. Basically, I'm building a more efficient, more "Trustworthy" financial system. Many are doubtful of these endeavors. I say, don't underestimate the effort. For one, a more efficient, more trustworthy system is sorely needed. Here we are, 7 years after the start of the great financial trainwreck that I'm known for predicting, and I'm still at it doing the same thing to the same industry. This is only possible when there's a structural problem in the industry. A problem that rapid advancements in technology are ripe to solve.

On Thursday, 11 April 2013 I penned, I Illustrate How The Irish Banking Cancer Spreads To The UK Taxpayer And Metastasizes Through US Markets! wherein I clearly illustrated that RBS is materially understating its liabilities AND even went so far as to include links to the SEC and the UK banking regulator so that US/UK taxpayers and investors can notify our erstwhile regulator(s) to the potential of financial shenanigans. The root of the problem is that RBS has materially under-reported its liabilities (in my oh so humble opinion.) Those that stress tested RBS (the same erstwhile professionals that allowed the Irish banks to pass their stress tests 3 months before they started collapsing) apparently overlooked humongous swaths of liabilities. 

The amount of evidence that I produced to back my claims was prodigous...

What happened behind closed doors?

Ulster Bank gave a first floating charge in favor of the Central Bank of Ireland (an arm of the European Central Bank) and the Financial Services Authority of Ireland. U.S. investors would have had to rely on the contents of The Royal Bank of Scotland's 2008 Annual Accounts which apparently (in my opinion) concealed the existence of the CRO registered charges to the Bank of Ireland.

Ulster Bank RBS charge doc 2 Page 1

Now, back to the Bloomberg article...

The provision includes 1.9 billion pounds for lawsuits and fines tied mostly to the sale of $91 billion of mortgage-backed securities from 2005 to 2007, the lender said yesterday. It follows agreements Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS AG (UBSN) struck with U.S. regulators to settle claims they didn’t provide adequate disclosure about mortgage-backed debt sold in the housing bubble that preceded the 2008 financial crisis.

Are they referring to claims similar to the ones I made that RBS  bought Ulster Bank full of unrecognized mortgage crap, levered up off it and hid the debt? I strongly suggest my readers brush up on how The Irish Banking Cancer Spreads to the UK.

More than five years after giving RBS the biggest bank bailout in history, the government still hasn’t been able to cut its 80 percent stake.

... “When the crisis broke, the bank was involved in a number of different businesses in multiple countries that have subsequently faced heavy scrutiny by customers and regulators,” McEwan, 56, said in yesterday’s statement. “The scale of the bad decisions during that period means that some problems are still just emerging.”

... The charges led the bank to cut its forecast for its core Tier 1 capital ratio, a measure of financial strength. RBS expects the ratio will be about 11 percent at the end of 2013, or as much as 8.5 percent under the latest rules set by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. That’s down from the company’s estimate of 11.6 percent and 9.1 percent in November.

“Fronting up to our past mistakes is very expensive, but RBS is a much stronger bank that can deal with these costs on its own while running a good capital position,” McEwan said on the call. “Dealing with these litigation and conduct issues is essential if we are to move the bank forward.”

Well, I still haven't noticed them come clean on the Ulster Bank charge issue. If they really are going to "Front[ing] up... past mistakes" then they really need to address this, no? If the Ulster Bank charges are included in the Basel capitalization guidelines, then RBS needs a bailout, and needs one Now! It doesn't end their though. On Monday, 20 May 2013 I queried Who is RBS? Royal BS... or the Royal Bank of Scotland, to wit:

"An independent Scotland would have an exceptionally large banking sector compared to the size of its economy - with banking assets of more than 1250 percent of Scottish [gross domestic product] - making it more vulnerable to financial shocks and the volatility of the sector," the Treasury report said on Monday.

The report pointed out Scotland's banking exposure would dwarf that of Iceland and Cyprus, two countries that faced severe banking collapses in recent years. Iceland's banks, for example, had assets equivalent to 880 per cent of GDP, while Cyprus, which faced a banking crisis in March, had total banking assets of around 700 per cent of GDP.

The report as cited by the article then goes on to make more direct comparisons to Cyprus, not unlike I did two months ago, but with Ireland (see As Forewarned, The Irish Savers Have Just Been "Cyprus'd", And There's MUCH MORE "Cyprusing" To Come). 

"At the end of September 2012, the two largest banks – the Cyprus Popular Bank and Bank of Cyprus – had assets in the region of 210 per cent and 175 per cent of Cyprus's GDP respectively."

"It is worth noting that, if Scotland became independent, its banking sector would be similarly concentrated (with two large players, Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland and a number of smaller firms), and that an independent Scotland's domestic banking sector would be likely to be significantly larger than that of Cyprus (assuming no change to firms' domicile arrangements)."

I penned, I Illustrate How The Irish Banking Cancer Spreads To The UK Taxpayer And Metastasizes Through US Markets! wherein I clearly illustrated that RBS is materially understating its liabilities AND even went so far as to include links to the SEC and the UK banking regulator so that US/UK taxpayers and investors can notify our erstwhile regulator(s) to the potential of financial shenanigans. The root of the problem is that RBS has materially under-reported its liabilities (in my oh so humble opinion.) Those that stress tested RBS (the same erstwhile professionals that allowed the Irish banks to pass their stress tests 3 months before they started collapsing) apparently overlooked humongous swaths of liabilities. The charge documents referred to in the aforelinked article are definitively not apparent in the recent bank stress testing’ conducted by the European Banking Authority, at least not in the summary results that the EBA have made available. For those who are still skeptical, I beg thee reference the RBS Stress Test download.

To think, there are actually many who query as to why I seek to make a more efficient financial system...

With the latest advances in technology, I can literally replace large swaths of bank functions with software. Software that doesn't lie, cheat, steal, or screw you for a bonus! Zero Trust software...

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If the RBS/Ulster Bank mortgage-backed secutities would have been traded through UltraCoin, rehyppthecation, double-spending, over-leverage, and thrice pledged assets would have been a thing of the past. These contracts are overollateralized (200%) and use no leverage, yet still hold the promise of significant return, not to mention a mere fraction of the cost of the big bank stuff. Will the dawn of this technology herald the end of fractional reserve banking as we know it?

Let it be known, Wall Street banks' profit margin IS my business model!!!

Published in BoomBustBlog

Here is the next segment in the presentations given at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami Beach.

Published in BoomBustBlog

A screen shot of the page before the valuation section of the BoomBustBlog Apple Q3 update...

Apple forecast justified

Apple has peformed EXACTLY as forecast. There's not much more to include here except for a subscription link (subscribe here)...

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Published in BoomBustBlog

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My Twitter followers know that I attended the North American Bitcoin Conference in S. Beach Miami last weekend. Here are some keepsakes from the visit as well as a video answer to the new media pop financial pundit, Peter Schiff's assetion that Bitcoin has no intrinsic value.

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The proprietors of a Bitcoin ATM, due to appear in the states next month.

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Published in BoomBustBlog

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A few days ago I was waxing poetic over the abilty of David Z. Morris' ability to grasp rather complex, intangible concepts and loquaciously lay them forth in the written word via the pages of Fortune magazine. After all, what creative destruction advocate wouldn't get all mushy after reading "Reggie Middleton, currently building a client called BTC Swap. Middleton, gravelly voiced, dapper, and businesslike, doesn't fit the stereotype of woolly young bitcoin developers. But he slyly describes himself as "not quite an anarchist," and BTC Swap is a shot directly across the bow of the financial industry"...

Or "Middleton sounds a bit like an 18th-century pirate striking back against the Empire when he declares that "what I'm doing right now is a direct threat to fiat merchant banking." For him, excitement over value fluctuations in the bitcoin currency is missing the point: "It's not a threat as people sit there and ponder whether bitcoin is a bubble or not. But if people go through the protocol and use their imagination, the existing system is threatened."

Alas, nothing lasts forever. Fastforward 72 hours and Fortune publishes... 

thumb Icahn on PayPal

As exerpted:

FORTUNE -- Carl Icahn, the billionaire activist investor, has been interested in technology lately. Wednesday, he made several TV appearances to reiterate his call for tech giant Apple (AAPL) to engage in a massive $150 billion share buyback. As usual, he demonstrated that he was willing to put his money where his mouth was, revealing that he had upped his stake in the company by $500 million to $3 billion, causing Apple's stock to jump 1%.

Well, my subscribers (click here to subscribeknow where I stand on Apple, reference:

Then, after the bell, eBay (EBAY) revealed that Icahn had built up a stake in the online auction retailer and was pushing for some radical changes. But in this case, though, Icahn wasn't interested in buybacks -- he was looking for a breakup. Ebay said Icahn wanted the company to spin off its online payment arm, Paypal, and had requested two seats on eBay's board. eBay rejected both of Mr. Icahn's proposals.

... Paypal has grown from its roots as a small payment processor helping buyers and sellers of Beanie Babies feel safe to do business on eBay, to a full-on payment alternative for thousands of merchants with millions of members. Its advantage in many cases is simply speed and convenience -- how many times have you clicked the Paypal button while checking out of an e-commerce store just because you didn't want to get off the couch to grab your credit card?

Does the author mean like this?

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...eBay is also lagging when it comes to valuation. The company as a whole trades on a multiple of nine times next year's enterprise value divided by earnings (or ev/ebitida), which measures a company's return on investment. Meanwhile, the payment operators, like Visa and Mastercard (MA), trade roughly at 15 to 17 times next year's ev/ebitda, or around 40% higher than eBay. E-commerce sites also trump eBay's numbers with Amazon trading at around 33 times next year's ev/ebitida and Groupon (GRPN) trading at around 17 times.

But Visa and Mastercard are about to face the same double whammy that PayPal is staying at. Let me show you with video...

or pretty pictures...

You see, the payment processors are very soon to be subject to...

Disintermediation 

Why? Because P2P solutions such as UltraCoin easily allow for such, and at dramatically lower prices to boot...

  send payment costs 

If we were to look at this graphically, it would be comical to compare...

  send payment costs visual

On the commercial macro payments side...

macropayments

So, what happens when your competitors offer a competitive product for between 1/1000th and 1/3rd the price? 

margin compression

Now, back to the Fortune article and the apparent strawman argument...

... As a part of eBay, Paypal is run by people who know tech and know retail, not by people who necessarily know payment networks. As such, Paypal's growth beyond the web may not be as successful as it could be if it was led by people who worked at a credit card company like American Express (AXP) or a global payment provider like First Data Resources.

Again this seems to ignore the coming wave, alas... I digress...

... eBay's aggressive international expansion is helping to grow PayPal's global presence, especially in countries like Brazil and Russia, where eBay is taking off. If the cord is cut too early the fear is that PayPal's international growth may stall.

Stall or stagnate? 

As my readers recall, I've developed a cross currency swap system that allows holders of BTC to dance around two dozen or so sovereign fiat currencies with ease. Combine this with dramatically lower costs and ease of transmission and I see either a material change in business model or... Margin Compression!!!

 This really makes one think... Is eBay a short play in and of itself? I know Carl Icahn would likely get a large bang for his investment buck backing UltraCoin than he would calling for a PayPal spinoff. Then again, what do I know? Those who wish to discuss the merits of an UltraCoin investment by Icahn can feel free to ping me at reggie at ultra-coin.com. 

Published in BoomBustBlog