The Case for a Free World: Central Banks vs Cryptocurrencies

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Most anyone with some access to media of any description, has now heard of Bitcoin. Many are also excited about the possibilities and opportunity in this now booming market. And then there are those who are involved in this ‘cryptocurrency revolution’ in a more intimate manner; and we often evaluate the blockchain world of tomorrow.

How will blockchain technology be utilized in different market sectors? What are its immediate and long-term potentials? What are the legal and societal impacts? And sometimes; How can I get rich from this? This article is not going to address these somewhat weighty topics.

Instead, this post will shed light on a dark situation, that affects every single one of us, yet very few address: The Federal Reserve’s ownership of this country (and others), and how cryptocurrencies can set us free.

In this post I will argue that a move away from debt-based fiat currency, to a decentralized community owned peer to peer smart contract currency, will unhinge the central banking system that we are all forced to endure.

What is this Federal Reserve and what is this central banking system you may ask; and why do we have to endure it? It may alarm most to hear of this public record fact: the largest banks in the world – including The Federal Reserve, The Bank of England, European Central Bank, up to the International Bank of Settlements (the pinnacle of the system) – are all privately owned. That’s right. Our country’s banks are owned by private citizens.

Our banks are not owned by governments or the populace, nor controlled by the people or governments. This is not speculation, nor theory, it is what it is. The sovereign right of the peoples of nations to mint and control their accepted currency, has been taken away by a few families. Who now own the very right to this fiction of money – that we must work, profit, borrow, spend, cheat, lie, fight over, etc. Yet these families can make it up, literally, from thin air with but a few keyboard strokes.

Want a trillion dollars United States? Sure: at interest, at debt. If you need some more monies tapped into an account to pay back these awesome monies we just invented for you, do come back and we will make you some more. Again, at debt. So where do these monies to pay back this initial interest and debt come from? From the same entity. When all money comes from the same entity, and at interest, there is no way to ever pay it back; the only option is to accumulate debt. Thus, bankruptcy and never-ending debt is built into the system: $21 Trillion of debt and growing, that is.

How did this happen? Shouldn’t the peoples of all nations have the right to mint their own ‘coin of the realm’ and not have a few families punch numbers into a computer at interest? Quite simply, it came about via a multi-generational effort of bribes, corruption, funding both sides in wars, and instilling this central banking system by default upon humanity.

Here is an example: War Machine to the somewhat mildly discontent populace of Erghmanistan:

“Congratulations! We’re bringing you ‘democracy’ by force – oh wait, we mean the wonders of central banking – hey they’ll lend you enough, newly installed government of Erghmanistan – enough to re-start after we invaded/liberated, until you go broke to the interest on this newly invented ‘money’ we provide- then we own the whole show- and in the meantime some of you can stuff your pockets while your country goes to the banksters.”

People were writing about this 100 years ago and more – about the same family owners of the fiction of money that dominate us now. Why has this continued? Well, the Golden Rule helps (i.e he who has the gold makes the rules), combined with social engineering better discussed by Noam Chomsky than myself. But the truth is out there, always has been; it is not discussed as it should be. And if the media, many outlets owned/partiality owned by these same families, continues to chase Kim Kardashian’s new handbag and LeBron James’s sprained ankle, we are never going to hear this ‘inconvenient truth’.

Solution: cryptocurrencies and decentralized systems

We need to be clear about these inconvenient facts:

Fact 1: Fiat money is only ever created at interest/debt, by the private central banks, and by private credit institutions through the wonder of fractional reserve banking: the so-called culprit in the latest GFC.

Fact 2: Fiat money is only worth anything more than paper or binary 1’s and 0’s because we agree upon it, as a society.

Fact 3: There can never be enough fiat money to pay back this debt, as it is only ever created at interest.

Fact 4: In this equation fiat money equals debt, and debt equals slavery.

So how does decentralized cryptocurrency factor into this equation? It does not. Until the banksters wrestle control of large quantities of cryptocurrency, and manipulate the markets, the most they can do is fear-monger and regulate, using the Golden Rule. They use their puppet governments to ratify legislation designed to curb the public uptake of cryptocurrencies, and utilize the media, which they largely control, to push markets up and down, to create the perceived need of strong regulation on this decentralized agreement.

We are supposedly free individuals who are happy to give their all to succeed; yet are working within a fiscal system not of our devise nor control: a system where a large portion of our earnings goes to pay an ongoing odious debt. So what options do we have as a populace?

Cryptocurrencies are a form of rebellion. It is challenging the power of these families and the very fiction of money that they own. Cryptocurrencies are rebutting the system of centralized control of all trade, and providing a decentralized means of trade, outside these banksters’ control.

Also, I have long been a fan of time-banking: a means by which individuals, even corporations can trade goods and services, without fiat currency. They can bank the time/credits they accumulate and use them to purchase goods and services from any other provider involved in the network. Now, with the advent of cryptocurrency we will see time-banking and crypto evolve into one. We will no longer have the need to borrow money at debt, from these families who can make it up out of thin air.

My family and company (Wide Awake Media) are proud to be at the forefront of this revolution; for with media lies the power to alter the discourse of humanity. Fake News is done. It’s time for Truth Media, and it’s time for rebellion.

The world is waking up in droves, and we aren’t happy being slaves.

Sources:

  • “Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics,” Abdelnour 2012, Wiley & Sons
  • ‘The Money Masters’
  • ‘The Secret of Oz’ -William Still
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Future of the VC Industry

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dont-follow-trends

FROM DISNEYLAND TO VC MANOR

Imagine gallivanting across Disneyland on a sunny March afternoon as the delightfully consuming scent of a fresh batch of popcorn kernels pop to perfection. The popcorn maker sits adjacent to the churros chariot that you’ve been evading all afternoon. Yet, this isn’t any ordinary trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. You’ve arrived early, the crowds are minimal and all the rides are operational. As you approach the renowned and recently renovated Indiana Jones ride, you are astonished to find a zero-minute wait and no line. Believe it or not, your timing was impeccable – Gather the troops, the 2 ½ minute Harrison Ford-themed adventure awaits.

HOW DOES THIS TRIP RESEMBLE THE CURRENT STATE OF THINGS FOR VCS?

Venture capital markets survived 2016 slumps, continuing on an onward and upward trajectory through 2017. The disruptors and catalysts with the emerging technologies come out on top. Although some disparity appears among volume and funds, the game play implications are massive. While a crowd-less Disneyland is unlikely, venture capital is thanks in large part to the current landscape.

As evident of Disney purchasing rival studio 20th Century Fox (the most significant cataclysm for the film industry in the 21st Century), VCs too aren’t short on cash. Lines are blurred and technology is changing the game for the industry – GET IT EARLY.

HOW CAN QUALIFIED COMPANIES GAIN A COMPETITIVE EDGE, AVOID DREADED WAIT TIMES AND TAKE A PIECE OF THE PIE? (theme park visit is optional)

Top 8 hand-picked Predictions for the Venture Capital Industry in the next decade:

  1. Technology/Big data/Automation etc. will continue driving M&A deals
  2. Full-stack professional services a trend evident by investor acclimate
  3. Venture funds will revive their passion for early-stage investments
  4. “Truly Great” companies will sidestep the venture funding circus altogether
  5. Investors receive larger stakes & are integral to the start-up team
  6. Increased liquidity, accountability and transparency is vital
  7. It’s a performance game folks. Personal + Professional Brand Synergy is instrumental
  8. Innovation, experimentation and crowdfunding lead to different types of VCs

For detailed predications and insights click here.

ON THE HORIZON

In the midst of the capital market’s landscape, regulatory overhauls, and record-breaking technology M&As with no sign of reprisal, 2020 will look very different than it does today.

Then, too, there is the surging stock market and, by extension, the rebound in technology IPOs. This has been fueled not only by a strengthening economy but by President-elect Donald Trump’s push to bolster the economy further by reducing taxes, streamlining regulations and sparking major infrastructure development.

Furthermore, the implications of evolving social organizations are worth noting. The New York based think-tank, Financial Policy Council (FPC) captures this trend in a June 2017 article titled, “Financial Power of Impact Investing.” It states:

“For many years the divide between instruments of philanthropy and investing has been clear cut. Investing strategies typically did not involve social organizations focused on non-governmental organization (NGO) concerns. However, the advent of millennial investing power, the rise of social enterprises, and the need for further asset diversification have blurred the line between both industries.”

Lastly, venture is still fairly segmented by geography. As localized hubs become more sophisticated and efficient, venture will truly be a global play.

What’s your power play?

CONNECT + CREATE:

Feature your brand and/or business:

  • Submit your thought-provoking, insightful, and note-worthy content or insights to contact@brandzainc.com or by simply including the hashtag – #VentureImpact in your comment below.
  • Diverse viewpoints and co-publications welcome. No industry, individual or inspiration is off limits.
  • Be featured in future publications.

Zana Nesheiwat is Founder of Brand ZA Inc., an integrated business solutions and impact-branding firm specializing in financial services, public policy, and technology. With global operations from Los Angeles to Dubai, the firm equips clients with intelligence and resources to effectively bridge business goals with turnkey brand strategy – driving growth across all touch points.

REFERENCES:

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Bitcoin: Drawing the Line Between Investors and Gamblers

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People who bought and held their .01 bitcoins from 2010 could have enjoyed an increase in value of 119,999,900 percent. If you spent $100 on the most popular digital currency then and didn’t sell or lose your fortune to hackers, your electronic coins might be worth about $120 million today. Those are pretty incredible returns, and few people regret buying a few bitcoins back in the day, holding onto them, and reaping the benefits. Of course, none of that offers any guarantees that the value of this or any other digital currency will continue to rise like this or even continue to increase at all.

Is Buying Bitcoin Investing or Gambling?

In fact, it’s possible to argue that the very thing that maintains today’s value is past performance. As you should know from reading any prospectus, past performance doesn’t ever guarantee future returns. If you can afford it and want to spend some money on digital currency, that’s your choice. However, you really should first spend some time considering what it really means to buy bitcoin.

When you buy some bitcoin, are you investing or speculating? In order to figure this out, you first have to decide if bitcoin qualifies as an investment. This question usually sparks a lot of contentious debates among people who are considered financial experts. Aswath Damodaran teaches at NYU’s Stern School of Business. He’s often referred to as the “Dean of Valuation” for his work valuing various assets.

Professor Damodaran divides all investments into four main categories:

  • Assets
  • Commodities
  • Currencies
  • Collectibles

He says it’s easy to dismiss digital currency like bitcoin as an asset, commodity, or collectible. This digital currency doesn’t generate income on its own like a rental property, an asset that you can touch. You can’t consider bitcoin a raw material like a commodity. It certainly isn’t a collectible.

If nothing else, Damodarian is willing to say that bitcoin might be a type of currency, but he also has gone on to comment that bitcoin isn’t a very good currency. These are some reasons that bitcoin hasn’t yet become a good currency even if it might be loosely classified as one:

  • It’s not that easy to trade nor commonly accept by most vendors.
  • If you do find vendors who accept it as payment, they probably won’t give you an actual price until the moment you want to make a trade just because the value is very volatile.

If bitcoin is an investment, it’s hard to classify. You might call it a currency just because it really isn’t anything else.

Professor Damodaran is not at all a fierce critic of electronic currency and doesn’t believe it’s any sort of fraud or Ponzi scheme. He just says it’s impossible to value right now. You can only trade it or price it. You can find many tougher critics than Damodaran, so it’s worthwhile to consider the words of a fairly unbiased scholar and recognized expert in the field.

He does say that if future technology makes it easier to spend bitcoin or other electronic currencies, he might offer a revised opinion. Still, it might be that blockchain technology and not the electronic currency that really has the value. If that’s true, another electronic currency or even a different kind of technology could replace bitcoin.

Should You Regard Bitcoin as an Investment or Speculation?

Just as you know, you should never sell in a panic, it’s also prudent to be wary of buying in a panic. Right now, you might regard bitcoin as something that’s interesting to study or even risk whatever you can afford to lose. If you want to invest in order to secure your retirement, earn profits, or meet other financial goals, you should probably look for something that’s easier to classify as an investment. More important, you will probably be prudent to find an investment that’s easier to value.

If experts are having a hard time telling if or when this will all come crashing down, it can be easy to see this as a gamble. Some people are fine with putting their savings on the line in hopes that things will go the way they guess, but more savvy investors will typically take the “boring” route and put in the hard work required to ensure their financial growth.

Now you know

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The Financial Power of Impact Investing

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For many years the divide between instruments of philanthropy and investing has been clear cut. Investing strategies typically did not involve social organizations focused on non-governmental organization (NGO) concerns. However, the advent of millennial investing power, the rise of social enterprises, and the need for further asset diversification have blurred the line between both industries. Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) investing, informally known as impact investing, is on the rise with both active and passive investors. For example, ESG assets under supervision at Goldman Sachs have grown from US$3.8bn in 2015 to US$6.5bn end of fiscal 2016. As Goldman Sachs poignantly stated, ESG investing is now mainstream even within the pension fund and insurance sectors.

Even though financing social causes has overlapped between philanthropy and ESG investing, by no means is the latter non-profit seeking. First, while impact investing may dive into sectors once thought as solely philanthropic, let us make it clear that the investing strategies used to generate returns do not veer from tradition asset management practices. Specific return objectives are set, even if the companies that are in the portfolio may comprise all social enterprises. In fact, Goldman Sachs recommends that investors should be even more aggressive with risk/return analyses when it comes to ESG portfolios, to ensure even more accountability. Traditional sectors tend to put the bottom line first by nature, so it is of utmost importance to hold for-profit social enterprises accountable for revenue and profit estimates.

U.S. Trust’s “Impact Investing: A Guide To Doing Good While Also Doing Well” gives an excellent overview of impact investing. According to the U.S. Trust, managed U.S. assets committed to impact investing in total grew from US$640 billion in 1995 to US$6.57 trillion at present. Impact investing can be broken down into further categories of socially responsible investing (SRI), faith based investing, green investing, and values based investing (VBI). For example, an investor who is against tobacco use but is not necessarily pro-environment may seek investment in an SRI portfolio, but not a green portfolio. As with traditional ETFs and mutual funds, diverse social investing asset classes are available via equities, bonds, REITs and even private equity. Investment funds including these ESG options in have indeed increased from 55 to 925 within the last two decades. In particular, U.S. Trust’s ESG investor pool jumped 23% from 2015, with a whopping 93% of millennial investors who have added ESG components to their portfolios!

ESG investing is an excellent mechanism to be considered by shareholders through engagement and by Board of Directors through guidance and governance. Rick Scott, Vice President of Finance and Compliance at the McKnight Foundation, gave great insight as to the need for adding and monitoring ESG components to investment strategic directions at the Board level. The McKnight Foundation has allocated 10% of its US$2bn portfolio strictly to impact investing with a focus on US clean water and carbon footprint. Scott enlightens that the Board must call for a “triple bottom-line for financial, programmatic, and learning return.” Boards must have an investment or risk committee assigned to give oversight on risk/return objectives specific to the triple bottom line, and with C-Suite determine the healthy mix of ESG and traditional components for portfolio investments. We have said time and time again that clear internal corporate governance goals and procedures, in this case adopting a “triple bottom line” approach, is the most pertinent form of corporate social responsibility an organization can practice.

While global institutional investors have now become ESG investing stalwarts, retail investors, individual private investors, and minor shareholders may still need direction in how to effectively embark on the ESG investing journey. In addition, the ESG investing sphere has been known to be have quite a few ‘greenwashers’ with more public relations talk than actual profit generating. As with any investment vehicle, extensive research is recommended. Global investment firm Cambridge Associates has developed the Impact Investing Benchmark which comprises 51 private investment closed-ended funds dealing strictly with the intent to generate social impact. From this data, Cambridge Associates created and MRI Database, and uses ImpactBase extensively as well. U.S. Trust as well has developed benchmarks via an IMPACTonomics™ program, which has specific in-house and third party impact investing platforms such as the Breckinridge Sustainable Bond Strategies and IMPAX Global Environmental Markets Fund.

Many have the misconception that impact investing precludes investing in traditional industries, such as the fossil fuel and mining industries. Absolutely not! The smart and savvy investor must see diversification opportunity in line with tailored return objectives. There is financial power in such comprehensive asset management. The end point is return on investment, whether from most profitable traditional, social, and technologically advanced companies in the market. A gold mining company with a strong, proven corporate responsibility background can share the same portfolio as a profitable microfinance company that lends globally to small entrepreneurs. Again, the crux of investing in any asset class lies with return objectives. ESG investing, like smart technology, is no longer the niche market. As Rick Scott and Goldman Sachs put it, the point is to find the “right tools for the right time.” The time is right to consider impact investment vehicles in tandem with traditional market portfolios.

SOURCES

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Turning around the US Economy:- My Top Recommendations for President elect Trump

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The people have finally spoken. Donald J. Trump has won and will be our next President for the next four years … and if things are done right, maybe the next eight too.

It is not going to be easy given the mess he inherited from President Obama which basically sums up as below.

  1. Total US debt, including private and business debt, is today $67 trillion, or just under 400% of GDP.
  2. We have 95 million people not in the labor force; 15 million of them not employed. That’s twice the number officially unemployed.
  3. We have almost 2 million prison inmates, 43 million people living in poverty, 43 million receiving food stamps, 57 million Medicare enrollees, 73 million Medicaid recipients and 31 million still without health insurance.
  4. The US federal government debt will be slightly north of $20 trillion before Obama leaves office in January. Local and state debt is another $3 trillion. That is a total of more than $23 trillion of government debt and a debt-to-GDP ratio of somewhat over 121%. That debt has risen roughly $10 trillion under Obama, in just eight years. This US debt total does not even take into account the over $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities at local, state, and federal levels that are going to have to be paid for at some point.

Bottom Line:  We are still witnessing a disaster in the making. The more we increase our debt, the more difficult it is going to be to grow our way out of our problem with the debt.

Something like $5.5 trillion is “intergovernmental debt.” And even if we did dismiss this internal debt, the government’s debt-to-GDP ratio would still be almost 100% when you include state and local debt….And after eight years of the slowest economic recovery in history, we are growing our debt dramatically faster than we are growing our country—even when we include inflation. Go figure.

My recommendations for President elect Trump

Cutting corporate and individual taxes, effecting significant regulatory rollback and fixing the Affordable Care Act may help stimulate growth but will not be a sufficient condition to stimulate growth. Significant regulatory rollback will help. It is also necessary but not sufficient.

Some more serious actions should include but not limited to:

  1. Reinstituting first and foremost the Glass-Steagall Act because Wall Street cannot be trusted to manage their risk properly. This would separate true banking activities from the high risk gambling that brought the economic system to its knees. Privatizing the profits and socializing the losses is unacceptable.
  2. Appointing the right next four people out of the seven governors to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. People coming from the business world; neither economists nor academics please. Also having a Federal Reserve that is more neutral in its policy making and that realizes that the role of the Fed should be to provide liquidity in times of major crisis not to fine tune the economy, will do much to balance out the future.
  3. Putting the value of the dollar relative to the currencies of other countries under the purview of the Treasury Department, not the Fed. Too much power to the Fed already.
  4. Having the currency of the US backed by hard assets. A basket of gold, silver, platinum, uranium, and some other limited hard commodities would back the USD. If politicians attempted to spend too much, the price of this basket would reflect their inflationary schemes immediately.
  5. Directing to have the FASB to make all banks and financial corporations value their assets at their true market value. An orderly bankruptcy of all insolvent financial firms involving the sell-off of their legitimate assets to well-run risk adverse banks that didn’t screw up should ensue. Bondholders and stockholders would realize their losses for awful investment decisions. The economic system would be purged of its bad debt.
  6. Having the Social Security System completely overhauled. Anyone 50 or older would get exactly what they were promised. The age for collecting Social Security would be gradually raised to 72 over the next 15 years. Those between 25 and 50 would be given the option to opt out of Social Security. They would be given their contributions to invest as they see fit if they opt out. Anyone entering the workforce today would not pay in or receive any benefits. The wage limit for Social Security would be eliminated and the tax rate would be reduced from 6.2% to 3%.
  7. Dismantling Obamacare in its entirety and converting it from a government program to a private market based program. The Federal mandates, rules and regulations would be eliminated. Senior citizens would be given healthcare vouchers which they would be free to use with any insurance company or doctor based on price and quality. Insurance companies would compete for business on a national basis. Doctors would compete for business. The GAO would have their budget doubled and they would audit Medicare fraud & Medicaid fraud and prosecute the criminals without impunity.
  8. Repealing the healthcare bill. Insurance companies would be allowed to compete with each other on a national basis. Tort reform would be implemented so that doctors could do their jobs without fear of being destroyed by slimy personal injury lawyers. Doctors would need to post their costs for various procedures. Here again, price and quality would drive the healthcare market.
  9. Dismantling completely the entitlement state.  The criteria for collecting welfare, SSDI, food stamps and unemployment benefits would be made much stricter. Unemployed people collecting government payments would be required to clean up parks, volunteer at community charity organizations, pick up trash along highways, fix and paint houses in their neighborhoods and generally keep busy in a productive manner for society.
  10. We must make a serious effort to have a balanced budget and to fund healthcare and Social Security. I would propose some form of a value-added tax (VAT) that would specifically pay for Social Security and healthcare. I would also propose that we eliminate Social Security funding from both the individual and business side of the equation and take those costs from the VAT.
  11. We also need to get rid of the shackles on growth and get the incentive structure right with the proper tax mix. Then American entrepreneurs can probably get us out of the hole we’re in without it getting too much deeper. With the amazing new technologies that are coming along, we can probably get to a point where we can in fact grow our way out of our debt problem over the next 10 to 15 years.
  12. It is one thing to talk about unfair trade agreements—and we have certainly signed a few. But we also need to recognize that some 11.5 million jobs in the US are dependent upon exports (about 40% of which are services). If we drop our corporate tax to 15% and work on reducing the regulatory burden, I think we will be pleasantly surprised by how many jobs are created just by those steps alone.

As a conclusion, let me be very clear. If we don’t get the debt and deficit under control—and by that I mean that at a minimum we bring the annual increase in the national debt to below the level of nominal GDP growth—we will simply postpone an inevitable crisis. We have $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities that are going to come due in the next few decades. We have to get the entitlement problem figured out and we must do it without blowing out the debt. If we don’t, I am afraid we will have a financial crisis that will rival the Great Depression and maybe worse.

We’re in a world where most major economies are also in trouble. If the US starts printing again money merely to service its debt because people don’t buy its debt, then I foresee total global debt in the $500 trillion range and global GDP topping $100 trillion. A total global economic disaster.

I have tremendous faith in President elect Trump and his team and just hope all those prescriptions will not go unheeded although they certainly go far, long-term, in fixing a system which is quite dysfunctional and broken.

“Draining the swamp” of our present economic morass will certainly require drastic action tantamount to a real revolution in both thought and practice.

The Old Order has gotten us into this mess, and cannot, or is unwilling, to get us out. It is past time for them to go.

Nothing much in a positive, productive sense can be accomplished under our government, as presently constituted, as it has devolved into a Fascistic, crony-corporatist construct.

Until those who govern are forced to experience outcomes consistent with those experienced by the governed, I am afraid the Republic will drift ever further away from the establishment principles envisioned by those rebellious Founding Fathers, who were intoxicated upon the fumes of liberty, fraternity, and equality of opportunity.

God bless our new President elect Trump and the United States of America…. Time to roll up our sleeves and start making America great again.

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