To the cryptocurrency punter – “good luck !”

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The word crypto comes from the Greek word kruptos meaning “hidden.” When used to describe cryptocurrency the term is somewhat inaccurate, because for something to be hidden it must first exist.

In many ways, cryptocurrencies, or as I prefer to call them “cyber-cryptos,” are similar to the legal tender fiat currency they claim to remedy, in that they only exist on a computer generated ledger. It matters little if it’s the US dollar or the AU dollar or the Yen, only a fraction of the “money” we are told is in circulation, actual exists in tangible paper or coin, therefore the majority of circulating fiat legal tender currency is non-existent, just like cyber-cryptos.

To be clear, the Bitcoin is a non-existent coin. You can’t put a Ethereum in your pocket, nor will you ever find a Factom in your leather wallet and you can’t save MaidSafe or Ripple in a jar, because these currencies don’t exist in the real world. They are not tangible and void of intrinsic value. They only exist in cyberspace and in your imagination, just like ledger fiat currency.

Crypto’s, and fiat currencies will come and go. Many have already. Not so with tangible gold and silver as currency. These have offered function and stability for 6,000 years. The difference is that these metals have intrinsic value. They existed before the birth of cyber-cryptos in the 80’s, served as “money” even before the birth of legal tender coinage (circa 600BCE), and will continue to exist and function well after the demise of the last standing cyber-crypto.

We have seen how legal tender currencies intermittently “vanish” due to computer malfunctions or power blackouts, and the same is the lot of all cyber-crypto currencies. No computer, no cyber- crypto. No electricity, no cyber-crypto. Tangible currency with intrinsic value? Well, they need no computer or electricity supply to sustain life.

So, as a currency and medium of exchange, with no intrinsic value or tangibility, in my book cyber- cryptos fail to impress, but as a speculative investment ? That’s a different story. So now our focus shifts to the real reason why a significant section of the public scramble for cryptos.

Bitcoin appears to be the better known cyber-crypto today, even though it wasn’t the first. At the time of writing this article, Bitcoin had experienced an incredible year to date growth in the price of its non-existent coin. It had gone from $1,020 on January 3 to $4,668 by September 3. That’s an increase of 450%. Pretty impressive ! But not as impressive as Ethereum, another cyber-crypto. On 3 January this year it traded at $8.36 and today (3 September 2017) it’s trading at $350.09. Thats an increase of 4,100% ! From what I can see the main attraction for buying a crypto is the hope that it’s the “get rich quick” savior many have been waiting for, in the same vein as the frenzied buying of the tech bubble stocks, pyramid schemes and the ever recurring Ponzi investments.

In defense of Bitcoin, their promoters hold the view that with a published cap on production of 21 million Bitcoins, they are one better than fiat currencies as they have solved the “just print more money” inflation dilemma. In theory this would be correct if Bitcoin was the only issuer of a cyber- crypto, but they are not. There are over 1000 cyber-cryptos on the market today. Thats over 5 times more alternative cyber-crypto’s in the marketplace than all the independent legal tender currencies in the world !

When a crypto collapses and vanishes into the cyberspace abyss, it leaves no trace. Well, that’s not quite true. You can always find the misery stories, because when the value of the cyber-crypto goes to 0%, holders of the crypto not only loose any money they spent buying their preferred non- existent crypto, but because cryptos possess no intrinsic value, the accumulated “capital growth” they thought was their asset, also vanishes. Everyone knows before they get involved in their favorite crypto that the “currency” is non-existent, yet they “cash up and step up” to take their share of the invisible vapor. It’s a bit silly when you think about it.

With so many new cyber-crypto’s on the market and no doubt 1,000’s more to come, from a speculative investment point of view, people can only hope that they are backing the right horse in the crypto race because when the race is over, for many, there won’t be a horse in their stable, or even a stable, or a jockey, nor a pile on manure for the garden. Just a bookie with the latest cyber- crypto looking for fresh punters wanting to switch their cyber-crypto fiat currency into one of the latest hidden alternatives.

But going back to the precious metals comparison, we know how much gold and silver exists above the ground worldwide today and at what ppm it’s found in the earths crust. Nothing hidden there, so unless we discover that Mars has huge gold reserves or that Atlantis has been found beneath the Mediterranean Sea and is made of solid silver, there will not be any radical shifts in global bullion volume. Neither can we expect to see 1,000 “inventors” making new test tube gold in a lab to flood the market like we are seeing with cryptos; just the same old mining of tangible metal that has taken place for millennia.

In 1931 when Australia stopped producing its gold Sovereign, the tangible coin didn’t vanish. That’s because it was minted from the intrinsic asset of gold. It just gained in value. A Sovereign back then was valued at One Pound Sterling, that’s AUD2.00. Today the gold in that Sovereign1 is worth AUD3912. That’s 19,500% growth (so far) since the Australian Sovereign mint project “closed its doors”.

So, if you hold a crypto, and are now reconsidering your position, maybe you could go out and buy an American Silver Dollar coin3 with your Cyberbucks4 issued by DigiCash5… Oh thats right,that cyber-crypto closed its doors in 1998, 10 years before Bitcoin opened theirs, and the silver content in the American Silver Dollar is now worth over 1,300%6 more today (and growing) than the US dollar it represented when it was minted.

As a speculative investment, crypto’s are up there with the best of them, but in the current economy and with the political, military and social uncertainties on the world stage, I’m not convinced that now is the time for anything but asset protection and prudent investment strategy.

Graham Daniels
September 3, 2017
graham@danel.ch
www.danel.ch

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1 a Sovereign has 7.3224 grams of gold

2 Gold price USD1,324.40 – Friday 1st September 2017 – currency exchange rates as at 3 September 2017

3 The American Silver Dollar which was first minted in 1878 contains 24 grams silver. The 1986 Silver Dollar (American Eagle) contains 31.101 grams of silver, which means the silver content is worth 1700% more today than the US dollar it represented when it was minted.

4 “Cyberbucks” were the crypto currency units of DigiCash in 1994

5 DigiCash born in 1990 – collapsed in 1998

6 Silver price USD17.69 – Friday 1st September 2017

Women. The silent force that shaped our world… Thank you!

images-3I have always been a seeker of truth, which has led me to the ancient Hebrew writings. As the meaning of anything can be found in its origins, I find much insight into life within these “teachings” that offer encouraging accounts of great women who have shaped our modern world.

Women discretely do what they need to do to get by. Sometimes they do things they are not proud of, sometimes quietly super-proud, but either way, I suggest it’s more often than not a badge of honor because of their motive, but often overlooked due to its lack of “noise”. It would be a grave injustice to society to ignore the fact that women have been the silent force that shaped our world for the better.

I often think of Moshe (Moses) sister. Who was she? What was her name? What did she do? You probably can’t answer these questions, yet she was a significant silent force that shaped our world.
We’ve all heard about the magnificent achievements of Moshe. He was the guy who was instrumental in liberating the Hebrews from 430 years of oppression in Mitzrayim (Egypt). We read of his life in the historical account found in book of Shemot (Exodus) in the Torah. Born in 1393BCE to Amram and Avigdor, he led 2 million Hebrews to liberty in 1313BCE.

But there was a silent force that positioned Moshe. At a time when Pharaoh had decreed all Hebrew male babies to be drowned at birth, Moshe’s mother Avigdor, risking her own life, defied the government of the day to protect her son. When the baby was still on the breast, she and Moshe’s older sister Miriam, strategized a plan to secure his future…. a plan that culminated in Moshe being raised by Pharaoh’s daughter in the Palace1. Wow !! And Pharaoh’s daughter? Who was she? … just another woman of the silent force that shaped our world.

Today our modern world has inherited much benefit from the teachings of this man of the east, Moshe. The right to private property ownership, our courts of appeal and jurisprudence, healthy eating habits, sound business principles, respect for women, functional monetary policy, guidance for family management, rules for peaceful co-existence, tips for longevity, and the list seems endless2. Basically the writing’s of Moshe guide us to avoid self defeating lifestyles and self destructing behaviors, but dare I say all this could not have ever come to fruition if it were not for the strategies of these two women Avigdor and Miriam.

Women. The silent force that shaped our world… Thank you!

What about this woman called Rahab. We are told she was a prostitute, but this “woman of the night” was obviously closer to God than her male “clients”. Her spiritual insight alerted her to a coming siege of her city so she identified and hid the Hebrew spies while on their reconnaissance mission, and assisted them in their escape. Coupled with her knowledge of current affairs, she saw the opportunity to break free from prostitution and protect her family – and she grabbed it with both hands! Her request of the spies she assisted was, “remember me when you take the city” and they honored their pact3. She and her family were rescued prior to the 7 day siege of Jericho in 1273BCE and to top it off, this “ working girl” then realizes her destiny all the way to the genealogy of Yeshua (Jesus)!4
She was a silent force that changed our world. Look at all the hospitals, schools, humanitarian organizations, and inventions that have been funded and built by those inspired by Yeshua. Have you ever thought what would happen if at noon today, all these projects were instantly and simultaneously removed from our communities? Massive turmoil would ensue within seconds. Imagine what our world would look like today if the genealogy of Yeshua terminated due to the absence of Rahab.

Women. The silent force that shaped our world…Thank you!

And while on the subject of the genealogy of Yeshua, I am arrested by the insight and wisdom of Yeshua’s mother Miriam (Mary). When Yeshua shared the magnitude of his dreams and destiny with his Mum, we are told that Miriam kept her silence5. A negative word from a parent to a child at the wrong time can stifle or crush greatness. Miriam, another feminine example of the silent force that shaped our world.

In reflection one of the greatest attributes I am identified with today was encouraged by a single sentence my mother whispered at the right time. Today I can affirm “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world” and so often that hand belongs to a woman.

Then there is the Queen of Saba (Sheba). Although Solomon has been recorded as the richest and wisest man the ever lived, the Queen of Saba in many ways serves as Solomon’s equal. Here is a woman that knows her worth. She is intellectually bright, asset wealthy, and adventurous. What a combination! In the 9th century BCE she travels on camel with her entourage and gifts to drop in on this wealthy King of the “United States of Israel”. The journey from the Red Sea district of Ethiopia and Yemen to Jerusalem was no mean feat, so did she go with no purpose in mind? I think not. She built an international ally with the major power broker of the then known world, and returned with a bounty of “whatever she wanted”6. To say she impressed King Solomon would be an understatement.

The Queen of Saba was no doubt a master of diplomatic relations and strategy, and a brilliant negotiator. Her story offers much encouragement to modern women and is a classic example of what can be achieved by women. But her story doesn’t end there. It is common knowledge in some circles that the Queen of Saba carried Solomon’s child in her womb back to Ethiopia and furthered the Hebrew bloodline. Her silence in this regard is of interest. Much speculation surrounds the Ethiopian role in near eastern importance, but what is not speculation is its history of gross political and military instability, to the point of pending genocide of many innocent Ethiopians. In May 1991 it was “Operation Solomon” that came to the rescue and airlifted 14,325 Ethiopian Jews from Ethiopia to Israel in 36 hours! This is not an isolated case of Ethiopian rescue by Israel. What if the Queen of Saba had not built diplomatic bonds with King Solomon? What if this Queen waged a war of jealously rather that a bond of affection? There is a lesson here for men in current political office and an encouragement for women aspiring to political leadership. No doubt, many families today would echo in gratitude and unison, that women are the silent force that has shaped our world… so again, thank you!

What about Esther the beauty pageant contestant who in 362BCE won the title of “Miss World – Persia” and became Queen of Persia. She kept her silence as she observed the injustice done to her fellow Hebrews and waited for the opportune time to utter a sentence that changed the lives of millions forever! The actions of this brilliant and gorgeous woman avoided the annihilation of a generation of Hebrews and led many to voluntarily adopt her lifestyle, and follow the teachings of the God of Abraham. Her achievements are relived in an annual global celebration in March each year known as “Purim”. Celebrated by millions worldwide, it is written up as “the most action packed, fun-filled day of the Jewish calendar”. Esther’s people could have been wiped out but for her. Today the “Jews” total less than half of one percent of the world population, yet account for more than 20% of Nobel Prize winners! Where would we be today had Esther not rescued these her people? They gave us Lasers (Jewish American physicist Theodore Maiman), Albert Einstein, the Pacemaker and Defibrillator (Jewish American cardiologist Paul Zoll), Stainless Steel (German Jewish chemist Hans Goldschmidt), Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin), blue jeans (Levi Strauss), Science Fiction Movies (Steven Spielberg), music from George Gershwin to Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand and Pink, Facebook (Mark Zukkerberg), Sarah Jessica Parker, Natalie Portman, Zac Efron, Scarlett Johansson and of course Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen).

Women. The silent force that shaped our world…Thank you!

Graham Daniels – January 2017

1 Shemot (Exodus) chapters 1 and 2
2 When I began consultancy on business and lifestyle matters I was getting $15,000 for a full day of consultancy. My clients were amazed at the principles and strategies I was able to share with them, yet I was always compelled to confess that they were not of my wisdom, but that which I had learned largely from the writings of Moshe and the Scriptures.
3 Joshua 6:17
4 Matthew 1:5
5 Luke 2:51
6 1 Kings 10

Panama Papers – tax havens

Goose
April 9th 2016 saw the release of what has become known as the “Panama Papers”. These documents stolen from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, have encouraged discussion on Tax Havens, particularly by high taxing countries, as they attempt to “price fix” taxation on a global scale. It seems there are few voices that speak in favour of the virtues of low or zero income tax, but I am one. I write on this subject without taint, as neither I or any of my associates are clients of Mossack Fonseca.

Definition – “Tax – an oppressive or burdensome obligation”

We tend to look at tax as though it’s a virtue …. and it’s not.

As a child I was taught that if you take something that belongs to someone else without their permission it’s wrong. It’s called stealing and you shouldn’t do it. Yet isn’t that exactly what tax collectors do ? Sure its done under a statute, but no statute can convert a vice into a virtue. Statutory theft is still theft.

There is much talk by tax collectors, particularly in high tax jurisdictions, that they want to ensure everyone pays their “fair share” of taxes. But when you translate that statement, it really means the opposite. A genuine “fair share” of tax would mean that you pay your own way through society and don’t expect others to fund your interests. A user-pay system. To claim that a person has “more” therefore they should be subjected to a greater measure of confiscatory vice defies reason. If a member of a community pays their way through society and doesn’t create a burden for others isn’t that the ideal we should all aim for ?

Tax punishes success, so why would any government want to do that? It makes no sense. After all it’s the successful businesses within a community that foster meaningful employment that allows others a dignified opportunity to pay their own way through society. That’s what the term “fair share” of taxes should mean. Not a compulsory acquisition of private property to fund the interest of unrelated third parties.

Sir Louis the 14th Controller General of finance once observed:

“The art of taxation consists in plucking the goose so as to remove the most amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing.”

So whose feathers are they ? Aren’t they the asset of the goose?
Well that raises a relevant issue. Try this little experiment. Work out what percentage of your income you pay in tax…. lets say 40%. So if you work a 5 day week that means that all of Monday and all of Tuesday of every week you work for the state. When any third party, be it mafia, government, dictator, or warlord says, “I own your labour. You will work for me, and I will determine how much of your labour you can retain”, that’s slavery. Try and resist paying the 40% and as with all rebellious slaves you can expect to be to locked in a cage.

The bazaar anomaly here is that I am yet to find any tax legislation anywhere in the world that states you are required to structure your affairs so as to pay the maximum tax possible. Yet try and structure your affairs to minimise the “oppressive or burdensome obligation” and don’t be surprised if you’re victimised and defamed for your prudence.

But I hear you say, “you can’t run a country without compulsory income tax”. Well lets look at the facts. I could name a dozen or more countries that have no personal income tax. In fact if you look at the figures of the highest GDP (PPP) per capita, you find countries like Monaco, Qatar, Brunei, and UAE at the top end of the list, which have no personal income tax at all. Interestingly many zero tax countries are not “democracies” either, which is a clue as to why taxes increase over time.

Greece is a classic example. The father of modern democracy is clearly bankrupt. The people have voted the country coffers dry…. because they could. The words of Robert Heinlein are relevant here.

“Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader–the barbarians enter Rome.”
[Robert A. Heinlein, To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987) page 223]

Mmmm not a good look for those who seek sovereignty, liberty and a laissez-faire society, which is clearly the alternative I support.

In case you’re wondering, yes I and my family pay our way through society. To expect others to fund my interests is immoral, and the opposite is true. Further, I endorse the practice of anonymous acts of kindness and generosity to the less fortunate in society, and with high taxation we can be sure there will always be plenty of them, and less charitable dollars available to personally help them.

So does the goose have any right to keep his feathers? Well, limit that right and don’t be surprised if he chooses to fly to a kinder environment, a sanctuary or a haven, while he can.

US-Asia.

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A 2004 audio presentation article by Graham Daniels.

Much has been discussed in the past with respect to the USA as a super power, however with the emergence of the European Union founded on the existing European communities set up by the treaties of Paris (1951) and the treaty of Rome (1957) and the introduction of the European parliament and a unified currency, the USE (United States of Europe) is now the second power block.

But I suggest there is an emerging third contender.

The United States of Asia (USAsia) will be the new economic kid on the block with the potential to seriously challenge both the United States of America and the United States of Europe for the prize of economic supremacy.

According to the annual report [2002] on Economic Freedom of the World, Asia’s 2 leading business centres, that is Hong Kong and Singapore respectively took first and second place out of 123 nations analysed in the economic freedom ratings summary [2000].

The most populous of the Asian region is obviously China, which is only just beginning to crank up economically. For example China’s Gross National Product (GNP) has grown by about 10% per year since the late 1970’s compared to 3.5% for the United States of America.
For those listening to this briefing that may not know, the population of China is over 4 times that of the USA (1.4 billion verses 300 million).
China’s current purchasing power is just over half of that of the USA economy (6.3 trillion verses 10.7 trillion [in 2003]), and Chinas per capita income is only 13% of that of the USA…but that’s now…. However if China can reach only half of America’s per capita income, and this is not an impossibility, then China’s GNP would be approximately 75% larger than that of USA!…..and that’s just China.

So what does that mean? It means that the Asian block countries, could streak past the USA and Europe as the worlds economic superpower… if they chose to unite!

Add to this the fact that the United States of Asia is uniquely positioned to service the worlds markets, particularly that of the USA and USE. She’s geographically central to both and has at her disposal the one necessity to a market economy that neither the USA or the USE can provide, and that is cheap labour.
In order for the USA and the USE to compete on pricing they will need to access the United States of Asia’s cheap labour force. The dilemma is that in doing so they increase the GDP of Asia

Some would argue that the Asian block countries need USA capital to prime its economic pump and this is obviously what America is banking on, however, recent developments indicate that this is not so.

By way of example China Life in December last year [2003] sold shares in what became the biggest IPO (initial public offering) of that year when it raised just over 3 billion. But, in February 2004, the company became the first state owned company to get sued in the US court for alleged securities violations, and such is now a clear warning to foreign investors in the US as to the hidden costs in going to the USA to raise capital.

The China Life situation is causing many Asian companies to reconsider going to the US to raise funds. For example Shenhua is a huge coal company based in Beijing and in March this year [2004] it announced that it was seeking a 2 billion dollar listing in New York and Hong Kong. According to Finance Asia Publication [April 2004] “sources say that the company is now reconsidering its New York listing in the light of the China Life case. One banker working in Beijing has said that the Shenhua situation reflects the serious concerns among Chinese companies about the legal morass in the US.” At the time of writing the article, Finance Asia reported that a “ further 9 Asian companies were facing law suites in the US in what was described as a litigious free-for-all”.

The bottom line is the USA is locking Asia out of its stock exchange through litigation and legislation but in doing so Asia has discovered that she is more than capable of funding her own commerce and industry as proven by the Korean bank Shinhan when it raised 533 million dollars in one hour through the sale of shares…….all locally.
The flip-side of this is that although Asia may not look to the US for its capital it can still access US capital but they don’t need to go to the US to get it. US investors are investing directly in the Asian markets, as we speak, but doing so on Asian terms.

So the UNITED STATES OF ASIA, in my opinion is emerging as a major third player in the market trade war, and will be gaining strength over the next decade.

Graham Daniels

2004