Saturday, March 8, 2014

Bitcoin & Gold

From Zerohedge:
Bitcoin And Gold
Only in a bull market could an online “currency” dubbed bitcoin surge 100-fold in one year, as it did in 2013. The phenomenon spurred The Wall Street Journal to call it a “cryptocurrency” craze, with dozens of entrants. Bitcoin now has an estimated market “value” in excess of $6 billion, leaving alphacoin, fastcoin, gridcoin, peercoin, and Zeuscoin in its wake. Now most sell-side firms are rushing to provide research on this latest fad, while “bitcoin funds” are being formed. Recent recruitment e-mails to staff such a platform reassure that even though experience is preferred, it is not required.
While bitcoin is yet another bandwagon we are happy to let pass us by, the thinking behind cryptocurrencies may contain a kernel of rationality.
If paper currencies – dollars and yen – can be printed in essentially unlimited volumes, and just as with all currencies are only worth what recipients on any given day will exchange in goods or services, then what makes them any better than the “crypto” kind of money? The dollars and yen are, of course, legal tender issued by governments, but in an era in which governments are neither popular nor trusted, that is not necessarily a big plus.
Gold, at least, has been regarded as “money,” for thousands of years, and it is relatively stable and widely accepted store of value and medium of exchange. It’s a well-known monetary “brand.” It doesn’t exist only (or at all) in cyberspace, and it cannot be printed on the whim of authorities. Ironically and perplexingly, while gold, the hard money alternative to the printing press kind of money, dropped 28% in 2013, the untested and highly speculative bitcoin went completely through the roof.
And this is why the Gold Bullion Debit Card has much greater potential around the world than Bitcoin. Gold has a history as money that no other currency can match. Enabling it to be "spent" through a debit card will make it nearly universal as a method of payment.


What it is

DebitCarduseAround the world, people see central banks printing money at historic rates and devaluing their own currencies. As a result, consumers are responding by buying physical gold as a store of value proven to be money for thousands of years.
However, despite gold's recognition as money for over 5,000 years, its not convenient for making day to day purchases at your local store. Gold is not readily accepted by merchants still tied to paper currencies and is not easily divisible.
GoldBullionDebitCard revolutionizes money by solving these two problems.
The debit card is widely recognized by both consumers and merchants and makes for ease of transactions. The patent pending GoldBullionDebitCard payment system allows account holders to sell extremely small amounts of gold, converting only the amount desired into local currency while leaving the balance of gold available for future purchases at the future price which may help hedge inflation.
This process changes the nature of gold investing by making physical gold holdings a much more liquid asset class which empowers consumers who want to hold less paper wealth and more physical gold.

How It Works

After opening an account online, you can use the ADD GOLD function to indicate what type of gold you plan to deposit with our gold bullion dealer partner outside of the banking system. You will then receive a free postage paid packet to send in your gold. Just drop it in the mail. envelope
We will e-mail you immediately once it's received and credit your account in milligrams of gold. You will then receive an ordinary debit card that can be used exactly the same as a traditional bank card to make purchases anywhere that debit/ATM cards are accepted.
The amount of gold debited from your account will depend on the price of the purchase and the day's closing price of gold as determined by the LBMA, COMEX or Shanghai Gold Exchange.
The merchant receiving the payment will be paid in local currency. Your account is debited in milligrams of gold, selling just enough to make the payment in the merchant's local currency.

This product is under development. Patent pending (13/926,948).

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What Happens When There Are No More Bears?

Back when I posted Classic Sign of a Market Top margin use was extremely high and the contrarian in me thought we must be near the top. Today, via Zerohedge, we see that the Bullish/bearish ratio is the most out of balance its been since at least 1989.

Just 15% surveyed are bearish on the market, even less than in the bubble of 1999. Near term that's very bullish on stocks. But it also means markets are more irrational than they've been at any time in the last 25 years.

And from Dallas Fed's Richard Fisher concerned about "Eye popping levels":
In his speech in Mexico City, Fisher said some indicators like the price-to-projected forward earnings, price-to-sales ratios and market capitalization as a percentage of GDP, are at levels not seen since the dot-com boom of the late 1990s.

He noted that margin debt is pushing up against all-time records.

"We must monitor these indicators very carefully so as to ensure that the ghost of 'irrational exuberance' does not haunt us again," Fisher said. While a few Fed officials have mentioned unease about stock prices, Fisher's comments are the most pointed to date.

Fisher did not spare the bond market, saying that narrow spreads between corporate and Treasury debt "reflect lower risk premia on top of already abnormally low nominal yields."
And finally, from  Cyniconomics blog:

As shown, the aggregate equity allocation for U.S. households is now at a level that’s only ever been reached in the Internet bubble years of 1998 to 2000.