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Georgia Tombstones (Part 2)
Georgia Tombstones (Part 2) by Jayge 8^J "Project Blue Beam is a conspiracy theory that claims that NASA is attempting to implement a New Age religion with the Antichrist at its head and start a New World Order, via a technologically-simulated Second Coming. The allegations were presented in 1994 by Quebecois journalist and conspiracy theorist Serge Monast, and later published in his book Project Blue Beam (NASA). Proponents of the theory allege that Monast and another unnamed journalist, who both died of heart attacks in 1996, were in fact assassinated, and that the Canadian government kidnapped Monast's daughter in an effort to dissuade him from investigating Project Blue Beam. The project was apparently supposed to be implemented in 1983, but it didn't happen. It was then set for implementation in 1995 and then 1996. Monast thought Project Blue Beam would be brought to fruition by the year 2000, really, definitely, for sure. The theory is widely popular (for a conspiracy theory) on the Internet, with many web pages dedicated to the subject, and countless YouTube videos explaining it. The actual source material, however, is very thin indeed. Monast lectured on the theory in the mid-1990s (a transcript of one such lecture is widely available), before writing and publishing his book, which has not been reissued by his current publisher and is all but unobtainable. The currently available pages and videos all appear to trace back to four documents: A transcript of the 1994 lecture by Monast, translated into English. A GeoCities page written by David Openheimer and which appears to draw on the original book. A page on educate-yourself.org, compiled in 2005, which appears to include a translation of the book from the French. Monast's page in French Wikipedia. The French Wikipedia article is largely sourced from two books on conspiracy theories and extremism by Pierre-André Taguieff, a mainstream academic expert on racist and extremist groups. From these few texts have come a flood of green ink, in text and video form, in several languages. Even the French language material typically does not cite the original book but the English language pages on educate-yourself.org. However, conspiracy theorists seem to use quantity as a measure of substance (much as alternative medicine uses appeal to tradition) and never mind the extremely few sources it all traces back to. Proponents of the theory have extrapolated it to embrace HAARP, 9/11, the Norwegian Spiral, chemtrails, FEMA concentration camps and Tupac Shakur. Everything is part of Project Blue Beam. It's well on its way to becoming the Unified Conspiracy Theory. Behold A Pale Horse, William Cooper's 1991 green ink magnum opus, has lately been considered a prior claim of, hence supporting evidence for, Blue Beam by advocates. The book is where a vast quantity of now-common conspiracy memes actually came from, so retrospectively claiming it as prior evidence is somewhere between cherrypicking and the Texas sharpshooter fallacy. However, the following quotes, from pages 180-181, intersect slightly with the specific themes of Blue Beam: It is true that without the population or the bomb problem the elect would use some other excuse to bring about the New World Order. They have plans to bring about things like earthquakes, war, the Messiah, an extra-terrestrial landing, and economic collapse. They might bring about all of these things just to make damn sure that it does work. They will do whatever is necessary to succeed. The Illuminati has all the bases covered and you are going to have to be on your toes to make it through the coming years. Can you imagine what will happen if Los Angeles is hit with a 9.0 quake, New York City is destroyed by a terrorist-planted atomic bomb, World War III breaks out in the Middle East, the banks and the stock markets collapse, Extraterrestrials land on the White House lawn, food disappears from the markets, some people disappear, the Messiah presents himself to the world, and all in a very short period of time? Can you imagine? The world power structure can, and will if necessary, make some or all of those things happen to bring about the New World Order. “Without a universal belief in the new age religion, the success of the new world order will be impossible!” The alleged purpose of Project Blue Beam is to bring about a global New Age religion, which is seen as a core requirement for the New World Order's dictatorship to be realised. There's nothing new in thinking of religion as a form of control, but the existence of multiple religions, spin-off cults, competing sects and atheists suggest that controlling the population entirely through a single religion isn't particularly easy. Past attempts have required mechanisms of totalitarianism such as the Inquisition. Monast's theory, however, suggests using sufficiently advanced technology to trick people into believing. Of course, the plan would have to assume that people could never fathom the trick at all — something contested by anyone sane enough not to swallow this particular conspiracy. The primary claimed perpetrator of Project Blue Beam is NASA, presented as a large and mostly faceless organization that can readily absorb such frankly odd accusations, aided by the United Nations, another old-time boogeyman of conspiracy theorists. According to Monast, the project has four steps: Step One requires the breakdown of all archaeological knowledge. This will apparently be accomplished by faking earthquakes at precise locations around the planet. Fake "new discoveries" at these locations "will finally explain to all people the error of all fundamental religious doctrines", specifically Christian and Muslim doctrines. This makes some degree of sense — if you want to usurp a current way of thinking you need to completely destroy it before putting forward your own. However, religious belief is notoriously resilient to things like facts. The Shroud of Turin is a famous example that is still believed by many to be a genuine shroud of Jesus as opposed to the medieval forgery that it has been conclusively shown to be. Prayer studies, too, show how difficult it is to shift religious conviction with mere observational fact — indeed, many theologians avoid making falsifiable claims or place belief somewhere specifically beyond observation to aid this. So what finds could possibly fundamentally destroy both Christianity and Islam, almost overnight, and universally all over the globe? Probably nothing. Yet, this is only step one of an increasingly ludicrous set of events that Project Blue Beam predicts will occur. Step Two involves a gigantic "space show" wherein three-dimensional holographic laser projections will be beamed all over the planet — and this is where Blue Beam really takes off. The projections will take the shape of whatever deity is most predominant, and will speak in all languages. At the end of this light show, the gods will all merge into one god, the Antichrist. This is a rather baffling plan as it seems to assume people will think this is actually their god, rather than the more natural twenty-first century assumption that it is a particularly opaque Coca Cola advertisement. Evidence commonly advanced for this is a supposed plan to project the face of Allah, despite its contradiction with Muslim belief of God's uniqueness, over Baghdad in 1991 to tell the Iraqis to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Someone, somewhere, must have thought those primitive, ignorant non-Western savages wouldn't have had television or advertising, and would never guess it was being done with mirrors. In general, pretty much anything that either a) involves light or b) has been seen in the sky has been put forward as evidence that Project Blue Beam is real, and such things are "tests" of the technology — namely unidentified flying objects. Existing display technology such as 3D projection mapping and holograms are put forward as foreshadowing the great light show in the sky. This stage will apparently be accomplished with the aid of a Soviet computer that will be fed "with the minute physio-psychological particulars based on their studies of the anatomy and electro-mechanical composition of the human body, and the studies of the electrical, chemical and biological properties of the human brain", and every human has been allocated a unique radio wavelength. The computers are also capable of inducing suicidal thoughts. The Soviets are (not "were") the "New World Order" people. Why NASA would use a Soviet computer when the USSR had to import or copy much of its computer technology from the West is not detailed. The second part of Step Two happens when the holograms result in the dissolution of social and religious order, "setting loose millions of programmed religious fanatics through demonic possession on a scale never witnessed before." The United Nations plans to use Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as the anthem for the introduction of the new age one world religion. There is relatively little to debunk in this, the most widely remembered section of the Project Blue Beam conspiracy, as the idea is so infeasible. Citing actual existing communication technology is odd if the point is for the end product to appear magical, rather than just as cheap laser projections onto clouds. This hasn't stopped some very strange conspiracy theories about such things popping up. Indeed, the notion of gods being projected into the sky was floated in 1991 by conspiracy theorist Betty J. Mills. And US general (and CIA shyster extraordinaire), Edward Lansdale, actually floated a plan to fake a Second Coming over Cuba to get rid of Castro. Step Three is "Telepathic Electronic Two-Way Communication." It involves making people think their god is speaking to them through telepathy, projected into the head of each person individually using extreme low frequency radio waves. (Atheists will presumably hear an absence of Richard Dawkins.) The book goes to some lengths to describe how this would be feasible, including a claim that ELF thought projection caused the depressive illness of Michael Dukakis' wife Kitty. Step Four has three parts: Making humanity think an alien invasion is about to occur at every major city; Making the Christians think the Rapture is about to happen; A mixture of electronic and supernatural forces, allowing the supernatural forces to travel through fiber optics, coax, power and telephone lines to penetrate all electronic equipment and appliances, that will by then all have a special microchip installed. Then chaos will break out, and people will finally be willing — perhaps even desperate — to accept the New World Order. "The techniques used in the fourth step is exactly the same used in the past in the USSR to force the people to accept Communism." A device has apparently already been perfected that will lift enormous numbers of people, as in a Rapture. UFO abductions are tests of this device. Project Blue Beam proponents believe psychological preparations have already been made, Monast having claimed that 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and the Star Trek series all involve an invasion from space and all nations coming together (the first two don't, the third is peaceful contact) and that Jurassic Park propagandises evolution in order to make people think God's words are lies. The book detailed the theory. In the 1994 lecture, Monast detailed what would happen afterwards. All people will be required to take an oath to Lucifer with a ritual initiation to enter the New World Order. Resisters will be categorised as follows: Christian children will be kept for human sacrifice or sexual slaves. Prisoners to be used in medical experiments. Prisoners to be used as living organ banks. Healthy workers in slave labour camps. Uncertain prisoners in the international re-education center, thence to repent on television and learn to glorify the New World Order. The international execution centre. An as yet unknown seventh classification. Joel Engel's book Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek was released in 1994, shortly before Monast's lecture on Project Blue Beam: “In May 1975, Gene Roddenberry accepted an offer from Paramount to develop Star Trek into a feature film, and moved back into his old office on the Paramount lot. His proposed story told of a flying saucer, hovering above Earth, that was programmed to send down people who looked like prophets, including Jesus Christ.” All the steps of the conspiracy theory were in the unmade mid-'70s Star Trek film script by Roddenberry, which were recycled for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Devil's Due, broadcast in 1991. There is no evidence of deliberate fraud on Monast's part; given his head was quite thoroughly full of squirrels and confetti by this time, it's entirely plausible that he thought this was the revelation of secret information in a guise safe for propagation. However, the actual source was so obvious that even other conspiracy theorists noticed. They confidently state it was obvious that Monast had been fed deceptive information by the CIA. Of course!" -- rationalwiki.org "Serge Monast was a Québécois investigative journalist, poet, essayist and conspiracy theorist. He is known to English-speaking readers mainly for Project Blue Beam and associated conspiracy tropes. His works on Masonic conspiracy theories and the New World Order also remain popular with French-speaking conspiracy theorists and enthusiasts." -- Wikipedia "A human microchip implant is typically an identifying integrated circuit device or RFID transponder encased in silicate glass and implanted in the body of a human being. This type of subdermal implant usually contains a unique ID number that can be linked to information contained in an external database, such as personal identification, law enforcement, medical history, medications, allergies, and contact information. The first experiments with an RFID implant were carried out in 1998 by the British scientist Kevin Warwick. His implant was used to open doors, switch on lights, and cause verbal output within a building. After nine days the implant was removed and has since been held in the Science Museum (London). On 16 March 2009 British scientist Mark Gasson had an advanced glass capsule RFID device surgically implanted into his left hand. In April 2010 Gasson's team demonstrated how a computer virus could wirelessly infect his implant and then be transmitted on to other systems. Gasson reasoned that with implanted technology the separation between man and machine can become theoretical because the technology can be perceived by the human as being a part of their body. Because of this development in our understanding of what constitutes our body and its boundaries he became credited as being the first human infected by a computer virus. He has no plans to remove his implant. Several hobbyists have placed RFID microchip implants into their hands or had them inserted by others. Amal Graafstra, author of the book RFID Toys, asked doctors to place implants in his hands in March 2005. A cosmetic surgeon used a scalpel to place a microchip in his left hand, and his family doctor injected a chip into his right hand using a veterinary Avid injector kit. Graafstra uses the implants to access his home, open car doors, and to log on to his computer. With public interest growing, in 2013 he launched biohacking company Dangerous Things and crowdfunded the world's first implantable NFC transponder in 2014. He has also spoken at various events and promotional gigs including TEDx, and built a smartgun that only fires after reading his implant. Alejandro Hernandez CEO of Futura is known to be the first in Central America to have Dangerous Things' transponder installed in his left hand by Federico Cortes in November 2017. Mikey Sklar had a chip implanted into his left hand and filmed the procedure. Jonathan Oxer self-implanted an RFID chip in his arm using a veterinary implantation tool. Martijn Wismeijer, Dutch marketing manager for Bitcoin ATM manufacturer General Bytes, placed RFID chips in both of his hands to store his Bitcoin private keys and business card. Patric Lanhed sent a “bio-payment” of one euro worth of Bitcoin using a chip embedded in his hand. Marcel Varallo had an NXP chip coated in Bioglass 8625 inserted into his hand between his forefinger and thumb allowing him to open secure elevators and doors at work, print from secure printers, unlock his mobile phone and home, and store his digital business card for transfer to mobile phones enabled for NFC. Biohacker Hannes Sjöblad has been experimenting with NFC (Near Field Communication) chip implants since 2015. During his talk at Echappée Voléé 2016 in Paris, Sjöblad disclosed that he has also implanted himself between his forefinger and thumb and uses it to unlock doors, make payments, and unlock his phone (essentially replacing anything you can put in your pockets). Additionally, Sjöblad has hosted several "implant parties," where interested individuals can also be implanted with the chip. Researchers have examined microchip implants in humans in the medical field and they indicate that there are potential benefits and risks to incorporating the device in the medical field. For example, it could be beneficial for noncompliant patients but still poses great risks for potential misuse of the device. Destron Fearing, a subsidiary of Digital Angel, initially developed the technology for the VeriChip. In 2004, the VeriChip implanted device and reader were classified as Class II: General controls with special controls by the FDA; that year the FDA also published a draft guidance describing the special controls required to market such devices. About the size of a grain of rice, the device was typically implanted between the shoulder and elbow area of an individual’s right arm. Once scanned at the proper frequency, the chip responded with a unique 16-digit number which could be then linked with information about the user held on a database for identity verification, medical records access and other uses. The insertion procedure was performed under local anesthetic in a physician's office. Privacy advocates raised concerns regarding potential abuse of the chip, with some warning that adoption by governments as a compulsory identification program could lead to erosion of civil liberties, as well as identity theft if the device should be hacked. Another ethical dilemma posed by the technology, is that people with dementia could possibly benefit the most from an implanted device that contained their medical records, but issues of informed consent are the most difficult in precisely such people. In June 2007, the American Medical Association declared that "implantable radio frequency identification (RFID) devices may help to identify patients, thereby improving the safety and efficiency of patient care, and may be used to enable secure access to patient clinical information", but in the same year, news reports linking similar devices to cancer caused in laboratory animals had a devastating impact on the company's stock price and sales. In 2010, the company, by then called "PositiveID", withdrew the product from the market due to poor sales. In January 2012, PositiveID sold the chip assets to a company called VeriTeQ that was owned by Scott Silverman, the former CEO of Positive ID. In 2016, JAMM Technologies acquired the chip assets from VeriTeQ; JAMM's business plan was to partner with companies selling implanted medical devices and use the RFID tags to monitor and identify the devices. JAMM Technologies is co-located in the same Plymouth, Minnesota building as Geissler Corporation with Randolph K. Geissler and Donald R. Brattain listed as its principals. The website also claims that Geissler was CEO of PositiveID Corporation, Destron Fearing Corporation, and Digital Angel Corporation. In 2018, A Danish firm called BiChip released a new generation of microchip implant that is intended to be readable from distance and connected to Internet. The company released an update for its microchip implant to associate it with the Ripple cryptocurrency to allow payments to be made using the implanted microchip. In February 2006, CityWatcher, Inc. of Cincinnati, OH became the first company in the world to implant microchips into their employees as part of their building access control and security system. The workers needed the implants to access the company's secure video tape room, as documented in USA Today. The project was initiated and implemented by Six Sigma Security, Inc. The VeriChip Corporation had originally marketed the implant as a way to restrict access to secure facilities such as power plants. A major drawback for such systems is the relative ease with which the 16-digit ID number contained in a chip implant can be obtained and cloned using a hand-held device, a problem that has been demonstrated publicly by security researcher Jonathan Westhues and documented in the May 2006 issue of Wired magazine, among other places. The Baja Beach Club, a nightclub in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, once used VeriChip implants for identifying VIP guests. The Epicenter in Stockholm, Sweden is using RFID implants for employees to operate security doors, copiers, and pay for lunch. In 2017 Mike Miller, chief executive of the World Olympians Association, was widely reported as suggesting the use of such implants in athletes in an attempt to reduce problems in sport due to drug taking. Theoretically, a GPS-enabled chip could one day make it possible for individuals to be physically located by latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, and direction of movement. Such implantable GPS devices are not technically feasible at this time. However, if widely deployed at some future point, implantable GPS devices could conceivably allow authorities to locate missing persons and/or fugitives and those who fled from a crime scene. Critics contend, however, that the technology could lead to political repression as governments could use implants to track and persecute human rights activists, labor activists, civil dissidents, and political opponents; criminals and domestic abusers could use them to stalk and harass their victims; and child abusers could use them to locate and abduct children. Another suggested application for a tracking implant, discussed in 2008 by the legislature of Indonesia's Irian Jaya would be to monitor the activities of persons infected with HIV, aimed at reducing their chances of infecting other people. The microchipping section was not, however, included into the final version of the provincial HIV/AIDS Handling bylaw passed by the legislature in December 2008. With current technology, this would not be workable anyway, since there is no implantable device on the market with GPS tracking capability. Since modern payment methods rely upon RFID/NFC, it is thought that implantable microchips, if they were to ever become popular in use, would form a part of the cashless society. Verichip implants have already been used in nightclubs such as the Baja club for such a purpose, allowing patrons to purchase drinks with their implantable microchip. In a self-published report anti-RFID advocate Katherine Albrecht, who refers to RFID devices as "spy chips", cites veterinary and toxicological studies carried out from 1996 to 2006 which found lab rodents injected with microchips as an incidental part of unrelated experiments and dogs implanted with identification microchips sometimes developed cancerous tumors at the injection site (subcutaneous sarcomas) as evidence of a human implantation risk. However, the link between foreign-body tumorigenesis in lab animals and implantation in humans has been publicly refuted as erroneous and misleading and the report's author has been criticized over the use of "provocative" language "not based in scientific fact". Notably, none of the studies cited specifically set out to investigate the cancer risk of implanted microchips and so none of the studies had a control group of animals that did not get implanted. While the issue is considered worthy of further investigation, one of the studies cited cautioned "Blind leaps from the detection of tumors to the prediction of human health risk should be avoided". The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) of the American Medical Association published a report in 2007 alleging that RFID implanted chips may compromise privacy because there is no assurance that the information contained in the chip can be properly protected. Following Wisconsin and North Dakota, California issued Senate Bill 362 in 2007, which makes it illegal to force a person to have a microchip implanted, and provide for an assessment of civil penalties against violators of the bill. In 2008, Oklahoma passed 63 OK Stat § 63-1-1430 (2008 S.B. 47), that bans involuntary microchip implants in humans. On April 5, 2010, the Georgia Senate passed Senate Bill 235 that prohibits forced microchip implants in humans and that would make it a misdemeanor for anyone to require them, including employers. The bill would allow voluntary microchip implants, as long as they are performed by a physician and regulated by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. The state's House of Representatives did not take up the measure. On February 10, 2010, Virginia's House of Delegates also passed a bill that forbids companies from forcing their employees to be implanted with tracking devices. Washington State House Bill 1142-2009-10 orders a study using implanted radio frequency identification or other similar technology to electronically monitor sex offenders and other felons. The general public are most familiar with microchips in the context of tracking their pets. In the U.S., some Christian activists, including conspiracy theorist Mark Dice, the author of a book titled The Resistance Manifesto, make a link between the PositiveID and the Biblical Mark of the Beast, prophesied to be a future requirement for buying and selling, and a key element of the Book of Revelation. Gary Wohlscheid, president of These Last Days Ministries, has argued that "Out of all the technologies with potential to be the mark of the beast, VeriChip has got the best possibility right now"." -- Wikipedia "In this latest book Joseph P Farrell examines the subject of mind control, but from a very unusual perspective, showing that its basic underlying philosophy, and goal, is not only cosmological in nature, but that the cosmology in view is very ancient, and that mind control of any sort, from the arts to hypnosis, remote electromagnetic technologies and “electroencephalographic dictionaries” has cosmological implications." -- Microcosm and Medium: The Cosmic Implications and Agenda of Mind Control Technologies publisher's description
Hello! My name is Dmitrii Skripkin, I am the head of traffic department at Platinum, the company that can attract crypto community to your project, provides best ICO and STO marketing services and can be really helpful in teaching about crypto-economics. Learn more: Platinum.fund As for the teaching… Welcome to the UBAI! Here we gathered all our knowledge to share it with people who just step on the road of crypto success. If you want to understand the overall influence hype can have on a team and anyone involved with an ICO project, take a look at the summary of our lesson What is Hype in Cryptocurrency The English Dictionary defines ‘hype’ as extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion. Therefore it is only right that we define cryptocurrency hype as extravagant or intense publicity and promotion for any kind of cryptocurrency. Recent research suggests there is a 60% chance that people around you have encountered the word ‘bitcoin’, or ‘cryptocurrency’ from one source or another. This widespread publicity was also catalyzed by the stunning and sudden rise of the price of bitcoin in 2017 (and other times as well), which led to a frenzy in FOMO, fear of missing out, which drove otherwise skeptical people to eventually believe in cryptocurrencies. From that point, many people started to believe in the idea and potential of cryptocurrencies. This led to even further growth in optimism among members of the cryptocurrency community, which, in turn, drove demand and hype to absolutely atmospheric levels. There is an ongoing argument among financial experts about the nature and destiny of cryptocurrencies. One school of thought is that crypto is, in fact, the next evolution of money. Other people think crypto is nothing but a bubble or fraud and will eventually fade into oblivion. Roles of Hype It is a fact there is hype in the cryptocurrency industry. It is also a fact that investors often trade and hold positions based on that hype. But before speaking about the role and purpose of cryptocurrency hype, let’s take a look at the major causes behind it. Ever increasing media coverage has brought the entire crypto sphere into the limelight. Just the media calling bitcoin “Digital Gold” has coaxed people into buying and hoarding bitcoins for themselves. Increasing groups of cryptocurrency believers have spread the idea that cryptocurrencies are a unique store of value, uncorrelated to other more traditional asset classes. There is also a significant number of individuals who purchased bitcoins before the sudden rise in value and are now hoarding their currency like gold, seemingly unwilling to sell at any price. The money to be made in crypto has attracted a great number of miners. We have previously discussed the key role and value of coin miners to the integrity of the blockchain. These miners help support not only the price and the maturity of bitcoin, but also the blockchain technology on which bitcoin depends. Common ICO Narratives in a nutshell An ICO is a funding mechanism that a company uses primarily to raise early stage capital. So far it has largely been blockchain-based technology solutions which employ “Tokens” (cryptocurrencies or digital assets) that are functionally used in the company’s solution, so as to give them a relative value. These days, there are a large number of companies constantly ‘pre’, ‘on’ or ‘post’ ICO. But the first ever recorded ICO was by Mastercoin in 2013. Their campaign lasted for almost a month, with Mastercoin raising up to 5,000 BTC, then valued at $500,000 USD. A year later, Ethereum was launched. And in 2015, the Frontier, an experimental release of Ethereum platform was released. A month later, Augur Token was launched. Since then, many other ICOs have followed. In 2016 alone, ICO sales raised up to $103 million with ICONOMI and SingularDTV leading the sale with $10 million and $7.5 million. In many ways, ICOs were made possible by the ease with which companies were able to create their ICO tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain technology. With the success of bitcoin and the explosive growth of ICOs for various purposes, the market has shifted solely from the topics of blockchain tech and cryptocurrency solutions, to more specific and practical applications of these solutions to actual real world problems. But at the same time, there has also been a large number of scams as a result of the lack of regulation and insufficient oversight. This is something to always keep in mind when you are considering ICO investments. The Power of Perception People’s perception of an ICO depends upon several key factors. Due to the incredibly large amount of paper wealth generated by investing in cryptocurrency, people are inclined to invest with less stringent diligence, even regarding their own money. That is, for better or worse, generally more true for crypto as opposed to traditional investors. Intelligent investors pay particular attention to the following details when evaluating an ICO: -The quality and marketable potential of the idea. -The necessity of a blockchain solution to solve this particular problem. -The quality and commitment of the team to the company. -The tokenmetrics and tokenomics. -The ability to actually bring the solution to market as a viable business. Signs of Market Hype & Anticipation A solid understanding of the signs of market hype and any resulting hyper-anticipation requires a multifaceted approach to evaluating an ICO. All the circumstances, situations, prevailing market conditions, and other factors contribute in various ways and to various degrees, to each ICO. It is important to also understand why different investors are investing. Some are committing capital because they truly believe in the idea as a viable business and are planning to hold on for a longer term. Some people are pure speculators hoping to multiply their money and take a profit as fast as they can. There is nothing inherently wrong with either one of those approaches or reasons to invest! The point is, you just need to know with whom you are investing so you can make the most advantageous decisions about your own funds. The following are signs of ICO market hype: The Social Media Factor When an ICO is looking to build momentum among potential investors, social media is at the top of the list of ways to do it. Social media allows projects to market their product directly to investors without relying upon middlemen, and in many cases, basically, for free. Professional marketers have also appeared recently to help projects focus on developing their project-specific technology, or business connections; while the regular marketing team is able to continue building the necessary awareness and hype. Many ICO projects seek to build large Telegram communities, and of course, schedule their ICO at the most opportune time. If you are wondering how a project is being perceived by the market and general community, reading their Telegram and social media posts will give you useful information. You will see how they think, and a get a good look at actual market opinion. Hype’s Affect Upon an ICO Over the years, too many crypto lovers invested in hyped and overrated digital assets that promised a 10x ROI (return on investment). This incredibly large rate of return attracted many eager (sometimes a little too gullible) investors. They eventually learned that while the price of ICO tokens may in fact increase 3x or 10x; they can also fall just as much, and just as easily. Many tokens offered as a part of the early ICOs either never went to market, or failed miserably when they did. Of course there are no guarantees in traditional investing either, but crypto is still at a particularly volatile and treacherous stage of growth. Basically, an ICO token price should primarily be driven by business fundamentals, such as cash flow and profitability. But the wild swings in value, and the low barriers to launch an ICO, have grossly amplified the influence hype has upon an ICO token price. Naturally, investors are focused on their own return on investment more than anything else. So, that is where we will focus our attention now too. This return ultimately rests with the token price, and the ability of the investors to buy low and sell high. There are four key attributes or characteristics of hype which directly lead to stronger demand for a token, and thus, a higher price. If the ICO is backed by influential and well-known crypto investors/Venture Capitalists, the team is very likely to have a large investor base to which they can pitch the coin. This is also true for successful entrepreneurs with a good reputation and track record. Hype’s Effect on the Team Behind ICO The team structure behind an ICO plays an important role in the hype process. If an ICO is successful, the developers are likely to draw more attention to themselves, thereby becoming key figures in that success. In that way, an ICO allows a project to both fund an early stage idea, as well as to create a reputation among investors for the individuals involved. After having achieved success on previous ventures, as we have mentioned before, investors will be keen to invest based on an established track record. These factors encourage entrepreneurs to try new ideas as a benefit of having a greater funding profile and a tangible resume to use in all aspects of their business, not just fundraising. A strong resume like that encourages confidence that would allow an individual associated with a successful project to partner with larger, traditional firms. Such an individual would also be more valuable on other projects by both providing insight and access to more investment capital. If you stay tuned, you must have learned a lot about the hype going around crypto, but what are its cons or even Dangers? Bitcoin alone has about a $284 billion USD market capitalization with about 16.4 million bitcoin in circulation. Hype brings out the latent greed in every investor. On any given day, media people may be discussing the endless potential of cryptocurrencies, or the unbelievable returns from crypto investments. While cryptocurrencies have a solid future ahead of them, with strong underlying technological principles, greed and fear will always induce people to create a world of hyperbole. Most investors do not really look as deeply as they should. They do insufficient research, or all too often, almost no research at all, before investing. This is human nature. Most people do not want to feel like they need to do homework again. People also become mesmerized by the success stories, and they just want to get a piece of the pie at whatever cost. It is always important to stay calm and rational. Stay diligent. Keep your mind focused on the long term too, not just the present moment. If you become too enamored with a project, or try to convince yourself nothing matters because “it will all just rise in value anyway” then you have lost your rational decision making ability. You should take a step back and ensure you aren’t being caught up in the hype. Dangers of Hype Part 2 Hype and speculation give value to a newly launched coin. At that point you will own an intangible functional token in a very early stage company. The value of what you actually have is only what an exchange or someone else is willing to give you for that token on the open market. The price might move in your favor and earn you a fantastic return. But it can just as easily fall to zero. And in fact, this is exactly what has often happened. When you purchase a token without an underlying cash flow positive business, your entire investment is at the mercy of market expectations and the level of hype in a project. Future cash flows and success will either make or break your investment. The dangers of hype in cryptocurrency can never be overemphasized, and never be overlooked. After all is said and done, it is the average individual investor who will suffer most. Possible Downside from Exposure and Attention Speculative Investments Most newly launched ICOs depend upon the frenzy created by the primary cryptocurrencies (particularly BTC and ETH) hype for success. Most consumers/investors these days buy or invest in an ICO based upon speculative ideas about extraordinary returns. The hype can grow so much it does not leave adequate room for actual facts. The most unfortunate result of all this can be seeing your entire investment wiped out by unscrupulous characters selling you fraudulent coin offerings (ICOs) and scams. Hype can dazzle investors into making investment decisions they later regret. But there is no reason for you to ever make such an avoidable mistake in your own crypto career. Possible Downside from Exposure and Attention §2 Speculative Investments Continued For example, in January 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shut down an allegedly fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) from a company called ‘AriseBank’. The SEC alleged that the ICO was an “outright scam” which falsely advertised and promised FDIC-insured bank accounts to investors through nonexistent banks. The value of the tokens fell to zero. The incredible hype and seemingly limitless potential of cryptocurrencies at the time, as well as this particular idea, led a large number of investors to commit capital to what was determined to be a scam. It is not only that they made grossly fraudulent claims, but there was simply no protection for investors at all. The investors were left with nothing. Some investors were surely all-in on this one project. Some investors had surely leveraged themselves to the max, borrowed too much, and had to stomach an extremely unpalatable loss. These are incredibly important things to keep in mind. Speculative investments will allow you to make a tremendous sum of money, but they can, and all too often will, take away those funds just as easily. Hype can create Problems Real World Examples Only a small fraction of the total ICOs being promoted have a working and viable prototype. Yet, every ICO is looking to sell investors on the likelihood of future success on that project. The Bancor ICO is a real-life example from June 2017. It raised up to $153 million in a matter of hours, but since the sale its value has plunged 38%. Some experts have since found big loopholes in their stated plans and intentions. The demise of many ICO projects is caused by such common issues as no viable product, not adhering to timeline, or a team that is distracted and/or not productive. Other coin scams have also successfully skimmed money from investors as a result of cryptocurrency frenzy. Projects like Benebit which scammed investors of up to $4.5 million by claiming to unify customer loyalty programs via blockchain technology. Benebit proved to be an exit scam, despite all of the major review sites rating the ICO positively. It was widely followed across social media, including 9000 people in its Telegram channel. Many people are still in the project’s Telegram attempting to understand what went wrong, and why. In our previous posts we’ve talked a lot about the cons of the Hype, but have you ever thought if you can take it into your own hands? Managing Hype for ICOs You understand what hype is and what it does. You also need to know, what to do about it, how to manage it, either as a seller or investor aiming to be on the right side of price movements. Crypto is a recognized part of our financial landscape already. ICOs and the Blockchain are here to stay. The point of concern is, the course it will chart from here. It is rapidly becoming the new normal for entrepreneurs to get funding from communities of people or investors sharing an important unifying characteristic or value system. This has, as we have discussed previously, completely revolutionized “business” and the approach to starting, funding and growing a company. In 2017 alone, more than $5.6 billion was invested via ICOs. That huge sum brings real opportunity for growth, and equally real possibility for despair. You can learn from examples, how to manage hype for your own benefit and protection. In the whitepaper, the purpose of the ICO should be clearly stated and sufficient information should be given to investors explaining what the project is and why it deserves to be funded. This helps remove or discourage unnecessary speculation. A good and informative whitepaper helps encourage investors to make decisions based on reasonable conclusions as opposed to dreams and desires. Always Have a Road Map Many ICOs we see on the internet for example, do not really have any long term plan for their product. ICO whitepapers should produce sufficient information on the timeline of the product and the sequence of necessary steps to get there. Questions such as: “When will a marketable product be available to be sold?” “What are the key risks to achieving any goal or aspect of the timeline?” These questions should be explained in the whitepaper, and supplemented with possible plans and alternate avenues to take if certain major issues arise. 6.3e)Managing Hype for ICOs §4 Many whitepapers might tend to overuse technical terms that sound like gibberish to ordinary intelligent people or investors. If you are trying to sell an idea to a broad spectrum of investors, it is important to explain key terms and themes so people are actually able to understand you. If a whitepaper is overly technical, yet seems to appeal to a broad base of investors anyway, it could be a red flag that the investors are confused, and that was perhaps the purpose of the whitepaper. Alternatively, maybe the team just isn’t particularly experienced at marketing their idea. That could also could present either an opportunity or a problem. One way or another, communication with the market will greatly influence the future price of the token. Scam Projects Real World Examples Multinational accounting firm Ernst and Young found that $400 million of the $3.7 billion USD raised from ICOs (as of January 22, 2018) had been stolen. That is, up to 10% of all ICO funding is virtually being stolen from investors. Though ICO scams are the most common method of theft in the crypto world, some projects will actually operate for a period of time before disappearing with the money. Like in a Ponzi scheme, an exit scam may be planned for later, sometime after a manipulated pump; or some other time the team believes is most opportune to take the money and run. Giza: Giza marketed itself as a platform within which different cryptocurrencies could be stored securely. But after raising $2.4 million in one month, the team deleted the website and stopped replying to emails. Investors were duped by a very convincing whitepaper, and actors had been hired to appear in photographs promoting the project. No investor funds have ever been recovered. Centra: The SEC put an end to fundraising for the Centra ICO and charged the founders Robert Farkas and Sohrab Sharma with orchestrating a fraudulent ICO after they raised $32 million USD. They were promoting the ability to develop financial products backed by VISA and Mastercard, though it was later found that neither partnership was real. One of the major red flags in the Centra project was the use of celebrity endorsements for publicity, reportedly paying champion boxer Floyd Mayweather a significant sum to promote their project. Who wants to leave their Blockchain investment decisions up to Floyd Mayweather, regardless of his unbelievable skill as a boxer and regardless of his own financial success? He should still not influence where you invest your money! Ponzi Schemes: Bitconnect: This is the most infamous Ponzi scheme in the history of cryptocurrency, and certainly the most damaging. Bitconnect was a Bitcoin-based project that rose to an all-time high of $463 per token on the back of a fictitious trading bot. The Bitconnect scam operated by paying dividends to users, proportional to the number of tokens they held and the number of referrals they made. The BCC tokens were exchanged for the users’ Bitcoin, and the highly sophisticated and wildly successful trading bot would trade BTC for them and distribute profits as dividends. The value of the dividends offered was approximately 1% of the initial investment per day. In other words, that is approximately 3,780% per year in cumulative gain! The referral system was capitalized upon most heavily by many of the biggest crypto YouTube channels, including CryptoNick and Trevon James, both of whom are now under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Shortly after the Bitconnect Token reached its all-time high, they received cease and desist orders from the security regulators of Texas and North Carolina, which caused the owners of the Bitconnect exchange to shut down operations, and the price to plummet. Davorcoin: Davorcoin was a lending platform very similar to Bitconnect. And Davorcoin was farcically promoted by the same Trevon James crypto Youtuber who promoted Bitconnect, and is currently under investigation by the FBI for promoting Ponzi schemes. The Texas State Securities Board, in likening Davor to Bitconnect, stated that “DavorCoin is telling investors they can earn lucrative profits by investing in a lending program based on a new cryptocurrency known as davorcoin. Investors allegedly purchase davorcoin and then lend it to DavorCoin”. Davorcoin promptly plunged from an all-time high of $180 to very close to zero after a cease and desist order was made against them on the 2nd of February 2018. Useless Ethereum Token: Despite brazenly stating in the name of the project that the token has no use, the UET managed to raise $340,000 in its crowdsale, and saw a significant pump of over 300% on the HitBTC exchange in February of 2018. The scam was an obvious case of pump and dump, with the total trading volume for UET crashing back down to as low as $3 per day, after reaching as high as $350,000 per day during the pump. Indications of Scam Projects It is currently an unfortunate consequence of the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency, but there is a distinct lack of recourse for scammed investors. It is wise to become as well-acquainted with the various indicators of good and bad ICOs as you possibly can. In weighing the factors that will allow you to avoid expensive mistakes, ask yourself in whose favor are the terms of the ICO slanted, yours or the teams? To what extent are you actually likely to profit from this investment? Cryptocurrency is inherently a grey area, whether you are investing in it or not. Investing is another inherently grey area, no matter what the area or object of investing might be. Laws and regulations are not always able to keep up. Trying to define and prove what was or was not a scam is not likely to be as simple as the scammed investor would want it to be. A project can be set up in certain ways to avoid being technically classified or provable as a scam, but the unprepared investor can still be burnt or scammed just as badly. Now we look at more individual indicators that can help you form a valid impression whether or not an ICO or even a fully-fledged exchange-listed coin is a scam or a bona fide investment opportunity. Common Signposts Contrasting Scam & Legitimate Projects Presale Bonus/Token Release If the ICO allots massive bonuses to team members, you may leave yourself open to getting dumped on by presale investors if you buy when the project tokens are listed on an exchange. Likewise, if the project has a short lock-up period for developers and founders, you run the risk of them selling as soon as the token is listed on a major exchange. The token release schedule for the founders of a worthwhile project should show long-term team commitment to that project. The Jibrel Network team tokens will be locked up for 5 years before release, and they had no early investor bonus in the main sale. Both of these factors instilled confidence in the JNT ICO investors, and the tokens were sold out weeks before the ICO was due to end. No Presale lock up If Presale investor tokens are not locked up at all for any period after listing, that could easily be a set up for an exit scam after the initial listing. No presale lockup for early investor tokens is a crystal clear warning, the project may be fatally rigged toward those in the inner circle, with little commitment to the long term health or success of that project. Unsolicited Offers or Unasked for Additions to Groups Characters running scam projects will often add you to Telegram groups out of the blue or send you unsolicited emails with information about their project. Telegram is the most widely used messaging app in the cryptocurrency community and you should familiarize yourself with it to keep yourself in the loop for specific projects in which you invest as well as all kinds of other relevant crypto info. You can adjust the settings on the Telegram app to disallow anonymous additions to cryptocurrency projects if you find yourself bombarded with offers by scammers. Reputable projects at the ICO stage will spread by word of mouth, or by eloquent and meaningful articles posted on their Medium page. A project with serious potential does not need to actively seek participants for their ICO like that. They will often be able to fill their ICO hard cap in a matter of hours, or even just minutes! Anonymous Team Alarm bells, again, immediately, if the project has minimal online presence. The individual team members could be mere fabrications. The entire project could be a farce by utterly inexperienced characters. What if the project leaders are simply unaware of the importance of a strong social media profile? That in itself would be too strange to ignore. Top-level projects will have team members with experience in crypto and the LinkedIn accounts for those members will be easily accessible right there on the project website. You should be able to easily see and evaluate each individual’s experience in their field and ascertain what they bring to the project team. Bitconnect’s anonymous team should have been the only deterrent prospective investors needed to discourage them from putting money into that doomed project. Ethhorse, a current project with anonymous founders and operators should be steered clear of at all costs for the same reasons. Community Atmosphere The subreddits or Telegram groups of scam projects will often feature moderators that do not allow any kind of criticism in the group chat. If, in the process of your due diligence, you encounter didactic admins that only wish to silence your questioning of certain aspects of the whitepaper or mechanism of the tokenomics, you should be concerned. Similarly if you see a coherent critical reply attacked by many different users who refuse to engage the substance of the point being made, that may be a subreddit infested with bots. Projects that have nothing to hide will allow free debate in the chat. Ideally, they hope to develop a positive community that is itself an asset to the long-term success and overall strength of the project. Good projects do not need to automatically brand all criticism as Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). Whitepaper One common tactic of scammers is to produce a whitepaper that uses too many buzzwords, and deliberately obfuscates and overcomplicates the explanation of the problem and/or its solution. A good whitepaper clearly and concisely lays out the problem and answer, as well as provides compelling arguments why a Blockchain solution is preferable to the current solution. Another point of concern is a whitepaper that gives unrealistic time frames and goals. Bitconnect’s almost comically optimistic profit projections are a prime example of this, as are the 1,354% yearly gains promised by Plexcoin. Respectable projects will set out development timescales in terms of quarters or years, rather than offering immediate profit projections, which are simply a red flag. Advisors/Connections in the Cryptoworld The most prestigious projects will already have partnerships made before the ICO stage, and the worst ones, i.e. the scams, will not mention any such partnerships. Icon (ICX) for example was spawned from a South Korean project named The Loop, a collaboration between 3 Korean universities and the DAYLI Financial Group. They boasted an advisory panel consisting of the legendary investor Don Tapscott, Jehan Chu and crowdfunding expert Jason Best. On top of a solid team of advisors, good projects will also be visible at major Blockchain events such as the Consensus, and the World Blockchain Forum, etc. Scam projects will be unable to inspire this same level in confidence. As an investor, you should sense a certain presence and expect a certain feeling of trust that should guide you in your investments. After all, it is actually a people-to-people thing you are doing. Key Stress points upon the Timeline to Identify Scam Projects Post Whitepaper Release The period in the immediate aftermath of the release of the whitepaper can also be decisive in establishing the validity of a project. How a team copes with the roadmap that they have laid out for themselves is key. Valuable insight into the operational efficiency and commitment to the project can be gleaned from the quality of and amount of code committed to GitHub. If you have any experience in computer programming you can see how clean and orderly the code is, which gives insight into the skill of the developers, and in turn the quality of project leaders’ decision-making in hiring team members. Scam projects will have little or no code committed to GitHub, or at best it will be copied and pasted from other projects just to cover their tracks. Start of ICO Sometimes, a scam project, or other project in which you would be better off not investing, will change the terms of the ICO just before the ICO starts. The Key (TKY) ICO doubled the price of tokens on the day before the ICO was due to take place, because the price of NEO had risen so drastically. Currently, the TKY token price is still only half of its ICO price. Initial investors are faced with the prospect of a 50% loss on their investment. Key Stress points upon the Timeline to Identify Scam Projects Exchange Listing Some particularly greedy scammers will create a scam project with the intent of selling tokens in the ICO for BTC and ETH, and then pumping and dumping their share of the tokens immediately after listing. The team of fraudsters behind Monero Gold used this method after the crowdfunding of their useless ERC-20 token. After listing on CoinExchange.io, the team dumped their tokens until the exchange finally ceased trading. Although it is not uncommon for ICO tokens to sold after listing (just like can happen with shares of stock after an IPO), if the price does not stabilize and massive sell walls are continually placed, a scam is likely taking place and the token is being dumped. Real World Example of Scam Customers Fake Ethereum Twitter giveaway You may have noticed Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin’s twitter handle has been changed to Vitalik “Not giving away Eth” Buterin in recent months. This is because a group of devious scammers had created fake accounts with almost exact replicas of his profile (deviating by only one character). The fake accounts promised to deposit 1 whole ETH for every 0.1 ETH the potential sucker deposited into the wallet address provided by the scammer. These fake account “Ether giveaway” scam tweets were set up to be sent in just a matter of seconds after the real person tweeted, and usually always appear immediately after the tweet of the real public figure. Fake bot profiles then came into play, thanking the fake Vitalik, or fake Elon Musk, for holding up their end of the bargain and depositing the ETH as promised. One scammer, or group of scammers, managed to fill a wallet up with almost $20 thousand worth of ETH, which they transferred out, never to be seen or heard from again. Effect of Scam Customers, Upon the Affected Parties Of course, this is no fun for the targeted public figure either. They need to take steps to avoid being targeted again. This will mean changing their handle, their username, or making their accounts private. However, the injured party with whom we are most concerned is the unfortunate scammed social media user, who has no chance whatsoever of getting his or her funds back, ever. It is a harsh lesson to learn. But it is a fact of crypto reality. Nearly every one that trades crypto will at least be exposed to frauds or scams in one way or another. In this case, we think it is better to learn about scams by studying them, rather than learn from your own unfortunate and expensive experience. In the case of Mr. Buterin, these incidents were awful public relations for the Ethereum project. It had only been a few years since cryptocurrency as a whole was primarily associated with criminality and seedy transactions on the Darkweb. Any connection with unscrupulous behavior is best avoided at all costs. Negative associations could have been particularly damaging for Ethereum’s brand because the vast majority of ICO fraud is committed using the ERC-20 token as the template for the scam tokens. Effect of Scam Customers on the Market Any and all the scamming or fraudulent behavior in the cryptocurrency ecosystem is bound to have a negative impact on the speed at which mainstream uptake finally takes place. Cryptocurrencies, as an emerging asset class, will be painted in the worst possible light. Crypto is aiming to, and is in fact in the process of, causing great disruption in traditional centralized finance and business. Mainstream media organizations are also part of that traditional centralized economy. Press coverage will be damning. Something is happening here, but Mr. Jones doesn’t know what it is. Legal Recourse for Scams We clearly understand, there is a possibility of being scammed. We know the scams are happening. The SEC has made some arrests and actually charged people for operating fraudulent ICOs. But it is a struggle to deal with the flood of ICOs coming from anywhere at any time. The SEC filed charges against two founders of a purported financial services startup for orchestrating a fraudulent ICO that raised more than $32million from thousands of investors. As you know from the ICOs we have covered so far, the lack of regulation allows for direct contact and dealing between the entrepreneurs, business owners and potential investors. While we believe this is a blessing according to the founding principles of Bitcoin and other alternate Cryptocurrencies, because it frees us from traditional roadblocks, middle-men, and all kinds of time-consuming procedures; it also leaves investors in a place where there is often little to no hope of ever recovering funds lost in fraudulent schemes. Facebook
"A Sea Of Red": Global Stocks Plunge With Tech Shares In Freefall
While there was some nuance in yesterday's pre-open trading, with Asia at least putting up a valiant defense to what would soon become another US rout, this morning the market theme is far simpler: a global sea of red. Stocks fell across the globe as worries over softening demand for the iPhone prompted a tech stock selloff across the world, while the arrest of car boss Carlos Ghosn pulled Nissan and Renault sharply lower. Even China's recent rally fizzled and the Shanghai composite closed down 2.1% near session lows, signalling that the global slump led by tech shares would deepen Tuesday, adding a new layer of pessimism to markets already anxious over trade. Treasuries advanced and the dollar edged higher. S&P 500 futures traded near session lows, down 0.6% and tracking a fall in European and Asian shares after renewed weakness in the tech sector pushed Nasdaq futures sharply lower for a second day after Monday's 3% plunge and crippled any hopes for dip buying. News around Apple triggered the latest bout of stock market selling, after the Wall Street Journal reported the consumer tech giant is cutting production for its new iPhones. Europe's Stoxx 600 Index dropped a fifth day as its technology sector fell 1.3% to the lowest level since February 2017, taking the decline from mid-June peak to 21% and entering a bear market. Not surprisingly, the tech sector was the worst performer on the European benchmark on Tuesday, following Apple’s decline to near bear-market territory and U.S. tech stocks plunge during recent sell-off. The selloff was compounded by an auto sector drop led by Nissan and Renault after Ghosn, chairman of both carmakers, was arrested in Japan for alleged financial misconduct. The European auto sector was not far behind, dropping 1.6 percent, and the broad European STOXX 600 index was down 0.9 percent to a four-week low. “Most of Europe had a red session yesterday and that has been compounded by the news on Apple and tech stocks overnight, The overall climate is risk off,” said Investec economist Philip Shaw. “Beyond stocks, the Italian bonds spread (over German bonds) is at its widest in about a month now, and Brexit continues to rumble on - uncertainty is very much hurting risk sentiment,” he added. Earlier, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 1.2 percent, with Samsung Electronics falling 2 percent. In Japan, Sony Corp shed 3.1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei slipped 1.1 percent, with shares of Nissan Motor Co tumbling more than 5% after Ghosn’s arrest and on news he will be fired from the board this week. Meanwhile, as noted yesterday, the CDS index of US investment grade issuers blew out to the widest level since the Trump election, signaling renewed nerves about the asset class. Exactly two months after the S&P hit all time highs, stocks have been caught in a vicious decline and continue to struggle for support as some of the technology companies that helped drive the S&P 500 to a record high earlier this year tumbled amid a slowdown in consumer sales and fears over regulation, many of them entering a bear market. At the same time, a more gloomy macro outlook is emerging, with Goldman chief equity strategist David kostin overnight recommending investors hold more cash even as it reiterated its base case of S&P 3000 in 2019. Ray Dalio disagreed, and said that investors should expect low returns for a long time after enjoying years of low interest rates from central-bank stimulus. “The easy days of long, global bull markets where you can invest in a tracker for five basis points -- I say this as an active fund manager -- and watch the thing go up, I think those days are gone,” Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Barclays Bank PLC and Standard Life Aberdeen PLC, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “It’s going to be a move back to value investing, and back to the Warren Buffett-style of investment.” In the latest Brexit news, UK PM May is reportedly drawing up secret plans to drop the Irish border backstop and win support from angry Brexiteers, while reports added PM May has received agreement from the EU to drop the backstop plan if both sides can agree on alternative arrangements to keep the border open. Meanwhile, Brexiteers reportedly still lack the sufficient number of signatures required to trigger a no-confidence vote against UK PM May, the FT reported. In related news, Brexit rebels reportedly admitted attempts to oust PM May has stalled as Eurosceptic MPs turned on each other. The Telegraph also reported that the confidence vote now appears to be on hold until after Parliament votes in December on Mrs May's Brexit deal. Sky News reported that the UK government are to publish new analysis before the MPs’ meaningful vote on the Withdrawal Agreement comparing the “costs and benefits” of Brexit. The impact of three scenarios will be measured; no Brexit, no deal, and leaving with the government's draft deal and a free trade agreement. In rates, Treasuries rose, driving the 10-year yield down to its lowest level since late September, ahead of Thanksgiving Thursday. Italian government bond yields jumped to one-month high on Tuesday and Italian banking stocks dropped to a two-year low, hurt by risk aversion and concerns over the Italian budget. Euro zone money markets no longer fully price in even a 10 bps rate rise from the European Central Bank in 2019, indicating growing investor concern about the economic outlook in the currency bloc. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index whipsawed in early London trading even as it stayed near a more than one-week low on concern cooling global growth will slow the pace of Fed rate hikes, keeping Treasury yields under pressure. At the same time, the pound stabilized as Theresa May appealed to business leaders to help deliver her Brexit deal, and evidence mounted that a plot to oust her as U.K. Prime Minister is faltering. The euro slid as Italian bonds dropped, pushing the yield spread to Germany to the widest in a month; the currency had opened the London session higher, supported by corporate buying in EUGBP. The yen rallied to a month-to-date high as Asian stocks followed a U.S. equity slide while the New Zealand dollar got a boost from a jump in milk production; the Aussie was on the back foot even after the RBA said Australia’s unemployment rate could fall further in the near term. India’s rupee rallied a sixth day after the central bank signaled a compromise with the government in their dispute over reserves. Bitcoin extended its drop below $4,500 for the first time since October 2017. WTI crude oil futures hovered around $57 a barrel after oil prices lost steam as fears about slower global demand and a surge in U.S. production outweighed expected supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Brent crude slipped 0.9 percent to $66.21 per barrel. In other overnight news, BoJ Governor Kuroda said there is currently no need to ease further, while he added that there was a need for bold monetary policy in 2013 and now we need to persistently continue with policy. Furthermore, Kuroda suggested that the chance of reaching the 2% inflation target during FY2020 is low. Japanese PM Abe says the next initial budget is to have measures to address sales tax. India's Finance Ministry sources expect that the RBI will stand pat on rates at its meeting next month. RBA Governor Lowe states that steady policy is to be maintained for 'a while yet' and it is likely that rates will increase at some point if the economy progresses as expected. Expected data include housing starts and building permits. Best Buy, Campbell Soup, Lowe’s, Medtronic, Target, TJX, and Gap are among companies reporting earnings. Market Snapshot
S&P500 futures down 0.8% to 2,676.00
STOXX Europe 600 down 0.5% to 353.25
MXAP down 1% to 150.89
MXAPJ down 1.2% to 481.70
Nikkei down 1.1% to 21,583.12
Topix down 0.7% to 1,625.67
Hang Seng Index down 2% to 25,840.34
Shanghai Composite down 2.1% to 2,645.85
Sensex down 0.8% to 35,498.94
Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 5,671.79
Kospi down 0.9% to 2,082.58
German 10Y yield fell 1.4 bps to 0.359%
Euro down 0.2% to $1.1433
Italian 10Y yield rose 10.4 bps to 3.223%
Spanish 10Y yield rose 0.3 bps to 1.653%
Brent futures down 0.8% to $66.23/bbl
Gold spot little changed at $1,223.14
U.S. Dollar Index up 0.1% to 96.29
Top Overnight News
Bank of England governor Carney appears before lawmakers on Tuesday. He’ll be joined by fellow interest-rate setters Jon Cunliffe, Andy Haldane and Michael Saunders. Treasury Committee Chair Nicky Morgan has already asked the BOE to assess any agreement
While Salvini is threatening to hijack the EU agenda as the dispute over Italy’s 2019 budget heats up, his closest adviser is trying to steer the populist coalition away from a head-on clash with Brussels, according to senior government and League officials who asked not to be named discussing confidential matters
Credit markets are set for the worst year since the global financial crisis as investors abandon hope of a late-2018 rally
Turmoil engulfed cryptocurrency markets again on Tuesday, with every major coin extending a rout that’s rocking confidence in the nascent asset class. Bitcoin, which started the year at more than $14,000, has fallen below $4,500. Rivals including Ether, Litecoin and XRP joined the slide, though they pared losses that reached as much as 17 percent
Evidence is mounting that the plot to oust U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is faltering. One rebel leader said in private that more than 50 Tories had claimed they would submit letter but they hadn’t all followed through
Germany and France have warned the EU to do more to prevent the U.K. from being able to claim victory in Brexit talks, according to EU diplomats. Spain’s Foreign Minister said the EU shouldn’t accept a text on a Brexit agreement that Spain isn’t happy with
U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he wants to keep a second Brexit referendum open as an option
Australia’s unemployment rate may fall further in the near term based on leading indicators of labor demand, the central bank said in minutes of its November meeting
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda says he welcomes a diversity of opinion on the effectiveness of negative rates. He also said he believes continuing current policy is best approach for achieving the central bank’s inflation target
Asian stock markets were lower across the board as the risk averse tone rolled over from Wall St, where the tech sector led the sell-off as Apple shares dropped nearly 4% on reports it had reduced production orders and with all FAANG stocks now in bear market territory. As such, the tech sector underperformed in the ASX 200 (-0.4%) and Nikkei 225 (-1.1%) was also pressured with Mitsubishi Motors and Nissan among the worst hit after their Chairman Ghosn was arrested on financial misconduct allegations. Shanghai Comp. (-2.1%) and Hang Seng (-2.0%) were heavily pressured after the PBoC continued to snub liquidity operations and as China’s blue-chip tech names conformed to the global rout in the sector, while JD.com earnings added to the glum as China’s 2nd largest e-commerce firm posted its weakest revenue growth since turning public. Finally, 10yr JGBs were weaker amid profit taking after futures recently hit their highest in around a year and following mixed results at today’s 20yr auction. Top Asian News - BlackRock Doesn’t Expect Significant Growth Slowdown in China - China Stocks Lead Global Losses as Tech Rout Hits Fragile Market - Stock Traders in Asia Keep Finding New Reasons to Hit ’Sell’ - World’s Largest Ikea to Open in Manila as Company Bets on Asia Major European indices are largely in the red, with the SMI outperforming (+0.1%) which is being bolstered by Novartis (+1.0%) following their announcement of a joint digital treatment with Pear Therapeutics for substance abuse disorder. The DAX (-0.7%) is lagging its peers, weighed on by Wirecard (-5.0%) following a disappointing change to guidance forecasting as well as weak sentiment across IT names after the FAANG stocks entered bear market territory on Wall St. In particular, the Stoxx 600 Technology sector (-1.9%), dropped to its lowest level since Feb 2017. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank (-2.5%) are in the red due to reports that the Co processed payments for Danske Bank in Estonia. Top European News
Draghi’s Man in Rome Shows Populists Alert to Budget Backlash
BASF Targets $2.3 Billion Profit Boost From Corporate Revamp
Danske Fights Back as Hush Money Claims Raise New Questions
The One Thing Supercharging Europe Earnings in 2018 Is Crashing
As Things Stand, Spain Will Vote Against Brexit Deal: Sanchez
In FX, the DXY index remains technically prone to further downside pressure having closed below another Fib support level yesterday and testing the next bearish chart area around 96.050-10 ahead of 96.000 even. However, a more concerted bout of risk-off trade/positioning saved the DXY and broad Dollar from steeper declines as the tech-induced sell-off in stocks intensified, and jitters over Brexit alongside the Italian budget returned to the fore. NZD/AUD - The Kiwi is bucking the overall trend and outperforming in contrast to this time on Monday, with Nzd/Usd rebounding firmly to 0.6850+ levels and Aud/Nzd retreating through 1.0650 to just south of 1.0600 following overnight data showing a hefty 6.5% y/y rise in NZ milk collections for October. Conversely, the Aud/Usd has slipped back under 0.7300 again, and close to 0.7250 in wake of RBA minutes underscoring no rush to hike rates and subsequent affirmation of wait-and-see guidance from Governor Lowe. In fact, he asserts that the jobless rate could decline to 4.5% vs 5% at present without inducing wage inflation, while also underlining concerns about the supply of credit. JPY/CHF - Both benefiting from their more intrinsic allure during periods of pronounced risk aversion and investor angst, as Usd/Jpy probes a bit deeper below 112.50 and a key Fib at 112.46 that could be pivotal on a closing basis with potential to expose daily chart support circa 112.16 ahead of 112.00. Meanwhile, the Franc has inched closer to 0.9900 and over 1.1350 vs the Eur that remains burdened with the aforementioned Italian fiscal concerns. GBP/EUR - Almost a case of déjà vu for Sterling and the single currency as early attempts to the upside vs the Greenback saw Cable and EuUsd revisit recent peaks around 1.2880 and 1.1470 respectively, but a combination of chart resistance and bearish fundamentals forced both back down to circa 1.2825 and 1.1425. In terms of precise technical/psychological levels, 1.2897 and 1.1445 represent Fib retracements, ahead of 1.2900 and 1.1500, while the Pound has remained relatively unchanged and unresponsive to largely on the fence pending Brexit rhetoric from the BoE in testimony to the TSC on November’s QIR. In commodities, gold has stayed within a USD 5/oz range and traded relatively flat throughout the session moving with the steady dollar ahead of US Thanksgiving. Similarly, copper traded lacklustre breaking a 5-day rally because of a subdued risk sentiment stemming from ongoing US-China trade tensions; with Shanghai rebar adversely affected from these factors. Brent (-0.1%) and WTI (+0.2%) are following a relatively quiet overnight session, while recent upticks in the complex resulted in WTI reclaiming the USD 57/bbl and Brent edging closer to USD 67/bbl. This follows comments from IEA Chief Birol that Iranian oil exports declined by almost 1mln BPD from summer peaks. Looking ahead, traders will be keeping the weekly API crude inventory data which is expected to print a build of 8.79mln barrels. On today's light data calendar, in the US, there should be some interest in the October housing starts and building permits data, especially following Fed Chair Powell’s recent comments acknowledging a slowdown in the housing market and yesterday’s homebuilder data. Away from that, the BoE’s Carney is due to appear before the Parliament’s Treasury Committee to discuss the Inflation Report, while the ECB’s Nouy and Bundesbank’s Weidmann are both scheduled to speak at separate events. US Event Calendar
8:30am: Housing Starts, est. 1.23m, prior 1.2m; MoM, est. 1.79%, prior -5.3%
8:30am: Building Permits, est. 1.26m, prior 1.24m; MoM, est. -0.79%, prior -0.6%
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap With the sell-off of the last 24 hours we have now traded through the last of our YE 2018 top level credit spread forecasts as US HY widened 6bps to +424bps (YE 2018 forecast was 420). We still think US HY is the most expensive part of the EUR & US credit universe but as discussed above, last night we’ve become more optimistic on all credit in the near-term after what has been the worst week of the year. Credit massively under-performed equities last week but equities caught up on the downside yesterday. The sell-off was underpinned by the FANG names selling off, an accounting scandal emerging at Nissan, oil swinging around and the US housing market spooked by weak data. Just on the market moves first, the NASDAQ and NYFANG indexes slumped -3.03% and -4.28% yesterday, registering their fourth and third worst days of the year, respectively. Facebook and Apple fell -5.72% and -3.96% respectively, as the sector remains pressured amid a slew of negative PR and the spectre of stricter government regulation. Over the weekend, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview that “the free market is not working” and that new regulation is “inevitable”. This negatively impacted highly-valued social media companies. Twitter and Snapchat traded down -5.02% and -6.78% respectively. The tech sector was further pressured after the WSJ reported that Apple had cut production orders in recent weeks for the new model iPhones, with chipmakers broadly trading lower and Philadelphia semiconductor index shedding -3.86%. The S&P 500 and DOW also slumped -1.66% and -1.56% respectively while in Europe the STOXX 600 turned an early gain of +0.71% into a loss of -0.73%. In credit, cash markets were 2bps and 11bps wider for Euro IG and HY and 2bps and 6bps in the US. CDX IG and HY were, however, 3bps and 11bps wider, respectively. Elsewhere, WTI oil first tested breaking through $55/bbl yesterday, after Russia stopped short of committing to supply cuts, before recovering to close +0.52% at $56.76. Bond markets were relatively quiet, with Treasuries and Bunds ending -0.4bps and +0.6bps, respectively, albeit masking bigger intraday moves. BTP yields rose +10.6bps to 3.597%, within 10 basis points of their recent closing peak, as rhetoric between Italian officials and their European peers continued to intensify. Finance Ministers from Austria and the Netherlands separately spoke publicly about their concerns, and expressed their hope that the European Commission will loyally enforce the fiscal rules. Italian Finance Minister Tria tried to calm conditions by framing the disagreement as relatively minor, though he also accused the Commission of being biased against expansionary policies, which he argued are needed to avert a macro slowdown. Back to credit, as we highlighted yesterday, the recent weakness in the asset class has become a talking point for broader markets and while our view is now that value is starting to emerge, there are an increasing number of idiosyncratic stories plaguing the market. There were a couple more examples yesterday with the aforementioned story about Nissan removing its chairman after being arrested for violations of financial law. This caused Renault’s CDS to widen +25.0bps (equity down -8.43%), while Vallourec bonds dropped 15pts after falling 11pts on Friday as concerns mount about the company’s rising leverage in the wake of recent results. Like we’ve see in equity markets, it does feel like credits are now getting punished with sharp moves in the wake of negative headlines Certainly something to watch, but as we said above, credit is now much more attractively priced than it has been for some time. From steel tubing to Downing Street, where we’ve actually had a rare temporary lull for Brexit headlines over the last 24 hours, although behind the scenes it does look we’re getting closer to the threshold for a confidence vote in PM May with the Times yesterday reporting that “senior Brexiteers” had told reporters that they had “firm pledges” from over 50 MPs to submit letters. As a reminder, 48 are needed to trigger the process. Looking further out, yesterday DB’s Oliver Harvey published a report arguing that there is still a path towards an orderly Brexit based on the existing Withdrawal Agreement should May survive a confidence vote. This path is provided by the political declaration on the future economic relationship. The latter has yet to be negotiated, and as the EU27 and UK recognise in the joint statement, the existing temporary customs arrangement (TCA) already provides a basis for a future economic relationship. Oli argues that the UK should push for the political declaration on the future relationship to explicitly commit the UK to a form of Brexit that might be described as “Norway plus.” The temporary customs arrangement would become permanent, but under the governance framework of UK membership of the EEA and EFT. The UK should tie the political declaration on the future relationship to the good faith clause in the existing Withdrawal Agreement, meaning that if negotiations were not pursued on these lines after the transition period had begun, the UK could withhold payments from the EU27. This would help to allay concerns from across the political divide that the UK would be “trapped” in a sub optimal customs union with the EU27. Meanwhile, to complicate matters, Bloomberg has reported that the EU is mulling over issuing a series of separate statements on Brexit on Sunday, in addition to the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration. This comes after pressure from some EU countries not to appease any additional UK demands. Elsewhere, the SUN has reported that the PM May has drawn up a secret plan to scrap the Irish backstop arrangement in an attempt to win over angry Tory Brexiteers after a meeting with them yesterday. However, if a mutually agreeable solution couldn’t be found over the last couple of years, it seems tough to imagine one was finally found yesterday afternoon. We’ll see. Further adding to the complexity of where Brexit heads, last night the DUP abstained on the UK finance bill, which implements the budget. This stops short of their prior threat to actively vote against the legislation, but is still a surprise and signals that further political turbulence between PM May and the DUP is likely. The bill only just scraped through. Sterling finished +0.14% yesterday and this morning is trading flattish (+0.02%) in early trade. Sentiment more broadly in Asia is following Wall Street’s lead with almost all markets trading in a sea of red. The Nikkei (-1.25%, with Nissan Motors down as much as -5.41% and Mitsubishi Motors -6.71%), Hang Seng (-1.84%), Shanghai Comp (-1.63%) and Kospi (-0.96%) are all down along with most other markets. Elsewhere, futures on S&P 500 (-0.29%) are extending losses as we type. Back to yesterday, where as we mentioned at the top, weak US homebuilder sentiment survey data played its part in the moves for markets. The November NAHB housing market index tumbled to 60 from 68 in October after expectations had been for just a 1pt drop. That’s the lowest reading since August 2016 and biggest one-month drop since February 2014. The details weren’t much better and falls into line with the expectation of a softer outlook for housing. As you’ll see in the day ahead we’ve got more housing data in the US today so worth keeping an eye on even if the October data for starts could be distorted by Hurricane Michael. As far as the day ahead is concerned, we’re fairly light on data today with Q3 employment stats in France, October PPI in Germany and November CBI total orders data in the UK the only releases of note. In the US, there should be some interest in the October housing starts and building permits data, especially following Fed Chair Powell’s recent comments acknowledging a slowdown in the housing market and yesterday’s homebuilder data. Away from that, the BoE’s Carney is due to appear before the Parliament’s Treasury Committee to discuss the Inflation Report, while the ECB’s Nouy and Bundesbank’s Weidmann are both scheduled to speak at separate events.
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