FTX & Crypto-Implosion


Armstrong Economics Blog/Cryptocurrency Re-Posted Nov 14, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

The collapse of the FTX Exchange is pretty straightforward insofar as this is the same lesson that constantly repeats in finance time and time again. Basically, FTX lent US$10bn of client funds to their trading arm Alameda, which used it for leveraged their own crypto speculation because the crypto market has been collapsing. Typically, someone like Sam Bankman-Fried had his whole life wrapped up in this venture. Lacking financial controls operating from the Bahamas, moving the money from client funds to his trading arm Alameda was possible. Historically, someone in this position sees his world collapsing but is not prepared to see that unfold for it requires admitting that he was wrong on crypto, to begin with. Consequently, such a person is not trying to actually rob clients’ money, they most likely see it as a temporary loan to save the company and the market will bounce back – or so they believe.

Our computer had picked the high in Bitcoin perfectly and has been projecting the collapse all along the way. But crypto has become a religion and in so doing it clouds the judgment of people who want to believe the story. Alameda blew up in a crypto meltdown because it did not want to accept that the crypto boom was over. The loan he probably thought would be temporary, vanished in the implosion. At first, I would have assumed they had actually invested the money and lost it on the bond market collapse. But that was perhaps too traditional. Here, it appears they were trying to defend their own cryptocurrency and trying to buy the low that kept moving lower. It appears he was allegedly simply using clients’ funds to trade keeping gains for his firm and the clients now suffer the risk.

It appears that they allegedly were trying to defend the crypto market and did not understand that the boom was over. The loans could not then be repaid. As crypto was crashing, some people needed to cash out. The attempt to pull out US$5bn from FTX exposed the fact that the cash was all gone. This is not so unusual. It has happened before. This time, the prosecutors are clamoring to be the one to charge him so they can become famous over his dead body.

FTX was a partner with Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum (WEF). Of course, the WEF has suddenly removed the page and is desperately trying to hide their involvement with FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried. Naturally, eliminating paper currency has been the goal of the WEF because they support the end of not just capitalism, but also democracy. Schwab’s push has been his Great Reset and to control society to impose his economic philosophy inspired by Marx and Lenin.

Corsine-2

This is by no means the first violation of fiduciary responsibility that presents a custodial risk. MF Global Holdings Ltd., you might recall, was a firm formerly run by New Jersey ex-Gov. Jon Corzine was accused in 2013 of unlawfully using customer money to meet his firm’s funding needs. When MF Global went bust because of trading by ex-Goldman Sach’s Jon Corzine’s trading using his client’s money in London also outside the regulatory eye of the USA, he was NEVER prosecuted for illegally using $1.6 billion of 26,000 client’s money. That is not going to be the case this time. So what is the difference between Corzine and Bankman-Fried? Corzine was ex-Goldman Sachs.

Indeed, Corzine was well-connected right into the White House with Obama. Nobody went to jail and clients had to wait in bankruptcy to get their money – even cash in the accounts was taken. There are clear risks with the broker and clearer. As long as the SEC is run with former Goldman Sachs staff, there will NEVER be an honest regulator. Even when all the banks pled criminally guilty, the SEC exempted everyone from losing their licenses. They would NEVER do that with anyone outside of New York City. The SEC will never prosecute the banks – EVER!!!!

Indeed, several federal investigations had been launched into MF Global, including probes by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (its main regulator), the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Justice Department prosecutors in both Chicago and New York. The brokerage has also been the focus of several congressional hearings. Not a single one charged Corzine with trading with his client’s money. The losses that eventually drove MF Global into bankruptcy stemmed from high-risk bets on European sovereign bonds that Corzine made as he swung for the fences. Corzine bet big that the bond issuers would not default.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission simply fined Jon Corzine only $5 million over MF Global’s rapid descent into bankruptcy on Oct. 31, 2011, as an estimated $1.6 billion of customer money went missing. Anyone else would have been in prison for a minimum of 20 years.

Glenn

It was Martin Glenn who was the judge in New York on M.F. Global bankruptcy. He was the first one to engage in FORCED LOANS by abandoning the rule of law to help the bankers by protecting them from losses taking client accounts to cover M.F. Global’s losses. He simply allowed the confiscation of client funds when in fact the rule of law should have been that the bankers were responsible and M.F. Global’s losses should have been reversed as they did even when Robert Maxwell’s companies failed in London from his illegal trading taking employee pension funds.

Yes, that was Ghislaine Maxwell’s father and the guy who was in control of the company that Bill Browder worked for before Edmond Safra. Never should the client’s funds be taken for M.F. Global’s losses to the NY Bankers. It was Judge Martin Glen who placed the entire financial; system at risk by trying to protect the bankers. Martin Glenn pampered these bankers making them the new UNTOUCHABLES. We have to be concerned that there really is no rule of law that will protect you in a crisis.

On Bloomberg TV, Sam Bankman-Fried explained why he even created FTX. He said he was experiencing his own frustration at Alameda Research, which was his crypto-focused proprietary trading firm. He was frustrated with the execution he was receiving at various crypto exchanges so he claimed that inspired FTX’s creation in May 2019. FTX grew rapidly to become the third largest crypto exchange in the world, with approximately $16 billion of customer assets under custody over 43 months.

Bankman-Fried stated that Alameda was making lots of money, but it could have been making more and he did not have access to venture capital. Claims of 100% annualized returns are not uncommon in a boom, but any experienced trader knows what goes up, also comes down. Alameda was relying on “cobbling together lines of credit” to expand its capital base. He then created FTX to solve his funding problem creating his own exchange that even the WEF cheered as a partner. He actually created a platform that was tailored for his own company, Alameda, to facilitate its trading needs. FTX coined the phrase “built by traders, for traders.”

There was an obvious conflict of interest questions regarding the close relationship between FTX and Alameda. Being operated from the Bahamas raised questions among those of us who are seasoned financial market observers whether the two were truly arm’s length from each other. However, people were so pumped up on adrenalin with crypto being the end of the dollar and central banks that this new free-wheeling crypto world believed what they wanted to believe and never looked too closely. FTX operated outside the reach of the US regulatory domain and there was a lack of any fiduciary confirmation. When the founder of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, Changpeng Zhao, openly questioned the soundness of the FTX/Alameda nexus on Twitter saying he would sell over $500 million worth of FTX’s token FTT, that was the kiss of death weather or not he realized he would unleash a crypto panic that would engulf the entire industry in a matter of days.

The collapse of FTX will now become a contagion for the crypto world. This 20-something group of inexperienced traders has signaled the demise of an industry that was getting all the hype with no substance. This crypto world will be seen as the DOT COM Bubble of 2000. With a recession on the horizon, the collapse of sovereign debt, and the monetary system as a whole, people will be looking for more of the safe bets rather than roll the dice on crypto. Nothing ever goes straight down. But by year-end, the volatility should perk up everyone’s view of the world.

Cascading Trouble for FTX Crypto Exchange Leads to Inquiries of Campaign Donations to Democrats and Regulators


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on November 12, 2022 | sundance

FTX crypto currency exchange CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is a major donor to multiple progressive causes and politicians. This week as FTX starts to collapse, the financial system underneath the exchange looks more like a Ponzi scheme falling apart.

The CEO had been a major donor to regulators on Capitol Hill, and the tentacles of FTX extend to Ukraine where Sam Bankman-Fried was operating to support the Ukraine government with crypto currency collections and donations. The FTX corporation and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is now under multiple investigations.  Here’s the 90-second recap of the current dynamic. WATCH:

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(Via Daily Caller) Sam Bankman-Fried, prolific Democratic donor and ex-CEO of now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, funded the campaigns of members of Congress overseeing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), one of the key bodies tasked with regulating the crypto industry and the subject of Bankman-Fried’s aggressive lobbying.

Bankman-Fried’s FTX is currently under investigation by the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after Bankman-Fried allegedly moved $10 billion in client assets from his crypto exchange to his trading firm Alameda Research, and a liquidity crisis at his exchange which prompted the company to file for bankruptcy. However, prior to the agency’s probe, Bankman-Fried aggressively courted the CFTC – and funded several key lawmakers charged with overseeing the agency, pouring cash into their campaign coffers. (read more)

(Via CoinDesk) The past week has seen a dizzying downward spiral for Sam Bankman-Fried’s huge crypto empire. Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange has paused withdrawals, and a tentative bailout from rival Binance appears to be kaput. That could put depositor funds at risk, and certainly spells a major setback for not only Bankman-Fried but for the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.

These downfalls aren’t rare in crypto, which is subject to extreme boom-bust cycles. But FTX and Bankman-Fried are unique in the stature they achieved before self-immolating. Over the past three years, FTX has come to be widely regarded as a reputable exchange, despite not submitting to U.S. regulation. Bankman-Fried has himself become globally influential, thanks to his thoughts on cryptocurrency regulation and his financial support for U.S. electoral candidates – not necessarily in that order.

These narratives about both FTX and Bankman-Fried are now clearly dead in the water, given recent evidence that everything was not as it seemed at the exchange, or at Bankman-Fried’s other firm, Alameda Research. (read more)

Leading Edge of Field to Fork Inflation Starts to Arrive in September Producer Price Index


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on October 12, 2022 | Sundance 

The “Producer Price Index” (PPI) is essentially the tracking of wholesale prices at three stages: Origination (commodity), Intermediate (processing), and then Final (to wholesale). Today, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) released September price data [Available Here] showing another 8.5% increase year-over-year in Final Demand products at the wholesale level.  However, that’s not the bad news in this data.

While the overall September PPI was higher than expected at 0.4%, the Final Demand Producer Price for food products in September was a whopping 1.2% (14.4% annualized).

The BLS notes the driver by saying, “a major factor in the September increase in prices for final demand goods was a 15.7-percent advance in the index for fresh and dry vegetables. Prices for diesel fuel, residential natural gas, chicken eggs, home heating oil, and pork also moved higher.”

That’s a 15.7% increase in price, in one month, for fresh and dry vegetables.  Annualized that’s a rate of price increase of 188.4% for vegetables.   Remember the warning about farm costs (energy, fertilizer, fuel) driving field to fork inflation at harvest?  This is the leading edge of that third wave of food price increases.

I have modified BLS Table-2 to focus specifically on food costs.  The data is on left.

You will note that ‘row crops’ are the big drivers along with grain and seed products.  This is exactly as we predicted it would be because those specific farming costs are the ones with greatest increase from energy, fuel, fertilizer, weed and insect control, and diesel costs.

All of those higher costs have been growing in the fields and will now surface at harvest.   The higher farm costs transfer from the field to the fork via the food supply chain.  This is only the leading edge of the price increase.

In October 2021 we first warned of the food price increases coming in distinct waves.  The first was Jan, Feb and March 2022.   The second wave was May through July 2022.  This third wave will be bigger than the first two and starts arriving this month, October 2022.

People laughed at me when I said in late 2022 eggs were going to reach .50¢ EACH ($6/doz).

Well, in September the price of fresh eggs jumped 16.7% in a single month.  That’s an annualized rate of price increase for eggs over 200%.

With hindsight you can clearly see the three waves of food price increases (BLS Table A):

Get ready and shop smart.

The October, November and December price increases in the grocery store are going to make the prior fresh food increases look small, as the full increased costs of farming operations starts to arrive at the supermarket.   Unfortunately, this will coincide with a wave of gasoline price increases, and the prices of natural gas are already skyrocketing.

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Optimistic Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake Discusses Election Day in Arizona


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on August 2, 2022 | sundance

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake discusses primary election day today in Arizona.  {Direct Rumble Link} Most polls show Trump endorsed Kari Lake with a significant lead over the establishment candidate Karrin Taylor Robson; however, the GOPe apparatus (including Brett Baier) has been promoting push-polls that show a much closer race.

Ms. Lake appears on Steve Bannon’s war room podcast to discuss.  WATCH:

White House Covid Vaccine Summit: A Good Day for Big Pharma


Arnie Mazer Writer at TrialSite News where it was originally posted on Jul. 26, 2022, 6:30 p.m.

Opinion Article

The White House hosted a “Summit on the Future of the Covid-19 Vaccine” on Tuesday featuring a combination of administration officials, scientists, and executives from the pharmaceutical industry. The summit was chaired by Dr. Ashish Jah, the White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator. Attendees included Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as well as Dr. Francis Collins, the former head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Also in attendance were the representatives of pharmaceutical companies, including Moderna and Pfizer. There is no question the advent of vaccines blunted the complete force of the Covid-19 pandemic as Fauci pointed out in his address to the group. He said that “vaccines have saved over 2 million lives and prevented 17 million hospitalizations” even though the World Health Organization pointed out, initially, the vaccines were not distributed equitably among poor nations while the pharmaceutical companies were reaping profits. But the emphasis of the Summit was on how vaccines will be developed and distributed.  

Big Pharma at the Summit

In his opening remarks, Dr. Jah extolled vaccines, saying they are “truly a miracle of human ingenuity and 70% of Americans are now vaccinated.” But Jah also said vaccines “need to be better.” Fauci talked about science and manufacturing working together to make sure vaccines are distributed equally and the private sector and science are working together to advance vaccine technology. Additionally, it was pointed out the Biden Administration is committed to the development of new vaccines. Fauci then presented slides of the projects the NIH was funding and developing with vaccine manufacturers. 

Included in this was a “Mosaic Approach,” a new form of vaccine that takes on multiple parts of the virus and could help protect against future Covid variants. Participating in the summit were Paul Burton of Moderna and Angela Hwang of Pfizer. Fauci’s presentation of the future of vaccines included the idea that vaccines need to be updated because the Covid virus is continually mutating.  

He emphasized the partnership between academia and the private sector. As effective as Fauci’s speech was, it also seemed as if he was giving free advertising to the drug companies with the idea of maximizing the benefits of the partnership of science and technology.  The transformative power of the new generation of vaccines continued to be pointed out and regional manufacturing of vaccines was repeatedly pointed to as a way to get more shots in arms. This point came from both Ashish Jah and Angela Hwang. Regional manufacturing and licensing is a way for pharmaceutical companies to increase profit. Moderna’s Paul Burton said manufacturing is a key part of the future, and the company had recently made deals to build new plants in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Kenya. In the future, vaccines will be administered through nasal sprays and patches. Angela Hwang pointed out that “probably two and a half billion people have received the Pfizer vaccine. That’s an incredible wealth of real-world evidence that we’re sitting on… I think that we have a great opportunity to also help us to understand, how can we design new therapies.” Hwang added Pfizer is “happy to be on this journey.”

mRNA Vaccines Originated with the Department of Defense

The summit gave a history of the mRNA vaccine and said the potion originated through a part of the Department of Defense known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The development of the vaccine came as a result of research to help American troops if they’d been exposed to biological warfare on the battlefield. Through that program and others, DARPA had been doing the groundwork for the United States to produce a rapid cure for a pathogen like Covid-19 for years. The pharmaceutical companies capitalized on developed technology and took it further. 

Transparency Emphasized

Summit panels continually talked about the fact not enough of the population has been vaccinated, and Dr. Francis Collins claimed the pandemic exposed the vulnerability of the American health care system. Collins said there was a need to build public trust even though, initially, the vaccines were not “distributed with equity.” This included the fact that the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) has to do a better job of vaccine distribution through what was termed an “allocation framework”.  In closing, Dr. Ashish Jah emphasized, again, the importance of public and private partnerships. The summit was, overall, informative and a great day for the pharmaceutical companies. 

The impact of such governmental backing of just a few companies most certainly reinforces the market brand. The presenters didn’t do much reflection as to what they could have done better during the pandemic. Rather, industry and government collaboration on more advanced vaccines suggests the government will increasingly be involved in helping fund the few winners of the vaccine and drug development business.

Tucker Carlson Delivers Monologue on the Odd Nancy Pelosi Trip to Tiawan


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on August 2, 2022 | Sundance

As he outlines the controversial trip by Nancy Pelosi to Tiawan, Tucker Carlson asks many questions that people are thinking. {Direct Rumble LinkWATCH:

Global Recession Spreads, European Factory Activity Contracts in July, Japanese Factory Activity Also Drops


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on August 1, 2022 | Sundance 

In addition to the contraction in South Korean manufacturing announced last night, European manufacturing and factory activity is also contracting with less output, higher buildup of inventory and fewer orders for finished goods.  The global recession is being measured fast and furious.

Every economic outcome is connected to a purposeful decision by the leaders of western industrialized nations to follow the Build Back Better climate change agenda.  Higher energy costs, an outcome of the collective policy to stop new production of coal, oil and gas, which has transferred into higher food prices, farm prices, gasoline prices, heating and cooling prices as well as electricity rates, is forcing consumers to stop purchasing non-essential products.

The sale of durable goods collapsed in the first half of this year; however, no policymakers or bankers wanted to admit it and they kept saying there was an excess of demand.  Now, with fewer customers for durable goods in the market, global manufacturing and factory outputs are dropping fast.  Eventually the central planners are going to have to admit their pretended demand does not exist.

While there is a natural lag in the activity, the rate of factory contraction will be proportionate to rate of the drop in demand.  Meaning we have only just begun to see the manufacturing decline that lags a few months behind consumer activity.

LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Manufacturing activity across the euro zone contracted last month with factories forced to stockpile unsold goods due to weak demand, a survey showed on Monday, adding to concerns the bloc could fall into a recession.

S&P Global’s final manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 49.8 in July from June’s 52.1, just ahead of a preliminary reading of 49.6 but its first time below the 50 mark separating growth from contraction since June 2020.

An index measuring output, which feeds into a composite PMI due on Wednesday and seen as a good gauge of economic health, sank to a more than two-year low of 46.3. In June it was 49.3.

“Euro zone manufacturing is sinking into an increasingly steep downturn, adding to the region’s recession risks. New orders are already falling at a pace which, excluding pandemic lockdown months, is the sharpest since the debt crisis in 2012, with worse likely to come,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global. (read more)

The WEF directed politicians are trying to bring energy demand down to match the energy shortage they have created. The various western government leaders, Biden included, want/need a recession to drop energy demand. The central banks and federal reserve are supporting the policymakers by driving up interest rates into the recession.

The combined effort leads to a shrinking of the global economy.

By lowering the economic activity and forcing their western nations into a joint collaborative and intentional recession, the central planners hope to offset the inflation they created by blocking coal, oil and gas production. By intentionally collapsing demand, the prices of excess non-essential goods will drop; however, there will be no one to purchase those goods at any price because global employment in a global recession is tenuous at best. This is the spiral they are trying to manage.

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s manufacturing activity expanded at the weakest rate in 10 months in July, as pressure from rising prices and supply disruptions hurt output and new orders, suggesting a solid post-pandemic economic recovery is still some way off.

The final au Jibun Bank Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped to a seasonally adjusted 52.1 in July from the previous month’s 52.7 final.

That marked the slowest pace of growth since September last year, and was slightly lower than a 52.2 flash reading.

[…] Manufacturing activity suffered from contractions in output and overall new orders as well as a slower expansion in the backlog of work, the PMI survey showed.

[…] But a government official also warned downside risks for output remained as parts supply delays lingered. That is one of many reasons why the Bank of Japan remains resolutely committed to its ultra-low policies despite a global trend of rising interest rates to fight rampant inflation. (more)

It’s incredible how they various western leaders and bankers can still say there is too much demand, when every single economic indicator clearly shows that all consumer purchasing of non-essential goods and services has stopped.

We are seriously looking at a future employment scenario that might be as bad as it was during the economic lockdowns in the pandemic.  This time all of the unemployment will have been created by intentional climate change policy.

These ideologues are seriously disconnected from the pain they are inflicting.

Biden Thinks Americans Received $8K Stimulus Checks


Armstong Economics Blog/Politics Re-Posted Aug 1, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

There are slips of the tongue, but President Biden cannot speak freely without a teleprompter. Every time he goes off script, he embarrasses his country. The president of the free world has no idea what is going on, and his mental health continues to decline publicly. The American Rescue Plan sent a trivial amount of money to Americans making under $75,000 annually at the expense of taxpayers. The government had no way to pay for this $1.9 trillion plan but implemented $1,400 checks on two separate occasions to pacify the people. Joe Biden thinks he provided Americans with $8,000.

Biden believes the public should ignore inflation and feel grateful for the imaginary money. “There’s reason to be down but I started thinking about it … the first year, we were able with the rescue plan, we were able to send them a check for eight grand,” the president said. “I mean a check. Beyond that by the way, there was more than that.” Biden then chimed in about his middle-class experience, which occurred decades ago when the US economy was unrecognizable compared to today. “That’s a lot of money, and so it helped save a lot of people in terms of getting thrown out of their home and rental housing and a whole range of things,” he said. He used the example of someone earning $120,000 receiving the imaginary $8,000 check, despite anyone in that income bracket being ineligible for a stimulus check.

The president cannot remember basic facts about his own policies. Biden belongs in a home for the elderly and senile, not the White House.