News Heading into Thursday July 23rd 2020 NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT YOLO THE VARIOUS TICKERS WITHOUT DOING RESEARCH. THE TIME STAMPS ON THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES MAY BE LATER THAN OTHERS ON THE WEB. THE CREATOR OF THIS THREAD COMPILED THE FOLLOWING IN A QUICK MANNER AND DOES NOT ATTEST TO THE VERACITY OF THE INFORMATION BELOW. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR VETTING YOUR OWN SOURCES AND DOING YOUR OWN DD.
Senate Republicans, White House near agreement on coronavirus relief package
CNTG ($12.15) CENTOGENE Announces Convenient At-Home Coronavirus Test Solution Now Available in Germany on Online Marketplace
BIOL ($0.45) BIOLASE Announces Closing Of Oversubscribed Rights Offering
INUV ($0.57) Inuvo Announces Proposed Public Offering of Common Stock
DRIO ($7.25) reported 8 new insider (buys) trades to the SEC
ALGN%20today%20announced,for%20Invisalign%20and%20iTero%20doctors.&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;text=The%20goal%20of%20ADAPT%20is,Invisalign%20doctors%20and%20their%20staff) Align Technology Launches the Align Digital and Practice Transformation (ADAPT) Program for Invisalign and iTero Doctors Globally
Montage Resources Divesting Wellhead Gathering Infrastructure for $25 Million, Announces Preliminary Second Quarter 2020 Production Performance, Lowers Full Year 2020 Capital Spending Guidance. Montage Resources trims full-year capex forecast (MR)
Firstly, let me say, I hate how energy-intensive Bitcoin is and would never support the market for mining it in the long-term. However, below are what I believe to be a series of perceived catalysts for MARA as a swing play. Yes, some are more compelling than others. And yes, some should never even be graced with the name 'catalyst', but in the era of Lambos and rocketships, they will very much (unfortunately) be taken as such by those more naive to the space. What does MARA do? MARA mines Bitcoin. What is Bitcoin? In essence, a digital currency. A form of value not governed by any government or centralized institution. Hopefully this isn't news to you, but if not, here is a good place to start. What is mining? In essence, the process that is required to generate new bitcoins (better explanation here). Much like mining for gold or drilling for oil, you need to follow a process in order to generate more Bitcoin. Much like other commodities too, the price that they are selling for has a big impact on how profitable miners are. Why MARA, why now? Bitcoin has been flirting with the $10,000 mark for some time now. $10k for Bitcoin is a bit like $1 for a penny stock. It's tough to break, but once you do, a lot of heads start to turn. If Bitcoin moves, MARA is more than probably going to follow suit. Catalysts
Last time Bitcoin broke $10k price on 2nd June, MARA jumped from 0.72 to 0.91 (26% up) at the opening and ended the day at 0.82 (14% up). Bitcoin chart & MARA Chart
Companies with exact same business model are up 100-200% in the past month (DPW & NETE)
Message volume is up 40% on MARA StockTwits ("change in social interest or social momentum.")
Convertible Note Fully Converted to Equity reducing long term debt reduced to zero in May (here)
The sector is heating up due to Bitcoin price increases recently. MARA have managed to secure additional mining capacity despite it becoming increasingly hard to do so.
"The company now has additional mining capacity scheduled to arrive in May, July, and August of this year. Only one NASDAQ listed company has announced more hashing power coming online this summer than Marathon". (here)
"With the recent price increase of Bitcoin, the forward months of each batch of production capacity of Bitcoin miners has been selling out. The company has worked very aggressively to acquire miners with the nearest delivery dates so the miners may be put into production as soon as possible." (here)
Company Estimates 280% Increase in Operating Hashrate to 129 PH/s when miners are received and deployed in July (here)
Q2 revenue should show a significant jump given the additional capacity and rise in Bitcoin price.
Reported revenues of $592,487 during the three months ended March 31, 2020 - up 157% from the same period year before.
This was with far less mining capacity and a Bitcoin price sitting far lower at between $7,000-8,500. (here)
Bitcoin use case: HUGE OPPORTUNITY for webdev. Micropayments
The web has become increasingly walled off in the last couple years. Googling almost anything leads to websites that beg you for your identity and/or subscription. News sites are especially guilty of this model, and you can't really blame them. Journalism needs to be funded by users. Problem Web content providers have to resort to ugly tactics to fund their work (blocking content, intrusive data mining) Solution Bitcoin micropayments settled on the lightning network. Most of us read news articles all day long. I wouldn't mind paying a couple cents to fund someone's independent research they do and share with others. I might spend 50 cents a day to read great content anywhere I click. This isn't possible with VISA/MC currently, swipe fees are too high. LN micropayments can provide a solution here, this could be the first widely adopted use case for Bitcoin. Solution already exists https://yalls.org/ has been around for a while, I'm sure there are other similar payment models. I'm shocked that this isn't more widely adopted by major news sites. Nytimes, wsj, cnn ect. Make money I am not a good web developer, 95% of web developers are better than me. Any web developer out there who wants a great business idea, hook up with a major news organization and implement a simple, quick and easy QR-to-unlock-article payment system. We could point our phones at a website and give them a penny for their thoughts (or a couple pennies) I'm sure the Bitcoin community would show their love to any content provider that implements.
Crypto Banking Wars: Can Non-Custodial Crypto Wallets Ever Replace Banks?
Can they overcome the product limitations of blockchain and deliver the world-class experience that consumers expect? https://reddit.com/link/i8ewbx/video/ojkc6c9a1lg51/player This is the second part ofCrypto Banking Wars— a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become thebank of the future. Who is best positioned toreach mainstream adoptionin consumer finance? --- While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this verypowerfultechnology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe companies that build with blockchain at their core will have the best shot at winning the broader consumer finance market. We hope it will be us at Genesis Block, but we aren’t the only game in town. So this series explores the entire crypto landscape and tries to answer the question, which crypto company is most likely to become the bank of the future? In our last episode, we offered an in-depth analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. Today we’re analyzing non-custodial crypto wallets. These are products where only the user can touch or move funds. Not even the company or developer who built the application can access, control, or stop funds from being moved. These apps allow users to truly become their own bank. We’ve talked a little about this before. This group of companies is nowhere near the same level of threat as the biggest crypto exchanges. However, this group really understands DeFi and the magic it can bring. This class of products is heavily engineer-driven and at the bleeding-edge of DeFi innovation. These products are certainly worth discussing. Okay, let’s dive in.
Users & Audience
These non-custodial crypto wallets are especially popular among the most hardcore blockchain nerds and crypto cypherpunks.
“Not your keys, not your coins.”
This meme is endlessly repeated among longtime crypto hodlers. If you’re not in complete control of your crypto (i.e. using non-custodial wallets), then it’s not really your crypto. There has always been a close connection between libertarianism & cryptocurrency. This type of user wants to be in absolute control of their money and become their own bank. In addition to the experienced crypto geeks, for some people, these products will mean the difference between life and death. Imagine a refugee family that wants to safely protect their years of hard work — their life savings — as they travel across borders. Carrying cash could put their safety or money at risk. A few years ago I spent time in Greece at refugee camps — I know first-hand this is a real use-case. https://preview.redd.it/vigqlmgg1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=0a5d48a63ce7a637749bbbc03d62c51cc3f75613 Or imagine a family living under an authoritarian regime — afraid that their corrupt or oppressive government will seize their assets (or devalue their savings via hyperinflation). Citizens in these countries cannot risk putting their money in centralized banks or under their mattresses. They must become their own bank. These are the common use-cases and users for non-custodial wallets.
Let’s take a look at some of the strengths with non-custodial products.
Regulatory arbitrage Because these products are “non-custodial”, they are able to avoid the regulatory burdens that centralized, custodial products must deal with (KYC/AML/MTL/etc). This is a strong practical benefit for a bootstrapped startup/buildedeveloper. Though it’s unclear how long this advantage lasts as products reach wider audiences and increased scrutiny.
User Privacy Because of the regulatory arbitrage mentioned above, users do not need to complete onerous KYC requirements. For example, there’s no friction around selfies, government-issued IDs, SSNs, etc. Users can preserve much of their privacy and they don’t need to worry about their sensitive information being hacked, compromised, or leaked.
Absolute control & custody This is really one of the great promises of crypto — users can become their own bank. Users can be in full control of their money. And they don’t need to bury it underground or hide it under a mattress. No dependence, reliance or trust in any third parties. Only the user herself can access and unlock the money.
Now let’s examine some of the weaknesses.
Knowledge & Education Most non-custodial products do not abstract away any of the blockchain complexity. In fact, they often expose more of it because the most loyal users are crypto geeks. Imagine how an average, non-crypto user feels when she starts seeing words like seed phrases, public & private keys, gas limits, transaction fees, blockchain explorers, hex addresses, and confirmation times. There is a lot for a user to learn and become educated on. That’s friction. The learning curve is very high and will always be a major blocker for adoption. We’ve talked about this in our Spreading Crypto series — to reach the masses, the crypto stuff needs to be in the background.
User Experience It is currently impossible to create a smooth and performant user experience in non-custodial wallets or decentralized applications. Any interaction that requires a blockchain transaction will feel sluggish and slow. We built a messaging app on Ethereum and presented it at DevCon3 in Cancun. The technical constraints of blockchain technology were crushing to the user experience. We simply couldn’t create the real-time, modern messaging experience that users have come to expect from similar apps like Slack or WhatsApp. Until blockchains are closer in speed to web servers (which will be difficult given their decentralized nature), dApps will never be able to create the smooth user experience that the masses expect.
Product Limitations Most non-custodial wallets today are based on Ethereum smart contracts. That means they are severely limited with the assets that they can support (only erc-20 tokens). Unless through synthetic assets (similar to Abra), these wallets cannot support massively popular assets like Bitcoin, XRP, Cardano, Litecoin, EOS, Tezos, Stellar, Cosmos, or countless others. There are exciting projects like tBTC trying to bring Bitcoin to Ethereum — but these experiments are still very, very early. Ethereum-based smart contract wallets are missing a huge part of the crypto-asset universe.
Technical Complexity While developers are able to avoid a lot of regulatory complexity (see Strengths above), they are replacing it with increased technical complexity. Most non-custodial wallets are entirely dependent on smart contract technology which is still very experimental and early in development (see Insurance section of this DeFi use-cases post). Major bugs and major hacks do happen. Even recently, it was discovered that Argent had a “high severity vulnerability.” Fortunately, Argent fixed it and their users didn’t lose funds. The tools, frameworks, and best practices around smart contract technology are all still being established. Things can still easily go wrong, and they do.
Loss of Funds Risk Beyond the technical risks mentioned above, with non-custodial wallets, it’s very easy for users to make mistakes. There is no “Forgot Password.” There is no customer support agent you can ping. There is no company behind it that can make you whole if you make a mistake and lose your money. You are on your own, just as CZ suggests. One wrong move and your money is all gone. If you lose your private key, there is no way to recover your funds. There are some new developments around social recovery, but that’s all still very experimental. This just isn’t the type of customer support experience people are used to. And it’s not a risk that most are willing to take.
Integration with Fiat & Traditional Finance In today’s world, it’s still very hard to use crypto for daily spending (see Payments in our DeFi use-cases post). Hopefully, that will all change someday. In the meantime, if any of these non-custodial products hope to win in the broader consumer finance market, they will undoubtedly need to integrate with the legacy financial world — they need onramps (fiat-to-crypto deposit methods) and offramps (crypto-to-fiat withdraw/spend methods). As much as crypto-fanatics hate hearing it, you can’t expect people to jump headfirst into the new world unless there is a smooth transition, unless there are bridge technologies that help them arrive. This is why these fiat integrations are so important. Examples might be allowing ACH/Wire deposits (eg. via Plaid) or launching a debit card program for spend/withdraw. These fiat integrations are essential if the aim is to become the bank of the future. Doing any of this compliantly will require strong KYC/AML. So to achieve this use-case — integrating with traditional finance —all of the Strengths we mentioned above are nullified. There are no longer regulatory benefits. There are no longer privacy benefits (users need to upload KYC documents, etc). And users are no longer in complete control of their money.
One of the great powers of crypto is that we no longer depend on banks. Anyone can store their wealth and have absolute control of their money. That’s made possible with these non-custodial wallets. It’s a wonderful thing. I believe that the most knowledgeable and experienced crypto people (including myself) will always be active users of these applications. And as mentioned in this post, there will certainly be circumstances where these apps will be essential & even life-saving.
However, I do not believe this category of product is a major threat to Genesis Block to becoming the bank of the future.
They won’t win in the broader consumer finance market — mostly because I don’t believe that’s their target audience. These applications simply cannot produce the type of product experience that the masses require, want, or expect. The Weaknesses I’ve outlined above are just too overwhelming. The friction for mass-market consumers is just too much. https://preview.redd.it/lp8dzxeh1lg51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=03acdce545cd032f7e82b6665b001d7a06839557 The winning bank will be focused on solving real user problems and meeting user needs. Not slowed down by rigid idealism like censorship-resistance and absolute decentralization, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be a world-class product that’s smooth, performant, and accessible. Not sluggish and slow, as it is with most non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one where blockchain & crypto is mostly invisible to end-users. Not front-and-center as it is with non-custodial wallets. The winning bank will be one managed and run by professionals who know exactly what they’re doing. Not DIY (Do It Yourself), as it is with non-custodial wallets. So are these non-custodial wallets a threat to Genesis Block in winning the broader consumer finance market, and becoming the bank of the future? No. They are designed for a very different audience. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
Bitcoin is the most censorship resistant money in the world.
You don't have to buy a “whole” bitcoin so don't freak out if you look at the price. You can buy a piece of one no problem.
The Dallas Mavericks accept Bitcoin on their website. You don't trust Mark Cuban. He's the best shark.
Bitcoin is the best performing asset of the last decade (better than S&P500).
Diversify your current portfolio.
It's not illegal in the USA.
You holding just one satoshi slightly limits the supply and can rise the price for everyone else.
[In late 2019] hash rate is the highest it has ever been
Suicide insurance; if Bitcoin rises in price there is no worse feeling than regret.
Some of the smartest people in computer science and cryptography are working on it. Trust nerds.
Look at the all time historical chart. No technical analysis just tell me what you think when you look at it.
Money is a belief system... and I want to believe.
Transparent ledger, no funny business going on it's easy to audit.
Elon Musk appears to be a fan. How's that for an appeal to authority
There is a fixed limit in the number of bitcoins that will exist. 21 million bitcoin, 7 billion people on earth. Do the math.
There are so many examples of governments inflating their currency to the point where it becomes unusable. Read the wikipedia page for Venezuela or Zimbabwe.
Altcoins make sacrifices in either security or centralization. There are altcoins out there that claim to be innovating but just check the scoreboard nothing has flipped Bitcoin in market value or even gotten close.
With technology developing at a rate faster than law, governments and for-profit businesses have the ability to monitor our purchases, location, our habits, and all of this has happened without consent. People made jokes and conspiracy theory, but sometimes conspiracy is real. Most people are good, but there is absolutely evil out there. There are absolutely evil people in positions of power. There are absolutely evil people that work together in positions of power. Does anyone actually believe that Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide. Go read about Leslie Wexner. Go read the cypherpunk manifesto.
The upcoming halvening in 2020 will reduce the number of Bitcoin created in each block, making them more scarce, and if history repeats more valuable.
Bitcoin has lower fees than traditional banking.
Gold has the advantage of being a physical thing. But unlike gold you know Bitcoin is not forged, or mixed with another metal, and you can easily break it into tiny pieces and send it over the internet to someone.
Bitcoin could spark new interests maybe you start to read more into economics, computer science, or Brock Pierce.
Bitcoin has survived with no leader, marketing team, public relations, or legal team.
Because Wired magazine said Bitcoin was dead at $2, Forbes said it was dead at $15, NY Times at $208, and CNN at $333.
Just do a cost benefit analysis. What happens if Bitcoin fails and it goes to zero vs. what happens if it succeeds, and becomes world money.
Bitcoin encourages long term thinking, planning, saving. Due to inflation we are punished by holding on to cash. Look up the statistics on the average savings account while we are bombarded with consumerist bullshit like Funko pop heads, Loot crate subscription services, and new syrup flavors for coffee. Currently we are encouraged to spend now, seek immediate gratification, and ignore what we are becoming as Amazon picks out our clothes and toothpaste ships it to the house and we sit and watch streaming services where content is pushed to us and I'm supposed to buy that this garbage is actually “trending”. Our lives have become so comfortable that idiots spend $60 to escape a room and have someone take your picture when you get out. What would our ancestors think.
Maybe you're a day trader looking to use a trading bot in an unregulated market.
Bitcoin has 7 letters in it. Lucky number 7.....
Bitcoin promises to bank the unbanked, and provide services to those not otherwise “qualified” to open a bank account.
It's just cool, don't you want to seem smart to all your friends.
The origin story is so nuts there's going to be a movie or several movies about the early days of Bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto remains anonymous to this day. Imagine if the inventor of the cell phone was anonymous.
If you have money to burn, don't buy soda, weed, or some girls private snapchat it's a dead end put it towards Bitcoin and give it to your child in the future.
To avoid getting ripped off by foreign exchange fees just because you were born one place and your friends were born in another place.
Can't live off the grid in your log cabin and still use Mastercard. Bitcoin is one piece of opting out.
If one country adopts BTC as the national currency, it doesn't take much thought to realise that others will follow.
Join a welcoming and unique community. Everyone is super nice because they want your money.
You can stick it to the baby boomers.
You can stick it to the vegans.
You can stick it Roger Ver.
Maybe your IQ is 70 and you'll do whatever CNBC Fast Money recommends.
Maybe a hacker infects your computer, records you doing that thing, and threatens to release the tape if you do not pay them 1.5 Bitcoin.
You're a risk taker looking for some risky investment.
Aliens attack like Independence Day, blow up major cities in major countries, your money is still safe with Bitcoin. As long as there is a some guy, some person, living on an island with a copy of the ledger out there on your'e good. We're all good.
Many proposals to scale the number of transactions, may the best plan win.
One day you might have to use BTC to pay taxes, buy food, and charge your Tesla.
You want to support a political group and remain private.
You can trust math more than you can trust people to set an emission rate.
Government don't know how much you have.
The first response to Bitcoin being published by Hal Finney stated that Bitcoin was positioned to reach million dollar valuation. Hal was the first bull and passed away in 2014, missing a lot #doitforHal.
Baddies can't freeze your money if they mad at you.
The Big Bang Theory mentioned it, maybe you want to be like Sheldon the bazinga guy.
Be contrarian. In a world where everyone zigs it's sometimes good to zag.
Don't have any hobbies, and you just need a reason to get up in the morning.
Enjoy learning? Bitcoin is a topic where there is so much to learn, and so much development, that it really becomes a never ending journey. For someone who likes learning, it's more productive than speedrunning a video game.
Yolo. You only live once. This isn't a dress rehearsal, if there's something your kind of interested in pursue it. That's true for anything not just Bitcoin. But if you're reading this I'm assuming you're interested.
Bitcoin is not a ponzi scheme. The difference is Bitcoin does not need new people buying in to work, blocks being added will continue even if the community stopped growing.
With religion on the decline maybe you want to join a cult. Crypto twitter is a great echo chamber to meet like minded people.
Satoshi Nakamoto found a way to distribute a global currency in a fair way with the ability to adjust the mining difficulty as we go, it's really incredible. You still need computers and electricity to mine new bitcoin today but it's an extremely fair way for people to earn. There was no premine of Bitcoin. Everyone who has Bitcoin either bought it at what the market said, or they earned it.
No CEO in charge of Bitcoin to make bad decisions or a board of directors that can make changes. The users, an ever growing number, are in charge.
Bitcoin has no days off, it has no workers in charge who can get sick or take a holiday.
Bitcoin has survived 10 years (and more). While there will always be dangers, I'd argue that those first few years it was most vulnerable to fail.
Have some trust in the cypherpunks. Anyone who held and didn't sell bitcoin as it went from pennies to five figures is not looking to get rich. They want to change the world.
Potential president Tulsi Gabbard disclosed owning some.
Digital money is the future, anyone who has tried Venmo can see that. Well Bitcoin is a digitally native asset.
Refugees can use Bitcoin to store their wealth as they flee a failing country.
Bitcoin is an open source project. Anthony Pompliano likes to call it a virus but I like how the author of the Bitcoin Standard describes it. Bitcoin is like a song. As long as one person remembers it you can't destroy a song.
Triple entry accounting. When humans first started recording who owes who what we had single-entry accounting. The king's little brother would keep everything written down, but we had to really trust this guy because he could simply erase a line and that money would be gone. When double-entry accounting started to spread 500 years ago it brought with it massive innovation. Businesses could now form relationships across the ocean as they each kept a record. We did not have innovation again until Satoshi's Bitcoin, where blockchain can be used as the neutral third party to keep record. It might not sound important but blockchain allows us to agree upon an objective reality.
Bitcoin is non-political.
Bitcoin is easy to accept. I mean kind of. It's certainly easier than setting up a bank account.
A sandwich used to cost 10 cents in America, I walk into Subway and they don't even have $5 foot longs anymore. Inflation man..
It's a peaceful protest.
Critics say that mining wastes electricity, but if Bitcoin adoption continues the world will actually be incentivized to produce more renewable energy. There are so many waterfalls and sources of energy in the middle of nowhere right now. People might not see a reason to build a power plant over there now, but in the future it can make business sense. Take that waterfall mine bitcoin, and sell them to the people who can't mine. It allows for a business to sell their energy anywhere.
Get into debates around Bitcoin, build those critical thinking skills.
“Predicting rain doesn't count, building arks does”
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”
"I never considered for one second having anything to do with it. I detested it the moment it was raised. It’s just disgusting. Bitcoin is noxious poison.”
The immaculate conception. No cryptocurrency can have a start the grassroots way Bitcoin did, it's just impossible given how the space has changed.
There are more than 1000x more U.S. dollars today than there were a hundred years ago.
Bitcoin is the largest transfer of wealth this decade from the least curious to the curious.
The concept of the Star Wars Cantina, Galt's Gulch, or young Beat Generation kids sitting in a basement smoking cigarettes and questioning the world can only exist if money remains fungible.
You can send money to your Dad even if he lives in a country run by bad boys.
Memorize your key, and walk around the world carrying your money in your head.
The Federal Reserve is objectively way too powerful.
John Mcafe promised that if bitcoins were not valued at 1 million dollars by the end of 2020 he would eat his own penis on national television. It will be a sad day if we don't hit that 1 million.
The Apple credit card.
If we ever get artificial intelligence it'll be able to interact with Bitcoin.
Katy Perry is aware of crypto so if by some chance you run into her, you get one chance to strike up conversation, so here's your chance to shine. You don't ask for a picture, you don't say she's pretty, or name your favorite song. Take your shot and ask about what type of cold storage she uses for her bitcoin.
Many people are afraid of a world currency because it's associated with a centralized world power taking control. Bitcoin allows for neutral world money.
CryptoNick is deleting all of his BitConnect videos, and so are his buddies. Please never forget what he and his cohorts did to so many people, and how much money those people lost in the process thanks to CryptoNick, Trevon James, and Craig Grant! (26497 points, 3056 comments)
Listen up folks, if you "did", or still do promote cryptocurrency related scams, you will be called out on it via this sub-Reddit. We don't care about you, or your ill-gotten gains, we care about the general well-being of our community first and foremost. (17888 points, 1277 comments)
So no one else finds it a bit odd that Verge is actually going up in price in a bear market, after a hack attack, after being outed for paying McAfee to promote it, and after the 1 developer begged for money from his own community to allegedly help pay his taxes? (2548 points, 867 comments)
I will tell you exactly what is going on here, this is critical information to understand if you are going to make money in this space. How prices work, and what moves them - and it's not money invested/withdrawn. (20147 points, 1442 comments)
CryptoNick is deleting all of his BitConnect videos, and so are his buddies. Please never forget what he and his cohorts did to so many people, and how much money those people lost in the process thanks to CryptoNick, Trevon James, and Craig Grant! by DestroyerOfShitcoins (26497 points, 3056 comments)
I will tell you exactly what is going on here, this is critical information to understand if you are going to make money in this space. How prices work, and what moves them - and it's not money invested/withdrawn. by Suuperdad (20147 points, 1442 comments)
Listen up folks, if you "did", or still do promote cryptocurrency related scams, you will be called out on it via this sub-Reddit. We don't care about you, or your ill-gotten gains, we care about the general well-being of our community first and foremost. by DestroyerOfShitcoins (17888 points, 1277 comments)
4792 points: hanzyfranzy's comment in Bitcoin breaches $4000 in 15 minutes. What is happening 😳
3630 points: eNte19's comment in Enjoy the massacre. It could be a once in life opportunity.
3533 points: sakata_gintoki113's comment in Russian nuclear scientists arrested for trying to use one of Russia's most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoins
3462 points: JohnDalysJohn's comment in CryptoNick is deleting all of his BitConnect videos, and so are his buddies. Please never forget what he and his cohorts did to so many people, and how much money those people lost in the process thanks to CryptoNick, Trevon James, and Craig Grant!
2988 points: Xgatt's comment in CryptoNick is deleting all of his BitConnect videos, and so are his buddies. Please never forget what he and his cohorts did to so many people, and how much money those people lost in the process thanks to CryptoNick, Trevon James, and Craig Grant!
2909 points: dankmeter's comment in Coinbase/GDAX Warning - $50,000 Wire DEPOSIT Missing Since December 12th
2884 points: regecide2025's comment in No one was complaining about "manipulation" when it was going up from 2500 to 20,000 in less than 6 months.
Wealth Formula Episode 187: Ask Buck Part: Part One
Catch the full episode: https://www.wealthformula.com/podcast/187-ask-buck-part-part-one/ Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone and let's get on with the Ask Buck component of today's show. As a reminder this is part one of two. The next one will be airing next week, but we have lots of questions. I want to make sure we give adequate time and yet not bore the lights out of you by making this into a two-hour show. So the first question from Jeffrey Cattell. Jeffrey asked, hey Buck I had a question about investing with an LLC and mortgages. I had heard that purchasing rental properties inside an LLC limits you to getting a commercial mortgage. Can you discuss the differences between commercial and conventional mortgages and how buying within an LLC affects your options. Yes I can certainly give it a try and of course remember I am not an attorney and I am not an adviser these are my opinions and there are things that I've done etc so don't hold me to it, I'm just giving you my perspective. So let me start out by reminding you a little bit about you know the different kinds of mortgages and they're kind of obvious right I mean there are two really two kinds of mortgages there's two residential there's a commercial mortgage. Now residential mortgages I mean that's the kind that you get for your house that's the kind that you might get for a 1 to 4 unit house or duplex or triplex or quad but you can get a second or third mortgage etc but those are all considered residential mortgages. Pricing is obviously best when it's the first one and it's your primary home but these other residential mortgages that you get as a second or third etc are generally favorable in terms of pricing and amortization and all that stuff as well. Now if your property is already owned by an entity such as an LLC or you're buying it in the name of an LLC by definition you are no longer in the residential category because you're declaring to everybody in the world that this is an investment property in which case you must obtain a commercial mortgage which the major difference between the two frankly is just that the commercial mortgages are more expensive and have less favorable terms than residential ones. So how can you potentially get around this okay. So I let me give you an example and again this is not advice but I'm gonna talk about experience and the experience of others around me so I've had a couple of houses that I own in Chicago one of them that I lived in for a few years and now I rent them all. I bought those houses in my name and therefore at the time we got mortgages and the mortgages are in my name, my wife and my name in this case, but after they were purchased in personal name and mortgages were issued, I then transferred them over especially after obviously when I moved down and I rented the place out into an LLC. So they are now deeded to an entity each shows actually deeded to a separate entity. The process that used to do this is called a quitclaim deed. So if you want to ask your attorney about doing something like this is called a quitclaim deed. Now theoretically and I emphasize the theoretical here if you do this your mortgage could be called. Why? Because in your mortgage usually it's gonna tell you you you know you you know this is a mortgage on you and that if you make these kinds of changes you gotta let them know. In practice though what I have found and this is the part where I keep emphasizing I am not giving you advice is that everyone does this right everyone does a quitclaim deed everyone does it. My dad has been doing this for 50 years and has never had a problem. I'm doing it now and these are major banks they even know about it they don't seem to care. Anyway as long as the mortgage gets paid it seems like no one cares. So bottom line is what most people do what I've done for these smaller properties, buy them in your own name quitclaim deed, so you can't but in your own name get the good better mortgage and then quitclaim. Am I advising you to do that? No. I'm not advising you on anything just what I do what I've done what my dad's done and a lot of people I know have done. Okay all right so that is the first question. Now I'm going to move over to an audio question because some of you weren't chicken. Just kidding I'm kidding about that but audio questions are fun they're fun to hear from people so let's see the so I got have a question here from Garth. Okay Garth here we go. Garth: Hello Dr. Joffrey this is Garth in Portland Oregon. I understand the definition of accredited investor which I am not one but I've also heard a term sophisticated investor and I'm wondering if that is different than accredited investor and if so what do I need to do to get that title? Thanks. Buck: Thanks for the question Garth. So the question really is what is a sophisticated investor? Well first of all why does this matter in the first place it's all accredited sophisticated stuff? Well the answer that, for private placements in real estate a certain kind of offering is frequently used called a Regulation D offering, it's the typical structure. Regulation D, a Regulation D offering allows you to move forward with a private offering without pushing it through the SEC for formal classification as the security. Now why would you not want to file with the SEC? Well there's two reasons really cost in time, it's expensive. But the bigger issue in terms of real estate is a very practical one it's the element of time. So if you're doing an SEC filing and you know on an offering it's gonna take you at least a year to get that through the SEC and contrast that with the fact that when you get a building under contract and you know one of the properties that we do an investor club for example, usually you got some under contract you raise capital you close the building and all that it's happening within three months, so you only usually have a very short period of time, you don't have time to send that to the SEC and let them mess around with it. And the SEC in reality knows this so this is not a new new thing this regulation D, it's been around forever you know but so they provide this as an exception to the rule they say if you're not going to file with the SEC you can still do this legally but it has to be under this kind of exemption Reg D and these are limited, these will be limited to investors that are either accredited which we've talked about before, you make $200,000 a year for two years with a reasonable expectation of doing it again the next year, $300,000 if filing jointly and/or a net worth of $1,000,000 outside of your personal residence. That is an accredited investor. What's a sophisticated investor? Well that's the problem right? So that's that's not very clear, it's not very clear at all and it's a little nebulous and when it's not clear frankly often that becomes the area of abuse. There's no clear definition of a sophisticated investor. Sophisticated investors are supposed to be financially savvy. They're supposed to have experience and knowledge and acumen that makes them more qualified to make decisions about these types of more sophisticated investments than your average Joe. But the problem is that it's essentially up to the fundraiser to determine if an individual is sophisticated or not. Now I have seen situations where people join say a real estate gurus organization and immediately upon paying for the course they are somehow deemed sophisticated and start investing in other students deals within that ecosystem, a bit shady if you ask me but it is what it is. Now that's not to suggest that you in particular are not sophisticated because if you're listening to this show there's a very good chance you are sophisticated, you may you know just understand the language well and you may understand real estate well you may own a bunch of real estate and you want to invest passively in a real estate syndication and in those cases you might be sophisticated, you know. I mean it is a little bit random because you know I run into people who are making you know doctors who are making five hundred thousand dollars a year but they've only made it for eighteen months and so therefore they're not accredited, right? So then you have to make some judgment calls but anyway bottom line is sophisticated is subjective but I think the biggest problem for this terminology is that there really is no safe harbor in my opinion at least that makes it really really difficult to deal with from the side of the operator and therefore in our group in general for investor club it's very rare when we will you know not require the true accredited definition and the reality is most major syndicators won't even consider sophisticated investors who are not accredited for this reason, it just becomes one of those situations you don't want to put yourself in trouble. Okay so let's go to the next question or a couple questions from the same individual so that's fine too, okay from Ron. Ron: I have a question about Bitcoin. Where do the new bitcoins come from in short I know we are accurate we have and they create blocks in those blocks we store transactions and the miners get a fee for building a block that's 12 Bitcoin I believe so are those 12 bitcoins also getting into relation we'll end up with those 21 million bitcoins in the end or is there something else? So that's my question can you help me with that. Thank you. Buck: Sure Ron pretty straightforward I mean without getting into too much technical the new Bitcoin you mentioned you know the whole mining basically the new Bitcoin come from doing the mathematical work to solve these complex mathematical problems that's what these supercomputers do those are the miners and then there's a competition whoever gets the answer first as you mentioned gets rewarded with this fee, they get rewarded with Bitcoin and that's weird those Bitcoin are actually generated so that's what it means to mine Bitcoin and you're also right they'll never be more than 21 million Bitcoin you know so that's one of the true values of Bitcoin is that it is a finite thing there’ll never be more than 21 million so the fact that some go out of circulation to get lost etc it's deflationary in that regard. The last thing I guess I would point out is you know what happens after mining is complete with 21 million well basically miners get paid for exchanges transfers etc at that point but it'll be interesting to see how that all turns out at that point. All right I think Ron has another question here and I think it's related. Ron: Hello there Buck. Ron again here with a question, a what-if scenario. What if my thousand dollar worth of Bitcoin explodes and all of a sudden it's 1 million and I started with storing it on my Ledger Nano S. Is that still a good way to go when it's about a million or maybe 10 million or do I need to have some other methods in place due to spread risks or to be safe? Please let me know. Thank you. Bye bye. Buck: Alright well a good question you know what Ron is talking about is the Ledger Nano S which is a hardware wallet it basically is something that's stored offline. Now listen that's what makes it so resistant to you know any kind of hacking right so you're not it's you're not online if you're not online no one can get to you, you know a hacker and Russia can't get to you, you know. But so if you suddenly end up with a million dollars of Bitcoin or more the reality is that in terms of the ledger it's just as bulletproof as before. I think the issue becomes when people have you know when they get like several million dollars a Bitcoin or Bitcoin million you know multi millionaires and billionaires or whatever then you know I may become a little nerve-racking just to have this little ledger around here right you may want to have you might want to have a little bit more protection than that in which case you might consider some kind of a custodian service like Gemini etc, but that's you know that's not necessary because one of the things about Bitcoin one of the appeals is that itself the ability to self custodian this stuff right you don't need a bank for this. And so I guarantee you that people are walking around with millions of dollars on their ledgers. Now I will point out that you know Ledger Nano S is just one Hardware wallet and you can get a lot more sophisticated and complicated type things you can even get a like a multi signature wallet Hardware wallet would that would require you know multiple people's keys in order to get to the cryptocurrency which you know I mean if you end up with a ton of money in crypto currency that's you know that's probably something that you might want to do. Okay next question from John Jillette. Hi Buck love your podcast been extremely helpful in increasing my financial intelligence. There's been talk about impending financial crisis from well-known economist Dent, Rickards and Schiff. What do you believe in the percentage chance that we go into a 2008 like financial crisis in the next couple years? Also as the recession is always coming how much dry powder do you recommend having at this point in the cycle scoop up deals when there's “blood in the streets”? Good question John the problem in my view with those guys that you talked about Harry Dent, Jim Rickards, Peter Schiff all super smart guys right and Harry Dent was on the show recently, is that they've all been predicting the same darn thing for at least four or five years now, right? I mean and it hasn't happened and when there is some sort of pull back because as you said there's always gonna be a recession at some point why is it after you blood in the street, you know? The bottom line is that you know Harry Dent in our last show even said you know I said dude it's hard to predict when right yeah it's hard to predict one I absolutely admit that. So what do you do then because let me give you an example of the counter risk to this whole you know this whole world of fear-mongering, and I'm not saying those guys are just doing that on purpose for that reason, I mean I do think that you know if your whole thing is like the world is coming to an end and you need to buy gold and your major business is selling gold then you know it's a little bit hard to swallow sometimes but let me give you an example of what could happen. So six years ago because you know I said before that Peter and you know all these guys have been talking about for five years at least about how you know everything's going to hell. Six years ago there was a company that we work with now called Western Wealth Capital and Investor Club and they have an investor who has put in twenty five thousand dollars and every deal for the last six years and they have a really unique model of people within our group know a lot about it. The total of seven hundred fifty thousand dollars was invested out-of-pocket during that period of time but the principle is now worth four million dollars. Now those are pretty exceptional numbers right that comes out to you know an annualized return of about a hundred percent and I'm not saying that that is you know what's going to happen in the future, but what I would skew to consider is what if we'd been listening to that advice for five years now? If this person had done that would they have done well? Okay well obviously not because you know if you stopped investing because of because of fear then you didn't make any money. Is it a guarantee that they would have lost money? Absolutely not. I mean listen these deals are really solid they go in there and they start to de-risk these things right away by driving up net operating income and maybe you know maybe wouldn’t have made as much money, but would it have lost a bunch of money? Well personally I just don't I don't think so. Now listen I'm not saying there will not be a recession. As I said eventually there will be. The problem is that we cannot time it and we cannot really quantify the magnitude. As much as people would love to talk about this blood and the street thing I mean the major mainstream economists and ITR Economics who I like don't think it's gonna be that big, they think it's gonna be stuck to the manufacturing and industrial sectors. So what do we do? So what do I do? I should say that I stick to quality assets and quality areas, I create value the moment you know that and then we create value in those assets the moment we acquire them, right? So that helps that whole value add concepts helps de-risk any project by dynamically decompressing cap rates. So think about it you you know you you buy something at a certain cap rate all the sudden you're driving in net operating income and you dynamically decompress your cap rates you have a better margin over your debt burden your risk is significantly lowered and if you can get all of your money out of the deal with a refinance all of your risk is gone okay. So now if there is a downturn and you're in one of these things you want to be in a position where you can ride out the storm with assets you already own and then, and then, this is the important part, lean into the downturn right lots of people freeze up when things go south or but the right thing to do is to be greedy when others are scared. So by continuing to deploy on a regular basis my personal belief is that you can volume average your way through a downturn and get capital preservation and then hopefully pick up some really cheap assets, ride them back up and hopefully it you know you end up in really good shape. That's my own approach to this. I'm not sitting around waiting for zombies to you know erupt out of the ground and start you know only accepting silver dollars, you know from a monster box. I'm just that's just not I just don't see it. As for the current financial climate I'd say the banks are, and I think again most economists would tell you that the banks are in a lot better shape than they were in 2008. I don't think that there's necessarily anything that looks like 2008. I think GDP has grown at a record for a record length of time it's been sluggish but on the other hand you know so in other words there will be some kind of recession eventually but why does it need to be blood in the streets? See we have to remember that before 2008 there was such thing as a recession that you just hear about like three months after it happened right it doesn't always have to be cataclysmic. Now you know talking about these guys you know Peter Schiff himself talks about you know the nature of this crisis that he sees happening and what he describes it as, is a dollar crisis. And if it's a dollar crisis what that means is it's gonna result in inflation. Now inflation is good for real estate. Conversely you've got Harry Dent who's talking about a deflationary recession which I have a harder time believing because of how it affects our own ability to pay you know Treasury holders, US Treasury holders, but you know even Harry thinks in his scenario that well you might as well you know own multifamily real estate because the demographics would suggest that that would be a safe place to be now Harry's a demographics guy. Now listen who knows what'll really happen just because Harry said that and Peter said that and I said this it could be completely something different, but if you do nothing and keep all your money in a bank you're guaranteed to lose money with inflation in my opinion because again I don't think it's gonna be deflationary I've been over that before. And as for dry powder it’s always good to have some obviously right I mean it's always good to have some, so it's hard to quantify how much. The way I have done it is I use as you may know I'm sure you know by now I am an advocate for Wealth Formula Banking because I like the option of you know being able to borrow etc. now for this purpose I use Wealth Formula Banking because it's it's sort of a source of liquidity for me that I can access very quickly that it's out of the banking system but how much dry powder I keep, generally relies on my contribution to the Wealth Formula Banking policy every year. So it's one of the things that sort of keeps me honest right I have to put a certain amount every year in there all the way up to the paid up perdition's and so that's basically circulating as my you know almost like a bond portfolio of liquidity in case I need it, so that's how I do it. But that being said, I'm also in a situation where I am very incentivized to invest rather than to keep my money around or invest in anything that's not real estate so I probably could do a better job with keeping a little bit more dry powder around. Anyway right now, so Wealth Formula Banking that's where my dry powder is and like I said that's where it keeps me disciplined, but I do not have a crystal ball and I don't really I'd really don't foresee myself anything horrible happening so I mean if I did if I was sure of it I'd probably I'm sure I would just you know have a bunch of money sitting around but I don't see any serious indication of that frankly. You know and I should point out I saw today you know Ray Dalio came out and said even about the stock market that he's bullish still right on the stock market, right? I'm not saying I'm bullish on the stock market but the point is there's some still some big names not really like hiding out in shorting markets at this point. So anyway I don't know that I even came close to answering your question but I talked a lot so let's see here. Next question Jason got an audio question. Jason: Buck, this is Jason Beck from The Rock Arkansas. Wanted to see if you had come across any good ways to utilize raw land investments for a tax-advantaged purpose. I've got some land that is timber and some more land that is pasture that we keep some horses on. I want to see if you had seen anybody utilize either various schedules on their tax returns or creation of entities to try to gain some tax advantage from those type of investments? Buck: Yeah the big one that comes to mind Jason is conservation easements. Now you know as soon as I say that a lot of people think oh that's that one thing that's kind of like that the IRS hates and they write articles about to try to scare people off of them and that's actually not totally the case the thing that IRS really hates are the syndicated conservation easements even those you know they're totally lawful but what I'm talking about is conservation easements on your own land which really are not controversial for the most part at all. So basically here's how that works okay. Effectively what you do in a conservation easement is you commit your land you still keep it you don't give it but you're giving up certain rights, you remember like yeah if you do any kind of real estate you know there's land rights there's ground rights all that kind of stuff. Anyway, in this case you're giving up the right to develop the land and or or in some cases if it's a mining situation, giving up the right to drill on the land. And if you do that what's interesting is that and what's powerful is that you can if you’ve done it appropriately get a valuation on your lands maximum value if it were to be used for that other purpose. Well let's give a give you an example so it's not so nebulous in other words say the alternative of keeping your horse pasture land was to build a multi-million dollar resort and you had all the plans you had architectural drawings etc. In that case you could theoretically get a valuation of how much that resort would be valued at and take the deduction for the amount of the valuation that you got instead of the value that your land currently has. So as you can imagine that could be an enormous potential tax benefit and so I would probably look into that for sure there's some very famous people who use that, Ted Turner CNN that's why he's got so many Buffalo, people say Donald Trump that's one of the reasons why he has so many golf courses but of course we don't see his tax return so we don't know that for sure. Anyway I know the guy you should speak with and I have already sent you a connection via email. Okay next question when evaluating a private placement opportunity I should say I don't I for some reason I don't have a name on this one so I apologize, but when evaluating a private placement opportunity, how important is it to you that the general partner has their own personal money invested in the deal? Well the answer is it depends okay. Let's take Ken McElroy for example let's take Western Wealth Capital and those guys for example Ken's be a better example because Western Wealth Capital I know got a couple of million dollars in every deal but let's take Ken. In the past you know where he was I've invested in as a limited partner in companies deals where you know I neither Ken was putting any money in and does that bother me not really. Why? Well listen I know Ken's model and he doesn't really get rewarded unless the asset performs. I also know Ken personally and know that he works hard, has a lot of integrity and takes pride in his work. He's got a tremendous track record and I also know that it takes a lot of work to do what he does, so not getting rewarded financially until the you know property starts to really perform the way he pro formas it out is a type of sweat equity because what you're talking about ultimately is skin in the game. Does the operator have skin in the game? And the question really I think is better termed you know does the operator have skin in the game? Because the skin in the game can also come in the form of sweat equity. Now if Ken in his case doesn't get paid unless investors get paid, I would definitely consider that skin in the game knowing how much work that is. Now the problem these days in my opinion is that there is you know there's everybody and their mother is a syndicator. And you know what I'm talking about right? So you've got all these people I was in here, I'm a full-time software engineer we're 50 hours a week and oh yeah and I just went to a guru course and I'm you know I'm taking down a twenty five million dollar asset would you like to join me? Those people are everywhere now and in those kinds of deals personally I would never invest anyway. However, if you do you should demand heavy skin in the game through cash why because you don't you know you don't know what they're gonna do, they don’t have a huge track record, they've got full-time jobs this isn't just about plugging in a property manager and taking your cut that's BS you know but honestly I would stay away from those deals all together personally you don't want to be part of someone's learning curve. All right let's see next question I have this via email here, I'm gonna read it. Okay so the next question is from Kenny. Kenny French is asking he says hi Buck I'm a podcast listener and Western Wealth Capital investor as well. I'm currently working with Rod Zabriskie to set up Wealth Formula Banking life insurance policy. So far everything has been going pretty smoothly with one exception. One of the features that I really like about the life insurance policy is it offers a way to have money grow that is protected from creditors and it really gives me a peace of mind to know that I will have a good chunk of money set aside for my family that can't or at least is very difficult for creditors or anyone else to touch. In looking how to hold that policy in a trust LLC personally etc I found out that California, where I live, that's where I live too, has terrible protections for life insurance policies. They only exempt a very small amount less than $20,000 presumably of cash values what we're talking about there, but from the little bit of research I did it looks like a Nevada trust may be the way to go, either way I think this would make for a good podcast topic to do a bit of a dive into so that's why I'm reading that and I got Kenny's okay to do this. So I thought was a good question. So what I did is I actually ran this by Doug Lodmell of Lodmell and Lodmell. Doug is of course my asset protection attorney, very smart guy, all-around good guy. I also want to put a plug in for him if you go to wealthformula.com and you go to there's basically some where you can click there and Doug did this really good webinar on asset protection from sort of the very basic to the more complex and he's just really really good so I would highly recommend you consider using him if any of this stuff is relevant to you. So here's the deal, and here's effectively the answer I've got from Doug: life insurance in many states is already a protected asset, so part of the issue is you got to check in your own state like Kenny did, as in some states like Kenny he's talking about California life insurance turns into pretty much just like an asset like any other asset and it has to be put into an asset protected vehicle. But because it is life insurance, there is an additional consideration of what happens when the policy pays out and how that affects the estate and for that reason there's also an additional choice which is an ILIT which stands for irrevocable life insurance trust. So the issue is that life insurance obviously has a death benefit which could impact the size of your estate and this must be a primary driver for where you hold it. If the death benefit will create or increase in estate tax, then the policy should be held by either an ILIT or another type of gift type trust like a dynasty trust. If the death benefit will not affect the estate tax because the total estate is below the exemption then I would suggest using an asset protection trust asset protection structure to hold the insurance if you are not in a state with good protections. He says it also matters if the insured is using life insurance as a savings vehicle and will need it for their retirement, as often we do with these kinds of things. If so then it is better in an asset protection plan. So I know that was a lot. So first of all if you know you're one of these if you have one of these plans I mean Kenny brings up a very good point you you sure look into this if you're looking for the asset protection component of this too. A few thoughts here okay, first of all you know the first thing to do is check your state and see what kind of protections you have. Next you know the ILIT is certainly an option right I mean it's it's just it's not very expensive it is a couple thousand dollars and you can use that, the problem with that it's difficult to to borrow out of. The next thing to consider is okay how big is that life insurance policy right? If it's three four million bucks, may not be a big deal especially if the rest of your estate is sitting outside of your estate or you've got a plan to have it outside of your estate then you can still figure out you know how to keep you know your estate stuff below you know whatever I think it's probably gonna sunset down to five and a half million or something like that for estate taxes. So in that regard, it seems to me that the smart thing to do would be to use like an asset protection trust which is you know certainly an option that that Doug can help you with, and frankly the nice thing about that is that you know you've got the protection from the creditors and it's still available for retirement. Now if you've got a great big you know death benefit on there, the next step really and actually this step that I've got is a dynasty trust, that was a Nevada dynasty trust and I've got one of those. In that situation though you are getting a trustee involved so you're not directly controlling it. Now I can tell you from personal experience that it's actually relatively not that difficult, you know to work with the trustee, but it does make it a little bit more difficult you know to get the cash available for the insured to use so that's the one thing to consider. Now Doug makes the point that you can also in some situations take an asset protection trust that automatically converts to a dynasty trust at death so then it's really the most flexible tool for most people so that might be the way to go. I think based on what I'm hearing and that's actually different from what I did but you know it was before I met Doug but I might have done like an asset protection trust that converted into a dynasty trust later that might have been what I would have done. Anyway complicated question complicated answer and that's kind of where I'll leave it because I've got a little headache from that last one at this point. So that's it for this week and that is just like half the questions we've got. We've been going on for a while. So that's it for me this week on Wealth Formula Podcast for Ask Buck Part One and we'll be back next week with part two.
North Korea Wants Its Own National Crypto, CBDC Fever Spreads In Asia
https://preview.redd.it/lbu4kerniwp31.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=03daf1aee23cb6c9a0098a7e7359cdf2654efd71 News by Cointelegraph: Julia Magas It seems that a movement to create a national cryptocurrency is gaining momentum in Asia. Following China, the North Korean authorities announced their readiness to issue digital money and even indicated the availability of all required resources — both technical and human — to implement this task. Will the government of the most isolated country in the world go further than its Asian neighbor, or is this just another attempt to scare the United States? Among the reasons for issuing a North Korean digital coin, experts name the circumvention of Western sanctions, money laundering, speculation and even the manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction.
All for cryptocurrencies?
In recent years, North Korea has become very interested in creating its own cryptocurrency and has a sufficient level of competence to move forward with this plan, as Alejandro Cao de Benos, a Special Delegate of the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said. According to Cao de Benos, local experts are now studying various digital assets in order to determine which of them the value of the future cryptocurrency should be tied to. He also said that there were no plans for it to be backed by the North Korean won and that it will be “more like Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.” But that’s not all. On Sept. 10, Cao de Benos tweeted that the North Korean authorities have allowed citizens to own cryptocurrencies, and local developers “are designing crypto wallets and other related apps right now.” It was also reported that other countries have helped North Korea in the technical implementation of its initiative. In particular, Cao de Benos referred to several foreign companies that have already signed contracts with the DPRK authorities for the development of blockchain systems for education, health care and finance sectors. Although he didn’t provide any names, the Korea Development Bank (KDB) had pointed to the IT firm Joseon Expo a year earlier. The company allegedly created a platform for the exchange of cryptocurrencies between interested parties on the order of the North Korean authorities. Despite bold statements by Cao de Benos, at the official level, the DPRK has so far refused to recognize or refute information about the intention of the country’s administration to issue a national cryptocurrency.
Why North Korea may need its own cryptocurrency?
According to Kayla Izenman, a research analyst at the Center for Financial Crime and Security, the country has the necessary experience and resources to launch its own cryptocurrency. As for the reasons behind the initiative, experts tend to mostly come up with negative scenarios — from bypassing the international sanctions and money laundering to speculation and financing the weapons of mass destruction.
Bypassing U.S. sanctions?
According to many media outlets and Cao de Benos himself, Pyongyang needs digital assets to circumvent international sanctions. With its own cryptocurrency, the DPRK may be able to break away from the international financial system dependency. In an interview with Cointelegraph, Cao de Benos noted two other advantages of cryptocurrencies — transaction speed and convenience — as an additional argument in favor of the initiative. Analysts believe that for Pyongyang, digital money is a new way to circumvent sanctions because they are “harder to trace, can be laundered many times, and are independent of government regulation.” This means that the DPRK may have the opportunity to trade with many countries around the world. Sean King, vice president of the Park Strategies consultancy in New York, pointed out the “sanctions-proof” nature of cryptocurrencies, while Steven Kim, a researcher at the Jeju Peace Institute in South Korea, said:
“The cryptocurrency is the ideal form of money for North Korea because it can be moved quickly and anonymously across borders and can be used to buy goods and services online or converted to hard currency.”
While evading U.S. sanctions is the key factor behind the North Korea’s crypto initiative, Jason Tucker-Feltham, founder of blockchain security firm London Crypto Services, suggested to Cointelegraph that U.S. sanctions “have led the country to pursue alternative means of value transfer,” but this may not be the only benefit of digital assets noticed by North Korea. He went on:
“Economies and central banks for which no US sanctions are in place (e.g. the IMF) have expressed interest in developing their own crypto-assets, meaning that the benefits in utilising DLT extends far beyond bypassing traditional payment mechanisms.”
Moreover, as many analysts claim, North Korea may be backed by other countries — such as Iran, Russia or Venezuela — which are already exploring national digital assets to bypass the U.S. sanctions. Cryptocurrencies allow for independence, which makes it almost impossible for the U.S. financial regulators to trace or control such forms of money. It’s therefore possible to transact cryptocurrencies on unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges that don’t force users to pass Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures. This makes it easier for hackers to freely and anonymously exchange their digital assets. Moreover, it’s the U.S. authorities that forced North Korea to use cryptocurrencies, as suggested by Jose Pagliery, a CNN investigative reporter, who said, “The UN and the international community have locked them out of banks so whereas they used to hack into the SWIFT system in banks.” Some experts claim North Korean hackers need and allegedly already use more transparent cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin (BTC) to bypass the sanctions. Izenman named Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC) in particular:
“Cryptocurrency especially if you’re using such coins as Monero or ZCash that are privacy coins that aren’t as transparent as Bitcoin can be used and traded. And they don’t need to go through the fiat system, they don’t need to touch the dollar, they don’t need to touch a bank.”
Being a country with a fairly low GDP ($28 billion compared to South Korea’s $1.54 trillion), North Korea has long been looking for and applying various ways to raise foreign capital. And cryptocurrencies are no exception. It is being widely reported about how the DPRK uses several methods to obtain digital coins — from mining farms and masternodes to cryptojacking and participation in new, promising projects. Specifically, North Korea began mining Bitcoin in May 2017, which coincided with the rise of Bitcoin. Steven Kim, a researcher at the Jeju Peace Institute in South Korea, said, “If there is a way to exploit cryptocurrencies for financial gain, the DPRK will figure it out and move aggressively to do so” Many analysts noted cryptocurrency’s liquidity as a decisive factor in Pyongyang’s interest in accumulating and creating digital assets, including CNN’s Richard Quest:
“There’s also reason for them to hack into the mining of Bitcoins and steal those Bitcoins as well because the price has been skyrocketing. […] This is quite liquid. They can cash those Bitcoins out on the market and get dollars.”
Recently, financial crimes and AML experts Lourdes Miranda and Ross Delston released a detailed explanation of how the DPRK can use cryptocurrency for money laundering, which was later removed, however, from the website. In response to the question whether North Korea could create its own blockchain for manipulating crypto transactions domestically, they both answered, yes.
Nuclear weapon financing?
North Korea began looking for ways to finance military programs back in the 1970s, when the country was on the verge of default. As a result, a new structure was established, aimed at getting foreign currency for the DPRK authorities. According to a report prepared in 2007 for the U.S. Congress, such activities helped North Korea raise $5 billion. On Aug. 13, the United Nations Security Council released an expanded report, according to which the amount of funds stolen by North Korea reached $2 billion. The authors of the report claimed that the government of Kim Jong Un hacked the accounts of banks and cryptocurrency exchanges in 17 countries in order to finance weapons of mass destruction programs, claims which the North Korean regime strongly denied. At the same time, cyber attacks were reportedly carried out under the leadership of the country’s General Bureau of Intelligence. The U.S. and South Korea believe that the DPRK’s online army consists of 20 to 30 elite cyber saboteurs specializing in cryptojacking. According to general estimates, the total number of cyber specialists may vary from 1,800 to 6,000 hackers. The North Korean government itself rejects such allegations. Speaking with Cointelegraph Cao de Benos called such statements “ridiculous”. He added:
“The DPRK is already a nuclear power and we have enough to secure the safety of the country. This is why we are in negotiations with the USA.”
Meanwhile the local media says that the country has nothing to do with attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges and, furthermore, doesn’t support any hackers. In particular, a representative of the DPRK National Coordinating Committee on combating money laundering and financing of terrorism said:
“Such a fabrication by the hostile forces is nothing but a sort of a nasty game aimed at tarnishing the image of our Republic and finding justification for sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK.”
In their report, Miranda and Delston say that they are sure that Pyongyang is developing its own cryptocurrency in order to cash out money:
“DPRK can create their own cryptocurrencies or use established ones like Bitcoin. Having their own cryptocurrency would also facilitate their ability to open online accounts under the guise of a non-adversarial nation using anonymous communication to conceal the user’s locations and usage on the internet.”
The most difficult part in such a process, according to experts, is converting cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat funds anonymously. And North Korea’s own cryptocurrency system would most likely be able to solve this issue, as suggested by Miranda and Delston:
“For example, DPRK could open an online wallet using a Russia-based service, transfer its cryptocurrency into a Bulgaria-based wallet service and then transfer it again into a Greece-based wallet service, all through anonymous communication and using their own blockchain.”
In a conversation with Cointelegraph, Tucker-Feltham explained why North Korea would likely build a private blockchain that wouldn’t be similar to Bitcoin:
“In view of it being a fully public blockchain, the Bitcoin network is poorly suited for facilitating money laundering, as upon identifying the owner of one public key all associated transactions can subsequently be traced. Furthermore, there is a blossoming industry in chain-analytics that looks to track behaviours on public blockchains. Such traits underpinning the Bitcoin blockchain may have factored into the decision to develop an entirely new blockchain; were North Korea to be developing a crypto-asset with the intention of its being untraceable, it stands to reason that their blockchain will not be public.”
When asked by Cointelegraph to comment on this rumor, Cao de Benos said:
“As for money laundry that’s another stupidity. We don’t need to launder anything because the DPRK is the most sanctioned country in the world and we are not able to trade and use the traditional financial system.”
What are they doing at blockchain conferences?
Along with the active exploitation of cryptocurrencies, DPRK authorities are conducting closed blockchain conferences and training courses. Specifically, in 2017, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology held an accelerated cryptocurrency course for elite students, taught by Federico Tenga, an Italian developer. Tenga himself declined to comment on the news about the North Korean cryptocurrency, explaining that he had previously had trouble after communicating with DPRK journalists. In April of this year, North Korea held the nation’s first international conference on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, bringing together foreign experts from around the world. It has been reported that participants paid 3,300 euros for the program, which included a tour to the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea. Nevertheless, there are no independent sources that would confirm how successful the conference was — as access was denied to any outside observers. The organizers themselves said that the first event was so successful that they decided to hold a second one in February 2020. The conference is scheduled to last eight days and surpass the previous event in its scope. Cao de Benos emphasized that the event will see a big number of Korean government officials:
“The conference serves as a meeting opportunity but from there we will develop long lasting collaboration and business with professionals and companies. The participants in the Korean side are all working for the government in different important institutions in finance, logistics, trade, etc.”
Meanwhile, participation is still prohibited for citizens of South Korea, Japan, and Israel, while U.S. residents are allowed to attend the conference. Those wishing to attend will need to send a CV, a passport scan and home address, though it’s not clear where this all should be sent, as there are no official email addresses or websites. Independent and anonymous analysts in South Korea believe that the main objective of the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference is to show that North Korea will develop and promote cryptocurrencies if the U.S. does not begin to move forward in bilateral negotiations. Some in the media have said it is very likely that Russian experts will appear at the conference, which will testify to the seriousness of the cryptocurrency activities of the DPRK as a whole.
So, will a crypto be released?
Independent experts argue that Pyongyang has both the necessary resources and the technological experience to successfully develop a state cryptocurrency. Martin D. Weiss, the founder of Weiss Ratings, said in a conversation with Cointelegraph that there is every chance it could happen: “The question is whether it would be possible for adversarial or rogue nations to use state-backed digital money to help establish an alternate system of international transactions, thereby weakening the West’s ability to use sanctions as leverage against them. The answer is yes, provided they can handle large volumes.” Weiss also noted that in the future, some countries could unite and create a single payment system based on cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, representatives of the state-run Korean Development Bank expressed a completely different point of view in their report, referring to the country’s shortage of quality experts, computers and electricity. Also, according to a senior fund manager at a U.S.-based investment bank in Seoul, the DPRK’s closed internet network may interfere with the implementation of the government’s plan, “Because only limited Web access is available in the North, Pyongyang can’t take advantage of cryptocurrencies in terms of unrestricted and anonymous transactions.” Whether a national cryptocurrency would help North Koreans get out of its current economic troubles remains under question, considering other countries’ experience in this direction. For instance, attempts by Venezuela to save its economy with the state-owned cryptocurrency Petro haven’t yet yielded any obvious success. Pyongyang may also have to convince partner countries to use its new cryptocurrency to circumvent Western sanctions. And this is not so easy to do when companies around the world use the U.S. dollar, according to Annie Fixler, a sanctions and illicit finance expert at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who said:
“Washington’s use of sanctions now is reliant on the dollar’s role in the global financial system — U.S. sanctions have significant secondary effects because non-US banks can’t risk losing access to dollar transactions by doing business with sanctioned persons.”
Hi Bitcoiners! I’m back with the twelfth monthly Bitcoin news recap. (Yes I'll keep doing these in 2018) For those unfamiliar, each day I pick out the most popularelevant/interesting stories in bitcoin and save them. At the end of the month I release them in one batch, to give you a quick (but not necessarily the best), memeless overview of what happened in bitcoin over the past month. You can find recaps of the previous months on Bitcoinsnippets.com A recap of Bitcoin in December 2017
New Indictment Alleges Capital One Hacker Also Hit a University, State Agency, and Telecom Provider
A federal indictment alleges that the hacker who breached Capital One’s customer data did so as part of a broader attack that impacted more than 30 other businesses, government agencies, and schools. In addition to harvesting the personal data of more than 106 million Capital One customers, the indictment says the hacker used the compromised cloud servers to mine cryptocurrency. The indictment, filed on Wednesday in Washington State, are the first formal charges against the alleged hacker, Paige Thompson. She was arrested on July 29 based on allegations of data theft, but the charges of illicit cryptocurrency mining are new. Yesterday’s indictment does not name the victims, but security researchers have found evidence that they may have included the Ohio Department of Transportation, Vodafone, and Michigan State University. Those would match the indictment’s description of a U.S. state agency, a foreign telecommunications conglomerate, and a U.S. public research university. The three organizations have said they are investigating whether their computers were compromised in the attacks. The indictment describes a relatively new kind of digital attack called “cryptojacking.” It involves a hacker gaining control of a computer or server, commanding it to perform the intensive cryptographic computations that secure digital currencies like Bitcoin, and then transmitting the resulting digital currency to a wallet the hacker controls. Malicious software secretly installed on private computers can perform the same function. The new indictment doesn’t specify which cryptocurrency Thompson is alleged to have obtained or the amount. It seeks forfeiture of any property or proceeds from Thompson’s hack, including cryptocurrency. The indictment does not specify the cloud provider through which Thompson accessed victims’ data stores. But Capital One’s cloud provider is Amazon Web Services and Thompson is a former AWS employee. Amazon has said the attacker exploited a configuration error made by Capital One, rather than a mistake by Amazon. Yesterday’s grand jury indictment alleges Thompson built scanning software to detect similar configuration errors, which she then used to further infiltrate the servers. Capital One has said that it is “unlikely that the information was used for fraud or disseminated” by the hacker. The new indictment doesn’t detail any data Thompson may have obtained from other victims. * More Details Here
I would like to share why I am holding Litecoin(LTC) and why I classify it as a triple AAA asset. (Triple AAA is the highest rating an asset can receive.) There are only 3 assets that are currently classified in my book as triple AAA assets. (Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum) Remember this is my personal opinion and you should always do your own research and come up with your own assessment before investing. Created by Charles Lee in October of 2011, Litecoin is a scrypt-based digital currency. Now I could ramble on about Litecoin stats and the pros/cons compared to Bitcoin but that won't get us anywhere. Just because we have another crypto-currency doesn't necessarily mean it's competitive to Bitcoin or any other asset for the matter. I believe Litecoin has already achieved a status quo that would likely give it a 'permanent' place in crypto. With that said, I would expect Litecoin to continue to grow for decades and perhaps even centuries. When you look at the typical asset in the market it generally consists of startups, experiments and hobbies. Even larger organizations like Ethereum, Ripple and NEO are likely to plateau when the market cap reaches the hundreds of billions or even near a trillion dollars. But what about assets like Bitcoin and Litecoin? If an organization or company can reach hundreds of billions or even a trillion in market cap, where would that put a currency/commodity? And what if that commodity is supported by the worlds largest financial institutions? You have probably heard the saying 'Litecoin is the Silver to Bitcoin' and 'Bitcoin is digital gold' which honestly is probably not all that far from the truth. It has been said that in order for Bitcoin to achieve the same market cap as Gold, it would have to achieve a market cap of over $7 trillion.. Will that be the case? Nobody knows.. But if Litecoin is the Silver to Bitcoin, then how high could the market cap of Litecoin actually get? When your talking about a currency/commodity with limited supply, especially ones like Bitcoin and Litecoin, there really is no 'known' limit to how high it can grow. (This is unprecedented territory.) With massive financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Fidelity looking to treat crypto as investment vehicles, the future seems very bright for AAA assets.
In partnership with Coinbase, Fidelity implemented on its website the option to display holdings in Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. - CNBC Aug 9th Goldman Sachs is reportedly investigating into the plan of launching a cryptocurrency trading platform to provide sufficient liquidity towards institutional and retail traders. “In response to client interest in digital currencies, we are exploring how best to serve them in the space,” - Goldman Sachs Oct 1st, 2017
Now let's not get ahead of ourselves.. Nobody can say for certain that 'Litecoin' will make investors wealthy... However we can take the best calculated risks to ensure we are reliably correct. Looking at the overall picture, without a doubt I feel Litecoin is clearly around for the long-term. And when I say long-term I don't mean a few years, I mean there's a good chance Litecoin will be around for decades. How many asset's out there can you say with confidence will be around for decades? There aren't many...
“Some of you might be wondering: Why am I here today? I’m here because I love this stuff... all that the future might hold.” - Abigail Johnson, CEO Fidelity
So the biggest question I suppose would be, 'What makes Litecoin so special compared to the other cryptocurrencies?' Well to answer that question let's list some highlights.
Litecoin is one of the oldest assets created in October 2011.
It has recovered from every crash and bubble to-date and continues to increase in value.
Where Litecoin has survived 6 years, thousands of assets have failed.
Litecoin has not just survived, it thrived. Continues to break all-time highs.
Aside from BTC and ETH, Litecoin has a larger market reach than 99% of the assets out there.
Litecoin creator Charles Lee is a former executive at Coinbase.
Coinbase has a partnership with Fidelity, which allows clients to view crypto (LTC) on the Fidelity website.
Fidelity is a big fan of cryptocurrency. Perhaps the word 'big' is an understatement.
Goldman Sachs is also interested in cryptocurrency and is looking to please clients needs. How could one pass up LTC?
Litecoin is faster and cheaper to send than its predecessor Bitcoin.
Generally speaking, where Bitcoin goes Litecoin tends to follow.
Looking at Litecoins market cap it is sitting at around $5.5 billion USD. Now i'll just speculate a little bit here.. But I believe the majority of Litecoins market cap comes from massive financial institutions and not just the typical investor. These unknown entities whom have invested billions into Litecoin, are likely the same people planning to bring Litecoin to mainstream investors. Keep in mind we are extremely early in the crypto and everyone is getting in position, even mainstream itself. In addition, I believe the average investor has overlooked Litecoin and the focus has been more or less on Bitcoin/Altcoins. Understanding the risks Of course with any investment there are always risks. In the event Litecoin doesn't make it into the mainstream investment channels, then I think it would become a collectors coin long-term rather than a currency/commodity. Aside from BTC, If you are invested in any other digital currencies (not companies) then this is a risk worth noting. (I may cover this topic in a future post.) This was a difficult post to write because there was a lot to say and not a lot of ways to say it. I am sure there will be a handful of people who will disagree with this post, but as always.. this is just my opinion. The bottom line is, bitcoin might be popular and grabbing a lot of attention, but bitcoin is not the only currency/commodity that is going to make major investors, firms and brokers wealthy. Regards, BTC2018 Additional References:
One of Fidelity’s projects is mining bitcoin and ethereum, which Johnson said was started for educational purposes, but now turns a tidy profit. “We set up a small bitcoin and ethereum mining operation…that miraculously now is actually making a lot of money,”. - Abigail Johnson, CEO Fidelity Along with JPMorgan, more than a dozen banks, including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Credit Suisse Group AG, have acted as brokers for buying and selling Bitcoin XBT on Nasdaq’s Stockholm-based exchange, according to Swedish online bank Nordnet AB. - Bitcoin XBT
Ripple (XRP) is close to becoming a AAA asset.
AAA (Excellent past growth that is likely to continue in the future.)
AA (Very good past growth that is likely to continue in the future.)
A (Good growth but has yet to show impressive results.)
B (Not yet shown impressive results but is expected to later)
C (High Risk, Long-Shots, 2-5% of your portfolio.)
Among the more frequently mentioned G+ alternatives at the Google+ Mass Migration community, and others, is MeWe with over 250 mentions. The site bills itself as "The Next-Gen Social Network" and the "anti-Facebook": "No Ads, No Political Bias, No Spyware. NO BS. It is headed by professed Libertarian CEO Mark Weinstein. As the site reveals no public user-generated content to non-members, it's necessary to create an account in order to get a full impression. I thought I'd provide an overview based on recent explorations. This report leads of with background on the company, though readers may find the report and analysis of specific groups on the site of interest.
Founder & CEO Mark Weinstein. Co-Founder & Chief Scientist, Jonathan Wolfe (no longer with company). Weinstein previously founded SuperFamily and SuperFriends, "at the turn of the millennium". Weinstein's MeWe biography lists articles published by The Mirror (UK), Huffington Post, USA Today, InfoSecurity Magazine, Dark Reading, and the Nation. His media appearances include MarketWatch, PBS, Fox News, and CNN. He's also the author of several personal-success books. His Crunchbase bio is a repeat of the MeWe content.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Inventor of the World Wide Web.
Jack Canfield: Legendary Founder, Chicken Soup For The Soul.
John Friedman: Founding Partner, Easton Capital.
Cullen Hoback: Director, Terms and Conditions May Apply.
Dianne Morrison: Partner, MorrisonMcNabb, LLC.
Colin Sebastian: Director, Equity Research/Internet, RW Baird.
Brett Shevack: CEO, Brand Initiatives; Former Vice Chair, BBDO.
Marci Shimoff: author, Happy for No Reason.
Sherry Turkle: Professor, MIT; author Alone Together.
Ownership & Investment
MeWe is the dba of Sgrouples, a private for-profit early-stage venture company based in Los Angeles, though with a Mountain View HQ and mailing address, 11-50 employees, with $10m in funding over five rounds, and a $20m valuation as of 2016. Sgrouples, Inc., dba MeWe Trust & Safety - Legal Policy c/o Fenwick West 801 California Street Mountain View, CA 94041 Crunchbase Profile. Founded: 2012 (source) Secured $1.2M in seed funding in 2014. 2016 valuation: $20m (source] Backers:
John Friedman, venture capitalist, founder & MD, Easton Capital, New York, NY.
Do you have friends still on Facebook? Share this link with them about Facebook wanting their banking information - tell them to move to MeWe now! No Ads. No Spyware. No Political Agenda. No Bias Algorithms. No Shadow Banning. No Facial Recognition.
MeWe provide several policy-related links on the site:
California Disclosures -- Do Not Track, 3rd-party cookies, and California Privacy Rights.
Your Identity: We protect it to the extent the law allows
Linking to Third-Party Sites: These are your decisions and responsibilities
Security: HTTPS and Encryption
Terms of Service
The ToS addresses:
Allowable Content and Acceptable Use
Who Our Services are For
User Content Ownership
Misuse of Usernames, Page names, Group names
Fake Accounts (pseudonyms allowed, misleading is not)
More on Spam
Our Commitment to Data Security
MeWe Content Data
MeWe Log Data
Your Data Portability
Deleting Your Account -- Right to Erasure
MeWe Secret Chat
MeWe Invitations and "Add Automatically"
Additional Policies for Pages, Groups, and Events Notifications of Requests for Account Information
Guidelines for Law Enforcement Seeking Customer Data (Worldwide)
Ownership In and To the Site and Services
Effective: November 6, 2018.
The FAQ addresses:
What is MeWe (emphasises privacy)
The Politics of MeWe ("absolutely no political agenda")
How can MeWe be free and make money? (additional services/freemium)
Which devices is MeWe available on? (Android, iOS)
What content can I share on MeWe (photos, videos, documents, voice messages, privacy mail, chats, gifs, memes, doodles)
What are some unique features of MeWe?
Who can see the posts I share?
Can I delete my MeWe account and is it easy to do this?
This emphasises that people are social cratures and private people by right. The service offers the power of self expression under an umbrella of safety. It notes that our innermost thoughts require privacy. Under "We aspire...":
MeWe is here to empower and enrich your world. We challenge the status quo by making privacy, respect, and safety the foundations of an innovatively designed, easy-to-use social experience.
Totalling 182 words.
Privacy Bill of Rights
A ten-item statement of principles (possibly inspired by another document, it might appear):
You own your personal information & content. It is explicitly not ours.
You will never receive a targeted advertisement or 3rd party content based on what you do or say online. We think that's creepy.
You see every post in timeline order from your friends, family & groups. We do not manipulate, filter, or change the order of your content or what you see.
Permissions & privacy are your rights. You control them.
You control who can access your content.
You control what, if anything, others can see in member searches.
Your privacy means we do not share your personal information with anyone.
Your emojis are for you and your friends. We do not monitor or mine your data.
Your face is your business. We do not use facial recognition technology.
You have the right to delete your account and take your content with you at any time.
There are a few mentions of MeWe in the press, some listed on the company's website, others via web search.
The following articles are linked directly from MeWe's Press page:
The page also lists a "Privacy Revolution Required Reading" list of 20 articles all addressing Facebook privacy gaffes in the mainstream press (Wired, TechCrunch, Fortune, Gizmodo, The Guardian, etc.). There are further self-reported mentions in several of the company's PR releases over the years.
Facebook Alternative MeWe Raises $5.2M, Los Angeles Business Journal (July 7, 2018) "The latest round, as well as MeWe’s total $10 million in fundraising, was predominantly backed by celebrity investors, such as author Marci Shimoff, Rachel Roy, and Lynda Weinman, founder of Lynda.com, which sold to Linkedin in 2015 for $1.5 billion. Jack Canfield, creator of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, also invested in MeWe."
Is building a Facebook alternative worth the effort? MeWe thinks soVentureBeat (July 5, 2018) "[T]here are still companies hoping to make their mark in the social networking realm with “Facebook alternatives.” One of those is MeWe, a “next-generation” social network that positions itself as the anti-Facebook: “Your private life is not for sale. No ads. No Spyware. No BS,” its website proclaims." Continues to mention "modest $5.2 million" funding round. Also a "sister product", MeWePRO, a Slack competitor.
Startup MeWe Launches Free, 'No Ads' Social NetworkeWeek (March 16, 2016) "MeWe, a new network engineered with its users' data privacy built in, is betting that a lot of people will say yes to both of those questions. The Mountain View, Calif.-based startup, whose parent company is Sgrouples.com, launched its freely available social network out of beta March 9 with more than 200,000 members already using it.... Sir Tim Berners-Lee, co-architect of the World Wide Web, found out about MeWe on his own and approached the company about getting involved."
Facebook Alternative MeWe closes $5.2M Series A Yahoo/PR Newswire (July 5, 2018). "The investment brings MeWe's total funding to $10 million, to support the engineering of MeWe and the enterprise version MeWePRO.... The company has relied on high net worth individuals for all of its funding including Lynda Weinman, founder of Lynda.com ...; Marci Shimoff, a #1 New York Times bestselling author ...; Rachel Roy...; and Jack Canfield."
Exactis Data Leak 2018: 340 Million Records ExposedInvestorPlace (June 29, 2018) "'Today's cookies can link your mobile phone to your laptop, to your home monitoring devices, and much, much more. Creepy? Scary? Orwellian? Yes, yes, yes,' Mark Weinstein, the privacy expert and founder of social media company MeWe, told MarketWatch. 'So imagine that Exactis, like Facebook, knows everything about you — really.'"
MeWe Raises $3M in FundingFinSMEs (March 9, 2016) "Sgrouples, Inc., the Mountain View, CA-based developer of MeWe, a social network with neither ads nor tracking, raised $3m in funding."
This section is a basic rundown of the user-visible site technology.
The site is not natively accessible from a mobile Web browser as it is overlayed with a promotion for the mobile application instead. Selecting "Desktop View" in most mobile browsers should allow browser-based access.
There are both Android and iOS apps for MeWe. I've used neither of these, though the App store entries note:
MeWe Android 4.4 rating (13.1k ratings). Permissions: Contacts (read), Location (approximate/precise), SMS (receive), Phone (read status & identity), Photos/Media/Files (read, modify, & delete contents), Storage (read, modify, or delete), Camera (take pictures/videos), Microphone (record audio), Device ID & Call Info (read status & identity), and numerous elements under Other.
Crunchbase cites 209,220 mobile downloads over the past 30 days (via Apptopia), an 80.78% monthly growth rate, from Google Play.
Either selecting "View Desktop" or navigating with a Desktop browser to https://www.mewe.com your are presented with a registration screen, with the "About", "Privacy Bill of Rights", "MeWe Challenge", and a language selector across the top of the page. Information requested are first and last name, phone or email, and a password. Pseudonymous identities are permitted, though this isn't noted on the login screen. Returning members can use the "Member Log In" button. The uMatrix Firefox extension reveals no third-party content: all page elements are served from mewe.com, img.mewe.com, cdn.mewe.com, or ws.mewe.com. (In subsequent browsing, you may find third-party plugins from, for example, YouTube, for videos, or Giphy, for animated GIFs.) The web front-end is nginx. The site uses SSL v3, issued by DigiCert Inc. to Sgrouples, Inc.
The onboarding experience is stark. There is no default content presented. A set of unidentified icons spans the top of the screen, these turn out to be Home, Chats, Groups, Pages, and Events. New users have to, somehow, find groups or people to connect with, and there's little guidance as to how to do this.
Generally there is a three panel view, with left- and right-hand sidebars of largely navigational or status information, and a central panel with main content. There are also pop-up elements for chats, an omnipresent feature of the site. Controls display labels on some devices and/or resolutions. Controls do not provide tooltips for navigational aid.
My Cloud - Seamlessly organize all your content in My Cloud; it's your personal cloud. My Cloud offers an interactive dashboard for you to control everything you’ve posted or shared - making it simple to delete or reshare.
Unique profiles - Be yourself, free from any tracking and spying. Customize your profile for every group you create or join.
Voice integration (on any or all content) - Post pictures, videos, or documents and include a voice message. Respond to a shared post or just chat. MeWe’s voice integration works for you and your contacts throughout the entire platform.
Universal tagging - This is a new, convenient way to sort and organize all the content you receive and share, making it easy to find everything, anytime.
Enhanced permission control (patent issued) - Manage permissions on a granular level and decide exactly who sees what. You can also remove yourself from the search directory, make yourself invisible to other members online, and much more.
Much More – join MeWe today and take a look inside! MeWe is the next-gen social networking experience designed for you to have fun, stay in touch, collaborate, organize, and simplify.
A key aspect of any social network is its community. Some of the available or ascertained information on this follows.
Weinstein claims a "million+ following inside MeWe.com" on Twitter. The largest visible groups appear to have a maximum of around 15,000 members , for "Awesome gifs". "Clean Comedy" rates 13,350, and the largest open political groups, 11,000+ members. This compares to Google+ which has a staggering, though Android-registrations-inflated 3.3 billion profiles, and 7.9 million communities, though the largest of these come in at under 10 million members. It's likely that MeWe's membership is on the whole more more active than Google+'s, where generally-visible posting activity was limited to just over 9% of all profiles, and the active user base was well under 1% of the total nominal population.
MeWe do not publish active users (e.g., MUA / monthly active users) statistics.
MeWe is principally a group-oriented discussion site -- interactions take place either between individuals or within group contexts. Virtually all discovery is group-oriented. The selection and dynamics of groups on the site will likely strongly affect user experience, so exploring the available groups and their characteristics is of interest. "MeWe has over 60,000 open groups" according to its FAQ. The Open groups -- visible to any registered MeWe user, though not to the general public Web -- are browsable, though sections and topics must be expanded to view the contents: an overview isn't immediately accessible. We provide a taste here. A selection of ten featured topics spans the top of the browser. As I view these, they are:
Health & Fitness
Cars & Motorcycles
Fashion and Beauty
Specific groups may appear in multiple categories. The top Groups within these topics have, variously, 15,482, 7,738, 15,482 (dupe), 7,745, 8,223, 8,220, 1,713, 9,527, 2,716, and 1,516 members. Listings scroll at length -- the Music topic has 234 Groups, ranging in size from 5 to 5,738 members, with a median of 59, mean of 311.4, and a 90%ile of 743.5. Below this is a grid of topics, 122 in all, ranging from Activism to Wellness, and including among them. A selected sample of these topics, with top groups listed members in (parens), follows:
Activism: QAnon+++ (2,572), PATRIOT PREPPERS USA (2,430), Deplorables Republic (2,48), The War Drummer (1,898), Patriots for a United America. (1894), Anonymous (1,700).
Alternative Energy: Reiki, Crystals, and alternative healing (2,114), 💜Starseeds & Empaths💜 (345), Living in Colour (365).
Alternative Lifestyle: Natural Healing and Home Remedies (3,045), Backyard Farming of All Things (2,696), WeTheSheeple (2,251).
Alumni Connections: Google Plus Refugees (271), Google+ Refugees (186), Frog Pond (156), Carlsbad NM High School alumni (57).
Animals: I Love My Dog (4,421), Pussy Shots (4,619).
Astronomy: Spherical Earth Truth, Flat Earth is Wrong (278), Nibiru, Nemesis, Hercolobus, The Destroyer (187).
Biology: Trees (344), Field of Birds (104), Patriots of Australia (51).
Personal Improvement: For Introverts. (1,214), Anarchy, Philosophy, Psychology, and Spirituality (679), Positive Affirmations (447).
Philosophy: In5d Esoteric Metaphysical and Spiritual Database (1,764), Thought Bouncing (1,137), Obtectivists - Galts Gulch - Ayn Rand fans (561).
Poetry: Dead Poest (1,407), Palacio de Poetry (451), Poets Corner (412).
Politics: Donald J. Trump 2016 - Present (11,486), The Conservative's Hangout (8,345), Qanon Follow The White Rabbit (5,600), Drain The Swamp (4,978), Libertarians (4,528), United We Stand Trump2020 (4,216).
Pop Culture: The Loftus Party (116), The Walking Dead: The Stalking Dead (100), Tyler, Texas (71).
Privacy: Join the Open/Privacy Movement (3974), Kingsport tn gun trader (1,157), Safer Computing (555).
To be clear: whilst I've not included every topic, I've sampled a majority of them above, and listed not an arbitrary selection, but the top few Groups under each topic.
Google Plus expats (1,862)
Google+ Refugees (186)
G+ Refugees (101)
my Google+ expatriates
The Google Plus expats group seems the most active of these by far.
It's curious that MeWe make a specific point in their FAQ that:
At MeWe we have absolutely no political agenda and we have a very straightforward Terms of Service. MeWe is for all law-abiding people everywhere in the world, regardless of political, ethnic, religious, sexual, and other preferences.
There are 403 political groups on MeWe. I won't list them all here, but the first 100 or so give a pretty clear idea of flavour. Again, membership is in (parentheses). Note that half the total political Groups memberships are in the first 21 groups listed here, the first 6 are 25% of the total.
Donald J. Trump 2016 - Present (11486)
The Conservative's Hangout (8345)
Qanon Follow The White Rabbit (5600)
Drain The Swamp (4978)
United We Stand Trump2020 (4216)
The Right To Self Defense (3757)
Alternative Media (3711)
Hardcore Conservative Patriots for Trump (3192)
Bastket Of Deplorables4Trump! (3032)
Return of the Republic (2509)
Infowars Chat Room Unofficial (2159)
Donald Trump Our President 2017-2025 (2033)
Berners for Progress (1963)
Sean Hannity Fans (1901)
The American Conservative (1839)
I Am The NRA (1704)
Tucker Carlson Fox News (1645)
We Love Donald Trump (1611)
MAGA - Make America Great Again (1512)
news from the front (1337)
Basket of Deplorables (1317)
Payton's Park Bench (1283)
Convention of States (1282)
Britons For Brexit (1186)
MoJo 5.0 Radio (1180)
MeWe Free Press (1119)
The Constitutionally Elite (1110)
WOMEN FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP (1032)
AMERICANS AGAINST ISIS and OTHER ENEMIES (943)
#WalkAway Campaign (894)
ALEX JONES (877)
The Lion Is Awake ! (854)
We Support Donald Trump! (810)
The Stratosphere Lounge (789)
TRUMP-USA-HANDS OFF OUR PRESIDENT (767)
Official Tea Party USA (749)
Mojo50 Jackholes (739)
Yes Scotland (697)
"WE THE DEPLORABLE" - MOVE ON SNOWFLAKE! (688)
Judge Jeanine Pirro Fans (671)
Ted Cruz for President (650)
No Lapdog Media (647)
Q Chatter (647)
Daily Brexit (636)
Tucker Carlson Fox News (601)
The Trumps Storm Group (600)
QAnon-Patriots WWG1WGA (598)
100% American (569)
Ladies For Donald Trump (566)
Deep State (560)
In the Name of Liberty (557)
Material Planet (555)
Trump NRA Free Speech Patriots on MeWe Gab.ai etc (546)
Magna Carta Group (520)
Constitutional Conservatives (506)
Question Everything (503)
Conspiracy Research (500)
Bill O'Reilly Fans (481)
Conservative Misfit's (479)
Canadian politics (478)
HARDCORE DEPLORABLES (454)
Tampa Bay Trump Club (445)
UK Politics (430)
Bongino Fan Page (429)
Radical Conservatives (429)
RESIST THE RESISTANCE (419)
The Deplorables (409)
America's Freedom Fighters (401)
Politically Incorrect & Proud (399)
CONSERVATIVES FOR AMERICA ! (385)
Political satire (383)
RISE OF THE RIGHT (371)
UK Sovereignty,Independence,Democracy -Everlasting (366)
The Patriots Voting Coalition (359)
End The Insanity (349)
Coming American Civil War! (345)
Constitutional Conservatives (343)
United Nations Watch (342)
A Revival Of The Critical Thinking Union (337)
The New Libertarian (335)
Libertarian Party (official ) (333)
DDS United (Duterte Die-hard Supporters) (332)
American Conservative Veterans (331)
America Needs Donald Trump (326)
The UKIP Debating Society (321)
Coalition For Trump (310)
FRIENDS THAT LIKE JILL STEIN AND THE GREEN PARTY (292)
2nd Amendment (287)
Never Forget #SethRich (286)
Green Party Supporters 2020 (283)
It seems there is relatively little representation from the left wing, or even the centre, of the political spectrum. A case-insensitive match for "liberal" turns up:
104: Conservatives Against Liberal Beliefs C.A.L.I.B (273)
184: Progressive and Liberal Politics (119)
301: Liberalism is a Mental Disorder (33)
302: Resistance Against Liberal Socialism (33)
358: NOT For Liberals (17)
367: Drinking Liberally Houston (14)
400: Stephanie Miller's Sexy Liberal Army (6)
Mainstream political parties are little represented, though again, the balance seems skewed searching on "(democrat|republic|gop)":
391: Saving The Republic: Video News & Opinion (8)
The terms "left" and "right" provide a few matches, not all strictly political-axis aligned:
7: The Right To Self Defense (3757)
80: RISE OF THE RIGHT (371)
150: POLITICS ON THE LEFT (156)
157: 1st Amendment Rights Protected By The 2nd Amendmen (141)
209: On The Left With Jeremy Corbyn (84)
262: Eyes-Left Labour & PP - Social Media (49)
300: Gather Left (33)
385: Defend Washington State Gun Rights (9)
390: Left Coast Conservatives (8)
Socialism and Communism also warrant a few mentions:
121: Revolutionary Socialists United (204)
216: Socialist Thought (79)
220: Stories Of Communism (76)
262: Eyes-Left Labour & PP - Social Media (49)
288: Snuggly Wuggly Socialists (38)
302: Resistance Against Liberal Socialism (33)
And there are some references to green, laboulabor parties:
97: FRIENDS THAT LIKE JILL STEIN AND THE GREEN PARTY (292)
100: Green Party Supporters 2020 (283)
262: Eyes-Left Labour & PP - Social Media (49)
320: Green Party of Ohio Issues & Discussion Group (29)
Whilst there may not be a political agenda, there does appear to be at least a slight political bias to the site. And a distinctive skew on many other topical subjects. Those seeking new homes online may wish to take this into account.
Various typos and tagging corrections. 2018-11-29 - 30
Added G+MM references count for MeWe to lede paragraph. 2018-12-2
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