[Disney Pins] Much Ado About a Database, Or Who Knew Shiny Pieces of Metal Had This Much Drama?
To begin with, I am only a very casual pin collector and was not in the hobby when all of this went down. I’ve been able to piece this story together from reading way back in several forums that were very active at the time, but if anyone else knows more details (or sees something I’ve gotten wrong) please speak up. First, some backstory about Disney pin collecting and collectors: Hardcore Disney pin collectors are a relatively small and insular community. Most non-traders tend to think of the Disney pins as enamel pins of characters that one can easily find on a pre-packed lanyard and purchase at one of the many gift shops that dot Disney parks along with the occasional set you can find at Wal-Mart or Target. As a general rule, the pins in this story are not those pins. To start with, there are three categories of Disney pins:
“Rack” or open edition pins are produced without regard for edition number and could theoretically be available forever if Disney finds the pin profitable. These are the majority of pins that one can find on any spinning rack at a Disney park or property, along with most of the pins that proliferate at the Disney Store’s website and at other retailers.
“Limited Release” pins are generally only available at a select location (sometimes only Disney World OR Disneyland), and are generally smaller in terms of edition size, but edition size is often not made public. Theoretically these pins could be as open-ended in edition size as a rack pin, or they could be incredibly limited. There is at least one infamous Limited Release pin (Rapunzel from the Reveal/Conceal Girls series) that is considered one of the lowest-edition and hardest-to-find pins out there.
“Limited Edition” pins are exactly what they say—a select number are produced, and they generally sell out fairly quickly to both collectors and resellers. While originally many LE pins were available online for Disney fans to purchase from anywhere in the country, these days they are almost all exclusively released at or around the Disney parks.
It’s not uncommon for older rack pins of popular characters to inflate in price on eBay, but it’s a guarantee that LR and LE pins will immediately double, triple, or more in price once they are sold out and eBay becomes the sole place to get your pin fix. Except, of course, if you trade. Pin trading became an official Disney “thing” back in 1999, and originally was centered solely in the Disney parks. Today it also takes place online amongst people who don’t live anywhere near a park. Rack pins tend not to trade well with the pin-trading elite, which means that a trader needs LE and LR pins—the lower the edition size and more popular the movie/character the better—as “traders” (i.e. pins they don’t really care about except as currency) to trade for their “grails” or most-wanted pins. And lest anyone mistake this for an inexpensive hobby, some of these hard-to-find LE and LR pins sell for thousands on eBay. That Reveal/Conceal Rapunzel pin I mentioned a moment ago? There’s one up on eBay as I type this for $8,000. So once upon a time, two Disney pin fans got the idea to create a database of pins. It would be crowd-sourced, which meant that people could take pictures of their actual pins—not just stock images owned by Disney—and people could use it to both keep track of what was “out there” in the pin-trading world. It was also envisioned as a resource to catalog traders’ own collections and to arrange trades with other pin fans around the world. Pin Pics was born! Since Disney doesn’t keep an official public list of all of their pin releases, and because there are hundreds (if not thousands) of new Disney pins released annually, some of which are never available to the general public and are only sold or awarded to Disney employees, it’s easy to see why a database like this would quickly gain popularity. The owners were pin collectors themselves, they welcomed anyone and everyone to add information to the database, and best of all the pin entries could be easily used to track a pin’s popularity; people who wanted to trade for the pin could mark it on their “Wants” list, and people who owned one and were open to trading it could add it to their “Trades.” The ratio between trades/wants became an easy way for collectors to evaluate a pin’s “worth” outside of its original MSRP and whatever someone had most recently sold it for on eBay. One of the other truly valuable things about PinPics was its use as a “scrapper spotter.” Scrapper is a general-use term in the pin-trading community to refer to A: a true production overrun that may also have flaws that led it to being “scrapped” in the factory, B: a bootleg pin made using the original pin molds but not authorized by Disney, or C: a counterfeit that looks approximately like the real pin, but may also have significant differences such as paint color, irregular stamping on the back side of the pin, strange margins, etc… Basically, scrapper = fake pin. Disney has an unofficial policy to not really care much about scrappers (why is a hotly debated topic amongst pin collectors—from what I have gathered it’s likely a combination of the cost of trying to shut down counterfeit operations in China as well as a desire not to leave a bad impression on tourists who unknowingly buy grab bags of cheap “park tradeable” pins on eBay to trade on vacation at one of Disney’s parks). Cost-wise it’s obviously better for Disney to keep the vacation-only pin traders happy and spending money on park tickets, food, and other merchandise than it is to make them feel bad for having a fake pin, especially when a real version of the same isn’t even a drop in Disney’s vast bucket. But for many collectors, pin trading is the only point of going to the parks, and scrappers aren’t considered valuable or tradeable if you’re a true hobbyist. Scrap versions of many rack, limited release, and limited edition pins all exist. Scrappers ballooned in the mid-2000s, and PinPics was seen as a good way to track pins that had known or suspected scraper copies in circulation, as well as to verify what the “real” pin was supposed to look like. I cannot stress enough how much the Disney pin community relied on PinPics. Tens of thousands of images were uploaded onto it over the years, virtually all of them pins that its members owned or had owned themselves. The database was not-for-profit, free to access, free to use for trading via a messaging system, free to utilize as a catalog of your own collection, and ultimately free for scrapper identification. PinPics had its own discussion forum called PinTalk. Another forum called Disney Pin Forum (DPF) came into existence around the same time. From what I have been able to gather they weren’t really competing forums—PinPics was mostly about its database, and DPF had no similar product, it was just a place for people to talk about pins. Both filled a hole left when an older site called Dizpins went offline. Many members participated in both forums under the same usernames, and DPF frequently referred new collectors to PinPics. Most of my links here are from Disney Pin Forum because PinTalk’s archives start in 2013 when the forum moved to TapaTalk. Even the Wayback Machine wasn’t helpful in locating earlier records. Many posts from the current version of the PinTalk forum have also been subsequently deleted, particularly those that related to the drama I’m about to detail. When possible, I’ve included PinTalk links, but there are some pretty large swaths of posts that have clearly been deleted. At the outset, PinPics explicitly allowed eBay sellers, some of whom were the same people who had uploaded all of those pictures onto PinPics in the first place, to use its images in their listings. This was notably in the early days of eBay when fewer people owned high-resolution digital cameras, and before eBay required sellers to post actual pictures of the items they were selling. Back in 2012 all of this came crashing down around everyone’s ears. In a nutshell, the owners of PinPics had tired of the hobby, and as such were no longer interested in maintaining the database. All of those images, all of the traffic, and all of the hotlinking via eBay likely cost quite a lot of money. So the owners sold the database to a trio of fairly new pin collectors that went by the collective moniker of LANSAM. As new traders (and there were rumors that at least one member of the trio wasn’t a pin collector at all, and was only interested in the potential of making money off PinPics) LANSAM were viewed with a considerable amount of skepticism from the larger pin trading community from the beginning. To start with, LANSAM very quickly made it clear that they were interested in turning PinPics profitable. Now, the finances of the original PinPics owners were never transparent—periodically there would be fundraising drives to pay for server costs, but the exact cost of running the site was never disclosed—however LANSAM opened their relationship with the pin-trading community by teasing that they were going to upgrade the OG PinPics system to a new, better, more efficient one that would also offer some additional benefits to those who paid annual subscription fees. What those benefits were remained murky at first, but many pin traders were alarmed that content they had provided for the benefit of the hobby and for their own collections could be monetized. Worse, they were worried that they could be locked out of the images and descriptions they had provided if they didn’t pay ongoing fees to LANSAM. Shit. Hit. The. Fan. While many members of the larger community urged calm and noted that LANSAM weren’t likely monsters, that they had been vetted by the original, trusted owners of PinPics and had been found to be worthy buyers of the database, and that the subscriber benefits were supposedly going to be new features that the current PinPics did not offer, a very vocal group continued to run around shouting that the Disney pin sky was falling. LANSAM offered to host both a Q&A chat as well as to accept questions via private message that would be answered FAQ-style on the forum as a way to quell the furor. According to people who participated, the chat did not go well. Too many users, too little time given to answering difficult questions about the future of PinPics, and a growing awareness that LANSAM had few concrete ideas about how they would accomplish some of their stated and implied goals for the site were all highlighted in a thread about the chat on DPF. A few of the more skeptically-minded users worried that the FAQ would turn into just a selection of questions that LANSAM wanted to answer, and that since all questions had to be submitted via PM the larger userbase would have no way to know which questions LANSAM was declining to respond to. Nevertheless, the chat happened and the FAQ were posted. Until they weren’t. Days after both went live, they were unceremoniously removed from the PinPics forum. No rationale was given for their removal, but the negative response to both from users who had previously encouraged others to keep an open mind was fairly obviously behind it. At about the same time, LANSAM changed its user agreement to announce that PinPics would no longer allow their images to be used on eBay listings, and that they were going to watermark every image that had already been uploaded onto the site as well as those users would upload in the future. Now, keep in mind that use in eBay listings had been explicitly allowed up until this point. Many pin collectors were also pin sellers, and (see $8,000 Rapunzel Reveal/Conceal) eBay pin sales can be big business. Few people on the forums would admit to being sellers as well as traders, but some did freely acknowledge that they had eBay storefronts and were upset that images they had uploaded of pins in their own collections were suddenly PinPics’ to watermark and restrict. Internet armchair lawyering is never pretty, and plenty ensued on this topic. Lots of yelling and shouting, but ultimately very few people were either able or willing to do the work it would take to get their images (which were not apparently tagged with the username of the person who uploaded them) taken down. Things largely died down between the larger collector community and LANSAM for a few months after this, except for an ongoing beef between a Disney Pin Forum user named TiggerNut and LANSAM. TiggerNut was one of the users most vocally upset about the watermarking/eBay issue, and was quite open about the fact that she had a large eBay store and relied on PinPics images, thousands of which she claimed to have uploaded herself, to sell her merchandise. She continued to yell and shout regularly on DPF about how much she distrusted LANSAM, but the forum’s users seemed largely tired of the conflict and ready to move on, especially if LANSAM could deliver on a better version of PinPics. She was eventually blocked from PinPics, as were several others. TiggerNut remained convinced until the end that all of those who had been banned were being blamed for poor behavior because they were friends with her, though others threw doubt on this theory. At some point, TiggerNut encountered LANSAM at a pin trading event, and was very upset that it appeared that they were selling high-end pins. Some recent Googling had led TiggerNut to believe that one of the members of LANSAM was the relative of a suspected scrapper dealer who had sold faked high-end pins. He also had a felony conviction on his record for passing bad checks. In a since-deleted DPF post, she posted images of LANSAM at a table during the pin event, displaying pins, and heavily implied that she thought they were A: planning to use the site to set up pin sales in the future, and B: selling scrappers. Now, as you can imagine given the concern over scrappers, reputation is a very important part of pin trading and selling. PinPics and Disney Pin Forum both had a system whereby users could rate one another, similar to the way a buyer can rate an eBay seller (though PinPics’ later went offline and never really came back). Any negative or even neutral feedback—especially regarding knowingly selling scrappers—could tank a trader’s reputation, even if they had hundreds of positive feedback comments and only one or two negative. DPF was very cautious about the potential for libel claims against the site, and disallowed lists of eBay sellers who allegedly sold fakes at the time (a list is now prominently featured on the forum), and TiggerNut was roundly discouraged from A: making claims against LANSAM she could not back up, and B: making accusations against someone for crimes an alleged relative may have committed. The next phase in LANSAM’s move to monetize PinPics came with the promised PinPics 2.0 site update. For months people asked what the update would look like, would this, that, or the other feature be available, when they were going to get even a sneak peek at the new design, etc… Finally the new site premiered, and while first impressions were mostly positive the overwhelming sentiment turned more sour as people began poking more extensively through the site and realized that some of the features they had enjoyed previously were not available. There was also the problem that the site wasn’t actually in its final form yet, and likely hadn’t been ready to debut at all. The fact that PinPics kept its old site still running for months after the supposed changeover did not help matters any; some longtime users simply refused to shift to the new site because using the old site was easier and more comfortable. Disney Pin Forum and PinPics had not been friendly for some time at this point, with quite a lot of criticism of the new PinPics owners and site happening on DPF, but DPF users clearly still drove a considerable amount of traffic to PinPics on a regular basis, and many of them continued to be regular posters on the PinPics forum. For one thing, PinPics continued to facilitate trades, but more importantly it was where almost all users still kept track of their collections and wants. Need an image of a pin you desperately want but don’t have? PinPics has it—just copy or hotlink to it and you can put it in your DPF signature for other traders to see. The more views on that signature you get, the greater the chances are that you’ll run into someone on the forum who has what you want and will trade it to you for something in your (also linked) PinPics trade list. In 2013, PinPics informed the owners of DPF that all links to Pin Pics must be disabled. Not just hotlinked images, which would be understandable from a cost perspective, but straight links between pages. Overnight, all of the links went dead. This decision was reversed, but then it wasn’t, and neither site seemed to fess up to being the ones to break the links permanently. Because neither DPF nor PinPics had informed users about the takedown, at first people assumed that the broken links were temporary. When an announcement was made that it had been deliberate and would be permanent, people began to lose their minds. I am going to be unabashedly editorial here and say that this decision is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read on the internet. Hotlinking images costs server money without driving traffic to a hosting site, but straight links between the forums isn’t the same thing. Moreover, Disney Pin Forum brought traffic to PinPics (which at this point was selling pins and accepting subscriptions) through those links. It is just so much shooting oneself in the foot to shut down all links because you’re getting some pushback about changes from your own users via a third party. When tempers cooled over a year later talks about allowing links resumed, but the damage was permanently done and most links to PinPics within the DPF archives still don’t work. The next major concern for many regarding LANSAM and PinPics came when the newest PinPics business venture was announced. Unlike many other collectables, Disney pins had never embraced (or had an independent body willing to engage in) rating pins. Mint vs. near-mint? There wasn’t a real system in place. Seeing a hole in the market, PinPics began offering a pin-grading service. For a fee, a collector could send their high-end pin to PinPics, have it evaluated, and then get it encapsulated with a grading sticker attached to the box verifying its condition. Given how much money certain hard-to-find pins can be worth on the secondary market, this isn’t an unreasonable service, nor is it outside the realm of what many other hobbies (such as baseball card collecting) already do. The only problem was that LANSAM’s biggest weakness in the community from the beginning was its collective inexperience with Disney pins. Many reasonable collectors asked for evidence that the person doing the rating had extensive experience with pins in the first place, much less with the very low-edition pins (see again, Reveal/Conceal Rapunzel) that most collectors who’d been in the hobby for years had never seen in person. With so many designs, how could a rater know for sure that a slightly blunted edge on a pin was a defect, not a standard feature on every pin made in that design? What about scrappers? Would the rater be enough of a pin expert to spot well-made fakes? Would he/she be able to tell the difference between an authentic pin with manufacturing defects from a scrapped fake? No clear answers were available, only assurances that the grading service was going to be good for the community. The grading service launched, and like so many things in this story, some parts went perfectly well and would have quelled controversy had they been announced in a timely manner, and some did not. Tomart was in charge of the grading, which calmed fears about expertise. The graded pins, though, were a different story once they started getting shipped back to their owners. For one thing, the seals that were supposed to assure an ownebuyeseller exactly what they were trading or selling? Not the most unique or tamper-resistant looking sticker around. Some were worse. The service never seemed to take off, and was quietly discontinued at some point in late 2014 or early 2015. In late 2013 the first rumblings of a new pin database that would compete with PinPics began. People quickly pointed out that matching PinPics’ catalog would be challenging due to how long it had been around, how many older pins had been added by now-defunct collectors, and how extensively PinPics’ system of numbering pins for identification purposes had penetrated into the collecting community as a whole. This is still true, by the way, a casual search on eBay for “PinPics” nets hundreds of hits as many sellers list the identification number created by PinPics in the title of their listing. Still, there was interest in an alternative database if it offered different features than the current iteration of PinPics while also featuring a deep catalog of pins. Disney Pin Place was born! Less than two months later, it died. As best I can piece together, the site’s architect was scraping data from PinPics, including photos, to build the database quickly. PinPics quickly issued a DCMA takedown notice. The 2019 read on the situation comes down squarely in favor of the takedown, but at the time people were quite upset about it. Remember back when the sale of PinPics to LANSAM was brand new and TiggerNut was ranting that she was convinced that they were going to start selling pins? Guess what they did? This venture involved a distribution agreement with ACME/Hot Art, a company that was licensed to manufacture high-end official Disney pins. It was a big freakin’ deal, and some of these were big freakin’ pins. How it worked was that people could pre-order these limited edition pins (costing between $40-$200, and marketed as not just pins, but works of art), pay up front, and then would receive their pins when the manufacturer shipped them from China. In addition to selling pins outright, there was also a game called Pinopolis—also the name of the PinPics pin-selling company--that is frankly far too confusing for me to try to explain (and I would explain it poorly), but if you’re really interested their Facebook page has posts as recent as March of this year. Only people who placed pre-orders were initially supposed to be able to acquire these pins, but unsold inventory was sometimes later made available to the general public for not much more than pre-ordering customers paid. Back in 2018, the Pinopolis/ACME agreement came apart. First, very expensive pins were taking months—6-8 or more—to arrive after pre-orders. Payments made through PayPal have a limited refund shelf life of 180 days. Beyond that, people who had paid hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for these pins were effectively left without recourse to get their money back, even if Pinopolis never delivered their pins. Second, no one really seemed to know what was going on with the pins, including the people who worked for LANSAM and Pinopolis. At one point there was even a testy standoff between two PinPics/Pinopolis reps on Disney Pin Forum about who was allowed to answer which questions. Finally, ACME lost the Disney license, leaving Pinopolis holding the bag on pre-orders that might never be manufactured. Interestingly, many of the 2018 designs have been auctioned off over Facebook Live in the last 9-12 months, so at some point Hot Art/ACME did deliver the goods, though Pinopolis stopped trying to market them on the already-burned forums of both their own PinPics site and Disney Pin Forum. So where does that leave PinPics today? Well, it’s not pretty, kids. The site became increasingly glitchy and unreliable as the post-sale years passed, and notably went down multiple times just prior to major pin trading events in 2017 and 2018, which is precisely when many traders needed to use it as a trades/wants record. It was all but unreadable for a period in 2019 when more page space was eaten up by ads than content. I first tried to look at PinPics while this was going on, and it was even worse than the screenshot in that last link shows. Per their own forums, at least as far back as 2018 the database itself was starting to crumble under the weight of old, buggy code. In spite of accepting sponsorship donations (with associated ACME pin bonuses) for years, the site struggled to support its servers. At present, no one appears to be maintaining the database or uploading new pins that have been submitted by users over the last few months. Lenny, part of the LANSAM group, posted to their forums back in October that the database is not for sale, and that they are working on rolling out an even newer update, but it’s been crickets since then. As much of pin trading has moved to Facebook and Instagram it’s unclear just how big a change the slow demise of PinPics is having on the larger Disney pin collector community, but for its core of dedicated longtime users it’s clearly making an impact. A new pin database has also emerged, one that is generating its content new without using the photos or descriptions that were originally crowdsourced and then copyrighted by PinPics. To date that database has a little over 30,000 pins recorded; PinPics’ database holds nearly 120,000. No matter what happens to the databases in the future, losing PinPics as an active resource almost certainly means losing records of many pins that collectors would like to preserve.
Here is comrade Xi Jinping's article on Marxist political economy in contemporary China
http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/leaders/2020-08/15/c_1126371720.htm This is actually a speech given at the 28th collective study session of the Political Bureau of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC on November 23, 2015. It is in Mandarin. If anyone is able to find the official English translation, do link it here. I am pasting the English translation by Google translate: Constantly open up new realms of contemporary Chinese Marxist political economy Xi Jinping Today, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee conducts the 28th collective study. The content of the study is the basic principles and methodology of Marxist political economy. The purpose of arranging this study is to strengthen the study and understanding of the basic principles of Marxism. Before, we have arranged to study the topics of historical materialism and dialectical materialism. This time, we will deepen our understanding and grasp of the laws of economic development by reviewing Marxist political economy, and improve our ability and level of leading our country's economic development. Next, let me talk about a few experiences. Marxist political economy is an important part of Marxism, and it is also a compulsory course for us to uphold and develop Marxism. Based on the world outlook and methodology of dialectical materialism and historical materialism, Marx and Engels criticized and inherited the ideological achievements of historical economics, especially British classical political economy, and established Marxist political economy through in-depth research on human economic activities. It reveals the laws of economic movement in human society, especially capitalist society. Engels said that "all theories of proletarian parties come from the study of political economy." Lenin regarded political economy as the "most profound, most comprehensive, and detailed proof and application" of Marxist theory. Nowadays, there are various kinds of economic theories, but the foundation of our political economy can only be Marxist political economy, not other economic theories. Some people believe that Marxist political economy is outdated and Capital is outdated. This conclusion is arbitrary and wrong. To put it aside, from the perspective of the international financial crisis, many capitalist countries have continued to suffer economic downturns, serious unemployment problems, increased polarization, and deepening social conflicts. The facts show that the inherent contradiction between the socialization of production and the private possession of the means of production still exists in capitalism, but the manifestations and characteristics of existence are different. After the international financial crisis, many Western scholars are also re-studying Marxist political economy and "Das Kapital" to reflect on the drawbacks of capitalism. Last year, "The Capital in the 21st Century" written by French scholar Thomas Piketty sparked extensive discussion in the international academic community. He used detailed data to prove that the degree of inequality in the United States and other Western countries has reached or exceeded the highest level in history. He believes that unchecked capitalism has exacerbated wealth inequality and will continue to deteriorate. His analysis was mainly carried out from the field of distribution, and did not involve much more fundamental ownership issues, but the conclusions he reached are worthy of our deep consideration. Our party has always attached great importance to the study, research, and application of Marxist political economy. Comrade Mao Zedong intensively studied "Das Kapital" four times, and hosted several seminars on the Soviet "Textbook of Political Economy", emphasizing that "the study of political economy issues has great theoretical and practical significance." Comrade Mao Zedong creatively put forward the new democratic economic program during the period of new democracy. In the process of exploring the road of socialist construction, he put forward original views on the development of China's economy, such as proposing the basic contradiction theory of socialist society, and putting forward overall planning, Pay attention to the important viewpoints of comprehensive balance, agriculture as the foundation, industry as the leading factor, and coordinated development of agriculture, light and heavy. These are our party’s creative development of Marxist political economy. Since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party, our party has combined the basic principles of Marxist political economy with the new practice of reform and opening up to continuously enrich and develop Marxist political economy. After the "Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Economic System Reform" was passed in October 1984, Comrade Deng Xiaoping commented: "I wrote a first draft of political economy, which is a political economy that combines the basic principles of Marxism and the practice of Chinese socialism." . For more than 30 years, with the continuous deepening of reform and opening up, we have formed many important theoretical results of contemporary Chinese Marxist political economy, such as theories about the essence of socialism, theories about the basic economic system in the primary stage of socialism, and the establishment of and Implement the theory of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development concepts, theories about developing a socialist market economy, enabling the market to play a decisive role in the allocation of resources and better giving play to the role of the government, and theories about China's economic development entering a new normal , Theories about promoting the coordination of new industrialization, informatization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization, theories about the properties of ownership, contracting rights, and management rights on the land contracted by farmers, and theories about making good use of both international and domestic markets and two resources , Theories about promoting social fairness and justice and gradually realizing common prosperity for all people, etc. These theoretical results have not been discussed by classic Marxist writers, and we did not have practice and knowledge in this area before the reform and opening up. They are political economics adapted to the national conditions and characteristics of the times in contemporary China. They not only powerfully guide China’s economic development practice, but also open up The new realm of Marxist political economy. Now, in the changing tide of the world economy, whether we can steer the big ship of our country's economy well is a major test for our party. Facing the extremely complex domestic and international economic situation and the diverse economic phenomena, learning the basic principles and methodology of Marxist political economy will help us master scientific economic analysis methods, understand the process of economic movement, and grasp the laws of social and economic development. Improve the ability to control the socialist market economy and better answer the theoretical and practical questions of China's economic development. The purpose of studying Marxist political economy is to better guide the practice of economic development in our country. We must not only adhere to its basic principles and methodology, but also integrate with our country's actual economic development to continuously form new theoretical results. First, adhere to the people-centered development thinking. To develop for the people is the fundamental position of Marxist political economy. Marx and Engels pointed out: "The movement of the proletariat is an independent movement for the overwhelming majority of people and for the benefit of the overwhelming majority." In the future, "production will aim at the prosperity of all people." Comrade Deng Xiaoping pointed out that the essence of socialism is to liberate productive forces, develop productive forces, eliminate exploitation, eliminate polarization, and ultimately achieve common prosperity. The Fifth Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China clearly stated that it is necessary to adhere to the people-centered development concept, and to promote the well-being of the people, promote the all-round development of people, and make steady progress toward common prosperity as the starting point and end of economic development. We must never forget this point. We must firmly adhere to this fundamental position when deploying economic work, formulating economic policies, and promoting economic development. Second, adhere to the new development concept. In response to the new changes in my country's economic development environment, conditions, tasks, requirements, etc., the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee proposed to establish and adhere to the development concept of innovation, coordination, green, openness, and sharing. These five development concepts are based on a profound summary of domestic and foreign development experiences and lessons, and an in-depth analysis of the general development trend at home and abroad. They collectively reflect our party’s new understanding of the laws of China’s economic development, and are similar to many aspects of Marxist political economy. The views are the same. For example, Marx and Engels envisioned that in the future society, "all people share the welfare created by everyone", "people are directly natural existences", and "natural history and human history restrict each other." At the same time, these five development concepts are also a sublimation of the perceptual knowledge we have gained in promoting economic development and a theoretical summary of our practice of promoting economic development. We must persist in using new development concepts to guide and promote my country's economic development, continuously solve economic development problems, and create a new situation in economic development. Third, uphold and improve the basic socialist economic system. Marxist political economy believes that the ownership of the means of production is the core of the relations of production and determines the basic nature and development direction of society. Since the reform and opening up, our party has summarized both positive and negative experiences, established the basic economic system for the primary stage of socialism, emphasized the adherence to public ownership as the mainstay and the common development of multiple ownership economies, and made it clear that both public and non-public ownership economies are socialist market economies. An important part of China's economic and social development is an important foundation. We must unswervingly consolidate and develop the public sector of the economy, encourage, support, and guide the development of the non-public sector of the economy, and promote various ownership systems to complement each other's strengths, promote each other, and develop together. At the same time, we must be very clear that my country's basic economic system is an important pillar of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and the foundation of the socialist market economic system. The dominant position of public ownership cannot be shaken, and the leading role of the state-owned economy cannot be shaken. This is an institutional guarantee to ensure that the people of all ethnic groups in our country share the fruits of development. It is also an important guarantee for consolidating the party's ruling position and adhering to my country's socialist system. Fourth, uphold and improve the socialist basic distribution system. Marxist political economy believes that distribution is determined by production, and it is counterproductive. "And what can best promote production is the way of distribution that enables all members of society to develop, maintain and exercise their abilities as comprehensively as possible." Starting from the reality of our country, we have established a distribution system in which distribution according to work is the main body and multiple distribution methods coexist. Practice has proved that this institutional arrangement is conducive to mobilizing the polarities of all parties and is conducive to the realization of an organic unity of efficiency and fairness. Due to various reasons, there are still some outstanding problems in the income distribution of our country, mainly the widening income gap, the low proportion of labor remuneration in the primary distribution, and the low proportion of residents' income in the national income distribution. In this regard, we must attach great importance to efforts to promote the synchronization of residents’ income growth with economic growth, increase in labor remuneration and increase in labor productivity, continue to improve systems, mechanisms and specific policies, adjust the national income distribution pattern, continue to increase the income of urban and rural residents, and continue to reduce income gap. Fifth, adhere to the direction of socialist market economy reform. Developing a market economy under socialist conditions is a great pioneering work of our party. A key factor in the great success of my country's economic development is that we have not only brought into play the strengths of the market economy, but also the advantages of the socialist system. We are developing a market economy under the major premise of the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the socialist system. We must never forget the attributive "socialism". The reason for saying that it is a socialist market economy is to uphold the superiority of our system and effectively prevent the drawbacks of the capitalist market economy. We must adhere to the dialectics and the two-point theory, continue to work hard on the combination of the basic socialist system and the market economy, and give full play to the advantages in both aspects. We must not only "effective market", but also "promising government", and strive to practice Solve this worldwide problem in economics. Sixth, adhere to the basic national policy of opening up. Marxist political economy believes that human society will eventually move from the history of all nations to world history. At present, our country has unprecedented close ties with the world. The influence of our economy on the world economy and the influence of the world economy on our economy are unprecedented. Under the conditions of the in-depth development of economic globalization, we cannot engage in construction behind closed doors. Instead, we must be good at coordinating the overall domestic and international situations and make good use of the two international and domestic markets and two resources. It is necessary to follow the trend of my country's economy deeply integrating into the world economy, develop a higher level of open economy, actively participate in global economic governance, and promote the development of the international economic order in the direction of equality, justice, and win-win cooperation. At the same time, we must resolutely safeguard our country’s development interests, actively guard against various risks, and ensure national economic security. There are many theoretical and practical issues that require in-depth study. In short, we adhere to the basic principles and methodology of Marxist political economy and do not exclude the reasonable elements of foreign economic theories. Western economics' knowledge about finance, prices, currency, markets, competition, trade, exchange rates, industries, enterprises, growth, management, etc., reflects the general laws of socialized mass production and market economy, and should be used for reference. At the same time, for foreign economics, especially Western economics, we must insist on removing the rough and the essence, removing the false and keeping the truth, insisting on taking me as the main and using it for me. For the content that reflects the attributes and values of the capitalist system, and for the content that has the color of Western ideology, Can't copy it. Although economics is the study of economic issues, it cannot be separated from social politics, pure and pure. In our economics teaching, we must talk about Marxist political economy. We must talk about the political economy of socialism in contemporary China, and we must not be marginalized. For Marxist political economy to have vitality, it must advance with the times. Practice is the source of theory. We have spent several decades to complete the development process that developed countries have traversed for hundreds of years. my country's economic development process is magnificent and its achievements have attracted worldwide attention. It contains great motivation, vitality and potential for theoretical creation. At present, both the world economy and my country's economy are facing many new major issues, and scientific theoretical answers are needed. Based on China’s national conditions and our development practices, we must thoroughly study the world economy and the new conditions and problems facing China’s economy, reveal new characteristics and new laws, refine and summarize the regular results of China’s economic development practice, and upgrade practical experience to systematization The theory of economics in China continues to open up new realms in contemporary Chinese Marxist political economy and contributes Chinese wisdom to the innovation and development of Marxist political economy.
World's Largest Drug Cartel: THe British Empire; Details on 2 opium wars fought in China, FORCING DRUGS into China, creating tens of millions of addicts. Forcing China to CEDE 6 cities after losing the opium war. By Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn
This is one of the better articles I have found on the Opium Wars: -Hong Kong remained under British control until 1997 because of the opium wars and the Opium trade. -2,000 tonnes of Opium per year imported into China by 1840, 6,500 tonnes imported by 1880 +20,000 tonnes of domestic production -Hundreds of thousands killed by British soldiers to protect the opium trade -Starvation in India caused by opium production taking all of the farm land. (Excerpt) For the full article click the link https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/01/the-us-opium-wars-china-burma-and-the-cia/ (....) The opium poppy was not native to Southeast Asia but was introduced by Arab traders in the seventh century AD. The habit of opium smoking didn’t take hold till the seventeenth century, when it was spread by the Spanish and Dutch, who used opium as a treatment for malaria. The Portuguese became the first to profit from the importing of opium into China from the poppy fields in its colonies in India. After the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the British East India Company took over the opium monopoly and soon found it to be an irresistible source of profit. By 1772 the new British governor, Warren Hastings, was auctioning off opium-trading concessions and encouraging opium exports to China. Such exports were already generating £500,000 a year despite the strenuous objections of the Chinese imperial government. As early as 1729 the Chinese emperor Yung Cheng had issued an edict outlawing opium smoking. The sanctions for repeat offenders were stern: many had their lips slit. In 1789 the Chinese outlawed both the import and domestic cultivation of opium, and invoked the death penalty for violators. It did little good. Inside China these prohibitions merely drove the opium trade underground, making it a target of opportunity for Chinese secret societies such as the powerful Green Circles Gang, from whose ranks Chiang Kai-shek was later to emerge. These bans did not deter the British, who continued shipping opium by the ton into the ports of Canton and Shanghai, using what was to become a well-worn rationale: “It is evident that the Chinese could not exist without the use of opium, and if we do not supply their necessary wants, foreigners will.” Between 1800 and 1840 British opium exports to China increased from 350 tons to more than 2,000 tons a year. In 1839 the Chinese Emperor Tao Kwang sent his trade commissioner Lin Tze-su to Canton to close the port to British opium ships. Lin took his assignment seriously, destroying tons of British opium on the docks in Canton, thus igniting the Opium Wars of 1839–42 and 1856. In these bloody 📷campaigns the British forced China open to the opium trade, meanwhile slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Chinese, a slaughter assisted by the fact by 1840 there were 15 million opium addicts in China, 27 percent of the adult male population, including much of the Chinese military. After the first Opium War, as part of the treaty of Nanking China had to pay the British government £6 million in compensation for the opium destroyed by Lin in Canton. In all essential respects Shanghai thereafter became a western colony. In 1858 China officially legalized sales and consumption of opium. The British hiked their Indian opium exports to China, which by 1880 reached 6,500 tons, an immensely profitable business that established the fortunes of such famous Hong Kong trading houses as Jardine, Matheson. Meanwhile, the Chinese gangs embarked on a program of import substitution, growing their poppy crops particularly in Szechwan and Hunan provinces. Labor was plentiful and the poppies were easy to grow and cheap to transport – and the flowers were also three times more valuable as a cash crop than rice or wheat. The British did not take kindly to this homegrown challenge to their Indian shipments, and after the crushing of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 they forced the Chinese government to start a program to eradicate the domestic crop, a program that by 1906 had finished off opium cultivation in the whole of Hunan province. It was at this point that the Chinese gangs shifted their opium cultivation southward into the Shan States of Burma and into Indochina, making the necessary arrangements with the French colonial administration, which held the monopoly on opium growing there. Hill tribes in Indochina and Burma were conscripted to the task of cultivation, with the gangs handling trafficking and distribution. The suppression campaign run by the Chinese government had the effect of increasing the demand for processed opium products such as morphine and heroin. Morphine had recently been introduced to the Chinese mainland by Christian missionaries, who used the drug to win converts and gratefully referred to their morphine as Jesus opium. There was also a distinct economic advantage to be realized from the sale of heroin and morphine, which were cheap to produce and thus had much higher profit margins than opium. Despite mounting international outrage, the British government continued to dump opium into China well into the first two decades of the twentieth century. Defenders of the traffic argued that opium smoking was “less deleterious” to the health of Chinese addicts than morphine, which was being pressed on China, the officials noted pointedly, by German and Japanese drug firms. The British opium magnates also recruited scientific studies to back up their claims. One paper, written by Dr. H. Moissan and Dr. F. Browne, purported to show that opium smoking produced “only a trifling amount of morphia” and was no more injurious than the inhalation of tobacco smoke. After the opium wars reached their bloody conclusion and China was pried fully open to European trade, the coastal city of Shanghai rapidly became the import/export capital of China and its most westernized city. A municipal opium monopoly had been established in 1842, allowing the city’s dozens of opium-smoking dens to be leased out to British merchants. This situation prevailed until 1918, when the British finally bowed to pressure from the government of Sun Yat-sen and relinquished their leases. This concession did little to quell the Shanghai drug market, which duly fell into the hands of Chinese secret societies such as the notorious Green Circles Gang, which, under the leadership of Tu Yueh-shing, came to dominate the narcotics trade in Shanghai for the next thirty years, earning the gang lord the title of King of Opium. Tu acquired a taste for the appurtenances of American gangsters, eventually purchasing Al Capone’s limousine, which he proudly drove around the streets of Nanking and Hong Kong. Tu was extraordinarily skilled both as a muscle man and an entrepreneur. When the authorities made one of their periodic crackdowns on opium smoking in Shanghai, Tu responded by mass-marketing “anti-opium pills,” red tablets laced with heroin. When the government took action to restrict the import of heroin, Tu seized the opportunity to build his own heroin factories. By 1934, heroin use in Shanghai had outpaced opium smoking as the most popular form of narcotics use. Tu’s labs were so efficient and so productive that he began exporting his Green Circles Gang heroin to Chinese users in San Francisco and Seattle. Tu’s climb to the top of the Chinese underworld was closely linked to the rise to political power of the Chinese nationalist warlord General Chiang Kai-shek. Indeed, both men were initiates into the so-called “21st Generation” of the Green Circles Gang. These ties proved useful in 1926, when Chiang’s northern expeditionary forces were attempting to sweep across central and northern China. As Chiang’s troops approached Shanghai, the city’s labor unions and Communist organizers rose up in a series of strikes and demonstrations designed to make it easier for Chiang to take control of the city. But Chiang stopped his march outside Shanghai, where he conferred with envoys from the city’s business leaders and from Tu’s gang. This coalition asked the Generalissimo to keep his forces stationed outside Shanghai until the city’s criminal gangs, acting in concert with the police force maintained by foreign businesses, could crush the left. When Chiang finally entered Shanghai, he stepped over the bodies of Communist workers. He soon solemnized his alliance with Tu by making him a general in the KMT. As the Chinese historian Y. C. Wang concludes, Tu’s promotion to general was testimony to the gangsterism endemic to Chiang Kai-shek and his KMT: “Perhaps for the first time in Chinese history, the underworld gained formal recognition in national politics.” The Green Circles Gang became the KMT’s internal security force, known officially as the Statistical and Investigation Office. This unit was headed by one of Tu’s sidekicks, Tai Li. Under the guidance of Tu and Tai Li, opium sales soon became a major source of revenue for the KMT. In that same year of 1926 Chiang Kai-shek legalized the opium trade for a period of twelve months; taxes on the trade netted the KMT enormous sums of money. After the year was over Chiang pretended to acknowledge the protests against legalization and set up the Opium Suppression Bureau, which duly went about the business of shutting down all competitors to the KMT in the drug trade. In 1933 the Japanese invaded China’s northern provinces and soon forged an accord with the KMT, buying large amounts of opium from Generals Tu and Tai Li, refining it into heroin and dispensing it to the Chinese through 2,000 pharmacies across northern China, exercising imperial supervision by the addiction of the Chinese population. General Tu’s opium partnership with the occupying Japanese enjoyed the official sanction of Chiang Kai-shek, according to a contemporary report by US Army Intelligence, which also noted that it had the backing of five major Chinese banks “to the tune of $150 million Chinese dollars.” The leadership of the KMT justified this relationship as an excellent opportunity for espionage, since Tu’s men were able to move freely through the northern provinces on their opium runs. In 1937 the Generalissimo’s wife, Madam Chiang, went to Washington, where she recruited a US Army Air Corps general named Claire Chennault to assume control of the KMT’s makeshift air force, then overseen by a group of Italian pilots on loan from Mussolini. Chennault was a Louisiana Cajun with unconventional ideas about air combat that had been soundly rejected by the top army brass, but his fanatic anti-Communism had won him friends among the far right in Congress and in US intelligence circles. (....) article continues More articles by:JEFFREY ST. CLAIR - ALEXANDER COCKBURN Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch For more info: China lost Hong kong and 5 other cities for 150 years, until 1997 because of the Opium wars. The forced importation into china of tens of millions of pounds of opium a month: This created tens of millions of addicts and caused the partial collapse of the government. It went on for hundreds of years. The chinese emperor wanted to know why they were selling opium in China, but not in England where it was illegal! OPIUM WARS - The Original NARCO-COLONIALISM - The Original State Sponsored Drug Traffic…Starting in in the mid-1700s, the British began trading opium grown in India in exchange for silver from Chinese merchants. Opium — an addictive drug that today is refined into heroin — was illegal in England, but was used in Chinese traditional medicine. 1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Wars https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Opium_War https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Opium_War 2 This war with China . . . really seems to me so wicked as to be a national sin of the greatest possible magnitude, and it distresses me very deeply. Cannot any thing be done by petition or otherwise to awaken men's minds to the dreadful guilt we are incurring? I really do not remember, in any history, of a war undertaken with such combined injustice and baseness. Ordinary wars of conquest are to me far less wicked, than to go to war in order to maintain smuggling, and that smuggling consisting in the introduction of a demoralizing drug, which the government of China wishes to keep out, and which we, for the lucre of gain, want to introduce by force; and in this quarrel are going to burn and slay in the pride of our supposed superiority. — Thomas Arnold to W. W. Hull, March 18, 1840 http://www.victorianweb.org/history/empire/opiumwars/opiumwars1.html 3 https://web.archive.org/web/20180311121505/https://sacu.org/opium2.html See also Opium in China In 1997 the colony of Hong Kong was returned to China. Hong Kong Island became a British possession as a direct result of the Opium War, the opening shots of which were fired 150 years ago. All Chinese, regardless of political ideology, have condemned this armed confrontation as an unjust and immoral contest. As far as they are concerned, Britian's waging a war for the sake of selling a poisonous drug constitutes the most shameful leaf of human history. In the hindsight provided by subsequent events in China, it is, perhaps, easy to condemn this act of British aggression, but it is less certain that the event was seen in the same condemnatory light by Chinese and foreign observers a century and a half ago. 4 Article on opium trade in 1920s Shanghai http://streetsofshanghai.pbworks.com/w/page/18638691/Opium Opium (yapian 鸦片) Shanghai was built on the opium trade. Before the 1850s, Shanghai was the terminal port for coastal opium traffic. Shanghai was opened to foreign trade on November 11th 1843 and very soon afterwards, Jardine’s (the biggest British company in China at the time) set up a branch there and hired Chinese compradors, one of whom was solely concerned with the supervision of opium. By 1845, the opium moving through Shanghai constituted almost half of all the opium imported into China. In 1880, nearly 13,000,000 pounds of opium came into China, mainly from India. By 1900, imports declined, because China was now producing an average of 45,000,000 pounds of opium per annum itself. There were at least 15,000,000 Chinese opium addicts – in Chengdu, there was one opium den for every 67 inhabitants of the city. In Shanghai, some foreign missionaries began to complain that their homes were almost entirely surrounded by opium dens behind bamboo fences. The city had more than eighty shops where the drug was sold openly in its crude form, and there were over 1,500 opium houses.The owners of these establishments bought their supplies from three major opium firms in the International Settlement – the Zhengxia, Guoyu and Liwei. All three were owned by Swatow (Chaozhou) merchants who formed a consortium. This consortium obtained its opium from four foreign merchant houses: David Sassoon & Co., E.D. Sassoon, S.J. David, and Edward Ezra. 5' Opium financed British rule in India' http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7460682.stm What did you discover in the course of your research? How big was the trade? Opium steadily accounted for about 17-20% of Indian revenues. If you think in those terms, [the fact that] one single commodity accounted for such an enormous part of your economy is unbelievable, extraordinary. How and when did opium exports out of India to China begin? The idea of exporting opium to China started with Warren Hastings (the first governor general of British India) in 1780. The situation was eerily similar to [what is happening] today. There was a huge balance of payments problem in relation to China. China was exporting enormous amounts, but wasn't interested in importing any European goods. That was when Hastings came up with idea that the only way of balancing trade was to export opium to China.
Long-Term Falling Interest Rates and the Rise of Neofeudalism
Historian Paul Schmelzing recently published an exceptional working paper on eight centuries of global real and nominal interest rates, from 1311 to 2018. Nominal rates graph What he discovered surprised me: nominal and real rates over very long periods of time are in "suprasecular decline" and that the fall in real and nominal interest rates over the last forty years are merely a reversion to long-term historical trends. When I say "interest rates", I mean both literal rates (paid for debt servicing), as well as effective rates (i.e., at what earnings multiple stocks trade). Schmelzing is more limited in his definition but I will use the term "falling rates" to mean both lowering bond yields and rising equity multiples. What's more surprising, the rate of decline is fairly "rapid" across human history at about 2 basis points (.02%) a year. In 100 years, interest rates will be a full 2% lower in expectation. If this phenomenon is reliable and persists into the future, what will the world look like when interest rates are near-zero or negative? Allow me to engage in some rank speculation. 1). Outsized wealth creation will no longer be possible by professional "asset compounders" like Warren Buffett because there's not a lot of "compounding" one can do when rates are so low. I mean this very literally: since expected human lifespans are only getting a little bit longer, and the Rule of 72 remains true for all non-relativistic finance we literally can't live long enough to compound enough money to move the needle. Instead, capitalism will heavily favor "asset gatherers" and "money-raisers" that invest in direct capital projects -- people who raise a lot of money to do something low-return and (legally) skim a bit off the top, because there's going to be simply so much more money floating around and the return hurdle is so much lower. Insofar as this is already painfully true of capitalism by the early 2000s and 2010s, it will be even more the dominant reality for our grandchildren's grandchildren. Someone like Warren Buffett was truly born in the right decade: a time when, at the midpoint of his life, interest rates were unusually high (i.e., assets were unusually cheap) and began a long decline, driving outsized returns for "professional capitalists" and especially for value investors who correctly assigned a very high cost of capital to earnings. The dominant model of wealth creation has shifted from squirrely hoarders like Buffett to either bombastic asset gatherers like Adam Neumann, or to extremely talented builders like Elon Musk, in part because interest rates are much, much lower. 2). Monopolies will be more valuable than ever and non-monopolies will trade at more significant discounts. As required returns lower, capital will flow toward non-monopolistic, competitive industries (think Quip, Boll & Branch, and whatever other favorite podcast sponsor you have) and reduce returns in those industries even further than where they are now. What really matters isn't how much money a company is making per se, but the certainty that they will earn those returns in the future. This certainty in maintaining pricing, margins, and market share enables investors to capitalize businesses at very high multiples because there's "nothing else left to invest in". More on this later. 3). Commodity-capital industries become particularly bad industries over time. Finance (all of it: main street banking, investment management, insurance) becomes even more commoditized than it already is. Funnily, I think investment banking is a service and will be excluded from this implosion, and the high-end firms should remain well-insulated as capital raising and valuation-setting activities from IPOs remain a fairly sensitive activity. Real estate cap rates should continue to decline and so should their associated capitalization requirements and costs of capital: one day we'll commonly start to get 100% debt financed apartment complexes that only cost 3% to service (China is perilously close to this phenomenon already). 4). The rise of what I can only describe as Neofeudalism. Imagine a world where a "typically risky" asset has a 2.5% nominal return: a. If you can build an income stream, it will trade at 40x earnings. b. If you fail to build an income stream, you need 40x the money to replicate the same-sized income stream. c. If your parents were rich and frugal, you will be rich, because they amassed all of the asset increase benefits from when interest rates were high and dropped. Inheritances, in some weird reversion to the mean, will once again become a greater determinant of wealth. d. It will be almost impossible to become independently wealthy as a wage-worker, because if you save money, you'll only be earning a 2% nominal return. e. "High-certainty assets" will be seen as even more valuable than before, relative to peers. This is due a weird intersection of behavioral finance and arithmetic: an investor being willing to accept a company valued at 1% cap rate instead of 2% will go from valuing a company at 50x earnings to 100x earnings. In low interest rate worlds, the value of securitizing and financializing income streams only grows, because the equivalent capital required to generate those equivalent streams becomes very high. This is why payments startups make so much more sense today than ever before: their revenue streams are incredibly reliable, on an ever-growing churn of economic activity. Even if their profits are low now, the certainty of the growth of future cash-flows is extremely high, and being certain as interest rates asymptote to zero enables the biggest and best valuations. Why do low future rates bring about Neofeudalism? Interest rates are like a very long lever. As rates go lower, the lever gets longer, and the more valuable income streams become. At some point the lever itself becomes a sort of king-maker: if you are able to build a perpetual-income business of any kind, you will effectively control an economic fiefdom, because that income stream will be considered incredibly valuable. And if you fail to create that perpetual income stream, you'll be a serf, forced to either deplete your savings (since returns aren't high enough) or work forever. This also re-calibrates our understanding of Baby Boomer wealth. They entered the job market when interest rates were at their very highest in recent human history. If you were a reasonably competent young person who could secure a job, you could compound an unbelievable amount of wealth over the ensuing 5 decades.
Don't blindly follow a narrative, its bad for you and its bad for crypto in general
I mostly lurk around here but I see a pattern repeating over and over again here and in multiple communities so I have to post. I'm just posting this here because I appreciate the fact that this sub is a place of free speech and maybe something productive can come out from this post, while bitcoin is just fucking censorship, memes and moon/lambo posts. If you don't agree, write in the comments why, instead of downvoting. You don't have to upvote either, but when you downvote you are killing the opportunity to have discussion. If you downvote or comment that I'm wrong without providing any counterpoints you are no better than the BTC maxis you despise. In various communities I see a narrative being used to bring people in and making them follow something without thinking for themselves. In crypto I see this mostly in BTC vs BCH tribalistic arguments: - BTC community: "Everything that is not BTC is shitcoin." or more recently as stated by adam on twitter, "Everything that is not BTC is a ponzi scheme, even ETH.", "what is ETH supply?", and even that they are doing this for "altruistic" reasons, to "protect" the newcomers. Very convenient for them that they are protecting the newcomers by having them buy their bags - BCH community: "BTC maxis are dumb", "just increase block size and you will have truly p2p electronic cash", "It is just that simple, there are no trade offs", "if you don't agree with me you are a BTC maxi", "BCH is satoshi's vision for p2p electronic cash" It is not exclusive to crypto but also politics, and you see this over and over again on twitter and on reddit. My point is, that narratives are created so people don't have to think, they just choose a narrative that is easy to follow and makes sense for them, and stick with it. And people keep repeating these narratives to bring other people in, maybe by ignorance, because they truly believe it without questioning, or maybe by self interest, because they want to shill you their bags. Because this is BCH community, and because bitcoin is censored, so I can't post there about the problems in the BTC narrative (some of which are IMO correctly identified by BCH community), I will stick with the narrative I see in the BCH community. The culprit of this post was firstly this post by user u/scotty321"The BTC Paradox: “A 1 MB blocksize enables poor people to run their own node!” “Okay, then what?” “Poor people won’t be able to use the network!”". You will see many posts of this kind being made by u/Egon_1 also. Then you have also this comment in that thread by u/fuck_____________1 saying that people that want to run their own nodes are retarded and that there is no reason to want to do that. "Just trust block explorer websites". And the post and comment were highly upvoted. Really? You really think that there is no problem in having just a few nodes on the network? And that the only thing that secures the network are miners? As stated by user u/co1nsurf3r in that thread:
While I don't think that everybody needs to run a node, a full node does publish blocks it considers valid to other nodes. This does not amount to much if you only consider a single node in the network, but many "honest" full nodes in the network will reduce the probability of a valid block being withheld from the network by a collusion of "hostile" node operators.
But surely this will not get attention here, and will be downvoted by those people that promote the narrative that there is no trade off in increasing the blocksize and the people that don't see it are retarded or are btc maxis. The only narrative I stick to and have been for many years now is that cryptocurrency takes power from the government and gives power to the individual, so you are not restricted to your economy as you can participate in the global economy. There is also the narrative of banking the bankless, which I hope will come true, but it is not a use case we are seeing right now. Some people would argue that removing power from gov's is a bad thing, but you can't deny the fact that gov's can't control crypto (at least we would want them not to). But, if you really want the individuals to remain in control of their money and transact with anyone in the world, the network needs to be very resistant to any kind of attacks. How can you have p2p electronic cash if your network just has a handful couple of nodes and the chinese gov can locate them and just block communication to them? I'm not saying that this is BCH case, I'm just refuting the fact that there is no value in running your own node. If you are relying on block explorers, the gov can just block the communication to the block explorer websites. Then what? Who will you trust to get chain information? The nodes needs to be decentralized so if you take one node down, many more can appear so it is hard to censor and you don't have few points of failure. Right now BTC is focusing on that use case of being difficult to censor. But with that comes the problem that is very expensive to transact on the network, which breaks the purpose of anyone being able to participate. Obviously I do think that is also a major problem, and lightning network is awful right now and probably still years away of being usable, if it ever will. The best solution is up for debate, but thinking that you just have to increase the blocksize and there is no trade off is just naive or misleading. BCH is doing a good thing in trying to come with a solution that is inclusive and promotes cheap and fast transactions, but also don't forget centralization is a major concern and nothing to just shrug off. Saying that "a 1 MB blocksize enables poor people to run their own" and that because of that "Poor people won’t be able to use the network" is a misrepresentation designed to promote a narrative. Because 1MB is not to allow "poor" people to run their node, it is to facilitate as many people to run a node to promote decentralization and avoid censorship. Also an elephant in the room that you will not see being discussed in either BTC or BCH communities is that mining pools are heavily centralized. And I'm not talking about miners being mostly in china, but also that big pools control a lot of hashing power both in BTC and BCH, and that is terrible for the purpose of crypto. Other projects are trying to solve that. Will they be successful? I don't know, I hope so, because I don't buy into any narrative. There are many challenges and I want to see crypto succeed as a whole. As always guys, DYOR and always question if you are not blindly following a narrative. I'm sure I will be called BTC maxi but maybe some people will find value in this. Don't trust guys that are always posting silly "gocha's" against the other "tribe". EDIT: User u/ShadowOfHarbringer has pointed me to some threads that this has been discussed in the past and I will just put my take on them here for visibility, as I will be using this thread as a reference in future discussions I engage:
When there was only 2 nodes in the network, adding a third node increased redundancy and resiliency of the network as a whole in a significant way. When there is thousands of nodes in the network, adding yet another node only marginally increase the redundancy and resiliency of the network. So the question then becomes a matter of personal judgement of how much that added redundancy and resiliency is worth. For the absolutist, it is absolutely worth it and everyone on this planet should do their part.
What is the magical number of nodes that makes it counterproductive to add new nodes? Did he do any math? Does BCH achieve this holy grail safe number of nodes? Guess what, nobody knows at what number of nodes is starts to be marginally irrelevant to add new nodes. Even BTC today could still not have enough nodes to be safe. If you can't know for sure that you are safe, it is better to try to be safer than sorry. Thousands of nodes is still not enough, as I said, it is much cheaper to run a full node as it is to mine. If it costs millions in hash power to do a 51% attack on the block generation it means nothing if it costs less than $10k to run more nodes than there are in total in the network and cause havoc and slowing people from using the network. Or using bot farms to DDoS the 1000s of nodes in the network. Not all attacks are monetarily motivated. When you have governments with billions of dollars at their disposal and something that could threat their power they could do anything they could to stop people from using it, and the cheapest it is to do so the better
You should run a full node if you're a big business with e.g. >$100k/month in volume, or if you run a service that requires high fraud resistance and validation certainty for payments sent your way (e.g. an exchange). For most other users of Bitcoin, there's no good reason to run a full node unless you reel like it.
Shouldn't individuals benefit from fraud resistance too? Why just businesses?
Personally, I think it's a good idea to make sure that people can easily run a full node because they feel like it, and that it's desirable to keep full node resource requirements reasonable for an enthusiast/hobbyist whenever possible. This might seem to be at odds with the concept of making a worldwide digital cash system in which all transactions are validated by everybody, but after having done the math and some of the code myself, I believe that we should be able to have our cake and eat it too.
This is recurrent argument, but also no math provided, "just trust me I did the math"
The biggest reason individuals may want to run their own node is to increase their privacy. SPV wallets rely on others (nodes or ElectronX servers) who may learn their addresses.
It is a reason and valid one but not the biggest reason
If you do it for fun and experimental it good. If you do it for extra privacy it's ok. If you do it to help the network don't. You are just slowing down miners and exchanges.
Yes it will slow down the network, but that shows how people just don't get the the trade off they are doing
I will just copy/paste what Satoshi Nakamoto said in his own words. "The current system where every user is a network node is not the intended configuration for large scale. That would be like every Usenet user runs their own NNTP server."
Another "it is all or nothing argument" and quoting satoshi to try and prove their point. Just because every user doesn't need to be also a full node doesn't mean that there aren't serious risks for having few nodes
For this to have any importance in practice, all of the miners, all of the exchanges, all of the explorers and all of the economic nodes should go rogue all at once. Collude to change consensus. If you have a node you can detect this. It doesn't do much, because such a scenario is impossible in practice.
Not true because as I said, you can DDoS the current nodes or run more malicious nodes than that there currently are, because is cheap to do so
Non-mining nodes don't contribute to adding data to the blockchain ledger, but they do play a part in propagating transactions that aren't yet in blocks (the mempool). Bitcoin client implementations can have different validations for transactions they see outside of blocks and transactions they see inside of blocks; this allows for "soft forks" to add new types of transactions without completely breaking older clients (while a transaction is in the mempool, a node receiving a transaction that's a new/unknown type could drop it as not a valid transaction (not propagate it to its peers), but if that same transaction ends up in a block and that node receives the block, they accept the block (and the transaction in it) as valid (and therefore don't get left behind on the blockchain and become a fork). The participation in the mempool is a sort of "herd immunity" protection for the network, and it was a key talking point for the "User Activated Soft Fork" (UASF) around the time the Segregated Witness feature was trying to be added in. If a certain percentage of nodes updated their software to not propagate certain types of transactions (or not communicate with certain types of nodes), then they can control what gets into a block (someone wanting to get that sort of transaction into a block would need to communicate directly to a mining node, or communicate only through nodes that weren't blocking that sort of transaction) if a certain threshold of nodes adheres to those same validation rules. It's less specific than the influence on the blockchain data that mining nodes have, but it's definitely not nothing.
The first reasonable comment in that thread but is deep down there with only 1 upvote
The addition of non-mining nodes does not add to the efficiency of the network, but actually takes away from it because of the latency issue.
That is true and is actually a trade off you are making, sacrificing security to have scalability
The addition of non-mining nodes has little to no effect on security, since you only need to destroy mining ones to take down the network
It is true that if you destroy mining nodes you take down the network from producing new blocks (temporarily), even if you have a lot of non mining nodes. But, it still better than if you take down the mining nodes who are also the only full nodes. If the miners are not the only full nodes, at least you still have full nodes with the blockchain data so new miners can download it and join. If all the miners are also the full nodes and you take them down, where will you get all the past blockchain data to start mining again? Just pray that the miners that were taken down come back online at some point in the future?
The real limiting factor is ISP's: Imagine a situation where one service provider defrauds 4000 different nodes. Did the excessive amount of nodes help at all, when they have all been defrauded by the same service provider? If there are only 30 ISP's in the world, how many nodes do we REALLY need?
You cant defraud if the connection is encrypted. Use TOR for example, it is hard for ISP's to know what you are doing.
Satoshi specifically said in the white paper that after a certain point, number of nodes needed plateaus, meaning after a certain point, adding more nodes is actually counterintuitive, which we also demonstrated. (the latency issue). So, we have adequately demonstrated why running non-mining nodes does not add additional value or security to the network.
Again, what is the number of nodes that makes it counterproductive? Did he do any math?
There's also the matter of economically significant nodes and the role they play in consensus. Sure, nobody cares about your average joe's "full node" where he is "keeping his own ledger to keep the miners honest", as it has no significance to the economy and the miners couldn't give a damn about it. However, if say some major exchanges got together to protest a miner activated fork, they would have some protest power against that fork because many people use their service. Of course, there still needs to be miners running on said "protest fork" to keep the chain running, but miners do follow the money and if they got caught mining a fork that none of the major exchanges were trading, they could be coaxed over to said "protest fork".
In consensus, what matters about nodes is only the number, economical power of the node doesn't mean nothing, the protocol doesn't see the net worth of the individual or organization running that node.
Running a full node that is not mining and not involved is spending or receiving payments is of very little use. It helps to make sure network traffic is broadcast, and is another copy of the blockchain, but that is all (and is probably not needed in a healthy coin with many other nodes)
He gets it right (broadcasting transaction and keeping a copy of the blockchain) but he dismisses the importance of it
Dear CoinEx users, to keep you updated each week, we will share with you a recap of all the exciting events of the previous week. Below are major events that occured in the ecosystem over the past week.
CoinEx launches $50 million Ecosystem Development Fund to back visionary companies
CoinEx announced the launch of a $50 million Ecosystem Development Fund to back visionary companies whose products and services will facilitate the development of CoinEx’s ecosystem.
Before any investment, our team will conduct a thorough and multi-dimensional assessment of the project to ensure its quality and potential,” said Haipo Yang, Founder and CEO of CoinEx. “Recently we have been focusing mainly on finding promising DeFi projects.
Since the establishment of the Ecosystem Development Fund, the CoinEx team has conducted in-depth researches and analysis on dozens of DeFi projects worldwide. Finally, OneSwap successfully got the first investment from the Fund. OneSwap is a fully decentralized exchange protocol on smart contract, with permission-free token listing and automated market making.
To provide users with a better trading experience and further realize our ambition of building a world-leading digital coin exchange, we carried out an upgrade on our system at 9:00 on July 29, 2020 (UTC). Some related services was suspended at that time. See details of the upgrade here.
SUSPENSION OF ETC Deposit & Withdrawal
As a result of maintenance of ETC nodes, CoinEx suspended deposit and withdrawal of ETC to ensure users’ assets security until completion of maintenance. Trading is not affected.
CoinEx to support Augur (REP) Token Swap to Augur (REPv2)
CoinEx supports the token swap from Augur (REP) to Augur (REPv2), as result, deposit and withdrawalof REP was put on hold until completion of swap. REP Deposit & Withdrawal: Close on: July 28, 2020 (UTC) Estimated time to reopen: Depends on the swap progress. Notes: 1. After Augur (REP) has been successfully swapped to Augur (REPv2), REP token name and its trading pairs on CoinEx will remain unchanged. 2. Trading and inter-user transfer of REP on CoinEx will not be affected during this period. 3. We will keep you updated if there’s any latest information. For more token swap info, please refer to: Countdown: Augur v2 Launch & REP Migration
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CoronaHedge #1 — State prices, Nuclear War, and — FROZEN — CONCENTRATE — $OJ
Now sit your butts down Or take a fucking knee U gonna wanna bookmark me!!! The only thing I ask The 1 thing u must do Make some dough by me? A 😘and 💋 are due! TLDR: FUCK dudes in the comments, calm down! Long Frozen Concentrate $OJ futures options May 1.10 July 1.20 and 1.30 – $OJ futures are a perfect CV hedge for many reasons and super undervalued. I. State Prices and Global Thermonuclear War: Or why the market didn't crash until recently We invest because we believe the future will be different than the present. We believe that some things will be more (or less) valuable in the future than they are today. Our job as investors is, to the best of our ability 1) determine what all the possible futures look like 2) how likely each of them is 3) how valuable the asset of interest is in each possible future and 4) how we should personally discount for the relative risk of each particular asset and each particular future, and for the time value of money (money in the future is worth less to us than money in our pockets right now). FUCK!!!!!! No wonder we'd rather just P&D Tesla!!!! Now hold up boys and girls there's something deep hidden in this model. Let's call each possible future world a state and assume just one period of time between the present and the future. We're here in the present state, and there are a number of different future states at some indeterminate time later (doesn't matter for this discussion). Here's the rule: no multiverses! When "the future" arrives, we are in only one particular state out of all the possible states. (Now of course states could share characteristics, but two states that were identical = one state, and one state that exactly shares the characteristics of two other future states A and B is, for this discussion, its own individual state C.) Got it? Let's say there are 3 future states of the world 10 years from now:
30% chance: Super-awesome economic, technological and cultural blossoming!!!! Stocks go WAY up, bonds do nothing.
50% chance: Malaise where technological growth stops, low economic growth, increasing healthcare costs as people get older (eek! sound familiar?). Stocks go slightly down, bonds go up somewhat but hey we get to clip our coupons each month.
20% chance: Global thermonuclear war.
In each of these three states, assets have different projected values. The value TODAY of each asset is directly related to both the chances of each of the 3 future states occurring and the projected values of the assets in each of those states, averaged over all possible states by all investors. This is a model of reality that is designed to communicate some important truths. For you fellow finance nerds or lapsed ones like me, you will know where I'm going with this, but statepricing lies at the heart of the Nobel Prize winning Black-Scholes options pricing formula. Think of the three possible future states above as spots where investors also allocate their money today. Remember, there are only three states of the world—you've got no other choice. For each state, you'll decide how much of your total wealth you want to allocate, and in what particular assets. For instance—if you believe (1) is more likely, you will be biased to putting more money in stocks today. If you think (2) is going to happen FOR SURE, and you are a huge risk taker, maybe you'll put all of your money in bonds and none in stocks. What about state (3)? There's a 1% chance of global thermonuclear war. Will you be alive? Will the government be around? Will markets even exist? Will you even be able to collect on your investment? From The Optimistic Thought Experiment by Peter Thiel (2008):
More generally, apocalyptic thinking appears to have no place in the world of money. For if the doomsday predictions are fulfilled and the world does come to an end, then all the money in the world — even if it be in the form of gold coins or pieces of silver, stored in a locked chest in the most remote corner of the planet — would prove of no value, because there would be nothing left to buy or sell. Apocalyptic investors will miss great opportunities if there is no apocalypse, but ultimately they will end up with nothing when the apocalypse arrives. Heads or tails, they lose.In a narrow sense, it seems rational for investors to remain encamped at the altar of the efficient market — and just tend their own small gardens without wondering about the health of the world. A mutual fund manager might not benefit from reflecting about the danger of thermonuclear war, since in that future world there would be no mutual funds and no mutual fund managers left. Because it is not profitable to think about one ’s death, it is more useful to act as though one will live forever.
Conclusion: There are states of the world which are effectively NOT INVESTABLE AT ALL. OK Joshua. Now let's say Russia, China, and USA announce initiation of arms control measures, and they are effective! Everyone follows. Instead of 30,000 warheads, 10 countries end up with 3 each. We develop Pooranium-236, an engineered bacteria that converts all fissible uranium into the smoothest, sexiest compost that ever existed. So no more additional nukes ever. AMAZING! Great news! But what happens to state (3)? If the risk of a civilization destroying global thermonuclear war goes to zero, but in its place we've got a 10% chance of non-extinction nuclear war where 50 medium yield nukes are dropped. Which would be really really bad, but (let's say) not likely to destroy the world or take the economy offline forever...what then? The number of investable states just went from 2 to 3, and one of them is super bad. In fact, in this state, you just want to be all-in gold, crypto, and farmland. So your portfolio of stocks and bonds would be at most 0, and more likely a short. CRITICAL INSIGHT: The world just got better, the chance of civilization's sure death went from 20% to 0%, but the markets dumped on the news. If you substitute the coronavirus for (3), let's think about one of the various scenarios that could describe what happened from the time the virus was discovered:
(3) = 1% chance of some global pandemic pre Wuhan. Gonna be bad, so let's go short. We don't know what it looks like, don't know how governments will respond, never happened in globalized world before, etc. etc. It is an unknown unknown, but I'm informed enough and want to be prepared unlike all those ETF index fund sheep. It is an investable state, and the allocation of total investable dollars will be net short.
Wuhan happens. OK it's here. OK fuck it's really bad (=oh there is a big chance it's going to be super bad), I am a tradeinvestor so I am sophisticated, understand exponential growth, and know this could upend society, and myself and my entire family could die. (3) = 10% and is now much more likely to skew non-investable because it's a total catastrophe and I'm dead.
Funds devoted to a future state that goes from investable to non-investable must go somewhere, and they have to go to the other 2 investable states! Now we are in a complex "3-body problem". It will depend on the relative prices of assets and their expected values in the remaining two states—but in the aggregate, there is now more money devoted to both**.**
**CRITICAL INSIGHT: If allocation to stocks are already net long in the two remaining states (**or say bonds too expensive relative to go up much more) then extinction-level bad news, if priced in early, does not necessarily push markets down, and may even push them up.
Corollary: if an intermediate outcome pops up because let's say China has seemed to get the virus under control then just like in the nuclear war example, a virus related state becomes investable again, and you'll want to be net short in that state. Then markets dump.
As an exercise, consider an alternative scenario based on where we are right now, under the assumption that seems to be common that "we will get through this, but it will be tough". What happens if the virus mutates, and it turns out that nope there now is a really big chance we're all gonna be wiped out? II. State prices Back to a revision of our original model that doesn't include non-investable states for simplicity. There are three states of the world:
30% chance: Super-awesome economic, technological and cultural blossoming!!!! Stocks go WAY up, bonds do nothing.
50% chance: Malaise where technological growth stops, low economic growth, increasing healthcare costs as people get older (eek! sound familiar?). Stocks go slightly down, bonds go up somewhat but hey we get to clip our coupons each month.
20% chance: Coronavirus that's pretty bad but it is recoverable.
In finance, we assume the presence of a completely risk free asset (US gov't bond). A bond will pay $1 in each of those three states, no matter what (since you know you'll get your money back for sure). Whatever a bond that pays $1 at "the future" time currently costs is how we derive "time value of money" or the risk-free interest rate. For all you linear algebra nerds, think of the payoff vector of a bond in our model as [1,1,1] representing the three states of the world. Now let's consider the other two other assets in this world. A stock, and (here we go!) ORANGE JUICE. In each state, a stock has a different expected return, because it will be more or less valuable depending on how the future ends up. Same goes for OJ. Let's say a stock trading at $1 today is worth $2 in state (1), $0.80 in (2) and $0.40 in state (3). Now this is very important. Normally if you have 3 future states of the world, each with some chance of occurring and a projected value of an asset in that state, you just take the expected value (including a discount for time, and for the fact that you're taking some risk) and you get a price. Here we are doing something different. We are taking the prices of the 3 assets today, and under the no-arbitrage condition ("there's no free lunch" = you can't make more money than the risk free rate by taking no risk) trying to find a price we would pay TODAY for $1 in each future state alone. This is called the state price. A decent introduction with the math involved can be found in any finance book (for a real first-principles based textbook by a very clear and well-respected professor, I highly recommend "Investment Science" by Luenberger) or the first part of these lecture notes. We won't go through the math involved, but the point to remember is that if you add up the state prices of each state (represented by the payoff vectors [1 0 0], [0 1 0], [0 0 1]), you get the price of the bond because you are guaranteed to have $1 in the future. And, to restate the last paragraph, if you add up the state price * the payoff of each asset in each state, summed over all the states, you get the current price of the asset. So let's take the state prices as given and think about what happens when "things change". Let's say the state prices we have derived are:
(Remember, it has to add up to the price of a bond, which will be less than $1 if the bond pays $1 guaranteed in the future). What happens to the state price of (3) when the chance of it occurring goes from 20% to 90% and it is still investable. Remember, all you are trying to figure out is how much you would pay for $1 in that state, today. It has to go up, and the state prices of the other two states have to go down, because they MUST sum to the price of the bond. **(**Why does it have to go up? Think about it in the limit. Let's say it goes to 99%. There is a 99% chance state (3) will occur. How much do you pay for $1 in that state if it is a near certainty? A lot more than you would if the state had a 20% chance of occurring—no matter what that state looks like, as long as it is investible. In fact, you might even pay ABOVE $1 in certain cases, because depending on the alternatives, you think you can pick up assets on the cheap and so $1 in that state is lots more valuable on a relative basis than in other states.) And since the price of any asset must equal the state prices x the value of the payoff in each state, the asset prices must change, in ways that depend on their relative values and (CRITICAL INSIGHT)how their payoffs in each state were impacted by the same change in the world that changed the chance of state (3) being the real future. III. The hedge: "20 Questions" for discussion
When people walk into the grocery store and are sick, or they are scared about getting sick and want to build up their immunity, which fruits and vegetables become, on the margin, more likely to catch their eye?
How often (when was the last time?) and how frequently do you personally buy frozen orange juice in a can or the OJ (from concentrate) in a bottle/carton? What about the rest of the country? What implications does that have given your answer to Q1 for baseline demand in states (1) and (2) vs state (3).
How attractive is concentrate vs fresh in times of supply chain disruption?
How much of the total retail cost of OJ would you estimate the raw concentrate represents? What does that imply about the relationship between the price change at the producer level and the price change at consumer level and its effect on consumer demand?
What sort of juices do they serve in hospitals and what is the relative distribution between fresh and concentrate? When someone is in the hospital for 2 weeks, how does their juice consumption change vs if they were at home for 2 weeks?
What percent of the FCOJ supply is grown in Brazil? How does that geographic concentration compare to other tradable commodities? What is your assessment of the US-Brazil shipping supply chain in all (3) of the states?
Where does one take delivery of a purchase made via futures contract? What does that imply if supply cannot suddenly reach those locations?
What sort of functions characterize the parameters and scenarios above (in a "hand-wavey") and the relationships between them. E.g.: Is Brazilian transportation cost/breakdown a linear function of the different states? Of the price? A linear function between the changes in state (3) probability? What does the demand curve for FROZEN OJ look like in relation to the availability of fresh citrus or fresh squeezed juice? Etc.
Does citrus have other beneficial compounds besides Vitamin C that may affect immunity? How many people know this right now, and how might that change?
If the same thing that increases the CHANCE of (3) occurring (which also increases the state price) ALSO increases the projected value of OJ in that state INDEPENDENTLY, what implications does this have for the current price of OJ given the above discussion?
What classes of functions might characterize price given your answer to Q8 and Q10? How does that compare to the types of functions that characterize price in states (1) and (2)? Why?
If the functions that characterize price dynamics are different in each state, how would realized price charts look under those different classes of functions? What about the technicals and current volatility when state probabilities and payoffs change in response to new information?
What is the definition of a "hedge" in light of the state price model and your answers to the questions above? What makes one hedge more attractive relative to another hedge? Does it matter if they need be explicitly hedging the exact same realized outcome, in the exact same way?
Describe the FCOJ futures market and compare it in terms of size, volume, gross value, players. What implications does this have for marginal demand on the supply side and on the demand side? From producers, bottlers, speculators, and market makers?
Define "volatility regime" and "phase change" in your own words, as it might relate to the discussion above and your answers to the questions above?
What does the chart of FCOJ futures prices look like? What do you expect it to look like given the discussion above? Given your answers to Q8, Q10-11, Q15?
What does the implied volatility of the options on OJ futures look like given your answer to Q16? "Compared to what?"
How much activity/discussion is there of OJ futures online?
Restate the argument being attempted in this post in your own words. How confident are you in the validity of this argument? How frequently have you seen posts like this show up on wsb? What might my motivation be?
If all of the above is true, and the implications are extremely positive for the price of FCOJ, then why hasn't the price of FCOJ futures yet reflected that? What about the futures options?
You made it! :) First up, SORRY! This has been a late post, I have my reasons don't question them (if you must know I'll be posting in the discord - one time only haha). Secondly, I am sure you can agree with me when I say "Wow!" What an incredible week it has been. Last week I thought it was going to take a couple more weeks for more moving price action when it had only taken a few days which has seen Bitcoin reach and pass the $10,000 region. We have also seen the total Market cap for cryptocurrencies increase from about 280B to over 300B (308B at time of writing) within just a few days. A huge injection of liquidity, about 40B, into the market and just to name a few of the best rises in the top 20 (on Coinmarketcap.com), the price of ETH BTC ADA have given good performances/positive responses (With this I will start adding screenshots at the end of each week for timestamp purposes). This may be a combination from Binance, Mastercard, Paypal, Grayscale investments, VISA AND the DEFI sector. Let me explain... Last week we read about Binance integrating with the company Swipe (SXP) to issue there own debit card expanding the use and reach of cryptocurrency to 31 countries within Europe. Binance's Q2 scheduled token burn of $60.5 Million, this figure correlates with its exchange, margin and futures trading platforms where approximately 20% of profits get burned to increase the price of BNB token (careful as the price has been steady after the burn). This week we find out Mastercard's expansion into the Cryptosphere as they expand and integrate with the Wirex team to issue a Mastercard-backed Bitcoin debit card, thus further extending the reach of cryptocurrency availability internationally. "The cryptocurrency market continues to mature and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy " "...Our work with Wirex and the wider crypto ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay" Mastercard is also reaching out to other emerging cryptocurrency firms to apply to become principal members [Partners] with Mastercard as they have relaxed their digital assets program and look to expand into the Digital Assets and Blockchain environment. Paypals expression of interest in cryptocurrency facilitiation may bear fruits as it is said Paypal has partnered up with stablecoin operator Paxos (who is already in partnership with Revolut in the US) to facilitate trading through a cryptocurrency brokerage which will enable other firms to integrate cryptocurrency trading functionalities with them. In my opinion this looks much more promising than the Libra association they pulled out from last October as regulations. Grayscale Investments clears regulatory hurdle as they have been given the green light for its Bitcoin Cash Trust (BCHG) and Litecoin Trust (LTCN) to be quoted in over-the-counter (OTC) markets by US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). “The Trusts are open-ended trusts sponsored by Grayscale and are intended to enable exposure to the price movement of the Trusts’ underlying assets through a traditional investment vehicle, avoiding the challenges of buying, storing, and safekeeping digital Bitcoin Cash or Litecoin directly.” More green lights for Cryptocurrency in the US as regulators allow banks to provide cryptocurrency custody services (which may go further than just custody services). A little bit strange as it seems unnecessary and undermines one of the key factors and uses of cryptocurrency which is to be in complete control of your own finances... On another outlook this may be bullish as it allows US banks to provide banking services directly to lawful cryptocurrency businesses and show support for Bitcoin. Visa shows support stating they have a roadmap for their further expansion into the Crypto sphere. Already working with Crypto platform Coinbase and Fold they have stated they recognise the role of digital assets in the future of money. To be frank, it appears to be focused on stable coins, cost effectiveness and transaction speeds. However they are expanding their support for crypto assets. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DeFI! Our very own growing section in crypto. Just like the 2017 ICO boom we are seeing exorbitant growth and FOMO into the Decentralised Finance sector (WBTC, Stablecoins, Yield farming, DEXs etc). The amount of active addresses on Ethereum has doubled but with the FOMO on their network have sky rocketed their fees! Large use-cases of stable coins such as USDT ($6B in circulation using ERC-20 standard), DAI, TUSD, and PAX. $114M Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) on their network acts as a fluid side chain for Bitcoin and DEX trade volume has touched $1.6B this month. With all this action happening on Ethereum I saw the 24HR volume surpass BTC briefly on Worldcoinindex.com In other news, Bitcoin has been set as a new precedent in a US federal court in a case against Larry Dean Harmon, the operator of an underground trading platform Helix. Bitcoin has now legally been ruled as a form of money. “After examination of the relevant statutes, case law, and other sources, the Court concludes that bitcoin is money under the MTA and that Helix, as described in the indictment, was an `unlicensed money transmitting business´ under applicable federal law.” Quick news in China/Asia as floods threaten miners and the most dominant ASIC Bitcoin mining rig manufacturer Bitmain loses 10,000 Antminers worth millions alledgedly goes missing or "illegally transfered" with ongoing leadership dispute between cofounders. Last but not least, Cardano (ADA) upgrade Shelley is ready to launch! Hardfork is initiated as final countdown clock is switched on. At time of writing the point of no return has been reached, stress tests done and confirmation Hardfork is coming 29/07 The Shelley Mainnet upgrade is a step toward fast, capable and decentralised crypto that can serve billions of people. With the Shelley Mainnet is ADA staking rewards and pools! Here is a chance for us Gravychainers to set up a small pool of our own. Small percentage of profits going into the development of the community, and you keep the rest! If you read all of my ramblings thanks heaps! I appreciate it! I have added an extra piece of reading called speculation. Most you can speculate on by just reading the headline some others have more depth to them. Another post next week for a weekly round up! Where do you think the market is going? What is in your portfolio? Let us know in the Gravychain Discord Channel See you soon!
🍕 Bring some virtual pizza to share 🍕 Come have a chat, stimulate a discussion, ask a question or share some knowledge. We are all friendly crypto enthusiasts up for a chat, supportive and want to help each other with knowledge and investments! Big thanks to our Telegram and My Crypto HQ for the constant news updates!
P.S. Dr Seuss collectables on the blockchain HECK YEAH! and Bitcoin enters NASCAR, remember when Doge did this? it was like when Doge was trending on TikTok. ... Oh yeah did I also mention Steve Wozniak is suing Youtube, Google over rampant Bitcoin scams. Wait, what? Sydney based law firm JPB Liberty is suing Google, Facebook and Twitter for up to $300B. Just another day in the Cryptosphere.
The year was 2028, and Michael Bennet was looking back at his eight years in office and pondering his successes. How had he gotten here, though, he wondered? Ending an eight year residency in the White House with a 95% approval rating was something no President, before or likely after, would ever accomplish. Surely, his past must explain his present... He thought back to early 2019, shortly after the Democratic primaries had begun. Michael Bennet - a second term Democratic Senator from the blue tinged Colorado - knew his time had come and the world would soon know of him. Not yet a household name, he had bided his time well. He would win these primaries, crush the Orange Man, and rule America with an evidence based liberal fist. As a young man compared to the rest of the growing field that year, he would stand out. A capable, moderate Senator from a moderate state would soon be the most powerful man in the world. Of that, he recalled how certain he had been. He thought back further, to the planning that had gone into his campaign announcement. His Law degree at Yale had started his journey. Clerking for a Democratic governor of Ohio right out of college. A law clerk for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Deputy AG for Hillary's Husband, when she had been First Lady. A good resume, but he wasn't ready yet. No, he needed private experience, then to slowly climb. After several years as a managing director in a private investment firm working with oil and theater companies, he decided the time had come to appear to redirect his talents. He quickly rose to Superintendent of Public Schools for Denver, complete with that "new politician smell". After quickly improving Denver's schools it had been simple to be appointed Senator in 2009 by the then Governor Bill Ritter. He had thought a small win in 2010 would help solidify his moderate bona fides, and he had of course been right. One and a half percent was plenty, and with the Tea Party movement he would be able to balance appearing as a moderate yet strong liberal candidate. A larger yet still mild win in 2016, he had thought six percent was enough this time, would improve his image further - He wished to remain a powerful candidate in a country he knew would be craving a return to quieter politics after a term or two of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Easily accomplished, it had been time for the next step in his plans: the 2020 Presidential election. The primary had been an easy task, due to his decades of careful planning. Though the ever pesky John Delaney and Pete Buttigieg had overlapped many of his areas of support, not to mention his good friend, former Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden. Of course, his time in the deep state had allowed him to form alliances with the right people. A few above average debate performances here, underperformances in the right caucus by the right candidates there, and then South Carolina. No one had expected the Senator from Colorado to win South Carolina when the primary had started, yet that was what had happened. After realizing they couldn't unite amongst themselves after splitting the votes in Nevada the leading moderate candidates; Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar; had agreed to a truce. They would all drop out and nominate a fourth party, so to speak: their moderate friend from Colorado. No one would have expected it, he knew, but with the fear of a leftist (in this case Bernie Sanders had taken that place) in their hearts Democrats would easily unite behind a charismatic young man from a moderate state. It had been child's play, really. The deep state would have its vengeance, he had thought at the time. He hadn't anticipated a global pandemic, of course, but that had been no problem. He was a vital young man compared to party leaders of both parties, and the Orange Man was his own worst enemy. In what you may think had been the complicated battle of our time, there was little to say. An easy coast to victory in 2020 was all he had thought necessary, and time had shown him right yet again. A small victory of 100 or so Electoral Votes had been enough. Texas stayed red, which he knew was an unfortunate necessity. Surely a young Peruvian man would be disappointed, but He was confident all would be forgiven soon. After briefing Vice President Harris, UN Ambassador Buttigieg, and Secretary of State Mitt Romney what his plans were he had embarked on transforming the America everyone had known, into what he knew it could be. Taking the Senate in 2020 had been an easy enough task, after the second wave of COVID had decimated Republican approval ratings across the nation. He had warned them, he thought. It was no Democrat's fault the Orange Man was a fool. The Senate pickups had been plentiful, as well as the House swing. He had time to finish this Class of Senate seats in 2026, he was in no hurry. 2020 had flipped every seat on the Democrat's radar - Maine had dumped Collins, who had apologized for her conduct in her concession speech. The seats in North Carolina, Georgia (both), Iowa, Kansas, his home state of Colorado, Montana, Arizona - even Alaska - had all traded hands. Doug Jones was still a senator, as the turnout rate for African Americans in the south shot through the roof. A simple victory, giving him a 57 seat majority in the senate, was enough. The house victory had been small, only bringing the Democrats to 250 seats. The legislation numbers had been massive. The Senate had confirmed the United States' entry into the TPP on day one, as they were afraid of the new President's ire. Though only at a 60% approval rating at the time, He knew the will of the people was behind him. He had to pick up from his predecessor's terrible economic and social policies, though, and there was no time to waste in celebration. There had never been any time for that, really, he thought wistfully. A new deal with Iran had followed, as well as Immigration Reform. A Green New Deal of sorts had been passed, though it was mostly a carbon tax at the time. Really, things hadn't been too bad those first two years. The economic recovery from COVID had easily boosted him through the midterms. A small jump in the House to 260 Democrats (and a new and powerful Blue Dog Caucus) was enough for him, but the Senate victories were a nice touch. Only Florida and several central states had kept their Republicans that year, with the Democratic majority skyrocketing to 73/104. Naturally DC's and Puerto Rico's newly elected Senators were liberal Democrats, as he'd known they would be. The complete removal of immigration restrictions was a bit excessive for some folks, he knew, but they'd get over it. Moving ICE's funding to roads and buses and trains along the border had been a start. Going further, appointing a female Asian immigrant to fill the Notorious RBG's seat on the SCOTUS had been but a small repayment, a victory he knew the immigrant community of the United States had deserved for decades. Thomas, Roberts, and Alito retiring had admittedly been unexpected, though positive additions to his term. With the massive economic recovery of his first term showing no signs of stopping the time had finally come for his complete dominance of American politics. An entire life dedicated and decades of hard work, coming to fruition. The DOW Jones was at 50,000, his tax plan had balanced the budget, and GDP growth was making China envious. Healthcare was widely viewed as a human right, and every American could receive top quality care free of charge. Amazing, he thought, what was possible when you actually just put women into 50% of all possible appointed positions. He couldn't believe every President hadn't done something that simple. "Their loss", he opined. The 2024 Elections had been the end of the American Republican Party. After an alteration of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact had been amended to the Constitution in 2023 his victory had been crushing. The Orange Man had won the Republican Party's primary with 99% of the vote, far ahead of any rivals. He didn't know why the GOP had held on to the man, but if they wanted irrelevance he'd give it to them. With voter participation up to 90% he had won by the largest margin of victory ever. 200 million voters couldn't be wrong, and they had decimated the Orange's 50 million stubborn supporters. As expected, his party had fractured by 2026. A liberal wing backing him was still the head of the Congress, but the Republican party had effectively been removed from American politics once all restrictions to voting had been repealed in his first term. "That was fine," He had thought at the time. "I lead them to providence, thus that they shall succeed without me when my terms are finished. I will lead them to water and they shall drink." Now, he was still a young man. At 64 he would be able to support liberal causes the world over for decades to come. Trade had been liberalized the world over of course, and gays were free to come out as they pleased in any country. "Perhaps it's time to begin work on the Moon?" he wondered. His Space Force had established many permanent bases there and even one on Mars, but still, that was where there was real work to be done. "ah well", he thought, "it's been a job well done."
Good morning from the UK. It’s Wednesday 15th April. The fire that severely damaged Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire 1 year ago today on April 15 2019, Holy Monday and by the time it was finally put out it had destroyed the building’s spire and most of the roof. The stone vaults survived mostly intact, as did most of the cathedral’s artwork and relics. Covid-19 has delayed reconstruction efforts at Notre-Dame de Paris because removal of the melted scaffolding on the cathedral’s roof (scheduled to begin March 23) cannot take place whilst the country remains under coronavirus measures. On Good Friday Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris venerated Notre Dame Cathedral’s relic of Christ’s crown of thorns from inside the badly damaged cathedral. The archbishop prayed: “Lord Jesus, a year ago, this cathedral in which we are, was burning, causing astonishment and a worldwide impetus for it to be rebuilt, restored. Today we are in this half-collapsed cathedral to say that life is still there. The whole world is struck down by a pandemic that spreads death and paralyzes us. This crown of thorns was saved on the evening of the fire by the firefighters. It is the sign of what you suffered from the derision of men. But it is also the magnificent sign that tells us that you are joining us at the height of our suffering, that we are not alone and that you are with us always,” Aupetit said. Tonight though the Cathedral’s 339 year old 13 tonne bourdon bell (which is called Emmanuel and tuned to F#) will ring out to applaud the hard work of France’s medical workers engaged in the fight against Covid-19 (Source Liberation, in French and the Catholic News Agency). How much our lives can change in just one year.
Virus news in depth
Trump suspends funding of the world health organisation - the biggest Covid-19 story this morning is the decision by US President Donald Trump to suspend funding of the World Health Organisation pending a review. "Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death," Trump said. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the WHO "declined to call this a pandemic for an awfully long time because frankly the Chinese Communist Party didn't want that to happen." CNN reports that the US funds $400 million to $500 million to the WHO each year, Trump said, noting that China "contributes roughly $40 million." Another article from CNN points out that the UK announced an additional £65 million contribution to the WHO only a few days ago. Reaction to Trump's decision has been swift. Al Jazeera quotes Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian during a daily briefing on the situation with the pandemic saying that the pandemic was at a critical stage and that the US' decision would affect all countries of the world. The news agency also quotes Dr Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association, who called it "a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating COVID-19 easier". Bill Gates has tweeted “Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs u/WHO now more than ever”. The Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney tweeted “This is indefensible decision, in midst of global pandemic. So many vulnerable populations rely on @WHO - deliberately undermining funding & trust now is shocking. Now is a time for global leadership & unity to save lives, not division and blame!” whilst Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the influential Lancet medical journal, wrote that Trump’s decision was “a crime against humanity … Every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against this appalling betrayal of global solidarity”. Chile counts those who died of coronavirus as recovered because they're 'no longer contagious,' health minister says - News Week reports that cases of the novel coronavirus in Chile have climbed past 7,500, including 82 deaths, while over 2,300 have recovered from infection as of Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University but coronavirus patients in Chile who have died are being counted among the country's recovered population because they are "no longer contagious," Chile's Health Minister Jaime Mañalich said this week. "We have 898 patients who are no longer contagious, who are not a source of contagion for others and we include them as recovered. These are the people who have completed 14 days of diagnosis or who unfortunately have passed away," Mañalich announced at a press conference. It is unknown when Chile began including the dead among the number of people who have recovered. But the calculation has reportedly been adopted following validation by international health experts, the government claims. (Personal note: I just checked, as of 9am UK time Johns Hopkins has Chile down as 7912 cases with 92 deaths. Hat tip tochomponthebitfor this rather odd story).
Australia has jailed its first person for breaching isolation laws. The 35-year-old man will spend one month in jail after he repeatedly snuck out of a quarantine hotel to visit his girlfriend.
Japan also has PPE shortage problems; the Japanese city of Osaka has issued an urgent plea for citizens to donate plastic raincoats to hospitals running short of protective gear for staff treating coronavirus patients, with some doctors already having to resort to wearing garbage bags. Japanese medical workers have been warning for weeks that the medical system could soon be pushed to the brink, with nurses telling Reuters they were unsure whether their hospitals had enough advanced PPE such as N95 masks and plastic gowns. Some in Tokyo said they had been told to reuse masks.
Kandahar province has gone into full lockdown on Wednesday morning as Afghanistan reported its second biggest daily rise of new coronavirus cases in a week, triggered by a surge of infections in Kabul. The total number of identified infections is nearing 800.
India will allow industries located in the countryside to reopen next week, as well as resuming farm activities, to reduce the pain for millions of people hit by a lengthy shutdown in its coronavirus battle, the government said on Wednesday. Millions of people have been thrown out of work across south Asia since the lockdowns began last month, and growing anger in some areas was reflected in the commercial capital of Mumbai on Tuesday, when hundreds mobbed a train station demanding transport home.
Crowds and long lines have formed in the Moscow metro today as the city’s new electronic permission system may have backfired by trapping thousands of people at bottlenecks on public transport. Here’s a picture of the situation this morning.
In a first step towards easing coronavirus-related restrictions, Finland will lift roadblocks in the region around Helsinki on Wednesday, the prime minister, Sanna Marin, said. Travel restrictions to and from Uusimaa, the capital region, to the rest of the country began on 28 March, to prevent people from spreading the virus to other parts of the country. Marin said the government no longer had legal grounds to continue the lockdown, considering it an extreme measure to restrict people’s freedom of movement so strictly.
Germany’s government will extend restrictions on movement introduced last month to slow the spread of the coronavirus until at least 3 May, Handelsblatt business daily reported on Wednesday, citing the dpa news agency.
A German zoo has said it may have to feed some of its animals to others as it runs low on funds amid the coronavirus lockdown. Neumünster Zoo’s Verena Kaspari told Die Welt: If it comes to it, I’ll have to euthanise animals, rather than let them starve. At the worst, we would have to feed some of the animals to others. Kaspari said it would be an “unpleasant” last resort, but the zoo is not covered by the state emergency fund for small businesses and the zoo’s loss of income this spring is estimated at about €175,000 (£152,400).
Police in Berlin broke up a large birthday gathering in the early hours of Monday that violated Germany's social distancing restrictions. A 16-year-old girl was celebrating with 31 other people at an apartment in the German capital's central Mitte neighborhood. The girl's mother had apparently rented the property especially for the occasion. (Deutsche World link)
Denmark began reopening schools on Wednesday after a month-long closure over the coronavirus, becoming the first country in Europe to do so. Nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools are reopening in about half of the municipalities and about 35% of Copenhagen’s schools. Some parents have opposed the reopening of schools, citing health concerns. A petition titled “My child is not a guinea pig” has garnered some 18,000 signatures.
The world will need more than one Covid-19 vaccine so drug companies must partner in the race to develop the weapons to fight the coronavirus, the GlaxoSmithKline chief executive officer, Emma Walmsley, said on Wednesday. GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Sanofi SA said on Tuesday they would develop a vaccine to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus. The drugmakers said they expect to start clinical trials for the vaccine in the second half of this year. If successful, the vaccine would be available in the second half of 2021.
Supply chain news in depth
Heathrow cargo flights rise 500% as airport restyles itself as ‘vital airbridge’ - The Guardian says that the number of cargo-only flights at Heathrow has surged to five times normal levels, with the airport now saying it is prioritising medical supplies as passenger travel grinds to a halt. Britain’s biggest airport expects passenger traffic expected to plunge by 90% in April, with remaining flights mainly limited to repatriating citizens stranded abroad during the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, the hub airport is restyling itself as a “vital airbridge” for supplies and medical essentials during the coronavirus crisis. The number of cargo-only flights has jumped significantly; Heathrow’s busiest day for cargo so far was on 31 March, when it handled 38 cargo flights in only one day (the airport usually deals with 47 cargo flights per week). In a related article, the Independent reports that whilst the UK’s East Midlands airport has experienced “only” a 54% drop in total air movements, it’s nevertheless experienced a 7.4% rise in cargo flights with the result that it’s now the tenth busiest airport in Europe putting it ahead of major hubs such as Rome, Munich and Madrid. (Personal note: I live close to East Midlands airport and have definitely noticed there’s still a fair bit of traffic coming and going; it helps that DHL Express have a decent presence there too). Global Airline Traffic Will Nearly Halve in 2020 - The Wall Street Journal reports that global airline traffic is expected to almost halve this year because of travel restrictions, with no recovery expected until the third quarter, according to an industry trade group. The International Air Transport Association forecast airlines would lose $314 billion in revenue this year, 25% more than its previous estimate as it incorporated more pessimistic assumptions about the hit to the global economy and the relaxation of travel restrictions. (Personal note: for contrast the drop in revenue for the global aviation industry after the 9/11 attacks was about $23bn according to anarticlein the Guardian; disruption in the industry from that event caused the bankruptcy of Swissair, Belgium's Sabena and Australia's Ansett whilst he American airlines United, US Airways, Northwest and Delta all filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors). Amazon faces having its operations reduced to a bare minimum in France - a court has ruled the e-commerce giant can deliver only essential goods while the company evaluates its workers’ risk of coronavirus exposure says today’s Guardian live blog (link above). The court in Nanterre, outside Paris, said Amazon France had “failed to recognise its obligations regarding the security and health of its workers,” according to a ruling seen by AFP. While carrying out the health evaluation, Amazon can prepare and deliver only “food, hygiene and medical products,” the court said. The injunction must be carried out within 24 hours, or Amazon France could face fines of €1m (£873,500) per day. Amazon has one month to carry out the evaluation. Concern has grown over the safety precautions taken by the company; dozens of workers protested in the United States last month. Pandemic breaks Vietnam supply chains; loss of exports may be permanent - The Loadstar reports that Freight forwarders in Vietnam have seen cargo volumes down by up to 70% on pre-coronavirus levels, as their key markets remain under lockdown. According to Ho Chi Minh City-based supply chain consultant CEL, the world has entered a consumer demand crisis which could permanently alter its supply chains. “As we speak, the American consumer is currently already reducing expenditure on shoes, phones, appliances, clothes, cars and tools, for example,” said CEL managing partner Julien Brun. “Most of which are made in Asia, and a large portion in Vietnam.” When the coronavirus pandemic started in Wuhan in January, the crisis was seen as a China-specific problem from a supply chain perspective, and prompted a frantic search for alternative production and transport capacity in Vietnam, Mr Brun explained. Vietnam’s own reliance on China for raw materials and components quickly materialised, however, resulting in the start of delays and production challenges. “In a survey conducted by CEL at the end of March, 83% of companies in the physical value chain in Vietnam, including retailers, transporters, traders and manufacturers, had suffered supply issues over the past two months,” he said. “And 47% of them had issues specifically with Chinese suppliers, a large majority of which was over missing raw materials.” Mr Brun said manufacturers and retailers’ current sales volumes were too low to absorb fixed costs, leaving thousands of businesses with negative margins and thinning cash reserves.
Supply chain news in brief
The US Treasury has ordered Donald Trump’s name be printed on cheques to be sent to tens of millions of Americans affected by the coronavirus outbreak, a decision that will slow their delivery by several days, according to the Washington Post (link, not behind a paywall). Citing unnamed senior officials at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Post reported the $1,200 cheques – being sent by the as part of a $2.3tn package enacted last month to cushion the economic blow from the pandemic – will “bear Trump’s name in the memo line, below a line that reads, ‘Economic Impact Payment’.” The Post said the “unprecedented decision” to include Trump’s name was announced to the IRS information technology team on Tuesday.
Share trading of Virgin Australia has been suspended at the airline’s request whilst it reviews financial restructuring options in a bid to avoid collapse. The halt comes after a previous halt last week where the airline announced it had requested a $1.4 billion loan from the Australian government. The airline also announced it was cutting all flights except for a single SYD-MEL (Sydney to Melbourne) return flight 6 days a week. Options that may be considered include existing creditors swapping debt for equity (i.e. creditors write off debt and are given shares instead), priority debt to new creditors (to encourage badly needed additional funds to come in from investors), restructuring or entering voluntary administration. (Source: Airlive.net)
Air Cargo News reports that Spice Jet (my favourite airline name of them all) is ramping up its cargo operation following the virus outbreak. On April 7, India-based SpiceJet operated the country’s first cargo-only passenger aircraft flight carrying vital medical supplies in the cabin. Since then, the airline has regularly used its Boeing 737 aircraft for cargo-only flights. SpiceJet has also recently operated special cargo flights to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and other countries, to export local fresh fruits and vegetables and maintain supply chains. On April 9, SpiceXpress — SpiceJet’s dedicated cargo arm — operated a freighter flight on the Chennai-Singapore-Chennai route carrying critical medical equipment and other Covid-19 related medical supplies.
The LoadStar has reported that Air Canada has removed the seats on 3 of its 777’s to make more room for cargo. The aircraft are being converted by aircraft maintenance and cabin integration specialist Avianor, which will remove 422 passenger seats and designate cargo loading zones for lightweight boxes containing medical equipment, restrained with cargo nets.
U.S. carriers are asking the FAA to allow shipments in passenger cabins says Freightwaves. With a global shortage of air cargo space and extraordinary demand to move emergency medical supplies, some overseas passenger airlines are taking out the seats on aircraft to make more room for freight and U.S. airlines are asking the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for permission to fly cargo in the main deck where passengers normally sit, including the option of removing seats, an industry source familiar with the regulatory situation said. A decision on basic main-deck loading is expected very soon. FAA sign-off for more complex modifications could take a couple weeks longer, the person said, adding “the exact framework for seat loading under U.S. regulations is not yet fully elaborated.” Almost every domestic airline is interested in using the cabin for cargo in some form, according to the source.
Prologis Inc (which is one of the world’s largest logistics real estate investment trusts and has a lot of warehouses) has said 24% of its customers have inquired about rent releases and deferring payments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has stunted demand for goods in many industries. On a business update call with analysts and investors earlier this week, the company said the release requests total 69 days of rent relief on 16.6% of the company’s portfolio. Prologis expects to grant deferrals in the form of a repayable loan to roughly one quarter of those that have sought relief. Management estimates the deferral loan amounts will equal 1% of the company’s gross annual rent. Of note, management said some of the inquiries have come from large, “financially sound” clients that are looking to take advantage of the current market in which some landlords are offering accommodative rent payment solutions. Freightwaves has more.
Amazon is going to start accepting all non-essential products to its warehouses again this week, a month after pausing those shipments says Business Insider. Amazon's spokesperson confirmed in an email to Business Insider that third-party sellers who use Amazon's warehouses to store their products will be able to resume sending in all non-essential items later this week. There will be limits to how many products per item the sellers can ship in, but the idea is to lift the restrictions imposed last month, the spokesperson said. "Later this week, we will allow more products into our fulfillment centers," Amazon's spokesperson said. "Products will be limited by quantity to enable us to continue prioritizing products and protecting employees, while also ensuring most selling partners can ship goods into our facilities." The change signals easing pressure on Amazon's supply chain that were caused by surging demand for essential products, like face masks and toilet paper, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Good news section
99 year old world war 2 veteran Capt. Tom Moore has so far managed to raise £5m ($6.25m USD, €5.72m EUR) in donations to the NHS - the BBC says that Capt. Tom Moore is currently in the middle of completing 100 laps of his garden (25 metres in length) before his 100th birthday at the end of April. Mr Moore was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire and trained as a civil engineer before enlisting in the army for World War Two, rising to captain and serving in India and Burma. NHS Charities Together, which will benefit from the funds, said it was "truly inspired and humbled". Nearly 170,000 people from around the world have donated money to his fundraising page since it was set up last week. Mr Moore began raising funds to thank the "magnificent" NHS staff who helped him with treatment for cancer and a broken hip. If you’re interested in supporting him his fundraising page is here.
China’s securities regulator has tightened rules on margin lending and promoted the use of short-selling in an apparent effort to take some heat off a soaring market.China over the weekend anno China Moves to Curb Margin Trading The rules covering investors' use of margin trading and short selling were relaxed on Friday in a draft document released by the China Securities Regulatory Commission. SHANGHAI—China’s securities regulator said it is amending margin-trading and short-selling rules, as official scrutiny of tools that have helped push the country’s stock market to a seven ... The revised rules said brokerages that had more-than-permitted margin trading could maintain the current level but forbade further increase. Individual investors that possess less than 500,000 yuan (around US$82,000) of securities assets, a threshold for margin trading, were also given the nod to continue their business, according to the amendment. As detailed in a recent article from Forbes, China's Securities Regulatory Commission eased rules on margin trading after a previous interest rate cut failed to shore up mainland markets. Under the new regulations, minimum deposit requirements for investors were lowered, a move that Chinese officials hoped would serve as an inducement for ...
What trading on margin means and how to use it The Dough ...
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