Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by alexreeve

  1. An anonymous, untraceable ebay where you can buy and sell anything using bitcoin. Is this the killer app that gives Bitcoin an astonishing USP? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-15/welcome-silk-road-mind-blowing-interview-dread-pirate-roberts Roberts also has a political agenda: He sees himself not just as an enabler of street-corner pushers but also as a radical libertarian revolutionary carving out an anarchic digital space beyond the reach of the taxation and regulatory powers of the state–Julian Assange with a hypodermic needle. Mix up your coins in one of many available laundering services–Silk Road runs one automatically for all transactions on the site–and it becomes very difficult to follow the money. Even the FBI, according to one of the bureau’s leaked internal reports, worries that Bitcoin’s complexity and lack of a central authority “present distinct challenges” for tracking criminal funds. The result is a currency as convenient as PayPal and theoretically as anonymous as cash. “We’re talking about the potential for a monumental shift in the power structure of the world,” Roberts writes. “The people now can control the flow and distribution of information and the flow of money. Sector by sector the State is being cut out of the equation and power is being returned to the individual.” Bitcoin did more than enable the modern online black market, Roberts says. It also brought him and Silk Road together. Roberts isn’t actually the site’s founder, he revealed in our interview. He credits Silk Road’s creation to another, even more secretive entrepreneur whom he declined to tell me anything about and who may have used the “Dread Pirate Roberts” nom de guerre before it was assumed by the person I interviewed. When I ask Roberts how he defines his role at Silk Road–CEO? Owner?–he tells me that he considers himself “a center of trust” between the site’s buyers and sellers, a tricky task given that all parties want to remain anonymous. Silk Road has slowly demonstrated to users that it isn’t a typical counterfeit-drug scam site or a law enforcement trap. It’s made wise use of the trust mechanisms companies like eBay and Airbnb have popularized, including seller ratings and an escrow that releases payment to sellers only after customers receive their merchandise.
  2. alexreeve


    I have just finished "Progress and Poverty" by Henry George. It is probably the most insightful, visionary book I have ever read. Written in 1879, some of the predictions it makes you now see have played out perfectly, such as the decline to replacement level birth rate amongst affluent. Absolutely brilliant!
  3. alexreeve


    Really because it looks horrendous: http://www.usdebtclock.org/
  4. alexreeve


    Can the US government keep refinancing their debt, and finance their deficit with interest rates at 5%? What about 10%? What about 20%? What is the point at which elevated interest rates become politically unacceptable? What happens to the Fed's balance sheet if the US government defaults on its debt obligations? I don't know the answer to these questions. I think you have rather misunderstood the primary obligation of the central bank if you think they can completely ignore government funding needs to deal with inflation.
  5. alexreeve

    1984 (steps to Orwellian doom)

    It would be really useful for tracking the potential spread of an epidemic. Sadly it would be useful all the rest of the time for rather more nefarious purposes.
  6. alexreeve


    It's a fair point. I certainly thought the banking crisis would eviscerate both USD and GBP in short order. What I failed to appreciate was the ubiquitous nature of the problem. It did not occur to me that every significant central bank in the world could/would co-ordinate so effectively to prevent catastrophic exchange rate fluctuations. However I still don't see any liquidation of the bad debt (and corresponding credit) that cannot be repaid. I do not see any progress towards a resolution to the financial crisis, just still growing imbalances. Do you feel that the financial crisis is over, and we are seeing the green shoots of healthy recovery?
  7. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-07-21/tectonic-plates-and-markets-are-shifting-asia
  8. alexreeve

    1984 (steps to Orwellian doom)

    I know it's not about new laws, but shows the uglier side of progressive thought raising its head again. http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2013/07/punishing-fundamentalists/
  9. Also on the syllabus for the new national curriculum http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23222068
  10. I think it would be obvious why they would be interested in crowdsourced reports of unidentified tech flying round the globe, both their own and that of other world powers, regardless of any belief in ET visitors.
  11. How much were the private companies paying the government for the franchise + VAT on ticket sales etc. It is more than possible that despite making a loss they were contributing £300 million/year. Also the government will "self-insure", which is to say not take out insurance against catastrophic losses. Does this risk get accounted for? Also there's accounting trickery, they will be able to capitalise investment costs differently than is possible on a fixed lease, showing healthy balance sheets in the short term. Having said all that I don't see a great deal of benefit to licensing out a monopoly with the risible justification of "competition driving down costs".
  12. http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/04/google_has_a_single_towering_obsession_it_wants_to_build_the_star_trek_computer.html
  13. alexreeve


    First bitcoins then gold coins. It's like someone is playing whackamole.
  14. Note the absence of Switzerland. By virtue of having a huge level of gun ownership and hardly any murders it has to be omitted...
  15. There's so much certainty on both sides. There seems to be a good case for motive and opportunity for Machievellian power brokers. There seems to have been a spike in speculative positions on airlines and a lot of missing Gold. These things make me suspicious but certainly not convinced it was an inside job, or at least preventable (like Pearl Harbour). I've seen a few truther videos and a few debunking videos, and they both seem quite convincing to me.
  16. Really sounds to me like more big government repression to me - "a new economic paradigm that takes into account not only economic growth but environmental protection and social development is needed" I'm sure GNH would be just as arbitrary a measure as GDP. I'm currently reading a book called Affluenza, and it's quite an interesting topic. It seems to me that the widespread depression and anxiety of the developed world is a real phenomenon (as opposed to self-indulgent whining as is often claimed). I doubt that it will be cured by statutory edict though.
  17. And this is what it always comes down to, the "tanks on the streets" fearmongering. Everyone from Hank Paulson to EDM on that thread John Doe linked to. The numbers I see thrown around do not stack up. If, in Cyprus, the banking sector balance sheet is 800% of GDP and they can only recover assets to cover 40% of their most senior level of creditor, they must be short an amount well, well over 480% of GDP! How can they possibly recapitalise them for 100% of GDP if that is the case, or even convince anyone they are recapitalised now that supposed information is in the public domain. Not that 100% is the bail-out addition to the national debt, no. The bill is specifically and unashamedly the maximum amount that doesn't automatically necessitate default. How weird is that? It would be interesting to know what percentage of the banks liabilities are deposits under the guarantee threshold. But it doesn't really matter, as a number it always has to be less than covering ALL the liabilities. Why would you need tanks on the streets, if you make the guarantee? What proportion of people keep >EURO100,000 in their account? That should cover a small business payroll for a month, or the deposit for buying a flat let alone renting one. The simple fact is that it is there are a small number of extremely rich people who will lose out in the event of a partial debt jubilee as all the unsustainable debt is liquidated, and they would much rather as much as possible was loaded on the taxpayer directly.
  18. Yes of course they should be wound down. They're bankrupt, private enterprises and their scale makes them systemically dangerous. This is certainly supportive of the notion that they cannot afford to rescue them, but not particularly that they cannot afford to pay the minimum deposit guarantee out of those assets. Depends how it was handled, it's certainly a risk. Although if the debt book is worth so little they could sell people their debt back in a very popular move. If the mortgage book is only saleable at 20c on the dollar sell it back to the mortgagees at that price. Being able to buy your own mortgage at 22c on the dollar i.e. writing down 78% of a mortgage could be a very, very popular move... It would do them good, but why would they have to drop out? They are not defaulting on any public liability if they liquidate the banks and just pay out the deposit guarantee.
  19. What "harsh reality of bankrupt banks", under the proposed plan the banks were never intended to be wound down, although that's probably untenable now. Their bad debts were not intended to be liquidated but the losses periodically transferred partly onto the depositors who are supposed to be protected under the law, and mostly onto the taxpayers. Transitioning hopelessly unrecoverable speculative debt which can be discharged by bankruptcy proceedings, into non-dischargeable government debt the burden of which runs in perpetuity. How are they getting away with this?
  20. There is nothing to indicate this is true. Those banks have plenty of assets that would be used in an orderly wind-down, Cyprus could certainly borrow in the market for a well defined few billion extra if necessary, on the basis of its shale gas reserves alone. This way they are 10 billion worse off and have discharged literally NONE of that contingent liability. It obviously suits someone but it's not the taxpayers of Cyprus.
  21. I don't know why I asked you to specify now. To me "fraudulent criminals" seems entirely apt for all the actors in this tragedy: Eurocrats, national politicians and bank execs.
  22. alexreeve

    NEVER underestimate the stupidity of people

    Why let these things irritate you? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9pD_UK6vGU&feature=youtu.be
  23. I'm not sure who you mean by they. As far as I know the guarantee is an obligation of the national governments imposed as a condition of membership of EFTA, although there may be further obligations imposed on Cyprus as a member of the currency union. Presumably as with Iceland the politicians were barely even aware of (the scale of) it until it blew up in their faces.