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Spot Bitcoin ETF – 90% chance

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Analysts say Bitcoin ETF will be approved by January 10, 2024 and the market agrees!

The market is confident that a Spot Bitcoin ETF is coming and the Bitcoin price is telling us to pay attention!

There’s a 90% chance of approval by the 10th of January according to Bloomberg analysts, and the SEC is in a brief window, that closes this Friday, in which it could approve 7 Bitcoin ETFs at once!

But will they? Bitcoin price action suggest they will.

Bitcoin Price Action is Spicy

Though the price backed off a bit from recent 2023 highs, this could be due more to technicals and a retreat from short-term exuberance.

You can clearly see the upward trend in this parallel trading channel. No surprise, BTC stalled out when it reached the upper band of that channel.

This is called a re-trace, in trading-speak.

But, there is absolutely no denying that Bitcoin price has been on fire lately.

After all, it did trade up from 27K to 38K in about 4 weeks.

That’s a 40% move.

Not bad. And on fairly strong volume, as you can see when compared to recent weekly volumes.

Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust Offers a Hint

The price action on Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust and the discount to net asset value (NAV) might offer a clue. As we can see below, the gap has been rapidly closing.

This discount vs net asset value has persisted all through the bear market because there were more sellers than buyers of GBTC shares.

Now that trend is reversing fast because buyers are assuming the Trust will be converted into an ETF after Grayscale’s court win.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin Worth Zero, says ECB

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The European Central Bank (ECB) recently published a blog post cynically arguing that the fair value of Bitcoin is still zero, despite the wildly successful launch of Bitcoin ETFs (exchange traded funds) into which investors have poured billions of dollars, and Bitcoin breaking $1 Trillion in market capitalisation

Euro losing value; Bitcoin goes up!

Perhaps confused by the direction of its own currency, the Euro, which has been eagerly heading towards zero vs Gold ever since its launch in 1999, losing 85% of its value in just 20 years.


The post, written by ECB staff member, Dr. Fabio Panetta, claims Bitcoin lacks the fundamental attributes of a currency and that its value is based solely on speculation, never mind that ALL investments are a speculation on their future values, as the future remains unknown.

Panetta argues that Bitcoin’s value is not anchored to any tangible economic good or service, and falsely claims its supply is not fixed, but can be changed by a decentralised network of computers. This is patently false and can be verified in the Bitcoin design within the whitepaper and also within the code.

He also notes that the recent launch of Bitcoin ETFs has not changed the fundamental nature of Bitcoin (yes, we know!) and that investors should be cautious when investing in such assets.

Here he makes a couple of errors.

Investors should be cautious when investing in any asset and Bitcoin is no different, of course. But he also fails to mention that Bitcoin has outperformed all major asset classes since it’s launch, and in 7 of the last 10 years.

Bitcoin is not a bubble!

Here’s a chart showing the full history of Bitcoin’s price. This is not a bubble. It’s an adoption curve. A “bubble” does not recover from 4 bear markets to make new highs. Central bankers continue to ignore this because Bitcoin is anathema to them.

The ECB’s stance on Bitcoin is in line with most major central banks, who have also expressed skepticism about the value and risks associated with cryptocurrencies, including the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Bank of Japan.

The popularity and price performance of Bitcoin is a direct vote of no-confidence in central bank policies. It’s not wonder central bankers hate it.

It’s all about liquidity

People buy Bitcoin as a hedge against monetary debasement. Just look at this chart by TechDev showing Bitcoin literally moving with the global liquidity cycle. Every bull market starts when the global liquidity goes up ie when central banks print more money!

Despite the ECB’s skepticism, the popularity of Bitcoin continues to grow with investors as persistent inflation and rising distrust of authority fuels doubts about central bank competence and government fiscal profligacy.

Many investors see Bitcoin as a way to hedge sovereign risk, diversify their portfolios, and potentially earn high returns as global adoption continues along the technology S-curve, similar to other groundbreaking technologies like the telephone, television, internet, smartphones etc.

Number go up!

The market capitalisation of Bitcoin has grown to over $1 trillion, and the cryptocurrency has become a popular investment option for many individuals and institutions. Global fund management giants BlackRock, Fidelity, Franklin Templeton, ARK Invest are now promoting Bitcoin to their clients. Wall Street and trad-fi are catching on. Central banks continue to lag, because the success of Bitcoin questions their competence, and undermines their existence.

No wonder they hate it!

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Bitcoin is Inevitable

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If you have been an investor for a while, you understand that markets, like nature, move in cycles of expansion and contraction.

Capital ebbs and flows from asset class to asset class and industry to industry, like the tide rolling out and back into the shore of one island versus another.

But the natural flow of production and economies has been severely disrupted by an outside force for the past century.

Where there should naturally be steady upward growth with minor retraces along the way, there is now a mighty swell of economic expansion and a devastating tidal wave of economic recession.

The outside force?

You got it.

The Federal Reserve.

Charged with maintaining confidence in the US dollar, The Fed has tools they utilize to manipulate cost of capital and, hence, demand in the markets.

By raising and lowering interest rates and expanding and contracting the money supply, they have distorted the value of assets and the currency. This distortion has forced everyone to become an investor and everyone to play their game in order to keep the value of the savings they have created with their own productivity.

Call it evil, call it Modern Monetary Theory.

But whatever you call it, you have to play.

Because, time and time again, cycle after cycle, nothing changes.

One cycle ends, and the next one begins:

Fed floods system with money → Fed removes money from system and raises cost of borrowing, too rapidly → with the danger of total market collapse, The Fed reverts right back to Step 1 → The cycle begins again

The money becomes worth less, creating the illusion that your assets are worth more, and if you have left your money in the bank, it melts away.

Hour after hour, day after day, year after year.

A relentless devaluation of your hard work.

Stolen right from under you.

Until now.

Until Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Price Analysis

One thing that has been on everyone’s minds for months now is the possibility (read: extremely high probability) that a Spot ETF will be approved for trading soon.

In fact, just over a week ago, a rumor quickly spread that the Blackrock ETF had been approved. Bitcoin’s price immediately reacted that day, spiking from $27,200 to over $30,000 in just a few hours.

Then, over the course of the next week, as the reality of an eventual approval took hold, and investors recognized this, the price continued to gravitate upwards.

The Follow Through.

And just last night, as we write this, news of Blackrock securing a ticker symbol (IBTC) and a spot on the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the BTC price rocketed from $29,700 straight through $30,000 this time, and touched $35,000.

A roughly 18% one-day move.

While this may surprise a great many people who are new to the digital asset space, it was absolutely no surprise to us and other Bitcoiners.

A few things of note here:

  • First, Bitcoin is yet a young asset, and it is growing in adoption rapidly. For this, and other reasons, BTC is a volatile asset. It moves in large swings at times. And while some investors became complacent, and others ever dared to short BTC, in the last number of months, we are reminded of this. This volatility is ultimately a good thing, though, as we will revisit later.
  • Secondly, it is just a matter of time before the SEC must concede that their position on refusing to approve a Spot ETF is thinly defended, at best. Sooner or later, they will have no choice but to concede to the will of the markets and allow for the asset to be bought and sold on the major stock exchanges.
  • Finally, we are informed of the tremendous pent-up demand for this type of security from the investing public. There are over $700 trillion of investible assets in the world, and a significant portion of this is seeking not just new assets to profit from, but also safe and reliable assets to hide in.

Let’s talk about that.

As you may have heard us (Joe and James) talk about recently, there are major storms brewing in the macro landscape.

These storms are born from a combination of tremendous leverage in the system (think: debt, everything from credit cards to student to mortgage to government Treasury Debt) and a screaming rise of interest rates (think: Fed funds and US Treasuries) over the last 18 months.

This monumental level of debt is like a giant tinderbox, filled with gunpowder, soaked in gasoline, set on a bed of dried brush, in the desert.

The rate raises are like little matches, lit and laid, here and there and there, and there.

Creating little fires everywhere you look.

A big fire was extinguished last spring: Silicon Valley Bank.

The fix? Instant liquidity for the bank to avoid total collapse. I.e., stealth QE.

But there are more fires brewing, some big, some small, and the markets know this. We can tell when we look at certain indicators. One of these indicators is called the Yield Curve.

And the yield curve has been signaling trouble for over a year now.


The Yield Curve Signals Trouble Up Ahead

The yield curve is basically a chart plotting all the current nominal (not including inflation) rates of each government-issued bond. Maturity is the term for a bond, and yield is the annual interest rate that a bond will pay the buyer.

A normal yield curve (this one from 2018) chart will typically look like this:

As you can see, in a normal economic environment, the shorter the maturity of the bond, the lower the yield. This makes perfect sense in that, the shorter the time committed to lending money to someone, the less interest you would charge them for that agreed lockup period (term).

When shorter-term bonds, like the 3 mo or 2yr, start to reflect a higher yield than longer-term bonds, 10 yr or even 30 yr, then we know there is expected trouble on the horizon. Basically, the market is telling you that investors are expecting rates to be lower in the future because of an economic slowdown or recession.

Like this:

When measuring inversions, we look at the yield of the 10-year US Treasury (the benchmark security for US Treasuries) versus the yield of the 2yr US Treasury.

The benchmark yield curve spread.

And this is how this spread has looked over the years. Note where it has been in the last year and where it is today.

What we see is that the curve inverted back in July of 2022, and it has been severely inverted since this past June, having touched over 1.08% negative spread, or inversion.

However, you can also see that the spread is un-inverting now.

Rapidly.

An un-inversion is the result of front-end rates dropping back down below long-end rates, as the market signals it expects front-end rates, including the Fed’s own policy rate, to decrease.

Remember, the Fed is reactionary. They will only lower rates when they are faced with certain recession or we are already in one.

This is why the un-inversion is the ultimate signal of imminent trouble.

Because recessions occur within mere months of un-inversion

Every. Single. Time.

But we are here to tell you that this time is, in fact, different.

And by different, we mean worse.

Let us explain.


The Treasury Debt Problem

You likely know by now that the US Government has what we call a spending problem.

And because Congress spends far more than the country generates in revenue (i.e., tax collections), we have a large and growing deficit.

Simply put, this deficit forces the US Treasury to borrow more and more and more every year.

In fact, the Treasury needs to borrow so much, that it has issued $2 trillion of bonds in the last three months alone.

And because of that, the US federal debt now stands at $33.6 trillion.

Back to interest rates.

The Treasury must pay interest on all that debt. And because interest rates have been rising, so has the interest cost on all that debt.

How much?

Would you believe almost $1 trillion per year now?

That’s more than the US spends on its military.

If the Fed’s main policy rate, Fed Funds, stays at 5% through 2025, the interest expense on the US government’s debt will be an eye-watering $2 trillion per year, which is 45% of all federal tax revenue.

And how will they pay all this interest if we are already running a deficit?

You got it.

More debt.

And this debt leads to more interest expense which leads to more debt, and on, and on, and on…

Bottom line: Rates must come down, for the sake of the US government.

But we know how this cycle ends. The same way it always does.


The Fed Is The Perpetual Lender Of Last Resort

We have seen it time and time and time again. The Fed raises rates until it becomes untenable for financial markets.

The Fed refuses to back away until conditions are sufficiently tight.

In the process, they overtighten.

And this is why every cycle ends in a huge reduction in rates to levels lower than where they started.

The cycle simplified:

The Fed overtightens until the market signals that it is untenable → the Fed reacts too late, as always → financial calamity strikes → then the Fed overreacts to the other extreme with a tsunami of monetary easing

Look closely at the chart above, though.

Especially at the year 2008. This is where a new phenomenon takes hold. A new policy. One that will haunt the fiat lords forever.

Zero Interest Rate Policy, otherwise known as ZIRP.

With global-reaching financial calamity at the doorstep, the central banks here panicked, lowering rates to zero.

In fact, in some places like Europe and Japan, the rates went negative.

That’s right. You were being paid to borrow. To take on debt. to leverage.

But this wasn’t enough, fast enough. Central banks could no longer transmit monetary policy effectively with policy rates alone. So they did more.

The Fed dumped trillions of dollars worth of liquidity into the markets in the form of M2 expansion (money printing).

How?

Inspired by Japan which started doing it in the 90s, the Fed got creative, using its balance sheet to make large-scale purchases of financial assets from banks.

They called it Quantitative Easing or QE.

And by 2020, with the stage set and a new tragedy unfolding, the Fed ramped up this mechanism to full tilt, flooding the markets with $5 trillion more of liquidity.

Now markets have been conditioned. They know the Fed will save banks with fresh cash at any sign of trouble.

The Fed’s large-scale purchases of US Treasuries and agency MBS (mortgage-backed securities) have the effect of lowering yields, thus lowering interest rates.

And relying on this is what caught Silicon Valley Bank (and others) offsides this past spring.

After all, risk management goes out the window when you know an unelected shadowy entity born on Jekyll Island (aka, The Fed) will not allow a prolonged economic contraction to happen.

They can’t.

The Treasury cannot withstand it.

And so, banks have severely slacked on their jobs, giving risky loans to anyone with an idea and a pulse. And then they relied on the Fed’s rate manipulation to do their own risk management for them.

This errant trust of the Fed and its interest rate manipulation and perpetual balance sheet expansion, has created the most widespread & rampant misallocation of capital the world has ever seen.

The banks bought US Treasuries for their own reserves against loans they made, and this past year, when the Fed skyrocketed rates up 5%, many banks were blindsided.

The ZIRP tide went out, and they were caught without a swimsuit.

This action by the Fed and mismanagement by banks has created a $1.675-trillion hole across the banks balance sheets due to US Treasuries losing value as the rates were pushed higher.

The Fed’s answer?

A new facility with a new acronym called the BTFP, which is essentially stealth QE. It eliminated the natural fire-sale risk that goes along with devaluing USTs, the world’s most widely used collateral.

And use the facility, they did. to the tune of over $100B.

So now, the BTFP completely backstops the banking system, eliminating the risk of an unwind due to the Fed’s rate hikes.

The effect of this is risk-taking rises**, because banks know the Fed won’t let the financial system collapse or a prolonged recession to happen.**

But who pays for all this?

Aren’t we already running a deficit?

Aren’t we already $33.5 trillion on debt?

You got it.

With new and creative ways to patch the cracks in the system and kick the consequence can further down the road at every turn of this preposterous cycle—it’s always you, the US dollar holder, that pays the price in the form of a perpetual degradation of your purchasing power**.**

Print money → expand M2 → dump liquidity into markets → cause high and perpetual inflation → purchasing power of every dollar falls

For decades and decades, there was little you could do but play the game.

Save money. Buy stocks. Buy gold.

All of them are manipulated.

Your hope was to not miss a cycle and lose it all.

That was the best you could do.

Until now.

Enter Bitcoin.


A Risk-Off Asset Trading Like The Nasdaq

You may already know or have heard this, but Bitcoin’s properties are risk-off.

Why?

Because Bitcoin is the hardest money ever created. It has numerous attributes that no other money has had, such as:

Scarcity:

  • Bitcoin has a fixed supply cap of 21 million coins, making it a scarce resource. This scarcity is built into the code through a process called mining, which releases new bitcoins at a decreasing rate over time until the cap is reached.

Durability:

  • Bitcoin exists on a decentralized network, making it highly durable. As long as the network exists, the bitcoin on it will remain intact and unspoiled.

Divisibility:

  • Bitcoin can be divided into smaller units, down to 100 millionths of a bitcoin (known as a Satoshi), making it highly divisible. This divisibility facilitates its use in a wide range of transactions.

Transportability:

  • Bitcoin can be sent and received anywhere in the world, and may cross borders without the need for middlemen, making it highly transportable.

Verifiability:

  • Bitcoin transactions can be verified on the blockchain, which is a public ledger. Anyone can verify the transaction history of a particular bitcoin address, making it transparent and verifiable.

Censorship Resistance:

  • Bitcoin transactions cannot easily be censored or blocked, making it a censorship-resistant form of money.

Fungibility:

  • Each bitcoin is interchangeable with any other bitcoin, making it fungible. While there are concerns regarding “tainted” bitcoins (bitcoins associated with illegal activities), the core protocol treats every bitcoin the same.

Decentralization:

  • Bitcoin operates on a truly decentralized network with no central authority, reducing the risks associated with centralization such as censorship, inflation, and corruption.

Predictability:

  • The issuance of new bitcoins and the total supply cap are governed by predictable rules, not the whims of a central authority.

Unforgeability:

  • It’s practically impossible to counterfeit or forge bitcoins due to the cryptographic security and the decentralized verification process.

These properties contribute to Bitcoin’s characterization as hard money, often drawing comparisons to gold in discussions of its potential as a store of value over time.

Yet gold cannot claim a number of attributes on this list. Gold is not very portable, you can only carry so much with you before it becomes noticeable.

Gold is also not easily divisible. The comparison here to Bitcoin is important, as Bitcoin being divisible up to over 100 million parts per Bitcoin (and more), allows for the ultimate supply cap to remain without issue.

Gold is not easily verifiable in that you may have to run tests to prove it is real and not counterfeit. With Bitcoin, you simply look at a series of numbers to verify, easy as that.

And finally, gold is extremely easy to confiscate, especially at a border. It is not censorship-resistant.

All that said, Bitcoin has yet to mature into that true Store of Value (SoV) that it someday will (in our strong conviction).

And so it still trades like a high-beta risk asset or security.

Sometimes even like a meme stock.

Despite its absolute scarcity, the market trades bitcoin like an infinitely issuable stock.

We see this simple disconnect as the single biggest informational arbitrage of our generation, and perhaps ever.

The opportunity is obvious to us.

Cycle after cycle, the Fed resolves its overtightening with overeasing.

If money creation is the endgame of every cycle, strategic and long-term investors alike want to allocate to an asset that stands to appreciate the most in the face of this money expansion and has the least risk of being diluted with increased share issuance.

Due to this, we fully expect Bitcoin to appreciate in an outsized manner due to its relatively low $0.5 trillion market cap, and absolutely fixed supply.

Bitcoin’s denominator (supply—or number of Bitcoin ever to be issued) is absolutely fixed and whose numerator (the fiat it is priced in) is diluting at an accelerating rate into infinity, or until Congress returns to monetary austerity, the Treasury solves the debt crisis, and the Fed either dissolves or ends its manipulative ways.

Ha.

Knowing this is a virtually zero probability, serious investors want an asset that ebbs and flows with money supply to keep the monetary leaders in check as they dilute their purchasing power—and Bitcoin is that asset.

As the global money supply continuously expands, so too does the price of bitcoin, with extremely high sensitivity due to its nascent existence and tiny market cap of liquidity.

In short, we believe the world’s most porous sponge for global liquidity is Bitcoin.

At this point, the safe haven asset choices for investors are gold and US Treasuries, but one of them has been replaced by a superior commodity money, and the other is experiencing the sharpest period of drawdown in its history as a result of its central bank’s own incompetence.

We believe that one day in the near future, perhaps a few trillion dollars of market cap and liquidity away, Bitcoin will begin to serve as a safe haven asset like these two.

While correlations don’t yet suggest that it’s becoming one, as it is has still been tightly rising and falling to the beat of high-beta risk assets like the stock market, it one day will.

After all, with Spot ETFs coming, more and more investors doing their homework, reading about, and front-run studying Bitcoin, its monetary properties won’t be widely misunderstood forever.

The information arbitrage will be gone.

Institutions will catch up to individuals.

The once-in-a-lifetime retail ability to front-run institutions opportunity will be over.

Because when bitcoin starts trading as its monetary properties suggest it should, buckle up.

And this, my friends, is why we feel we are standing before the most compelling risk-reward opportunity we have ever seen in our careers.

Bitcoin, we believe, is inevitable.

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Pro-Bitcoin President in Argentina – It’s Happening!

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Argentina has elected pro-Bitcoin Javier Milei as its next President

Argentina has become the first G20 nation to elect a pro-Bitcoin President, Javier Miliei.

And the market really liked it, as Bitcoin shot back up past $37,000

It remains to be seen what shape or form President Milei’s policies will take towards Bitcoin, but he has made very strong statements in its favour, and against central banking.

  • Pro-Bitcoin:
    • “Bitcoin represents the return of money to its original creator, the private sector.”
    • “Bitcoin is the people’s reaction against what I call the central bank scammers.”
    • “Bitcoin is a way of escaping the monetary repression imposed by the state.”
    • “Bitcoin is a form of private money that is not subject to the whims of politicians and central bankers.”
    • “Bitcoin is a technological innovation that has the potential to revolutionise the financial system and empower individuals.”
  • Anti-Central Bank:
    • “The Central Bank is one of the greatest thieves in the history of mankind.”
    • “The Central Bank is the worst garbage that exists on this Earth.”
    • “The Central Bank is the main cause of inflation, poverty and economic decline in our country.”
    • “The Central Bank is a scam that falsifies pesos and steals from the people.”
    • “The Central Bank should not exist. It should be abolished and replaced by a free market monetary system.”
  • Anti-Inflation:
    • “Inflation is a tax on the poor and the middle class. It erodes their purchasing power and reduces their quality of life.”
    • “Inflation is a consequence of the fiscal irresponsibility and monetary expansion of the government.”
    • “Inflation is a form of theft. It transfers wealth from the productive sector to the parasitic sector.”
    • “Inflation is a symptom of a sick economy. It reflects the lack of confidence and credibility in the currency and the institutions.”
    • “Inflation is a social evil. It generates uncertainty, instability and social conflict.”
  • Policy Intentions:
    • “If I become president, I will close the central bank on the first day of my administration.”
    • “If I become president, I will dollarize the economy and end the peso nightmare once and for all.”
    • “If I become president, I will audit the central bank and expose all the corruption and fraud that has been committed there.”
    • “If I become president, I will free the exchange market and eliminate all the capital controls and restrictions that suffocate the economy.”
    • “If I become president, I will promote the use of cryptocurrencies and other forms of private money that compete with the state monopoly.”

Argentina becomes the second nation in Latin America to elect a Bitcoin friendly head of state, after El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender under the leadership of President Nayib Bukele.

Max Keiser, a key member of President Bukele’s team of Bitcoin advisors, says President Bukele has given the green light to a diplomatic visit to Argentina by El Salvador’s Bitcoin team on a mission of “peace and economic freedom.”

In addition to this, Max has more bullish news of 3 more nations in LATAM making Bitcoin legal tender in early 2024.

Gradually, then suddenly

– Ernest Hemingway

If you have enjoyed this post, pls share it with your friends and colleagues.
Cheers,
Archie

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