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Tuesday, 22 May


Australia Plans Blockchain Prototype to Deliver Welfare Payments in 2019 "IndyWatch Feed"

The Australian governments digitization agency has revealed plans to explore the implementation of blockchain technology in delivering social security welfare payments to citizens. Speaking at a conference in Sydney last week, Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) chief executive Randall Brugeaud underlined welfare payment delivery as an early use case for its blockchain implementation effort. The DTA

The post Australia Plans Blockchain Prototype to Deliver Welfare Payments in 2019 appeared first on CCN


The Europhile Left use Jacobin response to strengthen our Brexit case "IndyWatch Feed"

Regular readers will recall that Thomas Fazi and I published an article in the Jacobin magazine (April 29, 2018) Why the Left Should Embrace Brexit which considered the Brexit issue and provided an up-to-date (with the data) case against the on-going hysteria that Britain is about to fall off some massive cliff as a result of its democratically-arrived at decision to exit the neoliberal contrivance that the European Union has become. There was an hysterical response on social media to the article, which I considered in this blog post a few days later The Europhile Left loses the plot (May 1, 2018). In recent days, two British-based academics have provided a more thoughtful response in the Jacobin magazine (May 18, 2018) Caution on Lexit. Here is a response which was co-written with Thomas. As a general observation, I noted some prominent progressive voices citing their attack on us enthusiastically, one even suggesting it landed some good punches after taking a while to warm up. Well, I can assure Andrew that my face (nor Thomass) was the slightest bit puffy after reading the critique.

The response by Bruno Bonizzi and Jo Michell, though interesting largely rests on straw person arguments, false claims and the same kind of muddled thinking that we exposed in our original article.

One suspects though that there is a lot of common ground given they are sympathetic to the two main points we raise in our original article:

1. that many of the UKs current economic problems have domestic causes and are not the result of the Brexit Brexit referendum.

2. the benefits of EU membership have been overstated.

But where we fundamentally digress is that Bonizzi and Michell do not think that Brexit provides a clear opportunity for implementation of progressive policy.

At the outset, Thomas and I have been consistent on this issue both in our individual writing and in our many joint publications now.

The position needs stating clearly.

Brexit might turn out to be a total disaster for Britain if the Right stay in government and harden their neoliberal austerity bias.

If leaving the European Union provides a dynamic to renew and strengthen what is at present a fractured Right polity, then we would be the first to say it will end badly.

But what we have consistently argued is that there is a massive opportunity created by Brexit for British Labour to articulate a restated progressive voice by rejecting its neoliberal Blairit...


Soft indicators "IndyWatch Feed"

Driven round the bend

For something a bit different, here's a look at what's happening in Western Australia with regards to new car financing. 

At the peak of the resources boom there had been a grand surge in new vehicle finance commitments.

I can well remember seeing the same dynamic up in the Northern Territory; it was literally driven by the same factors.

The number of new cars and station wagons financed remains at the lowest level since 2010, reflecting the low level of consumer confidence.

On the other hand, the annual number of used vehicles financed has now been rising for 11 months.

There are quite a number of indicators that have followed this pattern, suggesting that the worst of the downturn is now in the rear view mirror for the WA economy. 


(Video) X22 Report -- Episode 1573a/1573b: The Economic System is Breaking Down World Wide | Q Asks Who is in Control, then Shows us "IndyWatch Feed"

Published on May 21, 2018

Devin Nunes says there might be more than one spy. Trump pushes the DOJ to investigate spying into his campaign. IG will not start the investigation. Obama' s will start to make documentaries with Netflix, they are trying to take back the narrative. Facebook is under threat of being broken up. Pompeo is pushing Iran into a new deal, he is asking for outrageous demands. EU says that it will help Iran with Financial aid, EU then denies. ISIS burns its headquarters as they are bused out of Damascus. Q drops more Intel shows who is in control. Locates the deep state operation, how they were going to communicate and how they will be going down. The deep state is panicking, watch for those who scream the loudest, they will end up hurting the most.

Published on May 21, 2018

Corporations are looking at the blockchain and they are now building platforms to support it.Paypal says they will be looking at cryptocurrencys in the future, they are waiting for it to stabilize. Square cash is now supporting bitcoin and many others are moving into this area. The switch is happening. New Zealand retails sales take a dive, we had heard this in the UK, US, Australia and Canada and throughout Europe, the system is cracking. The world is starting to feel the pressure of the economic system ripping itself apart.


There Is No Such Thing as Cryptocurrency "IndyWatch Feed"

The next time someone talks to you about blockchain or cryptocurrency, you should politely say to them, There is no blockchain and there is no such thing as cryptocurrency.

Theyll look at you funny, as if youve been living under a rock or just dont get the latest thing in technology. Now youve got them where you want them.

You then go on to explain, There is no blockchain. There are thousands of blockchains. There is no single cryptocurrency. There are thousands of cryptocurrencies. And theyre all different!

That last point is the critical one Theyre all different.

Its the same way you would think about stocks. It may be interesting if the stock market went up or down today, but what you really care about is your particular portfolio of stocks.

If you own IBM Corp [NYSE:IBM], Walmart Inc. [NYSE:WMT] and Amazon [NASDAQ:AMZN], then you care about those stocks. If Boeing Co [NSYE:BA] went down, thats too bad for Boeing holders, but it has no impact on you if you dont own it.

And no one believes that Walmart and Boeing are interchangeable. Theyre completely different companies with diverse business models and revenue prospects.

Thats important to bear in mind because too much of the cryptocurrency discussion these days focuses on generalities and broad-brush statements without drilling down on the particulars.

My readers know that I consider Bitcoin (BTC) a dead-end cryptocurrency and would not hold it in a portfolio.

Yet Im convinced that blockchain technology, or what we call distributed ledger technology (DLT), has a bright future. And cryptocurrencies that perform useful functions in an efficient manner on DLT platforms have a bright future as well.

Second gen cryptos have an advantage

The key to reaping gains from those potentially successful cryptos involves diligence and research as well as finding the right entry point for an investment.

Generally speaking, the new early-stage cryptos have better prospects than some of the well-known names because developers of the new cryptos have learned from the mistakes of the pioneers.

If youre a golfer with a foursome on the green, you know its advantageous to putt last because you can go to school on the missed putts of your partners. Youll watch their putts, read the quirks on the green, and improve your own putting.

Its the same with cryptos.

The early coins had problems of scalability, sustainability and processing time. Thats why...


The Global Default: How Turkey Could Trigger the Next Debt Crisis "IndyWatch Feed"

It appears you can have one fifth of your countrys assets in gold and still go broke

Thats the precarious position Turkey finds itself in.

In the past year, Turkey has purchased 205 tonnes of gold to add to its foreign reserve tally.

It now sits on 582 tonnes of gold worth nearly AU$34 billion. As of last month, 22% of Turkeys total AU$153 billion foreign reserve was in gold.

Thats fairly impressive by international standards.

But theres a problem. It turns out you can have all the gold you want and still default on your debts.

Let me explain

Even though the Turkish government has spent the past year accumulating large amounts of gold, even this may not be enough pay back hundreds of billions in US dollar-denominated debt.

In 2015, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan encouraged citizens to buy gold and ditch the US dollar.

The appeal to nationalism worked. Citizens across the country swapped over 2.47 tonnes of gold for gold-based Turkish bonds.

A well known anti-US dollar proponent, Erdogan then told his people to cash in their euros and dollars, swapping fiat currencies for gold and Turkish liras.

Again, it worked. People dumped their foreign currencies in favour of gold and lira. It spurred private gold buying too. Gold imports jumped 688% over the course of 2016, amounting to AU$17 billion.

The patriotic appeal bought the country some time. It enabled the government to strengthen the banking system without having to buy physical gold itself.

By 2017, however, Erdogan was singing a different tune.

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey began buying gold by the tonne once more. Although this time the government claimed it was a diversification policy a way of ditching the US dollar. Erdogan explained that gold was worth more to Turkey than fiat dollars ever would be.

But this plea was short-lived. By the middle of 2017, his tune changed again.

There was now a worry that there was not enough gold to support all the paper gold products some AU$10 trillion worth operating in the markets.

And, on the quiet, the government slowly began to repatriate its gold. Turkey repatriated some 220 tonnes of gold stored at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Defending a bankrupt country

Turkeys 2017 gold buying spree shouldnt come as a surprise.

The sudden increase in gold purchases has happened before.



Rise of Airbnb "IndyWatch Feed"

Short stays

Australia is becoming more and more...and more popular with tourists and short-term visitors to see family and friends. 

The trend is predominantly being driven by Chinese and Asian tourism.

The same trend is also been pushed along by the lower dollar since the peak of the mining boom.

In New South Wales annual short-term visitors are fast closing in on 3.5 million. 

This potentially has some significant implications for the dynamics of the housing market.

Hotels are typically very expensive in cities such as Sydney - certainly in the areas close to the city.

It wouldn't be a surprise to see more landlords turning to Airbnb to maximise rental income, in turn absorbing some of the rental supply through this cycle.

Sydney's estimated resident population is also now growing at faster than 100,000 per annum for the first time.

There are now more than 5.1 million residents in the harbour city. 

The long term fundamentals of Sydney land and dwelling prices are arguably stronger than ever before, at least in the landlocked and more desirable parts of the city. 



New Report Calculates Money Lost to Crypto Scams in Australia Last Year "IndyWatch Feed"

According to a report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Australians lost over $2.1 mln in crypto scams last year

Monday, 21 May


Australians Lost Over $2 Million to Crypto Scams Last Year "IndyWatch Feed"

Australian consumers lost more than $ Million to cryptocratic frauds in 2017, the nations Competition and Consumer Commission says. The Commission declared the findings Monday in an annual report, also observing that the increase in crypto related scams corresponded with a rise in coin prices until 2017. Of the more than $2 million lost in 2017, scams cost consumers about $100, 000 per month between January and Sept, the report stated. Nevertheless, In December when bitcoins cost gone through the roof to almost $20, 000 consumers reported losses exceeding $700, 000, the Commission explained. The report indicated that fake ICOs, crypto related pyramid schemes and ransomware obligations were common means of swindling customers.

The Commission stated it expects crypto related fraud to continue, noting, as with some other scams, this is likely the very first tip of the iceberg. The report highlights one example of an epidemic of scams that spans the globe. As previously reported by CoinDesk, only seven prominent scams, hacks and attacks in 2017 resulted in the reduction of around $490 million of consumer capital. Likewise the Wall Street Journal lately reported the 1, 450 ICOs it reviewed, 271 had red flags which include plagiarized investor documents, guarantees of guaranteed returns and fake or missing executive teams. With that being said, the report noted, the Australians generally lost over $340 million in scams overall, with $64 million being lost to investment scams especially last year. Business miniatures picture via Shutterstock. The leader in blockchain information, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the greatest journalistic standards and complies with a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

annual report
Business miniatures
strict set of editorial policies


Australians Lost Over $2 Million to Crypto Scams Last Year "IndyWatch Feed"

A report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission indicates that Australians lost millions of dollars to crypto-related scams in 2017.


Michael Pento: Gold and Silver To Shine Like Never Before as Bond Bubble About To Burst (Video) "IndyWatch Feed"

Michael Pento: Gold and Silver To Shine Like Never Before as Bond Bubble About To Burst Video Good As Gold Australia Darryl and Brian Panes from As Good As Gold Australia interview Michael Pento of Pento Portfolio Strategies. Video...

The post Michael Pento: Gold and Silver To Shine Like Never Before as Bond Bubble About To Burst (Video) appeared first on The Daily Coin.


Uniting Airbnb, Uber and WeWork Under One Cryptocurrency "IndyWatch Feed"

Blockchain technology startup ShareRing aims to disrupt the sharing economy by developing a single mobile application to consolidate sharing services worldwide. The sharing economy is currently valued at over $100 billion and is predicted to grow to $335 billion or more by 2025, according to a report by Brookings.

I realized just how much waste we produce as a massive consumerist society, said Tim Bos, co-founder and CEO of ShareRing. [I] thought to myself, we can do better than this as a united global front if only we tapped into the real potential of the renting, borrowing and sharing community.

From buying and selling jewelry to storage space to cooking lessons, ShareRing intends to be the first company to provide a simple and secure way to pay for any sharing service, regardless of geographic location.

The Sharing Economy by Numbers

In recent years, major industries such as transportation, delivery, and real estate have undergone a dramatic paradigm shift due to the influence of tech companies in the sharing economy such as Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. These companies gave the public affordable and easy-to-use alternatives to existing solutions.

According to a report by PwC on the sharing economy, 19% of adults in the United States have participated in at least one sharing-oriented transaction. Of this demographic, 83% believe that the sharing economy makes life more convenient and 86% feel that it reduces their cost of living.

The financial statistics of leading sharing economy companies are nothing short of impressive. Airbnb, for example, averages approximately 425,000 guests per night, boasting a market capitalization of $31 billion. Uber and Lyft are valued at $68 billion and $7.5 billion, respectively. For context, the combined value of these three companies outweighs the GDP of Morocco.....


Brisbane rentals turn the corner "IndyWatch Feed"

Brisbane bounce

Still patchy, but the rental market in Brisbane is gradually now picking up.

Source: SQM Research

This follows data on stronger population growth, and slowing dwelling starts. 


Report: Crypto Scams a Tiny Percent of Fraud in Australia "IndyWatch Feed"

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has shown in a report that crypto related fraud makes up a tiny percent of scam activity in 2017.

Crypto Scams Make Up a Tiny Part

The watchdogs report entitled  Targeting scams: Report of the ACCC on scams activity 2017 researched over 200,000 scams submitted to them (the ACCC), the Australian Cyber-crime Online Reporting Network, and other state and government-based agencies in 2017 and found that Australians lost AU$2.1 million in crypto related scams out of the overall AU$340 scam economy, or 0.617%.

The report shows that about AU$100,000 was lost per month in crypto related scams with the exception being December 2017 when the price of Bitcoin was skyrocketing and its popularity went up with it resulting in a seven-fold increase. The ACCC wrote Scammers adapt each year and find ways to exploit popular trends, new platforms, new ways of communicating, fad products, changes to legislation, or new investment opportunities, according to ZDNet, adding further in the report that;

As the value of actual cryptocurrencies increased, so too did the scam losses in what people thought were real investments, the report continued. By the end of the year, reports of losses related to cryptocurrencies exceeded Au$2.1 million but as with other scams, this is likely the very tip of the iceberg.

The majority of scams with a crypto angle reported were initial coin offering (ICO) related and almost all were perpetrated on the confusion of how cryptocurrency works. Many of these being essentially pyramid schemes involving investors who were either friends or neighbors of the victims.

Investment and Romance Lead the Scam Economy

Overall the ACCC reported that Australians lost AU$340 million to scammers in 2017. Of those loses investment scams topped the categories at AU$64 million with dating and romance-related scams following behind at AU$ 42 million.  ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said;

Some scams are becoming very sophisticated and hard to spot. Scammers use modern technology like social media to contact and deceive their victims. In the past few years, reports indicate scammers are using aggressive techniques both over the phone and online,



Crypto Scams, Fake ICOs Cost Australians Over AU$2 Million in 2017: Consumer Watchdog "IndyWatch Feed"

In its annual report on scams, Australias national consumer watchdog has revealed that cryptocurrency-related fraud has cost Australians over AUD $2.1 million in losses last year. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published its annual targeting scams report on Monday, revealing accumulated total losses of some AUD $340 million to scammers from 200,000 Continued

The post Crypto Scams, Fake ICOs Cost Australians Over AU$2 Million in 2017: Consumer Watchdog appeared first on CCN


UK asking prices eke out a new high "IndyWatch Feed"

Rightmove hits new high

UK house asking prices rose by a modest +0.4 per cent (or +1,228) this month, which was just about enough to push the national average to a new record of 305,732, some revisions to previous months notwithstanding. 

The average asking price for London has been pulled down by some of the premium London boroughs, such as as Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster, according to Rightmove figures. 

Some other London boroughs such as Croydon and Greenwich have been recording modest price growth. 

Around the regions strong performance in Manchester has helped to drag the north west of England to the top of the tree. 

Generally speaking, while the labour market has created millions of jobs and the unemployment rate is at the lowest point in about four decades, the UK economy is growing below potential. 



A Central Bankers Plan for Your Money "IndyWatch Feed"

Jim Rickards calls them silent dog whistles.

Through these signals, in the frequencies beyond normal human hearingelites communicate with each other.

Their communications are public.

But their language can be so thick, so technical so innocuous not one in a hundred can crack it open.

Only the intended audience can penetrate the deeper message withinand that audience is their fellow elites.

Hold this information close when you consider the recent speech by a certain Benot Coeur.

This Coeur fellow is a grandee of the European Central Bank (ECB).

He dispatched the following message last week at a monetary conference in:

I would like to share some more general thoughts on the role of the central banks balance sheet in the economy. My focus will be on central bank liabilities that is, money created by central banks to be used as a means of payment and store of value

What distinguishes the discussion today from previous discussionsare three new facts:

The first is that we are seeing a dramatic decline in the demand for cash in some countries, in particular Sweden and Norway.

Let us interrupt briefly to translate this fact:

Cash limits our options as central bankers. Private citizens should not be allowed so large a voice in monetary affairs. Besides, no one wants it anyway. The time has come to discard cash altogether, as we previously discarded the barbarous relic, gold.

Pardon our manners, Monsieur Coeur. Please continue:

The second is that central banks today could make use of new technologies that would enable the introduction of what is widely referred to as a token-based currency one based on a distributed ledger technology (DLT) or comparable cryptographic technology.

Once again, we must break in. The unvarnished message:

Cryptocurrencies are a threat to our control of the monetary system. Unacceptable. We cannot stop the technology, so we must co-opt it. We must ensure that the masses can only use authorised cryptocurrency ours, that is. We must ban all rival cryptocurrencies.

Pleaseproceed, sir:

And the third new fact, at least from a long-term perspective, relates to the role of central banks in setting monetary policy, and more recently to the emergence of negative rates as a policy instrument and the consequences for the transmission of monetary policy.

The problem comes back to cash. N...


Petrodollar to Drive US Stocks Higher "IndyWatch Feed"

Todays Daily Reckoning Australia begins with a simple proposition: The petrodollar is going to prop up the US stock market for the remainder of the year.

I know what youre thinking

Bond yields are rising. Trump is a loony. And the European economy is slowing.

There are always factors to explain why stocks cant rise.

But theres also the danger of overthinking things.

I was reminded of this after reading about Diana and Lionel Trilling recently.

They were literary critics and writers living in New York during the interwar period. Importantly, they were also neurotic.

Some of this rubbed off on Jim, their child, who began to develop a fear of elevators early in life.

Diana theorised that this was a result of his fear of the male genitalia being lost in the endless chasm of female genitalia.

Actually mum, said Jim, Im just worried the cable might break.

Like Diana Trilling, too many people are theorising about why stocks cant go higher.

In overthinking matters, theyre missing the simple reasons why stocks can in fact go much higher

The bullish tailwinds behind US stocks

Take your mind back to 2015 and early 2016.

The US stock market tanked twice in this period.

The worst fall was in January 2016.

The Dow Jones fell nearly 11% in about three weeks.

It was the worst opening day for a start to the year for US stocks since 1932.

What was the culprit? It wasnt obvious at the time. It never is.

But it was no coincidence that the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil made a bottom on 11 February at a few cents over US$26. In 2014 the WTI was over US$100 a barrel.

This massive collapse in the oil price drove the sovereign wealth funds of the oil producing countries in the Middle East to liquidate their holdings of US stocks.

On top of this, they needed money to fund their domestic spending.

Importantly, producers have two figures they track when it comes to oil.

Theres the price they can profitably pull oil out of the ground this can be under US$20 a barrel.

Then theres the price needed to cover the cost of social spending and armament purchases, among other things.

This is why experts say Saudi Arabia needs US$80 a barrel oil to break even despite being the lowest-cost producer in the world.

So you can see there are two tailwinds for US stocks when it comes to oil right now....


Die schwarze Null continues to haunt Europe "IndyWatch Feed"

Last Tuesday (May 15, 2018), the new German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz stood up in the German Bundestag and delivered his first fiscal policy presentation. Not only was die schwarze Null (Black Zero) sustained but in his address, the new German Finance Minister made it clear that Germany would not entertain any expansion of the EU fiscal capacity (thus rejecting Emmanuel Macrons proposals) and wanted to delay other reforms that Germany had previously suggested they would support (beefing up the Single Resolution Fund and the creation of the European Monetary Union). For those Europhile progressives who have been hanging their hat on the hope that the takeover of the German Finance Ministry by the SPD would be the deal breaker that the Scholzs presentation was nothing short of a disaster. He reiterated Germany would not be shifting in any major way and that Member States just had to buckle down and follow Germanys fiscal example surpluses as far as the eye can see. None of this was a surprise to me. It has been clear for some time that Scholz is just a continuation of Schuble. Indeed some pointed statements from Bundestag politicians next day in their responses suggested just that.

I wrote about why the elevation of Olaf Scholz will be a disaster for European reform in this blog post Forget European reform the Germans have anyway (April 23, 2018).

His Bundestag speech (May 15, 2018) just confirmed that assessment.

On May 16, 2018, when the Bundestag President, Wolfgang Schauble handed the floor to the spokesperson for Die Linke, Gesine Ltzsch to respond to the German fiscal statement that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had delivered the day before, she opened by saying that Olaf Scholtzs fiscal statement ran contrary to the title of the coalition agreement Ein neuer Aufbruch fur Europa Eine neue Dynamik fur Deutschland Ein neuer Zusammenhalt fur unser Land (A new departure for Europe A new dynamic for Germany A new coheson for our country.

She said that (Bundestag Protokoll, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, page 2898):

none of this is true in this budget. This is not only a disgrace for Olaf Scholz, but above all is fatal for our citizens. They continue to promote the black zero. I wonder why the SPD really wanted to take over the Ministry of Finance if it only wanted to continue the policy of Wolfgang Schauble.

The black zero is the famous schwarze Null or balanced fiscal state which Schauble obsessed about.

In a similar vein, Leader of the Alliance 90/The Greens, Katrin Gring-Eckardt asked Andrea Nahles (Leader of the Social Democratic Part....


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IndyWatch Australian Economic News Feed Archiver

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IndyWatch Australian Economic News Feed Today.

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