20 Mar 2013

Worried your government is going to take your savings? There's an app for that. - Fleeing the Euro for Bitcoins

Actually, there's an entire currency: Bitcoin, an online-only currency based on a decentralized network. It's unregulated, hard to track and increasingly common. Since Sunday, downloads of three Bitcoin-related apps have surged on Spanish charts, Bloomberg Businessweek reports
The interest in Bitcoin coincided with news that the Cyprus government planned to tax savings accounts as part of the country's bailout program. The value of the online currency increased more than 20 percent in the past two days to $64, according to the latest price information.
The downside is it's a currency that has experienced price fluctuations, occasional hacking and account thefts, and is a favorite for black-market transactions, including almost 2 million a month in illegal online drug purchases at the Silk Road marketplace. That some Europeans are investing savings in Bitcoin isn't exactly a sign of confidence in European banking.

Covering up the truth - How the Banking Commission is denied access to important evidence on banking crime by treasonous civil service jobsworths!

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Rowan Bosworth Davies: The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards issued a call for evidence in July  2012 . The terms of reference of the Commission were to consider and report on:
a) professional standards and culture of the UK banking sector, taking account of regulatory and competition investigations into the LIBOR rate-setting process;
b) lessons to be learned about corporate governance, transparency and conflicts of interest, and their implications for regulation and for Government policy; 
In the wake of the LiBOR scandal, the Commission was set up to be led by Andrew Tyrie, who also chaired the Treasury Select Committee (TSC). He said: "Recent scandals have shown how much we need higher standards in banking … perpetrators of wrongdoing should be held fully accountable..."
Since that day, the Commission has sat virtually every week, and has received a vast amount of evidence from a wide variety of informed sources. I have watched many of the hearings on the Internet, and the Chairman has repeatedly asked witnesses the same questions. 
"...'Why has no-one been prosecuted for financial crimes committed by the banks and financial entities which have been so prominently in the news, and what proposals are being made to rectify this situation so we can get to the truth in the future..."?

As Osborne delivers a fantasy budget, the Cypriot minnow says no to the toothless EC crocodile

Russia Today dismisses Brussels as ‘out of the picture’ in Cyprus
The Slog: Sterling has weakened around 7% against the dollar this year. But while Osborne the diminutive deckchair attendant on the Titanic was admitting this lunchtime that his fiscal watchdog had cut its 2013 U.K. growth forecast in half to 0.6%, The Slog went off in search of people and TV channels that might have even the vaguest idea about WTF is going on in relation to the Cyprus bailout….or indeed, if there is going to be one. The alternative (just so we’re clear about this) is an EU Member default, Cyprus bank crashes, and without question some ancillary damage elsewhere. Especially to the plans of Draper George in Westminster.
What’s clear is that, in the last few hours, the EC has returned to a form of hardball, in that it has been made brutally clear to the Cypriot authorities that no further bailout monies will be made available. Russia Today contained a report around 3.30pm GMT quoting a British financial expert as saying that the EC “is now no longer in the picture”. RT is a thinly disguised propaganda vehicle for Moscow; however, the report then seemed to be confirmed by the Cypriot finance minister holding a press conference there to insist that “we will not leave until we have a deal”.

Cyprus bank runs + Budget Special BBC Sucks O Cocks News


Cyprus vs Bankocracy: 'Mattress better place to keep cash than banks'

"People of Cyprus, they are doing a great thing, and they should continue resisting, resist, resist, resist!" Lew Rockwell. 

RT: Thousands of Cypriots are celebrating, after the country's Parliament gave a resounding no vote to the EU-IMF bailout package.

Iceland, Cyprus... And These Two Countries? + Pop Quiz Answer: Presenting Countries "X" And "Y"

Tyler Durden's picture Overnight, Reuters published an article highlighting something we noted first over three years ago: the unreasonably large size of a local financial sector as represented by its total assets compared to the host nation's GDP.
Specifically, Reuters alleges that "Cyprus' troubles stem from its exposure to Greece and the huge losses its two largest banks, Bank of Cyprus and Marfin Popular, had to stomach when euro zone leaders agreed in late 2011 to write down the value of private-sector holdings of Greek government bonds. In total, Cyprus requires 17 billion euros, nearly equivalent to its economy's annual output, to rescue its banks and deal with the government's own bills. Relatively small in the context of the Greek and Irish EU-IMF bailouts, at 240 billion euros and 67.5 billion euros apiece, for an island of just 1 million people it is a huge burden and speaks volumes about how large and unwieldy its banking sector had become."
More importantly, Reuters points out the similarities between Cyprus and Iceland in one key metric: total financial assets to the underlying GDP: "The [Cyprus] banking sector is now roughly eight times the size of the economy compared to 10 times for Iceland and over four times for Ireland before their crises. Banks in both countries used cheap funding to gorge on speculative investments." The issue for Cyprus of course was the composition of the liabilities matching these assets, which were mostly in deposit form, which was the alleged reason why the Eurogroup decided to proceed with deposit haircuts in order to shrink the overall financial balance sheet: arguably there were no other liabilities it could haircut. And yes, Cyprus is very comparable to Iceland in that regard.

European Nightmare: Cyprus Rejection Sets Up A Crash In Markets - Nigel Farage

"The Worst Mistake they've yet made in this Eurozone crisis, I don't see any way back!"
"If they accept these terms they are effectively kissing goodbye to their banking system! ...Downside loss is just going to be huge!"

“Even my direst predictions about what the bureaucrats in Brussels would do to prop-up the failing eurozone crisis, even I didn’t predict they would resort to theft, and that is all you can call this.  It is theft.  It is the breach, of course, of their deposit guarantee they put in place in 2008.”

Have they thought through the consequences of this?  Because if you do it once (steal from bank depositors) in one eurozone country, what’s to stop you from doing it again in another eurozone country?.... Source full story / KWN

Larry Fink On Cyprus: "I Don't Really Care"

Tyler Durden's picture Blackrocks's Larry Fink "doesn't really care" about Cyprus, "it's really not something of concern," he tells Bloomberg TV. While gesturing that he can't really discuss specifics as Blackrock is an adviser to Cyprus, he then goes to explain how European and US markets have it all wrong and that "It has some symbolism impact on Europe, but it’s not a really major economic issue." This dip is "just clients taking some chips off the table and reaping some gains from the huge rally," he goes on, dismissing the interviewer's question as nonsense, "this is temporary," and adding that he "is hyperbullish on the US economy," and that "global markets will be up 20% this year." However, what is most fun to watch is his arrogant dismissal of the interviewers question over US depositor fears, there are two reasons that is foolish, he notes "a) we have insurance, so that will not happen; [ZH: umm, so did Cyprus]; and b) we have always prioritized the liabilities [ZH: umm, except for GM]." So all good then, storm in a teacup. Carry On - though he has some stern words for the French and for the Russians.

Printable 3D Gun Creator Meets AJ

AJ: Alex welcomes crypto-anarchist and law student Cody Wilson who developed and published open source gun designs suitable for 3D printing.

MIC Shill Tony Blair's 'deceitful' Iraq legacy

Orwellian UK and Europe Banned Press TV: Tony Blair, a name which most people would associate with the illegal war and invasion of Iraq. And that's how Blair will be remembered throughout history. In 2003 he stood alongside George Bush to try and justify a war that millions of his own people, and many more around the world, had opposed.

London saw the biggest anti-war demonstration in its history, but despite all that Blair went ahead with war ignoring intelligence information that Iraq posed no threat and had no weapons of mass destruction. As the death toll rose, it became very obvious that the Iraq war had more sinister intentions.

Ensuring bad outcomes: what Cyprus tells us about the world

By Adam B. Levine: Things are bad all over, but in Cyprus it is even worse than most places.  Earlier today the Cypriot Finance minister submitted his letter of resignation, and it was rejected by the president of the country.  What do you say to that?
Backing up a moment, we learned over the weekend that Cypriots would be the latest in the Eurozone bailout parade, but this time it comes with a few twists.  For a more detailed account and explanation of events so far, take a look at The Controlled Demolition of Cyprus.
These are the highlights:
  • The largest single portion of the bailout funds will be confiscated from bank accounts of individuals at Cypriot banks
  • The Crisis was kicked off by the European Central Bank suspending ongoing financing operations over a holiday weekend.  Without that action the banks would have remained solvent and operational until at least June when a large bond payment is due.
  • The Deposit Insurance scheme that covers all Cyprus accounts up to 100,000 Euros will not be triggered.
Since we last spoke, the Bank Holiday has been extended from Tuesday to Thursday and the vote has been delayed for lack of support at least three separate times.
At this point even the ruling party (the 20 of 29 required votes) is simply abstaining when the issue comes up, not wanting to further tie their political futures to what can only be described as the biggest grab of depositor funds by a non-dictatorial regime ever.

Do Western Central Banks Have Any Gold Left??? Part II

By Eric Sprott & Shree Kargutkar: The past few months have been difficult for the gold investor as selling pressure in the gold futures market has set a decidedly negative direction for the price of the yellow metal. As fundamental investors, we always pay special attention to the supply and demand dynamics of gold and, recently, we have found it very difficult to reconcile lower prices with continued strong demand for physical gold.
While the supply of gold has remained largely static, we have seen a steady increase in demand for the yellow metal. India and China have emerged as strong buyers, consuming over half of the mine supply in recent years. Central banks have switched from being sellers of gold to being net buyers, with their gold purchases in 2012 increasing by 17% to almost 535 tonnes. Exchange traded products (ETPs) around the world have continued to add to their gold hoards, as have institutions and private investors. Furthermore, central banks, such as South Korea and Russia, have added to their bullion reserves early in 2013, which points to sustained strength in demand. These facts are important because, over the past decade, the annual supply of gold has stayed flat at approximately 4,000 tonnes.
Much ado has been made about the recent sell-off in the yellow metal forcing certain ETPs to liquidate, adding a supply of gold into the market in the process. Our work reveals that the previous ETP sell-offs, (which occurred in January 2011, December 2011, May 2012 and July 2012) have all coincided with gold finding strong price support and rallying higher.