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Blockchain is De-Dollarizing the Investing World

This past week I flew from Moscow to Vietnam, participating in a new international business model for investing in worldwide property development using the blockchain.

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I felt it was too important to miss especially in these current sanctioned and trade tariff times. Pioneering this effort is an American company called Relex (RLX), the world’s first cryptocurrency-based real property development and investing group.

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This approach allows investment in projects during the development phase, resulting in passive income, equity stakes, or proxy ownership of property(s). Initial projects are based in Vietnam, Vladivostok (Russia), Cambodia, and Myanmar, which for various non-business reasons and external barriers have been politically shunned on the FDI scene of late, although showing strong, solid growth. Included was an on-site visit of their first large oceanfront development in DaNang. Among those attending were a broad cross-section of businesspeople from throughout the international community, investors, financial advisors and developers.

It is clear that businesses in a number of countries are feeling various and increasing pressures from their governments, banks and similar regulating/regulated groups to conform within ever-narrowing, ever-thornier investment opportunity corridors. This has been emphatically and clearly shown through sanctions, trade and tariff confrontations, as well as a host of other political and financially erected barriers.

There even was a consensus that with the onset of these vigorous trade disputes and tariffs, significant inflation is in the cards regardless of the Federal Reserve or other central banks tinkering.

Global free trade as we have come to know it traditionally is coming to a critical juncture of change, perhaps never to be as straightforward or open again, or even as it was 10 years ago, not to mention before then.

Commerce by definition is meant to be fluid and unrestricted. Money has no politics, it should not have – it is a field of openly traded risks & returns. Hence, a real race is on in every global market to find possibly untraditional, less constrained innovative and secure ways to do international business legally, securely and profitably.

Much was discussed at this gathering, which included executives from Vietnam, Ukraine, Australia, Russia, Burma, Korea, Cambodia, America, Canada, India, and the list goes on. One of the major issues were the trade and investment restrictions unilaterally led by US foreign policy and by extension the US Dollar, which are expected to become even more constraining over time.

Hence the very real and attractive role for cryptocurrencies and the blockchain when backed by tangible asset projects like property, infrastructure and enhancing actual business development.

There were and are a number of instances where banks declined to move US Dollars to one or another directed area, despite long standing bank/client business relationships. The reality of asset freezes, currency seizures and other similarly restrictive measures are expected to become the growing “new normal”.

In such an environment, any alternatives that can bypass these restrictions to free trade yet meet business and investment requirements, are gaining traction – quickly. Alternatives are not only sought by Russian or other “sanctioned” investors, but quite a few developed as well as developing economies as there is a feeling of seeing the “writing on the wall” of ever greater control pressures coming, mostly from the USA.

In watching the tug-of-war between the US administration and the Federal Reserve a goodly percentage of the executives I talked with are of the opinion that the White House will prevail and the US Dollar will be dropping noticeably before midterm elections.

The reasoning is that neither the US Government, not the US corporate sector can afford an extremely strong dollar when the current administration is deploying a new trillion dollar annual deficit regardless of a “strong” economy. A muscular dollar would make this magical juggling act well-nigh impossible, and would badly impact US corporations which receive nearly 50% of revenues from overseas.

This tension is happening as the US Fed needs the dollar to remain strong enough to attract capital in order for the US to be able to fund its deficits and debt issuance, but not strong enough to put the brakes on the national economy. From outside the USA many feel they are financial hostages to a global reserve currency that is spurred mainly by internal American financial self-interest and not the ebbs and flows of healthy, competitive, unregulated global trade.

Today alternatives are actively analyzed on how best to reduce the financial and geopolitical effects imposed by the United States and the US Dollar. On a macro level for example the EU is examining establishing an economic assistance fund to reduce dependency on the International Monetary Fund and expanding the scope of an EU-centric payment and settlements system to insulate itself from U.S. secondary sanctions over a number of “issues”.

These include the possible sanctioning of SWIFT board members in Brussels by the US as a means of convincing them to “go along to get along”. There have even been discussions between the EU, China and Russia to create a global, blockchain-based financial payment and settlements system that would moderate the United States’ financial stick.

U.S. tariffs and unilateral sanctions will eventually spur Europe to reclaim its economic sovereignty from the United States. This is a slow-moving trend, but one that will have serious long-term consequences for everything from NATO’s evolution to the future of the global financial system.

Far more consequential in the long term would be a European move to team up with other major powers, like China and Russia, on global financial reform proposals that include the adoption of a global blockchain-based financial payment system.

Washington has threatened to sideline Iran from SWIFT as part of its tactics to isolate Tehran from the global financial system. Such an action was briefly discussed back in 2015 regarding Russia as well, and recently noises have been reported that this may become an issue yet again.

SWIFT, however, is a Belgium-based private company subject to EU laws. The United States could still try to sanction individual board members of SWIFT to punish the company for noncompliance, but this would doubtless severely damage faith in the US Dollar and the global financial system — not to mention set off a truly serious international crisis.

Of far greater consequence would be a European move to team up with other major powers, such as China, Russia and possibly several others, on global financial reform proposals that might pave the way to adopting a global blockchain-based financial payment system. This apparently has been a topic of discussion between Russia and China for the past few years although no details have been confirmed.

Additionally, a number of independent banks worldwide are already experimenting with the technology as a way to improve efficiency, enhance security and reduce the cost of cross-border transaction fees.

Among the many implications of such a system is reducing the ability of any one participant like the United States, to isolate a country through primary and secondary sanctions. This would also be yet a further step along the long winding road of global de-dollarization. Over time, such a system would greatly enhance the trading of other currencies, not just the US Dollar.

This may also be the game-changing future for cryptocurrencies by giving them as asset base with which to underpin value (be it real estate, metals or other hard assets), and begin to compete with fiat currencies like the USD.

Change is inevitable, embracing it may be difficult for many, but it has been made easier because of foreign policy, most specifically from Washington that is forcing change by many nations. A quick overview of recent situations is an apt example:

The United States starts a tariff war with China. Japan and Germany jump at the chance to gain market share in China, the world’s fastest-growing passenger car market. The United States imposes sanctions on Turkey.

Germany announces that it will offer economic aid to Turkey, Qatar pledges new investments and a foreign exchange swap line, and Chinese banks provide billions of dollars in new loans to the cash-strapped Turks. Chinese commentators declare that crisis is a great opportunity to integrate Turkey into China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy.

US President Trump scolds Merkel for buying Russian natural gas through the Nord Stream II pipeline. Merkel then meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin to confirm the pipeline arrangement, and even agrees to aid reconstructing Syria in cooperation with Russia.

The United States imposes economic sanctions on Iran, Western insurance companies stop insuring Iranian oil. China then responds by accepting Iranian insurance on oil imports thereby increasing oil imports from Iran, and shipping the oil in Iranian tankers.

Central to market thinking is the belief that Eurasia/Asia will provide the greatest margin of growth to the world economy as it delivers about three-fifths of the world’s new economic growth. Now add to this the steadily growing blockchain and crypto-currency world, which many feel, is the logical economic and social inheritor of traditional fiat currencies and government structures. It is certainly a way to avoid the worst of the trade and currency transfer blockages imposed on business with greater, and more frequency, but it also forces established institutions to slowly, gradually cede control. Always a worrying period, fraught with knee-jerk reactions and unintended consequences.

Meanwhile within the noise, dust and confusion some companies are taking the necessary steps to find and capitalize on the processes and technologies that allow positive, less encumbered business activity. The Relex model could just as easily be adapted to not only real estate development, infrastructure and the like, but to education, agriculture and the entire business chain of being.

One fact came up which was illustrative, almost 75% of global capital invested in commercial property development is in the Top 10 most transparent countries in the world. That means that projects in countries with low transparency scores are considered ineligible projects for investment – a self-sustaining vicious downward cycle.

What if transparency scores in projects located in developing countries were improved? What if the medium of financing FDI were not limited to a single currency, single policy or payment corridor? Projects like Relex get an increased transparency, sustainability and accountability score, becoming classically eligible for a wider stream of investable capital into their projects. In addition, the door is open to investors worldwide, a freedom enabled by blockchain.

This is a very positive development for investors, in which there is easier capital access, and better access to development projects with a high degree of yield. It is certainly worth the time and effort to examine and keep a sharp eye on such developments as the future of international business access is already happening today.

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https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-27/gold-bloc-iran-russia-and-turkeyoh-my

Another technique (currency board) to advance gold-backed currencies.

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I recently purchased a book on crypto currency and blockchain .I don’t know very much about it but aim to find out .I am fascinated by the possibility that this might be the future method of exchange for
goods , labour , services etc. worldwide.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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