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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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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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