All posts by Thomas Prendergast

Madeira embraces’ Bitcoin and how its president met Michael Saylor

Joseph Hall

JOSEPH HALL

Madeira ‘embraces’ Bitcoin, and how its president met Michael Saylor

Here is why the archipelago of Madeira is “adopting” Bitcoin and how its president fell down the BTC rabbit hole.

Madeira ‘embraces' Bitcoin, and how its president met Michael Saylor

The tiny Portuguese archipelago of Madeira has “adopted” Bitcoin (BTC) — but what does that mean? The announcement, made during the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami, has spurned confusion and misinformation.

Miguel Albuquerque, the president of the Regional Government of Madeira, hopped on the stage in April to announce: “I believe in the future, and I believe in Bitcoin.” He also said he would work to “create in Madeira a fantastic environment for Bitcoin.” However, the details remained unclear.

Cointelegraph spoke to André Loja, a Madeiran entrepreneur who spearheaded the plan to bring BTC to the archipelago in the Atlantic ocean, to find out how Bitcoin is shaping the islands’ development.

Madeira exploded onto the Bitcoin world map on April 7 when JAN3 CEO Samson Mow proudly announced that it “will be adopting Bitcoin.”

Upon the announcement, news outlets around the world reported that Madeira had adopted Bitcoin as legal tender; however, this was not the case. Loja explained to Cointelegraph that prior to the announcement, he would have preferred to use the phrase “Madeira is embracing Bitcoin.”

“We embrace it, we support it. We are not ‘adopting’ Bitcoin because adopting looks like we were making it legal tender when it’s already de facto legal.”

Indeed, in Madeira and across Portugal — which is around 620 miles to the northeast — there is zero tax on Bitcoin capital gains. That means any time one of Madeira’s residents disposes of, spends or uses BTC, it does not need to be declared to tax authorities.

Loja orange-pilled the president of Madeira just a few weeks prior to the conference, sharing his vision for Bitcoin as not only a means to attract foreign investment but to “protect my island from the fiat system.”

By happenstance, Albuquerque came to visit Loja’s coworking space — one of the few places to accept BTC in Madeira — and Loja jumped at the opportunity to share his passion for Bitcoin. Madeira was kneecapped by the COVID-19 pandemic as critical tourism revenue fell off a cliff. Loja, therefore, presented a Bitcoin future to the president as a means to diversify and restructure Madeira’s economy, among other advantages.

Albuquerque was reportedly open to the idea, so Loja quickly sought the help of Bitcoiners around the world, including Daniel Prince, a renowned Bitcoin podcaster; Jeff Booth, author of The Price of Tomorrow; and even Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy.

Within weeks, the Bitcoiner all-star team had contacted the organizers of Bitcoin 2022 to organize the president’s appearance on stage. Ultimately, having the head of state of an autonomous region endorse Bitcoin was an opportunity too big to miss.

Upon landing in Miami, Loja and Albuquerque were invited to Saylor’s flashy Miami villa, “with the yachts and everything,” Loja joked. While Loja had already orange-pilled the president, the conversation with Saylor was on another level:

“Michael Saylor sat down with President Albuquerque, and well, […] it was more like he sat down with his head!”

Saylor told Albuquerque that “You need to focus on Bitcoin. Everything else is garbage.” A conversation the president is unlikely to forget, the seminar was sufficient preparation for him to step on stage in front of 25,000 Bitcoin enthusiasts.

Loja explained that the announcement that Madeira is adopting Bitcoin would “kickstart an intention” for Madeira to become an island in which Bitcoin prospers alongside the people. For Loja, who has already translated popular Bitcoin-related books into Portuguese, “It starts with education — the most important thing.”

Loja (far right), President Albuquerque (center with book) and Knut Svanholm (far left) in Madeira in May 2022. Source: Loja

Indeed, Loja cut his teeth during the bear market of 2018. A passionate educator, Loja works closely with other educators in the space, such as Knut Svanholm, author of Bitcoin: Everything Divided by 21 Million, to teach the principles of sound money:

“I have a lot of ideas, from kindergarten to schools to adult workshops — and to bring people from outside the island. The association will have the best people as consultants.”

To this end, Loja is founding the Sound Money Foundation, a Bitcoin education center in Madeira. The center has support from Mow and Booth, among others, and seeks to help locals to better understand cryptocurrency from a young age.

Accompanying the education drive and the focus on improving “financial literacy,” Loja’s hometown also lures Bitcoin companies with attractive fiscal incentives. At the International Business Center, companies pay just 5% business tax, a highly competitive rate. Portugal was already a budding hub for individual Bitcoiners, but companies can now reap the benefits.

Related: Bitcoin, Bukele and a bevy of central bankers meet in El Salvador

Further down the road, Loja plans for the autonomous government of Madeira to mine Bitcoin with leftover renewable energy — as the island has abundant wind and sunlight — and even utilize “a multisignature wallet for the government to work with Bitcoin financially.”

Madeira's International Business Center. Source: IBC

As a result, the government would take full custody of the Bitcoin it mines by taking control of the private keys. Loja highlighted that the electrical power grid is a standalone “public company,” so any Bitcoin mined by the grid would go into government multisig wallets.

In essence, Madeira’s approach to Bitcoin goes above and beyond the lauded legal tender status. From public sector BTC mining and education to state-run multisig wallets and having Saylor on speed dial, the island is slowly steering toward a Bitcoin future.

Unsurprisingly, Loja’s holistic approach to the island “embracing” Bitcoin has a low time preference. 

markethive

Tim Moseley

The James Webb Space Telescope is almost fully calibrated

The James Webb Space Telescope is almost fully calibrated…

by Jeff Brown, editor, The Bleeding Edge

 

The James Webb Space Telescope is almost fully calibrated…

The James Webb Space Telescope

 

Today Another Stunning Update…

We have been tracking the deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) closely this year. The JWST is the most complex telescope ever constructed. What’s more, it was launched to a destination about one million miles from Earth back in February.

We call its destination the LaGrange Point 2 (L2). It’s on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. That makes it incredibly cold, which is great for the telescope’s performance. JWST is currently going through the calibration process. We expect the first fully calibrated images to come back as early as July.

That said, JWST has sent a few images back already. They aren’t as advanced as what we will get once the telescope is fully calibrated. But they are still incredible. We can see just how powerful JWST is by comparing a recent image from the JWST of the same spot in a galaxy to images from older infrared telescopes…

 

The Same Image from Different Telescopes

The Same Image from Different Telescopes

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

As we can see, these images are of the same objects. We can see the string of four objects from the lower left to the upper right of the image. The only difference is that different telescopes took them over the last two decades. We are looking at images of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). It’s a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. And get this – LMC is about 160,000 light-years away from Earth.

The image on the left is from the WISE telescope back in 2003. The one in the middle is from Spitzer in 2008. And on the right is an image just sent back by the JWST. We can see just how advanced the JWST is when compared to previous telescopes. The difference in resolution is dramatic. JWST’s images are only going to get clearer with even higher resolution. 

 

Here’s the most exciting part…

NASA hasn’t yet told us what the JWST’s first scientific target will be. It has been very secretive about what the telescope will focus on first. So we can look forward to more information from NASA within the next month or two. It will be very exciting to see the next images that the telescope reveals…

 


New Opportunities Are Emerging For Citizens of The World.

Freedom and democracy may appear to be struggling to stay alive in America, but there may be a knock-out punch ready to be released. The evolution of the blockchain-enabled metaverse is going to enable the 'Citizens of the World' to gain their own Freedom by democratizing power and creating a new world with new rules, new players, and new opportunities. For 99.99% of us, the metaverse will improve our real-world lives through the democratization of power and opportunity.

Along with the major long-term trend of society towards decentralization and smaller-scale organizations, there are new opportunities developing to help 'Preparers' in the cryptocurrency sector. Businesses are beginning to issue their own Crypto Coins that can be traded on Cryptocoin Exchanges.

Markethive.com for example will be releasing its HiveCoin (HIV) in the coming weeks. It has tremendous upside potential that is outlined in a Video by Founder Tom Prendergast, "Entrepreneur Advantage…".

Not only that, if you go to their website and register as a FREE Member, you will be given 500 HiveCoins for "FREE" along with access to several Earning Opportunities and online tools to increase your HiveCoin balance.

Be sure to check it out today – Markethive.com

Markethive

Tim Moseley

Short-covering in gold silver bulls have more heavy lifting ahead

Short-covering in gold silver; bulls have more heavy lifting ahead

Gold and silver prices are higher, with silver sharply up, in midday U.S. trading Monday. Gold hit a nearly four-month low overnight. Short covering by the shorter-term futures traders was featured on this first day of the trading week. A weaker U.S. dollar index, higher crude oil prices and lower bond yields on this day also worked in favor of the metals markets bulls. However, the bulls need to put together some solid price-gain days to begin to repair recent chart damage. June gold futures were last up $4.70 at $1,813.10. July Comex silver futures were last up $0.479 at $21.48 an ounce.

Global stock markets were mixed but mostly lower overnight. U.S. stock indexes are mixed at midday. The S&P 500 stock index last week had its worse week in 11 years. The U.S. index is now flirting with being in a bear market that is defined by the indexes being down 20% from its recent high. The Russia-Ukraine war, Covid lockdowns in China and inflation fears are hitting the equities hard. The risk aversion seen in the marketplace recently is bullish for gold and silver, but bulls have been perplexed their metals have not seen much upside price performance by such.

U.S. dollar could dominate gold price through the summer – analysts

The key outside markets today see Nymex crude oil futures prices higher, at a two-month high and trading around $112.50 a barrel. Meantime, the U.S. dollar index is lower in midday trading. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note is fetching 2.86%.

Technically, June gold futures prices hit a nearly four-month low early on today. A nine-week-old price downtrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Bears have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. Bulls' next upside price objective is to produce a close above solid resistance at $1,875.00. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is pushing futures prices below solid technical support at $1,750.00. First resistance is seen at Friday’s high of $1,827.60 and then at $1,850.00. First support is seen at $1,800.00 and then at today’s low of $1,785.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 3.0

July silver futures saw short covering featured. Prices hit a 22-month low Friday. A steep price downtrend is in place on the daily bar chart. The silver bears have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. Silver bulls' next upside price objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at $23.00 an ounce. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at $20.00. First resistance is seen at $21.625 and then at $22.00. Next support is seen at $21.00 and then at today’s low of $20.835. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 1.5.

July N.Y. copper closed up 115 points at 418.65 cents today. Prices closed nearer the session high today. The copper bears have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. A steep price downtrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Copper bulls' next upside price objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at 440.00 cents. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at 400.00 cents. First resistance is seen at today’s high of 420.60 cents 425.00 cents. First support is seen at today’s low of 413.35 cents and then at 410.00 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 2.0.

By Jim Wyckoff

For Kitco News

Time to buy Gold and Silver on the dips

 

Tim Moseley

How to Identify a Viable Business Idea

How to Identify a Viable Business Idea

How do you identify a viable business idea

If you want to start your own business, the first step is to generate a business idea. Validate your idea with a paid customer base. You'll get a better idea of which ideas have the highest chance of succeeding if you can generate a profitable income. Then, you can test and validate your idea by conducting a formal investigation and understanding your potential competitors. Then, you can develop your unique selling proposition.

Formal investigation

When identifying a viable business idea, a formal investigation is critical. This research may include a pre-feasibility study or a marketing analysis. Formal investigation involves identifying potential scenarios and reducing them to a few specific models. The results of this step should inform further study, and the next step will be to refine the remaining scenarios. However, it is important to avoid the process of "fluffing up" the analysis.

The most basic concerns when screening a business idea include determining whether the market is large enough to sustain a profitable business. The amount of profit margin, the market size and structure, and the complexity of the distribution system are some basic concerns. If these aspects of the market are not met, the business idea is unlikely to be viable. Formal investigation will help determine if the idea is worth pursuing.

Understanding existing and potential competitors

There are many reasons why you should understand existing and potential competitors before starting a business. The first of these is the fact that you will need to know what their objectives are. The goals of your competitors may vary, but they generally involve profit and growth, being first to market in a new market, or even entering a new international market. To identify the most promising business idea, you should analyze these factors and understand your competitors' objectives and strategies.

You can find information about your competitors through articles published in magazines, newspapers, and online. This will help you determine the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. You can also visit libraries to find relevant articles. The librarian can help you find relevant articles online or through an archive. It's also helpful to know what types of competition you're up against. Understanding existing and potential competitors will allow you to create a business plan based on information you've gathered.

Gut feeling

Your gut is one of the most powerful signals you can use to determine if your idea for a new business is viable. It's a part of your enteric nervous system, also known as the ENS. It has several parts, including the neurons that line your stomach. These signals can help you identify a viable business idea, as well as indicate a potential threat or strategy pivot. The best way to utilize your gut feelings is to pay close attention to them and follow them.

When you identify a new business idea, your gut feels can be a faint whisper or a very strong feeling of uneasiness. These feelings aren't random, and they're not necessarily true. Your intuition is an important part of your decision making process. This is because your gut feels based on evidence and a deep understanding of the world around you. Developing a strong intuition can lead you to make more informed decisions about what you're doing and how to best utilize it.

TA

Understanding unique selling proposition

It is crucial to understand your unique selling proposition to identify a viable business opportunity. Most businesses are similar in their products and services, but very few are unique. This differentiation is called a USP and is used to set you apart from your competitors. Here are some tips to help you identify a business idea that's worth pursuing. o Understand your target customers and their needs. Then, focus on creating a product or service that helps them solve their problems.

o Create a clear and concise Unique Selling Proposition. Developing an effective one is essential in distinguishing yourself from your competitors. The Unique Selling Proposition can help you set your business apart from competitors by showcasing your product or service. It can be as simple as a clear and concise description of the product or service. Alternatively, you can also use the Unique Selling Proposition to guide your branding decisions.

Tim Moseley

NATO enlargement and Putin

Plans to accept Finland and Sweden into NATO are a problem, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday 16th May. According to him, Russia would have to react if the Alliance expanded its military infrastructure. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced on Monday that her country had officially decided to apply for NATO membership. Finnish parliament members are now debating the same move.
Sweden has relied on neutrality for years, but has reconsidered its position over the course of this year's Russian invasion of Ukraine.The Swedish prime minister announces the decision after a three-hour debate. She thinks there is a large public support for this step. Sweden's planned entry into the Alliance, which with Finland should grow to 32 members, will redraw the geopolitical map of northern Europe, according to Reuters.

  Swedish Prime Minister

 Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson says Europe and Sweden "are living now in a new and dangerous reality". But she also said that Sweden does not want any nuclear weapons on its territory. A date for the formal application is still unclear because Sweden will send in its application together with Finland. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marino have spoken out in recent days about joining NATO.
Putin did not specify what steps Moscow would take if NATO infrastructure was moved to Finland and Sweden. "We'll see what threats he creates for us," he said. "There is a problem here created for no reason. We will respond accordingly " he added.

   NATO members in blue, grey are neutral states
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Moscow considered such a move worrying and would monitor the implications for its security. "We are convinced that the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO will not strengthen or improve the security architecture of our continent," he said. 
At the same time  some of the biggest ever Nato military exercises in the Baltics are taking place in Estonia and Latvia.
Putin also said that Russia had no problems with Sweden or Finland and that the enlargement of the Alliance was in the interests of the United States. "The US-led military alliance is working to increase its global influence," he said.

Germany welcomes NATO's enlargement to include Finland and Sweden, said German Foreign Minister Baerbock.

It seems any calming down of the political situation is out of sight.

                      Thank you for reading            

                                                             Margaret

Tim Moseley

President Nayib Bukele Announces 44 Countries To Meet In El Salvador To Discuss Bitcoin

President Nayib Bukele Announces 44 Countries To Meet In El Salvador To Discuss Bitcoin

by Nik 

ecosystem for entrepreneurs

 

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele announced that 32 central banks and 12 financial authorities are meeting in the country to discuss Bitcoin.

Late Sunday night, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele announced on Twitter that 32 central banks and 12 financial authorities from 44 countries are to meet on Monday, May 16, to discuss financial inclusion, digital economy, banking the unbanked, the El Salvador’s Bitcoin rollout and its benefits in the country.

In follow up tweets, the president announced that the Central Bank of São Tomé and Príncipe, Central Bank of Paraguay, National Bank of Angola, Bank of Ghana, Bank of Namibia, Bank of Uganda, Central Bank of the Republic of Guinea, Central Bank of Madagascar, Bank of the Republic of Haiti, and the Bank of the Republic of Burundi, Central Bank of Eswatini and its Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Jordan, Central Bank of The Gambia, National Committee of Banks and Seguros of Honduras, Directorate General of Treasury, Ministry of Finance and Budget, Madagascar, and the Maldives Monetary Authority are among those that will be attending.

Bukele also added that National Bank of Rwanda, Nepal Rastra Bank, Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA), Kenya, State Bank of Pakistan, General Superintendency of Financial Entities of Costa Rica, Superintendence of the Popular and Solidarity Economy of Ecuador, and the Central Bank of El Salvador will be in attendance.

On Friday, May 13, the Twitter account for Bitcoin Beach announced that “Central bankers from Angola, Armenia, Bangladesh, Burundi, Congo, Costa Rica, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, India, Namibia, Senegal, Sundan, Uganda, Zambia and 25 other developing countries are getting on planes today to fly to El Salvador.”

ecosystem for entrepreneurs

Not long after President Bukele’s official announcement, Bitcoin Beach tweeted out a map of the world that seemingly has countries who have either adopted Bitcoin and or are attending tomorrow's meeting filled in color, saying “Probably nothing.”

Image via Bitcoin Beach

It took 12 years for the first country to adopt Bitcoin, around 8 months for the second, and if Panama’s president signs their recent Bitcoin bill into law, then they will be the third only about a month after the second. Now, countries from all over the world are meeting in El Salvador to discuss financial inclusion and how adopting Bitcoin can benefit their countries.

Gradually, then suddenly. 

Tim Moseley

Gold price in 5 years: 1300 or 4000?

Gold price in 5 years: $1,300 or $4,000?

A massive selloff in U.S. stocks, extreme panic in the crypto space, and the worst week for gold in almost a year are just a few headlines that describe the volatility seen all across the board. Here's a look at Kitco's top three stories of the week:

3. 'Extreme panic' in crypto: How risky is Bitcoin price below $30k?

2. Gold price is in a 'danger zone'

1. Gold price's 5-year outlook: $1,300 or $4,000? MKS PAMP weighs in

 

By Anna Golubova

For Kitco News

Time to buy Gold and Silver on the dips

 

Tim Moseley

Longing for home

And where are you at home? Where is your home? Let's imagine that we have the same task as the young adults in the vocational school level and in the educational park. We have to choose an object with which to introduce our home. What kind of object could it be? An armchair that I can sit in at night? A deck chair with which I can lie in the sun at my favorite place? My headphones with which I can listen to my music undisturbed? Or maybe my bed, where I can sleep safe, warm and secure?

These objects show: Home is where I feel comfortable. Where I am safe and secure. But home is more than that. I'll list a few more objects that might illustrate home.

– A table where we meet to eat and talk.
– A soccer field where we can play together.
– A festival where we can meet others.
– A church where we can worship together.

When I think about it, I realize that home may not have so much to do with places, houses or apartments. Home is a "we. In other words, people with whom I am connected. People who mean something to me. People who belong to me and to whom I belong. People who give me the feeling of being at home. As the philosopher Karl Jaspers put it, "Home is where I understand and where I am understood." Yes, that's what it takes to be at home. Someone who understands me and someone I understand.

I invite you to think about where our home is and what that has to do with God. Three thoughts on this:

1. finding home
2. shaping home
3. walking towards home

1. FINDING HOME
There is a Psalm in the Bible that talks about how a person finds a home with God.

How pleasant are your dwellings, O Lord of hosts …
My soul desires and longs for the courts of the Lord; my body and soul rejoice in the living God.

The bird has found a house
and the swallow a nest for her young,
Your altars, Lord of hosts.

When temple courts and altars are mentioned, one might think that it is mainly about the temple. The temple as a special place. The temple as a holy place. But the temple is important primarily because the psalmist finds God in this special place. Here he experiences the presence of God. Here he knows himself understood. And here he learns to understand God.

He finds home with God.

Does this mean that we must travel to Jerusalem to pray at the Wailing Wall? Is that the only place we find a home with God? It is quite interesting to observe how the understanding of where to find God evolves in the Bible. The Israelites noticed in their long history: God is not bound to a sanctuary. God is to be found everywhere. God goes along. He is there. Everywhere. In every place.

I would like to tell you an example of a story from the work of the Ziegler Youth. I think that you have also experienced something very similar in Pauline Care.

We celebrated a church service in the Haslachmühle. Children, young people and adults with a hearing-speech disability and an intellectual disability live in the Haslachmühle. We celebrated a farewell service there because people have moved. Some of them had lived there for many years and Haslachmühle had become their home. And now they dared to leave.

To a new place. The hope, but also the fear could be felt when they said goodbye. The longing to meet people in the new place who understand signs and by whom one is understood. The longing to find home in the new place.

In order to make it clear that God goes along and is present, we gave the blessing of God to those leaving and gave them a small wooden cross. The blessing was in very simple words: Jesus loves you. He is with you. Today and tomorrow. Here and in every place. Jesus blesses you.

This farewell service for the move was not only good for the residents of Haslachmühle, but also for me. This service showed me how important it is to have a home with God. A home that is independent of where I live. Which I can experience and feel everywhere: God understands me and I am understood by him. And this service also showed me that ultimately it comes down to my trust. My trust in what God promises:

I love you. I am with you. Today and tomorrow. Here and in every place.

Being at home with God – that was the first thought. A second:

2. SHAPING HOME
In the Bible there is a "strange-worthy" verse on the subject of home: "We have no lasting city here, but the one to come we seek."

You could understand it this way:

What happens around you here in this world is not important.
What is important is that you align yourself with God.
That sounds kind of "unworldly" – doesn't it? It's not quite that simple. If you read this passage in Hebrews in its entirety, you realize: both are important. This world in which we live. And the future world we are living towards.

This became very impressive and vivid to me when I heard a report from a refugee camp. This refugee camp is in Ethiopia. The camp is called Shimelba – translated "the place without a name". After the end of the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, this refugee camp was established. Today, about 6,000 people live there. 6,000 people – that is a small town. There are thatched round huts, but also huts with corrugated iron roofs, there are paths and some larger communal houses.

The people have made themselves at home here as best they can. They had to leave their homes. Their land was expropriated, family members were killed and those who could fled. Most of the inhabitants are waiting for the time when they can finally emigrate. But this can take many years. Some also want to return to their old homeland. Shimelba is not a permanent city. Everyone who lives here wants to leave. And yet, life is here and now.

In the middle of this refugee camp there is a church. The people in the camp have helped together and built this church together. It urgently needs to be expanded; on Sundays it is bursting at the seams. There is a school where about 1,000 students are taught. There is a training center where young adults receive training in computers and tailoring, a youth center with opportunities for leisure activities, and various small stores.

Hospitality plays an important role. Guests are generously entertained. Despite monthly food rationing, guests are served whatever is available.

In the middle of this refugee camp is a church. The people in the camp have helped together and built this church together.

I am fascinated by how these people are shaping their difficult situation. They are doing exactly what Christians are called to do in the Letter to the Hebrews:

"Love for brothers and sister / should remain. / But do not forget hospitality &hellig / Remember the prisoners, / as if you yourselves were in prison with them. / Think of the abused, / for you too still live in your bodies …. / In your whole way of life, do not be greedy for money, but be content with what you have … / Do good and share with others do not forget; for in this God is pleased."

Perhaps we can learn from a refugee camp what is really important for our lives and for living together:

-Every person has the right to a roof over their head, to food and drink, to basic medical care.
-Every person has the right to education. To the opportunity to learn something.
-And every human being has the right to a perspective. The possibility to direct his life towards a goal and to create hope.
That is the basis for our coexistence. In our cities and communities. This can also be seen at the Heimattage under the motto "Living together".

Diakonie also makes an important contribution to this togetherness. This is your commitment at Paulinenpflege.

Giving people who are disadvantaged a home.
Shaping a home with people who are disadvantaged.

This includes a roof over their heads, food and drink, medical care. But "full and clean" is not enough. Every person should be given the chance to learn something. That's why we have a large number of schools where everyone gets a chance.

And because we create home, we celebrate church services together. This horizon is important to us. God is there. In our everyday life. Where we live at the moment. Where we are at home right now. And he helps us to shape our home in such a way that everyone finds a home.

Shaping home. That was the second thought. A third.

3. HEADING FOR HOME
"We have no lasting city here, but the one to come we seek" – we read in the Letter to the Hebrews. "But our home is in heaven," writes the apostle Paul in Philippians.

This is somehow the other way around, the way I usually think of it. I think of home from the past. Where I grew up. Where I come from. Paul thinks of home from the future. Where I will be one day. Where I want to go. When I think of home from the future, it is a very beautiful and encouraging perspective.

Then my longing for home and for security has a future, a goal: I will be with God. He is waiting for me.

"My home is in heaven" – I remember saying goodbye to a good acquaintance. Because I had moved away, I had not seen him for many years. I heard that he was terminally ill with cancer. Shortly after that, I was in the old country for a visit and learned that he was dying.

I wanted to see him. But I felt a little queasy. We had not seen each other for a long time and now a reunion shortly before dying? He took away my uncertainty as soon as he greeted me. He gave me a friendly and warm welcome. After briefly telling me about his illness, he said, "You know, I'm looking forward to heaven. I know that the way will still be difficult and saying goodbye hurts. But I feel carried by God. And I know that nothing can separate me from the love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

So it was. It was hard to say goodbye. And yet everyone was carried by this hope: Our home is in heaven.

That is my wish for you and for me. That we experience home in this comprehensive sense: When we think of home, we think of our past. Where we come from. Then we should know: My life, as it has become, is safe with God. He carries me. When we think of home in terms of the present and our longing to be understood. Then we should know: I can come to God at any time and with everything. He understands me.

And if, when we think of home, we think of the future and the goal toward which we are living. Then we should know: I will one day be at home with God in eternity. Jesus has prepared a place for me. He is waiting for me.

AMEN

Tim Moseley

Gold price sees worst week in 11 months but is the market oversold?

Gold price sees worst week in 11 months, but is the market oversold?

The gold market is looking to close the week down around 4%, its worst weekly close since mid-June 2021. But its current price level of around $1,800 an ounce could put gold at risk of a bigger selloff, according to analysts.

Gold was hurt by technical selling pressure after dropping below the $1,830 an ounce Thursday, which served as support. The precious metals also suffered from higher U.S. dollar and expectations of an aggressive Federal Reserve following hotter-than-expected inflation data.

June Comex gold futures were last at $1,809.90 an ounce, down more than $70 on the week.

"We've seen the CPI come in stronger than expected this week. The 8.3% pace in April is problematic, especially after markets were expecting 8.1%. That automatically told us that the Federal Reserve would not soften its hawkish stance," TD Securities head of global strategy Bart Melek told Kitco News. "It's unlikely that inflation will come off sharply any time soon."

This outlook has weighed on gold and the precious metal moved significantly lower. "The $1,830 was good support, but we breached it. Now, $1,790 is the next support level as gold consolidates," Melek said.

Gold was also used this week for liquidity purposes amid a massive selloff in U.S. equities, with the S&P 500 falling 18% since the end of December.

"Gold's decline is investors covering losses elsewhere. Liquidation for traders and investors to make up for major losses seen in equity markets. Gold is one of the easiest things to convert into cash when times are tough," Gainesville Coins precious metals expert Everett Millman said Friday.

Looking into next week, if $1,800 is breached, gold is at risk of a steeper selloff. But traders should widen their trading range for gold in the short-term due to ongoing volatility in all markets, Millman added.

"Risk of falling further below $1,800 is present right now, more so than ever before this year. We are likely to see a lot of sideways trading," he told Kitco News. "Even with elevated downside risk, we still can get back above $1,900 in a matter of weeks. Traders need to widen gold's range due to the side effect of heightened volatility."

Gold price is manipulated by the Fed, suspects mining tycoon Frank Giustra, but suppression can't last forever

The $1,830 to $1,790 is the likely range for gold next week, said Melek. "There is a risk of gold dropping even lower, especially if we see better than expected economic numbers, elevated energy prices, or disappointment in crop data. If the Fed rate hike estimates move up, gold gets hit a bit more," he added.

A lot of money was pulled out of all markets this week, including equities, crypto, and gold, said RJO Futures senior market strategist Frank Cholly. What matters now is the technicals, which is the $1,800 an ounce level for gold.

"It is a big level, and $1,775 could be in the cards as well," he told Kitco News. "The market at least pauses here and goes sideways as it builds another base and recovers. We've taken a lot of premium out of the market."

The gold market is now oversold, and it won't be surprising to see a bounce back to $1,865 an ounce and then to $1,900 an ounce, Cholly added. "The selling in gold is overdone, and it is closer to the bottom than the top at this level," he said. "A close above $1,840-$1,850 is necessary to encourage the move. Investors have to watch the U.S. dollar and interest rates."

Data to watch

Monday: NY Empire State manufacturing index

Tuesday: Retail sales, industrial production, Fed Chair Powell speaks at the Wall Street Journal Future of Everything Festival

Thursday: jobless claims, Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index

By Anna Golubova

For Kitco News

Time to buy Gold and Silver on the dips

 

Tim Moseley

How Effective Are Crypto Lobby Groups In DC?

How Effective Are Crypto Lobby Groups In D.C.? 

Can They Educate And Influence Archaic  Politicos? 

Over the past twelve months, we've seen governments worldwide press for aggressive crypto regulation, especially regarding privacy, non-custodial wallets, stable coins, defi, and even NFTs. This has made crypto lobbying more critical than ever, and many crypto lobbying groups have advanced to protect the industry from over-regulation or worse. 

In this article, we’ll look at 

  • What lobbying is
  • The current state of crypto lobbying
  • The prominent crypto lobbying groups
  • What they can do to reinforce the crypto industry

 

What Is Lobbying?

The term ‘lobbying’ is said to have originated from the lobby of England's Houses of Parliament, where politicians would gather to be petitioned by the general public. Today, lobbying is probably one of the most controversial aspects of modern politics. It involves hiring someone to influence politicians to change laws and regulations and is often a well-connected former politician. 

Some would argue that lobbying a politician is not much different from bribing a politician; however, there is a subtle difference. Bribing a politician usually involves paying them directly to do something. In contrast, lobbying usually involves donating to a politician in advance and then sending a lobbyist over to discuss what the donor wants. 

Of course, if the politician doesn’t agree or comply with the conditions, they are not likely to receive any more donations, with the lobbyist moving on to their political opponent. And yes, it is legal, aligning with the First Amendment of the Constitution, which says that the people have a right to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

It’s believed the founding fathers of the United States explicitly included this clause in the First Amendment because they knew that influential individuals and institutions will always try to influence laws and regulations via politicians, even if it's illegal and carries a harsh punishment. 

Making lobbying legal makes this influence transparent and creates free-market competition between different lobbyists and interest groups, theoretically resulting in better laws and regulations, especially since anyone is technically allowed to lobby a politician. However, in theory, lobbying is different from how it works in practice.

In practice, whoever has the most money can hire the best lobbyists and therefore have the most significant influence over the laws and regulations of the land. Interestingly, this effect only started to become apparent in the 1970s after the United States officially went off the gold standard and may well have to do with the abnormal concentration of wealth that has been happening since then. 

Today, lobbying is estimated to be an almost $4 billion industry, and interestingly, only around 14,000 people work in the industry, with most of the lobbying happening in Washington, DC. Moreover, the average return on investment for lobbying is about 760x. In other words, for every dollar spent on lobbying, an individual or institution can expect to see favorable laws and regulations that will result in $760 worth of returns. 

Not surprisingly, most of the lobbying money comes from corporations, and the top spenders have mostly been big tech companies over the last decade. However, the composition of last year's top spenders includes real estate and big pharma organizations.


Image source: Open Secrets

The Need For Crypto Lobbying

There is an excellent practical reason why lobbying is legal and especially relevant to cryptocurrency. The simple fact is some politicians can be incompetent. [Well, we all knew that.] But more specifically, they may not be qualified to create comprehensive laws and regulations on complex topics in emerging industries. Many would argue some should have retired years ago. 

It means that lobbyists are often the only way comprehensive laws and regulations can be created. Sometimes, the lobbyists write these laws and regulations, which was actually the case with El Salvador's Bitcoin law. Many political experts have pointed out that there aren't really any feasible alternatives, and the entire political system has effectively evolved to rely on the input of lobbyists to operate. 

Notably, crypto lobbying efforts began after the crypto bull market in 2018 in response to the lack of legislation around crypto taxation and initial coin offerings. By 2019, over 40 companies and organizations were lobbying for crypto interests, spending over 40 million dollars in the first quarter alone. 

In 2020, the interests of all these different entities lobbying for crypto started to diverge, which makes sense, considering that not all of them were crypto companies. Unfortunately, even the crypto-specific lobbying groups began to splinter into their factions. Adding to the chaos was the infamous infrastructure bill the current US administration put forward, containing a series of anti-crypto provisions. 

The most important of which is arguably the poorly defined definition of a broker, a clause in the infrastructure bill worded so that cryptocurrency miners, validators, and even developers could potentially be required to collect KYC from users for tax purposes and practically impossible to do. 

For the first time, all the different crypto lobby groups came together. They worked with pro-crypto politicians to draft an amendment to the infrastructure bill that would change the wording of these anti-crypto clauses so that the crypto industry doesn't get turned upside down in 2023. The amendments to the infrastructure bill didn't pass, and it turns out that the treasury secretary Janet Yellen was actively lobbying against these amendments while they were being considered. 


Image source: Twitter

Crypto lobbying was ramped up after the infrastructure bill fiasco, with asset managers lobbying the SEC to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF and DAOs lobbying for reasonable Defi regulations. The existing crypto lobbying groups turned their focus to stable coins, as they were a point of interest for politicians. 

By the end of 2021, some political experts started claiming that crypto entities were “dictating terms in Washington” through their lobbying efforts. A recent report found that over 300 people in Washington are lobbying exclusively for crypto interests, with crypto companies and lobbying groups spending three times more on lobbying in 2021 than in 2020. 

 

Three Prominent Cryptocurrency Lobby Groups

1. The Blockchain Association 

The best-known and most influential crypto lobbying group is arguably the Blockchain Association. The Blockchain Association was founded in September 2018 by a series of crypto companies and VCs, including Circle, Polychain Capital, Digital Currency Group, and Protocol Labs. 

Leading the charge is Kristen Smith, a well-connected and experienced policy professional with senior-level experience in both House and Senate offices. She also has private sector experience, advocating for companies in the telecommunications, Internet, and other tech-focused industries. Kristin holds an MBA in Finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business and a graduate degree from Georgetown University.

The Blockchain Association boasts over 80 members and includes cryptocurrency's creme de la creme, like Defi Protocol, AAVE, Etherium Company Consensus, Crypto Custodian Fire Blocks, Solana, Avalanche, and eToro trading platform. 

Coinbase, headed by CEO Brian Armstrong, was one of the founding members before it withdrew from the lobby group in August 2020 under protest due to a disagreement with unspecified decisions made by the association. 


Image source: Blockchain Association 

In a recent interview hosted by Unchained, the Executive Director at Blockchain Association, Kristen Smith, explained that 2021 was a very tough year for crypto lobbying groups primarily because of all the anti-crypto regulations, proposals, and comments coming from the current administration. 

Kristen said that the blockchain association was even on the brink of suing the treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, over her midnight rulemaking and anti-crypto shenanigans, such as her previous lobbying efforts against the amendments to the infrastructure bill.

Despite the backlash, the Blockchain Association has made serious progress, particularly in educating politicians and regulators about cryptocurrency. This is important because most politicians have been learning about crypto through the mainstream media only and arguably not getting an objective or accurate view on it from there. 


Image source: New York Post

Notably, the blockchain association has been pushing back against releasing a Central Bank Digital Currency in the United States and has also set the record straight for Russia using cryptocurrency to evade sanctions. 

 

2. Crypto Council for Innovation

The second biggest and best-known lobbying group is the Crypto Councill for Innovation, founded in April 2021. An alliance among some significant leaders in the cryptocurrency industry was formed to educate policymakers, regulators, institutions, and individual investors on the benefits of digital assets. 

It came on the back of Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong’s visit to Washington D.C. to meet with politicians. His experience there seemed to be one of the inspirations behind the formation of the lobby group. Other supporters are Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Block, Andreessen, Horowitz, Fidelity, Digital Assets, and Gemini.


Image source: Twitter

Whereas the Blockchain Association is headed by someone who's politically connected, the Crypto Council for Innovation is led by someone connected on a different level. Sheila Warren is a Harvard Law School graduate and a former heavyweight at the World Economic Forum. 

She worked as the head of Blockchain, data, and digital assets and served on the center's executive committee for the fourth Industrial Revolution. I think it’s fair to say she will have some clout in Washington. 

 

3. Lobby 3

The third lobby group is not that well known as it’s pretty new. It is a decentralized autonomous organization called Lobby 3, launched in February this year by American politician and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Andrew is an Entrepreneur, a champion of a human-centered economy, and famous for favoring universal basic income saying automation will soon phase out most unskilled jobs. 

Although Andrew spent most of his political career as a member of the democratic party, he became an independent politician in October 2021. Subsequently, he founded a new political party called the Forward Party with the slogan “Not Left. Not Right. FORWARD.” As part of his political pivot, Andrew doubled down on cryptocurrency and claims that he wants to make the Forward Party the “Crypto party of the United States.”


Image source: Twitter & AndrewYang.com

 

As explained on the Lobby 3 website, the DAO will crowdfund crypto lobbying in Washington, D.C, and aims to make it possible for the average person to have their voice heard on the issues that are only currently being discussed by an exclusive group of well-funded crypto personalities. 

The advocate membership is accessible to everyone as Lobby 3 offers three membership tiers starting at 0.07 ETH. Each membership tier comes with its own NFT, which gives its holder a series of perks like access to exclusive events and voting power for what crypto issues are lobbied for in true democratic fashion. 

All proceeds from membership NFT sales will fund “issue-based advocacy organizations” in D.C to build the core advocacy infrastructure, which is the first of the four steps on the Lobby 3 road map


Image: Markethive

 

What Will Crypto Lobbyists Do For The Emerging Industry?

So, how exactly will these crypto lobby groups save the crypto industry? First, they'll make sure that politicians know what they're talking about before voting on any crypto-related legislation. When blockchain Association executive director Kristen Smith said, most politicians get their crypto education from the mainstream media, she wasn't joking. 

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong became aware of the crypto knowledge deficit when he traveled to Washington and that about 50% of US politicians see crypto as risky because they think it's only being used for illicit activity. 

The silver lining to this statistic is that most US politicians don’t care about crypto, and it's just the same group of politicians on both sides of the extreme and mainly cited in crypto headlines and MSM. It’s no surprise that the big banks and the like are lobbying most anti-crypto politicians. In contrast, the pro-crypto politicians are almost certainly being lobbied by crypto companies.

The question is, which of these positions is easier to lobby for?  The answer may well be found in the fact that for many politicians, the ultimate goal is to be re-elected. The bottom line for banks is that next-generation financial technologies are replacing them, which means they don't have much to offer besides money. 
 
A politician can get boatloads of donations from big banks. Still, if accepting the contribution doesn't result in additional jobs for their jurisdiction, for example, then they may eventually lose the popular vote in their electorate.

The prospect of capitalizing on the crypto industry is a seriously appealing value proposition for a politician. Because even if the donations they receive from the crypto industry aren’t as lucrative, the jobs, tourism, and investment that the crypto industry will generate will almost guarantee they will get elected.


Image source: Tech Crunch

We are already seeing this effect in full force in States like Texas, now touted as the newest Bitcoin mining capital. LinkedIn reported that job listings for crypto increased by 395% in 2021 within the San Francisco Bay area, Austin in Texas, New York City, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, and Denver. Even counties in select States are signaling their support for cryptocurrency through legal tender bills and the like.

With digital mediums and platforms on the rise and preparing for Web 3.0, some have integrated cryptocurrency as a means to reward users, encourage and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and support a redistribution of wealth. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency have opened up tremendous possibilities and opportunities for people struggling in the current financial climate.

Apart from an increase in employment in the crypto industry, there is remarkable growth in sovereign social media and marketing platforms that give the average person the ability to generate an income and provide businesses the resources to promote and facilitate their brand to a worldwide audience. 

We welcome all influential groups to educate the powers-that-be and society in general on the benefits of decentralization and cryptocurrency.  The crypto Lobbyists will make waves in Washington in the second half of this year, and it's going to make for a fascinating midterm election. 

 

References: coinbureau.com

 

Also published @ BeforeIt’sNews.com: https://beforeitsnews.com/politics/2022/05/how-effective-are-crypto-lobby-groups-in-d-c-3262760.html

 

 

Tim Moseley