How Tech Could Stop Wildfires

The US West Coast wildfire season used to be 4 months long.

Now it’s 8, running from May to January. 2.5 million acres of land have burned in California alone this year.

But for desperate homeowners in fire prone regions, there may be hope. Several new technologies have been developed recently that may protect homes from these terrifying fires.

Long-Acting Chemical Sprays

Just today, the US Forest Service approved a new fire retardant chemical. It can be sprayed on houses and critical infrastructure and last for months.

It may even last an entire fire season.

The chemical is called PHOS-CHEK FORTIFY®. Developed by Perimeter Solutions in Missouri, it is the first fire retardant that can protect structures for the long term.

I could see every house in the West being coated in this material or something like it each spring.

Fire Blankets

Giant foil blankets have saved some homes from wildfires.

However, a study by Case Western Reserve University Prof. Fumiaki Takahashi found that fire blankets are usually only effective for short periods. In a prolonged fire, they may fail.

Dry Ice

An intriguing possibility I first heard about on a recent episode of This Week in Startups. The idea is that CO2 from the dry ice would suffocate the fire, which needs oxygen to burn.

Unfortunately, this approach does not seem very effective for forest fires. From a study presented at the International Symposium on Fire Investigation Science and Technology:

To be effective against class A fires, the solid state CO2 tends to need to be in direct contact with the fuel material. As many forest fires travel through the canopy, this is not a feasible extinguishment method.

Wrap Up

The best candidate looks like a long term fire retardant chemical. Coupled with advanced satellite imaging to track fires just seconds after they begin, it could be a powerful tool to stop these fires.

Best of luck to the innovative companies and researchers tackling this huge challenge!

More on tech:

What if Everyone on Earth Had Super Fast Internet for $1?

Male Contraception With an Ultrasound Device?

Robot Hands, Vertical Farms, and the Future of Food

Why I Just Invested in Capbase, The Startup in a Box

Photo: “Wildfire” by USFWS/Southeast is marked with CC PDM 1.0

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

Starting a Financial Plan from 0

One of my oldest friends just got his dream job! He’s found fulfillment, accomplishment, and a lot more money.

But what should he do with it?

Matt* wanted to know how he could set himself up for a strong financial future, now that he’s finally making good money. I find a lot of friends and family in their 30’s asking me this question lately.

They come to me because I invest for a living and they want guidance. And I’m honored by that.

So I decided to sketch out a financial gameplan starting from zero, for them and for you.

Soon, you’ll be able to afford jewelry like Mr. T’s! 🙂

Step 1: Save 6 Month Emergency Fund

What if you lose your job or get sick? You don’t want to have to worry about being out on the street or unable to afford food.

And if you’re counting on unemployment, you’re putting yourself at serious risk. That check can take a very long time to come.

So I suggest saving six months of basic expenses in a high yield bank account (this is what I use). Basic expenses include rent or mortgage, utilities, and groceries.

You’ll get a little interest, but the real payoff is in financial security.

Why not just invest this money in the stock market? Because if the market drops by half all of a sudden, as happens from time to time, you won’t have six months of basic expenses anymore. You’ll only have three.

And that may not be enough.

Step 2: Pay Off Debt

It’s heretical to tell people not to pay off their debt first. But the reality is that lenders can often be stalled for a while. Your need to eat can’t.

Yes, your credit card or auto debt could accumulate for a bit while you save up your emergency fund. But it’s better than having an empty bank account if you lose your job.

I suggest keeping expenses down so you can save up that emergency fund and zap your debt ASAP. Once you have an emergency fund and no debt, you can relax a little.

When you’re ready to start paying off debt, choose the highest interest loans first.

If a loan has a lower interest rate than the stock market’s typical 10% return, it may make sense to invest instead of paying that loan off. This is often the case for mortgages.

Step 3: Start Investing

Yay! This is the fun part. This is when you go from just getting by to building wealth.

But investing is so confusing! Tons of companies, countless possibilities.

Here’s where to start: open a Vanguard account and just start buying the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index. On day 1, you’ll own almost 4,000 stocks.

And you’ll only pay 0.04% in management fees per year. On a $3000 account, that’s just $1.20.

Low fees are really important because high management fees can kill your returns.

I’ve used Vanguard for years and the service is outstanding. It forms a core part of my portfolio to this day.

To begin with, you’ll want to max out your 401k and IRA. Afterward, keep investing as much as you can!

It’s ambitious, but I suggest saving half your income if at all possible. It provides a wonderful cushion in tough times and can ultimately free you from working for others.

Step 4: Advanced Investing

You now own several thousand dollars worth of the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index. Congratulations, you capitalist fatcat!

Now, you may want to add other types of investments to your portfolio. Those could include international stocks and real estate, both of which Vanguard offers.

A portfolio with more diversification across parts of the world and asset classes (stocks vs. real estate, for example) tends to perform better over time.

Step 5: Ninja Level Investing

Once you’ve mastered the Vanguard game and built up a considerable balance, you may consider investing in private real estate (I use Fundrise) or tech startups.

These asset classes can provide higher returns, but they have a lot of risk. You often don’t get your money back for years, if ever.

If you’re just starting out, ninja level is a long way off. Crawl and walk before you try to run!

Wrap Up

I like seeing people take control of their lives and their money. That’s why I wrote this post.

If you follow this plan, you can go from an empty bank account and big credit card bills to a growing investment account paying you money.

You just have to take that first step!

Leave your questions in the comment section at the very bottom of the page!

More on money:

FOMO: Investors’ Worst Enemy

Where Can We Hide in a Financial Crisis?

Will Evergrande Spark a Global Financial Crisis?

*Not his real name

Photo: “Me & Mr. T” by roadkillbuddha is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

FOMO: Investors’ Worst Enemy

Markets are hot. The S&P 500 sits near record highs. Venture capital funding is higher than ever before.

As hot stocks rocket upward and the best venture deals move fast, a specter is haunting investors — the specter of FOMO.

Fear of missing out has investors piling into the stocks of fraudulent companies like Nikola before they miss the rally. FOMO has venture firms writing giant checks without even the most cursory due diligence, like seeing the books or talking to customers.

This fear is the worst enemy of investors. Because we’re afraid of missing the next hot company, we gradually compromise all our standards.

Well, the price isn’t that high. This deal is moving too fast to look at the books! Surely, if so many other big names want in on this opportunity, it must be legit.

But it’s during boom times like this that frauds can hide in plain sight. And their favorite tactic to reel in suckers is to make you afraid you’re going to miss out on the next big thing.

Adam Neumann at WeWork was a master of using FOMO to vacuum up capital without diligence or oversight. Many of those investors soon lost huge sums.

Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos got giant checks from investors without them ever looking too deeply into the technology. What if they had had a team of Ph.D’s look at the device? They would have probably realized it didn’t work and would’ve saved themselves hundreds of millions of dollars.

But they never did.

And why should they? Holmes was on the cover of Forbes, for heaven’s sake! It must be real, right?

Well, we know how that turned out. If we want to avoid investing in the next Theranos, WeWork or Nikola, we have to maintain our standards.

Find out revenues. See customer contracts. Evaluate the technology.

And we need to do more diligence in a hot market, not less.

It’s hard to defraud people in a bear market. In a down market, even good stocks find few buyers. Even the strongest startups struggle to raise money.

In a hot market, it’s much easier to conceal fraud beneath thick layers of hype with a yummy FOMO topping.

But think before you take a bite.

More on markets:

Where Can We Hide in a Financial Crisis?

Will Evergrande Spark a Global Financial Crisis?

Should Anyone Own Bonds?

Photo: “Secretary Pritzker met with Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos Founder and CEO, and Billie Jean King”by CommerceGov is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

AMC Fails to Deliver Are 40,000 Times Amazon’s, Per Latest Data

Throughout the year, shares in AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. have had huge fails to deliver. The most recent SEC data, just released today, is no exception.

AMC fails to deliver were 39,976 times those of Amazon.com, Inc. Amazon, with a market cap of $1.7 trillion, is more than 85 times AMC’s size.

Looking at other large stocks, the pattern is similar. AMC’s fails to deliver are 36 times Apple’s, 25 times Exxon Mobil’s and 1199 times Facebook’s.

Fails to deliver occur when a trade is made that is never completed. When there’s a long term pattern of large fails to deliver, it’s often indicative of naked short sales.

This generally illegal practice involves selling shares short without ever borrowing them. The trade never completes because the shares never existed in the first place.

Since you don’t need to borrow any actual stock, you can keep putting in sell orders indefinitely. That artificially drives the price down.

AMC’s fails to deliver go up and down with time. But, they remain consistently far greater than those of much larger stocks.

I strongly suspect hedge funds who have lost substantial sums shorting AMC stock are conducting illegal naked short sales to try to rescue themselves.

When will the SEC act on its own data?

More on markets:

AMC Has Burned Short Sellers for $4 Billion in 2021, Per Latest Data

Will Evergrande Spark a Global Financial Crisis?

AMC Shares 50% More Likely to be Traded in Dark Pools

Raw SEC data

The most recent data set ends on September 14th. The fails to deliver is the number right before the company name:

20210914|00165C104|AMC|119929|AMC ENTMT HLDGS INC CL A COM S|51.69

20210914|023135106|AMZN|3|AMAZON COM INC;COM USD0.01|3457.17

20210914|037833100|AAPL|3320|APPLE INC;COM NPV|149.55

20210914|30231G102|XOM|4873|EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION|55.37

20210914|30303M102|FB|100|FACEBOOK INC CL A COM STK (DE)|376.51

Photo: “CMI 101: Demystifying Derivatives with CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler” by Third Way is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

Male Contraception With an Ultrasound Device?

A fascinating new device could one provide the elusive male contraceptive:

German design graduate Rebecca Weiss has won a James Dyson Award for a male contraceptive device called Coso, which uses ultrasound waves to temporarily halt sperm regeneration.

Weiss’s Coso device is designed to be a reversible contraceptive solution. To use it, a person would fill the device with water up to the indicated mark, turn it on so it heats to operating temperature, and sit for a few minutes with their testicles dipped into it.

Coso looks like it could be the newest Alexa. It even comes with an app to show where you are in the process.

Right now, this device is just a prototype and is not available to the public. Its technology is based on a published study in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.

This study successfully used ultrasound currents on rat testes in order to reduce sperm count. It will take a lot more research to determine this is safe and effective in humans.

If it works, I think this innovation could be transformative. Most, if not all, of the burden of contraception is generally on women. Those methods often have significant side effects.

Perhaps there is a better way!

I think a startup like this would make a wonderful candidate for Y Combinator, which backs startups from all over the world in areas including biotech and medical devices.

Best of luck to the amazing Rebecca Weiss!

More on tech:

What if Everyone on Earth Had Super Fast Internet for $1?

Robot Hands, Vertical Farms, and the Future of Food

Why I Just Invested in Capbase, The Startup in a Box

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

The Hamster Crypto Trader That’s Outperforming Me

I’ve got a fun one for you today: a German hamster is trading cryptocurrencies. And he’s blowing away the S&P 500:

The livestreamed hamster, named Mr. Goxx, has been independently trading a portfolio of various cryptocurrencies since June 12, and so far its* performance has been impressive. As of Friday, the portfolio was up nearly 24%, according to the @mrgoxx twitter feed that documents daily performance, along with every trade made by the hamster. Mr. Goxx’s performance outpaces bitcoin and the S&P 500 over the same time period.

Here’s a short video of this financial titan at Goxx Capital headquarters:

First, Goxx runs on the “intention wheel” to pick which one of about 30 cryptocurrencies to trade. Once the crypto is chosen, the hamster runs through one of two “decision tunnels” that trigger either a buy or sell trade of the chosen cryptocurrency.

As someone who invests for a living, I’m okay with being outperformed by a rodent. He earned it, and he’s also much cuter.

Whimsical as this example is, we attribute skill to fund managers who have a good run, only to forget them when they underperform. Bill Miller of Legg Mason was lionized for beating the S&P 500 15 years in a row. Shortly thereafter, his fund lost two thirds of its value in the financial crisis and he was out of a job.

I, for one, will be a supporter of Mr. Goxx even if his hot streak runs out.

Follow Mr. Goxx on Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, or Twitch!

Note: I object to the term “it” for this adorable little man!

More on markets:

How Solana Could Wipe Out Visa and MasterCard

China’s Crypto Ban and the Road to Total Control

Where Can We Hide in a Financial Crisis?

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order.

Where Can We Hide in a Financial Crisis?

Markets are booming today, but just 18 months ago, things looked like this:

Ouch.

I lost about 22% of my portfolio in less than five weeks. It certainly made life interesting.

Today, markets sit near all time highs and jobs go begging. It’s a far cry from the darkest days of the COVID disaster.

But the next financial crisis is coming. It could be in a month, a year, or ten years. But as investors, we need to be prepared.

One of the best ways to protect ourselves is to own assets that are not correlated with stocks. That way, when the market is falling off a cliff, a part of our portfolio is preserved.

People often look to overseas stocks or real estate to diversify. I own those myself. But although they can deliver nice returns, they are highly correlated with US stocks.

Global stocks have a 0.97 correlation with the S&P 500, a near perfect match. Even Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) show a very strong correlation (0.70).

Investment grade bonds (-0.06) and cash (-0.17) show low correlations with stocks. But the yield to maturity on that Bloomberg investment grade bond index is just 1.42%, way below inflation. And cash in a bank account returns about enough to buy a candy bar at the end of the year.

So where do we go? Here are some options:

Litigation Finance

This arcane corner of the financial world gives plaintiffs and lawyers money to sue people. The lawsuits usually involve a small company suing a larger one.

Returns can be eye popping. But it’s difficult for those of us who aren’t lawyers to understand what we’re investing in. Are these good cases likely to win? Or suckers’ bets?

It probably only makes sense as a small portion of a portfolio, at most. And minimum investments can be high, making it less attractive to many.

Farmland

Ya gotta eat, right?

New platforms have sprung up to help people invest directly in farmland. Returns can exceed those of stocks, and correlation with US stocks is almost nonexistent (-0.05).

This could be an attractive area, but it’s quite unfamiliar to me, and probably to most other investors. I’d have to research it a lot more before jumping in.

Dividend Aristocrats

Dividend Aristocrats are blue chip stocks that have increased their dividends every year for at least 25 years. They’re household names like Coca-Cola, Exxon, and IBM.

They generally have higher returns than the S&P 500 with lower volatility. That’s a win-win.

But they’re highly correlated with the rest of the index (0.9). That said, they’re still better than overseas stocks in this respect, and not dissimilar to real estate.

Wrap Up

We have some interesting options for keeping our portfolios safer in the next bear market while preserving yields today. I encourage you to dig deeper into your favorite categories.

What asset classes do you favor in a crisis? Let me know in the comments at the very bottom.

More on markets:

Will Evergrande Spark a Global Financial Crisis?

Should Anyone Own Bonds?

How Solana Could Wipe Out Visa and MasterCard

Photo: “Tomb of Lehman Brothers” by futureatlas.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order.

China’s Crypto Ban and the Road to Total Control

You just went to a protest marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. You were scared, but you went. You wore a mask and took a winding route home. No one could have seen you.

You arrive home to your Hong Kong apartment and decide to check your bank account. Did the rent get deducted yet?

But when you log in, you see the balance has gone from 21,000 yuan to zero.

A notice appears to contact your local Party office.

This is the future China wants to bring about. Its tools:

1) The social credit score
2) The digital yuan
3) The banning of cryptocurrencies other than the digital yuan

Today, China banned bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies. All, that is, except its own digital yuan, which debuted this spring.

It wasn’t hard to see this coming. China banned cryptocurrency mining earlier this year. This is part of a long term trend toward total control under Xi Jinping.

China’s government has cracked down hard on tech companies, Hong Kong dissidents, and even seemingly random targets like celebrities.

What’s next? About five years ago, China’s government created a social credit score. Any action that upsets the government, from farebeating to protesting, can have dire consequences. One may be unable to get a loan, a job, or access the internet.

After the crypto ban, the next logical step for China’s dictatorship is to ban cash and all non-digital yuan. Then, all money is electronic, traceable, and centrally controlled.

Step out of line, and your life savings could be gone.

It’s a dark, dystopian future. But I strongly suspect it’s coming.

We in the United States and the rest of the free world should guard against any such thing being done here. I will be wary of attempts to ban cryptocurrencies or cash as paving the way for similar control. Control that has no place in a democratic society.

More on China tech:

China’s Real Goal in Tech Crackdown: A Regimented, Obedient Society

How China’s Tech Industry Dies

China Is Crushing One of Its Most Innovative Companies

Photo: “1984” by jason ilagan is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

AMC Shares 50% More Likely to be Traded in Dark Pools

The huge proportion of shares in AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. trading in dark pools has raised suspicions among retail investors. So today, I decided to find out if AMC is really more likely to be traded in dark pools.

What I found surprised me.

First, a little explanation. A dark pool is a privately operated stock exchange. It does not report prices publicly like the NYSE or Nasdaq.

In fact, there is little transparency of any sort. Most are operated by large investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

60% of AMC shares in the last 30 days have been traded in these dark pools. In general, 40% of the market by value is traded there.

So AMC shares are 50% more likely to be traded in this opaque, secretive type of exchange.

What’s more, shares in tiny “microcap” stocks are the most likely to trade on dark pools. But AMC has a market cap of $21 billion, making it a large cap stock.

If you look at the two stocks most similar in size to AMC, VICI Properties, Inc. and Netapp, Inc., you see much lower figures. 30% and 26% of their shares trade in dark pools respectively, less than half that of AMC.

And if you look at one of the most commonly traded shares in the market, the S&P 500 ETF Trust, it too is traded in dark pools only half as often as AMC.

Let’s review: a massive proportion of shares are traded in dark pools. Add that to a long term pattern of huge fails to deliver suggestive of illegal naked short sales (see this, this, and this).

Trading in AMC shares looks increasingly fishy.

How much more evidence does the SEC need before they investigate?

More on markets:

AMC Has Burned Short Sellers for $4 Billion in 2021, Per Latest Data

Will Evergrande Spark a Global Financial Crisis?

New Data: AMC Fails to Deliver Down 85%

Photo: “Bruce Springsteen” by afevrier is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

AMC Has Burned Short Sellers for $4 Billion in 2021, Per Latest Data

So far this year, shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. have increased by a factor of 20:

This runup has badly burned short sellers, largely hedge funds. New data shows just how bad the bleeding is:

The latest data, courtesy of S3 Partners, LLC, reveals that by the end of last week, short-sellers who bet against AMC had lost $4.08 billion over the course of this year. The picture was bleaker for those who had targetted GameStop, with the data revealing that the short sellers’ year-to-date losses stood at $6.44 billion. Cumulatively, this shows that AMC and GameStop short-sellers have lost $10.52 billion as we exit the third quarter.

But hedge funds don’t seem to be learning from their mistakes:

Interestingly, however, while the AMC short interest shares have dropped since June, recent data reveals that they are rising again. For instance, in late August, they stood at roughly 82 million, highlighting that by the end of last week, more than four million short interest shares were added to the bets against the company.

These losses have already caused the implosion of some funds that bet against meme stocks. It’s incredible that fund managers can look at their colleagues losing everything and not change their strategy.

I suspect the problem is their mindset. Institutional investors are used to viewing retail traders as “dumb money.” If I’m so convinced that I’m smarter than my adversary, even clear evidence that my side is losing may not change my mind.

It’s just a shame that the teachers and firefighters whose pensions many hedge funds play the markets with don’t have a say.

More on markets:

New Data: AMC Fails to Deliver Down 85%

Will Evergrande Spark a Global Financial Crisis?

What a Hedge Fund King Fears Most

Photo: “Prescribed Burn Sign” by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region is marked with CC PDM 1.0

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

Get into it