US Manufacturing—–Heading Toward R-Land

The last few pieces of data for Q3 more than suggest the US economy faltered in August/September. That trend would be alarming on its own had it occurred in a financial vacuum (as if ceteris paribus actually existed), but following along against the “dollar” is especially so. There was the initial, large decline in early 2015 that “unexpectedly” shocked economists and commentary off their 2014, GDP is 5% perch. That slump was initially met by derision and disembodiment as if it were yet another aberration (continuous anomalies tend to be something other than anomalous) to be discarded in serious analysis. When the “slump” continued on past snowfall and port strikes, it was upgraded to “transitory.” That even appeared to be the reflection of the data as it, again, followed the “dollar” out of the first wave. The idea of “transitory”, then, meant expectations (and monetary promises) that there would be no second wave. Obviously, starting around July 6, there was a second hitting everything from oil to China to even the here-to-fore unthinkable denting of stock market certainty. With economic data, especially spending and related manufacturing (since inventory is stuck in between them), now falling again as the “dollar”, all those prior benign interpretations risk undoing if not full repudiation. That is a big risk to markets in terms of prices caught wrong-footed about expectations (reordering assumptions to incorporate “transitory” being not that) but there is also great economic risk as at some point inventory imbalances demand correction. The idea of “transitory” in that context is for manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers (to a more limited extent) to only make slight adjustments to production and trade levels to reflect inventory (and the “dollar”, by extension) but maintaining a positive outlook once the “temporary” problems abate and that 5% GDP comes roaring back as isOriginally appeared at:

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BitPay to Help The New York Stem Cell Foundation Get Donations via Bitcoin

Bitcoin has a reputation of being the currency of the, to put it politely, “privacy concerned,” but over the past two years it has slowly developed a human face. BitPay, the company known as “PayPal of Bitcoin,” is one of the companies responsible for making Bitcoin more acceptable in the US. Now, BitPay has teamed up with the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) and enabling potential donors to send their donation via Bitcoin. Commenting on the collaboration with BitPay, the Chief Executive Officer of NYSCF, Susan L. Solomon, commented that “through bitcoin, we can embrace new forms of giving to meet our donors where they are, wherever they are worldwide. As a private philanthropic organization NYSCF’s nimbleness and flexibility allow us to fund and conduct the most current and high-reward research. Working with BitPay allows NYSCF to extend our flexibility to our supporters. Founded in 2005, the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) works as an independent organization and focuses on speeding up stem cell research in the United States in order to cure patients. Its key research unit the NYSCF Research Institute and it operates in the state of New York, where NYSCF has around 50 researchers working to better understand how stem cell can be used to provide remedy to suffering patients. Some of the key areas the NYSCF is focused on the ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Alzheimer’s Disease, Bone Tissue Engineering, Cardiac Research and Repair, Diabetics, and Parkinson’s Disease. They have recently developed the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array™, which is for the first time, creates and manipulates stem cell lines in a massively parallel process using automation. Rory Desmond, the Business Development Director at BitPay, said in a press release that “NYSCF is taking an important lead in enabling donors to use bitcoin in their support of medicalOriginally appeared at:

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Bitcoin and Digitization: Overhauling Society in a Digital Age

Many people look at digital trends and label them as mere phases. Despite the presence of the e-book, for example, many still prefer print editions of the texts they read. They hate going digital for some reasons, a particularly common one being that “their brains just won’t go there.” Also read: The Bitcoin Question: Buy Now or Cry Later? Which is why a good question to ask is, “How smart do you have to be to use and understand bitcoin?” Well, you don’t have to be a genius. Bitcoin, in many ways, operates in a manner similar to standard currency or stocks. You can purchase with it, you can trade it, etc. Those of us with a Coinbase account or anything similar knows that once you get the basics down, there’s not much to stress over. But the question of real intelligence in this matter doesn’t necessarily apply towards bitcoin usage, but to one’s overall attitude towards bitcoin. Many still look at digital currency as something that will eventually disappear — something that will lose popularity and ultimately die out. Current times don’t necessarily suggest this, and those who intelligently see bitcoin as an addition to our ongoing digitization rather than something that’s merely “running through the mill,” likely understand this to a greater degree. As our society flourishes, we are stretching deeper into an ongoing financial age. As mentioned with the e-book above, texts are now being delivered through computerized means. Many offices and companies around the world have gone paperless. We pay bills online, and we send emails and resort to social media to get messages across to our friends and neighbors. It’s rare to see anyone pick up a pen and paper these days and write a formal letter that gets sent through the mail. We also rely onOriginally appeared at:

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Car Ownership Numbers Dwindle Due to Decentralized Alternatives

Car ownership is no longer as valuable of a commodity as it used to be a decade ago. In this day and ago, car-sharing and ride-hailing services are providing a viable alternative to owning a car, without the surplus of hassle in terms of maintenance, gas prices, and whatnot. Furthermore, the recent Volkswagen scandal is hurting the prospect of car ownership even more, as consumers are losing faith in car manufacturers. The sharing economy model, which may very well include Bitcoin and blockchain technology, is looking more and more appealing. Also read: UberEVENTS Provides An Excellent Opportunity for Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology Integration Car Ownership Associated With Many (Correct?) Prejudices Our society is an ever-evolving creature, and where car ownership was the standard just a decade ago, the world may look entirely different a few years from now. In fact, a recent questionnaire showed surprising results in terms of the worries people face when owning a car themselves. The biggest concern for consumers has been the same as ever, as costs for maintenance, parking, and gasoline keep increasing year over year. Most cities have made it very difficult to find free parking space, forcing car owners to pay for a place to park their car. More driving around to find a suitable parking spot also – marginally – influences the gasoline usage, and forces a maintenance check sooner rather than later. But there are other concerns that are becoming ever growing concerns for consumers, such as the amount of time wasted in traffic. No one wants to spend 4+ hours a day in their car,; when the drive back and forth only takes up 2 hours in theory. Traffic jams, combined with the risk of being in a car accident, are influencing car ownership as well. Despite best efforts fromOriginally appeared at:

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Bitcoin is a radical change in the history of money

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Most people underestimate how old the concept of money really is. While we currently know money in terms of paper bills and various types of coins, this is only the latest iteration of a monetary society. Back when the earliest writings known to man were discovered, they displayed a form of accounting, with balances and […]

Op Ed: Kubrick, Clemenceau, and Cryptocurrencies: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Digital Money

This op ed piece first appeared on Executive Brief One of the most serious challenges preventing widespread acceptance of cryptocurrency by the general public is the sense of unease most people experience when confronted with new ideas. And since the existing monetary system seems, at least on the surface, to meet that public’s current needs, most people are fearful of anything that might upset the status quo. As a result of that fear, new concepts like digital currency are often viewed with distrust. Still, if history teaches us anything about societal changes, it is that the most radical shifts in the status quo are typically viewed with skepticism when they first begin to emerge. From the automobile to computers and the internet, each new major advance in modern life has struggled against the tide of history before finally gaining the recognition and acceptance needed to fundamentally improve our lives. One of those most recent advancements – the internet – should serve as a clear example of why we have no reason to fear digital currency, and should in fact be cheering the potential benefits it offers to a world in desperate need of a shift in paradigm. As former French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau once observed, “War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men.” And though that sentiment was disputed by many military men – including the fictional General Jack D. Ripper in the movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, it has nevertheless remained a governing philosophy in many nations around the world. That notion – that even recognized experts in a field are not always the best qualified to govern everything that occurs within its realm – is echoed in society’s approach to many areas of daily life. Take the internet, for example. While it is by no means as decentralized as it was four decades ago – or as decentralized as many advocates are pushing for it to become, it still remains something that more closely resembles an active force of nature than anything designed by government central planners. In fact, the example provided by the internet is one of the reasons why a growing number of people are becoming more comfortable with digital currencies like Bitcoin and DNotes. The Reasons for Distrust Many proponents of cryptocurrency have yet to understand why so much of the public remains distrustful of the very notion of digital currency. To be sure, much of their discomfort comes from either not having heard anything about it or from the fact that they cannot imagine any other type of monetary system than the fiat money that has been at the center of their financial existence all their lives. That can cause them to view digital currencies as little more than a curiosity, and thus scarcely worthy of further investigation. Others, however, have different reservations that prevent them from seeing the potential benefits cryptocurrency can provide. Many of these people have a distrust of anything digital, since they associate the digital universe with a lack of security and oversight – traits that are unlikely to generate trust in the minds of consumers who expect money to be secure. Many believe Bitcoin, DNotes, and other cryptocurrencies to be nothing more than software. And since software can be hacked, they view the entire concept of digital currency with skepticism. The problem with that outlook is that it ignores the reality of what digital currency actually is. In many respects, it can be useful to think about cryptocurrency in the same way that we think about the internet. Indeed, they have much in common with one another, particularly when you consider the similarities between their architectural frameworks, and the way in which we utilize them. Understanding those similarities can help you to better understand why digital currency is safer and more relevant than most people think. The Internet and Cryptocurrency In many ways, the rise of the internet and cryptocurrency parallel one another to a large degree. In the early days of the internet, it was a decentralized project that was largely consigned to the fringes of society. It was not until later that large companies and other entities began to impose more centralized control over the structure and infrastructure of the internet and its services. Today, much of that initial decentralization has been submerged beneath layers of corporate control, and most people remain blissfully unaware of just how centralized everything is when it comes to the architecture that powers their internet. Digital currency shared similar beginnings. Bitcoin’s basic protocol – the blockchain – is a decentralized ledger system that relies on multiparty consensus to power its operations. This decentralization leaves its operations outside the control of multinational corporations or government entities, in much the same way that the internet existed at its earliest stages. And, like the internet, Bitcoin and other digital currencies only interest a small portion of the population at the present time. At their core levels, both the internet and the blockchain protocol that empowers digital currency provide us with the type of open platforms needed for all manner of disruptive creativity. The open architecture of the internet provided the creative freedom needed for the establishment of everything from the World Wide Web to social media platforms, Google, and giant internet companies. When the internet was young, few people envisioned just how disruptive it would eventually be to the established order of things, or the extent to which it would spawn innovation. The Bitcoin blockchain is where the internet was in those early days. It remains the decentralized ledger it was designed to be, but few have yet to grasp its real potential. Sure, Bitcoin, DNotes, and other prominent cryptocurrencies make solid use of the blockchain architecture, but those currencies are really just the frontrunners to the more pervasive and society-altering changes that blockchain promises. Its potential for increased efficiencies in banking, accounting, and other important areas of societal interaction is already being acknowledged by many. Just as the internet served as the platform for a wide range of applications that have literally transformed the way modern society functions, so too can Bitcoin’s blockchain radically alter the way that we deal with finance, record-keeping, and many other transactions. And, just as most people were completely unaware of the internet’s true potential in the earliest days of its existence, the vast majority of people today have no idea how digital currency and the blockchain that enables it may soon reshape their lives. Similar Challenges Of course, it is also worthy of noting that the challenges confronting Bitcoin and the blockchain also echo many of the difficulties faced by the early internet. The technology is still evolving, digital currency continues to impact only a small portion of the population, and there is a need for greater scalability if the blockchain is ever going to provide a platform for the type of disruptive innovation many people now envision. Cryptocurrency proponents and skeptics alike, however, should take comfort from the knowledge that the internet not only faced those same challenges, but overcame them. Today, those challenges are long forgotten by a society that has seen that platform’s potential for enhanced commercial activity and ease of access to information realized to an extent that even the most farsighted dreamers never imagined possible. More importantly, those changes have occurred at a rate of speed that seems dizzying when compared to the long, slow march of history. There is good reason to believe that the future of digital money and the blockchain can be every bit as transformative. Learn to Stop Worrying Here’s the thing to remember about advancements like the internet, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain: the vast majority of people always dismiss such ideas in the early years after their creation. Just a few short decades ago, the average internet user regarded the internet as little more than a tool for entertainment. As businesses migrated onto the World Wide Web in large numbers, and companies like Google figured out how to harness the power of the Net, its usefulness grew by leaps and bounds. Today, the internet is an integral part of many people’s lives, and few of them can imagine life without it. Bitcoin and blockchain are at a similar point in their own evolutionary journey. The base of people for whom digital currency has relevance remains small, and its impact on the broader society has yet to materialize. In spite of that, entrepreneurs and existing businesses are already seeing the potential, and making the types of investments that can fuel growth. Even governments are taking notice, as they wrestle with decisions about how best to co-exist with these new currencies. More importantly, we must recognize the broader trend in the world today. The desire for decentralization is all the rage these days, and there are groups across the world struggling to decouple humanity from the type of centralized control that has defined most of its existence. Just look at the various proposals for replacing the current internet with one that is completely decentralized, peer-to-peer lending opportunities, and crowdfunding. These and other innovative strategies are all born out of the desire to reduce centralized control over our lives. Clemenceau’s observation about war and military leaders was poignant, and is echoed to some extent by the drive toward decentralized internet and currency. The internet provides access to information and capabilities that are so important to individual liberty that they should not be entrusted to policy makers and other elites. Most people would justifiably object to the notion that government should have the power to control access to websites – something we already see happening in many repressive regimes around the world. Those same people should be at least nominally concerned that governments have so much control over their money. The decentralization of the internet holds forth the promise of the democratization of the internet. Decentralized money is democratized money that is no longer subject to whims and caprices of those who control the current fiat monetary system. Together, these two advancements can pave the path to a future where no one is denied access to opportunity due to the circumstances of his or her birth – a future where central planners cannot devalue your money just to improve their own political fortunes. A future with digital currency in it is a more democratized future, and one that we should all embrace. So, learn to stop worrying, and learn to love cryptocurrency. It’s just a matter of time before it changes all our lives for the better. Authors: Alan Yong, Ken Chase This article first appeared at 

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Op Ed: Kubrick, Clemenceau, and Cryptocurrencies: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Digital Money

This op ed piece first appeared on Executive Brief One of the most serious challenges preventing widespread acceptance of cryptocurrency by the general public is the sense of unease most people experience when confronted with new ideas. And since the existing monetary system seems, at least on the surface, to meet that public’s […]