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Wayne Duggan

Wayne Duggan

9 months ago

What An Inverted Yield Curve Means For Investors

The yield spread between 10-year and 2-year US Treasury bonds has fallen below 0.2 percent, its lowest level since March 2020. A flattening or negative yield curve can be a bad sign for the economy.

What Is An Inverted Yield Curve? 

In the yield curve, bonds of equal credit quality but different maturities are plotted. The most commonly used yield curve for US investors is a plot of 2-year and 10-year Treasury yields, which have yet to invert.

A typical yield curve has higher interest rates for future maturities. In a flat yield curve, short-term and long-term yields are similar. Inverted yield curves occur when short-term yields exceed long-term yields. Inversions of yield curves have historically occurred during recessions.

Inverted yield curves have preceded each of the past eight US recessions. The good news is they're far leading indicators, meaning a recession is likely not imminent.

Every US recession since 1955 has occurred between six and 24 months after an inversion of the two-year and 10-year Treasury yield curves, according to the San Francisco Fed. So, six months before COVID-19, the yield curve inverted in August 2019.

Looking Ahead

The spread between two-year and 10-year Treasury yields was 0.18 percent on Tuesday, the smallest since before the last US recession. If the graph above continues, a two-year/10-year yield curve inversion could occur within the next few months.

According to Bank of America analyst Stephen Suttmeier, the S&P 500 typically peaks six to seven months after the 2s-10s yield curve inverts, and the US economy enters recession six to seven months later.

Investors appear unconcerned about the flattening yield curve. This is in contrast to the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF TLT +2.19% which was down 1% on Tuesday.

Inversion of the yield curve and rising interest rates have historically harmed stocks. Recessions in the US have historically coincided with or followed the end of a Federal Reserve rate hike cycle, not the start.

More on Economics & Investing

Adam Hayes

Adam Hayes

7 months ago

Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff, the largest Ponzi scheme in history

Madoff who?

Bernie Madoff ran the largest Ponzi scheme in history, defrauding thousands of investors over at least 17 years, and possibly longer. He pioneered electronic trading and chaired Nasdaq in the 1990s. On April 14, 2021, he died while serving a 150-year sentence for money laundering, securities fraud, and other crimes.

Understanding Madoff

Madoff claimed to generate large, steady returns through a trading strategy called split-strike conversion, but he simply deposited client funds into a single bank account and paid out existing clients. He funded redemptions by attracting new investors and their capital, but the market crashed in late 2008. He confessed to his sons, who worked at his firm, on Dec. 10, 2008. Next day, they turned him in. The fund reported $64.8 billion in client assets.

Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felony counts, including securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, perjury, and money laundering. Ponzi scheme became a symbol of Wall Street's greed and dishonesty before the financial crisis. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $170 billion, but no other Wall Street figures faced legal ramifications.

Bernie Madoff's Brief Biography

Bernie Madoff was born in Queens, New York, on April 29, 1938. He began dating Ruth (née Alpern) when they were teenagers. Madoff told a journalist by phone from prison that his father's sporting goods store went bankrupt during the Korean War: "You watch your father, who you idolize, build a big business and then lose everything." Madoff was determined to achieve "lasting success" like his father "whatever it took," but his career had ups and downs.

Early Madoff investments

At 22, he started Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. First, he traded penny stocks with $5,000 he earned installing sprinklers and as a lifeguard. Family and friends soon invested with him. Madoff's bets soured after the "Kennedy Slide" in 1962, and his father-in-law had to bail him out.

Madoff felt he wasn't part of the Wall Street in-crowd. "We weren't NYSE members," he told Fishman. "It's obvious." According to Madoff, he was a scrappy market maker. "I was happy to take the crumbs," he told Fishman, citing a client who wanted to sell eight bonds; a bigger firm would turn it down.

Recognition

Success came when he and his brother Peter built electronic trading capabilities, or "artificial intelligence," that attracted massive order flow and provided market insights. "I had all these major banks coming down, entertaining me," Madoff told Fishman. "It was mind-bending."

By the late 1980s, he and four other Wall Street mainstays processed half of the NYSE's order flow. Controversially, he paid for much of it, and by the late 1980s, Madoff was making in the vicinity of $100 million a year.  He was Nasdaq chairman from 1990 to 1993.

Madoff's Ponzi scheme

It is not certain exactly when Madoff's Ponzi scheme began. He testified in court that it began in 1991, but his account manager, Frank DiPascali, had been at the firm since 1975.

Why Madoff did the scheme is unclear. "I had enough money to support my family's lifestyle. "I don't know why," he told Fishman." Madoff could have won Wall Street's respect as a market maker and electronic trading pioneer.

Madoff told Fishman he wasn't solely responsible for the fraud. "I let myself be talked into something, and that's my fault," he said, without saying who convinced him. "I thought I could escape eventually. I thought it'd be quick, but I couldn't."

Carl Shapiro, Jeffry Picower, Stanley Chais, and Norm Levy have been linked to Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC for years. Madoff's scheme made these men hundreds of millions of dollars in the 1960s and 1970s.

Madoff told Fishman, "Everyone was greedy, everyone wanted to go on." He says the Big Four and others who pumped client funds to him, outsourcing their asset management, must have suspected his returns or should have. "How can you make 15%-18% when everyone else is making less?" said Madoff.

How Madoff Got Away with It for So Long

Madoff's high returns made clients look the other way. He deposited their money in a Chase Manhattan Bank account, which merged to become JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2000. The bank may have made $483 million from those deposits, so it didn't investigate.

When clients redeemed their investments, Madoff funded the payouts with new capital he attracted by promising unbelievable returns and earning his victims' trust. Madoff created an image of exclusivity by turning away clients. This model let half of Madoff's investors profit. These investors must pay into a victims' fund for defrauded investors.

Madoff wooed investors with his philanthropy. He defrauded nonprofits, including the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Peace and Hadassah. He approached congregants through his friendship with J. Ezra Merkin, a synagogue officer. Madoff allegedly stole $1 billion to $2 billion from his investors.

Investors believed Madoff for several reasons:

  • His public portfolio seemed to be blue-chip stocks.
  • His returns were high (10-20%) but consistent and not outlandish. In a 1992 interview with Madoff, the Wall Street Journal reported: "[Madoff] insists the returns were nothing special, given that the S&P 500-stock index returned 16.3% annually from 1982 to 1992. 'I'd be surprised if anyone thought matching the S&P over 10 years was remarkable,' he says.
  • "He said he was using a split-strike collar strategy. A collar protects underlying shares by purchasing an out-of-the-money put option.

SEC inquiry

The Securities and Exchange Commission had been investigating Madoff and his securities firm since 1999, which frustrated many after he was prosecuted because they felt the biggest damage could have been prevented if the initial investigations had been rigorous enough.

Harry Markopolos was a whistleblower. In 1999, he figured Madoff must be lying in an afternoon. The SEC ignored his first Madoff complaint in 2000.

Markopolos wrote to the SEC in 2005: "The largest Ponzi scheme is Madoff Securities. This case has no SEC reward, so I'm turning it in because it's the right thing to do."

Many believed the SEC's initial investigations could have prevented Madoff's worst damage.

Markopolos found irregularities using a "Mosaic Method." Madoff's firm claimed to be profitable even when the S&P fell, which made no mathematical sense given what he was investing in. Markopolos said Madoff Securities' "undisclosed commissions" were the biggest red flag (1 percent of the total plus 20 percent of the profits).

Markopolos concluded that "investors don't know Bernie Madoff manages their money." Markopolos learned Madoff was applying for large loans from European banks (seemingly unnecessary if Madoff's returns were high).

The regulator asked Madoff for trading account documentation in 2005, after he nearly went bankrupt due to redemptions. The SEC drafted letters to two of the firms on his six-page list but didn't send them. Diana Henriques, author of "The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust," documents the episode.

In 2008, the SEC was criticized for its slow response to Madoff's fraud.

Confession, sentencing of Bernie Madoff

Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC reported 5.6% year-to-date returns in November 2008; the S&P 500 fell 39%. As the selling continued, Madoff couldn't keep up with redemption requests, and on Dec. 10, he confessed to his sons Mark and Andy, who worked at his firm. "After I told them, they left, went to a lawyer, who told them to turn in their father, and I never saw them again. 2008-12-11: Bernie Madoff arrested.

Madoff insists he acted alone, but several of his colleagues were jailed. Mark Madoff died two years after his father's fraud was exposed. Madoff's investors committed suicide. Andy Madoff died of cancer in 2014.

2009 saw Madoff's 150-year prison sentence and $170 billion forfeiture. Marshals sold his three homes and yacht. Prisoner 61727-054 at Butner Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina.

Madoff's lawyers requested early release on February 5, 2020, claiming he has a terminal kidney disease that may kill him in 18 months. Ten years have passed since Madoff's sentencing.

Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme aftermath

The paper trail of victims' claims shows Madoff's complexity and size. Documents show Madoff's scam began in the 1960s. His final account statements show $47 billion in "profit" from fake trades and shady accounting.

Thousands of investors lost their life savings, and multiple stories detail their harrowing loss.

Irving Picard, a New York lawyer overseeing Madoff's bankruptcy, has helped investors. By December 2018, Picard had recovered $13.3 billion from Ponzi scheme profiteers.

A Madoff Victim Fund (MVF) was created in 2013 to help compensate Madoff's victims, but the DOJ didn't start paying out the $4 billion until late 2017. Richard Breeden, a former SEC chair who oversees the fund, said thousands of claims were from "indirect investors"

Breeden and his team had to reject many claims because they weren't direct victims. Breeden said he based most of his decisions on one simple rule: Did the person invest more than they withdrew? Breeden estimated 11,000 "feeder" investors.

Breeden wrote in a November 2018 update for the Madoff Victim Fund, "We've paid over 27,300 victims 56.65% of their losses, with thousands more to come." In December 2018, 37,011 Madoff victims in the U.S. and around the world received over $2.7 billion. Breeden said the fund expected to make "at least one more significant distribution in 2019"


This post is a summary. Read full article here

Sofien Kaabar, CFA

Sofien Kaabar, CFA

1 month ago

How to Make a Trading Heatmap

Python Heatmap Technical Indicator

Heatmaps provide an instant overview. They can be used with correlations or to predict reactions or confirm the trend in trading. This article covers RSI heatmap creation.

The Market System

Market regime:

  • Bullish trend: The market tends to make higher highs, which indicates that the overall trend is upward.

  • Sideways: The market tends to fluctuate while staying within predetermined zones.

  • Bearish trend: The market has the propensity to make lower lows, indicating that the overall trend is downward.

Most tools detect the trend, but we cannot predict the next state. The best way to solve this problem is to assume the current state will continue and trade any reactions, preferably in the trend.

If the EURUSD is above its moving average and making higher highs, a trend-following strategy would be to wait for dips before buying and assuming the bullish trend will continue.

Indicator of Relative Strength

J. Welles Wilder Jr. introduced the RSI, a popular and versatile technical indicator. Used as a contrarian indicator to exploit extreme reactions. Calculating the default RSI usually involves these steps:

  • Determine the difference between the closing prices from the prior ones.

  • Distinguish between the positive and negative net changes.

  • Create a smoothed moving average for both the absolute values of the positive net changes and the negative net changes.

  • Take the difference between the smoothed positive and negative changes. The Relative Strength RS will be the name we use to describe this calculation.

  • To obtain the RSI, use the normalization formula shown below for each time step.

GBPUSD in the first panel with the 13-period RSI in the second panel.

The 13-period RSI and black GBPUSD hourly values are shown above. RSI bounces near 25 and pauses around 75. Python requires a four-column OHLC array for RSI coding.

import numpy as np
def add_column(data, times):
    
    for i in range(1, times + 1):
    
        new = np.zeros((len(data), 1), dtype = float)
        
        data = np.append(data, new, axis = 1)
    return data
def delete_column(data, index, times):
    
    for i in range(1, times + 1):
    
        data = np.delete(data, index, axis = 1)
    return data
def delete_row(data, number):
    
    data = data[number:, ]
    
    return data
def ma(data, lookback, close, position): 
    
    data = add_column(data, 1)
    
    for i in range(len(data)):
           
            try:
                
                data[i, position] = (data[i - lookback + 1:i + 1, close].mean())
            
            except IndexError:
                
                pass
            
    data = delete_row(data, lookback)
    
    return data
def smoothed_ma(data, alpha, lookback, close, position):
    
    lookback = (2 * lookback) - 1
    
    alpha = alpha / (lookback + 1.0)
    
    beta  = 1 - alpha
    
    data = ma(data, lookback, close, position)
    data[lookback + 1, position] = (data[lookback + 1, close] * alpha) + (data[lookback, position] * beta)
    for i in range(lookback + 2, len(data)):
        
            try:
                
                data[i, position] = (data[i, close] * alpha) + (data[i - 1, position] * beta)
        
            except IndexError:
                
                pass
            
    return data
def rsi(data, lookback, close, position):
    
    data = add_column(data, 5)
    
    for i in range(len(data)):
        
        data[i, position] = data[i, close] - data[i - 1, close]
     
    for i in range(len(data)):
        
        if data[i, position] > 0:
            
            data[i, position + 1] = data[i, position]
            
        elif data[i, position] < 0:
            
            data[i, position + 2] = abs(data[i, position])
            
    data = smoothed_ma(data, 2, lookback, position + 1, position + 3)
    data = smoothed_ma(data, 2, lookback, position + 2, position + 4)
    data[:, position + 5] = data[:, position + 3] / data[:, position + 4]
    
    data[:, position + 6] = (100 - (100 / (1 + data[:, position + 5])))
    data = delete_column(data, position, 6)
    data = delete_row(data, lookback)
    return data

Make sure to focus on the concepts and not the code. You can find the codes of most of my strategies in my books. The most important thing is to comprehend the techniques and strategies.

My weekly market sentiment report uses complex and simple models to understand the current positioning and predict the future direction of several major markets. Check out the report here:

Using the Heatmap to Find the Trend

RSI trend detection is easy but useless. Bullish and bearish regimes are in effect when the RSI is above or below 50, respectively. Tracing a vertical colored line creates the conditions below. How:

  • When the RSI is higher than 50, a green vertical line is drawn.

  • When the RSI is lower than 50, a red vertical line is drawn.

Zooming out yields a basic heatmap, as shown below.

100-period RSI heatmap.

Plot code:

def indicator_plot(data, second_panel, window = 250):
    fig, ax = plt.subplots(2, figsize = (10, 5))
    sample = data[-window:, ]
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 2], ymax = sample[i, 1], color = 'black', linewidth = 1)  
        if sample[i, 3] > sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 0], ymax = sample[i, 3], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] < sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] == sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
    ax[0].grid() 
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 50:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'green', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] < 50:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'red', linewidth = 1.5)  
    ax[1].grid()
indicator_plot(my_data, 4, window = 500)

100-period RSI heatmap.

Call RSI on your OHLC array's fifth column. 4. Adjusting lookback parameters reduces lag and false signals. Other indicators and conditions are possible.

Another suggestion is to develop an RSI Heatmap for Extreme Conditions.

Contrarian indicator RSI. The following rules apply:

  • Whenever the RSI is approaching the upper values, the color approaches red.

  • The color tends toward green whenever the RSI is getting close to the lower values.

Zooming out yields a basic heatmap, as shown below.

13-period RSI heatmap.

Plot code:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
def indicator_plot(data, second_panel, window = 250):
    fig, ax = plt.subplots(2, figsize = (10, 5))
    sample = data[-window:, ]
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 2], ymax = sample[i, 1], color = 'black', linewidth = 1)  
        if sample[i, 3] > sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 0], ymax = sample[i, 3], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] < sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] == sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
    ax[0].grid() 
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 90:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'red', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 80 and sample[i, second_panel] < 90:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'darkred', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 70 and sample[i, second_panel] < 80:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'maroon', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 60 and sample[i, second_panel] < 70:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'firebrick', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 50 and sample[i, second_panel] < 60:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'grey', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 40 and sample[i, second_panel] < 50:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'grey', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 30 and sample[i, second_panel] < 40:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'lightgreen', linewidth = 1.5)
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 20 and sample[i, second_panel] < 30:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'limegreen', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 10 and sample[i, second_panel] < 20:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'seagreen', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 0 and sample[i, second_panel] < 10:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'green', linewidth = 1.5)
    ax[1].grid()
indicator_plot(my_data, 4, window = 500)

13-period RSI heatmap.

Dark green and red areas indicate imminent bullish and bearish reactions, respectively. RSI around 50 is grey.

Summary

To conclude, my goal is to contribute to objective technical analysis, which promotes more transparent methods and strategies that must be back-tested before implementation.

Technical analysis will lose its reputation as subjective and unscientific.

When you find a trading strategy or technique, follow these steps:

  • Put emotions aside and adopt a critical mindset.

  • Test it in the past under conditions and simulations taken from real life.

  • Try optimizing it and performing a forward test if you find any potential.

  • Transaction costs and any slippage simulation should always be included in your tests.

  • Risk management and position sizing should always be considered in your tests.

After checking the above, monitor the strategy because market dynamics may change and make it unprofitable.

Trevor Stark

Trevor Stark

2 months ago

Economics is complete nonsense.

Mainstream economics haven't noticed.

Photo by Hans Eiskonen on Unsplash

What come to mind when I say the word "economics"?

Probably GDP, unemployment, and inflation.

If you've ever watched the news or listened to an economist, they'll use data like these to defend a political goal.

The issue is that these statistics are total bunk.

I'm being provocative, but I mean it:

  • The economy is not measured by GDP.

  • How many people are unemployed is not counted in the unemployment rate.

  • Inflation is not measured by the CPI.

All orthodox economists' major economic statistics are either wrong or falsified.

Government institutions create all these stats. The administration wants to reassure citizens the economy is doing well.

GDP does not reflect economic expansion.

GDP measures a country's economic size and growth. It’s calculated by the BEA, a government agency.

The US has the world's largest (self-reported) GDP, growing 2-3% annually.

If GDP rises, the economy is healthy, say economists.

Why is the GDP flawed?

GDP measures a country's yearly spending.

The government may adjust this to make the economy look good.

GDP = C + G + I + NX

C = Consumer Spending

G = Government Spending

I = Investments (Equipment, inventories, housing, etc.)

NX = Exports minus Imports

GDP is a country's annual spending.

The government can print money to boost GDP. The government has a motive to increase and manage GDP.

Because government expenditure is part of GDP, printing money and spending it on anything will raise GDP.

They've done this. Since 1950, US government spending has grown 8% annually, faster than GDP.

In 2022, government spending accounted for 44% of GDP. It's the highest since WWII. In 1790-1910, it was 3% of GDP.

Who cares?

The economy isn't only spending. Focus on citizens' purchasing power or quality of life.

Since GDP just measures spending, the government can print money to boost GDP.

Even if Americans are poorer than last year, economists can say GDP is up and everything is fine.

How many people are unemployed is not counted in the unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate measures a country's labor market. If unemployment is high, people aren't doing well economically.

The BLS estimates the (self-reported) unemployment rate as 3-4%.

Why is the unemployment rate so high?

The US government surveys 100k persons to measure unemployment. They extrapolate this data for the country.

They come into 3 categories:

  • Employed

People with jobs are employed … duh.

  • Unemployed

People who are “jobless, looking for a job, and available for work” are unemployed

  • Not in the labor force

The “labor force” is the employed + the unemployed.

The unemployment rate is the percentage of unemployed workers.

Problem is unemployed definition. You must actively seek work to be considered unemployed.

You're no longer unemployed if you haven't interviewed in 4 weeks.

This shit makes no goddamn sense.

Why does this matter?

You can't interview if there are no positions available. You're no longer unemployed after 4 weeks.

In 1994, the BLS redefined "unemployed" to exclude discouraged workers.

If you haven't interviewed in 4 weeks, you're no longer counted in the unemployment rate.

Unemployment Data Including “Long-term Discouraged Workers” (Source)

If unemployment were measured by total unemployed, it would be 25%.

Because the government wants to keep the unemployment rate low, they modify the definition.

If every US resident was unemployed and had no job interviews, economists would declare 0% unemployment. Excellent!

Inflation is not measured by the CPI.

The BLS measures CPI. This month was the highest since 1981.

CPI measures the cost of a basket of products across time. Food, energy, shelter, and clothes are included.

A 9.1% CPI means the basket of items is 9.1% more expensive.

What is the CPI problem?

Here's a more detailed explanation of CPI's flaws.

In summary, CPI is manipulated to be understated.

Housing costs are understated to manipulate CPI. Housing accounts for 33% of the CPI because it's the biggest expense for most people.

This signifies it's the biggest CPI weight.

Rather than using actual house prices, the Bureau of Labor Statistics essentially makes shit up. You can read more about the process here.

Surprise! It’s bullshit

The BLS stated Shelter's price rose 5.5% this month.

House prices are up 11-21%. (Source 1Source 2Source 3)

Rents are up 14-26%. (Source 1Source 2)

Why is this important?

If CPI included housing prices, it would be 12-15 percent this month, not 9.1 percent.

9% inflation is nuts. Your money's value halves every 7 years at 9% inflation.

Worse is 15% inflation. Your money halves every 4 years at 15% inflation.

If everyone realized they needed to double their wage every 4-5 years to stay wealthy, there would be riots.

Inflation drains our money's value so the government can keep printing it.

The Solution

Most individuals know the existing system doesn't work, but can't explain why.

People work hard yet lag behind. The government lies about the economy's data.

In reality:

  • GDP has been down since 2008

  • 25% of Americans are unemployed

  • Inflation is actually 15%

People might join together to vote out kleptocratic politicians if they knew the reality.

Having reliable economic data is the first step.

People can't understand the situation without sufficient information. Instead of immigrants or billionaires, people would blame liar politicians.

Here’s the vision:

A decentralized, transparent, and global dashboard that tracks economic data like GDP, unemployment, and inflation for every country on Earth.

Government incentives influence economic statistics.

ShadowStats has already started this effort, but the calculations must be transparent, decentralized, and global to be effective.

If interested, email me at trevorstark02@gmail.com.

Here are some links to further your research:

  1. MIT Billion Prices Project

  2. 1729 Decentralized Inflation Dashboard Project

  3. Balaji Srinivasan on “Fiat Information VS. Crypto Information”

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wordsmithwriter

wordsmithwriter

26 days ago

2023 Will Be the Year of Evernote and Craft Notetaking Apps.

Note-taking is a vital skill. But it's mostly learned.

Photo by PNW Production: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-wooden-pencil-beside-a-mechanical-pencil-8250935/

Recently, innovative note-taking apps have flooded the market.

In the next few years, Evernote and Craft will be important digital note-taking companies.

Evernote is a 2008 note-taking program. It can capture ideas, track tasks, and organize information on numerous platforms.

It's one of the only note-taking app that lets users input text, audio, photos, and videos. It's great for collecting research notes, brainstorming, and remaining organized.

Craft is a popular note-taking app.

Craft is a more concentrated note-taking application than Evernote. It organizes notes into subjects, tags, and relationships, making it ideal for technical or research notes.

Craft's search engine makes it easy to find what you need.

Both Evernote and Craft are likely to be the major players in digital note-taking in the years to come.

Their concentration on gathering and organizing information lets users generate notes quickly and simply. Multimedia elements and a strong search engine make them the note-taking apps of the future.

Evernote and Craft are great note-taking tools for staying organized and tracking ideas and projects.

With their focus on acquiring and organizing information, they'll dominate digital note-taking in 2023.

Pros

  • Concentrate on gathering and compiling information

  • special features including a strong search engine and multimedia components

  • Possibility of subject, tag, and relationship structuring

  • enables users to incorporate multimedia elements

  • Excellent tool for maintaining organization, arranging research notes, and brainstorming

Cons

  • Software may be difficult for folks who are not tech-savvy to utilize.

  • Limited assistance for hardware running an outdated operating system

  • Subscriptions could be pricey.

  • Data loss risk because of security issues

Evernote and Craft both have downsides.

  1. The risk of data loss as a result of security flaws and software defects comes first.

  2. Additionally, their subscription fees could be high, and they might restrict support for hardware that isn't running the newest operating systems.

  3. Finally, folks who need to be tech-savvy may find the software difficult.

Evernote versus. Productivity Titans Evernote will make Notion more useful. medium.com

Jamie Ducharme

5 months ago

How monkeypox spreads (and doesn't spread)

Monkeypox was rare until recently. In 2005, a research called a cluster of six monkeypox cases in the Republic of Congo "the longest reported chain to date."

That's changed. This year, over 25,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in 83 countries, indicating widespread human-to-human transmission.

What spreads monkeypox? Monkeypox transmission research is ongoing; findings may change. But science says...

Most cases were formerly animal-related.

According to the WHO, monkeypox was first diagnosed in an infant in the DRC in 1970. After that, instances were infrequent and often tied to animals. In 2003, 47 Americans contracted rabies from pet prairie dogs.

In 2017, Nigeria saw a significant outbreak. NPR reported that doctors diagnosed young guys without animal exposure who had genital sores. Nigerian researchers highlighted the idea of sexual transmission in a 2019 study, but the theory didn't catch on. “People tend to cling on to tradition, and the idea is that monkeypox is transmitted from animals to humans,” explains research co-author Dr. Dimie Ogoina.

Most monkeypox cases are sex-related.

Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox occurs, and sexual activity plays a role.

Joseph Osmundson, a clinical assistant professor of biology at NYU, says most transmission occurs in queer and gay sexual networks through sexual or personal contact.

Monkeypox spreads by skin-to-skin contact, especially with its blister-like rash, explains Ogoina. Researchers are exploring whether people can be asymptomatically contagious, but they are infectious until their rash heals and fresh skin forms, according to the CDC.

A July research in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that of more than 500 monkeypox cases in 16 countries as of June, 95% were linked to sexual activity and 98% were among males who have sex with men. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus encouraged males to temporarily restrict their number of male partners in July.

Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?

Skin-to-skin contact can spread monkeypox, not simply sexual activities. Dr. Roy Gulick, infectious disease chief at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, said monkeypox is not a "typical" STI. Monkeypox isn't a STI, claims the CDC.

Most cases in the current outbreak are tied to male sexual behavior, but Osmundson thinks the virus might also spread on sports teams, in spas, or in college dorms.

Can you get monkeypox from surfaces?

Monkeypox can be spread by touching infected clothing or bedding. According to a study, a U.K. health care worker caught monkeypox in 2018 after handling ill patient's bedding.

Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, believes "incidental" contact seldom distributes the virus. “You need enough virus exposure to get infected,” she says. It's conceivable after sharing a bed or towel with an infectious person, but less likely after touching a doorknob, she says.

Dr. Müge evik, a clinical lecturer in infectious diseases at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, says there is a "spectrum" of risk connected with monkeypox. "Every exposure isn't equal," she explains. "People must know where to be cautious. Reducing [sexual] partners may be more useful than cleaning coffee shop seats.

Is monkeypox airborne?

Exposure to an infectious person's respiratory fluids can cause monkeypox, but the WHO says it needs close, continuous face-to-face contact. CDC researchers are still examining how often this happens.

Under precise laboratory conditions, scientists have shown that monkeypox can spread via aerosols, or tiny airborne particles. But there's no clear evidence that this is happening in the real world, Rasmussen adds. “This is expanding predominantly in communities of males who have sex with men, which suggests skin-to-skin contact,” she explains. If airborne transmission were frequent, she argues, we'd find more occurrences in other demographics.

In the shadow of COVID-19, people are worried about aerosolized monkeypox. Rasmussen believes the epidemiology is different. Different viruses.

Can kids get monkeypox?

More than 80 youngsters have contracted the virus thus far, mainly through household transmission. CDC says pregnant women can spread the illness to their fetus.

Among the 1970s, monkeypox predominantly affected children, but by the 2010s, it was more common in adults, according to a February study. The study's authors say routine smallpox immunization (which protects against monkeypox) halted when smallpox was eradicated. Only toddlers were born after smallpox vaccination halted decades ago. More people are vulnerable now.

Schools and daycares could become monkeypox hotspots, according to pediatric instances. Ogoina adds this hasn't happened in Nigeria's outbreaks, which is encouraging. He says, "I'm not sure if we should worry." We must be careful and seek evidence.

Scott Duke Kominers

5 months ago

NFT Creators Go Creative Commons Zero (cc0)


On January 1, "Public Domain Day," thousands of creative works immediately join the public domain. The original creator or copyright holder loses exclusive rights to reproduce, adapt, or publish the work, and anybody can use it. It happens with movies, poems, music, artworks, books (where creative rights endure 70 years beyond the author's death), and sometimes source code.

Public domain creative works open the door to new uses. 400,000 sound recordings from before 1923, including Winnie-the-Pooh, were released this year.  With most of A.A. Milne's 1926 Winnie-the-Pooh characters now available, we're seeing innovative interpretations Milne likely never planned. The ancient hyphenated version of the honey-loving bear is being adapted for a horror movie: "Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey"... with Pooh and Piglet as the baddies.

Counterintuitively, experimenting and recombination can occasionally increase IP value. Open source movements allow the public to build on (or fork and duplicate) existing technologies. Permissionless innovation helps Android, Linux, and other open source software projects compete. Crypto's success at attracting public development is also due to its support of open source and "remix culture," notably in NFT forums.

Production memes

NFT projects use several IP strategies to establish brands, communities, and content. Some preserve regular IP protections; others offer NFT owners the opportunity to innovate on connected IP; yet others have removed copyright and other IP safeguards.

By using the "Creative Commons Zero" (cc0) license, artists can intentionally select for "no rights reserved." This option permits anyone to benefit from derivative works without legal repercussions. There's still a lot of confusion between copyrights and NFTs, so nothing here should be considered legal, financial, tax, or investment advice. Check out this post for an overview of copyright vulnerabilities with NFTs and how authors can protect owners' rights. This article focuses on cc0.

Nouns, a 2021 project, popularized cc0 for NFTs. Others followed, including: A Common Place, Anonymice, Blitmap, Chain Runners, Cryptoadz, CryptoTeddies, Goblintown, Gradis, Loot, mfers, Mirakai, Shields, and Terrarium Club are cc0 projects.

Popular crypto artist XCOPY licensed their 1-of-1 NFT artwork "Right-click and Save As Guy" under cc0 in January, exactly one month after selling it. cc0 has spawned many derivatives.

"Right-click Save As Guy" by XCOPY (1)/derivative works (2)

"Right-click Save As Guy" by XCOPY (1)/derivative works (2)

XCOPY said Monday he would apply cc0 to "all his existing art." "We haven't seen a cc0 summer yet, but I think it's approaching," said the artist. - predicting a "DeFi summer" in 2020, when decentralized finance gained popularity.

Why do so many NFT authors choose "no rights"?

Promoting expansions of the original project to create a more lively and active community is one rationale. This makes sense in crypto, where many value open sharing and establishing community.

Creativity depends on cultural significance. NFTs may allow verifiable ownership of any digital asset, regardless of license, but cc0 jumpstarts "meme-ability" by actively, not passively, inviting derivative works. As new derivatives are made and shared, attention might flow back to the original, boosting its reputation. This may inspire new interpretations, leading in a flywheel effect where each derivative adds to the original's worth - similar to platform network effects, where platforms become more valuable as more users join them.

cc0 licence allows creators "seize production memes."

"SEASON 1 MEME CARD 2"

Physical items are also using cc0 NFT assets, thus it's not just a digital phenomenon. The Nouns Vision initiative turned the square-framed spectacles shown on each new NounsDAO NFT ("one per day, forever") into luxury sunglasses. Blitmap's pixel-art has been used on shoes, apparel, and caps. In traditional IP regimes, a single owner controls creation, licensing, and production.

The physical "blitcap" (3rd level) is a descendant of the trait in the cc0 Chain Runners collection (2nd), which uses the "logo" from cc0 Blitmap (1st)! The Logo is Blitmap token #84 and has been used as a trait in various collections. The "Dom Rose" is another popular token. These homages reference Blitmap's influence as a cc0 leader, as one of the earliest NFT projects to proclaim public domain intents. A new collection, Citizens of Tajigen, emerged last week with a Blitcap characteristic.

These derivatives can be a win-win for everyone, not just the original inventors, especially when using NFT assets to establish unique brands. As people learn about the derivative, they may become interested in the original. If you see someone wearing Nouns glasses on the street (or in a Super Bowl ad), you may desire a pair, but you may also be interested in buying an original NounsDAO NFT or related derivative.

Blitmap Logo Hat (1), Chain Runners #780 ft. Hat (2), and Blitmap Original "Logo #87" (3)

Blitmap Logo Hat (1), Chain Runners #780 ft. Hat (2), and Blitmap Original "Logo #87" (3)

Co-creating open source

NFTs' power comes from smart contract technology's intrinsic composability. Many smart contracts can be integrated or stacked to generate richer applications.

"Money Legos" describes how decentralized finance ("DeFi") smart contracts interconnect to generate new financial use cases. Yearn communicates with MakerDAO's stablecoin $DAI and exchange liquidity provider Curve by calling public smart contract methods. NFTs and their underlying smart contracts can operate as the base-layer framework for recombining and interconnecting culture and creativity.

cc0 gives an NFT's enthusiast community authority to develop new value layers whenever, wherever, and however they wish.

Multiple cc0 projects are playable characters in HyperLoot, a Loot Project knockoff.

Open source and Linux's rise are parallels. When the internet was young, Microsoft dominated the OS market with Windows. Linux (and its developer Linus Torvalds) championed a community-first mentality, freely available the source code without restrictions. This led to developers worldwide producing new software for Linux, from web servers to databases. As people (and organizations) created world-class open source software, Linux's value proposition grew, leading to explosive development and industry innovation. According to Truelist, Linux powers 96.3% of the top 1 million web servers and 85% of smartphones.

With cc0 licensing empowering NFT community builders, one might hope for long-term innovation. Combining cc0 with NFTs "turns an antagonistic game into a co-operative one," says NounsDAO cofounder punk4156. It's important on several levels. First, decentralized systems from open source to crypto are about trust and coordination, therefore facilitating cooperation is crucial. Second, the dynamics of this cooperation work well in the context of NFTs because giving people ownership over their digital assets allows them to internalize the results of co-creation through the value that accrues to their assets and contributions, which incentivizes them to participate in co-creation in the first place.

Licensed to create

If cc0 projects are open source "applications" or "platforms," then NFT artwork, metadata, and smart contracts provide the "user interface" and the underlying blockchain (e.g., Ethereum) is the "operating system." For these apps to attain Linux-like potential, more infrastructure services must be established and made available so people may take advantage of cc0's remixing capabilities.

These services are developing. Zora protocol and OpenSea's open source Seaport protocol enable open, permissionless NFT marketplaces. A pixel-art-rendering engine was just published on-chain to the Ethereum blockchain and integrated into OKPC and ICE64. Each application improves blockchain's "out-of-the-box" capabilities, leading to new apps created from the improved building blocks.

Web3 developer growth is at an all-time high, yet it's still a small fraction of active software developers globally. As additional developers enter the field, prospective NFT projects may find more creative and infrastructure Legos for cc0 and beyond.

Electric Capital Developer Report (2021), p. 122

Electric Capital Developer Report (2021), p. 122

Growth requires composability. Users can easily integrate digital assets developed on public standards and compatible infrastructure into other platforms. The Loot Project is one of the first to illustrate decentralized co-creation, worldbuilding, and more in NFTs. This example was low-fi or "incomplete" aesthetically, providing room for imagination and community co-creation.

Loot began with a series of Loot bag NFTs, each listing eight "adventure things" in white writing on a black backdrop (such as Loot Bag #5726's "Katana, Divine Robe, Great Helm, Wool Sash, Divine Slippers, Chain Gloves, Amulet, Gold Ring"). Dom Hofmann's free Loot bags served as a foundation for the community.

Several projects have begun metaphorical (lore) and practical (game development) world-building in a short time, with artists contributing many variations to the collective "Lootverse." They've produced games (Realms & The Crypt), characters (Genesis Project, Hyperloot, Loot Explorers), storytelling initiatives (Banners, OpenQuill), and even infrastructure (The Rift).

Why cc0 and composability? Because consumers own and control Loot bags, they may use them wherever they choose by connecting their crypto wallets. This allows users to participate in multiple derivative projects, such as  Genesis Adventurers, whose characters appear in many others — creating a decentralized franchise not owned by any one corporation.

Genesis Project's Genesis Adventurer (1) with HyperLoot (2) and Loot Explorer (3) versions

Genesis Project's Genesis Adventurer (1) with HyperLoot (2) and Loot Explorer (3) versions

When to go cc0

There are several IP development strategies NFT projects can use. When it comes to cc0, it’s important to be realistic. The public domain won't make a project a runaway success just by implementing the license. cc0 works well for NFT initiatives that can develop a rich, enlarged ecosystem.

Many of the most successful cc0 projects have introduced flexible intellectual property. The Nouns brand is as obvious for a beer ad as for real glasses; Loot bags are simple primitives that make sense in all adventure settings; and the Goblintown visual style looks good on dwarfs, zombies, and cranky owls as it does on Val Kilmer.

The ideal cc0 NFT project gives builders the opportunity to add value:

  • vertically, by stacking new content and features directly on top of the original cc0 assets (for instance, as with games built on the Loot ecosystem, among others), and

  • horizontally, by introducing distinct but related intellectual property that helps propagate the original cc0 project’s brand (as with various Goblintown derivatives, among others).

These actions can assist cc0 NFT business models. Because cc0 NFT projects receive royalties from secondary sales, third-party extensions and derivatives can boost demand for the original assets.

Using cc0 license lowers friction that could hinder brand-reinforcing extensions or lead to them bypassing the original. Robbie Broome recently argued (in the context of his cc0 project A Common Place) that giving away his IP to cc0 avoids bad rehashes down the line. If UrbanOutfitters wanted to put my design on a tee, they could use the actual work instead of hiring a designer. CC0 can turn competition into cooperation.

Community agreement about core assets' value and contribution can help cc0 projects. Cohesion and engagement are key. Using the above examples: Developers can design adventure games around whatever themes and item concepts they desire, but many choose Loot bags because of the Lootverse's community togetherness. Flipmap shared half of its money with the original Blitmap artists in acknowledgment of that project's core role in the community. This can build a healthy culture within a cc0 project ecosystem. Commentator NiftyPins said it was smart to acknowledge the people that constructed their universe. Many OG Blitmap artists have popped into the Flipmap discord to share information.

cc0 isn't a one-size-fits-all answer; NFTs formed around well-established brands may prefer more restrictive licenses to preserve their intellectual property and reinforce exclusivity. cc0 has some superficial similarities to permitting NFT owners to market the IP connected with their NFTs (à la Bored Ape Yacht Club), but there is a significant difference: cc0 holders can't exclude others from utilizing the same IP. This can make it tougher for holders to develop commercial brands on cc0 assets or offer specific rights to partners. Holders can still introduce enlarged intellectual property (such as backstories or derivatives) that they control.


Blockchain technologies and the crypto ethos are decentralized and open-source. This makes it logical for crypto initiatives to build around cc0 content models, which build on the work of the Creative Commons foundation and numerous open source pioneers.

NFT creators that choose cc0 must select how involved they want to be in building the ecosystem. Some cc0 project leaders, like Chain Runners' developers, have kept building on top of the initial cc0 assets, creating an environment derivative projects can plug into. Dom Hofmann stood back from Loot, letting the community lead. (Dom is also working on additional cc0 NFT projects for the company he formed to build Blitmap.) Other authors have chosen out totally, like sartoshi, who announced his exit from the cc0 project he founded, mfers, and from the NFT area by publishing a final edition suitably named "end of sartoshi" and then deactivating his Twitter account. A multi-signature wallet of seven mfers controls the project's smart contract. 

cc0 licensing allows a robust community to co-create in ways that benefit all members, regardless of original creators' continuous commitment. We foresee more organized infrastructure and design patterns as NFT matures. Like open source software, value capture frameworks may see innovation. (We could imagine a variant of the "Sleepycat license," which requires commercial software to pay licensing fees when embedding open source components.) As creators progress the space, we expect them to build unique rights and licensing strategies. cc0 allows NFT producers to bootstrap ideas that may take off.