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Modern Eremite

Modern Eremite

1 year ago

The complete, easy-to-understand guide to bitcoin

More on Web3 & Crypto

Jeff Scallop

Jeff Scallop

1 year ago

The Age of Decentralized Capitalism and DeFi

DeCap is DeFi's killer app.

The Battle of the Moneybags and the Strongboxes (Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Pieter van der Heyden)

“Software is eating the world.” Marc Andreesen, venture capitalist

DeFi. Imagine a blockchain-based alternative financial system that offers the same products and services as traditional finance, but with more variety, faster, more secure, lower cost, and simpler access.

Decentralised finance (DeFi) is a marketplace without gatekeepers or central authority managing the flow of money, where customers engage directly with smart contracts running on a blockchain.

DeFi grew exponentially in 2020/21, with Total Value Locked (an inadequate estimate for market size) topping at $100 billion. After that, it crashed.

The accumulation of funds by individuals with high discretionary income during the epidemic, the novelty of crypto trading, and the high yields given (5% APY for stablecoins on established platforms to 100%+ for risky assets) are among the primary elements explaining this exponential increase.

No longer your older brothers DeFi

Since transactions are anonymous, borrowers had to overcollateralize DeFi 1.0. To borrow $100 in stablecoins, you must deposit $150 in ETH. DeFi 1.0's business strategy raises two problems.

  • Why does DeFi offer interest rates that are higher than those of the conventional financial system?;

  • Why would somebody put down more cash than they intended to borrow?

Maxed out on their own resources, investors took loans to acquire more crypto; the demand for those loans raised DeFi yields, which kept crypto prices increasing; as crypto prices rose, investors made a return on their positions, allowing them to deposit more money and borrow more crypto.

This is a bull market game. DeFi 1.0's overcollateralization speculation is dead. Cryptocrash sank it.

The “speculation by overcollateralisation” world of DeFi 1.0 is dead

At a JP Morgan digital assets conference, institutional investors were more interested in DeFi than crypto or fintech. To me, that shows DeFi 2.0's institutional future.

DeFi 2.0 protocols must handle KYC/AML, tax compliance, market abuse, and cybersecurity problems to be institutional-ready.

Stablecoins gaining market share under benign regulation and more CBDCs coming online in the next couple of years could help DeFi 2.0 separate from crypto volatility.

DeFi 2.0 will have a better footing to finally decouple from crypto volatility

Then we can transition from speculation through overcollateralization to DeFi's genuine comparative advantages: cheaper transaction costs, near-instant settlement, more efficient price discovery, faster time-to-market for financial innovation, and a superior audit trail.

Akin to Amazon for financial goods

Amazon decimated brick-and-mortar shops by offering millions of things online, warehouses by keeping just-in-time inventory, and back-offices by automating invoicing and payments. Software devoured retail. DeFi will eat banking with software.

DeFi is the Amazon for financial items that will replace fintech. Even the most advanced internet brokers offer only 100 currency pairings and limited bonds, equities, and ETFs.

Old banks settlement systems and inefficient, hard-to-upgrade outdated software harm them. For advanced gamers, it's like driving an F1 vehicle on dirt.

It is like driving a F1 car on a dirt road, for the most sophisticated players

Central bankers throughout the world know how expensive and difficult it is to handle cross-border payments using the US dollar as the reserve currency, which is vulnerable to the economic cycle and geopolitical tensions.

Decentralization is the only method to deliver 24h global financial markets. DeFi 2.0 lets you buy and sell startup shares like Google or Tesla. VC funds will trade like mutual funds. Or create a bundle coverage for your car, house, and NFTs. Defi 2.0 consumes banking and creates Global Wall Street.

Defi 2.0 is how software eats banking and delivers the global Wall Street

Decentralized Capitalism is Emerging

90% of markets are digital. 10% is hardest to digitalize. That's money creation, ID, and asset tokenization.

90% of financial markets are already digital. The only problem is that the 10% left is the hardest to digitalize

Debt helped Athens construct a powerful navy that secured trade routes. Bonds financed the Renaissance's wars and supply chains. Equity fueled industrial growth. FX drove globalization's payments system. DeFi's plans:

If the 20th century was a conflict between governments and markets over economic drivers, the 21st century will be between centralized and decentralized corporate structures.

Offices vs. telecommuting. China vs. onshoring/friendshoring. Oil & gas vs. diverse energy matrix. National vs. multilateral policymaking. DAOs vs. corporations Fiat vs. crypto. TradFi vs.

An age where the network effects of the sharing economy will overtake the gains of scale of the monopolistic competition economy

This is the dawn of Decentralized Capitalism (or DeCap), an age where the network effects of the sharing economy will reach a tipping point and surpass the scale gains of the monopolistic competition economy, further eliminating inefficiencies and creating a more robust economy through better data and automation. DeFi 2.0 enables this.

DeFi needs to pay the piper now.

DeCap won't be Web3.0's Shangri-La, though. That's too much for an ailing Atlas. When push comes to shove, DeFi folks want to survive and fight another day for the revolution. If feasible, make a tidy profit.

Decentralization wasn't meant to circumvent regulation. It circumvents censorship. On-ramp, off-ramp measures (control DeFi's entry and exit points, not what happens in between) sound like a good compromise for DeFi 2.0.

The sooner authorities realize that DeFi regulation is made ex-ante by writing code and constructing smart contracts with rules, the faster DeFi 2.0 will become the more efficient and safe financial marketplace.

More crucially, we must boost system liquidity. DeFi's financial stability risks are downplayed. DeFi must improve its liquidity management if it's to become mainstream, just as banks rely on capital constraints.

This reveals the complex and, frankly, inadequate governance arrangements for DeFi protocols. They redistribute control from tokenholders to developers, which is bad governance regardless of the economic model.

But crypto can only ride the existing banking system for so long before forming its own economy. DeFi will upgrade web2.0's financial rails till then.

Coinbase

Coinbase

2 years ago

10 Predictions for Web3 and the Cryptoeconomy for 2022

By Surojit Chatterjee, Chief Product Officer

2021 proved to be a breakout year for crypto with BTC price gaining almost 70% yoy, Defi hitting $150B in value locked, and NFTs emerging as a new category. Here’s my view through the crystal ball into 2022 and what it holds for our industry:

1. Eth scalability will improve, but newer L1 chains will see substantial growth — As we welcome the next hundred million users to crypto and Web3, scalability challenges for Eth are likely to grow. I am optimistic about improvements in Eth scalability with the emergence of Eth2 and many L2 rollups. Traction of Solana, Avalanche and other L1 chains shows that we’ll live in a multi-chain world in the future. We’re also going to see newer L1 chains emerge that focus on specific use cases such as gaming or social media.

2. There will be significant usability improvements in L1-L2 bridges — As more L1 networks gain traction and L2s become bigger, our industry will desperately seek improvements in speed and usability of cross-L1 and L1-L2 bridges. We’re likely to see interesting developments in usability of bridges in the coming year.

3. Zero knowledge proof technology will get increased traction — 2021 saw protocols like ZkSync and Starknet beginning to get traction. As L1 chains get clogged with increased usage, ZK-rollup technology will attract both investor and user attention. We’ll see new privacy-centric use cases emerge, including privacy-safe applications, and gaming models that have privacy built into the core. This may also bring in more regulator attention to crypto as KYC/AML could be a real challenge in privacy centric networks.

4. Regulated Defi and emergence of on-chain KYC attestation — Many Defi protocols will embrace regulation and will create separate KYC user pools. Decentralized identity and on-chain KYC attestation services will play key roles in connecting users’ real identity with Defi wallet endpoints. We’ll see more acceptance of ENS type addresses, and new systems from cross chain name resolution will emerge.

5. Institutions will play a much bigger role in Defi participation — Institutions are increasingly interested in participating in Defi. For starters, institutions are attracted to higher than average interest-based returns compared to traditional financial products. Also, cost reduction in providing financial services using Defi opens up interesting opportunities for institutions. However, they are still hesitant to participate in Defi. Institutions want to confirm that they are only transacting with known counterparties that have completed a KYC process. Growth of regulated Defi and on-chain KYC attestation will help institutions gain confidence in Defi.

6. Defi insurance will emerge — As Defi proliferates, it also becomes the target of security hacks. According to London-based firm Elliptic, total value lost by Defi exploits in 2021 totaled over $10B. To protect users from hacks, viable insurance protocols guaranteeing users’ funds against security breaches will emerge in 2022.

7. NFT Based Communities will give material competition to Web 2.0 social networks — NFTs will continue to expand in how they are perceived. We’ll see creator tokens or fan tokens take more of a first class seat. NFTs will become the next evolution of users’ digital identity and passport to the metaverse. Users will come together in small and diverse communities based on types of NFTs they own. User created metaverses will be the future of social networks and will start threatening the advertising driven centralized versions of social networks of today.

8. Brands will start actively participating in the metaverse and NFTs — Many brands are realizing that NFTs are great vehicles for brand marketing and establishing brand loyalty. Coca-Cola, Campbell’s, Dolce & Gabbana and Charmin released NFT collectibles in 2021. Adidas recently launched a new metaverse project with Bored Ape Yacht Club. We’re likely to see more interesting brand marketing initiatives using NFTs. NFTs and the metaverse will become the new Instagram for brands. And just like on Instagram, many brands may start as NFT native. We’ll also see many more celebrities jumping in the bandwagon and using NFTs to enhance their personal brand.

9. Web2 companies will wake up and will try to get into Web3 — We’re already seeing this with Facebook trying to recast itself as a Web3 company. We’re likely to see other big Web2 companies dipping their toes into Web3 and metaverse in 2022. However, many of them are likely to create centralized and closed network versions of the metaverse.

10. Time for DAO 2.0 — We’ll see DAOs become more mature and mainstream. More people will join DAOs, prompting a change in definition of employment — never receiving a formal offer letter, accepting tokens instead of or along with fixed salaries, and working in multiple DAO projects at the same time. DAOs will also confront new challenges in terms of figuring out how to do M&A, run payroll and benefits, and coordinate activities in larger and larger organizations. We’ll see a plethora of tools emerge to help DAOs execute with efficiency. Many DAOs will also figure out how to interact with traditional Web2 companies. We’re likely to see regulators taking more interest in DAOs and make an attempt to educate themselves on how DAOs work.

Thanks to our customers and the ecosystem for an incredible 2021. Looking forward to another year of building the foundations for Web3. Wagmi.

Yusuf Ibrahim

Yusuf Ibrahim

2 years ago

How to sell 10,000 NFTs on OpenSea for FREE (Puppeteer/NodeJS)

So you've finished your NFT collection and are ready to sell it. Except you can't figure out how to mint them! Not sure about smart contracts or want to avoid rising gas prices. You've tried and failed with apps like Mini mouse macro, and you're not familiar with Selenium/Python. Worry no more, NodeJS and Puppeteer have arrived!

Learn how to automatically post and sell all 1000 of my AI-generated word NFTs (Nakahana) on OpenSea for FREE!

My NFT project — Nakahana |

NOTE: Only NFTs on the Polygon blockchain can be sold for free; Ethereum requires an initiation charge. NFTs can still be bought with (wrapped) ETH.

If you want to go right into the code, here's the GitHub link: https://github.com/Yusu-f/nftuploader

Let's start with the knowledge and tools you'll need.

What you should know

You must be able to write and run simple NodeJS programs. You must also know how to utilize a Metamask wallet.

Tools needed

  • NodeJS. You'll need NodeJs to run the script and NPM to install the dependencies.
  • Puppeteer – Use Puppeteer to automate your browser and go to sleep while your computer works.
  • Metamask – Create a crypto wallet and sign transactions using Metamask (free). You may learn how to utilize Metamask here.
  • Chrome – Puppeteer supports Chrome.

Let's get started now!

Starting Out

Clone Github Repo to your local machine. Make sure that NodeJS, Chrome, and Metamask are all installed and working. Navigate to the project folder and execute npm install. This installs all requirements.

Replace the “extension path” variable with the Metamask chrome extension path. Read this tutorial to find the path.

Substitute an array containing your NFT names and metadata for the “arr” variable and the “collection_name” variable with your collection’s name.

Run the script.

After that, run node nftuploader.js.

Open a new chrome instance (not chromium) and Metamask in it. Import your Opensea wallet using your Secret Recovery Phrase or create a new one and link it. The script will be unable to continue after this but don’t worry, it’s all part of the plan.

Next steps

Open your terminal again and copy the route that starts with “ws”, e.g. “ws:/localhost:53634/devtools/browser/c07cb303-c84d-430d-af06-dd599cf2a94f”. Replace the path in the connect function of the nftuploader.js script.

const browser = await puppeteer.connect({ browserWSEndpoint: "ws://localhost:58533/devtools/browser/d09307b4-7a75-40f6-8dff-07a71bfff9b3", defaultViewport: null });

Rerun node nftuploader.js. A second tab should open in THE SAME chrome instance, navigating to your Opensea collection. Your NFTs should now start uploading one after the other! If any errors occur, the NFTs and errors are logged in an errors.log file.

Error Handling

The errors.log file should show the name of the NFTs and the error type. The script has been changed to allow you to simply check if an NFT has already been posted. Simply set the “searchBeforeUpload” setting to true.

We're done!

If you liked it, you can buy one of my NFTs! If you have any concerns or would need a feature added, please let me know.

Thank you to everyone who has read and liked. I never expected it to be so popular.

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Isaiah McCall

Isaiah McCall

1 year ago

There is a new global currency emerging, but it is not bitcoin.

America should avoid BRICS

Photo by Artyom Kim on Unsplash

Vladimir Putin has watched videos of Muammar Gaddafi's CIA-backed demise.

Gaddafi...

Thief.

Did you know Gaddafi wanted a gold-backed dinar for Africa? Because he considered our global financial system was a Ponzi scheme, he wanted to discontinue trading oil in US dollars.

Or, Gaddafi's Libya enjoyed Africa's highest quality of living before becoming freed. Pictured:

Twitter

Vladimir Putin is a nasty guy, but he had his reasons for not mentioning NATO assisting Ukraine in resisting US imperialism. Nobody tells you. Sure.

The US dollar's corruption post-2008, debasement by quantitative easing, and lack of value are key factors. BRICS will replace the dollar.

BRICS aren't bricks.

Economy-related.

Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa have cooperated for 14 years to fight U.S. hegemony with a new international currency: BRICS.

BRICS is mostly comical. Now. Saudi Arabia, the second-largest oil hegemon, wants to join.

So what?

The New World Currency is BRICS

Russia was kicked out of G8 for its aggressiveness in Crimea in 2014.

It's now G7.

No biggie, said Putin, he said, and I quote, “Bon appetite.”

He was prepared. China, India, and Brazil lead the New World Order.

Together, they constitute 40% of the world's population and, according to the IMF, 50% of the world's GDP by 2030.

Here’s what the BRICS president Marcos Prado Troyjo had to say earlier this year about no longer needing the US dollar: “We have implemented the mechanism of mutual settlements in rubles and rupees, and there is no need for our countries to use the dollar in mutual settlements. And today a similar mechanism of mutual settlements in rubles and yuan is being developed by China.”

Ick. That's D.C. and NYC warmongers licking their chops for WW3 nasty.

Here's a lovely picture of BRICS to relax you:

BRICS

If Saudi Arabia joins BRICS, as President Mohammed Bin Salman has expressed interest, a majority of the Middle East will have joined forces to construct a new world order not based on the US currency.

I'm not sure of the new acronym.

SBRICSS? CIRBSS? CRIBSS?

The Reason America Is Harvesting What It Sowed

BRICS began 14 years ago.

14 years ago, what occurred? Concentrate. It involved CDOs, bad subprime mortgages, and Wall Street quants crunching numbers.

2008 recession

When two nations trade, they do so in US dollars, not Euros or gold.

What happened when 2008, an avoidable crisis caused by US banks' cupidity and ignorance, what happened?

Everyone WORLDWIDE felt the pain.

Mostly due to corporate America's avarice.

This should have been a warning that China and Russia had enough of our bs. Like when France sent a battleship to America after Nixon scrapped the gold standard. The US was warned to shape up or be dethroned (or at least try).

We need to go after the banks and the representatives who bailed them out, again. (Source)

Nixon improved in 1971. Kinda. Invented PetroDollar.

Another BS system that unfairly favors America and possibly pushed Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia into BRICS.

The PetroDollar forces oil-exporting nations to trade in US dollars and invest in US Treasury bonds. Brilliant. Genius evil.

Our misdeeds are:

  • In conflicts that are not its concern, the USA uses the global reserve currency as a weapon.

  • Targeted nations abandon the dollar, and rightfully so, as do nations that depend on them for trade in vital resources.

  • The dollar's position as the world's reserve currency is in jeopardy, which could have disastrous economic effects.

  • Although we have actually sown our own doom, we appear astonished. According to the Bible, whomever sows to appease his sinful nature will reap destruction from that nature whereas whoever sows to appease the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.

Americans, even our leaders, lack caution and delayed pleasure. When our unsustainable systems fail, we double down. Bailouts of the banks in 2008 were myopic, puerile, and another nail in America's hegemony.

America has screwed everyone.

We're unpopular.

The BRICS's future

It's happened before.

Saddam Hussein sold oil in Euros in 2000, and the US invaded Iraq a month later. The media has devalued the word conspiracy. The Iraq conspiracy.

There were no WMDs, but NYT journalists like Judy Miller drove Americans into a warmongering frenzy because Saddam would ruin the PetroDollar. Does anyone recall that this war spawned ISIS?

I think America has done good for the world. You can make a convincing case that we're many people's villain.

Learn more in Confessions of an Economic Hitman, The Devil's Chessboard, or Tyranny of the Federal Reserve. Or ignore it. That's easier.

We, America, should extend an olive branch, ask for forgiveness, and learn from our faults, as the Tao Te Ching advises. Unlikely. Our population is apathetic and stupid, and our government is corrupt.

Argentina, Iran, Egypt, and Turkey have also indicated interest in joining BRICS. They're also considering making it gold-backed, making it a new world reserve currency.

You should pay attention.

Thanks for reading!

Simone Basso

Simone Basso

1 year ago

How I set up my teams to be successful

After 10 years of working in scale-ups, I've embraced a few concepts for scaling Tech and Product teams.

First, cross-functionalize teams. Product Managers represent the business, Product Designers the consumer, and Engineers build.

I organize teams of 5-10 individuals, following AWS's two pizza teams guidelines, with a Product Trio guiding each.

If more individuals are needed to reach a goal, I group teams under a Product Trio.

With Engineering being the biggest group, Staff/Principal Engineers often support the Trio on cross-team technical decisions.

Product Managers, Engineering Managers, or Engineers in the team may manage projects (depending on the project or aim), but the trio is collectively responsible for the team's output and outcome.

Once the Product Trio model is created, roles, duties, team ceremonies, and cooperation models must be clarified.

Keep reporting lines by discipline. Line managers are accountable for each individual's advancement, thus it's crucial that they know the work in detail.

Cross-team collaboration becomes more important after 3 teams (15-30 people). Teams can easily diverge in how they write code, run ceremonies, and build products.

Establishing groups of people that are cross-team, but grouped by discipline and skills, sharing and agreeing on working practices becomes critical.

The “Spotify Guild” model has been where I’ve taken a lot of my inspiration from.

Last, establish a taxonomy for communication channels.

In Slack, I create one channel per team and one per guild (and one for me to have discussions with the team leads).

These are just some of the basic principles I follow to organize teams.

A book I particularly like about team types and how they interact with each other is https://teamtopologies.com/.

Adam Hayes

Adam Hayes

1 year 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"


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