Scott Hickmann

Scott Hickmann

1 year ago


Welcome to Integrity's Web3 community!

More on Web3 & Crypto

Ren & Heinrich

Ren & Heinrich

11 months ago

200 DeFi Projects were examined. Here is what I learned.

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

I analyze the top 200 DeFi crypto projects in this article.

This isn't a study. The findings benefit crypto investors.

Let’s go!

A set of data

I analyzed data from In my analysis, I used the top 200 DeFis by TVL in October 2022.

Total Locked Value

The chart below shows platform-specific locked value.

14 platforms had $1B+ TVL. 65 platforms have $100M-$1B TVL. The remaining 121 platforms had TVLs below $100 million, with the lowest being $23 million.

TVLs are distributed Pareto. Top 40% of DeFis account for 80% of TVLs.

Compliant Blockchains

Ethereum's blockchain leads DeFi. 96 of the examined projects offer services on Ethereum. Behind BSC, Polygon, and Avalanche.

Five platforms used 10+ blockchains. 36 between 2-10 159 used 1 blockchain.

Use Cases for DeFi

The chart below shows platform use cases. Each platform has decentralized exchanges, liquid staking, yield farming, and lending.

These use cases are DefiLlama's main platform features.

Which use case costs the most? Chart explains. Collateralized debt, liquid staking, dexes, and lending have high TVLs.

The DeFi Industry

I compared three high-TVL platforms (Maker DAO, Balancer, AAVE). The columns show monthly TVL and token price changes. The graph shows monthly Bitcoin price changes.

Each platform's market moves similarly.

Probably because most DeFi deposits are cryptocurrencies. Since individual currencies are highly correlated with Bitcoin, it's not surprising that they move in unison.


This analysis shows that the most common DeFi services (decentralized exchanges, liquid staking, yield farming, and lending) also have the highest average locked value.

Some projects run on one or two blockchains, while others use 15 or 20. Our analysis shows that a project's blockchain count has no correlation with its success.

It's hard to tell if certain use cases are rising. Bitcoin's price heavily affects the entire DeFi market.

TVL seems to be a good indicator of a DeFi platform's success and quality. Higher TVL platforms are cheaper. They're a better long-term investment because they gain or lose less value than DeFis with lower TVLs.

Jayden Levitt

Jayden Levitt

1 year ago

The country of El Salvador's Bitcoin-obsessed president lost $61.6 million.

It’s only a loss if you sell, right?

Created by Author — Using Toonme

Nayib Bukele proclaimed himself “the world’s coolest dictator”.

His jokes aren't clear.

El Salvador's 43rd president self-proclaimed “CEO of El Salvador” couldn't be less presidential.

His thin jeans, aviator sunglasses, and baseball caps like a cartel lord.

He's popular, though.

Bukele won 53% of the vote by fighting violent crime and opposition party corruption.

El Salvador's 6.4 million inhabitants are riding the cryptocurrency volatility wave.

They were powerless.

Their autocratic leader, a former Yamaha Motors salesperson and Bitcoin believer, wants to help 70% unbanked locals.

He intended to give the citizens a way to save money and cut the country's $200 million remittance cost.

Transfer and deposit costs.

This makes logical sense when the president’s theatrics don’t blind you.

El Salvador's Bukele revealed plans to make bitcoin legal tender.

Remittances total $5.9 billion (23%) of the country's expenses.

Anything that reduces costs could boost the economy.

The country’s unbanked population is staggering. Here’s the data by % of people who either have a bank account (Blue) or a mobile money account (Black).

Source —

According to Bukele, 46% of the population has downloaded the Chivo Bitcoin Wallet.

In 2021, 36% of El Salvadorans had bank accounts.

Large rural countries like Kenya seem to have resolved their unbanked dilemma.

An economy surfaced where village locals would sell, trade and store network minutes and data as a store of value.

Kenyan phone networks realized unbanked people needed a safe way to accumulate wealth and have an emergency fund.

96% of Kenyans utilize M-PESA, which doesn't require a bank account.

The software involves human agents who hang out with cash and a phone.

These people are like ATMs.

You offer them cash to deposit money in your mobile money account or withdraw cash.

In a country with a faulty banking system, cash availability and a safe place to deposit it are important.

William Jack and Tavneet Suri found that M-PESA brought 194,000 Kenyan households out of poverty by making transactions cheaper and creating a safe store of value.

2016 Science paper

Mobile money, a service that allows monetary value to be stored on a mobile phone and sent to other users via text messages, has been adopted by most Kenyan households. We estimate that access to the Kenyan mobile money system M-PESA increased per capita consumption levels and lifted 194,000 households, or 2% of Kenyan households, out of poverty.

The impacts, which are more pronounced for female-headed households, appear to be driven by changes in financial behaviour — in particular, increased financial resilience and saving. Mobile money has therefore increased the efficiency of the allocation of consumption over time while allowing a more efficient allocation of labour, resulting in a meaningful reduction of poverty in Kenya.

Currently, El Salvador has 2,301 Bitcoin.

At publication, it's worth $44 million. That remains 41% of Bukele's original $105.6 million.

Unknown if the country has sold Bitcoin, but Bukeles keeps purchasing the dip.

It's still falling.

Source — Nayib Bukele — Twitter

This might be a fantastic move for the impoverished country over the next five years, if they can live economically till Bitcoin's price recovers.

The evidence demonstrates that a store of value pulls individuals out of poverty, but others say Bitcoin is premature.

You may regard it as an aggressive endeavor to front run the next wave of adoption, offering El Salvador a financial upside.



1 year ago

LCX is the latest CEX to have suffered a private key exploit.

The attack began around 10:30 PM +UTC on January 8th.

Peckshield spotted it first, then an official announcement came shortly after.

We’ve said it before; if established companies holding millions of dollars of users’ funds can’t manage their own hot wallet security, what purpose do they serve?

The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of centralised finance grows smaller by the day.

The official incident report states that 7.94M USD were stolen in total, and that deposits and withdrawals to the platform have been paused.

LCX hot wallet: 0x4631018f63d5e31680fb53c11c9e1b11f1503e6f

Hacker’s wallet: 0x165402279f2c081c54b00f0e08812f3fd4560a05

Stolen funds:

  • 162.68 ETH (502,671 USD)
  • 3,437,783.23 USDC (3,437,783 USD)
  • 761,236.94 EURe (864,840 USD)
  • 101,249.71 SAND Token (485,995 USD)
  • 1,847.65 LINK (48,557 USD)
  • 17,251,192.30 LCX Token (2,466,558 USD)
  • 669.00 QNT (115,609 USD)
  • 4,819.74 ENJ (10,890 USD)
  • 4.76 MKR (9,885 USD)

**~$1M worth of $LCX remains in the address, along with 611k EURe which has been frozen by Monerium.

The rest, a total of 1891 ETH (~$6M) was sent to Tornado Cash.**

Why can’t they keep private keys private?

Is it really that difficult for a traditional corporate structure to maintain good practice?

CeFi hacks leave us with little to say - we can only go on what the team chooses to tell us.

Next time, they can write this article themselves.

See below for a template.

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Matt Nutsch

Matt Nutsch

1 year ago

Most people are unaware of how artificial intelligence (A.I.) is changing the world.

Image created by MidjourneyAI user Dreamland3K

Recently, I saw an interesting social media post. In an entrepreneurship forum. A blogger asked for help because he/she couldn't find customers. I now suspect that the writer’s occupation is being disrupted by A.I.


Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has been a hot topic since the 1950s. With recent advances in machine learning, A.I. will touch almost every aspect of our lives. This article will discuss A.I. technology and its social and economic implications.

What's AI?

A computer program or machine with A.I. can think and learn. In general, it's a way to make a computer smart. Able to understand and execute complex tasks. Machine learning, NLP, and robotics are common types of A.I.

AI's global impact

MidjourneyAI image generated by user Desmesne

AI will change the world, but probably faster than you think. A.I. already affects our daily lives. It improves our decision-making, efficiency, and productivity.

A.I. is transforming our lives and the global economy. It will create new business and job opportunities but eliminate others. Affected workers may face financial hardship.

AI examples:

OpenAI's GPT-3 text-generation

MidjourneyAI generated image of robot typing

Developers can train, deploy, and manage models on GPT-3. It handles data preparation, model training, deployment, and inference for machine learning workloads. GPT-3 is easy to use for both experienced and new data scientists.

My team conducted an experiment. We needed to generate some blog posts for a website. We hired a blogger on Upwork. OpenAI created a blog post. The A.I.-generated blog post was of higher quality and lower cost.

MidjourneyAI's Art Contests

Théâtre D’opéra Spatial by Jason M. Allen via MidjourneyAI

AI already affects artists. Artists use A.I. to create realistic 3D images and videos for digital art. A.I. is also used to generate new art ideas and methods.

MidjourneyAI and GigapixelAI won a contest last month. It's AI. created a beautiful piece of art that captured the contest's spirit. AI triumphs. It could open future doors.

After the art contest win, I registered to try out these new image generating A.I.s. In the MidjourneyAI chat forum, I noticed an artist's plea. The artist begged others to stop flooding RedBubble with AI-generated art.

Shutterstock and Getty Images have halted user uploads. AI-generated images flooded online marketplaces.

Imagining Videos with Meta

AI generated video example from Meta AI

Meta released Make-a-Video this week. It's an A.I. app that creates videos from text. What you type creates a video.

This technology will impact TV, movies, and video games greatly. Imagine a movie or game that's personalized to your tastes. It's closer than you think.

Uses and Abuses of Deepfakes

Carrie Fischer’s likeness in the movie The Rise of Skywalker

Deepfake videos are computer-generated images of people. AI creates realistic images and videos of people.

Deepfakes are entertaining but have social implications. Porn introduced deepfakes in 2017. People put famous faces on porn actors and actresses without permission.

Soon, deepfakes were used to show dead actors/actresses or make them look younger. Carrie Fischer was included in films after her death using deepfake technology.

Deepfakes can be used to create fake news or manipulate public opinion, according to an AI.

Voices for Darth Vader and Iceman

James Earl Jones, who voiced Darth Vader, sold his voice rights this week. Aged actor won't be in those movies. Respeecher will use AI to mimic Jones's voice. This technology could change the entertainment industry. One actor can now voice many characters.

Val Kilmer in Top Gun as imagined by MidjourneyAI

AI can generate realistic voice audio from text. Top Gun 2 actor Val Kilmer can't speak for medical reasons. Sonantic created Kilmer's voice from the movie script. This entertaining technology has social implications. It blurs authentic recordings and fake media.

Medical A.I. fights viruses

MidjourneyAI generated image of virus

A team of Chinese scientists used machine learning to predict effective antiviral drugs last year. They started with a large dataset of virus-drug interactions. Researchers combined that with medication and virus information. Finally, they used machine learning to predict effective anti-virus medicines. This technology could solve medical problems.

AI ideas AI-generated Itself

MidjourneyAI image generated by user SubjectChunchunmaru

OpenAI's GPT-3 predicted future A.I. uses. Here's what it told me:

AI will affect the economy. Businesses can operate more efficiently and reinvest resources with A.I.-enabled automation. AI can automate customer service tasks, reducing costs and improving satisfaction.

A.I. makes better pricing, inventory, and marketing decisions. AI automates tasks and makes decisions. A.I.-powered robots could help the elderly or disabled. Self-driving cars could reduce accidents.

A.I. predictive analytics can predict stock market or consumer behavior trends and patterns. A.I. also personalizes recommendations. sways. A.I. recommends products and movies. AI can generate new ideas based on data analysis.


Image generated from MidjourneyAI by user PuddingPants.”

A.I. will change business as it becomes more common. It will change how we live and work by creating growth and prosperity.

Exciting times,  but also one which should give us all pause. Technology can be good or evil. We must use new technologies ethically, fairly, and honestly.

“The author generated some sentences in this text in part with GPT-3, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model. Upon generating draft language, the author reviewed, edited, and revised the language to their own liking and takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication. The text of this post was further edited using HemingWayApp. Many of the images used were generated using A.I. as described in the captions.”

umair haque

umair haque

9 months ago

The reasons why our civilization is deteriorating

The Industrial Revolution's Curse: Why One Age's Power Prevents the Next Ones

Image Credit: Nature

A surprising fact. Recently, Big Oil's 1970s climate change projections were disturbingly accurate. Of course, we now know that it worked tirelessly to deny climate change, polluting our societies to this day. That's a small example of the Industrial Revolution's curse.

Let me rephrase this nuanced and possibly weird thought. The chart above? Disruptive science is declining. The kind that produces major discoveries, new paradigms, and shattering prejudices.

Not alone. Our civilisation reached a turning point suddenly. Progress stopped and reversed for the first time in centuries.

The Industrial Revolution's Big Bang started it all. At least some humans had riches for the first time, if not all, and with that wealth came many things. Longer, healthier lives since now health may be publicly and privately invested in. For the first time in history, wealthy civilizations could invest their gains in pure research, a good that would have sounded frivolous to cultures struggling to squeeze out the next crop, which required every shoulder to the till.

So. Don't confuse me with the Industrial Revolution's curse. Industry progressed. Contrary. I'm claiming that the Big Bang of Progress is slowing, plateauing, and ultimately reversing. All social indicators show that. From progress itself to disruptive, breakthrough research, everything is slowing down.

It's troubling. Because progress slows and plateaus, pre-modern social problems like fascism, extremism, and fundamentalism return. People crave nostalgic utopias when they lose faith in modernity. That strongman may shield me from this hazardous life. If I accept my place in a blood-and-soil hierarchy, I have a stable, secure position and someone to punch and detest. It's no coincidence that as our civilization hits a plateau of progress, there is a tsunami pulling the world backwards, with people viscerally, openly longing for everything from theocracy to fascism to fundamentalism, an authoritarian strongman to soothe their fears and tell them what to do, whether in Britain, heartland America, India, China, and beyond.

However, one aspect remains unknown. Technology. Let me clarify.

How do most people picture tech? Say that without thinking. Most people think of social media or AI. Well, small correlation engines called artificial neurons are a far cry from biological intelligence, which functions in far more obscure and intricate ways, down to the subatomic level. But let's try it.

Today, tech means AI. But. Do you foresee it?

Consider why civilisation is plateauing and regressing. Because we can no longer provide the most basic necessities at the same rate. On our track, clean air, water, food, energy, medicine, and healthcare will become inaccessible to huge numbers within a decade or three. Not enough. There isn't, therefore prices for food, medicine, and energy keep rising, with occasional relief.

Why our civilizations are encountering what economists like me term a budget constraint—a hard wall of what we can supply—should be evident. Global warming and extinction. Megafires, megadroughts, megafloods, and failed crops. On a civilizational scale, good luck supplying the fundamentals that way. Industrial food production cannot feed a planet warming past two degrees. Crop failures, droughts, floods. Another example: glaciers melt, rivers dry up, and the planet's fresh water supply contracts like a heart attack.

Now. Let's talk tech again. Mostly AI, maybe phone apps. The unsettling reality is that current technology cannot save humanity. Not much.

AI can do things that have become cliches to titillate the masses. It may talk to you and act like a person. It can generate art, which means reproduce it, but nonetheless, AI art! Despite doubts, it promises to self-drive cars. Unimportant.

We need different technology now. AI won't grow crops in ash-covered fields, cleanse water, halt glaciers from melting, or stop the clear-cutting of the planet's few remaining forests. It's not useless, but on a civilizational scale, it's much less beneficial than its proponents claim. By the time it matures, AI can help deliver therapy, keep old people company, and even drive cars more efficiently. None of it can save our culture.

Expand that scenario. AI's most likely use? Replacing call-center workers. Support. It may help doctors diagnose, surgeons orient, or engineers create more fuel-efficient motors. This is civilizationally marginal.

Non-disruptive. Do you see the connection with the paper that indicated disruptive science is declining? AI exemplifies that. It's called disruptive, yet it's a textbook incremental technology. Oh, cool, I can communicate with a bot instead of a poor human in an underdeveloped country and have the same or more trouble being understood. This bot is making more people unemployed. I can now view a million AI artworks.

AI illustrates our civilization's trap. Its innovative technologies will change our lives. But as you can see, its incremental, delivering small benefits at most, and certainly not enough to balance, let alone solve, the broader problem of steadily dropping living standards as our society meets a wall of being able to feed itself with fundamentals.

Contrast AI with disruptive innovations we need. What do we need to avoid a post-Roman Dark Age and preserve our civilization in the coming decades? We must be able to post-industrially produce all our basic needs. We need post-industrial solutions for clean water, electricity, cement, glass, steel, manufacture for garments and shoes, starting with the fossil fuel-intensive plastic, cotton, and nylon they're made of, and even food.

Consider. We have no post-industrial food system. What happens when crop failures—already dangerously accelerating—reach a critical point? Our civilization is vulnerable. Think of ancient civilizations that couldn't survive the drying up of their water sources, the failure of their primary fields, which they assumed the gods would preserve forever, or an earthquake or sickness that killed most of their animals. Bang. Lost. They failed. They splintered, fragmented, and abandoned vast capitols and cities, and suddenly, in history's sight, poof, they were gone.

We're getting close. Decline equals civilizational peril.

We believe dumb notions about AI becoming disruptive when it's incremental. Most of us don't realize our civilization's risk because we believe these falsehoods. Everyone should know that we cannot create any thing at civilizational scale without fossil fuels. Most of us don't know it, thus we don't realize that the breakthrough technologies and systems we need don't manipulate information anymore. Instead, biotechnologies, largely but not genes, generate food without fossil fuels.

We need another Industrial Revolution. AI, apps, bots, and whatnot won't matter unless you think you can eat and drink them while the world dies and fascists, lunatics, and zealots take democracy's strongholds. That's dramatic, but only because it's already happening. Maybe AI can entertain you in that bunker while society collapses with smart jokes or a million Mondrian-like artworks. If civilization is to survive, it cannot create the new Industrial Revolution.

The revolution has begun, but only in small ways. Post-industrial fundamental systems leaders are developing worldwide. The Netherlands is leading post-industrial agriculture. That's amazing because it's a tiny country performing well. Correct? Discover how large-scale agriculture can function, not just you and me, aged hippies, cultivating lettuce in our backyards.

Iceland is leading bioplastics, which, if done well, will be a major advance. Of sure, microplastics are drowning the oceans. What should we do since we can't live without it? We need algae-based bioplastics for green plastic.

That's still young. Any of the above may not function on a civilizational scale. Bioplastics use algae, which can cause problems if overused. None of the aforementioned indicate the next Industrial Revolution is here. Contrary. Slowly.

We have three decades until everything fails. Before life ends. Curtain down. No more fields, rivers, or weather. Freshwater and life stocks have plummeted. Again, we've peaked and declined in our ability to live at today's relatively rich standards. Game over—no more. On a dying planet, producing the fundamentals for a civilisation that left it too late to construct post-industrial systems becomes next to impossible, with output dropping faster and quicker each year, quarter, and day.

Too slow. That's because it's not really happening. Most people think AI when I say tech. I get a politicized response if I say Green New Deal or Clean Industrial Revolution. Half the individuals I talk to have been politicized into believing that climate change isn't real and that any breakthrough technical progress isn't required, desirable, possible, or genuine. They'll suffer.

The Industrial Revolution curse. Every revolution creates new authorities, which ossify and refuse to relinquish their privileges. For fifty years, Big Oil has denied climate change, even though their scientists predicted it. We also have a software industry and its venture capital power centers that are happy for the average person to think tech means chatbots, not being able to produce basics for a civilization without destroying the planet, and billionaires who buy comms platforms for the same eye-watering amount of money it would take to save life on Earth.

The entire world's vested interests are against the next industrial revolution, which is understandable since they were established from fossil money. From finance to energy to corporate profits to entertainment, power in our world is the result of the last industrial revolution, which means it has no motivation or purpose to give up fossil money, as we are witnessing more brutally out in the open.

Thus, the Industrial Revolution's curse—fossil power—rules our globe. Big Agriculture, Big Pharma, Wall St., Silicon Valley, and many others—including politics, which they buy and sell—are basically fossil power, and they have no interest in generating or letting the next industrial revolution happen. That's why tiny enterprises like those creating bioplastics in Iceland or nations savvy enough to shun fossil power, like the Netherlands, which has a precarious relationship with nature, do it. However, fossil power dominates politics, economics, food, clothes, energy, and medicine, and it has no motivation to change.

Allow disruptive innovations again. As they occur, its position becomes increasingly vulnerable. If you were fossil power, would you allow another industrial revolution to destroy its privilege and wealth?

You might, since power and money haven't corrupted you. However, fossil power prevents us from building, creating, and growing what we need to survive as a society. I mean the entire economic, financial, and political power structure from the last industrial revolution, not simply Big Oil. My friends, fossil power's chokehold over our society is likely to continue suffocating the advances that could have spared our civilization from a decline that's now here and spiraling closer to oblivion.

Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio

1 year ago

The latest “bubble indicator” readings.

As you know, I like to turn my intuition into decision rules (principles) that can be back-tested and automated to create a portfolio of alpha bets. I use one for bubbles. Having seen many bubbles in my 50+ years of investing, I described what makes a bubble and how to identify them in markets—not just stocks.

A bubble market has a high degree of the following:

  1. High prices compared to traditional values (e.g., by taking the present value of their cash flows for the duration of the asset and comparing it with their interest rates).
  2. Conditons incompatible with long-term growth (e.g., extrapolating past revenue and earnings growth rates late in the cycle).
  3. Many new and inexperienced buyers were drawn in by the perceived hot market.
  4. Broad bullish sentiment.
  5. Debt financing a large portion of purchases.
  6. Lots of forward and speculative purchases to profit from price rises (e.g., inventories that are more than needed, contracted forward purchases, etc.).

I use these criteria to assess all markets for bubbles. I have periodically shown you these for stocks and the stock market.

What Was Shown in January Versus Now

I will first describe the picture in words, then show it in charts, and compare it to the last update in January.

As of January, the bubble indicator showed that a) the US equity market was in a moderate bubble, but not an extreme one (ie., 70 percent of way toward the highest bubble, which occurred in the late 1990s and late 1920s), and b) the emerging tech companies (ie. As well, the unprecedented flood of liquidity post-COVID financed other bubbly behavior (e.g. SPACs, IPO boom, big pickup in options activity), making things bubbly. I showed which stocks were in bubbles and created an index of those stocks, which I call “bubble stocks.”

Those bubble stocks have popped. They fell by a third last year, while the S&P 500 remained flat. In light of these and other market developments, it is not necessarily true that now is a good time to buy emerging tech stocks.

The fact that they aren't at a bubble extreme doesn't mean they are safe or that it's a good time to get long. Our metrics still show that US stocks are overvalued. Once popped, bubbles tend to overcorrect to the downside rather than settle at “normal” prices.

The following charts paint the picture. The first shows the US equity market bubble gauge/indicator going back to 1900, currently at the 40% percentile. The charts also zoom in on the gauge in recent years, as well as the late 1920s and late 1990s bubbles (during both of these cases the gauge reached 100 percent ).

The chart below depicts the average bubble gauge for the most bubbly companies in 2020. Those readings are down significantly.

The charts below compare the performance of a basket of emerging tech bubble stocks to the S&P 500. Prices have fallen noticeably, giving up most of their post-COVID gains.

The following charts show the price action of the bubble slice today and in the 1920s and 1990s. These charts show the same market dynamics and two key indicators. These are just two examples of how a lot of debt financing stock ownership coupled with a tightening typically leads to a bubble popping.

Everything driving the bubbles in this market segment is classic—the same drivers that drove the 1920s bubble and the 1990s bubble. For instance, in the last couple months, it was how tightening can act to prick the bubble. Review this case study of the 1920s stock bubble (starting on page 49) from my book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises to grasp these dynamics.

The following charts show the components of the US stock market bubble gauge. Since this is a proprietary indicator, I will only show you some of the sub-aggregate readings and some indicators.

Each of these six influences is measured using a number of stats. This is how I approach the stock market. These gauges are combined into aggregate indices by security and then for the market as a whole. The table below shows the current readings of these US equity market indicators. It compares current conditions for US equities to historical conditions. These readings suggest that we’re out of a bubble.

1. How High Are Prices Relatively?

This price gauge for US equities is currently around the 50th percentile.

2. Is price reduction unsustainable?

This measure calculates the earnings growth rate required to outperform bonds. This is calculated by adding up the readings of individual securities. This indicator is currently near the 60th percentile for the overall market, higher than some of our other readings. Profit growth discounted in stocks remains high.

Even more so in the US software sector. Analysts' earnings growth expectations for this sector have slowed, but remain high historically. P/Es have reversed COVID gains but remain high historical.

3. How many new buyers (i.e., non-existing buyers) entered the market?

Expansion of new entrants is often indicative of a bubble. According to historical accounts, this was true in the 1990s equity bubble and the 1929 bubble (though our data for this and other gauges doesn't go back that far). A flood of new retail investors into popular stocks, which by other measures appeared to be in a bubble, pushed this gauge above the 90% mark in 2020. The pace of retail activity in the markets has recently slowed to pre-COVID levels.

4. How Broadly Bullish Is Sentiment?

The more people who have invested, the less resources they have to keep investing, and the more likely they are to sell. Market sentiment is now significantly negative.

5. Are Purchases Being Financed by High Leverage?

Leveraged purchases weaken the buying foundation and expose it to forced selling in a downturn. The leverage gauge, which considers option positions as a form of leverage, is now around the 50% mark.

6. To What Extent Have Buyers Made Exceptionally Extended Forward Purchases?

Looking at future purchases can help assess whether expectations have become overly optimistic. This indicator is particularly useful in commodity and real estate markets, where forward purchases are most obvious. In the equity markets, I look at indicators like capital expenditure, or how much businesses (and governments) invest in infrastructure, factories, etc. It reflects whether businesses are projecting future demand growth. Like other gauges, this one is at the 40th percentile.

What one does with it is a tactical choice. While the reversal has been significant, future earnings discounting remains high historically. In either case, bubbles tend to overcorrect (sell off more than the fundamentals suggest) rather than simply deflate. But I wanted to share these updated readings with you in light of recent market activity.