Integrity
Write
Loading...
Liam Vaughan

Liam Vaughan

6 months ago

Investors can bet big on almost anything on a new prediction market.

Kalshi allows five-figure bets on the Grammys, the next Covid wave, and future SEC commissioners. Worst-case scenario

On Election Day 2020, two young entrepreneurs received a call from the CFTC chairman. Luana Lopes Lara and Tarek Mansour spent 18 months trying to start a new type of financial exchange. Instead of betting on stock prices or commodity futures, people could trade instruments tied to real-world events, such as legislation, the weather, or the Oscar winner.

Heath Tarbert, a Trump appointee, shouted "Congratulations." "You're competing with 1840s-era markets. I'm sure you'll become a powerhouse too."

Companies had tried to introduce similar event markets in the US for years, but Tarbert's agency, the CFTC, said no, arguing they were gambling and prone to cheating. Now the agency has reversed course, approving two 24-year-olds who will have first-mover advantage in what could become a huge new asset class. Kalshi Inc. raised $30 million from venture capitalists within weeks of Tarbert's call, his representative says. Mansour, 26, believes this will be bigger than crypto.

Anyone who's read The Wisdom of Crowds knows prediction markets' potential. Well-designed markets can help draw out knowledge from disparate groups, and research shows that when money is at stake, people make better predictions. Lopes Lara calls it a "bullshit tax." That's why Google, Microsoft, and even the US Department of Defense use prediction markets internally to guide decisions, and why university-linked political betting sites like PredictIt sometimes outperform polls.

Regulators feared Wall Street-scale trading would encourage investors to manipulate reality. If the stakes are high enough, traders could pressure congressional staffers to stall a bill or bet on whether Kanye West's new album will drop this week. When Lopes Lara and Mansour pitched the CFTC, senior regulators raised these issues. Politically appointed commissioners overruled their concerns, and one later joined Kalshi's board.

Will Kanye’s new album come out next week? Yes or no?

Kalshi's victory was due more to lobbying and legal wrangling than to Silicon Valley-style innovation. Lopes Lara and Mansour didn't invent anything; they changed a well-established concept's governance. The result could usher in a new era of market-based enlightenment or push Wall Street's destructive tendencies into the real world.

If Kalshi's founders lacked experience to bolster their CFTC application, they had comical youth success. Lopes Lara studied ballet at the Brazilian Bolshoi before coming to the US. Mansour won France's math Olympiad. They bonded over their work ethic in an MIT computer science class.

Lopes Lara had the idea for Kalshi while interning at a New York hedge fund. When the traders around her weren't working, she noticed they were betting on the news: Would Apple hit a trillion dollars? Kylie Jenner? "It was anything," she says.

Are mortgage rates going up? Yes or no?

Mansour saw the business potential when Lopes Lara suggested it. He interned at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., helping investors prepare for the UK leaving the EU. Goldman sold clients complex stock-and-derivative combinations. As he discussed it with Lopes Lara, they agreed that investors should hedge their risk by betting on Brexit itself rather than an imperfect proxy.

Lopes Lara and Mansour hypothesized how a marketplace might work. They settled on a "event contract," a binary-outcome instrument like "Will inflation hit 5% by the end of the month?" The contract would settle at $1 (if the event happened) or zero (if it didn't), but its price would fluctuate based on market sentiment. After a good debate, a politician's election odds may rise from 50 to 55. Kalshi would charge a commission on every trade and sell data to traders, political campaigns, businesses, and others.

In October 2018, five months after graduation, the pair flew to California to compete in a hackathon for wannabe tech founders organized by the Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator. They built a website in a day and a night and presented it to entrepreneurs the next day. Their prototype barely worked, but they won a three-month mentorship program and $150,000. Michael Seibel, managing director of Y Combinator, said of their idea, "I had to take a chance!"

Will there be another moon landing by 2025?

Seibel's skepticism was rooted in America's historical wariness of gambling. Roulette, poker, and other online casino games are largely illegal, and sports betting was only legal in a few states until May 2018. Kalshi as a risk-hedging platform rather than a bookmaker seemed like a good idea, but convincing the CFTC wouldn't be easy. In 2012, the CFTC said trading on politics had no "economic purpose" and was "contrary to the public interest."

Lopes Lara and Mansour cold-called 60 Googled lawyers during their time at Y Combinator. Everyone advised quitting. Mansour recalls the pain. Jeff Bandman, a former CFTC official, helped them navigate the agency and its characters.

When they weren’t busy trying to recruit lawyers, Lopes Lara and Mansour were meeting early-stage investors. Alfred Lin of Sequoia Capital Operations LLC backed Airbnb, DoorDash, and Uber Technologies. Lin told the founders their idea could capitalize on retail trading and challenge how the financial world manages risk. "Come back with regulatory approval," he said.

In the US, even small bets on most events were once illegal. Under the Commodity Exchange Act, the CFTC can stop exchanges from listing contracts relating to "terrorism, assassination, war" and "gaming" if they are "contrary to the public interest," which was often the case.

Will subway ridership return to normal? Yes or no?

In 1988, as academic interest in the field grew, the agency allowed the University of Iowa to set up a prediction market for research purposes, as long as it didn't make a profit or advertise and limited bets to $500. PredictIt, the biggest and best-known political betting platform in the US, also got an exemption thanks to an association with Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Today, it's a sprawling marketplace with its own subculture and lingo. PredictIt users call it "Rules Cuck Panther" when they lose on a technicality. Major news outlets cite PredictIt's odds on Discord and the Star Spangled Gamblers podcast.

CFTC limits PredictIt bets to $850. To keep traders happy, PredictIt will often run multiple variations of the same question, listing separate contracts for two dozen Democratic primary candidates, for example. A trader could have more than $10,000 riding on a single outcome. Some of the site's traders are current or former campaign staffers who can answer questions like "How many tweets will Donald Trump post from Nov. 20 to 27?" and "When will Anthony Scaramucci's role as White House communications director end?"

According to PredictIt co-founder John Phillips, politicians help explain the site's accuracy. "Prediction markets work well and are accurate because they attract people with superior information," he said in a 2016 podcast. “In the financial stock market, it’s called inside information.”

Will Build Back Better pass? Yes or no?

Trading on nonpublic information is illegal outside of academia, which presented a dilemma for Lopes Lara and Mansour. Kalshi's forecasts needed to be accurate. Kalshi must eliminate insider trading as a regulated entity. Lopes Lara and Mansour wanted to build a high-stakes PredictIt without the anarchy or blurred legal lines—a "New York Stock Exchange for Events." First, they had to convince regulators event trading was safe.

When Lopes Lara and Mansour approached the CFTC in the spring of 2019, some officials in the Division of Market Oversight were skeptical, according to interviews with people involved in the process. For all Kalshi's talk of revolutionizing finance, this was just a turbocharged version of something that had been rejected before.

The DMO couldn't see the big picture. The staff review was supposed to ensure Kalshi could complete a checklist, "23 Core Principles of a Designated Contract Market," which included keeping good records and having enough money. The five commissioners decide. With Trump as president, three of them were ideologically pro-market.

Lopes Lara, Mansour, and their lawyer Bandman, an ex-CFTC official, answered the DMO's questions while lobbying the commissioners on Zoom about the potential of event markets to mitigate risks and make better decisions. Before each meeting, they would write a script and memorize it word for word.

Will student debt be forgiven? Yes or no?

Several prediction markets that hadn't sought regulatory approval bolstered Kalshi's case. Polymarket let customers bet hundreds of thousands of dollars anonymously using cryptocurrencies, making it hard to track. Augur, which facilitates private wagers between parties using blockchain, couldn't regulate bets and hadn't stopped users from betting on assassinations. Kalshi, by comparison, argued it was doing everything right. (The CFTC fined Polymarket $1.4 million for operating an unlicensed exchange in January 2022. Polymarket says it's now compliant and excited to pioneer smart contract-based financial solutions with regulators.

Kalshi was approved unanimously despite some DMO members' concerns about event contracts' riskiness. "Once they check all the boxes, they're in," says a CFTC insider.

Three months after CFTC approval, Kalshi announced funding from Sequoia, Charles Schwab, and Henry Kravis. Sequoia's Lin, who joined the board, said Tarek, Luana, and team created a new way to invest and engage with the world.

The CFTC hadn't asked what markets the exchange planned to run since. After approval, Lopes Lara and Mansour had the momentum. Kalshi's March list of 30 proposed contracts caused chaos at the DMO. The division handles exchanges that create two or three new markets a year. Kalshi’s business model called for new ones practically every day.

Uncontroversial proposals included weather and GDP questions. Others, on the initial list and later, were concerning. DMO officials feared Covid-19 contracts amounted to gambling on human suffering, which is why war and terrorism markets are banned. (Similar logic doomed ex-admiral John Poindexter's Policy Analysis Market, a Bush-era plan to uncover intelligence by having security analysts bet on Middle East events.) Regulators didn't see how predicting the Grammy winners was different from betting on the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. Who, other than John Legend, would need to hedge the best R&B album winner?

Event contracts raised new questions for the DMO's product review team. Regulators could block gaming contracts that weren't in the public interest under the Commodity Exchange Act, but no one had defined gaming. It was unclear whether the CFTC had a right or an obligation to consider whether a contract was in the public interest. How was it to determine public interest? Another person familiar with the CFTC review says, "It was a mess." The agency didn't comment.

CFTC staff feared some event contracts could be cheated. Kalshi wanted to run a bee-endangerment market. The DMO pushed back, saying it saw two problems symptomatic of the asset class: traders could press government officials for information, and officials could delay adding the insects to the list to cash in.

The idea that traders might manipulate prediction markets wasn't paranoid. In 2013, academics David Rothschild and Rajiv Sethi found that an unidentified party lost $7 million buying Mitt Romney contracts on Intrade, a now-defunct, unlicensed Irish platform, in the runup to the 2012 election. The authors speculated that the trader, whom they dubbed the “Romney Whale,” may have been looking to boost morale and keep donations coming in.

Kalshi said manipulation and insider trading are risks for any market. It built a surveillance system and said it would hire a team to monitor it. "People trade on events all the time—they just use options and other instruments. This brings everything into the open, Mansour says. Kalshi didn't include election contracts, a red line for CFTC Democrats.

Lopes Lara and Mansour were ready to launch kalshi.com that summer, but the DMO blocked them. Product reviewers were frustrated by spending half their time on an exchange that represented a tiny portion of the derivatives market. Lopes Lara and Mansour pressed politically appointed commissioners during the impasse.

Tarbert, the chairman, had moved on, but Kalshi found a new supporter in Republican Brian Quintenz, a crypto-loving former hedge fund manager. He was unmoved by the DMO's concerns, arguing that speculation on Kalshi's proposed events was desirable and the agency had no legal standing to prevent it. He supported a failed bid to allow NFL futures earlier this year. Others on the commission were cautious but supportive. Given the law's ambiguity, they worried they'd be on shaky ground if Kalshi sued if they blocked a contract. Without a permanent chairman, the agency lacked leadership.

To block a contract, DMO staff needed a majority of commissioners' support, which they didn't have in all but a few cases. "We didn't have the votes," a reviewer says, paraphrasing Hamilton. By the second half of 2021, new contract requests were arriving almost daily at the DMO, and the demoralized and overrun division eventually accepted defeat and stopped fighting back. By the end of the year, three senior DMO officials had left the agency, making it easier for Kalshi to list its contracts unimpeded.

Today, Kalshi is growing. 32 employees work in a SoHo office with big windows and exposed brick. Quintenz, who left the CFTC 10 months after Kalshi was approved, is on its board. He joined because he was interested in the market's hedging and risk management opportunities.

Mid-May, the company's website had 75 markets, such as "Will Q4 GDP be negative?" Will NASA land on the moon by 2025? The exchange recently reached 2 million weekly contracts, a jump from where it started but still a small number compared to other futures exchanges. Early adopters are PredictIt and Polymarket fans. Bets on the site are currently capped at $25,000, but Kalshi hopes to increase that to $100,000 and beyond.

With the regulatory drawbridge down, Lopes Lara and Mansour must move quickly. Chicago's CME Group Inc. plans to offer index-linked event contracts. Kalshi will release a smartphone app to attract customers. After that, it hopes to partner with a big brokerage. Sequoia is a major investor in Robinhood Markets Inc. Robinhood users could have access to Kalshi so that after buying GameStop Corp. shares, they'd be prompted to bet on the Oscars or the next Fed commissioner.

Some, like Illinois Democrat Sean Casten, accuse Robinhood and its competitors of gamifying trading to encourage addiction, but Kalshi doesn't seem worried. Mansour says Kalshi's customers can't bet more than they've deposited, making debt difficult. Eventually, he may introduce leveraged bets.

Tension over event contracts recalls another CFTC episode. Brooksley Born proposed regulating the financial derivatives market in 1994. Alan Greenspan and others in the government opposed her, saying it would stifle innovation and push capital overseas. Unrestrained, derivatives grew into a trillion-dollar industry until 2008, when they sparked the financial crisis.

Today, with a midterm election looming, it seems reasonable to ask whether Kalshi plans to get involved. Elections have historically been the biggest draw in prediction markets, with 125 million shares traded on PredictIt for 2020. “We can’t discuss specifics,” Mansour says. “All I can say is, you know, we’re always working on expanding the universe of things that people can trade on.”

Any election contracts would need CFTC approval, which may be difficult with three Democratic commissioners. A Republican president would change the equation.

More on Economics & Investing

Ben Carlson

Ben Carlson

4 months ago

Bear market duration and how to invest during one

Bear markets don't last forever, but that's hard to remember. Jamie Cullen's illustration

A bear market is a 20% decline from peak to trough in stock prices.

The S&P 500 was down 24% from its January highs at its low point this year. Bear market.

The U.S. stock market has had 13 bear markets since WWII (including the current one). Previous 12 bear markets averaged –32.7% losses. From peak to trough, the stock market averaged 12 months. The average time from bottom to peak was 21 months.

In the past seven decades, a bear market roundtrip to breakeven has averaged less than three years.

Long-term averages can vary widely, as with all historical market data. Investors can learn from past market crashes.

Historical bear markets offer lessons.

Bear market duration

A bear market can cost investors money and time. Most of the pain comes from stock market declines, but bear markets can be long.

Here are the longest U.S. stock bear markets since World war 2:

Stock market crashes can make it difficult to break even. After the 2008 financial crisis, the stock market took 4.5 years to recover. After the dotcom bubble burst, it took seven years to break even.

The longer you're underwater in the market, the more suffering you'll experience, according to research. Suffering can lead to selling at the wrong time.

Bear markets require patience because stocks can take a long time to recover.

Stock crash recovery

Bear markets can end quickly. The Corona Crash in early 2020 is an example.

The S&P 500 fell 34% in 23 trading sessions, the fastest bear market from a high in 90 years. The entire crash lasted one month. Stocks broke even six months after bottoming. Stocks rose 100% from those lows in 15 months.

Seven bear markets have lasted two years or less since 1945.

The 2020 recovery was an outlier, but four other bear markets have made investors whole within 18 months.

During a bear market, you don't know if it will end quickly or feel like death by a thousand cuts.

Recessions vs. bear markets

Many people believe the U.S. economy is in or heading for a recession.

I agree. Four-decade high inflation. Since 1945, inflation has exceeded 5% nine times. Each inflationary spike caused a recession. Only slowing economic demand seems to stop price spikes.

This could happen again. Stocks seem to be pricing in a recession.

Recessions almost always cause a bear market, but a bear market doesn't always equal a recession. In 1946, the stock market fell 27% without a recession in sight. Without an economic slowdown, the stock market fell 22% in 1966. Black Monday in 1987 was the most famous stock market crash without a recession. Stocks fell 30% in less than a week. Many believed the stock market signaled a depression. The crash caused no slowdown.

Economic cycles are hard to predict. Even Wall Street makes mistakes.

Bears vs. bulls

Bear markets for U.S. stocks always end. Every stock market crash in U.S. history has been followed by new all-time highs.

How should investors view the recession? Investing risk is subjective.

You don't have as long to wait out a bear market if you're retired or nearing retirement. Diversification and liquidity help investors with limited time or income. Cash and short-term bonds drag down long-term returns but can ensure short-term spending.

Young people with years or decades ahead of them should view this bear market as an opportunity. Stock market crashes are good for net savers in the future. They let you buy cheap stocks with high dividend yields.

You need discipline, patience, and planning to buy stocks when it doesn't feel right.

Bear markets aren't fun because no one likes seeing their portfolio fall. But stock market downturns are a feature, not a bug. If stocks never crashed, they wouldn't offer such great long-term returns.

Thomas Huault

Thomas Huault

2 months ago

A Mean Reversion Trading Indicator Inspired by Classical Mechanics Is The Kinetic Detrender

DATA MINING WITH SUPERALGORES

Old pots produce the best soup.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Science has always inspired indicator design. From physics to signal processing, many indicators use concepts from mechanical engineering, electronics, and probability. In Superalgos' Data Mining section, we've explored using thermodynamics and information theory to construct indicators and using statistical and probabilistic techniques like reduced normal law to take advantage of low probability events.

An asset's price is like a mechanical object revolving around its moving average. Using this approach, we could design an indicator using the oscillator's Total Energy. An oscillator's energy is finite and constant. Since we don't expect the price to follow the harmonic oscillator, this energy should deviate from the perfect situation, and the maximum of divergence may provide us valuable information on the price's moving average.

Definition of the Harmonic Oscillator in Few Words

Sinusoidal function describes a harmonic oscillator. The time-constant energy equation for a harmonic oscillator is:

With

Time saves energy.

In a mechanical harmonic oscillator, total energy equals kinetic energy plus potential energy. The formula for energy is the same for every kind of harmonic oscillator; only the terms of total energy must be adapted to fit the relevant units. Each oscillator has a velocity component (kinetic energy) and a position to equilibrium component (potential energy).

The Price Oscillator and the Energy Formula

Considering the harmonic oscillator definition, we must specify kinetic and potential components for our price oscillator. We define oscillator velocity as the rate of change and equilibrium position as the price's distance from its moving average.

Price kinetic energy:

It's like:

With

and

L is the number of periods for the rate of change calculation and P for the close price EMA calculation.

Total price oscillator energy =

Given that an asset's price can theoretically vary at a limitless speed and be endlessly far from its moving average, we don't expect this formula's outcome to be constrained. We'll normalize it using Z-Score for convenience of usage and readability, which also allows probabilistic interpretation.

Over 20 periods, we'll calculate E's moving average and standard deviation.

We calculated Z on BTC/USDT with L = 10 and P = 21 using Knime Analytics.

The graph is detrended. We added two horizontal lines at +/- 1.6 to construct a 94.5% probability zone based on reduced normal law tables. Price cycles to its moving average oscillate clearly. Red and green arrows illustrate where the oscillator crosses the top and lower limits, corresponding to the maximum/minimum price oscillation. Since the results seem noisy, we may apply a non-lagging low-pass or multipole filter like Butterworth or Laguerre filters and employ dynamic bands at a multiple of Z's standard deviation instead of fixed levels.

Kinetic Detrender Implementation in Superalgos

The Superalgos Kinetic detrender features fixed upper and lower levels and dynamic volatility bands.

The code is pretty basic and does not require a huge amount of code lines.

It starts with the standard definitions of the candle pointer and the constant declaration :

let candle = record.current
let len = 10
let P = 21
let T = 20
let up = 1.6
let low = 1.6

Upper and lower dynamic volatility band constants are up and low.

We proceed to the initialization of the previous value for EMA :

if (variable.prevEMA === undefined) {
    variable.prevEMA = candle.close
}

And the calculation of EMA with a function (it is worth noticing the function is declared at the end of the code snippet in Superalgos) :

variable.ema = calculateEMA(P, candle.close, variable.prevEMA)
//EMA calculation
function calculateEMA(periods, price, previousEMA) {
    let k = 2 / (periods + 1)
    return price * k + previousEMA * (1 - k)
}

The rate of change is calculated by first storing the right amount of close price values and proceeding to the calculation by dividing the current close price by the first member of the close price array:

variable.allClose.push(candle.close)
if (variable.allClose.length > len) {
    variable.allClose.splice(0, 1)
}
if (variable.allClose.length === len) {
    variable.roc = candle.close / variable.allClose[0]
} else {
    variable.roc = 1
}

Finally, we get energy with a single line:

variable.E = 1 / 2 * len * variable.roc + 1 / 2 * P * candle.close / variable.ema

The Z calculation reuses code from Z-Normalization-based indicators:

variable.allE.push(variable.E)
if (variable.allE.length > T) {
    variable.allE.splice(0, 1)
}
variable.sum = 0
variable.SQ = 0
if (variable.allE.length === T) {
    for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.sum += variable.allE[i]
    }
    variable.MA = variable.sum / T
for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.SQ += Math.pow(variable.allE[i] - variable.MA, 2)
    }
    variable.sigma = Math.sqrt(variable.SQ / T)
variable.Z = (variable.E - variable.MA) / variable.sigma
} else {
    variable.Z = 0
}
variable.allZ.push(variable.Z)
if (variable.allZ.length > T) {
    variable.allZ.splice(0, 1)
}
variable.sum = 0
variable.SQ = 0
if (variable.allZ.length === T) {
    for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.sum += variable.allZ[i]
    }
    variable.MAZ = variable.sum / T
for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.SQ += Math.pow(variable.allZ[i] - variable.MAZ, 2)
    }
    variable.sigZ = Math.sqrt(variable.SQ / T)
} else {
    variable.MAZ = variable.Z
    variable.sigZ = variable.MAZ * 0.02
}
variable.upper = variable.MAZ + up * variable.sigZ
variable.lower = variable.MAZ - low * variable.sigZ

We also update the EMA value.

variable.prevEMA = variable.EMA
BTD/USDT candle chart at 01-hs timeframe with the Kinetic detrender and its 2 red fixed level and black dynamic levels

Conclusion

We showed how to build a detrended oscillator using simple harmonic oscillator theory. Kinetic detrender's main line oscillates between 2 fixed levels framing 95% of the values and 2 dynamic levels, leading to auto-adaptive mean reversion zones.

Superalgos' Normalized Momentum data mine has the Kinetic detrender indication.

All the material here can be reused and integrated freely by linking to this article and Superalgos.

This post is informative and not financial advice. Seek expert counsel before trading. Risk using this material.

Trevor Stark

Trevor Stark

27 days 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”

You might also like

Matthew Cluff

Matthew Cluff

13 days ago

GTO Poker 101

"GTO" (Game Theory Optimal) has been used a lot in poker recently. To clarify its meaning and application, the aim of this article is to define what it is, when to use it when playing, what strategies to apply for how to play GTO poker, for beginner and more advanced players!

Poker GTO

In poker, you can choose between two main winning strategies:

Exploitative play maximizes expected value (EV) by countering opponents' sub-optimal plays and weaker tendencies. Yes, playing this way opens you up to being exploited, but the weaker opponents you're targeting won't change their game to counteract this, allowing you to reap maximum profits over the long run.

GTO (Game-Theory Optimal): You try to play perfect poker, which forces your opponents to make mistakes (which is where almost all of your profit will be derived from). It mixes bluffs or semi-bluffs with value bets, clarifies bet sizes, and more.

GTO vs. Exploitative: Which is Better in Poker?

Before diving into GTO poker strategy, it's important to know which of these two play styles is more profitable for beginners and advanced players. The simple answer is probably both, but usually more exploitable.

Most players don't play GTO poker and can be exploited in their gameplay and strategy, allowing for more profits to be made using an exploitative approach. In fact, it’s only in some of the largest games at the highest stakes that GTO concepts are fully utilized and seen in practice, and even then, exploitative plays are still sometimes used.

Knowing, understanding, and applying GTO poker basics will create a solid foundation for your poker game. It's also important to understand GTO so you can deviate from it to maximize profits.

GTO Poker Strategy

According to Ed Miller's book "Poker's 1%," the most fundamental concept that only elite poker players understand is frequency, which could be in relation to cbets, bluffs, folds, calls, raises, etc.

GTO poker solvers (downloadable online software) give solutions for how to play optimally in any given spot and often recommend using mixed strategies based on select frequencies.

In a river situation, a solver may tell you to call 70% of the time and fold 30%. It may also suggest calling 50% of the time, folding 35% of the time, and raising 15% of the time (with a certain range of hands).

Frequencies are a fundamental and often unrecognized part of poker, but they run through these 5 GTO concepts.

1. Preflop ranges

To compensate for positional disadvantage, out-of-position players must open tighter hand ranges.

Premium starting hands aren't enough, though. Considering GTO poker ranges and principles, you want a good, balanced starting hand range from each position with at least some hands that can make a strong poker hand regardless of the flop texture (low, mid, high, disconnected, etc).

Below is a GTO preflop beginner poker chart for online 6-max play, showing which hand ranges one should open-raise with. Table positions are color-coded (see key below).

NOTE: For GTO play, it's advisable to use a mixed strategy for opening in the small blind, combining open-limps and open-raises for various hands. This cannot be illustrated with the color system used for the chart.

Choosing which hands to play is often a math problem, as discussed below.

Other preflop GTO poker charts include which hands to play after a raise, which to 3bet, etc. Solvers can help you decide which preflop hands to play (call, raise, re-raise, etc.).

2. Pot Odds

Always make +EV decisions that profit you as a poker player. Understanding pot odds (and equity) can help.

Postflop Pot Odds

Let’s say that we have JhTh on a board of 9h8h2s4c (open-ended straight-flush draw).  We have $40 left and $50 in the pot. He has you covered and goes all-in. As calling or folding are our only options, playing GTO involves calculating whether a call is +EV or –EV. (The hand was empty.)

Any remaining heart, Queen, or 7 wins the hand. This means we can improve 15 of 46 unknown cards, or 32.6% of the time.

What if our opponent has a set? The 4h or 2h could give us a flush, but it could also give the villain a boat. If we reduce outs from 15 to 14.5, our equity would be 31.5%.

We must now calculate pot odds.

(bet/(our bet+pot)) = pot odds

= $50 / ($40 + $90)

= $40 / $130

= 30.7%

To make a profitable call, we need at least 30.7% equity. This is a profitable call as we have 31.5% equity (even if villain has a set). Yes, we will lose most of the time, but we will make a small profit in the long run, making a call correct.

Pot odds aren't just for draws, either. If an opponent bets 50% pot, you get 3 to 1 odds on a call, so you must win 25% of the time to be profitable. If your current hand has more than 25% equity against your opponent's perceived range, call.

Preflop Pot Odds

Preflop, you raise to 3bb and the button 3bets to 9bb. You must decide how to act. In situations like these, we can actually use pot odds to assist our decision-making.

This pot is:

(our open+3bet size+small blind+big blind)

(3bb+9bb+0.5bb+1bb)

= 13.5

This means we must call 6bb to win a pot of 13.5bb, which requires 30.7% equity against the 3bettor's range.

Three additional factors must be considered:

Being out of position on our opponent makes it harder to realize our hand's equity, as he can use his position to put us in tough spots. To profitably continue against villain's hand range, we should add 7% to our equity.

Implied Odds / Reverse Implied Odds: The ability to win or lose significantly more post-flop (than pre-flop) based on our remaining stack.

While statistics on 3bet stats can be gained with a large enough sample size (i.e. 8% 3bet stat from button), the numbers don't tell us which 8% of hands villain could be 3betting with. Both polarized and depolarized charts below show 8% of possible hands.

7.4% of hands are depolarized.

Polarized Hand range (7.54%):

Each hand range has different contents. We don't know if he 3bets some hands and calls or folds others.

Using an exploitable strategy can help you play a hand range correctly. The next GTO concept will make things easier.

3. Minimum Defense Frequency:

This concept refers to the % of our range we must continue with (by calling or raising) to avoid being exploited by our opponents. This concept is most often used off-table and is difficult to apply in-game.

These beginner GTO concepts will help your decision-making during a hand, especially against aggressive opponents.

MDF formula:

MDF = POT SIZE/(POT SIZE+BET SIZE)

Here's a poker GTO chart of common bet sizes and minimum defense frequency.

Take the number of hand combos in your starting hand range and use the MDF to determine which hands to continue with. Choose hands with the most playability and equity against your opponent's betting range.

Say you open-raise HJ and BB calls. Qh9h6c flop. Your opponent leads you for a half-pot bet. MDF suggests keeping 67% of our range.

Using the above starting hand chart, we can determine that the HJ opens 254 combos:

We must defend 67% of these hands, or 170 combos, according to MDF. Hands we should keep include:

Flush draws

Open-Ended Straight Draws

Gut-Shot Straight Draws

Overcards

Any Pair or better

So, our flop continuing range could be:

Some highlights:

Fours and fives have little chance of improving on the turn or river.

We only continue with AX hearts (with a flush draw) without a pair or better.

We'll also include 4 AJo combos, all of which have the Ace of hearts, and AcJh, which can block a backdoor nut flush combo.

Let's assume all these hands are called and the turn is blank (2 of spades). Opponent bets full-pot. MDF says we must defend 50% of our flop continuing range, or 85 of 170 combos, to be unexploitable. This strategy includes our best flush draws, straight draws, and made hands.

Here, we keep combining:

Nut flush draws

Pair + flush draws

GS + flush draws

Second Pair, Top Kicker+

One combo of JJ that doesn’t block the flush draw or backdoor flush draw.

On the river, we can fold our missed draws and keep our best made hands. When calling with weaker hands, consider blocker effects and card removal to avoid overcalling and decide which combos to continue.

4. Poker GTO Bet Sizing

To avoid being exploited, balance your bluffs and value bets. Your betting range depends on how much you bet (in relation to the pot). This concept only applies on the river, as draws (bluffs) on the flop and turn still have equity (and are therefore total bluffs).

On the flop, you want a 2:1 bluff-to-value-bet ratio. On the flop, there won't be as many made hands as on the river, and your bluffs will usually contain equity. The turn should have a "bluffing" ratio of 1:1. Use the chart below to determine GTO river bluff frequencies (relative to your bet size):

This chart relates to your opponent's pot odds. If you bet 50% pot, your opponent gets 3:1 odds and must win 25% of the time to call. Poker GTO theory suggests including 25% bluff combinations in your betting range so you're indifferent to your opponent calling or folding.

Best river bluffs don't block hands you want your opponent to have (or not have). For example, betting with missed Ace-high flush draws is often a mistake because you block a missed flush draw you want your opponent to have when bluffing on the river (meaning that it would subsequently be less likely he would have it, if you held two of the flush draw cards). Ace-high usually has some river showdown value.

If you had a 3-flush on the river and wanted to raise, you could bluff raise with AX combos holding the bluff suit Ace. Blocking the nut flush prevents your opponent from using that combo.

5. Bet Sizes and Frequency

GTO beginner strategies aren't just bluffs and value bets. They show how often and how much to bet in certain spots. Top players have benefited greatly from poker solvers, which we'll discuss next.

GTO Poker Software

In recent years, various poker GTO solvers have been released to help beginner, intermediate, and advanced players play balanced/GTO poker in various situations.

PokerSnowie and PioSolver are popular GTO and poker study programs.

While you can't compute players' hand ranges and what hands to bet or check with in real time, studying GTO play strategies with these programs will pay off. It will improve your poker thinking and understanding.

Solvers can help you balance ranges, choose optimal bet sizes, and master cbet frequencies.

GTO Poker Tournament

Late-stage tournaments have shorter stacks than cash games. In order to follow GTO poker guidelines, Nash charts have been created, tweaked, and used for many years (and also when to call, depending on what number of big blinds you have when you find yourself shortstacked).

The charts are for heads-up push/fold. In a multi-player game, the "pusher" chart can only be used if play is folded to you in the small blind. The "caller" chart can only be used if you're in the big blind and assumes a small blind "pusher" (with a much wider range than if a player in another position was open-shoving).

Divide the pusher chart's numbers by 2 to see which hand to use from the Button. Divide the original chart numbers by 4 to find the CO's pushing range. Some of the figures will be impossible to calculate accurately for the CO or positions to the right of the blinds because the chart's highest figure is "20+" big blinds, which is also used for a wide range of hands in the push chart.

Both of the GTO charts below are ideal for heads-up play, but exploitable HU shortstack strategies can lead to more +EV decisions against certain opponents. Following the charts will make your play GTO and unexploitable.

Poker pro Max Silver created the GTO push/fold software SnapShove. (It's accessible online at www.snapshove.com or as iOS or Android apps.)

Players can access GTO shove range examples in the full version. (You can customize the number of big blinds you have, your position, the size of the ante, and many other options.)

In Conclusion

Due to the constantly changing poker landscape, players are always improving their skills. Exploitable strategies often yield higher profit margins than GTO-based approaches, but knowing GTO beginner and advanced concepts can give you an edge for a few reasons.

It creates a solid gameplay base.

Having a baseline makes it easier to exploit certain villains.

You can avoid leveling wars with your opponents by making sound poker decisions based on GTO strategy.

It doesn't require assuming opponents' play styles.

Not results-oriented.

This is just the beginning of GTO and poker theory. Consider investing in the GTO poker solver software listed above to improve your game.

KonstantinDr

KonstantinDr

10 days ago

Early Adopters And the Fifth Reason WHY

Product management wizardry.

Product management

Early adopters buy a product even if it hasn't hit the market or has flaws.

Who are the early adopters?

Early adopters try a new technology or product first. Early adopters are interested in trying or buying new technologies and products before others. They're risk-tolerant and can provide initial cash flow and product reviews. They help a company's new product or technology gain social proof.

Early adopters are most common in the technology industry, but they're in every industry. They don't follow the crowd. They seek innovation and report product flaws before mass production. If the product works well, the first users become loyal customers, and colleagues value their opinion.

What to do with early adopters?

They can be used to collect feedback and initial product promotion, first sales, and product value validation.

How to find early followers?

Start with your immediate environment and target audience. Communicate with them to see if they're interested in your value proposition.

1) Innovators (2.5% of the population) are risk-takers seeking novelty. These people are the first to buy new and trendy items and drive social innovation. However, these people are usually elite;

Early adopters (13.5%) are inclined to accept innovations but are more cautious than innovators; they start using novelties when innovators or famous people do;

3) The early majority (34%) is conservative; they start using new products when many people have mastered them. When the early majority accepted the innovation, it became ingrained in people's minds.

4) Attracting 34% of the population later means the novelty has become a mass-market product. Innovators are using newer products;

5) Laggards (16%) are the most conservative, usually elderly people who use the same products.

Stages of new information acceptance

1. The information is strange and rejected by most. Accepted only by innovators;

2. When early adopters join, more people believe it's not so bad; when a critical mass is reached, the novelty becomes fashionable and most people use it.

3. Fascination with a novelty peaks, then declines; the majority and laggards start using it later; novelty becomes obsolete; innovators master something new.

Problems with early implementation

Early adopter sales have disadvantages.

Higher risk of defects

Selling to first-time users increases the risk of defects. Early adopters are often influential, so this can affect the brand's and its products' long-term perception.

Not what was expected

First-time buyers may be disappointed by the product. Marketing messages can mislead consumers, and if the first users believe the company misrepresented the product, this will affect future sales.

Compatibility issues

Some technological advances cause compatibility issues. Consumers may be disappointed if new technology is incompatible with their electronics.

Method 5 WHY

Let's talk about 5 why, a good tool for finding project problems' root causes. This method is also known as the five why rule, method, or questions.

The 5 why technique came from Toyota's lean manufacturing and helps quickly determine a problem's root cause.

On one, two, and three, you simply do this:

  1. We identify and frame the issue for which a solution is sought.

  2. We frequently ponder this question. The first 2-3 responses are frequently very dull, making you want to give up on this pointless exercise. However, after that, things get interesting. And occasionally it's so fascinating that you question whether you really needed to know.

  3. We consider the final response, ponder it, and choose a course of action.

Always do the 5 whys with the customer or team to have a reasonable discussion and better understand what's happening.

And the “five whys” is a wonderful and simplest tool for introspection. With the accumulated practice, it is used almost automatically in any situation like “I can’t force myself to work, the mood is bad in the morning” or “why did I decide that I have no life without this food processor for 20,000 rubles, which will take half of my rather big kitchen.”

An illustration of the five whys

A simple, but real example from my work practice that I think is very indicative, given the participants' low IT skills.  Anonymized, of course.

Users spend too long looking for tender documents.

Why? Because they must search through many company tender documents.

Why? Because the system can't filter department-specific bids.

Why? Because our contract management system requirements didn't include a department-tender link. That's it, right? We'll add a filter and be happy. but still…

why? Because we based the system's requirements on regulations for working with paper tender documents (when they still had envelopes and autopsies), not electronic ones, and there was no search mechanism.

Why? We didn't consider how our work would change when switching from paper to electronic tenders when drafting the requirements.

Now I know what to do in the future. We add a filter, enter department data, and teach users to use it. This is tactical, but strategically we review the same forgotten requirements to make all the necessary changes in a package, plus we include it in the checklist for the acceptance of final requirements for the future.

Errors when using 5 why

Five whys seems simple, but it can be misused.

Popular ones:

  1. The accusation of everyone and everything is then introduced. After all, the 5 why method focuses on identifying the underlying causes rather than criticizing others. As a result, at the third step, it is not a good idea to conclude that the system is ineffective because users are stupid and that we can therefore do nothing about it.

  2. to fight with all my might so that the outcome would be exactly 5 reasons, neither more nor less. 5 questions is a typical number (it sounds nice, yes), but there could be 3 or 7 in actuality.

  3. Do not capture in-between responses. It is difficult to overestimate the power of the written or printed word, so the result is so-so when the focus is lost. That's it, I suppose. Simple, quick, and brilliant, like other project management tools.

Conclusion

Today we analyzed important study elements:

Early adopters and 5 WHY We've analyzed cases and live examples of how these methods help with product research and growth point identification. Next, consider the HADI cycle.

Thank you for your attention ❤️
Tora Northman

Tora Northman

8 months ago

Pixelmon NFTs are so bad, they are almost good!

Bored Apes prices continue to rise, HAPEBEAST launches, Invisible Friends hype continues to grow. Sadly, not all projects are as successful.
Of course, there are many factors to consider when buying an NFT. Is the project a scam? Will the reveal derail the project? Possibly, but when Pixelmon first teased its launch, it generated a lot of buzz.

With a primary sale mint price of 3 ETH ($8,100 USD), it started as an expensive project, with plenty of fans willing to invest in what was sold as a game. After it was revealed, it fell rapidly.
Why? It was overpromised and under delivered.

According to the project's creator[^1], the funds generated will be used to develop the artwork. "The Pixelmon reveal was wrong. This is what our Pixelmon look like in-game. "Despite the fud, I will not go anywhere," he wrote on Twitter. The goal remains. The funds will still be used to build our game. I will finish this project."

The project raised $70 million USD, but the NFTs buyers received were not the project's original teasers. Some call it "the worst NFT project ever," while others call it a complete scam.

But there's hope for some buyers. Kevin emerged from the ashes as the project was roasted over the fire.

A Minecraft character meets Salad Fingers - that's Kevin. He's a frog-like creature whose reveal was such a terrible NFT that it became part of history – and a meme.

If you're laughing at people paying $8K for a silly pixelated image, you might need to take it back. Precisely because of this, lucky holders who minted Kevin have been able to sell the now-memed NFT for over 8 ETH (around $24,000 USD), with some currently listed for 100 ETH.

Of course, Twitter has been awash in memes mocking those who invested in the project, because what else can you do when so many people lose money?

It's still unclear if the NFT project is a scam, but the team behind it was hired on Upwork. There's still hope for redemption, but Kevin's rise to fame appears to be the only positive outcome so far.

[^1] This is not the first time the creator (A 20-yo New Zealanders) has sought money via an online platform and had people claiming he under-delivered.  He raised $74,000 on Kickstarter for a card game called Psycho Chicken. There are hundreds of comments on the Kickstarter project saying they haven't received the product and pleading for a refund or an update.