Bitcoin’s Rise and the Cyprus Bailout


Nations around the world are flexing the powers of their central banks, from open-ended quantitative easing in the US, to Greek bailouts in the Eurozone. This top-down approach is stretching dangerously thin, both in scope and in effectiveness. One emerging contender to upend the locus of control is Bitcoin, which demonstrates a way to decentralize this authority by sidestepping the fiscal monopolies of individual governments. The demand for Bitcoins has risen dramatically in the past few months, currently trading at well over $100 per coin, as people see a potential escape hatch from traditional currencies. There is now more than $1 billion worth of Bitcoins globally, more than the entire currency stock of 20 countries.



Bitcoin is an online and anonymous currency that can be used to make global transactions. Unlike similar services such as PayPal, the servers that support Bitcoin are distributed across the world, which makes it impossible, or at least very difficult, for governments to shut down. Bitcoins can also be used to purchase traditional hard currencies like dollars, euros or yen. These advantages are making the service an attractive way for people to secure money – almost likened to a digital, mobile version of squirreling gold away in a shoebox.

People are becoming more interested in a monetary safe haven, especially considering the recent events in Cyprus. In mid-March, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund penned a deal that rightfully incensed Cypriots and sent ripples of fear throughout international markets. In exchange for a €10 billion economic flotation device, the agreement stipulated that accounts in the two largest banks in Cyprus would be given a haircut: a 6.75% confiscation of amounts under €100,000 and a whopping 9.9% for accounts holding more.


The Cyprus legislature rejected the deal. However, on March 25, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, along with Eurozone and IMF officials, announced a new plan (which didn’t require parliamentary approval) that would preserve the tax on amounts of more than €100,000 but not on those with less. An estimated 40-80% of the value of such top-tier accounts could be lost. As many of these are held by wealthy Russians who use Cypriot banks as a tax-haven, this compromise seems to be an example of shortsighted and naïve thinking: “Well, it’s not our money being stolen, so it’s OK this time!”

Upon hearing the news, many Cypriots wanted to withdraw their savings to avoid the automatic deductions. However, the government simply closed banks for 12 days, eliminating that avenue of escape. Upon opening them again, withdraws were limited to €300 a day per customer, with some locations lowering the maximum to €100. Anyone leaving the country may only take €1,000 in cash with them. There also restrictions for how much money can be sent overseas.

This is one example of why Bitcoin is becoming so popular. These drastic and draconian measures that hope to ensure solvency are likely attractive to myriad nations facing economic stressors, the US included. Bitcoins can’t (yet!) be confiscated or shut down and they can be used by anyone, anywhere, for any reason. The anonymity the service provides also helps ensure that itchy government fingers–jonesing for their next fiscal fix!–can’t simply swipe money from Bitcoin owners.

People like Charles Schumer (D-NY) and the Drug Enforcement Agency decry Bitcoin for its utility in circumventing federal laws. This is completely irrelevant, as regardless of its form, money has always and will always be used for funding of any kind, illicit or otherwise. Their outrage is based on the idea that somewhere there is activity that they cannot control. Anything that unnerves moral busybodies is a net positive and is further reason to support crypto-currency. People own the fruits of their labor and anything that helps keep the government from snatching it away is something to be lauded. 

Bitcoin and other digital currencies are certainly nascent technologies prone to error. With the rapid increase in Bitcoin’s value, it has been speculated that the entire enterprise is a rapidly inflating bubble. The value has skyrocketed since early March, from $35 a coin to $145 on April 2. I wouldn’t be surprised if the theorized balloon eventually bursts, but I think the collapse would be due to its relatively recent emergence into the market rather than any inherent flaw in the currency. It takes time for new industries to fully adapt to its environment and clientele—just look at the Internet—but that doesn’t mean that the technology is unwanted or not revolutionary.



More than just Bitcoin, I am enamored with the idea of state-less money and better, safer ways for people to preserve their labor free of government intervention. I welcome increased competition in the crypto-currency market, which would help weed out design flaws, increase stability and ensure that users are as satisfied as possible. It would help individuals retain autonomy over their money, which is considerably better than the current central bank system, which either directly taxes wealth away or decreases its value more subtly through inflation.

Anything that helps maximize individual liberty is a good unto itself, and the cynic in me derives otherworldly pleasure from helping to deprive governments of the unjust ability to impose their will upon the unwilling. Bitcoin may not be perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction towards financial autonomy.


That’s a fiscal revolution worth celebrating.




The 5 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot


Here’s something none of you probably figured out by now: I’m kind of a hippie (cue SarcMark). Not in the no-showers and Woodstock kind of way, more like the go-green, hate-chemicals and make-things-from-scratch way. I love recycling. I’m a huge believer. At my previous workplace, shocked that there were no recycling bins in an environment that used so much paper, I promptly implemented a couple. Can we pat me on the back for that one? Let’s pat me on the back.

Recently an associate whose intelligence I hold in high esteem told me he didn’t believe in recycling. “What?!” I demanded, aghast. In this day and age, who doesn’t believe in the practice? Did he want us all to drown in our own litter? Did he never see that episode of The Magic School Bus?! He explained that he’d done some research into the matter some time ago and discovered that all the trash is sifted through anyways, since there’s money to be made in the things we carelessly toss out. Somewhat mollified, I shrugged it off and determined to do some research myself.

My own findings lead me in a slightly different direction.

Modern day recycling is an ideology that was really pushed in the 80’s, with the voyage of the Mobro 4000, a garbage barge that sailed from New York to Belize with narry an empty landfill in sight to dump its load onto along the way:

Wandering all the way from New York to North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Mexico, and Belize, no community wanted to let it unload.

This sparked the outcry for recycling and the fear that the earth couldn’t sustain all of our trash. As noble as the intention may have been, the numbers seem to tell a different story. In his methodical article, “Recycling and How It Scams American,” Darin Tripoli states:

Our biggest mistake is thinking that recycling saves energy. In actuality it increase energy use in transporting, sorting and cleaning. You cannot recycle without the latter mentioned uses of energy. It is a fact that it cost more to recycle a plastic water bottle than to produce a new one. So why do we recycle if it is at the cost our economy? Is feeling good enough of a reason to recycle? Being misinformed is one thing but I know that we do not justify doing heroin because it makes one feel good.


It cost our municipal system an average of fifty to sixty dollars a ton to pick up unsorted garbage and dump it in a landfill. It cost about one hundred twenty to one hundred eighty dollars a ton to pick up recycled garbage.

What bothered me more than the inflated costs with limited to no return on investment was thinking about how easily corporations ditched their responsibilities to the environment and foisted them onto consumers instead. Too often, we think of recycling as the greenest way to live and forget that before that should come reducing our mindless consumption and reusing what is already available. The romantic in me loves glass bottles and the practical side of me doesn’t fully understand why we stopped using them.

Heather Rogers’ excellent article in Trash (the book) titled, “Message in a Bottle” tells of how, in the 70s, corporations and bottlers convinced Americans that the onus was on us to Keep America Beautiful (KAB), rather than on them for implementing sustainable practices. The KAB campaign

downplayed industry’s role in despoiling the earth […and] was a pioneer in sowing confusion about the environmental impact of mass production and consumption.

Fun Fact: did you know the KAB campaign was

founded by the American Can Company, Owens-Illinois Glass, who invented the disposable bottle, along with more than 20 other companies who benefit from disposables? That the entire campaign was paid for by corporations shifting the responsibility for littering from the manufacturers who should be taking returns, to the public? (Lloyd Alter)

That rubs me the wrong way. I’d have no problem buying my liquids in reusable bottles and returning them when they’re empty. It’s a great practice that is not only sustainable, economical and expends less energy than the current methods, but it’s also great for building communities and instilling friendlier camaraderie among neighbors. I’d like a return to companies that understand where they fit into the circle of producer responsibility, where they can go back to creating packaging designed to be taken back (Recycling is Bullshit; Make Nov. 15 Zero Waste Day, not America Recycles Day).

Again, I’m not against the idea of recycling—in fact, I’m having a hard time raging against the dying of this light, but I believe in the words of Maya Angelou:

Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.

Although it seems daunting at first, I think the Johnson family’s model is a great one to aspire to. I first saw this video about two years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. It bears watching. I know, I know. The knee-jerk reaction to an embedded video is usually:


…but I would highly encourage it. I’d never lie to you, readers. You trust me, right?




The Magic School Bus (Recycling Episode)

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: What a Waste

Recycling and How it Scams America

Trash (Alphabet City)

Trash: the Book

Recycling is Bullshit

Money, Designed to Fail: In The Federal Reserve’s Grip

federal reserve

Batman The Dark Knight fighting the federal reserve?

Some subjects, at first glance, can be so overly daunting that even bright minds will, with glazed eyes, decide richer intellects are more capable and shrug the issue off into apathy.

For example, the Higgs boson, discovered back in 1964, is a subatomic particle so significant it may explain the very nature of existence itself, a penultimate ambition if ever there was one, yet its existence remains widely unknown nearly 5 decades later, because to fully understand the ramifications requires at minimum the knowledge gained through a PhD in theoretical physics. Also, binaural beats, discovered by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove in 1839, are sounds that, when heard, can literally induce nearly any state of human consciousness, including theta meditation, tryptamine psychedelia, and even localized paralysis with no anesthesia.

The debate on topics of this magnitude are fiercely heated, yet, unfortunately, they are held in arenas sparsely populated by a scant collection of fringe scientists and an infinitesimal handful of scholarly spectators, well outside the realms of normal societal debate. This, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, is the state of most key intellectual issues: Only the highly versed may stake a claim, and the general public offhandedly writes them off as overindulgent lunatics. However, with the massive popularity Ron Paul sparked these last 2 election cycles and the thriving Occupy Wall Street paradigm, one such momentous issue has moved from the relative obscurity of the PhD economist realm to the forefront of societal debate. This monumental issue is the abolishment of the United States Federal Reserve and, moreover, the ubiquitous zeitgeist that allows economic establishments of that nature to flourish as an international norm. Setting aside faith and politics from the holy triumvirate of taboo discussion topics, we can take a comprehensive look into money and the colossal flaw in the supposed root of evil that makes the world go round.

According to some of the forefront theorists in economics, the core issue of central banking’s nature lies in three highly interwoven rudiments: the United States runs on a fiat currency, the Federal Reserve is a private institution, and the national debt compiles interest.

Great, why do I care about the Federal Reserve?

Firstly, the massive and seemingly high-brow topic of international finance, with its overwhelming abstruse jargon, appears to be a megalithic realm of study to digest, however, when the terms are properly defined, the ideas are quite clear; of all the technical terms flippantly bandied, “fiat” is arguably the most important. A fiat currency is the antithesis of monetary stability, because all substantial elements have been removed.

This means there is no gold standard to back a fiat bill’s worth, nor silver, crops, textiles, stocks, bonds, futures, or any other physical medium whatsoever. In our current fiat system, money is valued exclusively by the faith of the public that the money has value, meaning dollars are worth something only because people accept them as an exchange medium through ignorance of its insubstantiality or by force through legal tender laws, and, therefore, it is subject to the whims of public opinion for its foundation of stability. With nefarious intentions or not, in 1913 Congress repealed the gold standard, leaving the fate of the forefront global empire at the whims of an elite troupe of financiers to dictate.  To this day, a contemporary aristocracy of money changers governs humanity’s prosperity through sheer managing of the supply of fiat currency, thus directing the fluctuations in cycles of the species, and this raw colossal power is motivated by several individual’s personal agendas. I say several individuals because, contrary to popular belief, the Federal Reserve Bank is not a government agency.

Wait, doesn’t the government make my money?

Nope. Much like Best Buy or Microsoft, the Federal Reserve is a privately owned system with shareholders spanning the globe and a foremost vector at profit. It is not, in fact, a part of the government, as the name implies. While the private Federal Reserve System operates utterly fiat, the epitome of disastrous fiscal policy, and being above state legislation, it pulls the strings of D.C. with a singular colossal unregulated power.

Let’s take a look at a simplified example: The government needs to fund a war. Instead of raising taxes, jeopardizing reelection, congress turns to the Federal Reserve central bank – the privately owned company operating outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law requesting a loan of, let’s say, three hundred billion dollars. As Federal Reserve notes are simply printed sans backing, as we’ve already seen, the lower classes are left paying for this new money’s manifestation through a hidden unregulated tax. Most know this tax as inflation. When more currency is printed, the current money loses value to compensate for the unaltered total substance on the market.Now the security that the government supplies on these loans is nothing less than the future taxable effort of the citizenry, indebting future generations into an unsanctified bondage for the sake of instant gratification. This is a hierarchical manifestation of our current credit card culture (link NSFW). Furthermore, notice the inscription at the top of any bill, “Federal Reserve Note,” detailing how that dollar actually denotes a liability, because in truth, every bill circulating is a promissory note to the overarching Federal Reserve, so every bill is worth less than worthless – negative value – and this amassing of loans is the national debt.

Okay, then what’s the National Debt?

this is the last point, and arguably the most outrageous. As opposed to being wealthier, the possessor of U.S. currency of any denomination is indebted to the Fed, lien-holder over every last cent, for the stated value, and this circulating supply of paper constitutes the national debt. The national debt and the currency we trade at market are one in the same, because the national debt is our currency.

Furthermore, the paramount issue is in the interest the Federal Reserve charges on this unsecured debt; this is the supreme crux of the matter: the Federal Reserve charges interest.

The initial loan the state takes out is the entirety of the circulating money supply, so imagine this parallel situation: A man loans a friend his car but decides to charge interest and demands an extra ten percent of his car as payment. Clearly, that would be obtuse nonsense as only the totality of the car, or money supply, exists. That means the interest can absolutely never be paid, because it is not real. Inflation only occurs when central banks increase the money supply, thus the interest can only be discharged by securing yet another loan ad infinitum. Let me see if I have this right: The only way interest can be paid on the national debt is by borrowing more money from the Federal Reserve, but that further increases the national debt, and that new money will also have interest that can only be paid by borrowing even more.

When will it end?

Never. It can’t. Worse still, in this paradigm, repossessions, foreclosures, and mass-joblessness are not only likely, they are completely inevitable. Forefront fiscal thinkers have predicted many of the economic problems of the day, sometimes years before they are widely obvious because once the mechanics are understood, the endgame is clear. With a substance-backed money system, as commerce runs, dollars change hands but the same core amount of money is always at play. Contrarily, with the interest-bearing fiat currency being embraced by the majority of the industrialized world, money is continually siphoned out to pay an interest that can never be paid. Today, if one man works hard and successfully discharges his mortgage, another man, somewhere, absolutely could not have. It is a zero-sum game that only the central bank can win.

In any socio-economic climate a natural ebb and flow carries every individual into their rightful spot in civilizations’ hierarchy, but in a privatized interest-yielding fiat system, this order is dismantled. The committee that decides the rates holds every card, fixing the deck to whatever devices it sees fit. This methodology supersedes the democratic republic our forefathers envisioned when, as farmers and peasants, they undertook to sever the lecherous ties of the mightiest empire in the world, Great Britain. In a time of such surplus that every man woman and child could be fed clothed and housed ten times over, it is not a matter of greed or redistributing wealth, it is a question of structure.

The ideal of America, the Dream, is that anyone, anywhere, can pick themselves up by the bootstraps and be a success if they have the gall, the tenacity, the die-hard spirit to see that ambition through, but so long as we have a central bank, there will always be a destitute serfdom, dreaming of one day owning a home, retirement, or passing on a legacy to their descendants, ultimately, by the sweat of their labor, only to spoon-feed that dream directly to the Fed.



Higgs Boson

Binaural Beats

Campaign for Liberty: Ron Paul

Huffington Post: Occupy Wall Street

Forbes: Fiat Money

Library of Economics: Gold Standard

Ron Paul on Legal Tender Laws

Who Owns The Federal Reserve?

Alan Greenspan: Federal Reserve is Above The Law

Inflation Tax

George Carlin: Credit Cards

Promissory Note


First Audit Results of the Federal Reserve Have Been Released; Scary Stuff

In the last 5 years the Federal Rerserve has secretly bailed out banks, corporations, and governments all around the world with over $16,000,000,000,000 (16 trillion).


After years of criminal bankers like Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan lying about the chaos in markets that would ensue from an audit of the Federal Reserve, it has successively taken place. 

Here’s a link to the actual GAO audit. 

“The list of institutions that received the most money from the Federal Reserve can be found on page 131of the GAO Audit and are as follows..”

Citigroup: $2.5 trillion ($2,500,000,000,000)
Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion ($2,040,000,000,000)
Merrill Lynch: $1.949 trillion ($1,949,000,000,000)
Bank of America: $1.344 trillion ($1,344,000,000,000)
Barclays PLC (United Kingdom): $868 billion ($868,000,000,000)
Bear Sterns: $853 billion ($853,000,000,000)
Goldman Sachs: $814 billion ($814,000,000,000)
Royal Bank of Scotland (UK): $541 billion ($541,000,000,000)
JP Morgan Chase: $391 billion ($391,000,000,000)
Deutsche Bank (Germany): $354 billion ($354,000,000,000)
UBS (Switzerland): $287 billion ($287,000,000,000)
Credit Suisse (Switzerland): $262 billion ($262,000,000,000)
Lehman Brothers: $183 billion ($183,000,000,000)
Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom): $181 billion ($181,000,000,000)
BNP Paribas (France): $175 billion ($175,000,000,000)
and many many more including banks in Belgium of all places


Results of the First Federal Reserve Audit Have Been Released: Scary

federal reserve audit The federal reserve audit came just in time

Federal Reserve audit shows that in the last 5 years they have secretly bailed out banks, corporations, and governments all around the world with over $16,000,000,000,000 (16 trillion).

After years of criminal bankers like Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan lying about the chaos in markets that would ensue from a Federal Reserve audit, the audit has successively taken place.

Here’s a link to the actual US Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit.

The list of institutions that received the most money from the Federal Reserve can be found on page 131 of the GAO Federal Reserve Audit and are as follows:

Citigroup: $2.5 trillion ($2,500,000,000,000)
Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion ($2,040,000,000,000)
Merrill Lynch: $1.949 trillion ($1,949,000,000,000)
Bank of America: $1.344 trillion ($1,344,000,000,000)
Barclays PLC (United Kingdom): $868 billion ($868,000,000,000)
Bear Sterns: $853 billion ($853,000,000,000)
Goldman Sachs: $814 billion ($814,000,000,000)
Royal Bank of Scotland (UK): $541 billion ($541,000,000,000)
JP Morgan Chase: $391 billion ($391,000,000,000)
Deutsche Bank (Germany): $354 billion ($354,000,000,000)
UBS (Switzerland): $287 billion ($287,000,000,000)
Credit Suisse (Switzerland): $262 billion ($262,000,000,000)
Lehman Brothers: $183 billion ($183,000,000,000)
Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom): $181 billion ($181,000,000,000)
BNP Paribas (France): $175 billion ($175,000,000,000)
and many many more including banks in Belgium of all places





Federal Reserve

TIME: 25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis

US Government Accountability Office Federal Reserve audit.

Before It’s News: First Audit Results In The Federal Reserve’s Nearly 100 Year History Were Posted Today, They Are Startling!