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Bitcoin Price Defies Stock Market Link — Post-Halving World Uncertain

Bitcoin Price Defies Stock Market Link — Post-Halving World Uncertain



Has the upcoming halving already been factored into Bitcoin’s price, and can another pump be in the cards in the short term?

On Thursday, Bitcoin (BTC) breached the $9,400 mark, thereby boasting a recovery that in many ways put the stock market’s performance during 2020 to shame. From a technical standpoint, Bitcoin’s market surge saw it far outpace the Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of the mainstream market's key barometers.

In this regard, it is worth highlighting the fact that since approaching 2019’s bottom of around $3,400 during the start of the year, Bitcoin has been able to forge a remarkable recovery of more than 140%. This is especially significant when compared to the Dow’s rise of around 36% over the same time period.

To put things into perspective, investor and crypto analyst Alex Saunders posted a tweet on Thursday in which he compared Bitcoin’s monetary performance since the start of the year with gold, United States 10-year Treasurys and the S&P 500. As per his findings, Bitcoin has been the best performing asset of 2020, which is no easy feat, to say the least.

And while this amazing performance may be attributed in part to the upcoming halving event that will see Bitcoin’s native block reward quotient reduce by 50%, from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC, a number of experts seem to agree with the notion that the halving may have already been factored into the price and that the latest surge may just be due to investors all over the globe beginning to realize the overall potential of Bitcoin, especially in the wake of central banks continuing to print more money out of thin air.

To gain a better understanding of this situation, Cointelegraph reached out to Eric Benz, the CEO of the crypto exchange Changelly. In his view, the recent demand and increase in Bitcoin’s price are directly related to the global economic turmoil rather than the upcoming halving event, which is just a small part of a much larger picture. He added:

“Trust has been broken in traditional fiat and events like the halving as well as the global Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of Bitcoin even more. This is why we are witnessing another wave of adoption.”

A somewhat similar outlook is shared by Kade Almendinger, the host of the crypto podcast Darkside of the HODL Moon, who believes that the Fed’s recent multitrillion-dollar stimulus package and negative oil prices, among other financial uncertainties, have been key drivers in Bitcoin's recent market rally. He further opined:

“It's counter-intuitive, but BTC is currently both a high-risk/high reward asset and a hedge against inflation and financial uncertainty in other markets. And we're going to see investors with different priorities getting into Bitcoin for different reasons.”

FOMO definitely played a role

Even though Bitcoin’s recent rally has been quite impressive, a whole host of industry experts believe that this surge has been the result of the fear of missing out — referred to as “FOMO” — as investors have sought to make quick profits post the Bitcoin halving event. Regarding the matter, Ashish Singhal, the CEO and co-founder of CRUXPay — an open-source blockchain payments platform — told Cointelegraph:

“To a reasonable extent, we can attribute the recent price rally to FOMO — fear of missing out. It has been noted that internet search volumes for the Bitcoin halving have increased by a large number, indicating that many have jumped into it due to the positive price impact from the Bitcoin halving, as predicted by many experts. When you see a lot of new entrants into crypto just before a significant event, quick profit is likely what's on their mind.”

Similarly, Neel Popat, the CEO of the cryptocurrency investment platform Donut, seems to agree with Singhal’s assessment that more investors have recently started to explore the potential of cryptocurrencies as markets all over the world have been brought down to their knees with no respite in sight. He added: “Looking at the patterns from previous halvings may lead investors to believe that there is another price rise around the corner. This supports the narrative of investor FOMO.”

Bitcoin’s correlation with the S&P 500

While delivering his talk on April 27 during the Virtual Blockchain Week conference, Mati Greenspan, the founder of Quantum Economics, explained that Bitcoin was currently showcasing its highest ever correlation with the S&P 500. Making use of data derived from Coin Metrics, Greenspan explained that Bitcoin and the S&P 500 currently have a correlation of roughly 0.6 — which, technically speaking, denotes a significant level of interface between the two commodities. He added that “nothing has emerged that’s said ‘crypto is going to be our savior,’” claiming that Bitcoin is still widely viewed by the masses as being a risky investment proposition.

However, following the recent push that saw Bitcoin reach past the $9,000 mark, Cointelegraph reached out to Greenspan to check whether the correlation is still strong. On the subject, he pointed out:

“The correlation has pulled back a tad from the mid-March peak, but remains quite elevated. The action over the last 12 hours is encouraging, but short term data is not very helpful for understanding these types of correlations. Will be interesting to track over the next few weeks.”

Lastly, expanding his views on how this latest surge was able to happen within such a short time window, he suggested that while the halving did have a “small role to play” in the matter, the fact that the Fed and other central banks have been pumping “unprecedented amounts of cash into the economy over the last two months” has greatly helped buoy Bitcoin.

Can Bitcoin sustain its ongoing momentum?

A question that has been on many people’s minds since the recent run took place is whether Bitcoin really has the momentum to keep going. To gain a better understanding of the situation, Cointelegraph reached out to Bryan Hertz, the executive chairman of Filmio, a blockchain-based multimedia content platform. In his view, over the short term it would not be surprising to see the crypto sector continue to ride its current wave of financial success. However, he does believe that once the halving concludes, things will become much more uncertain:

“After the halving event takes place, it will be a bit unpredictable, especially when you consider the effects that Coronavirus has had on the economy, a black swan event that no market was prepared for or safe from.”

Additionally, Jason Wu, the CEO of DeFiner — a borrowing and lending platform based on decentralized finance — believes that the upcoming halving will be a game changer because it will result in the Bitcoin network being upgraded, with old mining machines being made obsolete and replaced by new rigs. As a result of this, Wu believes that less energy will be consumed in the short to medium term, thereby reducing Bitcoin’s existing selling pressure. With that being said, he did concede:

“This will happen steadily. We are going to have another difficulty increase before the halving, then at this level, we are going to have a downturn for BTC. After this, the price of BTC will begin to climb. It will probably take about one year to reach a new equivalent price for BTC and the new equivalent price will be at least four times higher than current level, which is around $20k to $40k range.”

However, such a positive outlook is not shared by Singhal, who believes that most industry personnel aren't really celebrating this recent surge because it is quite simply a consequence of widespread market FOMO. In his view, crypto markets — along with almost every other asset class — will be in a volatile state in the near term.

Looking ahead

While many people expected Bitcoin to suffer during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it has been surprising to see the premier cryptocurrency fare extremely well, not only as a standalone asset but also in relation to many traditional commodities. For example, while various stock options have been plummeting and state budgets have been taking hits, the crypto market as a whole has been able to ward off most of the negative pressure, giving investors all over the world some hope. On the subject, Derek Muhney, the director of marketing and strategy at Coinsource — a Bitcoin ATM services provider — opined:

“I am ecstatic to see how resilient the crypto markets have been, specifically Bitcoin. I also think the massive price fluctuations have been very healthy and are setting up a solid foundation. [...] With the rapid price drop in mid-March, we saw weak holders getting liquidated or selling out of their positions, while new strong holders came in and bought long positions. This gives us massive support and makes it highly unlikely that we will test the lows again should there be another drop in price.”

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The Coming Of The Police State In America

The Coming Of The Police State In America

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The National Guard and the State Police are now…



The Coming Of The Police State In America

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The National Guard and the State Police are now patrolling the New York City subway system in an attempt to do something about the explosion of crime. As part of this, there are bag checks and new surveillance of all passengers. No legislation, no debate, just an edict from the mayor.

Many citizens who rely on this system for transportation might welcome this. It’s a city of strict gun control, and no one knows for sure if they have the right to defend themselves. Merchants have been harassed and even arrested for trying to stop looting and pillaging in their own shops.

The message has been sent: Only the police can do this job. Whether they do it or not is another matter.

Things on the subway system have gotten crazy. If you know it well, you can manage to travel safely, but visitors to the city who take the wrong train at the wrong time are taking grave risks.

In actual fact, it’s guaranteed that this will only end in confiscating knives and other things that people carry in order to protect themselves while leaving the actual criminals even more free to prey on citizens.

The law-abiding will suffer and the criminals will grow more numerous. It will not end well.

When you step back from the details, what we have is the dawning of a genuine police state in the United States. It only starts in New York City. Where is the Guard going to be deployed next? Anywhere is possible.

If the crime is bad enough, citizens will welcome it. It must have been this way in most times and places that when the police state arrives, the people cheer.

We will all have our own stories of how this came to be. Some might begin with the passage of the Patriot Act and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in 2001. Some will focus on gun control and the taking away of citizens’ rights to defend themselves.

My own version of events is closer in time. It began four years ago this month with lockdowns. That’s what shattered the capacity of civil society to function in the United States. Everything that has happened since follows like one domino tumbling after another.

It goes like this:

1) lockdown,

2) loss of moral compass and spreading of loneliness and nihilism,

3) rioting resulting from citizen frustration, 4) police absent because of ideological hectoring,

5) a rise in uncontrolled immigration/refugees,

6) an epidemic of ill health from substance abuse and otherwise,

7) businesses flee the city

8) cities fall into decay, and that results in

9) more surveillance and police state.

The 10th stage is the sacking of liberty and civilization itself.

It doesn’t fall out this way at every point in history, but this seems like a solid outline of what happened in this case. Four years is a very short period of time to see all of this unfold. But it is a fact that New York City was more-or-less civilized only four years ago. No one could have predicted that it would come to this so quickly.

But once the lockdowns happened, all bets were off. Here we had a policy that most directly trampled on all freedoms that we had taken for granted. Schools, businesses, and churches were slammed shut, with various levels of enforcement. The entire workforce was divided between essential and nonessential, and there was widespread confusion about who precisely was in charge of designating and enforcing this.

It felt like martial law at the time, as if all normal civilian law had been displaced by something else. That something had to do with public health, but there was clearly more going on, because suddenly our social media posts were censored and we were being asked to do things that made no sense, such as mask up for a virus that evaded mask protection and walk in only one direction in grocery aisles.

Vast amounts of the white-collar workforce stayed home—and their kids, too—until it became too much to bear. The city became a ghost town. Most U.S. cities were the same.

As the months of disaster rolled on, the captives were let out of their houses for the summer in order to protest racism but no other reason. As a way of excusing this, the same public health authorities said that racism was a virus as bad as COVID-19, so therefore it was permitted.

The protests had turned to riots in many cities, and the police were being defunded and discouraged to do anything about the problem. Citizens watched in horror as downtowns burned and drug-crazed freaks took over whole sections of cities. It was like every standard of decency had been zapped out of an entire swath of the population.

Meanwhile, large checks were arriving in people’s bank accounts, defying every normal economic expectation. How could people not be working and get their bank accounts more flush with cash than ever? There was a new law that didn’t even require that people pay rent. How weird was that? Even student loans didn’t need to be paid.

By the fall, recess from lockdown was over and everyone was told to go home again. But this time they had a job to do: They were supposed to vote. Not at the polling places, because going there would only spread germs, or so the media said. When the voting results finally came in, it was the absentee ballots that swung the election in favor of the opposition party that actually wanted more lockdowns and eventually pushed vaccine mandates on the whole population.

The new party in control took note of the large population movements out of cities and states that they controlled. This would have a large effect on voting patterns in the future. But they had a plan. They would open the borders to millions of people in the guise of caring for refugees. These new warm bodies would become voters in time and certainly count on the census when it came time to reapportion political power.

Meanwhile, the native population had begun to swim in ill health from substance abuse, widespread depression, and demoralization, plus vaccine injury. This increased dependency on the very institutions that had caused the problem in the first place: the medical/scientific establishment.

The rise of crime drove the small businesses out of the city. They had barely survived the lockdowns, but they certainly could not survive the crime epidemic. This undermined the tax base of the city and allowed the criminals to take further control.

The same cities became sanctuaries for the waves of migrants sacking the country, and partisan mayors actually used tax dollars to house these invaders in high-end hotels in the name of having compassion for the stranger. Citizens were pushed out to make way for rampaging migrant hordes, as incredible as this seems.

But with that, of course, crime rose ever further, inciting citizen anger and providing a pretext to bring in the police state in the form of the National Guard, now tasked with cracking down on crime in the transportation system.

What’s the next step? It’s probably already here: mass surveillance and censorship, plus ever-expanding police power. This will be accompanied by further population movements, as those with the means to do so flee the city and even the country and leave it for everyone else to suffer.

As I tell the story, all of this seems inevitable. It is not. It could have been stopped at any point. A wise and prudent political leadership could have admitted the error from the beginning and called on the country to rediscover freedom, decency, and the difference between right and wrong. But ego and pride stopped that from happening, and we are left with the consequences.

The government grows ever bigger and civil society ever less capable of managing itself in large urban centers. Disaster is unfolding in real time, mitigated only by a rising stock market and a financial system that has yet to fall apart completely.

Are we at the middle stages of total collapse, or at the point where the population and people in leadership positions wise up and decide to put an end to the downward slide? It’s hard to know. But this much we do know: There is a growing pocket of resistance out there that is fed up and refuses to sit by and watch this great country be sacked and taken over by everything it was set up to prevent.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 16:20

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Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate…



Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate iron levels in their blood due to a COVID-19 infection could be at greater risk of long COVID.


A new study indicates that problems with iron levels in the bloodstream likely trigger chronic inflammation and other conditions associated with the post-COVID phenomenon. The findings, published on March 1 in Nature Immunology, could offer new ways to treat or prevent the condition.

Long COVID Patients Have Low Iron Levels

Researchers at the University of Cambridge pinpointed low iron as a potential link to long-COVID symptoms thanks to a study they initiated shortly after the start of the pandemic. They recruited people who tested positive for the virus to provide blood samples for analysis over a year, which allowed the researchers to look for post-infection changes in the blood. The researchers looked at 214 samples and found that 45 percent of patients reported symptoms of long COVID that lasted between three and 10 months.

In analyzing the blood samples, the research team noticed that people experiencing long COVID had low iron levels, contributing to anemia and low red blood cell production, just two weeks after they were diagnosed with COVID-19. This was true for patients regardless of age, sex, or the initial severity of their infection.

According to one of the study co-authors, the removal of iron from the bloodstream is a natural process and defense mechanism of the body.

But it can jeopardize a person’s recovery.

When the body has an infection, it responds by removing iron from the bloodstream. This protects us from potentially lethal bacteria that capture the iron in the bloodstream and grow rapidly. It’s an evolutionary response that redistributes iron in the body, and the blood plasma becomes an iron desert,” University of Oxford professor Hal Drakesmith said in a press release. “However, if this goes on for a long time, there is less iron for red blood cells, so oxygen is transported less efficiently affecting metabolism and energy production, and for white blood cells, which need iron to work properly. The protective mechanism ends up becoming a problem.”

The research team believes that consistently low iron levels could explain why individuals with long COVID continue to experience fatigue and difficulty exercising. As such, the researchers suggested iron supplementation to help regulate and prevent the often debilitating symptoms associated with long COVID.

It isn’t necessarily the case that individuals don’t have enough iron in their body, it’s just that it’s trapped in the wrong place,” Aimee Hanson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge who worked on the study, said in the press release. “What we need is a way to remobilize the iron and pull it back into the bloodstream, where it becomes more useful to the red blood cells.”

The research team pointed out that iron supplementation isn’t always straightforward. Achieving the right level of iron varies from person to person. Too much iron can cause stomach issues, ranging from constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain to gastritis and gastric lesions.

1 in 5 Still Affected by Long COVID

COVID-19 has affected nearly 40 percent of Americans, with one in five of those still suffering from symptoms of long COVID, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Long COVID is marked by health issues that continue at least four weeks after an individual was initially diagnosed with COVID-19. Symptoms can last for days, weeks, months, or years and may include fatigue, cough or chest pain, headache, brain fog, depression or anxiety, digestive issues, and joint or muscle pain.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 12:50

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February Employment Situation

By Paul Gomme and Peter Rupert The establishment data from the BLS showed a 275,000 increase in payroll employment for February, outpacing the 230,000…



By Paul Gomme and Peter Rupert

The establishment data from the BLS showed a 275,000 increase in payroll employment for February, outpacing the 230,000 average over the previous 12 months. The payroll data for January and December were revised down by a total of 167,000. The private sector added 223,000 new jobs, the largest gain since May of last year.

Temporary help services employment continues a steep decline after a sharp post-pandemic rise.

Average hours of work increased from 34.2 to 34.3. The increase, along with the 223,000 private employment increase led to a hefty increase in total hours of 5.6% at an annualized rate, also the largest increase since May of last year.

The establishment report, once again, beat “expectations;” the WSJ survey of economists was 198,000. Other than the downward revisions, mentioned above, another bit of negative news was a smallish increase in wage growth, from $34.52 to $34.57.

The household survey shows that the labor force increased 150,000, a drop in employment of 184,000 and an increase in the number of unemployed persons of 334,000. The labor force participation rate held steady at 62.5, the employment to population ratio decreased from 60.2 to 60.1 and the unemployment rate increased from 3.66 to 3.86. Remember that the unemployment rate is the number of unemployed relative to the labor force (the number employed plus the number unemployed). Consequently, the unemployment rate can go up if the number of unemployed rises holding fixed the labor force, or if the labor force shrinks holding the number unemployed unchanged. An increase in the unemployment rate is not necessarily a bad thing: it may reflect a strong labor market drawing “marginally attached” individuals from outside the labor force. Indeed, there was a 96,000 decline in those workers.

Earlier in the week, the BLS announced JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) data for January. There isn’t much to report here as the job openings changed little at 8.9 million, the number of hires and total separations were little changed at 5.7 million and 5.3 million, respectively.

As has been the case for the last couple of years, the number of job openings remains higher than the number of unemployed persons.

Also earlier in the week the BLS announced that productivity increased 3.2% in the 4th quarter with output rising 3.5% and hours of work rising 0.3%.

The bottom line is that the labor market continues its surprisingly (to some) strong performance, once again proving stronger than many had expected. This strength makes it difficult to justify any interest rate cuts soon, particularly given the recent inflation spike.

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