Monday, January 22, 2018

Nomi Prins Offers Her Outlook for 2018

Nomi Prins has issued her outlook for 2018. She sees some potential triggers for systemic instability out there to keep an eye on. For the most part, her analysis is in line with what we have been reporting here on a variety of the issues she talks about. Below are a few excerpts.

"In last year’s roadmap, I forecast that 2017 would end with gold prices up and the dollar index down, both of which happened.  I underestimated the number of Fed hikes by one hike, but globally, average short term rates have remained around zero. That will be a core pattern throughout 2018.

Central banks may tweak a few rates here and there, announce some tapering due to “economic growth”, or deflect attention to fiscal policy, but the entire financial and capital markets system rests on the strategies, co-dependencies and cheap money policies of central banks.  The bond markets will feel the heat of any tightening shift or fears of one, while the stock market will continue to rush ahead on the reality of cheap money supply until debt problems tug at the equity markets and take them down."   ..... read more here

. . . . .

Here are her thoughts on cryptocurrencies and central banks

8)  Cryptomania Grips More Tightly
As for Bitcoin, despite its predisposition to being a Ponzi scheme, it should rise (and sustain its high degree of volatility) through 2018 for a few reasons. First, many funds have been green lighted to get involved in the second half of 2018 and ETF’s are on the horizon, albeit with a plethora of surrounding problems and regulatory hesitations. Second, futures exchange activity will broaden the market. Third, establishment banks like Goldman Sachs have announced plans to set up crypto-trading desks and promoted the possibility of bitcoin becoming a legitimate global currency.
There will be growth of the number and diversity of exchanges beyond Coinbase in the manner of PayPal which is already a player in that space, as well as for Coinbase itself. Expect the start of many payment exchanges that can process both regular currencies and cryptocurrency transactions ala the dot com bubble, rendering the idea of crypto-independence more and more fuzzy.
Conversations amongst the financial elite at G7 gatherings and other similar forums will encapsulate more crypto focus. Central banks will ultimately create or utilize some elements of crypto currencies for themselves, and adopt ways to regulate the market, as will regulatory agencies that will focus more on crypto than regular banking activities (both need that monitoring to protect people.)  Meanwhile, there will be more buying of cheaper crypto currencies (or assets as I consider them) like Litecoin and Ripple. The fight between those that believe in crypto’s decentralized nature will hit a wall of resistance from banks and central banks, but that fight might take years.   . . . .  read full article here


Added notes: Wall Street on Parade reviews her new book (Collusion) in this article. In this new interview with Greg Hunter, she says investors should look at silver in 2018. Interestingly, Jim Rickards also touted silver recently in this article.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Swiss Voters to Decide on Fractional Reserve Banking in 2018

A thank you to Dr. Warren Coats for passing along the link to this article in CFA Institute. The article points out that sometime in 2018 voters in Switzerland will decide on a referendum which would end fractional reserve banking in that country. Below are a couple of excerpts. The article also includes links to some additional articles debating the pros and cons of such a move.


"Over 100,000 Swiss citizens signed a petition to hold a constitutional referendum to end fractional reserve banking. Yes, really! That petition was certified on 24 December 2015 and a vote will be held sometime in 2018.

Switzerland, that scion of banking, may vote to end the bedrock philosophy underlying modern finance. The date of the referendum is not official as of this writing, but ballots will be cast on either 4 March, 10 June, 23 September, or 25 November."

The movement is known as Vollgeld and is inspired by . . . . .

Please click here to read the full article on Vollgeld

Readers  may want to look at this speech by the Chairman of the Swiss National Bank

Added note: Dr. Coats also did this interview he notes on his Twitter feed with Rory Hall of The Daily Coin. They discuss a gold standard, Dr. Coats proposal for monetary system reform using Currency Board rules, and the role of central banks. The interview is just over 35 minutes long and well worth the time for anyone interested in these issues.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Foreign Affairs - Does Beijing Really Want to Challenge the Dollar?

This article in Foreign Affairs examines what China really wants from the international monetary system. It suggests that contrary to what many are saying, long standing Chinese policy has not really been focused on challenging the US dollar. It also suggests that Chinese support for the SDR is more about national prestige for China than a serious attempt to dethrone the US dollar. Below are a couple of excerpts from the article.

In March 2009, a few months after the outbreak of the global financial crisis, the governor of China’s central bank, Zhou Xiaochuan, published an essay on the bank’s website. Zhou criticized the international monetary system for “the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies” and praised the Special Drawing Right (SDR), the synthetic currency created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The SDR “serves as the light in the tunnel for the reform of the international monetary system,” Zhou wrote.

Zhou’s call for a greater role for the SDR attracted attention around the world. Many observers viewed his comments as a sign of China’s readiness to challenge the U.S.-dominated international monetary order. Indeed, several years later, in 2015, China got its own currency, the renminbi (RMB), admitted to the SDR basket, which the year before had included only the dollar, the pound sterling, the yen, and the euro. Some Western analysts saw that measure, too, as a sign of China’s interest in challenging the international monetary system.

In fact, Zhou’s 2009 statement was not as revolutionary as it seemed.  . . . . . . . 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It's US Dollar Index Watching Time Again

Over the past couple of years the US dollar index (USD) has threatened to break down below a long time support area in the 90-92 range. Looking at the chart below, we can see that we are once again hanging on to that level by a thread. So, it's US dollar index watching time once again. 

This has been the the deepest plunge yet and the chart indicates a possible long term head and shoulders formation. If that turns out to be the case, and the USD index does not hold 90 this time, there is not much support on the chart until it reaches the 80 level or so. There is a bit of minor support around 88 and 85-86, but not much. Will be something to keep an eye on here at this level in the coming weeks.


                        Click here to view chart on

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Jim Rickards Calls New Bull Market in Gold - Predicts "Gold Backed Digital Currency"

In recent articles Jim Rickards is now ready to call a new leg of a bull market for gold. He says the multi year bear market ended in December 2015 and has now been confirmed by two consecutive years of higher gold prices. Below are links to his two part article and an excerpt from each.


The Next Great Bull Market in Gold has Begun - Part I

"This new trend will take gold past $1,400 per ounce by the end of 2018, past $4,000 per ounce by 2020 (if not sooner) and ultimately to $10,000 per ounce or higher by the mid-2020s.

This bull market actually began on Dec. 17, 2015, when the dollar price of gold sank to $1,051 per ounce. This new bull market was two years old last weekend."

. . . . .

The Next Great Bull Market in Gold has Begun - Part II

"The most important piece of evidence that the next great bull market in gold has begun is the technical behavior of the prior bear market itself.

Over many decades, commodities rallies have exhibited 50% retracements (bear markets) before resuming their long-term upward trends based on the slow, steady devaluation of the fiat currency in which the commodities are priced."

 . . . .
It appears that Jim is also joining the ranks of those who believe that a gold backed blockchained based currency is coming from Russia and China. He talks about that prospect in this recent article. If this were to happen it could be a significant event in terms of how it may impact the US dollar. Here is a quote from this article:

"According to Russian government officials attending a recent monetary conference in Moscow, Russia, China and their BRICS allies are moving toward their own gold trading system (bypassing London and New York)."  . . . read more here

Added comments: Readers here know we always keep an eye out for any event that might trigger the kind if crisis Jim Rickards has long predicted. In this new article Jim lists three potential triggers to watch for in 2018. Here is a quote:

"What are some of the emerging-market snowflakes I’m watching now? The three of most concern are China, Venezuela and Turkey." . . .  read more here

I would add another potential trigger to follow in 2018. That would be some kind of major crash in the US stock market related to events surrounding the Trump Administration. We are a full year into the Trump Presidency so he is now tied in the public mind to whatever happens with the economy and stock market. President Trump has cemented that tie by constantly pointing to the huge rise in the stock market as being due to his efforts. We can expect that if the stock market were to take a sharp dive for any reason (whether related to anything the President does or not), his political opponents will point the finger of blame his way. If the markets stay strong and the economy responds well to the tax cuts recently passed, I would expect President Trump to benefit politically. If the opposite were to happen, we might see the start of a process that ended his Presidency if the public blamed him for the market crash (if the Dems win Congress and start an impeachment process). So, it is something to keep an eye on and one reason why I am giving it until mid 2018 to see if this becomes a potential trigger for systemic instability. By then it should be clearer which way these various issues (and potential crisis triggers) are going.

BIS - Household Debt and Financial Stability

I get a monthly email update from the Bank for International Settlements (pasted in below). This month it included a short video on the topic - Household debt and financial stability. It's mostly just some common sense analysis, but I did note that BIS felt the issue was important enough to do this brief video on it. See just below.


BIS Video - Houshold Debt and Financial Stability

Below I have pasted in the full email update for this month from the BIS

January 2018

Finalising Basel III

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has finalised post-crisis regulatory reforms to make banks more resilient and restore confidence in banking systems.

Basel III package finalised 

Watch highlights of the announcement of the Basel III reforms.

A paradoxical tightening?

The latest BIS Quarterly Review discusses the easing in global financial conditions despite tightening by some major central banks.

Household debt: recent developments and challenges

Economist Anna Zabai explains how high household debt could affect economic and financial stability.

Bank business models: popularity and performance

Bank business models under the spotlight: commercial banks show lower cost-to-income ratios and more stable return-on-equity than trading banks.
More BIS publications 

Publication: Stress testing principles 
The Basel Committee proposes new, streamlined principles for bank stress testing.

Working Paper: Why so low for so long? A long-term view of real interest rates
The usual explanations for the decline in real interest rates appear to be more coincidence than cause.

Working Paper: Triffin: dilemma or myth?
Setting the record straight about the dilemma posed by Robert Triffin and its application to current policy debates.


  • 10 Jan 2018: Claudio Borio speaks at the BIS-IMF-OECD conference on productivity in Paris, France
  • By 23 Jan 2018: BIS publishes international banking statistics
  • 25 Jan 2018: BIS publishes global liquidity indicators

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Bitcoin? BlockChain? Hyperledger? Hashgraph?

I have noted here previously that trying to cover all the moving parts in terms of things that might impact the global monetary system has become much more complicated than I ever imagined when I started this blog. This post is going to be part tongue in cheek (for some comic relief) and part serious in trying to be educational. 

By now a majority of people you know have probably at least heard of Bitcoin because the the enormous move up in its price per coin in 2017. That has vaulted Bitcoin (and to a lesser extent blockchain ledger technology) into more mainstream media reports so that now both mainstream and alternative media cover it a lot.

But most people don't have much depth of understanding because the technologies behind all this are somewhat complex and require a lot of determined effort to learn in very much detail. One economist I hear from now and then whose views I value greatly sent me this video which I will use for the humorous part of this discussion. I suspect a lot of people can relate to it.

But seriously, all these terms can get confusing very quickly. First we have Bitcoin which is separate from the blockchain technology it runs on. But wait, all blockchain is not alike either. So, we have to figure how the different kinds of blockchain work. But wait, now we are being told in the very latest "next big thing" conversation that blockchain (all versions of it) are already obsolete because we have now have Hashgraph that will take care of everything that Bitcoin and blockchain cannot.

Let's take a breath. Is there some place where we can learn about Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Hashgraph basics that is at least possible to understand? Perhaps. Mike Maloney recently released this video on YouTube that tries to do that. It does have some good animations that can be helpful to try and understand these complex technologies.

In this video, Mike walks you through his 3 year long quest to try and understand all this. How he first thought Bitcoin/Blockchain would change the world, but then later learned of some problems they faced. Now he believes that Hashgraph might be what changes the world and explains why in the last half of this video presentation. He points out in this video that things are changing so quickly the Hashgraph technology emerged while he was in the process of making the video.

So where is all this going? I don't know and I believe we are at a point in time where no one knows where all this is going. I would encourage readers to learn as much as possible because I don't think anyone knows for sure where all this is going. 

When you dig into all this in any bit of detail and follow a variety of media sources that cover this, it becomes clear that the world is in a state of flux at this time. This new Fintech has disrupted existing paradigms and started the world on a discussion of new ideas. But there is no indication I can find that any kind of global consensus that would lead to any one new currency or technology emerging as dominant over the system we have now. I base that conclusion on the hundreds of news articles and discussions like the one in this video I try to follow and from input from people I trust as experts on these issues from around the world. One leading expert in global payment systems recently told me, "I don't think the monetary system is going to change a lot."

My conclusion at this time is that no one knows for sure how all this will turn out

First, we have to see if we get some kind of major new crisis that destabilizes the current monetary system. Without that, I believe any changes we get will be slow and incremental. If we do get a crisis, who knows who most people will believe or trust if the current system they have relied on doesn't work any more and they suffer significant personal financial loss in the process? It is clear that millions of people are already looking into a variety of alternatives (precious metals, Bitcoin, other cryptos, blockchain, hashgraph, etc).

Who they trust will be more important than what technology may or may not emerge or what kind of currency is proposed. That is the one thing I feel I have learned working on all this. The most critical thing a currency and monetary system must have is the trust of the end users. I have no idea who people are going to trust in the future, especially if a huge crisis does unfold. I suspect that whoever gets blamed for that crisis will not have much trust with the public and I don't know who they might blame for such a thing. 

Honestly, I just hope we don't have to find out. Right now, I don't think anything is really ready to step in quickly to replace our current monetary system on a global scale. Chaos seems more probable as different alternatives compete for public trust. Then again, perhaps the reality is that "the monetary system isn't going to change a lot".

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Express UK - BOE Could Introduce Bitcoin Style Digital Currency? Apparently Not

The Express (UK) runs this article which at first glance sounds like the Bank of England might be on the verge of issuing a central bank digital currency. This something we have covered here extensively so the article is of interest. 

However, when you look into the details in this article, it becomes clear that the BOE is not going to do anything like this any time soon. Below are a couple of quotes from the article and then a few added comments. (see added note below for latest update on this - BOE will not move forward with a central bank digital currency)


"The Bank of England is investigating the possibility of introducing a bitcoin-style digital currency linked to sterling, according to reports. 

A new crypto-currency could be set up as early as 2018 and would transform the banking industry in Britain – possibly ending the need for high street banks.

A research unit at the Bank of England was set up in February 2015 to look into the possibility of a sterling-linked crypto-currency and a spokesman told the Telegraph it could report back within the next 12 months."

. . . .

"Despite looking into the possibility of launching a central-bank issued cryptocurrency, Dr Carney (BOE Governor) warned there could be financial stability risks if such an approach were rolled out across the whole economy through a cryptocurrency intended for the general public."

. . . .

“You (could) create a situation where you can have an instantaneous (bank) run. So as soon as there were any concern, people can switch in their account at the Bank of England,” Carney said.

My added comments: I will just list a few key points to consider on this topic below:

- please note that the article says it will 12 months before a research unit of the BOE "reports back" on this issue. That is not something about to actually be implemented. They say it will take another 12 months just to report back.

- BOE Governor Mark Carney repeats the concerns he and other central banks have about even doing this at all. Fed Governor Quarles recently said somewhat the same thing and indicated the Fed is in no hurry to do anything with a central bank digital currency. He talked about changes like this taking decades to unfold.

- please note the comment by Governor Carney that if central banks setup digital currencies that the public can own directly with an account at the central bank, it could setup the potential for "an instantaneous bank run" in a crisis where everyone tries to move their money to that account that would be directly backed by the central bank.

My own view on this is that all we seeing is a lot of articles trying to capitalize on the Bitcoin craze and trying to imply that major central banks are ready to counter this rise in Bitcoin interest by suddenly offering up their own versions of a digital currency. The direct input I get from people who work on this every day in the real world suggests otherwise. For one thing, this not something you can "suddenly" do in the real world.

I want to repeat what I have stated here many times. I have zero evidence that anything like this is about to happen any time soon based on direct input from experts I view as extremely credible. While this idea continues to be studied at central banks and the IMF, none of these entities have any kind of actual real world tested system they could actually implement at this time as far as I know. The only payments system in the world that has been able to implement a blockchain based ledger that could actually function inside the existing banking and central banking system (connect into it) that I am aware of is the one IBM announced earlier this year in partneship with KlickEx and Stellar

A central bank would have to have access to a functioning system like that one to actually implement this. I am not aware of any major central bank (or the IMF) announcing they have such a real world tested functioning system at this time. The best information I have at this time is that we might see a central bank such as Singapore test a central bank digital currency sometime in 2018 perhaps followed by some other smaller central banks. I don't believe any major central bank would move forward with this idea until they have a chance to observe it tested in the real world somewhere first. I will say that IBM and KlickEx can point to real world testing by KlickEx in the South Pacific for their system.

So, I doubt the BOE will implement a central bank digital currency in 2018. 2019 is the earliest I can imagine that really happening if they even to decide to implement one at all. There are many concerns such as the one Governor Carney mentions above that have to be resolved. If Bitcoin takes a huge dive in price in 2018 it would not surprise me to see this whole topic disappear as quickly as it has arisen in the media. Central banks could easily just put it all on the back shelf as well.

I would not hold my breath on the BOE issuing a central bank digital currency any time soon. China may be more likely to show up with one in 2018 than the BOE.
Added note: After I wrote the above post, this article appeared stating that the BOE has decided not to go forward with implementation of a central bank "cryptocurrency" as the article puts it:

"The Bank of England has decided it will not launch its own cryptocurrency due to its possible impact on the financial system, according to FT Advisor. The bank began researching cryptocurrencies in 2015 and was considering launching its own cryptocurrency."

I decided not to delete this post as originally written but to leave it up as it very well illustrates what we have been trying to report here recently. That being that we should take all these articles about central bank digital currencies and blockchains with a grain of salt (Bank of Canada lukewarm on a CBDC). I do have information that suggests that we could see a central bank digital currency show up soon in Singapore. However, these major central banks like the BOE and the US Fed seem to have cooled off on the idea at this time as this new article reports. Original article on this is here on FT Adviser

Friday, January 5, 2018

End Date for Regular Blog Articles - Mid 2018

Just a heads up for regular readers. At this point in time, based on the information available, I have set an end date for regular blog articles here at around July 2018. When this blog started, there was a lot of speculation from both mainstream media sources and alternative media sources that major changes to the existing monetary system might be on the near term horizon.  Since that time I have observed dozens of predictions for this event to happen with specific dates attached come and go.

Now, here we are four years later and no such changes have taken place. At some point it just does not make sense to continue to write regular articles trying to cover an event that is (so far) not taking place. So, why June 2018?

I chose mid 2018 because by then the only major known potential events that could trigger enough instability in the current monetary system that might lead to major change will have either happened or not happened. Right now, a major failure related to the Trump Administration (the President being forced to leave office for example) or a serious shooting war with North Korea are the primary known potential events. By mid to fall 2018 it should be obvious if either of those situations will lead to a major disruption of our present monetary system. Right now the North Korean situation looks more concerning than anything related to the Trump Administration (although this new Trump related situation will be something to keep an eye on). Also, in his latest comment Jim Rickards is pushing back his time frame for war with North Korea to "late 2018".

But what about the huge global debt issue and the related massive derivatives situation? Aren't those potential ongoing triggers for major systemic problems? Yes, they are. But they have been for many years now and no one knows if or when they might surface to cause a major disruption. They have been covered here extensively along with a variety of major proposals on how to reform or remake a new monetary system if that should become necessary. That information will stay archived here and available to anyone who finds it useful. It's possible some events regarding gradual changes to the existing system may be worth covering now and then after June 2018. However, if those drag out over too long a time frame, it is hard to maintain reader interest in a scenario where change happens slowly over an extended period of time.

Some more detailed added comments:

In the four years I have worked on this blog, my primary goal has been to try and find the most accurate information I can and share that for free with anyone who has interest. I have done my best to provide accurate information and offer what analysis I can that is my best honest understanding of the situation. 

My views and analysis are heavily shaped by two main factors:

- an attempt to read a wide variety of information and viewpoints from both mainstream media sources and alternative media sources (literally hundreds of articles and interviews)

- direct input from what I consider some of the leading experts in the world on the topics that have been covered here (people with decades of experience related to these issues)

Based upon all of that effort (involving literally thousands of hours of time spent in research and many efforts to reach out to the experts), I have concluded that it is unlikely we will see the kind of major monetary system change that I thought might be on the horizon when I started the blog    --    unless  --

some kind of major new global crisis literally forces that kind of major change into the system. I do not make this statement lightly. My main reasons for reaching this conclusion are:

- obtaining global consensus for something this huge and complicated does not appear to be realistic under the present circumstances.

- while I can find plenty of evidence that there is concern about the stability of the current system and a number of ideas for reform and even full systemic replacement are out there, I can find no evidence that a realistic detailed plan to form a global consensus and implement an one grand global plan in the real world exists at this time. In fact all the evidence I have suggests otherwise.

- I have come to learn that trying to implement a global monetary and payments system around one new global currency would be a very complicated endeavor just from a technology standpoint (not to mention a philosophical and political one). This is not something you can just pull off the shelf and insert into the real world any time you please. It's an extremely tedious and slow process to come up with a working system and test it in real world situations (even if you could get consensus on one plan or idea which is not the case at this time).

- I do not believe the IMF is anywhere near ready to implement a plan like I described just above. I believe the IMF is simply continuing to monitor events and study various ideas, but has no detailed plan of implementation they could use for a "new SDR" at this time. I suspect that even getting to that point would be very tricky, time consuming, and probably next to impossible in the current divisive environment.

- If the IMF did have such an implementation plan somewhere, they still have to get a majority consensus vote of the members to make any needed changes to IMF rules to implement the plan. That is hard to do even on less complicated issues these days. A new SDR based monetary system using some kind of new version of the SDR would be much more complicated and politically difficult to pull off. And again, you need a tested working system to do it as well (not just a work paper proposal).

- I believe that while central banks are starting the process of looking into using central bank digital currencies, we likely will not see any major central banks doing that any time soon. The US Fed has flatly stated this recently and I believe them. Again, no technology or detailed plan of implementation to do this exists as far as I know at this time on a global scale. I would watch what Singapore does first for clues.

- It is possible that China and Russia may try to move forward with some kind of system that could eventually bypass the US dollar based system we have now. However, even as they attempt this, it certainly will not be a global system as the US and other western nations would not go along with it. This is more likely to lead to some kind of major conflict that I think both sides would prefer to avoid because the end result is more likely to be a lose/lose scenario. China especially prefers to avoid that kind of situation. While China does want more global usage of the yuan, it has actually expressed more interest in trying to use the SDR at the IMF as a global reserve currency than the yuan. I see NO evidence of any kind that the US is willing to move in that direction at this time and the US has full veto power at the IMF under present voting rules. Nothing here suggests a true global consensus is on the near term horizon.


The above list of issues and problems is what causes me to say that I don't see major change unfolding rapidly unless some kind of new major crisis forces all these very diverse factions to work together to literally save the present system from collapse (or restart a new one). Presently, I find no indication that there is any deep concern inside the system that a systemic collapse is at hand.

I never rule out the possibility of a systemic failure because it could happen. However, based on what I have seen from extensive personal research and direct input from very high credibility sources, I feel it would be dishonest to suggest that, absent a new crisis, major monetary system changes are on the near term horizon. Every indication I get is just the opposite.

It is much more likely in my view that the present system will continue to limp along for as long as it can with whatever support is needed from time to time  (by central banks etc) to make that happen. Meanwhile I think the central banks will continue to monitor and study the new Fintech that is emerging to see what parts of it may be useful to them or not. I still expect any changes they might make in that regard to be relatively minor in terms of their impact on the overall system. I don't think any final decisions on any of that have been made or that any one technology is emerging as the consensus choice for use inside the system at this time. Alternatives outside the present system attempting to compete with it are severely hampered by lack of legal tender status and official government support. Also, for now, a huge majority of the public is fine with the existing major currencies and monetary system.

It is very possible that the IBM hyperledger (partnering with KlickEx and Stellar) could emerge for use by central banks and I think readers should watch to see if some central banks (starting with perhaps Singapore) try that out in 2018. If that does happen, then watch to see if more central banks adopt that concept afterwards. Once again though, this would just be using the same existing national currencies (not new currencies or one new global currency) and would mostly just speed up the existing payments process and make it less expensive.That is certainly a good thing and substantial news, but not an overhaul of the exisiting monetary system. In fact one leading global payments expert who works in this space every day flatly told me recently - "I don't think the monetary system is going to change a lot."

All this is why I have concluded that by mid 2018 I will likely end regular blog articles here. If we don't see some indications by then that something major is emerging to change the whole monetary system, there is just no way to guess how long this process could take. It could be less than a year (in a new major crisis) or it could take decades to see major changes take place.

If it is the latter, I just cannot expect readers to stay engaged here for such a long time frame without seeing major changes that might truly impact their daily lives taking place. Also, I will have a hard time coming up with meaningful articles without something significant happening to cover relating to major systemic changes. 

This is my honest assessment of the situation at this time and I wanted to fully explain it to readers since I have many readers who have followed this blog for quite some time. If something changes my view, I will certainly post that and explain why. I cannot express my appreciation enough both for readers who have sent me article links and the group of experts who have provided extremely valuable and highly credible input to help me out. I plan to try and produce fairly regular articles until mid 2018 (a few per month as usual) as we wait to see if anything major unfolds.

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year for 2018!
Added news note 1-6-18: This is a perfect added news note for this post that a reader alerted me to today:

As noted above the US Fed has also recently cooled on the idea of a central bank digital currency. This is in line with what has been reported here.