The Next Troubling Step in State Control

A lesson we've learned over the last three years is that governments are showing a penchant for controlling many aspects of our daily lives. This is particularly so in those cases where they are trying to stave off some 'crisis' or other.

More recently, the climate crisis appears to have taken centre stage. And, one of the methods that governments are attempting to use to prevent this crisis is the idea of '15 minute cities.'

If this is the first time you've heard this term, well then join the club. Up until two weeks ago, it meant nothing to me. I had no idea that governments and central planners were trying to limit the time that we spend in cities through specific and targeted restrictions.

While it may sound like a conspiracy theory, a number of cities and towns have begun rolling out these measures. So forceful have some of these authorities been that they have even ignored complaints and feedback from the very people impacted by their policies.

It almost feels as if they are being driven by a broader, shared agenda…

This is an incredibly important topic and I would have been damned if we didn’t do a video on it - which is exactly what I have for you today. You can watch that here.

📊 My Personal Portfolio 📊

I made another small tweak to the portfolio this week, when I sold out of a bit more ETH and BTC into USDC. While I think this recent rally that we have seen is promising, I do think that it’s unlikely to last.

USDC 39.85% | ETH 27.81% | BTC 26.30% | ATOM 4.46% | DOT 1.60%

📈 Guy’s Forward Guidance 📈

Before you get too excited by this recent rally, keep in mind that all the bearish macro and crypto factors haven’t changed. In fact, these factors only seem to be getting worse. On the macro side, it looks like the Bank of Japan is under extreme pressure. The TLDR is that investors have been selling government debt, which has been pushing interest rates above the range the BoJ is trying to maintain. This is a problem because Japan has too much debt and can’t afford higher rates.

This means that one of two things will happen: either the BoJ will allow interest rates to rise, in which case the Japanese government will default, or it will start printing unprecedented amounts of yen to buy even more government debt, devaluing the yen in the process. History suggests that governments will sacrifice their currencies rather than sacrifice themselves. However, the BoJ will likely try to defend the yen by selling US bonds for US dollars to buy yen.

At around 1.3 trillion dollars, the BoJ holds the most US government debt of any entity outside the United States (though this figure recently dropped, presumably because of yen intervention). If the BoJ sells too much US government debt, then this will cause interest rates in the United States to rise, effectively exporting Japan’s interest rate pressure to the US economy. This could force the Federal Reserve into a corner, and some believe this is what will cause a pivot.

Now, you’d think this would be bullish for crypto, but history suggests that markets bottom around the time that the Fed pivots. This makes sense because the only reason the Fed would pivot is because something in the financial system has broken (like the Japanese bond market). Yet, for some reason, markets seem to be convinced that the Fed will back off beforehand. Make no mistake, this won’t happen until unemployment goes up, and that means recession.

And, that’s just the macro side. On the crypto side, we continue to see some very concerning developments, the most recent of which is the SEC going after both Gemini and Genesis. This is unprecedented, but not entirely unexpected. I suspect the SEC is trying to compensate for its lack of oversight around FTX. If this is the case, we can expect to see more enforcement actions soon. Also keep in mind that the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple has yet to be resolved.

Another crypto specific factor that everyone seems to have forgotten about is the potential sale of assets by distressed and bankrupt crypto companies. Digital Currency Group or DCG, the parent company of Genesis, is reportedly considering selling assets to pay off its 3 billion dollars of debt. Note that DCG is also under investigation by both the DOJ and the SEC. As a cherry on top, the new FTX team has also located 5 billion dollars of assets that they will soon be selling.

Could crypto go higher in the short term? Sure. As the saying goes, the markets can remain irrational for longer than you can stay solvent. However, this rally is unsustainable, and unless BTC makes a higher low (more than 21k) then I won’t be feeling any FOMO. Besides, Chinese new year is later this week, and history has shown that the crypto market tends to crash shortly beforehand. It’s not the only bearish factor to be on the lookout for later this month either.

🇺🇸 The War in Ukraine Part 2 🇺🇸

Besides the Fed’s interest rate decision and the WHO deciding whether the pandemic will continue, another potential catalyst for a crypto crash is the war in Ukraine. We are nearing the first anniversary of the outbreak of the most serious conflict in Europe since World War Two. Since that time, the war in Ukraine has been cited as the primary inflationary factor causing central banks to raise interest rates. In reality it’s the resulting deglobalisation that’s raising inflation, but that’s a topic for another time.

For the last few months, things in Ukraine seem to have calmed down somewhat. Ukrainian forces have reportedly pushed Russian troops more or less back to the borders that existed before the conflict began. This is the calm before the storm in the very real sense, because Ukrainian intelligence suggests that Russia is about to move in with up to 500,000 troops or more. This was unfortunately confirmed by a Russian member of team Coin Bureau.

To put things into perspective, it’s believed that around 100,000 Russian troops initially entered Ukraine when the war began. Some of you may recall that the Russian offensive was extremely ambitious and pushed the conflict to the outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine’s capital (which lies in the Western part of the country). Of course, Ukraine is much better armed today than it was when the conflict began, but chances are we could see a similarly shocking advance.

This is in large part because Ukrainian forces have experienced heavy losses. EU president Ursula Von Der Leyen revealed in a November speech that at least 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died in the conflict. This statistic was subsequently removed from social media, and was not really reported in any mainstream media outlets. It’s believed that Russian forces have experienced similar losses, but the fact of the matter is that nobody knows in either case.

That said, whatever the actual numbers are, it's clear that lots of soldiers and civilians have been dying on both sides. It’s also clear that nobody is benefitting from this war, except the people in power and arms manufacturers. The average person wants the war to end, and this could be a contributing factor to the slow down in the conflict we’ve seen over the last few months. The winter weather has played a role as well, but this supposed stalemate will not last for long.

This begs the question of what will happen to the markets when Russia launches a counteroffensive. Well, both the resurgence of the conflict and the inevitable new wave of sanctions against Russia will further choke supply chains. This will cause more inflation, meaning higher interest rates, meaning a market crash. On the off chance that Russia decides to fire a nuclear weapon of some kind into Ukraine, you can bet that markets will immediately crash - hard.

On that note, it’s possible if not likely that the conflict will only end once Ukraine has reclaimed as much territory as it can without risking nuclear war with Russia. Some geopolitical experts believe that the West will reduce its support for Ukraine once enough territory has been regained (whatever that means). Then again, reducing support for Ukraine could risk another Russian counteroffensive, and Ukraine would be defenceless. We will see what happens.

🤔 Coincidence, or Something More? 🤔

Over the past three months, there have been several reports of high-profile crypto industry leaders turning up dead. While some of these deaths have been ruled as suicides or the result of health complications, others remain shrouded in mystery and have been attributed to everything from accidents to assassinations. Despite what official reports state, the timing and frequency of the deaths have led many in the crypto community to believe that there might be more to the story.

The first in this series of untimely deaths occurred in the last week of October 2022, when 29-year-old Nikolai Mushegian was found dead off the coast of Puerto Rico. Mushegian was well-known in the crypto community for being the co-founder of the popular crypto lending platform MakerDAO.

He reportedly died due to drowning after being dragged under by the current at the Condado beach in San Juan. Condado beach, which is known for its big waves, strong underflow, and rip currents, is considered one of the world’s most dangerous places for swimmers. With that in mind, the cause of death seems to make sense and sounds like another unfortunate accident - until you dig deeper…

Mushegian’s last tweet, posted just a few hours before his death, claimed that he was going to be “framed” and “tortured to death” by the CIA and Mossad for discovering their “sex-trafficking ring”. Sounds outlandish, I know. Interestingly, it’s not the first time Mushegian hinted at being killed by the CIA. But according to his family, the strange tweets were nothing more than a result of Mushegian’s pre-existing mental health issues.

Bizarre... but it only gets weirder. A month after Mushegian’s death, we received reports of the deaths of two other crypto leaders within the same week. The first was Tiantian (TT) Kullander, the co-founder of the crypto trading company Amber Group. Kullander passed away in his sleep on the 23rd November. What’s strange is that he was only 30 years old and no other details surrounding his death were made public.

The second is the 53-year-old Russian billionaire Vyacheslav Taran, who died in a helicopter crash in France on the 25th November. Taran was well-known in the crypto community as president of the Libertex Group. Statistically, helicopters are known to be more dangerous than commercial flights, with the most common causes of helicopter crashes being pilot error and bad weather.

However, reports state that Taran was travelling in good weather and with an experienced pilot. Shortly after the news of his death came out, rumours of Taran having ties to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service and of the crash potentially being a planned assassination began surfacing. Taran’s family denied the rumours, stating they were “completely unfounded fabrications and outright lies.”

While most are of the opinion that the deaths are unrelated and just an unfortunate coincidence, a part of the crypto community is not convinced. There are several conspiracy theories being discussed. Some of the more prominent ones are of the deaths being a coordinated mafia-style hit-job carried out either by the underworld or the 'central banking hierarchy.' Wild.

Another popular theory - and a personal favourite - is that some of these 'deaths' have been staged. Crypto winter has exposed some of the shoddy financial management practices of many crypto companies. It might not be completely out of line to say that some of these executives would prefer to disappear than face the music.

It does all remind me of the circumstances surrounding the death of QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten. Many in the crypto community even to this day believe that Cotten is probably alive somewhere and living in hiding. The recent movement of over 100 BTC stuck in an inaccessible cold wallet related to Quadriga only makes this theory stronger.

Having said all that, I honestly don’t know if there is a shred of truth to any of the theories being floated, but they do make for an interesting thought experiment. Freaky coincidence or a puppet master behind the scenes?

More likely the former, but, the way things are going these days, you can never be sure…

🔥 Deal of The Week 🔥

Are you looking to support crypto and the Coin Bureau by sporting some awesome crypto merch? Well, we have you covered in our Coin Bureau merch store. Here we have everything from:

Remember that the proceeds of all sales in the store go towards supporting the Coin Bureau team in our mission of producing that top-notch educational content. So, if you love what we do on YouTube then please do check out our store 🙏

🔮 Video Pipeline 🔮

  • DCG Saga Continued
  • WEF global risk report: Should we be worried?
  • Chat GPT & crypto: What you need to know!
  • FTX & Alameda’s secret bank: Shocking revelations!

🏆 What's New At This Week? 🏆Djed Review: Cardano’s Algorithmic Stablecoin solutionTop 10 Crypto Investments for 2023!

That’s all for now guys. Thanks again for all your continued support.

Guy your crypto guyDisclosure: Authors may own cryptoassets named in this newsletter. These are unqualified opinions, and a Coin Bureau newsletter, is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to serve as investment advice. Please consult with your investment, tax, or legal advisor.

Guy Turner

Guy is one of the founding members and face of the Coin Bureau. Like many of us, he is just an average joe who became “crypto curious” back in 2013. After recognising the potential of blockchain technology, Guy set off on a mission to create crypto educational content, working with others to start the Coin Bureau website and released our first video on YouTube in 2019. You can learn more about him in his Who is Guy? blogpost.

Free Crypto Coverage Direct to Your Inbox