Are Tensions About to Flare Up Between the U.S., Iran and Russia Over Oil Barter Deal?

While people remain focused on Russia’s annexation of Crimea and fears that Putin may make aggressive moves in eastern Ukraine, it may be a barter deal between Russia and Iran for oil that takes tensions between the U.S. and Russia to a whole other level.

For example The Washington Post reports that:

As Russia seems poised to extend its land grab into eastern Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is also edging toward a deal with Iran that would make a mockery of the P5+1 interim agreement with Iran. News reports confirm that ”Russia could exchange non-monetary goods for up to 500,000 barrels of Iranian petroleum each day under the possible arrangement, which may ultimately pave the way for as much as $20 billion in trade, insiders told [Reuters] for a Wednesday report.” Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a sanctions guru, is quoted as saying, “If Washington can’t stop this deal, it could serve as a signal to other countries that the United States won’t risk major diplomatic disputes at the expense of the sanctions regime.” Even the State Department acknowledges that the deal would violate the interim deal.

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My Latest Interview with Financial Survival Network – Creating a Decentralized World

Creating an ever connected, yet increasingly decentralized world is no easy task. Nevertheless, it is something I believe humanity must do in order to traverse the current challenging times and come out the other side better off than before.

Yesterday, I highlighted what I believe is an extremely important article on the worker co-op movement. Earlier in the week, I sat down with Kerry Lutz of Financial Survival Network to discuss everything from Bitcoin and crony capitalism, to marijuana legalization and local food.

You can listen to the interview here. Enjoy!

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Perpetual Assets Launches “Bitcoin for Bullion” Campaign

I’ve mentioned the guys at Perpetual Assets several times before on this site. I met them last summer at the Liberty Mastermind Conference, and I’ve been extremely impressed with their vision when it comes to precious metals, crypto-currencies and a dedication to making this world a better place.

Well, they just took their game to a whole new level with the announcement that they will be accepting Bitcoin as payment for their entire product suite, which includes self-directed IRAs, a precious metals debit card and of course a wide variety of bullion products.

However, their IRA product is what really has me excited at the moment. The last time I highlighted this was following the announcement of Obama’s myRA program. Perpetual Assets saw an explosion in interest and sales and I can see why.

What the self-directed IRA allows is for anyone to transfer their retirement funds into their own LLC which then allows you to invest it in pretty much anything. Physical gold, silver, bitcoin, real estate and of course stocks and bonds if you so desire.

Let’s take a real world example. Let’s say you have all your retirement funds at Fidelity and it is 100% in a stock index fund. You can liquidate 10% of that tax-free (or whatever percentage you want) and move it to your LLC IRA. Then you can do whatever you want with this cash. You can even buy physical gold and store it yourself. The options are seemingly as endless as your imagination.

You can find out more information by going to their site here. Furthermore, if you want me to make a personal introduction to the team I would be more than happy to. They are fantastic.

Oh, and of course, you can always trade in a little BTC for bullion with them while you’re at it!

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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My Latest Interview with “Wall Street for Main Street” – Technology, Bitcoin and the U.S. Economy

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to record another podcast with Jason Burack of Wall Street for Main Street. This is the first interview I’ve done in a little while, and it went quite a bit longer than either of us expected. I always enjoy doing these podcasts, as it allows me to express myself in a different format and explore topics I don’t have a chance to get to in my writings.

I’ve already heard excellent feedback on this one, let me know what you think.

Enjoy!

 

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Video of the Day: Shit Bitcoin Fanatics Say

Back in 2012, I introduced you to a hilarious video created by my friend Dan Ameduri titled: Shit Gold Bugs Say. If you haven’t seen it, I definitely suggest checking it out. I even make a brief cameo appearance at the 0:57 mark.

Today I bring you a new video. Similar concept, different item and also very funny. Introducing “Shit Bitcoin Fanatics Say.”

Enjoy.

 

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Overstock.com Passes $1 Million in Bitcoin Sales in Less than Two Months

The decision by Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com, to accept Bitcoin in exchange for its products has turned out to be a very savvy business decision for the online retailer. While the pace of Bitcoin sales has dropped off significantly from the tremendous $130k recorded in the first 24 hours, the sales have continued to come in. Only two months into the experiment, the retailer has now surpassed $1 million in BTC sales. More importantly, Mr. Byrne estimate 60% of these sales came from entirely new customers.

From TechDirt:

“We did not expect to hit this milestone so quickly,” states Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick M. Byrne. “Bitcoin customers are good customers, and we’re pleased to provide them this service.”

Overstock.com started accepting Bitcoin in early January by partnering with Coinbase to process the payments and handle the conversion of Bitcoin into U.S. dollars. Since then, Overstock.com reports 4,300 customers paid for over $1 million worth of goods with Bitcoin. The retailer estimates almost 60% of those are new customers to Overstock.com.

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Inaugural Interview with “The News Doctors” – Bitcoin, Freedom and Decentralization

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to sit down with Eric Dubin, editor of The News Doctors, an alternative news site, and host of Liberty Rising Radio. This was a lengthy interview and we cover a lot of very important bases. Eric asked many key questions on the minds of Bitcoin skeptics, so I think this particular interview will be especially useful for those out there who still haven’t come around to supporting it. One thing that I really want to hammer home to goldbugs is that we should not be cheering or encouraging a Chinese backed monetary system. Rather, we should aim to separate the state from money.

Enjoy.

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Amagi Metals: The Place to Buy Precious Metals with Bitcoin

Even those in the precious metals community who do not support Bitcoin, cannot deny two very significant facts. First, there is an undeniable overlap between many of those in the precious metals community and those within the Bitcoin ecosystem. Second, many of the early adopters of BTC have amassed sizable fortunes. So we have a captive audience of potential precious metals buyers who have exponentially more wealth than they had two years ago. You might think it’d be a good idea to offer gold and silver for sale for Bitcoin. That’s where Amagi Metals comes in.

Over the past several months I have come to know Stephen Macaskill, the man behind Amagi Metals, which is based just 30 miles east of me in Denver, Colorado. Stephen saw the potential to accept Bitcoin before most people had even heard of it. Specifically, the company was started in 2008 and began accepting BTC in November 2012. The rewards reaped from this decision have been enormous, with a reported $900,000 in Bitcoin for precious metals sales over Thanksgiving weekend alone! As such, the Bitcoin part of the business supports at least one full time employee at this point.

Those in the precious metals community should understand and appreciate the fact that many of the fortunes made in Bitcoin ultimately represent considerable buying power directed at those wise enough to take advantage. A merchant takes no BTC volatility risk either, as long as they use a payment processor like Coinbase (check out this interview with the founder) or BitPay.

As such, for those looking to spend some bitcoin on bars and coins, I strongly suggest checking out Amagi Metals.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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GoldMoney Adds Bitcoin to its Suite of Services

The explosion in the price and popularity of Bitcoin over the past six months has caused a major rift within the precious metals community. It is quite clear which side I am on, and quite frankly, I am having a hard time understanding the outright hostility toward Bitcoin from many gold and silver stackers. The disdain toward Bitcoin borders on dogmatic religious type hostility characterized by a “gold and silver or nothing” mentality, while the attitude from folks in my camp consists of a “let’s support this experiment and see how it works” mentality, while still maintaining a very positive stance on the precious metals as a store of value. As I have said many times before, gold is a store of value, while Bitcoin is primarily a disruptive technology and innovative payment system that is now in direct competition with the traditional financial system. Seeing value in one, doesn’t preclude seeing value in the other.

It appears that the folks at GoldMoney understand this, and have just announced Bitcoin cold storage as a new service.

From the the UK’s Independent: 

One of the UK’s leading precious metals storage firms is adding an altogether more unusual commodity to its vaults – Bitcoin.

GoldMoney Group, which holds $1.4 billion worth of precious metals for customers, is setting up a new business specializing in “cold” storage of Bitcoin, an increasingly popular digital currency. Netagio will encrypt Bitcoins and store them on offline storage devices in secure vaults.

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Paul Krugman Once Again Irrationally Attacks Bitcoin…Here’s My Response

The last aggressive anti-Bitcoin tirade I recall from Paul Krugman was written on April 14th of this year. It was such an irrational piece of drivel that I decided to respond to his Op-ed nearly paragraph by paragraph in my piece, Paul Krugman Goes on the Attack: Calls Bitcoin “Antisocial,” which I strongly suggest you read if you haven’t already.

What is most interesting about that previous article in hindsight is that he wrote it right after Bitcoin experienced its first major crash of 2013 (there have been two thus far, both after greater than 10-fold increases in the price). While I know Krugman periodically attacks Bitcoin, it’s interesting that this latest Bitcoin hit piece also came directly after the second crash. For those who are holders of Bitcoin, this should be taken as a very positive price signal going forward. Krugman’s prior article was written the day before the abolsute low price for the decline was reached at $50/btc on April 15th. It seems that Krugman becomes particularly comfortable slamming Bitcoin only after a price crash.

In any event, his latest Op-ed is almost as bad as the first one, and so I thought it’d be worthwhile to highlight his ignorance, irrationality and blatant use of statist propaganda once again. So let’s go.

From the New York Times:

This is a tale of three money pits. It’s also a tale of monetary regress — of the strange determination of many people to turn the clock back on centuries of progress.

The first money pit is an actual pit — the Porgera open-pit gold mine in Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s top producers. The mine has a terrible reputation for both human rights abuses (rapes, beatings and killings by security personnel) and environmental damage (vast quantities of potentially toxic tailings dumped into a nearby river). But gold prices, while down from their recent peak, are still three times what they were a decade ago, so dig they must.

The second money pit is a lot stranger: the Bitcoin mine in Reykjanesbaer, Iceland. Bitcoin is a digital currency that has value because … well, it’s hard to say exactly why, but for the time being at least people are willing to buy it because they believe other people will be willing to buy it. It is, by design, a kind of virtual gold. And like gold, it can be mined: you can create new bitcoins, but only by solving very complex mathematical problems that require both a lot of computing power and a lot of electricity to run the computers.

In the three paragraphs above, Krugman in employing a strategy that anti-gold people have used for years if not decades. That it is wasteful and environmentally destructive to mine for gold since it has no real purpose. Interesting. What purpose do diamonds have Paul? Did you buy your wife a diamond ring for your engagement? Did you make sure it wasn’t a blood diamond? Aren’t people likely raped and exploited in the mining of diamonds? I wonder how many articles Krugman has written on the destructiveness of diamond mining, a gem that isn’t even rare to begin with.

I tend to notice a huge hypocrisy from statists that in reality hate gold because it is a competing monetary asset, but then attempt to explain away their disdain using another, more publicly palatable rationale such as environmental destruction. After all, gold should get some credit for having at least has two hugely significant historical purposes. It has been valued for both its beauty and durability as jewelry, as well as for its monetary attributes. Diamonds have one primary purpose only recently established due to extensive marketing efforts (also in drills but you get the point), which is as a status or wealth symbol, so you’d think Krugman and other statists would get far more hot and bothered about blood diamonds than gold; but do they? No, they don’t. The hypocrisy is obvious.

The second thing Krugman does in the latest Op-Ed is to take this faux criticism and then attach it to Bitcoin. See the following paragraph:

Hence the location in Iceland, which has cheap electricity from hydropower and an abundance of cold air to cool those furiously churning machines. Even so, a lot of real resources are being used to create virtual objects with no clear use.

No clear use? Really, Krugman? There is nothing useful about essentially costless transfers of value on a peer-to-peer basis? There is no value to monetary transfers that eliminate expensive and parasitic middlemen? There is no value to using a public key as a way to ask for payment, thus reducing  enormous security concerns caused by providing all your private information to hundreds of merchants using credit cards? No value to being able to send millions of dollars across the globe in minutes rather than days? No value to free market currencies competing with state currencies? No value to economic freedom?

There are plenty of valid criticisms of Bitcoin, and a clear and thoughtful expression of those criticisms can only help the marketplace improve free-market crypto currencies in the future. Yet the irrational, ramblings of a statist who clearly hasn’t taken two minutes to objectively analyze Bitcoin is of no use to anyone and a disgrace to a supposedly highbrow newspaper like the New York Times.

His full Op-Ed is here if you have the stomach.

In Liberty,
Mike

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