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The Daily Missive

Another “Nuclear Blast in Cyberspace”?

By March 3, 2022February 8th, 2023No Comments

“We are witnessing the first geopolitical ‘cancellation’ of the 21st century.”

― Jason Willick

Addison WigginDear Reader,

“If the Russian army conquers Ukraine,” a reader from Paris writes, “what next?”

Emeric M. continues:

Putin seems to reason like a KGB officer in Budapest in 1956: you just have to crush the rebellion and to put a puppet government in power. This was possible behind the Iron Curtain, but in today’s world, in a digital age of much more open societies, it will be difficult to run a country against a totally defiant citizenry.

It will also be difficult if Russia doesn’t have access to the foreign banking system. Seven of the largest Russian banks have been kicked off SWIFT, the international banking exchange. This morning, the Washington Post wonders what will be the impact:

One former Obama administration official that worked on sanctions, who agreed to talk on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly, said the scale of the restrictions on Russia has been so huge and unprecedented — so its knock-on impact could be huge and unprecedented, too. The former official noted that Russia’s central bank, which had its assets frozen by the United States in a Rubicon-crossing move, had more assets than the entire economic output of Iran.

“The ‘shock and awe’ financial attack is having an effect,” Bill Bonner writes in a Bonner Family Research piece titled “Zero-Sum Games.” Oil already trades at over $112 a barrel. And that was before Shell canceled its contracts with Gazprom. Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia, “swirled closer to the drain yesterday. The stock trades at only 90 cents, down from $20 in October.”

Likewise, Russia is in the process of getting deplatformed. Microsoft, Meta, YouTube, TikTok, Apple and Google have all limited access to Russia Today, a state-sponsored TV news outlet accused of issuing Russian propaganda. Prior to the invasion, RT claims to have surpassed 10 billion views on YouTube. Now according to Protocol, the network is seeing a massive staff exodus, with a number of journalists quitting, including financial journalist and bitcoin enthusiast Max Keiser.

Ironically, a year ago the Russians were among the many voices lamenting the decision of U.S. internet platforms to block Donald Trump while he was still president of the United States. On Facebook, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova likened the Trump ban “to a nuclear blast in cyberspace.”

“If anything,” says James Altucher, our Wiggin Sessions guest this week, ”what’s happening in the Ukraine and the effects on the stock market is almost serving as a rate hike, so this might even alleviate concerns the Fed is going to hike rates too quickly.”

But if countries are going to be “deplatformed” from the international banking system, “crypto or its infrastructure is a potential backup plan.” James goes on to say, “Whether Russia uses it or not, I’m pretty sure crypto influencers or countries that are interested in crypto are definitely viewing what’s happening and saying, ‘Hmm, maybe crypto should be my backup plan as well.’”

You might argue Russia deserves it. It’s hard to slough off images of a million-plus women and children fleeing Russian missiles. But what about otherwise sanguine countries like our friends to the north?

“In Canada,” James comments, “we had this outrageous situation with the trucker strike. I’m sure a lot of people are looking at Russia or Ukraine, and saying, this is outrageous and correctly so. It is outrageous. But for me, it’s almost inconceivable that Canada of all countries would essentially declare martial law against its own citizens.”

James continues:

I personally know people who have had all their bank assets frozen, their credit cards canceled by the Canadian government because the Canadian government declared martial law. These people had donated some money to the trucker protests. That begs the question, what is Canada even thinking?

This is the slippery slope that every authoritarian government in the world starts to take, and now we’re seeing it in Canada. So what’s the first thing people think? Well, if you own cryptocurrencies and they’re stored outside of Canada, if your wallet or whatever is in hard storage or if you’re on a decentralized finance exchange as opposed to a centralized exchange, you can’t have your assets frozen.

Speaking about his Big Book of Crypto: “A way to protect yourself, if you’re even a peaceful protestor in a peaceful country, you have to start thinking of crypto, because Canada, as far as I know, is the most peaceful country and these are the most peaceful protests and the most peaceful people…”

“Right? It’s almost a joke.”

Follow your bliss,

Addison Wiggin

Addison Wiggin
Founder, The Financial Reserve

Addison Wiggin

Addison Wiggin Addison Wiggin is an American writer, publisher, and filmmaker. He was the founder of Agora Financial and publisher for 18 years. An acclaimed New York Times best-selling author, his books include: Financial Reckoning DayEmpire of DebtThe Demise of the Dollar, and The Little Book of the Shrinking Dollar. Addison is also the writer and executive producer of the documentary I.O.U.S.A., an exposé on the national debt, shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2008. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his family. Addison started his latest project, The Wiggin Sessions, powered by The Essential Investor, in March 2020. He films from a homegrown studio in his basement.