Bumfuzzle [ buhm-fuhz-uhl ]
1. To confuse or fluster
“In an attempt to bumfuzzle his neighbor, John placed a flaming bag of [excrement] on his neighbor’s porch and pretended not to know anything about it.”
— Seen locally on a t-shirt
What an a$$.
Vladimir Putin’s really putting a damper smack-dab in our milieu. Just when we thought we were done worrying about geopolitical issues, the new devil in history starts a hot war.
“Cпасибо, Nридурок.” (Disclaimer: only Google that if you’re over 18 or under your guardian’s supervision.) What did we talk about this week? Let’s take a look:
Up until a few months ago, Kazakhstan was home to a thriving Bitcoin-mining community. Alas, “mining” Bitcoin requires powerful computers to solve increasingly complex equations. It’s a very energy-intensive process, both to run the software and to keep the hardware from literally melting down. With a relatively cold climate, abundant cheap energy and plenty of space, Kazakhstan offered a perfect place for miners to set up shop. It’s also right next door to China, which proved convenient when the Chinese government suddenly banned digital mining in June 2021. Unfortunately for just about everyone in Kazakhstan, energy prices were low simply because of government decree. As production costs rose, the government removed the caps — and companies wasted no time boosting what people had to pay for fuel. The sudden spike led to civil unrest… and violent crackdowns. The Kazakhstani government shut down the internet and Russia sent in troops to keep order in its southern neighbor. With that, the world suddenly lost a good chunk of Bitcoin mining.
My Go-To Market Bubble Indicator
TBI stands for “Tennis Buddy Indicator.” It’s my surefire gauge of what individual investors like you are interested in… and worried about. It works on a similar scale as “the Uber driver” test. That is, when an Uber driver gives you investment advice — in anything from stock tips to cryptos — you know the market is frothy. The difference is the TBI is better.My tennis buddies are just as likely to get as caught up in the media’s hype as anyone else… so they pepper me with questions anytime there’s news about oil prices (currently the highest since 1980), gold or tech stocks. This morning, I learned a few had tuned in to hear my session with James Altucher on Saturday. A few others had already read yesterday’s missive on Kazakhstan. In between sets, we shared speculative pensees about cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin mining. One was unaware how energy-intensive the process is. To be honest, the crypto mining mechanics are a bit of a riddle to me, too. Here’s my best attempt at sorting it out…
One Step Closer… to Fedcoin, Ugh
Crypto, more specifically blockchain, is meant to be a decentralized way to own, use, define, accept, belittle, uplift… money. Decentralize being the operative word. Money exists for a reason. I have a couple cows. You have a bundle of turnips. How are we going to know which equals how much of the other. Oh, yeah, there’s this little thing called currency. The biggest innovation of the tech age is digitized money. Freedom for everyone! Yay. Whoops, what’s this? If it’s money, it must be regulated, right? The Biden administration released its “long-awaited” Executive Order targeting the digital marketplace. Just when we thought it would get better, the world-improvers stick their fat, gout-riddled feet right in the middle. The decree sets the stage for regulation down the road. But for now traders can breathe easy. There’s no set timetable. Basically, the regulatory agencies have been instructed to study the various issues with cryptos and make suggestions. More studies, please. Oh, and remember to file your taxes on time this year. Who else is going to pay for the new studies?
When the pandemic shutdowns sent the stock market tumbling, the Federal Reserve Chairman presided over a series of actions he thought were best proscribed — he and the governors agreed to cut interest rates and purchase assets to keep the system going. But all that money flooding in created speculative asset bubbles. Then it overflowed into the economy at large, creating the kind of inflation we haven’t had since Carter took a vacation from his peanut farm for four years. The kind of inflation the Fed is supposed to keep in check. The kind of inflation that reminds you prime rib is a commodity. Today we learned that the inflation rate topped 7.9% in February — its highest single increase in 40 years. We recall the warning former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker gave us for I.O.U.S.A.: “Don’t let inflation get started, because once it gets some momentum, it’s very difficult to deal with.” Volcker famously fought inflation in the early 1980s by drastically boosting interest rates. We doubt the current Chairman would dare to be so bold. Nor will he necessarily…
No More for You: Diamonds or Caviar… or Gas
Vladimir Putin was suggested for the Nobel Prize in Medicine, recently, by economist Martin Armstrong, because Putin eviscerated the pandemic narrative in 48 hours by launching missiles at women and children. Where’s that goofy guy with the too-tight-tie been lately, you know the guy with the evil-scientist-sounding name? (Hint: his name is Dr. Fauci.) Ugh. We’re working on a book called Bumfuzzled: What to Do When the Economy, Politics, Markets and Society All Go Cattywampus at the Same Time. The basic premise is every 4th generation or so the world goes mad. In our time, technology is speeding up the madness. “WTF?” is what the kids would, and will, say on TikTok when they suddenly find out they themselves are adults and have to live with this mess…
Click on any of the links above to relive our conversation.
Follow your bliss,
Founder, The Wiggin Sessions
P.S. Lest you think we sit around writing all week, let me give you a clue as to the real life here in the Wiggin Sessions studio (i.e., our Covid-era basement.)
This week we spanned the globe from an Australian-born writer living and dealing with inflation in Buenos Aires, Argentina… to a Ukrainian media entrepreneur who currently resides near my son on the NYU campus in New York City… to a Lebanese economist of the Austrian persuasion and bestselling author of The Bitcoin Standard, who is living in Amman, Jordan, for undisclosed reasons.
One unifying link betwixt them? Well, you’ll have to tune in next week to find out. See you then.