Germany has been incredibly tolerant of its spendthrift Southern neighbors. The Greeks want to retire when they are 23 having served a 3 day week. The Italians want unlimited deficits and permanent chaos and the Spanish are still in bed, they don’t even know they are in the Euro. Germany pays for all of them.
Patience wears thin in Berlin though. Some five years ago, a group of German taxpayers took the Bundesbank to court about quantitative easing. In essence, their issue was that the European Central Bank was breaching German law through its asset purchases, which were being undertaken by the Bundesbank. European law is complex but the case was broadly that the European Central Bank has one mandate, price stability. Once it steps outside of that it breaches not only its mandate but German law (and that every other country). Their claim was that QE, now at 40% of EU GDP, was completely disproportionate to the task at hand.
The ruling from the Germany’s highest court agreed, they did not hold back:
This was a very significant moment in Europe. To paraphrase the German Constitutional Court: it is our money and we are in charge
We analysed their quarterly sales of bitcoin for the past few years.
The percentages sold reflect the proportion of total supply produced by miners in that quarter that each business has sold. In 2018 it was in single figures, by 2020 those two businesses alone were selling over 50% of all the bitcoin value mined in the quarter.
There are some technical reasons for the Grayscale surge which we won’t go into here and I expect their sales to fall back in Q2. Square will keep on growing though, a good chance they go past Coinbase too in terms of being the largest retail seller of bitcoin. An even more compelling case for Square is their ranking in the app store. They are the top finance app every day, far outranking PayPal in downloads. Even more tellingly, the top paid finance app in the USA is US Debt Clock…….
To finance the ponzi, the US treasury announced that $3 trillion in US debt would be auctioned in this coming quarter, including the first issuance of 20 year US debt since 1986. The treasury wanted to go to 50 year debt, but the market appetite was “unclear”. Only $20 billion of 20 year bonds will be auctioned, so less than 1% of the quarterly requirement is being auctioned for that long. It will all sell and the US Treasury will announce “huge success”, “5 times over-subscribed”.
It’s all happening on May 20th, so stand by your Bloomberg terminals for some bond market success hyperbole.
If you ever wanted a lesson in debt monetisation, then this was it. Simply issue bonds to the market, then keep buying them in the secondary market to keep interest rates low. As long as the Fed doesn’t start buying them in the auctions themselves, then everything is fine, right?
Thehalving finally arrived on Tuesday at 6am Sydney time. Without a hitch, the bitcoin protocol now rewards miners with 6.25 bitcoins every 10 minutes, not 12.5.
It is the apolitical nature of code that makes bitcoin so powerful. No Christine Lagarde here printing money at random, no “the time isn’t right”. It happens, on schedule. No matter what the external conditions bitcoin behaves in a specific way and that’s how we know exactly the money supply at all points in time.
It is impossible to plan an economy, or run a business efficiently when the money supply leaps around all over the place, it is that which causes the loss of confidence.
Visually the halving can be seen in the image below. Block 629,999 rewarded the miner with 1,250,000,000 satoshis (12.5 bitcoins). Block 630,000 rewarded the miner with 625,000,000 (6.25 bitcoins).
Contrary to popular belief you can buy and hold less than one bitcoin. They are divisible to eight decimals. One satoshi is currently worth $0.000083 cents. The best thing that could happen to bitcoin long term is that it is quoted in satoshis. That would most likely require its value to exceed $0.01 cent, implying a whole bitcoin valuation of just shy of $1m.
Unlikely? Maybe, but Satoshi Nakamoto designed the protocol for the long term. This is only halving number three, the last one isn’t until 2140.