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Twitter stock dives in pre-market after a widespread hack took control of major celebrities' accounts including Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffett
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 49%. (I'm a bot)
Twitter stock plummeted 7% in pre-market trading on Thursday after it was hit with a massive blue-tick hack as many verified accounts reported being unable to tweet. High-profile users such as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Tesla's Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett were among the targeted accounts. Twitter shares tumbled almost 7% in pre-market trading on Thursday after many accounts were compromised in a bitcoin hacking incident. On Wednesday, the company said that hackers had targeted some of its employees which enabled access to "Internal systems" and tools, leading to a massive compromise of some of the most popular accounts on its platform. Shortly after the incident, many accounts found they were unable to tweet. The incident led to high-profile accounts such as those of former president Barack Obama, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and even companies like Apple and Uber tweeting messages about Bitcoin donations.
Summary Source | FAQ | Feedback | Topkeywords: account#1Twitter#2hack#3tweet#4company#5 Post found in /technology. NOTICE: This thread is for discussing the submission topic. Please do not discuss the concept of the autotldr bot here.
The 3 Kinds of Cryptocurrency Traders that are Kicking Your Ass
The 3 Types of Cryptocurrency Traders that are Kicking Your Ass
For an investor to outperform the market, someone else must underperform.That is a simple arithmetic fact. In a fair and regulated environment, investors have equal access to information. Winners and losers are determined by whoever can make a better prediction. But cryptocurrency is the wild, wild west. Market participants don’t play fair and they can profit at the expense of others. Here are the three types of traders that are kicking your ass Insider Traders Under Rule 10b5–1, the SEC defines insider trading as “any securities transaction made when the person behind the trade is aware of nonpublic material information.” Insider trading is illegal in almost all traditional markets. In a research paper published in 2010, Qin Lei found empirical evidence that insiders were able to consistently beat the stock market. Over the last year, we’ve seen many high-profile cases of insider trading in the cryptocurrency market. Coinbase** — The Bitcoin Cash Incident** On December 19, 2017, Coinbase tweeted it would add Bitcoin Cash to its exchange. But before the announcement was made public, both the trading volume and the price of Bitcoin Cash suspiciously surged. On March 1, Coinbase was hit with a class action lawsuit. The full court document is available here. South Korea Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Even regulators are being investigated for insider trading. Korean FSS officials knew ahead of time that new cryptocurrency trading restrictions would be put in place. Yet, they still made trades before the announcement. The chief of the FSS, Choi Hyung-sik, confirmed on Jan. 18 that trading violations had occurred. Despite being caught red-handed, another FSS official responded that there was technically “no code of ethics or conduct for virtual currencies and therefore difficult to issue any punishment.” The examples mentioned above are just a few high-profile cases. Insider trading runs rampant in the cryptocurrency space. Very often, prices and trading volumes will pump right before an exchange announces a new coin. To many, insider trading is no longer a surprise but rather something that “just happens” in an unregulated market. Whales A whale is simply a colloquial way to describe an investor who is able to manipulate markets by mobilizing large amounts of capital. Most crypto investors treat whales like the boogeyman. They’ve never had a personal encounter, but swear that whales are responsible for large market swings everywhere. In some cases there is strong evidence indicating that they are right. Recently, academic research has come out showing that large-scale price manipulation does happen. Here’s an example from 2013, where a single entity was largely responsible for pushing the price of Bitcoin from $150 to $1,000 in two months. Another paper that came out last week shows how large amounts of USDT was used to manipulate Bitcoin prices. Here are a few techniques whales use to manipulate price. Stop-loss hunting Whales intentionally push the price down in order to trigger stop-loss orders.Then they turn around and buy coins from these stop-loss orders for cheap and wait for the market to recover. This strategy works well for coins with low trading volumes and small order books. With enough coins, whales can push down the price by introducing a slew of market-price sell orders. To show how this works, let’s imagine a scenario:
There is a coin trading at $150
There are 10 BTC of buy orders between $110 and $150
There are 10 BTC of buy orders between $90 and $110
The goal is to drive the price down past $100, which may be a psychological breaking point for some people and therefore a likely place for stop-losses. One can do this by:
Placing a market sell order totaling 10 BTC, to drive the price down from $150 to $110
Keeping the sell pressure on, as investors naturally start selling their holdings.
Watching people’s stop-losses go off at $100 without their knowledge. This drives the price down further.
Buying up all the stop-loss orders at $90 and under.
Waiting for the market to recover before selling the coins.
Short/Long Hunting This is another form of market manipulation, but one that only exchanges can pull off. Let’s see how this works on Bitmex for BTC.
A trader puts up $100 as margin for a 100x leveraged long position of $10,000.
The bankruptcy price is set at $9,900 which is the market price minus the margin.
However, Bitmex forces a liquidation if the price falls to $9,950, just $50 (0.5%) from the initial entry price.
When the market price reaches the liquidation price, Bitmex forces a sell at the bankruptcy price ($9,900).
At liquidation, investors lose their entire margin and pay the high fee at the 100x leveraged rate.
The price just has move slightly in the wrong direction to trigger a liquidation. When liquidations happen, the investor loses their entire margin and pays a big fat fee. Because exchanges know exactly what prices will trigger these liquidations, they have both the capability and financial incentive to engineer price movements using bots. To be clear, there is no evidence implicating Bitmex. But it is suspicious that low volume trading periods are followed by a furious uptick in volume. When this happens, liquidation tears through leveraged positions, leaving traders with nothing other than a fistful of trading fees. BitmexRekt tweets these liquidations in real time. You can follow them here. Spoofing Another common strategy whales use to manipulate the market is called spoofing. It means to bid or offer with intent to cancel before the orders are filled.The goal of spoofing is to send false signals to investors. Here’s an example of using this strategy to profit:
A spoofer places a large buy order right underneath a smaller buy order with the intention of sending a bullish signal to the market.
After filling a few trades, poof, the spoofer cancels the entire buy order.
When the price starts to rise, the spoofer starts to sell his coins.
Manipulate prices on markets with small order books
Usually wash trading is extremely hard to prove, as washed trades look very similar to real trades. On July 27, however, Bitfinex unknowingly baited wash traders during the Bitcoin (BTC) fork to Bitcoin Cash (BCH). At the time of the fork, all BTC holders were to receive BCH commensurate with the amount of BTC they held. To accommodate for BTC held in margin positions at the time, Bitfinex had to finesse the numbers. To quote the announcement:
BCH will be distributed to settled bitcoin wallet balances as of the UTC timestamp of the first forking block, which is expected to occur on August 1st, 2017. The token distribution methodology will be:
All BTC wallet balances will receive BCH
Margin longs in BTC/USD and margin shorts in XXX/BTC will not receive BCH
Margin shorts in BTC/USD and margin longs in XXX/BTC will not pay BCH
BTC Lenders will receive BCH
Due to the net amount of BTC committed in margin positions at the time of the fork, the above methodology may result in Bitfinex seeing a surplus or deficit of BCH. As such, we will be resolving this discrepancy in the form of a socialized distribution coefficient. For example, currently, there are more longs than shorts on the platform, causing a distribution coefficient of ~1.091 (Meaning that for each qualifying BTC a user will receive 1.091 BCH). The actual coefficient will be calculated at the moment of the distribution.
These rules turned out to be game-able. Because Bitfinex did not charge BCH to open short positions leading up to the split, one could simply purchase 10 BTC and short 10 BTC. This way, you could collect free BCH without any exposure to BTC price volatility. If BTC drops, the shorts cancel out any loss. If BTC soars, the profits cancel out the short positions. On July 27, there were more longs than shorts on the platform and the distribution coefficient was 1.091. However, on August 1, the distribution coefficient moved to 0.7757. Leading up to the fork, an enormous amount of short positions were created. And instead of prices going down, which is what usually happens when shorts increase so dramatically, prices actually went up. To make matters even more dubious, shorts dropped by 24,000 on a single tick right after the fork. The manipulation here was so obvious that even Bitfinex had to acknowledge it. They issued an official statement about the wash trading here. Pump & Dump Group Executives So we’ve talked about insider traders and whales. The final type of traders we’re going to talk about are the pump & dump group executives. Pump & dump (P&D) is a form of market manipulation that involves purchasing a cheap asset, artificially inflating its price, and then dumping the asset a higher price. The cryptocurrency market is rife with such groups. Here are just a few:
Big Pump Signal (82,184 members)
VIP Signal Strategy (24,138 members)
PumpKing Community (11,124 members)
Crypto4Pumps (13,954 members)
AltTheWay (8,350 members)
Here’s howPump & Dumps work
P&D executives find a coin that is easy to manipulate and easy to sell. I.e. A coin with a strong community, advertising potential, small order book, and low trading volume.
Executives secretly accumulate the coin over time while trying not to affect the price.
These executives spread their pump signals to their inner circle members who pay upwards of $300 for the privilege of hearing early signals.
The first wave of pumpers start shilling on signal groups. They tell gullible investors that a pump is about to happen because of “new website updates”, or “new partnership announcements”, generally whatever angle they can spin.
As the price rises, the P&D executives start dumping their coins.
Once the executives are spent, they spread the signal to their paid members to begin dumping the coin.
The price starts falling and like a game of soggy cookie, the slowest players lose.
So you’re telling me the game is rigged and I’m boned, what should I do?
The simple answer is to stop actively trading.The more you try to time the market, the more you open yourself up to opportunities of getting screwed over. Speculative trading is a zero-sum game. In order for investors to outperform the market, they require others to underperform the market. In an unfair market, the average investor will more likely lose to people who have an unfair advantage and are gaming the market. This is why I genuinely believe the average investor should just index the entire market. If you’re in it for the technology and the long-term growth, why bother speculating at all? Just hold a small piece of the entire cryptocurrency market. Indices has been proven to beat 95% professional traders in equity markets over a 15 year-period. This is why I built HodlBot. It’s an easy way to diversify across the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap. It indexes 87% of the entire cryptocurrency market. Every week, your portfolio automatically rebalance so you’re always tracking the top 20 coins. It helps you get some quiet sleep while active traders lie awake, staring at their phones. You can read more about it here. The best thing about a total market index is that it can guarantee market performance. Active trading, on the other hand, cannot. I don’t mean to spread FUD by pointing out all the different ways traders are ripping investors off. I just want investors to know what exactly free and unregulated markets really mean. We’re not protected by the SEC or any other sanctioning bodies. While this comes with unbridled freedom and breathing room for rapid innovation, it also means all foul play is fair play. It’s a brave new world out there filled with all kinds of splendor and danger. If you’re going to take your chances, please make sure you’re prepared.
Lisk Highlights, March 18th 2019: Lisk Selected by Intercontinental Exchange to be Listed on the ICE Market Data Feed.
Hello there. Here is today's selection of highlights and interesting items within the Lisk ecosystem and beyond.....
Lisk Selected by Intercontinental Exchange to be Listed on the ICE Market Data Feed.
The Intercontinental Exchange, or ICE as it is more commonly known, builds and operates global markets, clearing houses, listings services, and advisory services on market data and technology. It is a sister company to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and in fact the founder and CEO of ICE, Jeffrey Craig Sprecher, is also the Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. ICE, which today is a Fortune 500 company was established in 2000. In June 2016 ICE introduced their expanded ICE Data Services, bringing together proprietary exchange data, valuations, analytics, desktop tools and connectivity solutions from across ICE, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), SuperDerivatives and Interactive Data. This is where Lisk comes in.
Lisk is one of the cryptocurrencies selected to be listed on the ICE market data feed; one of only 58 cryptocurrencies. As ICE say themselves... "Price discovery for the crypto market; access to price discovery data is crucial to assist in accurately valuing the crypto market. To help address the need for transparency and offer investors a comprehensive view, we worked with Blockstream to launch the ICE Cryptocurrency Data Feed. The feed delivers real-time and historical data for the most widely and actively traded cryptocurrencies." Some of the price discovery data for crypto currencies being offered by ICE include full tick Level 1 attributed trades and quotes, as well as Level 2 venue-specific orderbooks in ‘market-by-price’ format. Further to this they will offer comprehensive historical data, captured and normalized into an easily consumable format for strategy optimization. 30+ trading venues, markets and exchanges, providing 200M+ updates daily across 400+ crypto/fiat and crypto/crypto currency pairs.
Personally I feel that institutions and old-school traders who are familiar with the New York Stock Exchange will be looking towards ICE for their crypto trading info rather than the likes of coinmarketcap or heaven forbid... reddit cryptocurrency.😜 When they are dealing with something "new" to them in the form of crypto I reckon they will also seek aid from established institutions they feel comfortable with........ and hopefully when they do Lisk will be there front and centre.
Merchants list Vertcoin (updated with new members).
The descriptions are different in length and content dependant on the information your website offers. First purpose is to keep the descriptions short. Many websites delivered an own description which I partly quoted. If there is a need to change please let me know. You'll find this list of merchants already accepting Vertcoin on Vertcoin homepage. In these shops you can pay with Vertcoin and maby with other cryptocurrencies. If you like to get added let me know and make sure that Vertcoin acceptance is apparent in your shop.
Cyroline is on "the tireless hunt for the special in the fashion world, the perfect fusion of individual styles, quality and sustainability." In physical stores you can pay with Vertcoin in Germany: Lübeck, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart.
Zazzle is a "marketplace, you'll find customizable products, art and create-your-own products just waiting for you. We're PhD's, professional artists, manufacturing gurus, patent holders, inventors, musicians, and more. Everything we do is an expression of love." As a nice special Z provides Vertcoin shirts.
Giftoff is a "digital gift card retailer with the largest range on offer in Europe. Since 2014 we’ve been enabling digital currency users to shop with major retailers like Amazon.co.uk, Steam and Marks & Spencer. We stock over 70 gift cards and accept over 40 digital currencies as well as UK credit and debit cards."
* NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW *
"FastTech is the techno-centric destination for all your geeky needs and more. FastTech is committed to become the most loved and trusted electronics marketplace by offering superior shopping experience, timely shipping, and stellar customer service."
"We are a tech-driven online retailer located near Salt Lake City in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains. Since our beginnings in 1999. Overstock has evolved from a fledging startup to a billion-dollar online retailer as a result of a hard-working and creative team."
RB gives "independent artists a meaningful new way to sell their creations. Today, we connect over 400k artists and designers across the planet with millions of passionate fans." RB provides a huge sortiment of designed products like bags, wall art, home decor, apparel, stationary & more.
GeekBox "offers a wide variety of services including but not limited to basic computer setup, repair, virus removal, server setup, network setup, consulting, purchasing, cloud computing advice, gaming system and electronic repair." As a nice special GeekBox IT provides a Vertcoin T-shirt.
RDS is Central Virginia’s drone service specialists. From preparation to content delivery, we perform all work to perfection. We can act as both an aerial film consultant or as the remote pilot in charge on your next projects.
Printing, Graphic, Web Design
* NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW *
"Catdi is a commercial printing company with additional specialization in web design. Offering cost-effective commercial printing, direct mail, graphic design and web solutions to small businesses. Proudly Serving Houston and surrounding communities for over 10 years."
Professional Law Services
* NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW * NEW *
Bitcoin Tax is "calculating capital gains/losses for any crypto-currency. Do you know the cost-basis of every coin you own? Are you tracking the profits and new basis when you spend or sell? Can you work out the best way to identify your trades to optimize your taxes? Let us do it for you."
Burrell Law "Our New York City-based attorneys provide a broad range of transactional legal services" Every large business was once a small business. We are here to help you find a solution for your legal needs.
The Crypto Lawyers - "we are a team of U.S. qualified lawyers dedicated to helping individuals, businesses, and organizations navigate the legal intricacies of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. We commit ourselves to strategically and aggressively represent our clients in their transactional and litigation matters."
"Keys4Coins is one of the first pc game stores who only accept cryptocurrency as payment. Our store is simple to use and you can shop anonymously. Only an e-mail is required so you can receive the license."
Jzzsxm's Online Store provides a 1.5" diameter metal Vertcoin Medallion. Each medallion costs 2 VTC and comes with a metalized label containing a wallet address QR code of your choice affixed to the back.
Toys4Sex is Australia's Online Adult store retailer intended for men and women. Toys4Sex comes with a specially selected range of products that has made its mark within the Australian adult market place.
Tens of billions in P2P funds enter cryptocurrency world with the hope of filling "capital holes" using speculation
Deleted my old post and reposting because of improper posting format on my part. The following is a translation of Chinese news from a bit ago that didn't seem to have an English translation, but sounded like rather large news. Original Chinese text can be found here: https://news.p2peye.com/article-519039-1.html
Tens of billions of P2P funds enter cryptocurrency world with the hope of filling “capital holes” with speculation
The P2P industry is currently experiencing the biggest shake-up in a long while, with a large number of platforms being removed or going out of business. Following this shake-up, platforms, funds, practitioners, and investors have unexpectedly started migrating to the world of cryptocurrency. Several quantitative investment teams on the market have expressed that they have received inquiries from P2P platforms. These platforms state that their funds number in the billions or even tens of billions, and ask whether or not it is possible to use these funds to speculate and double their value in around 3 months. “The capital chain for a lot of these platforms are breaking down, so they want to use the cryptocurrency market to earn money and fill in the holes.” states Bing Qian, head of a quantitative investment team. A dangerous game of desperation is currently being played. 01 A Dangerous Game “I’ll give you $6 billion; you should use it to speculate on crypto’s secondary market.“ A month ago, Mr. Qian met a mysterious person in this manner. They immediately wanted to give $6 billion to invest, but the most Mr. Qian had ever handled was $1 billion. The thought of such massive amounts of money figuratively falling from the sky made Mr. Qian very excited. He even started about the possibility of using $6 billion to initiate a “Soros attack” within the cryptocurrency market. In the end, he made his plan: invest long in the futures market and raise the price of the coins, then short the futures market and pressure the price downward. “$6 billion is enough to manipulate the price of Bitcoin.” Mr. Qian spend the night checking over and over again that this feat was indeed possible. It was a classic play from the stock market playbook, but the biggest risk was whether or not another investor had even more funds to use and could enter into a game with him. “If my opponent has more funds than me, the risk will be high, but if there is a large amount of orders, then it would be possible to increase the rate at which I’m making money.” states Mr. Qian. If his plan really succeeded, he though it would be spectacular and become a classic in the history of digital currency. “Doubling $6 billion in half a year, I don’t think it’s hard.” After repeated calculations, Mr. Qian found that the possibility of ending in the red was low. However, the mysterious person wasn’t ready to give Bing Qian that much time, giving him time limits such as only “three months” or “as soon as possible”. Bing qian started to get suspicious and started questioning the source of the mysterious person’s funds, “I felt that they were very anxious, not like other big investors, who have a mentality of slowly but easily making money.” After countless questions, the mysterious person finally admitted that they actually come from a P2P platform that ended up having billions of dollars worth of liabilities. “At most it can last another three months, after which it will implode if the liabilities and vulnerabilities at not addressed.” In other words, they were prepared to use investors’ money to make a final “life or death” gamble. “If the platform went under while I was handling the funds, then I might get implicated when the authorities step in and trace the whereabouts of the funds.” Mr. Qian tried to think of ways to mitigate the risk, but in the end every move would have been risky. After hesitating for two weeks, he suddenly saw the platform appear on the news. It had already imploded, and investors were collectively protecting their rights. Mr. Qian was happy he didn’t accept the ticking time bomb, but then he realized, a shockingly large amount of P2P funds were entering the cryptocurrency market. And brave teams had already accepted the funds. “There are some worth millions and some worth billions; none of the sums are small.” Mr. Qian states. He has a peer that has already accepted a $500 million deal, and within 4 months has realized a 70% income. The business has essentially given him financial freedom. In the words of Mr. Qian, this is called “The deal of a lifetime”. During such a violent shake-up of the P2P industry, a large number of platforms are trying to make money in this way. If they make money, then the platform continues operating; if they lose money, then they run away via bankruptcy. According to the founders of several quantitative investment teams, the amount of P2P funds entering the cryptocurrency market is estimated to be in the tens of billions. Mr. Qian reasons, “This could be the reason for the relatively large price swings in the market recently. While a final stand might sound brave, it is actually just playing a very dangerous game. Investors’ money being put into such a high-risk scenario, is P2P’s final gambit. 02 Steering Migration Besides P2P platforms proactively moving money into the cryptocurrency market, a large amount of retail investors have also started to shift their battleground. Most platforms that have gone under recently have been high-risk, high-interest rate platforms. That is, users who are willing to use the platform tend to be less averse to risk.And this group of people naturally fits with speculators. After these platforms collapse, investors start looking for new targets. Cryptocurrency is currently marked as their next destination. Ye He, an investor, recently earned millions of dollars through P2P lending and has been transferring it into cryptocurrency speculation. “I allocate Bitcoin and Ethereum on a 7:3 scale” Mr. He states. Shortly after buying, Mr. He was pleasantly met with a surge in price. He also states, “The speed and return is much higher than that of P2P” According to P2Peye’s data, net outflow from the industry was valued at CNY￥11.27 billion. Using East Silver Valley and MinDai TianXia as examples, from the time East Silver Valley came online until now, the net outflow of capital has been unmanageable, with a net outflow of $1.6 billion in March. While MinDai TianXia does not have a net outflow, the net inflow between May and June has dropped off a cliff, severely decreasing. In a survey done by data firms, 30% of investors said they would continue to invest in online lending, but only after regulation has been improved. Another 20% said they no longer planned to invest in online lending, but instead switch to digital currencies. Using this ratio, then in June there will be at least $2.2 billion in net inflows to the cryptocurrency market. In addition, practitioners have been fleeing the online lending industry, leading to a massive transformation in demographics. “Before, my friends were doing P2P, but now if they aren’t doing blockchain, then they are speculating coin prices.” an anonymous online lending businessman confesses; before you could see a lot online lending news within your circle of friends, but now when you look, it is mostly blockchain news. “Since the beginning of the year, there have been constant calls from companies dealing with blockchain or cryptocurrency inviting me to interview.” an anonymous operational staff member of an online financial platform is quoted as saying. The operations and market personnel in the online lending industry are highly sought after in the blockchain industry. “The industries both have elements of wealth management, and have a lot of commonalities from the perspective of operations and market promotions, so we are poaching people from the online lending industry.” an anonymous HR personnel at a blockchain company states. They have already poached several senior executives. The online lending industry is currently becoming the biggest reserve of human talent available to the blockchain industry. “The recent wave of departures if very noticeable, with nearly 30% of online lending practitioners joining the cryptocurrency sector.“ says Lisa, a headhunter who specializes in online finance. On the other hand, many P2P companies that have left the scene have also made great efforts to enter the digital currency field. “A lot of P2P companies are created by real estate groups from Wenzhou or local rich owners. After they leave the P2P sector, they start to invest in or speculate on coin prices” says an anonymous P2P platform founder. It is evident that many practitioners, platforms, and funds have started to collectively shift from P2P to cryptocurrency. 03 Where is the Road? All money flows towards the highest possible yield. There is currently a migration of money from P2P to cryptocurrency. And the whole industry is starting to suffer from a shortage of assets. A-Shares are trending downward, Hong Kong stocks are weak, and bank earnings are low, so many investors feel that their investment channels are very limited. If the trade war between China and the US becomes more intense, then everyone’s risk aversion will undoubtedly get worse. Last August, when the North Korean nuclear crisis escalated, South Korean conglomerates flooded into the cryptocurrency market. At the time, the price of Ether rose 67% in two weeks, pushing it close to $300. Back in June 2016, England formally decided to leave the European Union through a “Brexit referendum”. Bitcoin rose 25% the same day, reaching a price of $714. Some believe Bitcoin has a similar safe-haven quality to gold. The financial market uncertainty caused by Brexit has let people to choose Bitcoin. While cryptocurrencies are slowly emerging as a new haven asset, it is not enough to prove that the transition from online lending is a wise choice. “It may being jumping from the tiger’s den into the wolf’s den.” states Mr. Qian, “You need to pay tuition to get into this business.” The unspoken rules and operations in this field are extremely complex. New, unfamiliar users metaphorically face a bloody battlefield. And the P2P giants that have entered the field could become the next wave of victims. “These people can’t play the coin market; they will be frisked down the moment they enter” states an anonymous person who helps P2P bosses enter the cryptocurrency market. In this sector, P2P bosses are still too naive. The cryptocurrency market has not been friendly and welcoming towards the incoming funds, instead resisting it with everything they have. Note: Looking back at the online lending industry, it is not all doom and gloom. An industry’s upward and downward trends are inevitable, as some leave, some will stay. Some practitioners believe after this wave of closures, the remaining people will be the elite.
Global Markets Slide In Thin Trading, Pound Soars On Post-Brexit Agreement
S&P futures slumped into the red, following a drop in European stocks while Asian shares traded mixed in a subdued day of trading thanks to Thanksgiving holiday; the big moves were in FX where the pound jumped, the euro strengthened and the dollar slumped after a draft deal on post-Brexit ties was tentatively agreed. US cash markets may be closed, but futures are open, and overnight the Emini slumped to Wednesday's session lows before rebounding modestly. Europe’s bourses dropped back into the red on Thursday as investor worries mounted about slowing global growth in the face of rising U.S. interest rates and trade tensions. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped as much as 0.9%, giving up much of Wednesday’s gains as almost every sector fell, led by basic resources and banking shares. The biggest decliners include BAT -1.9%, Total -1.1%, HSBC -1%, AstraZeneca -1.1%, although trading volumes were lethargic. Italy was under pressure in both stock and bond markets as sparring resumed over its budget plans. Some disappointing big-name earnings added to the gloom. Europe’s tech sector lost another 1.2 percent, but it wasn’t the worst performer. Banks were 1.6 percent weaker and mining companies and other resources firms were down nearly 2 percent and approaching a one-month low, reflecting the bitter Sino-U.S. trade war, encouraging investors to take money off the table before U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, meet in Argentina next week. The pound soared, rising sharply above 1.29 and gilts fell as a draft Brexit deal pointing to deep ties between the U.K. and European Union as well as a solution to the Irish border question was agreed at a “political level,” according to the EU. Enthusiasm was dented however after Reutrers reproted that Spain will vote against the current Brexit draft proposal because of a lack of clarity on Gibraltar. Earlier, Asian indexes swung between gains and losses before turning higher, with Japanese stocks getting an end-of-session boost on a report about a possible government rebate. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had ended little changed after recovering from an initial wobble. The index has managed to hold up so far in November after three straight monthly declines, but is on track for its worst annual performance since 2011. Japan’s Nikkei had finished almost 0.7 percent higher but Chinese shares closed 0.4 percent in the red. “Investors are still wary about whether they’ll see further lows, given none of the issues that drove the recent correction have dissipated,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP. Trading volumes in the region were also depressed. Singapore became the latest to warn about the potential impact on Thursday. The city state is considered as a bellwether for international trade. “Risks in the global economy are tilted to the downside,” said Loh Khum Yean, Singapore’s permanent secretary for trade and industry. Elsewhere, Bitcoin steadied, emerging-market assets were broadly stable and gold nudged upward. Treasuries didn’t trade because of the U.S. holiday. In commodities, China-sensitive metals like copper fell and oil prices reversed early gains, although they were still above one-year lows touched earlier this week. U.S. crude futures were last down 8 cents at $54.55 a barrel after hitting a one-year low of $52.77 on Tuesday. Brent eased 15 cents to $63.33, off Tuesday’s low of $61.71. The US is closed today for Thanksgiving holiday. Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
E.U., U.K. see free-trade area and deep regulatory cooperation; state "determination" to replace backstop: Draft
U.K. and European negotiators are working through the night to hammer out the final part of the Brexit deal as Theresa May fights to keep a crunch summit on Sunday on track. After meeting EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Wednesday, PM Theresa May announced that she will return to Brussels for last minute talks on Saturday, just a day before EU leaders are due to sign off on the deal. That wasn’t expected: Brexit update
Technology stocks rose Wednesday, posting a partial rebound from a bruising three-day decline, though analysts said further volatility and losses are likely
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues are likely to turn more wary about marching interest rates higher after delivering a widely anticipated quarter percentage-point increase in December. Fed may pause cycle of rate hikes as early as spring: MNI
The Republican chairman of the U.S. Senate committee overseeing trade rebuffed a call by a dozen GOP senators to vote on a revised a U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade agreement this year, a move that likely will doom their effort
U.S. consumers will be hit hard if President Donald Trump goes ahead with tariffs on the remaining imports from China, worth about $260 billion in 2017. That’s because China has an "exceptionally large" market share in goods that have so far escaped the tariffs, according to Deutsche Bank AG. They note that 93 percent of U.S. laptop imports came from China in 2017 while 80 percent of mobile phone imports came from China
Italy PM Conte confident spread will narrow; acting responsibly on budget; Italy’s Di Maio sees margins for dialogue with EU; infringement procedure would be unfair; Salvini/Di Maio say won’t change a comma on budget: Repubblica
BTP Italia total placement closed at EU2.16b: Treasury
WSJ: Apple to offer Japan carriers discount to up iPhone XR sales
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Happy Thanksgiving to all our US readers. Apparently Americans will consume up to 4,500 calories each over the course of today, although I read that us Brits consume around 7,000 on Xmas Day so our friends stateside are lightweights. For those working in financial markets both these numbers might be eclipsed this year after the stresses of the last couple of weeks. However, ahead of the holiday, there were some healthier markets yesterday to raise a glass to. In addition to that, we ran the numbers yesterday and the Friday after Thanksgiving has seen a ratio of positive to negative days for the S&P 500 of just under 2 to 1. This long-term daily average is 1.13 to 1. Anyway, back to the present, where the rout which plagued just about every risk asset on Tuesday reversed to some degree yesterday with the NASDAQ (+0.92%), S&P 500 (+0.31%) and NYSE FANG (+0.51%) all closing higher. These indexes pared their peak intraday gains (S&P 500 up just over 1% at highs) though amid thin afternoon liquidity ahead of today's US holiday. The DOW closed flat, while in Europe the STOXX 600 (+1.14%) and DAX (+1.61%) both rallied before the US dipped after Europe went home. HY spreads in the US and Europe were both around -7bps tighter, and WTI and Brent rallied +1.97% and +1.34% respectively. The climb for oil was fairly steady during the day helped partly by a drop in the latest API inventories data and also President Trump’s early morning tweet in which he thanked Saudi Arabia for lower oil prices. Inventories data out of the EIA later in the session didn’t really move the dial. There were seemingly a few reasons for the turn in sentiment. One was the decent rally for BTPs, where two- and 10-year yields fell -23.3bps and -14.6bps respectively, for their best day in over a month. As expected, the European Commission rejected the latest Italian draft 2019 plan, with Commissioner Moscovici warning against Italy adopting free-rider behaviour in comments with the press. The EC confirmed that they are not yet opening the EDP but suggested that they see this as the path which is opening ahead. Moscovici confirmed yesterday that Italy will have two weeks to answer queries put forward by the EC. After that, the EC will have to make the decision whether or not to recommend opening an EDP to the Eurogroup. The hope for Italy might be that Moscovici sounded willing to keep a dialogue open, rather than shutting the door completely. Our economists rightly noted that the ball is now back with Italy. On that, Deputy PM Salvini initially said yesterday that the Government is open to a dialogue on spending revisions but wouldn’t stretch to discussing the budget deficit or pension reform. A potential sign of compromise appeared to be enough for the market though with the FTSE MIB also climbing +1.41% and an index of Italian banks up +2.35%, both snapping a five-day losing run. Also attracting some interest yesterday was an MNI article quoting ‘senior Fed sources’ as suggesting that the Fed is considering a pause in hiking rates and may also consider ending its tightening cycle as soon as spring next year. The article went on to say that Fed officials appear to be converging around 3% for the neutral rate and that policymakers see inflation as peaking around the current 2% level before falling lower. A couple of comments are worth making on this. The first is that MNI isn’t seen as the most reliable source for Fed news, and the second is that this story broadly repeats commentary we have already heard from Clarida and Powell in recent days. So not particularly groundbreaking in our view. Treasuries didn’t move much on the article and 10y yields ended flat, while two-year yields sold off +1.0bps by the close of play and the Dollar index edged down -0.11%. Overnight Asian markets are mixed in thin trading due to today’s Thanksgiving holiday in the US and a holiday in Japan tomorrow. The Nikkei (+0.61%) and Hang Seng (+0.06%) are up while the Shanghai Comp (-0.55%) and Kospi (-0.39%) are down. Elsewhere, crude oil prices both WTI and Brent are down c. -0.35% this morning. On the data front, Japan’s October CPI printed in line with consensus at +1.4% yoy and core at +1.0% yoy while core-core CPI stood at +0.4% yoy. Yesterday’s Brexit newsflow was fairly thin on the ground again, though Prime Minister May did meet with EU Commission President Juncker in Brussels. The two leaders made "good progress" according to a spokesman. More talks are planned for Saturday which is cutting it fine for Sunday’s summit, especially with some reports (BBC) suggesting that Friday is the key deadline to have things ready for the summit. Negotiators are working through the night to hammer out more on the agreement. Earlier in the session Gilt yields rose +1.3bps and the pound traded -0.09% weaker, as markets remain in a holding pattern ahead of the EU summit and the eventual UK Parliament vote, which is due sometime over next few weeks. Meanwhile, the latest in the trade debate was the announcement by the WTO yesterday that they intend to launch a dispute investigation into the US allegations about China continuing a state-backed campaign of IP and technology theft. A decision is expected next year. In Germany Economy Minister Altmaier also announced that Germany planned to increase regulatory barriers to foreign investors by the end of this year, in effect making it harder for Chinese companies to launch takeovers of German companies. All this before the G20 meeting in just over a week now which will include a meeting between Trump and Xi Jinping on the sidelines. On that the FT reported yesterday that the draft communique made no explicit comment on fighting protectionism – language which has in essence been a mainstay of the statement since 2008. The OECD released updated macroeconomic forecasts yesterday, and revised down its global growth projection for 2019 -0.4pp to 3.5% from the last May edition. The forecast for euro area growth was revised down -0.3pp to 1.8%, the US down -0.1pp to 2.7%, and China down -0.1pp to 6.3%. In their first projections for 2020, the OECD expects global growth to remain steady as faster growth in most EMs balances a further slowdown in developed markets and China. It was a busy day for US economic data ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, headlined by somewhat soft durable goods orders which fell -4.4% mom, the sharpest drop in over a year. Durables ex-transportation were soft as well, up +0.1% mom versus the expected +0.4%. Core capital goods orders were flat after a revised -0.5% mom drop in September. Our economists had highlighted their expectations for capex to slow over the medium term, so this data does not change their baseline forecasts. Separately, initial jobless claims ticked higher to 224,000 from 216,000 last week, which presents some downside risks to the November nonfarm payrolls report due two weeks from Friday. Finally, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index moderated slightly to 97.5, though 5-10 year inflation expectations ticked up to 2.6% from 2.4%, matching their highest level since March 2016. As far as the day ahead is concerned, with it being a holiday in the US and markets subsequently closed, we’re extremely sparse on data releases with November confidence indicators in France and the November consumer confidence print for the Euro Area the only readings of note. That being said it’s a packed day for the ECB with Angeloni, Weidmann, Knot, Visco and Mersch all due to speak. The ECB’s October meeting minutes are also out today with Italian Finance Minister Tria due to face questions in the Upper House this afternoon.The BoE’s Saunders then speaks tonight.
Tens of billions of P2P funds enter cryptocurrency world with the hope of filling “capital holes” with speculation
The following is a translation from Chinese news that didn't seem to have an English translation, but sounded like rather large news. Original Chinese text can be found here: https://news.p2peye.com/article-519039-1.html The P2P industry is currently experiencing the biggest shake-up in a long while, with a large number of platforms being removed or going out of business. Following this shake-up, platforms, funds, practitioners, and investors have unexpectedly started migrating to the world of cryptocurrency. Several quantitative investment teams on the market have expressed that they have received inquiries from P2P platforms. These platforms state that their funds number in the billions or even tens of billions, and ask whether or not it is possible to use these funds to speculate and double their value in around 3 months. “The capital chain for a lot of these platforms are breaking down, so they want to use the cryptocurrency market to earn money and fill in the holes.” states Bing Qian, head of a quantitative investment team. A dangerous game of desperation is currently being played. 01 A Dangerous Game “I’ll give you $6 billion; you should use it to speculate on crypto’s secondary market.“ A month ago, Mr. Qian met a mysterious person in this manner. They immediately wanted to give $6 billion to invest, but the most Mr. Qian had ever handled was $1 billion. The thought of such massive amounts of money figuratively falling from the sky made Mr. Qian very excited. He even started about the possibility of using $6 billion to initiate a “Soros attack” within the cryptocurrency market. In the end, he made his plan: invest long in the futures market and raise the price of the coins, then short the futures market and pressure the price downward. “$6 billion is enough to manipulate the price of Bitcoin.” Mr. Qian spend the night checking over and over again that this feat was indeed possible. It was a classic play from the stock market playbook, but the biggest risk was whether or not another investor had even more funds to use and could enter into a game with him. “If my opponent has more funds than me, the risk will be high, but if there is a large amount of orders, then it would be possible to increase the rate at which I’m making money.” states Mr. Qian. If his plan really succeeded, he though it would be spectacular and become a classic in the history of digital currency. “Doubling $6 billion in half a year, I don’t think it’s hard.” After repeated calculations, Mr. Qian found that the possibility of ending in the red was low. However, the mysterious person wasn’t ready to give Bing Qian that much time, giving him time limits such as only “three months” or “as soon as possible”. Bing qian started to get suspicious and started questioning the source of the mysterious person’s funds, “I felt that they were very anxious, not like other big investors, who have a mentality of slowly but easily making money.” After countless questions, the mysterious person finally admitted that they actually come from a P2P platform that ended up having billions of dollars worth of liabilities. “At most it can last another three months, after which it will implode if the liabilities and vulnerabilities at not addressed.” In other words, they were prepared to use investors’ money to make a final “life or death” gamble. “If the platform went under while I was handling the funds, then I might get implicated when the authorities step in and trace the whereabouts of the funds.” Mr. Qian tried to think of ways to mitigate the risk, but in the end every move would have been risky. After hesitating for two weeks, he suddenly saw the platform appear on the news. It had already imploded, and investors were collectively protecting their rights. Mr. Qian was happy he didn’t accept the ticking time bomb, but then he realized, a shockingly large amount of P2P funds were entering the cryptocurrency market. And brave teams had already accepted the funds. “There are some worth millions and some worth billions; none of the sums are small.” Mr. Qian states. He has a peer that has already accepted a $500 million deal, and within 4 months has realized a 70% income. The business has essentially given him financial freedom. In the words of Mr. Qian, this is called “The deal of a lifetime”. During such a violent shake-up of the P2P industry, a large number of platforms are trying to make money in this way. If they make money, then the platform continues operating; if they lose money, then they run away via bankruptcy. According to the founders of several quantitative investment teams, the amount of P2P funds entering the cryptocurrency market is estimated to be in the tens of billions. Mr. Qian reasons, “This could be the reason for the relatively large price swings in the market recently. While a final stand might sound brave, it is actually just playing a very dangerous game. Investors’ money being put into such a high-risk scenario, is P2P’s final gambit. 02 Steering Migration Besides P2P platforms proactively moving money into the cryptocurrency market, a large amount of retail investors have also started to shift their battleground. Most platforms that have gone under recently have been high-risk, high-interest rate platforms. That is, users who are willing to use the platform tend to be less averse to risk.And this group of people naturally fits with speculators. After these platforms collapse, investors start looking for new targets. Cryptocurrency is currently marked as their next destination. Ye He, an investor, recently earned millions of dollars through P2P lending and has been transferring it into cryptocurrency speculation. “I allocate Bitcoin and Ethereum on a 7:3 scale” Mr. He states. Shortly after buying, Mr. He was pleasantly met with a surge in price. He also states, “The speed and return is much higher than that of P2P” According to P2Peye’s data, net outflow from the industry was valued at CNY￥11.27 billion. Using East Silver Valley and MinDai TianXia as examples, from the time East Silver Valley came online until now, the net outflow of capital has been unmanageable, with a net outflow of $1.6 billion in March. While MinDai TianXia does not have a net outflow, the net inflow between May and June has dropped off a cliff, severely decreasing. In a survey done by data firms, 30% of investors said they would continue to invest in online lending, but only after regulation has been improved. Another 20% said they no longer planned to invest in online lending, but instead switch to digital currencies. Using this ratio, then in June there will be at least $2.2 billion in net inflows to the cryptocurrency market. In addition, practitioners have been fleeing the online lending industry, leading to a massive transformation in demographics. “Before, my friends were doing P2P, but now if they aren’t doing blockchain, then they are speculating coin prices.” an anonymous online lending businessman confesses; before you could see a lot online lending news within your circle of friends, but now when you look, it is mostly blockchain news. “Since the beginning of the year, there have been constant calls from companies dealing with blockchain or cryptocurrency inviting me to interview.” an anonymous operational staff member of an online financial platform is quoted as saying. The operations and market personnel in the online lending industry are highly sought after in the blockchain industry. “The industries both have elements of wealth management, and have a lot of commonalities from the perspective of operations and market promotions, so we are poaching people from the online lending industry.” an anonymous HR personnel at a blockchain company states. They have already poached several senior executives. The online lending industry is currently becoming the biggest reserve of human talent available to the blockchain industry. “The recent wave of departures if very noticeable, with nearly 30% of online lending practitioners joining the cryptocurrency sector.“ says Lisa, a headhunter who specializes in online finance. On the other hand, many P2P companies that have left the scene have also made great efforts to enter the digital currency field. “A lot of P2P companies are created by real estate groups from Wenzhou or local rich owners. After they leave the P2P sector, they start to invest in or speculate on coin prices” says an anonymous P2P platform founder. It is evident that many practitioners, platforms, and funds have started to collectively shift from P2P to cryptocurrency. 03 Where is the Road? All money flows towards the highest possible yield. There is currently a migration of money from P2P to cryptocurrency. And the whole industry is starting to suffer from a shortage of assets. A-Shares are trending downward, Hong Kong stocks are weak, and bank earnings are low, so many investors feel that their investment channels are very limited. If the trade war between China and the US becomes more intense, then everyone’s risk aversion will undoubtedly get worse. Last August, when the North Korean nuclear crisis escalated, South Korean conglomerates flooded into the cryptocurrency market. At the time, the price of Ether rose 67% in two weeks, pushing it close to $300. Back in June 2016, England formally decided to leave the European Union through a “Brexit referendum”. Bitcoin rose 25% the same day, reaching a price of $714. Some believe Bitcoin has a similar safe-haven quality to gold. The financial market uncertainty caused by Brexit has let people to choose Bitcoin. While cryptocurrencies are slowly emerging as a new haven asset, it is not enough to prove that the transition from online lending is a wise choice. “It may being jumping from the tiger’s den into the wolf’s den.” states Mr. Qian, “You need to pay tuition to get into this business.” The unspoken rules and operations in this field are extremely complex. New, unfamiliar users metaphorically face a bloody battlefield. And the P2P giants that have entered the field could become the next wave of victims. “These people can’t play the coin market; they will be frisked down the moment they enter” states an anonymous person who helps P2P bosses enter the cryptocurrency market. In this sector, P2P bosses are still too naive. The cryptocurrency market has not been friendly and welcoming towards the incoming funds, instead resisting it with everything they have. Note: Looking back at the online lending industry, it is not all doom and gloom. An industry’s upward and downward trends are inevitable, as some leave, some will stay. Some practitioners believe after this wave of closures, the remaining people will be the elite.
Canadian dollar gets whacked after Saudi Arabia reportedly starts dumping the country's assets 'no matter the cost'
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 34%. (I'm a bot)
The Canadian dollar slid Wednesday after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia had begun selling off its holdings of the country's bonds, stocks, and cash. The Canadian dollar fell on Wednesday after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabian officials instructed the kingdom's asset managers to dump their holdings of the country's assets. According to the FT's Simeon Kerr, Saudi Arabia ordered the divestments "No matter the cost" after Canada criticized its arrest of Samar Badawi, a. women's rights activist. Saudi central bank and state pension funds told their overseas asset managers to unload Canadian bonds, stocks, and cash holdings "No matter the cost," the report said. The Canadian dollar was down by 0.2% against the US dollar to 1.3096 at 8:59 a.m. ET. It slid to its lowest level in two weeks. "The Kingdom views the Canadian position as an affront to the Kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty," the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.
The wilkelvoss are trying to make bitcoin legit according to esquire magazine
Every idea needs a face, even if the faces are illusory simplifications. The country you get is the president you get. The Yankees you get is the shortstop you get. Apple needed Jobs. ISIS needs al-Baghdadi. The moon shot belongs to Bezos. There's nothing under the Facebook sun that doesn't come back to Zuckerberg. But there is, as yet, no face behind the bitcoin curtain. It's the currency you've heard about but haven't been able to understand. Still to this day nobody knows who created it. For most people, it has something to do with programmable cash and algorithms and the deep space of mathematics, but it also has something to do with heroin and barbiturates and the sex trade and bankruptcies, too. It has no face because it doesn't seem tangible or real. We might align it with an anarchist's riot mask or a highly conceptualized question mark, but those images truncate its reality. Certain economists say it's as important as the birth of the Internet, that it's like discovering ice. Others are sure that it's doomed to melt. In the political sphere, it is the darling of the cypherpunks and libertarians. When they're not busy ignoring it, it scares the living shit out of the big banks and credit-card companies. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW It sparked to life in 2008—when all the financial world prepared for itself the articulate noose—and it knocked on the door like some inconvenient relative arriving at the dinner party in muddy shoes and a knit hat. Fierce ideological battles are currently being waged among the people who own and shepherd the currency. Some shout, Ponzi scheme. Some shout, Gold dust. Bitcoin alone is worth billions of dollars, but the computational structure behind it—its blockchain and its sidechains—could become the absolute underpinning of the world's financial structure for decades to come. What bitcoin has needed for years is a face to legitimize it, sanitize it, make it palpable to all the naysayers. But it has no Larry Ellison, no Elon Musk, no noticeable visionaries either with or without the truth. There's a lot of ideology at stake. A lot of principle and dogma and creed. And an awful lot of cash, too. At 6:00 on a Wednesday winter morning, three months after launching Gemini, their bitcoin exchange, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss step out onto Broadway in New York, wearing the same make of sneakers, the same type of shorts, their baseball caps turned backward. They don't quite fall into the absolute caricature of twindom: They wear different-colored tops. Still, it's difficult to tell them apart, where Tyler ends and Cameron begins. Their faces are sculpted from another era, as if they had stepped from the ruin of one of Gatsby's parties. Their eyes are quick and seldom land on anything for long. Now thirty-four, there is something boyishly earnest about them as they jog down Prince Street, braiding in and out of each other, taking turns talking, as if they were working in shifts, drafting off each other. Forget, for a moment, the four things the Winklevosses are most known for: suing Mark Zuckerberg, their portrayal in The Social Network, rowing in the Beijing Olympics, and their overwhelming public twinness. Because the Winklevoss brothers are betting just about everything—including their past—on a fifth thing: They want to shake the soul of money out. At the deep end of their lives, they are athletes. Rowers. Full stop. And the thing about rowing—which might also be the thing about bitcoin—is that it's just about impossible to get your brain around its complexity. Everyone thinks you're going to a picnic. They have this notion you're out catching butterflies. They might ask you if you've got your little boater's hat ready. But it's not like that at all. You're fifteen years old. You rise in the dark. You drag your carcass along the railroad tracks before dawn. The boathouse keys are cold to the touch. You undo the ropes. You carry a shell down to the river. The carbon fiber rips at your hands. You place the boat in the water. You slip the oars in the locks. You wait for your coach. Nothing more than a thumb of light in the sky. It's still cold and the river stinks. That heron hasn't moved since yesterday. You hear Coach's voice before you see him. On you go, lads. You start at a dead sprint. The left rib's a little sore, but you don't say a thing. You are all power and no weight. The first push-to-pull in the water is a ripping surprise. From the legs first. Through the whole body. The arc. Atomic balance. A calm waiting for the burst. Your chest burns, your thighs scald, your brain blanks. It feels as if your rib cage might shatter. You are stillness exploding. You catch the water almost without breaking the surface. Coach says something about the pole vault. You like him. You really do. That brogue of his. Lads this, lads that. Fire. Stamina. Pain. After two dozen strokes, it already feels like you're hitting the wall. All that glycogen gone. Nobody knows. Nobody. They can't even pronounce it. Rowing. Ro-wing. Roh-ing. You push again, then pull. You feel as if you are breaking branch after branch off the bottom of your feet. You don't rock. You don't jolt. Keep it steady. Left, right, left, right. The heron stays still. This river. You see it every day. Nothing behind you. Everything in front. You cross the line. You know the exact tree. Your chest explodes. Your knees are trembling. This is the way the world will end, not with a whimper but a bang. You lean over the side of the boat. Up it comes, the breakfast you almost didn't have. A sign of respect to the river. You lay back. Ah, blue sky. Some cloud. Some gray. Do it again, lads. Yes, sir. You row so hard you puke it up once more. And here comes the heron, it's moving now, over the water, here it comes, look at that thing glide. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW The Winklevoss twins in the men's pair final during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. GETTY There's plenty of gin and beer and whiskey in the Harrison Room in downtown Manhattan, but the Winklevoss brothers sip Coca-Cola. The room, one of many in the newly renovated Pier A restaurant, is all mahogany and lamplight. It is, in essence, a floating bar, jutting four hundred feet out into the Hudson River. From the window you can see the Statue of Liberty. It feels entirely like their sort of room, a Jazz Age expectation hovering around their initial appearance—tall, imposing, the hair mannered, the collars of their shirts slightly tilted—but then they just slide into their seats, tentative, polite, even introverted. They came here by subway early on a Friday evening, and they lean back in their seats, a little wary, their eyes busy—as if they want to look beyond the rehearsal of their words. They had the curse of privilege, but, as they're keen to note, a curse that was earned. Their father worked to pay his way at a tiny college in backwoods Pennsylvania coal country. He escaped the small mining town and made it all the way to a professorship at Wharton. He founded his own company and eventually created the comfortable upper-middle-class family that came with it. They were raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, the most housebroken town on the planet. They might have looked like the others in their ZIP code, and dressed like them, spoke like them, but they didn't quite feel like them. Some nagging feeling—close to anger, close to fear—lodged itself beneath their shoulders, not quite a chip but an ache. They wanted Harvard but weren't quite sure what could get them there. "You have to be basically the best in the world at something if you're coming from Greenwich," says Tyler. "Otherwise it's like, great, you have a 1600 SAT, you and ten thousand others, so what?" The rowing was a means to an end, but there was also something about the boat that they felt allowed another balance between them. They pulled their way through high school, Cameron on the port-side oar, Tyler on the starboard. They got to Harvard. The Square was theirs. They rowed their way to the national championships—twice. They went to Oxford. They competed in the Beijing Olympics. They sucked up the smog. They came in sixth place. The cameras loved them. Girls, too. They were so American, sandy-haired, blue-eyed, they could have been cast in a John Cougar Mellencamp song. It might all have been so clean-cut and whitebread except for the fact that—at one of the turns in the river—they got involved in the most public brawl in the whole of the Internet's nascent history. They don't talk about it much anymore, but they know that it still defines them, not so much in their own minds but in the minds of others. The story seems simple on one level, but nothing is ever simple, not even simplification. Theirs was the original idea for the first social network, Harvard Connection. They hired Mark Zuckerberg to build it. Instead he went off and created Facebook. They sued him. They settled for $65 million. It was a world of public spats and private anguish. Rumors and recriminations. A few years later, dusty old pre-Facebook text messages were leaked online by Silicon Alley Insider: "Yeah, I'm going to fuck them," wrote Zuckerberg to a friend. "Probably in the ear." The twins got their money, but then they believed they were duped again by an unfairly low evaluation of their stock. They began a second round of lawsuits for $180 million. There was even talk about the Supreme Court. It reeked of opportunism. But they wouldn't let it go. In interviews, they came across as insolent and splenetic, tossing their rattles out of the pram. It wasn't about the money, they said at the time, it was about fairness, reality, justice. Most people thought it was about some further agile fuckery, this time in Zuckerberg's ear. There are many ways to tell the story, but perhaps the most penetrating version is that they weren't screwed so much by Zuckerberg as they were by their eventual portrayal in the film version of their lives. They appeared querulous and sulky, exactly the type of characters that America, peeling off the third-degree burns of the great recession, needed to hate. While the rest of the country worried about mounting debt and vanishing jobs, they were out there drinking champagne from, at the very least, Manolo stilettos. The truth would never get in the way of a good story. In Aaron Sorkin's world, and on just about every Web site, the blueblood trust-fund boys got what was coming to them. And the best thing now was for them to take their Facebook money and turn the corner, quickly, away, down toward whatever river would whisk them away. Armie Hammer brilliantly portrayed them as the bluest of bloods in The Social Network. When the twins are questioned about those times now, they lean back a little in their seats, as if they've just lost a long race, a little perplexed that they came off as the victims of Hollywood's ability to throw an image, while the whole rip-roaring regatta still goes on behind them. "They put us in a box," says Cameron, "caricatured to a point where we didn't really exist." He glances around the bar, drums his finger against the glass. "That's fair enough. I understand that impulse." They smart a little when they hear Zuckerberg's name. "I don't think Mark liked being called an asshole," says Tyler, with a flick of bluster in his eyes, but then he catches himself. "You know, maybe Mark doesn't care. He's a bit of a statesman now, out there connecting the world. I have nothing against him. He's a smart guy." These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. But underneath the calm—just like underneath the boat—one can sense the churn. They say the word—ath-letes—as if it were a country where pain is the passport. One of the things the brothers mention over and over again is that you can spontaneously crack a rib while rowing, just from the sheer exertion of the muscles hauling on the rib cage. Along came bitcoin. At its most elemental, bitcoin is a virtual currency. It's the sort of thing a five-year-old can understand—It's just e-cash, Mom—until he reaches eighteen and he begins to question the deep future of what money really means. It is a currency without government. It doesn't need a banker. It doesn't need a bank. It doesn't even need a brick to be built upon. Its supporters say that it bypasses the Man. It is less than a decade old and it has already come through its own Wild West, a story rooted in uncharted digital territory, up from the dust, an evening redness in the arithmetical West. These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. Bitcoin appeared in 2008—westward ho!—a little dot on the horizon of the Internet. It was the brainchild of a computer scientist named Satoshi Nakamoto. The first sting in the tale is that—to this very day—nobody knows who Nakamoto is, where he lives, or how much of his own invention he actually owns. He could be Californian, he could be Australian, he could even be a European conglomerate, but it doesn't really matter, since what he created was a cryptographic system that is borderless and supposedly unbreakable. In the beginning the currency was ridiculed and scorned. It was money created from ones and zeros. You either bought it or you had to "mine" for it. If you were mining, your computer was your shovel. Any nerd could do it. You keyed your way in. By using your computer to help check and confirm the bitcoin transactions of others, you made coin. Everyone in this together. The computer heated up and mined, down down down, into the mathematical ground, lifting up numbers, making and breaking camp every hour or so until you had your saddlebags full of virtual coin. It all seemed a bit of a lark at first. No sheriff, no deputy, no central bank. The only saloon was a geeky chat room where a few dozen bitcoiners gathered to chew data. Lest we forget, money was filthy in 2008. The collapse was coming. The banks were shorting out. The real estate market was a confederacy of dunces. Bernie Madoff's shadow loomed. Occupy was on the horizon. And all those Wall Street yahoos were beginning to squirm. Along came bitcoin like some Jesse James of the financial imagination. It was the biggest disruption of money since coins. Here was an idea that could revolutionize the financial world. A communal articulation of a new era. Fuck American Express. Fuck Western Union. Fuck Visa. Fuck the Fed. Fuck the Treasury. Fuck the deregulated thievery of the twenty-first century. To the earliest settlers, bitcoin suggested a moral way out. It was a money created from the ground up, a currency of the people, by the people, for the people, with all government control extinguished. It was built on a solid base of blockchain technology where everyone participated in the protection of the code. It attracted anarchists, libertarians, whistle-blowers, cypherpunks, economists, extropians, geeks, upstairs, downstairs, left-wing, right-wing. Sure, it could be used by businesses and corporations, but it could also be used by poor people and immigrants to send money home, instantly, honestly, anonymously, without charge, with a click of the keyboard. Everyone in the world had access to your transaction, but nobody had to know your name. It bypassed the suits. All you needed to move money was a phone or a computer. It was freedom of economic action, a sort of anarchy at its democratic best, no rulers, just rules. Bitcoin, to the original explorers, was a safe pass through the government-occupied valleys: Those assholes were up there in the hills, but they didn't have any scopes on their rifles, and besides, bitcoin went through in communal wagons at night. Ordinary punters took a shot. Businesses, too. You could buy silk ties in Paris without any extra bank charges. You could protect your money in Buenos Aires without fear of a government grab. The Winklevoss twins leave the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2011, after appearing in court to ask that the previous settlement case against Facebook be voided. GETTY But freedom can corrupt as surely as power. It was soon the currency that paid for everything illegal under the sun, the go-to money of the darknet. The westward ho! became the outlaw territory of Silk Road and beyond. Heroin through the mail. Cocaine at your doorstep. Child porn at a click. What better way for terrorists to ship money across the world than through a network of anonymous computers? Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Mexican cartels. In Central America, kidnappers began demanding ransom in bitcoin—there was no need for the cash to be stashed under a park bench anymore. Now everything could travel down the wire. Grab, gag, and collect. Uranium could be paid for in bitcoin. People, too. The sex trade was turned on: It was a perfect currency for Madame X. For the online gambling sites, bitcoin was pure jackpot. For a while, things got very shady indeed. Over a couple years, the rate pinballed between $10 and $1,200 per bitcoin, causing massive waves and troughs of online panic and greed. (In recent times, it has begun to stabilize between $350 and $450.) In 2014, it was revealed that hackers had gotten into the hot wallet of Mt. Gox, a bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo. A total of 850,000 coins were "lost," at an estimated value of almost half a billion dollars. The founder of Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht (known as "Dread Pirate Roberts"), got himself a four-by-six room in a federal penitentiary for life, not to mention pending charges for murder-for-hire in Maryland. Everyone thought that bitcoin was the problem. The fact of the matter was, as it so often is, human nature was the problem. Money means desire. Desire means temptation. Temptation means that people get hurt. During the first Gold Rush in the late 1840s, the belief was that all you needed was a pan and a decent pair of boots and a good dose of nerve and you could go out and make yourself a riverbed millionaire. Even Jack London later fell for the lure of it alongside thousands of others: the western test of manhood and the promise of wealth. What they soon found out was that a single egg could cost twenty-five of today's dollars, a pound of coffee went for a hundred, and a night in a whorehouse could set you back $6,000. A few miners hit pay dirt, but what most ended up with for their troubles was a busted body and a nasty dose of syphilis. The gold was discovered on the property of John Sutter in Sacramento, but the one who made the real cash was a neighboring merchant, Samuel Brannan. When Brannan heard the news of the gold nuggets, he bought up all the pickaxes and shovels he could find, filled a quinine bottle with gold dust, and went to San Francisco. Word went around like a prayer in a flash flood: gold gold gold. Brannan didn't wildcat for gold himself, but at the peak of the rush he was flogging $5,000 worth of shovels a day—that's $155,000 today—and went on to become the wealthiest man in California, alongside the Wells Fargo crew, Levi Strauss, and the Studebaker family, who sold wheelbarrows. If you comb back through the Winklevoss family, you will find a great-grandfather and a great-great-grandfather who knew a thing or two about digging: They worked side by side in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. They didn't go west and they didn't get rich, but maybe the lesson became part of their DNA: Sometimes it's the man who sells the shovels who ends up hitting gold. Like it or not—and many people don't like it—the Winklevoss brothers are shaping up to be the Samuel Brannans of the bitcoin world. Nine months after being portrayed in The Social Network, the Winklevoss twins were back out on the water at the World Rowing Cup. CHRISTOPHER LEE/GETTY They heard about it first poolside in Ibiza, Spain. Later it would play into the idea of ease and privilege: umbrella drinks and girls in bikinis. But if the creation myth was going to be flippant, the talk was serious. "I'd say we were cautious, but we were definitely intrigued," says Cameron. They went back home to New York and began to read. There was something about it that got under their skin. "We knew that money had been so broken and inefficient for years," says Tyler, "so bitcoin appealed to us right away." They speak in braided sentences, catching each other, reassuring themselves, tightening each other's ideas. They don't quite want to say that bitcoin looked like something that might be redemptive—after all, they, like everyone else, were looking to make money, lots of it, Olympic-sized amounts—but they say that it did strike an idealistic chord inside them. They certainly wouldn't be cozying up to the anarchists anytime soon, but this was a global currency that, despite its uncertainties, seemed to present a solution to some of the world's more pressing problems. "It was borderless, instantaneous, irreversible, decentralized, with virtually no transaction costs," says Tyler. It could possibly cut the banks out, and it might even take the knees out from under the credit-card companies. Not only that, but the price, at just under ten dollars per coin, was in their estimation low, very low. They began to snap it up. They were aware, even at the beginning, that they might, once again, be called Johnny-come-latelys, just hopping blithely on the bandwagon—it was 2012, already four years into the birth of the currency—but they went ahead anyway, power ten. Within a short time they'd spent $11 million buying up a whopping 1 percent of the world's bitcoin, a position they kept up as more bitcoins were mined, making their 1 percent holding today worth about $66 million. But bitcoin was flammable. The brothers felt the burn quickly. Their next significant investment came later that year, when they gave $1.5 million in venture funding to a nascent exchange called BitInstant. Within a year the CEO was arrested for laundering drug money through the exchange. So what were a pair of smart, clean-cut Olympic rowers doing hanging around the edges of something so apparently shady, and what, if anything, were they going to do about it? They mightn't have thought of it this way, but there was something of the sheriff striding into town, the one with the swagger and the scar, glancing up at the balconies as he comes down Main Street, all tumbleweeds and broken pianos. This place was a dump in most people's eyes, but the sheriff glimpsed his last best shot at finally getting the respect he thinks he deserves. The money shot: A good stroke will catch the water almost without breaking its seal. You stir without rippling. Your silence is sinewy. There's muscle in that calm. The violence catches underneath, thrusts the boat along. Stroke after stroke. Just keep going. Today's truth dies tomorrow. What you have to do is elemental enough. You row without looking behind you. You keep the others in front of you. As long as you can see what they're doing, it's all in your hands. You are there to out-pain them. Doesn't matter who they are, where they come from, how they got here. Know your enemy through yourself. Push through toward pull. Find the still point of this pain. Cut a melody in the disk of your flesh. The only terror comes when they pass you—if they ever pass you. There are no suits or ties, but there is a white hum in the offices of Gemini in the Flatiron District. The air feels as if it has been brushed clean. There is something so everywhereabout the place. Ergonomic chairs. iPhone portals. Rows of flickering computers. Not so much a hush around the room as a quiet expectation. Eight, nine people. Programmers, analysts, assistants. Other employees—teammates, they call them—dialing in from Portland, Oregon, and beyond. The brothers fire up the room when they walk inside. A fist-pump here, a shoulder touch there. At the same time, there is something almost shy about them. Apart, they seem like casual visitors to the space they inhabit. It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long. The Winklevoss twins speak onstage at Bitcoin! Let's Cut Through the Noise Already at SXSW in 2016. GETTY They move from desk to desk. The price goes up, the price goes down. The phones ring. The e-mails beep. Customer-service calls. Questions about fees. Inquiries about tax structures. Gemini was started in late 2015 as a next-generation bitcoin exchange. It is not the first such exchange in the world by any means, but it is one of the most watched. The company is designed with ordinary investors in mind, maybe a hedge fund, maybe a bank: all those people who used to be confused or even terrified by the word bitcoin. It is insured. It is clean. What's so fascinating about this venture is that the brothers are risking themselves by trying to eliminate risk: keeping the boat steady and exploding through it at the same time. It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long. For the past couple years, the Winklevosses have worked closely with just about every compliance agency imaginable. They ticked off all the regulatory boxes. Essentially they wanted to ease all the Debting Thomases. They put regulatory frameworks in place. Security and bankability and insurance were their highest objectives. Nobody was going to be able to blow open the safe. They wanted to soothe all the appetites for risk. They told Bitcoin Magazine they were asking for "permission, not forgiveness." This is where bitcoin can become normal—that is, if you want bitcoin to be normal. Just a mile or two down the road, in Soho, a half dozen bitcoiners gather at a meetup. The room is scruffy, small, boxy. A half mannequin is propped on a table, a scarf draped around it. It's the sort of place that twenty years ago would have been full of cigarette smoke. There's a bit of Allen Ginsberg here, a touch of Emma Goldman, a lot of Zuccotti Park. The wine is free and the talk is loose. These are the true believers. They see bitcoin in its clearest possible philosophical terms—the frictionless currency of the people, changing the way people move money around the world, bypassing the banks, disrupting the status quo. A comedy show is being run out in the backyard. A scruffy young man wanders in and out, announcing over and over again that he is half-baked. A well-dressed Asian girl sidles up to the bar. She looks like she's just stepped out of an NYU business class. She's interested in discovering what bitcoin is. She is regaled by a series of convivial answers. The bartender tells her that bitcoin is a remaking of the prevailing power structures. The girl asks for another glass of wine. The bartender adds that bitcoin is democracy, pure and straight. She nods and tells him that the wine tastes like cooking oil. He laughs and says it wasn't bought with bitcoin. "I don't get it," she says. And so the evening goes, presided over by Margaux Avedisian, who describes herself as the queen of bitcoin. Avedisian, a digital-currency consultant of Armenian descent, is involved in several high-level bitcoin projects. She has appeared in documentaries and on numerous panels. She is smart, sassy, articulate. When the talk turns to the Winklevoss brothers, the bar turns dark. Someone, somewhere, reaches up to take all the oxygen out of the air. Avedisian leans forward on the counter, her eyes shining, delightful, raged. "The Winklevii are not the face of bitcoin," she says. "They're jokes. They don't know what they're saying. Nobody in our community respects them. They're so one-note. If you look at their exchange, they have no real volume, they never will. They keep throwing money at different things. Nobody cares. They're not part of us. They're just hangers-on." "Ah, they're just assholes," the bartender chimes in. "What they want to do," says Avedisian, "is lobotomize bitcoin, make it into something entirely vapid. They have no clue." The Asian girl leaves without drinking her third glass of free wine. She's got a totter in her step. She doesn't quite get the future of money, but then again maybe very few in the world do. Giving testimony on bitcoin licensing before the New York State Department of Financial Services in 2014. LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS The future of money might look like this: You're standing on Oxford Street in London in winter. You think about how you want to get to Charing Cross Road. The thought triggers itself through electrical signals into the chip embedded in your wrist. Within a moment, a driverless car pulls up on the sensor-equipped road. The door opens. You hop in. The car says hello. You tell it to shut up. It does. It already knows where you want to go. It turns onto Regent Street. You think,A little more air-conditioning, please. The vents blow. You think, Go a little faster, please. The pace picks up. You think, This traffic is too heavy, use Quick(TM). The car swings down Glasshouse Street. You think, Pay the car in front to get out of my way. It does. You think, Unlock access to a shortcut. The car turns down Sherwood Street to Shaftsbury Avenue. You pull in to Charing Cross. You hop out. The car says goodbye. You tell it to shut up again. You run for the train and the computer chip in your wrist pays for the quiet-car ticket for the way home. All of these transactions—the air-conditioning, the pace, the shortcut, the bribe to get out of the way, the quick lanes, the ride itself, the train, maybe even the "shut up"—will cost money. As far as crypto-currency enthusiasts think, it will be paid for without coins, without phones, without glass screens, just the money coming in and going out of your preprogrammed wallet embedded beneath your skin. The Winklevosses are betting that the money will be bitcoin. And that those coins will flow through high-end, corporate-run exchanges like Gemini rather than smoky SoHo dives. Cameron leans across a table in a New York diner, the sort of place where you might want to polish your fork just in case, and says: "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." He can't remember whom the quote belongs to, but he freely acknowledges that it's not his own. Theirs is a truculent but generous intelligence, capable of surprise and turn at the oddest of moments. They talk meditation, they talk economics, they talk Van Halen, they talk, yes, William Gibson, but everything comes around again to bitcoin. "The key to all this is that people aren't even going to know that they're using bitcoin," says Tyler. "It's going to be there, but it's not going to be exposed to the end user. Bitcoin is going to be the rails that underpin our payment systems. It's just like an IP address. We don't log on to a series of numbers, 115.425.5 or whatever. No, we log on to Google.com. In the same way, bitcoin is going to be disguised. There will be a body kit that makes it user-friendly. That's what makes bitcoin a kick-ass currency." Any fool can send a billion dollars across the world—as long as they have it, of course—but it's virtually impossible to send a quarter unless you stick it in an envelope and pay forty-nine cents for a stamp. It's one of the great ironies of our antiquated money system. And yet the quark of the financial world is essentially the small denomination. What bitcoin promises is that it will enable people and businesses to send money in just about any denomination to one another, anywhere in the world, for next to nothing. A public address, a private key, a click of the mouse, and the money is gone. A Bitcoin conference in New York City in 2014. GETTY This matters. This matters a lot. Credit-card companies can't do this. Neither can the big banks under their current systems. But Marie-Louise on the corner of Libertador Avenue can. And so can Pat Murphy in his Limerick housing estate. So can Mark Andreessen and Bill Gates and Laurene Powell Jobs. Anyone can do it, anywhere in the world, at virtually no charge. You can do it, in fact, from your phone in a diner in New York. But the whole time they are there—over identical California omelettes that they order with an ironic shrug—they never once open their phones. They come across more like the talkative guys who might buy you a drink at the sports bar than the petulants ordering bottle service in the VIP corner. The older they get, the more comfortable they seem in their contradictions: the competition, the ease; the fame, the quiet; the gamble, the sure thing. Bitcoin is what might eventually make them among the richest men in America. And yet. There is always a yet. What seems indisputable about the future of money, to the Winklevosses and other bitcoin adherents, is that the technology that underpins bitcoin—the blockchain—will become one of the fundamental tenets of how we deal with the world of finance. Blockchain is the core computer code. It's open source and peer to peer—in other words, it's free and open to you and me. Every single bitcoin transaction ever made goes to an open public ledger. It would take an unprecedented 51 percent attack—where one entity would come to control more than half of the computing power used to mine bitcoin—for hackers to undo it. The blockchain is maintained by computers all around the world, and its future sidechains will create systems that deal with contracts and stock and other payments. These sidechains could very well be the foundation of the new global economy for the big banks, the credit-card companies, and even government itself. "It's boundless," says Cameron. This is what the brothers are counting on—and what might eventually make them among the richest men in America. And yet. There is always a yet. When you delve into the world of bitcoin, it gets deeper, darker, more mysterious all the time. Why has its creator remained anonymous? Why did he drop off the face of the earth? How much of it does he own himself? Will banks and corporations try to bring the currency down? Why are there really only five developers with full "commit access" to the code (not the Winklevosses, by the way)? Who is really in charge of the currency's governance? Perhaps the most pressing issue at hand is that of scaling, which has caused what amounts to a civil war among followers. A maximum block size of one megabyte has been imposed on the chain, sort of like a built-in artificial dampener to keep bitcoin punk rock. That's not nearly enough capacity for the number of transactions that would take place in future visions. In years to come, there could be massive backlogs and outages that could create instant financial panic. Bitcoin's most influential leaders are haggling over what will happen. Will bitcoin maintain its decentralized status, or will it go legit and open up to infinite transactions? And if it goes legit, where's the punk? The issues are ongoing—and they might very well take bitcoin down, but the Winklevosses don't think so. They have seen internal disputes before. They've refrained from taking a public stance mostly because they know that there are a lot of other very smart people in bitcoin who are aware that crisis often builds consensus. "We're in this for the long haul," says Tyler. "We're the first batter in the first inning." GILLIAN LAUB The waiter comes across and asks them, bizarrely, if they're twins. They nod politely. Who was born first? They've heard it a million times and their answer is always the same: Neither of them—they were born cesarean. Cameron looks older, says the waiter. Tyler grins. Normally it's the other way around, says Cameron, grinning back. Do you ever fight? asks the waiter. Every now and then, they say. But not over this, not over the future. Heraclitus was wrong. You can, in fact, step in the same river twice. In the beginning you went to the shed. No electricity there, no heat, just a giant tub where you simulated the river. You could only do eleven strokes. But there was something about the repetition, the difference, even the monotony, that hooked you. After a while it wasn't an abandoned shed anymore. College gyms, national training centers. Bigger buildings. High ceilings. AC. Doctors and trainers. Monitors hooked up to your heart, your head, your blood. Six foot five, but even then you were not as tall as the other guys. You liked the notion of underdog. Everyone called you the opposite. The rich kids. The privileged ones. To hell with that. They don't know us, who we are, where we came from. Some of the biggest chips rest on the shoulders of those with the least to lose. Six foot five times two makes just about thirteen feet. You sit in the erg and you stare ahead. Day in, day out. One thousand strokes, two thousand. You work with the very best. You even train with the Navy SEALs. It touches that American part of you. The sentiment, the false optimism. When the oil fields are burning, you even think, I'll go there with them. But you stay in the boat. You want that other flag rising. That's what you aim for. You don't win but you get close. Afterward there are planes, galas, regattas, magazine spreads, but you always come back to that early river. The cold. The fierceness. The heron. Like it or not, you're never going to get off the water—that's just the fact of the matter, it's always going to be there. Hard to admit it, but once you were wrong. You got out of the boat and you haggled over who made it. You lost that one, hard. You might lose this one, too, but then again it just might be the original arc that you're stepping toward. So you return, then. You rise before dark. You drag your carcass along Broadway before dawn. All the rich men in the world want to get shot into outer space. Richard Branson. Jeff Bezos. Elon Musk. The new explorers. To get the hell out of here and see if they—and maybe we—can exist somewhere else for a while. It's the story of the century. We want to know if the pocket of the universe can be turned inside out. We're either going to bring all the detritus of the world upward with us or we're going to find a brand-new way to exist. The cynical say that it's just another form of colonization—they're probably right, but then again maybe it's our only way out. The Winklevosses have booked their tickets—numbers 700 and 701—on Branson's Virgin Galactic. Although they go virtually everywhere together, the twins want to go on different flights because of the risk involved: Now that they're in their mid-thirties, they can finally see death, or at least its rumor. It's a boy's adventure, but it's also the outer edge of possibility. It cost a quarter of a million dollars per seat, and they paid for it, yes, in bitcoin. Of course, up until recently, the original space flights all splashed down into the sea. One of the ships that hauled the Gemini space capsule out of the water in 1965 was the Intrepid aircraft carrier. The Winklevosses no longer pull their boat up the river. Instead they often run five miles along the Hudson to the Intrepid and back. The destroyer has been parked along Manhattan's West Side for almost as long as they have been alive. It's now a museum. The brothers like the boat, its presence, its symbolism: Intrepid, Gemini, the space shot. They ease into the run.
Bones is the best TV show I've worked on. The actors and crew are amazing. We've all really formed a bond, and I think that's why the show does well, and stays hot. It all starts and ends with chemistry.
Rupert is great. What a life that guy has led. Ps, the carpet matches the drapes.
Ok, seriously... There are a ton of actresses I respect. Some I have already worked along side, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Amber Tamblyn, Malin Akerman, and many others. There are my kid dream come true moments like working with Heather Locklear. But looking forward, to me it's more about the pairing of people than certain stars. I could have a thought about working with someone, and it could turn out badly because the pairing isn't right.
Well, Cameron took us all to Hawaii to rehearse the scenes out in the tropical forest, so we could get a chance to feel what it was like to perform in a forest before we took it back into a mo-cap studio. He thinks of everything. That's why he is who he is.
I can't say whether it was the best. It was the biggest, and we know that because of statistics. But the 'best' is subjective. Everyone has different likes, and enjoy different things. Every person has a different favorite movie. That's what makes my industry so interesting. It's all personal.
Seriously though... You do some for pleasure, and some for work. You don't know how any film will end up. Some don't turn out as well as others. But thats the journey. From big budget to small, not all things are amazing.
I was a skater kid when I was young, so Punk was HUGE to me. One of my first cool t-shirts I ever owned was Ramones. I grew up in Portland, so we were close to the revamped Punk movement in Seattle, with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, etc... When I was young I didnt know they were different movements. It was all just music I liked.
I kind of listen to it all. Grew up loving rap and hip hop. Still am a fan. But I mostly enjoy singer songwriter; Damien Rice, Paolo Nutini, David Gray, Deathcab, Iron and Wine. Those are non stop for me.
I never had the chance to, but because of all the studying I did for it, I felt like I have! There's such a rich history in that place. The movie is a love letter to the Punk rock movement. It's a fascinating time and story.
Working on Avatar was fascinating from beginning to end. There really isn't one moment, the entire thing was like going to graduate school. Every day you're learning something new from Cameron. He is arguably the smartest man I've ever met, so it's all an educational experience. The cast was phenomenal on this, and I can't wait for our future work together. This will be my 5th season of Bones, and I've enjoyed every moment with that cast and crew. I have an exciting project on the TV side that will be announced soon. Stay tuned!
As a character actor, there is a lot of freedom to bounce back and forth in genres of film. That's what I love about it. I love making people laugh, but I'm not a 'comedian'. I play roles that may be funny, but I grew up doing dramatic as much as comedic. That probably helped round out my interest and ability in both genres.
Wow. Thats amazing. I never got a chance to see The Ramones in concert, and regret that. Was such a fan of their music when I was young. There was over 50k bands that went through CB's, so they had to choose a handful to cover. But I think Randy (director) chose the right ones to represent everything that Cb's was.
Yes, the sequels to Avatar are announced, and coming up. And we're all excited about them.
I've gone skydiving. I don't worry too much about an academy award. That's something I don't think actors dwell on. It's not a tangible goal, until something is made that could reach that level. When we made Avatar, we didn't even know it would take home Oscars. It's all about the process.
Because we had all the tools necessary to understand what was surrounding us at all times. Mo Cap world takes a lot of imagination, but its fun, it takes you back to doing theater, and imagining everything around you.
The character, as you know if you're a follower of the series, has changed in time. It's been a blast to create and change him along the way. He's a very complex, fun character, and he will continue to change. That's what I like about him.
I've talked a lot about this above, so check those answers out. It was an honor to portray him, and I'm happy you think I did him justice. It was what I was most worried about, because he's such an iconic character.
An amazing feeling, and all in all the movie was an amazing feat. It was incredibly difficult to make, and at times I'm sure we all felt 'is all this going to work?' But Cameron had no doubts, and thats why it is what it is. And why he is who he is.
Thanks! Working with Cameron is the single most educational and special experience of my career.
I started acting when I was 15, went to college for it, graduated from SOU, then worked 2 seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Fest before I came to LA. So, a lot of hard work before making the decision to get into this industry.
The cast and director was the reason I did that film. It was a blast to make. Shot in real 3D, none of that post 3D conversion. We all had the wonderful opportunity to know and work with David Ellis before he passed away. Memories I will never forget.
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