24 - Back in Belgium

24 - Back in Belgium
Hot and sunny at the MAS

This week we were back on the road - leaving Northern Ireland and now back in Belgium for a bit.  If you happen to be in or near Antwerp in the coming weeks - do pop in to say "hello"!

🚌 Travel experience was better than expected.  We took the Aircoach from Belfast to Dublin Airport - it was full as usual.  Let me suggest a few tips if/when you go: be sure to book online in advance (expect not to get on if you don't) and have separate printouts of your tickets.  If travelling with two people, one goes on the bus to get seats and the other deals with the luggage before it fills up; best place for luggage is near the back in where it cannot get pushed all the way to to the other side by all the other luggage that gets loaded - if you do not want to have to climb inside the stowage space to get it out in Dublin airport!

✈️ Checkin and flight was OK and better than expected - we were travelling on a ticket that we had bought in 2020 and had been rescheduled multiple times due to all the nonsense.  Meanwhile we had both got new passports so online checkin was not possible but the checkin desk people were very helpful - kudos to Aer Lingus.  Crew onboard were also helpful and we arrived 5 mins ahead of schedule.

🇧🇪 We are now back in Antwerp - it's been 3 years since we last were here.  Got my Velo subscription - this is one thing that Stad Antwerpen did well!

📧 I was delighted to find this video from Ali: How to Start a Newsletter that Changes your Life.  He does cover many of the reasons that I had in mind when I started the newsletter last November - WDYT?

📖 Also interesting from Ali is: Reading More effectively - indeed:
Reading more effectively and efficiently means developing a watertight process to capture ideas, analyse arguments, and ask the right questions. It means identifying the right books to read, understanding the different reading goals, and using evidence-based techniques to increase reading productivity.

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read"
- Mark Twain

Where do you stand on the scale?  What is your experience?  Feel free to disagree! Join the Telegram group to discuss

📚 Book of the Week

Speaking of reading, this week I re-read Yanis Varoufakis' book: "Talking to My Daughter about the Economy".  A most interesting read.  He wrote this in Greek back in 2013 and he translated it into English around 2018.  You likely do recall him as the leather-jacketed, bald-headed and outspoken Greek Finance Minister on his visit to Downing Street at the height of the Greek Financial Crisis.  For the back-story on this and more do read  "Adults in the Room" - his memoires of that period - you will learn a lot.

The historical part of the book is fantastic - he introduces useful terminology and explains concepts very clearly.  Among other things you will learn about:

  • Agricultural revolution - how this lead to surplus and need for money (and futures/debt) and the differences between Eurasia, Africa and Americas and the impact on indigenous populations around the world.
  • Industrial revolution - I was also reminded of a period of English history that is certainly under-taught (you might wonder why?) - The Enclosures - and how devasting an effect this had on the population for entire generations, leading  to England and Britain having the lead in the Industial Revolution that itself led to the Colonialisation and all that goes with that.
  • Experiential value vs Exchange value and the detriments of living on either end of the scale - you can maybe guess where we are today..
  • Public vs private property and the implications of each
  • Two stories Dr Faustus and Dr Faust and what that tells you about how society evolved between
  • The Great Reversal - how distribution of surplus comes before production and what that leads to..
  • Debt and Greed and how the current financial system necessarily sets all entrepreneurs in competition against each other while allowing the monied ones to continue strengthen their grip.  [aside note: This is also why the Empire is pushing for "Proof Of Stake cryptos" as opposed to Bitcoin's "Proof Of Work"]
  • Societies with Markets and the very importance differences with Market Society
  • If you prefer a more detailed review see here

When it comes to the forward-looking part of the book (that he wrote in 2013)  - I do not agree with him.  There certainly is new revolution in progress - he talks of "Information and Automation";  you may recall Raoul Pal referring to it as "Exponential Age".  However, with 9 years of track record since 2013, the more accurate outlook with preferable options is clearly to be found in Chapters 10 and 11 of "The Sovereign Individual". I did re-read these chapters this week and I really must re-read the entire book again.  You should too!   Discuss in Telegram

Supporting my interpretation and outlook: A fascinating read from Beautyon (also from 2013)   You may prefer to listen to Svetski reading it and giving his interpretation.  

🌍 Adventures in CFA (Colonies françaises d'Afrique)

You must watch/listen to Saifedean's interview with Fodé Diop.   You will learn how the CFA franc come to be the common currency of 14 West and Central African nations?  Also who controls it and why it suddenly lost half of its value in 1994.   Fodé Diop, software engineer and founder of Bitcoin Developers Academy,  explains how the CFA franc has allowed France to maintain economic dominance in West Africa, how the 1994 devaluation affected his family, and why he is supporting bitcoin adoption as means of empowering Africans and increasing financial inclusion. Fodé also explains the work his is doing to support the development of Lightning applications and his plans for the Africa Bitcoin Conference: the first ever bitcoin and Lightning conference in West Africa.

You will understand the tricks that the British, French and Germans (among others) have used to maintain dominance over "colonies" - ie people they want to control.  You may not like to hear this but "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it" - and it might well be happening closer to you than you think.  Look around.

👂 Feedback

Some people found my last newsletter to be provocative on the point of   Government Theft:   Yanis' book (above) explains why this inevitably happens and recall that he did have a front-row-seat in the Greek Financial Crisis so he is well-informed on this.  Cyprus was a smaller "test case".  You can also listen to Lyn explaining this step by step - and then look around you. If you think this toolbox is not being deployed today, think again; the IMF even published a paper explaining how Governments should do it!  

By the way - the American People also knew all this when they rebelled against the British and wrote their Constitution - and they have a long and unhappy history with Central Bankers prior to the Federal Reserve that emerged as/from The Creature from Jeckyll Island - also click image below for explainer by Mark.

🛠 Update on my projects

This past week progress has been mostly reading and studying - I hope to have a bit more time for hands-on developments in the coming weeks.

  • For those wondering about how Lightning enables Bitcoin to scale massively and evolve from store of value to medium of exchange - Lyn's long read: A Look At the Lightning Network is the A-Z that you should read.
  • Next - read Lightning Labs' fascinating article: Decentralizing Global FX With Taro: How Bitcoin Renders Cross-Border Payments Obsolete.  Be amazed at the number and diversity of projects on the go.  Most of these are Open Source and welcoming participation and contribution.
  • Blockchain war 2.0 - ETH Merge, Splurge and Crunch - I am not going to speculate on the outcome but do expect to see extreme volatility around ETH and crypto in general in the coming month as the Merge approaches and in the days following.  There is plenty of talk of a competing ETHW (Proof of Work) fork, not to mention ETC (Ethereum Classic) that remained after ETH "changed the rules of the game during the game" with the DAO hack.   The recent action of US Government against Tornado Cash and USDC & Circle toeing the line are just a taste of what is in the pipeline.  For me this brings back reminiscences of 2015 in HK where a similar battle was being fought over Bitcoin - check back to Issue 1 of the newsletter!

I have got to recommend Stephan Livera's interview with Gloria Zhao, newly assigned Bitcoin maintainer.  In this fascinating interview you will learn:–

  • the role of a maintainer - how much 'power' do they have?
  • bitcoin development & review
  • mempools - why do we use them?
  • mempool package relay
  • RBF - Replace by Fee - who knew how complicated this could be?

You will be amazed how much thinking and work is going on.

🎓 Reading, listening and learning

Below are some more interesting sources that I came across, or was reminded of, in the past week - for your enjoyment and edification:

🏦  Macro Economics

I am still working through the implications of Jeff Snider's interview with Peter and last week I came across Alf Pecca's discussion with Preston.  Alf has a superb free weekly newsletter and you can find it and subscribe here - The Macro Compass

I do recommend Robert B's  interview with Lyn (part of a whole series) - How Governments Steal

🎙 Long Form

Anthony Pompliano has started back doing long-form interviews!

🔎 Researching deeper

I have long been a supporter and follower of James Corbett.  Based in Japan he is a trusted source of lesser-known (obscured?) information that you might want to know.  His mass media reading list makes for interesting reading.

🌎 Geopolitical

  • Guy's analysis should make you think : China vs. US & Taiwan: A Real RISK? What This War Game Tells Us
  • If you have Telegram - you really ought to join Guy's Telegram group - he gives daily updates and useful notifications of key developments
  • You really ought to prefer your politicians focussing their time and effort and your money on ensuring your energy and food supplies rather than pouring it into endless, escalating wars abroad and rather than introducing restrictions that will have the same effect they did in Sri Lanka.   More on this to follow... but consider what I explained back in Issue 16.

That's it!

No one can be told what The Matrix is.
You have to see it for yourself.

Do share this newsletter with any of your friends and family who might be interested.

You can easily ask questions or discuss any topics in the newsletters in our Telegram group  - click the link here or below to join the group.  
You can also email me at: LetterFrom@rogerprice.me

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