Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-65427 Fri, 10 Jul 2020 18:40:44 GMT New York Court Approves Resumed Investigation Into $10 Billion Cryptocurrency Created By A Presidential Candidate http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-07-10_NewYorkCourtApprovesResumedInvestigationInto10BillionCryptocurre.html The news comes at an awkward time for Brock Pierce, 39, the creator of the [Tether] cryptocurrency [and the Bitfinex exchange], who this week announced he was running for President of the United States. A representative of the New York State Attorney General says he "cannot confirm or deny that the investigation" includes Pierce.

In 2014, Pierce, who is running as an independent on a pro-technology platform, created the tether currency as a way for cryptocurrency investors to quickly enter and exit a position. Unlike bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, tether was meant to have a stable price, backed one-to-one by real U.S. dollars. But unlike traditional dollars, it can be moved instantly, while actually cashing out a crypto-asset using banks can take days, and many banks won't support the service at all.

...

Officially, the case involves, BFXNA Inc. and BFXWW Inc., wholly-owned subsidiaries of iFinex, which operates the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange, and Tether Holdings Limited the holding company for Tether Limited, Tether Operations Limited, and Tether International Limited. Though Pierce is not mentioned in the opinion, he not only founded Tether in 2014, but is the co-founder of Block.One, behind the 11th largest cryptocurrency, EOS, valued at $900 million, and Blockchain Capital, one of the most influential venture capital firms in crypto.

...

Specifically, the attorney general previously alleged that Bitfinex had handed over $850 million to third-party payments processor Crypto Capital Corp., based in Panama, to handle customers-withdrawal requests. When the company failed to hold up its end of the bargain the respondents allegedly hid the losses through unspecified machinations, leading some to wonder if they'd simply started printing new tether cryptocurrency without any backing.

At around this time, Tether changed the wording on its site to show that instead of every tether being backed by a U.S. dollar, they were "backed by Tether Holding's "reserves," which include unspecified currency, "cash equivalents," and "other assets and receivables from loans made by Tether [Holdings] to third parties," according to the opinion. In turn, the respondents also successfully managed to get the investigation halted, temporarily though it may have been.

...

Perhaps counter-intuitively, since the stay was issued in September 2019, tether's market cap exploded from $4.1 billion to $10 billion today, in spite of the doubts about whether the currency was actually backed by dollars, perhaps giving credibility to Tether's value proposition. Also over that time though, a newer stablecoin, USDC, co-created by cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and crypto tech firm Circle, has risen to a market cap of $1 billion today and an even newer competitor, DAI, backed by a wide range of collateral has risen to $190 million. A loss to Tether would almost certainly be a win for the competition, and vice-versa.

]]>
iehi-feed-65426 Fri, 10 Jul 2020 18:02:53 GMT Insane New York Attorneys Gone Wild! http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-07-10_InsaneNewYorkAttorneysGoneWild.html iehi-feed-65422 Thu, 09 Jul 2020 22:11:49 GMT Why ‘safe haven' gold and the stock market are now moving the same direction http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-07-09_Whysafehavengoldandthestockmarketarenowmovingthesamedirection.html Chalk it up, in part, to opportunity costs. Efforts by global central banks to push down interest rates, which have fallen into negative territory in real, or inflation-adjusted terms, in the U.S. and are outright negative in many parts of the world, mean that investors who hold gold aren't missing out on the yield they would earn from holding bonds in more usual circumstances.

...

"Firstly, central bank policy is a strong driver behind higher gold prices. Not only are official rates close to zero in a large number of countries, they will unlikely go up in our forecast horizon," Boele wrote.

Most central banks have announced quantitative easing, with the Federal Reserve embarking on unlimited QE and the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank also implementing large programs. "This sounds like music to the ears of gold bugs as money floods into the market and currencies begin to decline," she said.

...

"Now the psychological resistance of $1,800 per ounce has been surpassed. It seems that investors will only be satisfied if the former (intraday) peak in gold prices at $1,921 per ounce is reached and taken out. Above that, the important psychological level of $2,000 per ounce is within reach," she said.

]]>
iehi-feed-65421 Thu, 09 Jul 2020 16:45:51 GMT New Homeowners Find Charred Human Skull In Backyard Fire Pit http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-07-09_NewHomeownersFindCharredHumanSkullInBackyardFirePit.html iehi-feed-65420 Thu, 09 Jul 2020 14:41:42 GMT Deutsche Bank hit with $150 million penalty for dealings with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-07-09_DeutscheBankhitwith150millionpenaltyfordealingswithsexoffenderJe.html According to the department, the bank's failings included not scrutinizing payments to Epstein's publicly alleged co-conspirators in sexually abusing young women; payments to Russian models; payments for women's school tuition, hotel and rent expenses; direct payments to numerous women with Eastern European surnames (which were consistent with prior public allegations of wrongdoing); settlement payments totaling over $7 million, as well as dozens of payments to law firms totaling over $6 million for apparent legal expenses for Epstein and his co-conspirators.

...

"It was a critical mistake, no question. Mr. Epstein should have never been our client," Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing said on CNBC Tuesday afternoon, noting that the bank's escalation process did not work in 2013. "This cannot happen and must not happen. I think we are in a far better place these days."

]]>
iehi-feed-65419 Thu, 09 Jul 2020 01:09:18 GMT Robinhood's Secret Business Model Revealed: Let Sophisticated Firms Fleece Its Unsophisticated Retail Customers http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-07-08_RobinhoodsSecretBusinessModelRevealedLetSophisticatedFirmsFleece.html At the core of Robinhood's business is an incentive to encourage more trading. It does not charge fees for trading, but it is still paid more if its customers trade more. That's because it makes money through a complex practice known as "payment for order flow." Each time a Robinhood customer trades, Wall Street firms actually buy or sell the shares and determine what price the customer gets. These firms pay Robinhood for the right to do this, because they then engage in a form of arbitrage by trying to buy or sell the stock for a profit over what they give the Robinhood customer.

This practice is not new, and retail brokers such as E-Trade and Schwab also do it. But Robinhood makes significantly more than they do for each stock share and options contract sent to the professional trading firms, the filings show.

For each share of stock traded, Robinhood made four to 15 times more than Schwab in the most recent quarter, according to the filings. In total, Robinhood got $18,955 from the trading firms for every dollar in the average customer account, while Schwab made $195, the Alphacution analysis shows. Industry experts said this was most likely because the trading firms believed they could score the easiest profits from Robinhood customers.

...

... at least part of Robinhood's success appears to have been built on a Silicon Valley playbook of behavioral nudges and push notifications, which has drawn inexperienced investors into the riskiest trading, according to an analysis of industry data and legal filings, as well as interviews with nine current and former Robinhood employees and more than a dozen customers. And the more that customers engaged in such behavior, the better it was for the company, the data shows.

...

More than at any other retail brokerage firm, Robinhood's users trade the riskiest products and at the fastest pace, according to an analysis of new filings from nine brokerage firms by the research firm Alphacution for The New York Times.

In the first three months of 2020, Robinhood users traded nine times as many shares as E-Trade customers, and 40 times as many shares as Charles Schwab customers, per dollar in the average customer account in the most recent quarter. They also bought and sold 88 times as many risky options contracts as Schwab customers, relative to the average account size, according to the analysis.

This seems significantly worse than a casino...

]]>
iehi-feed-65416 Tue, 07 Jul 2020 16:20:52 GMT Mortgage Industry Says Foreclosures Will Skyrocket In August http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-07-07_MortgageIndustrySaysForeclosuresWillSkyrocketInAugust.html iehi-feed-65414 Tue, 07 Jul 2020 01:59:41 GMT PPP: Relief went to hair salons, restaurants, law firms -- and some members of Congress http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-07-06_PPPReliefwenttohairsalonsrestaurantslawfirmsandsomemembersofCong.html After withering pressure from lawmakers, the federal government on Monday released data on hundreds of thousands of borrowers from the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program -- the main relief vehicle for small and mid-size companies suffering from the pandemic lockdowns.

...

Multiple members of Congress or their families benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program, the data shows.

They include Rep. Mike Kelly, a Republican from Pennsylvania who owns namesake car dealerships, received three loans ranging up to $1 million, according to the data. His spokesman said in a statement that Kelly is not involved in day-to-day operations and "was not part of the discussions between the business and the PPP lender."

As it was designed, the program provides potentially forgivable loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees in order to keep their workforce on payroll. The program was so critical at its inception that a first round of funding dried up in less than two weeks and had to be replenished. But interest in the program largely dried up in recent weeks, as shifting rules and the inability of borrowers to come back for a second loan limited the number of small businesses willing or able to go through the application process.

As mentioned elsewhere, a business invested in by Nancy Pelosi's husband (at about an 8% stake) also got money.

]]>
iehi-feed-65410 Mon, 06 Jul 2020 15:11:11 GMT Caliber Home Loans Slapped By NY AG For $17 Million http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-07-06_CaliberHomeLoansSlappedByNYAGFor17Million.html iehi-feed-65409 Fri, 03 Jul 2020 22:05:54 GMT Dalio: "Capital Markets Are No Longer Free Markets" Due To Central Bank Interference http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-07-03_DalioCapitalMarketsAreNoLongerFreeMarketsDueToCentralBankInterfe.html iehi-feed-65407 Tue, 30 Jun 2020 21:18:13 GMT The Fed is buying some of the biggest companies' bonds, raising questions over why http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-06-30_TheFedisbuyingsomeofthebiggestcompaniesbondsraisingquestionsover.html ``Disclosures filed this week surrounding its credit facilities show the Fed is not only buying the bonds of struggling companies hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic but also some of the stalwarts of American industry -- Microsoft, Visa and Home Depot just to name three companies whose debt the Fed holds directly.

The Fed holds an expansive list of other companies indirectly, including names like Apple and Goldman Sachs, through exchange-traded funds it has purchased.

In addition, it has purchased bonds in speculative-grade companies as well as ETFs, including the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond, a fund in which the Fed holds a $412 billion position.

...

"It does sort of make you wonder if it makes sense for them to be buying bonds of Apple. Spreads are so tight and stocks are doing so well. You wouldn't think they would need support from the Fed," said Kathy Jones, director of fixed income at Charles Schwab. "The reasoning I guess makes sense. But when you look at the outcome, you scratch your head and wonder whether this is where we need the money to go."

To be sure, the purchases thus far have been modest.Disclosures the Fed filed over the weekend show it owning nearly $430 million in individual bonds and $6.8 billion in ETFs. That's barely a sliver in a corporate bond market worth more than $10 trillion and fixed income ETFs with assets of $961 billion.

...

Those purchases thus far have come in the secondary market, or bonds already issued. The Fed announced Monday it soon would open its primary market facility, which will buy directly from companies.

"They've achieved a couple things. They've managed to follow through while having very little impact on how those bonds actually trade," said Tom Graff, head of fixed income at Brown Advisory. "This is literally saying we're going to go through the motions of doing what we said we were going to do, but we're going to do the bare minimum and have as minimal impact as possible beyond what we've already created by acknowledging the program will exit at all."

This is at least a bit unseemly given it takes place while small businesses have no Fed facility of their own, and must struggle through SBA programs and unemployment to get any assistance (with possibly the majority of them not getting any, so far).

]]>
iehi-feed-65405 Mon, 29 Jun 2020 13:38:39 GMT FLORIDA COVID19 UPDATE: Florida Creates $250M Assistance Fund http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-06-29_FLORIDACOVID19UPDATEFloridaCreates250MAssistanceFund.html iehi-feed-65404 Fri, 26 Jun 2020 22:02:48 GMT Millennials Will Be Poorer Than Parents If They Can't Buy Homes - What Singapore's Example Teaches http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-06-26_MillennialsWillBePoorerThanParentsIfTheyCantBuyHomesWhatSingapor.html Many analysts have zeroed in on housing as the reason millennials have failed to match their predecessors. As of 2019, millennials owned only 5% of the U.S. housing stock, compared with 15% for the previous generation at the same age. The homeownership rate for households headed by Americans younger than 35 was 43% in 2005, but only 31% in 2015. Instead of accumulating mortgage debt like their predecessors, they've racked up student loans and consumer debt.

...

The U.S. used to facilitate mass wealth-building via homeownership. The GI Bill helped WW II veterans buy homes en masse, and the expansion of the suburbs gave them and the boomers who followed plenty of new homes to buy. But those homes have appreciated in price and nationwide construction has stalled, leaving many millennials priced out of the market amid a slow-growing stock of housing. Today, U.S. housing, rather than a driver of wealth accumulation, has become an engine of intergenerational inequality.

Some countries have done a better job than the U.S. of using housing to build and transfer wealth across generations. One of these is Singapore. Although most of Singapore's housing is government-built and is technically government-owned, the government allows occupants to buy and sell 99-year leases that essentially function as title deeds. Homeownership, therefore, is near-universal. The government also gives out subsidies to help young families buy starter homes. Because the government manages the supply of new homes, it can ensure that young people earn a decent return by the time they retire.

The U.S. could adapt this system to promote mass homeownership and wealth creation for millennials and later generations. The government could build and sell new housing, especially in inner-ring suburbs, potentially using eminent domain to keep construction costs low. Young people -- especially young families -- could get down-payment assistance to buy their first home. By carefully managing the amount of new housing construction, the government could make sure that home prices appreciated enough to provide people with a decent return over their lifetime, but not too much to price younger people out of the market.

Each generation would thus get to enjoy what the WW II generation and boomers enjoyed -- the security and personal freedom of owning a home at a young age, coupled with the knowledge that their wealth would appreciate over time. And because down-payment assistance would be funded by progressive taxation, the system would redistribute wealth to those who weren't born with rich parents.

The alternative -- letting young Americans reach middle age without a stake in the U.S. economic system -- is both sad and frightening to contemplate because it could lead not just to ennui but to unrest. A housing system built loosely on the Singaporean model would allow today's young people to enjoy the same life progression as their parents and grandparents, preserving the American dream in perpetuity.

]]>
iehi-feed-65402 Fri, 26 Jun 2020 18:18:47 GMT Manhattan Office Rents Seen Plunging 26% in Prolonged Downturn http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-06-26_ManhattanOfficeRentsSeenPlunging26inProlongedDownturn.html Asking rents could decline 26% to about $62.47 a square foot (roughly $672 per square meter) in a prolonged recession, according to a report from Savills. Rents haven't fallen to that level since 2012, the real estate services firm said.

Some offices in New York City have reopened, though many buildings remain empty. The city faces a long recovery with workers wary of public transportation and dense workplaces.

"Many assume that when the stay-at-home measures are lifted, there will still be Covid-19 fears that will continue to materially influence behaviors and the economy," Savills said. "These fears will likely remain until a vaccine or antibody therapy is developed and widely available, which experts currently estimate is at least 12 months away."

]]>
iehi-feed-65401 Fri, 26 Jun 2020 12:35:31 GMT Specialized Loan Servicing Spanked By The CFPB http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-06-26_SpecializedLoanServicingSpankedByTheCFPB.html iehi-feed-65399 Thu, 25 Jun 2020 01:36:13 GMT ‘Will the Fed spend trillion of dollars, every year, forever to support the market?' asks billionaire Howard Marks http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-06-24_WilltheFedspendtrillionofdollarseveryyearforevertosupportthemark.html iehi-feed-65398 Thu, 25 Jun 2020 01:35:24 GMT COVID fallout: Pressure Builds For A CMBS Bailout http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-06-24_COVIDfalloutPressureBuildsForACMBSBailout.html Whether the Fed or Congress will act on relief for CMBS isn't clear. Even the fate of another stimulus package, which is scheduled to be taken up by Congress in July, is uncertain. The prospect of sending more cash directly to Americans, which President Donald Trump seems to support, is a matter of contention among members of the legislative branch, The Washington Post reports.

About $20B in CMBS debt is now in special servicing, most of it associated with hospitality and retail properties, which are by far the hardest-hit sectors of commercial real estate.

The rigidity of CMBS as a financing structure has helped exacerbate the crisis. Only 20% of hotel owners with conduit loans have been able to adjust their payments recently, compared to 91% of those with bank loans, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing American Hotel and Lodging Association data.

Hotel occupancies and revenue per available room improved in May compared with April, but those metrics still are historically low for the industry, leaving many borrowers unable to keep current. Retail operations have been similarly crushed by the coronavirus pandemic.

]]>
iehi-feed-65396 Tue, 23 Jun 2020 16:47:54 GMT Disney Uses Thug Lawyers To Squeeze Tax Break From Florida Taxpayers http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-06-23_DisneyUsesThugLawyersToSqueezeTaxBreakFromFloridaTaxpayers.html iehi-feed-65394 Mon, 22 Jun 2020 15:13:58 GMT Restaurant Workers Beware! Trump Wants Your Boss To Have Your Tips http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-06-22_RestaurantWorkersBewareTrumpWantsYourBossToHaveYourTips.html iehi-feed-65393 Sun, 21 Jun 2020 17:13:25 GMT FHA Mortgage Alert! FHA Extends Foreclosure And Eviction Moratorium http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-06-21_FHAMortgageAlertFHAExtendsForeclosureAndEvictionMoratorium.html