Hailed as a perfect answer to the evils of fiat money, the virtual currency has come crashing down because the invisible hand is paralyzed without government.
The curtain is being revealed to show that there isn’t that much behind it. The Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, which started life as a place to trade cards from a fantasy game, was hacked. After intruders made off with about $500 million worth of Bitcoin, about 7 percent of the total outstanding, Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy. Flexcoin, a smaller exchange based in Canada, also shuttered after robbers made off with its inventory. Last November, the Feds shut down Silk Road, an online marketplace for drugs and other illicit activities where Bitcoin was commonly used.
Forbes published its annual billionaire list, whose ranks continue to grow even as the American middle and working classes are poorer than ever thanks to stagnating worker wages.
There are a record number of women on the Forbes billionaire list this year — 172 or a 25 percent increase from last year. But that’s about the only good news to be found there. Otherwise, the ranks of the Forbes list—which continues to grow astronomically bigger both in terms of the numbers of members and their total net worth—stands in stark contrast to the decline in the middle class in America and worldwide and the persistent, deepening scourge of poverty.
After years of being underappreciated by Wall Street, financial analysis’s are predicting ludicrous growth rates for Elon Musk’s electric car company.
Tesla Motors is back in the news again.In the past year, the company has been on a continuous roll. In August, it opened an assembly plant in the Netherlands, and it now as has a functional cross-country supercharger network in the U.S. In the fourth quarter, it sold about 6,900 cars, more than expected. It ended 2013 with 22,477 cars sold, worth $2.5 billion, and a projection that it would “deliver over 35,000 Model S vehicles in 2014, representing a 55+% increase over 2013.
The biggest risk to the virtual currency doesn’t come from hackers but from governments. And that’s good news.
The shuttering on Tuesday of Mt. Gox, hasn’t just left customers of the Japanese-based bitcoin exchange panicked to the tune of about $300 million, it’s instigated the latest round of comparisons to tulip-bulb mania, sour anti-semitic rants from neo-Nazis, and “Is Bitcoin Finished?” stories.So: Is bitcoin finished? The short answer is no. And while I explain why, think on this: If and when the end does come for bitcoin, an internet payment protocol that only cranked up in 2008, it won’t be because of cyberspace’s answer to bank robber Willie Sutton undermining belief in a virtual currency (ain’t they all virtual?), it will be because governments around the globe are trying their damnedest to choke off a payment system that allows people to cut out the middle man.
Every week we’re bombarded by numbers about GDP or consumer confidence or some other leading indicator about our economic health and prosperity. Don’t trust them says Zachary Karabell.
A week does not pass without another set of economic numbers blasting through the ether. Many of these receive instant coverage in the media and become fodder for financial market gyrations. This week alone we’ve had a home price index, consumer confidence number, a series of regional manufacturing surveys, and then on Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will release its latest estimate of the mother of all indicators, GDP.But for all the noise that these numbers generate, what do they actually tell us? What if I told you that many of the assumptions we make about our economic life are wrong, and that these assumptions based entirely of what these statistics, our “leading indicators” say.
Got an extra $5 million? Then you can become a citizen of the country of your choice.
By Robert Frank | CNBC Reporter and Editor The wealthy often buy their most prized possessions at auction: art, jewelry, wine and even mansions.Now they might be able to bid on an even bigger auction prize: visas.In the latest twist to the global drama over luring rich emigres from China, Russia and other countries, an immigration official in the U.K. is proposing a plan to auction off visas to the overseas rich, with minimum bids starting at $4 million.
Americans get riled up about creationists and climate change deniers, but lap up the quasi-religious snake oil at Whole Foods. It’s all pseudoscience—so why are some kinds of pseudoscience more equal than others?
If you want to write about spiritually-motivated pseudoscience in America, you head to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. It’s like a Law of Journalism. The museum has inspired hundreds of book chapters and articles (some of them, admittedly, mine) since it opened up in 2007. The place is like media magnet. And our nation’s liberal, coastal journalists are so many piles of iron fillings.But you don’t have to schlep all the way to Kentucky in order to visit America’s greatest shrine to pseudoscience.
The Ponzi king is now saying J.P. Morgan executives suspected he was up to no good before his massive fraud was exposed. Don’t take this pathological liar’s word on anything.
The wire services just reported that Bernie Madoff has implicated J.P. Morgan Chase in a lawsuit recently filed in federal court in New York by the Steamfitters Local 449 Pension Fund and the Central Laborers’ Pension Fund.Plaintiffs attorney David Rosenfeld met with Madoff, who suggested that top officials of J.P. Morgan suspected the fraud that Madoff himself so famously committed. Over the past year, J.P. Morgan has made a habit of “mea culpas” to the tune of tens of billions of dollars, and there seems to be no end in sight for this mega-institution.
Cable companies can’t sign up any more people. In fact, they’re losing them to the Internet. So the only way to survive is to monopolize more of the market and up-sell subscribers just as Comcast-Time Warner Cable will do.
On Wednesday, Comcast struck a $45-billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable. If approved, the deal would represent a giant step toward greater consolidation: Comcast has 22 million subscribers and Time Warner has 11 million. To allay anti-trust concerns, Comcast said it would divest systems with about 3 million subscribers, leaving the merged company with a combined 30 million customers—well over half of the nation’s cable television subscribers.
Dumb Starbucks opens to long lines in L.A.
You can get a Dumb Frappuccino, a Dumb Iced Coffee, and listen to Dumb Jazz Standards at Dumb Starbucks, a parody store that adds the word "dumb" to everything Starbucks. The shop opened Friday in L.A. to long lines and big laughs. But the Seattle coffee giant is not amused. "We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark," says Zack Hutson, a spokesman for the company. But Dumb Starbucks says that the operation is legal because it is considered parody art.
With an Ohio Walmart hosting a holiday food drive for its own workers, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky criticizes the notoriously stingy company for not paying them more.
Prominent Tea Partiers were more concerned about Benghazi than Bridgegate at CPAC