Friday, 13 May 2022

Classic head and shoulders formation

In technical analysis, which means recognising patterns in price charts of quoted shares or commodities, one of the most powerful signals is the head and shoulders pattern.

These can form over several months to two years. Basically, the longer the pattern takes to form, the more reliable it is.

Here's Bitcoin over the last five years, from msn:

Purists might argue this looks slightly different to the classic pattern, i.e. the left shoulder is higher than the right shoulder. Or whether we should be using a logarithmic scale. If you zoom in to the last six months, it could be a double top with a consolidation flag on the way down. Be that as it may, a head and shoulders over a one-and-a-half year time frame outweighs such minor niggles, and it looks like the tulip crypto bubble is finally bursting, as any sane person has expected all along.
HMRC had an outbreak of common sense and updated their guidance on crypto-currencies. They decided that despite the name, crypto-currencies are not money or a currency, for the simple reason they are not backed by anything. I can't find the quote right now, it was something had to read up on at work. OK, apparently some issuers pretend they are a bank (how is that even legal?) and say that if you can't find a taker for your tokens, you can hand them back to the issuer for a fixed price. In real life, that's not asset-backed* as the issuer will have frittered away your money on something else, that's a Ponzi scheme (and how is that legal?).

* Despite what people say, a fiat currency is backed by something - demand for that country's currency:
- You can only use a country's currency to pay your taxes in that country.
- People will always have to pay taxes, so there will always be demand for your country's currency.
- Everybody in Country X could decide that their country's currency is a load of rubbish and decide to only use USD for savings and payments if they wished.
- Doesn't change anything, Country X tax office works out your tax bill in X-dollars and send you a demand in X-dollars which you have to pay in X-dollars.
- You then have to change the USD you have in your bank account for X-dollars and hand it over to Bank of X.
- So Bank of X will always be able to issue (print) more X-dollars, knowing that sooner or later, people will have to 'buy' them (i.e. hand over hard currency USD).


Rich Tee said...

All the goods and services I bought in the past year, none of the suppliers accepted bitcoin as a payment. So to spend my bitcoin*, I would have to convert it into fiat currency first.

Therein lies the problem.

* I don't have any cryptocurrency as it has always been too risky for me, but if I could spend it with suppliers directly on a day-to-day basis I would certainly consider it.

Bayard said...

Interestingly, credit predated currency by thousands of years and currency was invented as a handy way for both the government to pay its debts (mainly to its army) and for citizens to pay their taxes. Before the introduction of currency, money was simply a unit with which to measure credit and debt.

Mark Wadsworth said...

RT, "therein lies the problem". It's a bit more than that. These made up things are worth what people think they are worth, there is no fundamental value whatsoever.

B, "money was simply a unit with which to measure credit and debt"

And still is today. If you add up everybody's positive money (deposits at the bank, govt bonds) and deduct everybody's negative money (mortgage debt, national debt) what you are left with is precisely zero.

Kes said...

"It has increased the base rate which many mortgages are linked to which may increase some items mortgage payments."

Which then increases rents as landlords look to recover their losses. Particularly as landlords are usually highly leveraged since that's the only way to make money in that game.

As there is a shortage of houses to rent, the rent rise will stick.

Come on, think a bit.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Kes, rents are the Maypole around which house prices dance. If interest rates and taxes go up or down, then house prices go down or up accordingly. Rents stay the same.

If the price that LLs paid had an influence on the rents they charge, then rents in an area would vary wildly according to when the LL bought the home.

mombers said...

Kes interest rates dropped dramatically over the last 15 years. Rents would have dropped if there was any relationship. And why would any landlord charge anything less than market price, regardless of what their monthly interest payment is?

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, ta. Kes is a georgist who is winding us up.

Lola said...

".. They decided that despite the name, crypto-currencies are not money or a currency, for the simple reason they are not backed by anything..." Oh the irony.

Lola said...

Crypto is 'money' if it is universally acceptable as such by a significant population of user who agree that it can work for them as a means of payment, a store of value and unit of account. The BofE can say what it likes but that;'s the facts. Of course the BofE and the 'State' cannot brook a challenger money to the official money as it immediately denies them all sorts of power.

And contrary to what B asserts 'money' was the invention of the market. Something that evolved over millennia as exchanges became more complex. And that invention was made in various civilisations across both time and space.

I have a vague theory that the best word to use for nationalised money is currency. To try and differentiate it. Central banks and government need to keep going as much confusion as possible about the nature of money, currency and credit in order to maintain their control. Once people realise that they do not need to use nationalised money, or that it has failed, CB's and Gov'ts will be very worried and resort to violence. The attempts of the BofE to define Crypto is part of the attempt yo marginalise it.

personally I reckon Crypto is a dead end with a couple of exceptions one being when as CBDC when that is again about control.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, the UK government couldn't care less what accounting unit you trade in. Plenty of our clients use EUR or USD. Some people use 'local currencies' like the Brixton Pound, or private barter exchanges. All perfectly legal and acceptable. HMRC converts your income to GBP and sends you a tax bill in GBP. Like I explained.

You can use anything you like as a unit of exchange or accounting unit. Be that gold coins, sea shells or Brixton Pounds. The underlying thing might or not have intrinsic value (gold vs just about everything else).

But once you denominate DEBTS in that unit, what you have is MONEY (in the way I use the term).

If I lend you 100 gold coins, my assets are same value (100 gold coins) only instead of a physical asset (gold coins) I have your promise to pay me 100 gold coins + interest. That is MONEY.

You can do FRB with gold coins. In the end, the bank balance sheet just denominates everything - payables and receivables - in gold coins. The gross amount of payables and receivables can vastly exceed the number of gold coins in existence.

And if we take all the payables in receivables denominated in gold coins (negative and positive MONEY) and net them off, we end up with nothing.

The physical gold coins are still in existence of course, but maybe we use them for jewellery or electronics parts. Those aren't MONEY. Those are just things of value.

Lola said...

MW Agreed.
As long as the government can enforce taxes and tax debts in its own currency that's all true.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, there is nothing wrong with fiat currency and FRB - if done sensibly.


a) the Tory-style combo of HIGHER taxes, LOWER spending (on good stuff ) and HIGHER deficits. God knows how they manage this trifecta of shite, presumably the balancing figure is just money they give to their mates. Labour's historic record on all this is - perhaps surprisingly to many - far better (or far less worse).


b) reckless bubble lending. Old style building society mortgages where you can borrow 2.5 times main earner is absolutely fine. Multiples of six times joint income is insane.

That does the damage. Fiat currencies and FRB are just tools, you can use them constructively or use them to smash things up.

23 May 2022 at 13:12

Lola said...

Agreed. Plus by having a CB as a back stop - the too big to fail stuff - introduces shed loads of moral hazard into the system. FRB by itself with the bankers taking the risk is not the problem. It's riskless FRB backstopped by me and you without any say in it is wot's the problem.

(IMHO we now have a Marxist banking system).

Mark Wadsworth said...

L: "It's riskless FRB backstopped by me and you without any say in it wot's the problem"

Exactly! Another reason for admiring John Major - Barings came to him cap in hand and he told them to piss off.

Also, this goes "round the clock". Where's the final difference between

a) Commie countries (Venezuela) where politicians use state funds to nationalise private enterprises (or just steal them) and then appoint their friends and family to run said enterprises (usually badly)


b) corporatism where large businesses buy politicians and then get lovely subsidies and regulations to prop up said large businesses, which are run increasingly badly (no moral hazard)??

It's almost the same thing. Quite where a kleptocracy like Saudi is - where the 'royal family' and oil magnates and government are effectively the same thing - I do not know. Or modern Russia. Is that Communism or corporatism? Either way is shit.

Bayard said...

"But once you denominate DEBTS in that unit, what you have is MONEY (in the way I use the term)."

Ah, I was using MONEY to mean coins.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, modern coins, with no intrinsic value are MONEY. Strictly speaking, they are asset and the government's liability.

In my post, you can amend the last para as follows

"So Bank of X will always be able to mint more X-coins, knowing that sooner or later, people will have to 'buy' them (i.e. hand over hard currency USD)."

You then pay your X-tax in X-coins. Government can melt them down again, makes no odds. Like if you pay off and IOI - the lender gives you the IOU back and you can throw it on a bonfire, it is meaningless.

In olden times, coins and notes in circulation were correctly added to national debt. Apparently they've stopped doing this (incorrect but the amounts are not significant).

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, "they are asset" = "they are YOUR asset".

What are they worth do you? At worst, you can use them to pay off a tax bill.

Bayard said...

"Either way is shit."

The common thread is corruption, something people have been complaining about for thousands of years. It matters not whether they are corrupt capitalists, communists, fascists, socialists, minarchists or monarchists, the effect is the same: kleptocracy. It's all shit, just slightly different-smelling varieties of shit.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, " It's all shit, just slightly different-smelling varieties of shit."


Lola said...

MW. Yep. Which goes back to my contention that the UK's (Well 'the West's actually) banking system is a Marxist construct. That is all money and credit is de facto nationalised. Which was the purpose of Blair's FSMA2000.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, sort of.

But they have gone round clockwise from the ideal Adam Smith/Henry George type economy (at 12) where large corporations get more and more power and more and more subsidies i.e. private ownership with fully state backed guarantees, so this is corporatism.

Going round anti-clockwise from the ideal via social democracy, mixed economy* and successive power grabs by politicians (or an overthrow of the government by yet another gang of politicians) is where you end up also with nationalisation of large corporations incl. banks i.e. Marxism proper.

These two routes meet again at the bottom of the clock at 6, which is the shit zone.

Lola said...


That's exactly the Nolan Chart.

And is exactly what I think. At the top of the circle are the sunlit uplands of liberty and personal responsibility and honest trade, at the bottom the dark hole of slavery, personal irresponsibility and corruption. Where you end up as you slide down either the Right or the Left of the circle.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, yes that sort of thing, but specific to economics.

My personal preference is at about 10 or 11. Some regulation, a welfare system and price capping (or state provision) for traditionally rent seeking but very important things (healthcare, education, roads, utilities).

Food and clothing is just as important, but I see no evidence of rent seeking, so let them get on with it.

Lola said...

MW. I'm at 11.55, or later. Little bit of anti-rent seeing and let 'the market' sort the rest. Especially education and health care, where any form of nationalisation leads to more rent seeking and rationing and in the case of education - state indoctrination.

Bayard said...

"personal responsibility"

Ah, yes, whatever happened to that? I seem to remember it was a thing when I was a child, fifty years ago.

Lola said...

B. Also when I was a child - 65 to 70 years ago....:-)