Source: blogs.barrons.com

Bitcoin fell for the sixth straight day on Wednesday amid a torrent of negative news for the crypto-currency such as the Chinese ban on domestic exchanges to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon calling it a fraud.


Bitcoin has slumped 25% since hitting a record high of $5,014 on September 2. It was recently trading around $3,893 in early Thursday trading. CNBC has an interesting article by Ron Insana in the wake of Dimon’s comments on why Bitcoin is in a bubble and  why a crash will inevitably occur. Here’s a brief extract:


As yet, bitcoin also fails as a currency in several ways. Money is defined by three characteristics:


A storehouse of value.

A unit of account.

A medium of exchange.


It’s hard to determine if bitcoin is a storehouse of value. Daily volatility tops 5 percent to 10 percent while its “value” has skyrocketed. If it crashes, it will fail to meet criteria No. 1.


It is a unit of account, but for whom?


It may be a medium of exchange, but for now that is only for a very few users.


Convertibility is suspect in some nations where bitcoin exchanges have been banned, creating some confusion as to how the currency can be used.


Complicating all that is the use of cryptocurrencies in the “dark web” for a wide variety of illicit activities, from money laundering to drug dealing to prostitution, among others.


Additional issues involve sovereign nations and their desire to maintain control of their respective currencies and money supplies that make widespread use of bitcoin unlikely in the very near term.


I’ve studied bubbles, written extensively about them and have covered no shortage of speculative events in my 33-year career.


Bitcoin is in a bubble, make no mistake. The episode, for some, will end badly while others reap the rewards of getting in on the action early and, more importantly, getting out before the bust.


But as in the case of many prior breakthrough technologies, the transformation will indeed be disruptive and extremely important even if the first mover fails to survive.


U.S. President Donald Trump cited national security concerns in blocking Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, a private-equity firm backed by a Chinese state-owned asset manager, from purchasing Lattice Semiconductor Corp., a U.S. chip maker. It’s only the fourth time a U.S. president has used their power to block a foreign takeover in the last 27 years. Bloomberg has the details:


President Donald Trump blocked a Chinese-backed investor from buying Lattice Semiconductor Corp., a personal rebuke that bodes poorly for several other Chinese buyers seeking U.S. security clearance for their acquisitions.


It was just the fourth time in a quarter century that a U.S. president has ordered a foreign takeover of an American firm stopped because of national-security risks. Trump acted on the recommendation of a multi-agency panel, the White House and the Treasury Department said Wednesday. The spurned buyer, Canyon Bridge Capital Partners LLC, is a private-equity firm backed by a Chinese state-owned asset manager.


The Trump administration has maintained the U.S.’s tough stance against Chinese takeovers of American businesses even as it seeks China’s help to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis. Other Chinese deals under review include MoneyGram International Inc.’s proposed sale to Ant Financial, the financial-services company controlled by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. The government is also examining an agreement by Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. to buy a stake in SkyBridge Capital LLC, the fund-management company founded by Anthony Scaramucci, who was briefly Trump’s White House communications director.


Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post has an interesting interview with Singapore’s ambassador at large, Bilahari Kausikan, in which he is asked what would China do if the U.S and North Korea go to war. Here’s a taster:


Question: What will China do if North Korea attacks the U.S.?


Nothing. Or nothing much. Some Chinese media – notably the Global Times – said, after Kim Jong-un had threatened to bracket Guam with missiles, that if North Korea started a war with the US, it was on its own. The Chinese know that a war with the US would jeopardise the most core of their core interests – namely, the preservation of CCP rule – because such a war cannot have a favourable outcome for China.


Question: What will China do if the U.S. attacks North Korea?


For the same reason – the preservation of CCP rule – China must respond in some way if the US attacks North Korea. Beijing cannot stand idly by while the US effects regime change in a fellow Leninist state. The legitimacy of CCP rule is at stake.


That is why Maoist China, although infinitely weaker than contemporary China, had to respond during the Korean War and send signals to the US that it had no choice but to do so. Unfortunately, those signals were not heeded.


At the same time, I think the Chinese will limit their response, as they will not want to get into a full-fledged fight with the US – a fight they know they cannot win.


 



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