New Home 21

Reinventing the Financial System

By Marc Rubinstein | June 15, 2021 | 4 Comments

If you’re like me, you’ve been put off from digging deeper into DeFi by the terrible signal-to-noise ratio of anything crypto-related on the interwebs. That’s why I found this DeFi primer (using Maker DAO as a specific example) by ET contributor and banking analyst Marc Rubinstein to be so fantastic.

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Deadly Theatre

The Deadly Theatre of corporate signaling on Pride Month continues to run rampant, with feel-good rebranding pop-ups in all the geographies where this is a marketing advantage … and nothing in geographies where it isn’t.

What is Deadly Theatre? It’s a performance that is so deeply abstracted from its source material that it has become painfully, obviously artificial to anyone who is paying attention.

And yes, there’s an Epsilon Theory note on that.

— Rusty Guinn | June 4, 2021 | 10:34 am

Shot … Chaser

P&C insurer Lemonade (LMND) went public last year and now has a $5 billion market cap. They’re not just a sleepy insurance company, of course. No, no … they’re actually a cutting edge AI Company! TM.

They’ve deleted the tweet above and issued a classic non-denial denial on their blog:

Let’s be clear: 

AI that uses harmful concepts like phrenology and physiognomy has never, and will never, be used at Lemonade.

We have never, and will never, let AI auto-reject claims.

LOL. So their AI Jim textbot + video recognition program (I am not making this up) isn’t using phrenology and it can’t auto-reject claims. No, no … the supervisor will reject the claim. BITFD.

— Ben Hunt | May 28, 2021 | 7:47am

Raccoonery in Action

Honestly, I kinda like Chamath-the-CNBC-talking-head. He’s iconoclastic and smart. A little too much Ben Shapiro / college debate team-esque with the “if I talk really fast maybe you’ll just ignore that jaw-droppingly stupid thing I just said”, but better than the usual CNBC fare regardless.

But Chamath-the-portfolio-manager? Raccoonery in action.

Here’s the Social Capital 2020 annual letter, published five months into 2021. There’s no mention of the disastrous year to date, which demands that you ask the core Epsilon Theory question: Why am I reading this NOW? But even taken on its own terms – hey, let’s talk about 2020 performance going into June, 2021 – this is just a complete crock.

Chamath describes his fund’s performance as “gross IRR” over aggregated multi-year periods. We have no idea of the fund’s performance in 2020, even in “gross IRR” terms, but are required to compare 2011-2019 average annual return to 2011-2020 average annual return. Then Chamath compares his “gross IRR” to S&P 500 total return over the same periods. Then he compares that to Berkshire Hathaway over “the first nine years” of the two investment funds. LOL.

The final picture below – a tweet I put out after a Chamath tweet storm in early March – highlights the rest of his Raccoon math.

When I think about all the compliance pushback I’ve gotten on investor letters and marketing decks over the years … when I think about all of the SEC and regulatory proctology exams my funds have endured … this just makes me so angry.

— Ben Hunt | May 27, 2021 | 10:25 am

The Diversification Problem

Good chart out from Barclays this morning showing the key problem for investors and financial advisors as inflation fears take root: bonds no longer provide portfolio diversification.

— Ben Hunt | May 26, 2021 | 11:35am

Inflation as Ad Campaign

An ET Pack member sent me this. Anyone else come across ads that directly call out inflation expectations? Would love to collect more screenshots like this!

— Ben Hunt | May 24, 2021 | 10:43 pm

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Why Am I Reading This Now? 04.08.24

Recent major media stories that feel to us like they’re part of a larger narrativ‌e campaign.



Why Am I Reading This Now? 03.18.24

Recent major media stories that feel to us like they’re part of a larger narrativ‌e campaign.



Recent Notes

IT’S. ABOUT. THE. MONEY.

By Ben Hunt | April 11, 2024

If you were a smart guy like MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor and you thought a stagflationary tsunami of enormous proportion was going to wash over the US economy regardless of who wins in November, what would you be doing right now?

I think you might be doing whatever you can to get liquid in the global reserve currency without spooking the marks.

Breaking News #19: Number Go Up For November

By Harper Hunt | April 11, 2024

In this episode we discuss how the upcoming November election is shaping the current political and economic landscape. We discuss why inflation, the stock market and the war in the Middle East are all being viewed through a political lens as the election approaches and those with a vested interest seek to influence its outcome . We also discuss the prevalence of conspiracy theories, the erosion of trust in institutions, and the importance of curiosity in a left brain focused world.

I Think The Gun Helps

By Rusty Guinn | April 10, 2024

Our kids are being rewired.

The data implicating the smartphone-based childhood are compelling but not conclusive – and may never be.

So how should governments, communities, schools and families decide what to do?

Breaking News #18: The Rise of the Raccoons

By Harper Hunt | March 28, 2024

As anyone who has ever left their trash lid loose would know, raccoons have a tendency to come in and clean up the leftovers. And they make a huge mess while they do it. That isn’t the only place they exist, though. Raccoons also exist in the financial world, the self help world and a lot of other places. They come in and take what is leftover from what would otherwise be positive innovations and make a mess of them for their own benefit. In this episode, we take a detailed look at raccoons. We look at the tactics they use and how all of us can better spot them before they do their damage. We also discuss the danger of carved out inflation metrics, whether fundamental investing is dead, what steam boat operators have to do with finding your true self and a lot more.

Bitcoin Endgames & The New Hyper-Agents

By Dave Nadig | March 19, 2024

If the HODLers are right, they’re also the new Elites.

Not in a “my thumbdrive will make me the Duke of West Hartford in this post-apocalyptic hellscape” sort of way, but in ugly-but-mainstream scenarios with ugly-but-mainstream power/wealth transfers.

Breaking News #17: The Rise of Financial Nihilism

By Harper Hunt | March 14, 2024

Younger generations today feel like they don’t have a chance. Whether it be rising home prices or income and wealth inequality, they feel that they are starting with a significant disadvantage relative to older generations. One of the responses to this has been to resort to more aggressive gambling when it comes to their investments and their lives. Whether it be sports gambling or investing in riskier investments, some have sought to overcome their starting position by making risky bets. In this episode, we take a deep dive into this idea of financial nihilism and look at its real world implications. We also discuss Elon Musk’s treason allegations against Joe Biden and also look at the amazing behind the scenes story of the creation of the song “We Are the World.”

And You Wonder Why Bitcoin and Gold are at Record Highs

By Ben Hunt | March 12, 2024

The Fed’s inflation-fighting credibility is shot and everyone in Washington and on Wall Street is in the bag for nominal growth, ie Number Go Up on EVERYTHING, through the November election.

After that … well, as Louis XV so aptly put it: après moi, le déluge.

Wheeee!

Financial Nihilism

By Travis Kling | March 12, 2024

The Boomers have all the money. The American Dream of upward mobility is dead for you. That is Financial Nihilism.

So if you’re on the wrong end of this, what do you do about it?

You gamble. You f**king gamble.

The Semantic Universe

By Ben Hunt | February 29, 2024

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

Breaking News #16: Technology and the Teenage Mind

By Harper Hunt | February 29, 2024

We all know that technology can be bad for children. But a new paper from 13D Research, which was republished on Epsilon Theory, really drove home the point of just how bad it can be be and the impact it has on the wirings of children’s minds. In this episode, we discuss this research and what we can do as parents to help mitigate the damage technology is doing to our children. We also cover the election and the impact of Trump’s legal problems, Elon’s Musk’s pay package Joe Biden’s scripted press conferences and the importance of embracing difficulty.

Why We Don’t Trust Each Other Anymore

By Kyla Scanlon | February 26, 2024

We are saying everything, but also we are saying nothing, just sort of talking at each other about things like “rizz” and “Price-to-Earnings Ratio”. 

How do we fix that?

The End of History and the Triumph of Fiat World

By Ben Hunt | February 21, 2024

The great danger of generative AI lies in its use by governments and corporations to cement the most anti-human misalignment of all – the misalignment of rulers from the ruled, of the State from the People.

Fannie Mae’s Affordable Housing TM

By Charles Marohn | February 20, 2024

Last month, Fannie Mae launched a new financial product they call a Social Mortgage Backed Security, designed to “improve access to affordable housing” by lowering credit standards for borrowers. As ET contributor Chuck Marohn points out, this makes home prices in affected areas go up, and doesn’t touch truly cheap housing.

How Does Technology Rewire the Intricate Circuitry of the Teenage Mind?

By Ben Hunt | February 16, 2024

The central course of our children’s lives is being mind-warped by social media and smartphones, not in some ethereal ghost-in-the-machine sort of way but in an actual neural-wiring sort of way, and this research note by Kiril Sokoloff and the 13D team shows how.

Breaking News #15: Useful Idiots

By Harper Hunt | February 15, 2024

Over ten countries are currently engaged in hot wars in the Middle East. But you wouldn’t know if from the media coverage where what has been going on has received limited attention. In this episode we dig into why that is. We also cover Tucker Carlson’s recent interview with Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden’s attempts to tackle shrinkflation and airline seating, why politicians from both sides have no interest in addressing the border and the importance of embracing your yellow pants moment.

The Washington Pravda and the Wall Street Izvestia

By Ben Hunt | February 14, 2024

Today both Wall Street and the White House are determined to tell you a story that inflation is over and mission accomplished. Wall Street because they want a cheaper price of money and the White House because they want to win an election.

It’s not a lie, per se, but it’s not a truth, either. It’s all just story, all the way down.

And like all sclerotic institutions, Wall Street and the White House rely on their media organs to tell the story.

Cursed Knowledge #27: Panera Lemonade

By Harper Hunt | February 9, 2024

Panera’s in hot water over their charged lemonade. After building their brand on clean and healthy food, they’re now facing several lawsuits claiming their lemonade caused permanent heart damage and even death. So what’s really going on with the lemonade? And why is the story surrounding it so misleading?

Useful Idiots

By Rusty Guinn | February 7, 2024

Yes, Virginia, western news media are often useful idiots.

But let’s be real: so is Tucker Carlson.

The Bitcoin ETF Tipping Problem

By Dave Nadig | February 6, 2024

ET contributor Dave Nadig was there at the beginning of ETFs, and he’s forgotten more about their structure and operations than I will ever know.

In this excellent note, Dave digs into the Bitcoin ETF “tipping problem”. It’s a fascinating read on where Narrative runs headlong into the real world of market mechanics.

Death and Rebirth: In Precious Metals, Crypto, and the 6th Grade

By Matt Zeigler | February 5, 2024

“Nice yellow pants, freak.”

Nobody is immune to getting slapped with a label, especially when you’re a new kid in middle school. The trick is not selling out. The trick is owning your identity.

That’s true for Wall Street, too.