Long Reads Sunday #96

Hong Kong, Protests, Trump Vs. Twitter...How was this just one week?

Happy Sunday from the Hudson Valley,

What a goddamn week. It started normally enough; just the tectonic plates of the global economy shifting as we come to the end of a debt supercycle. In bitcoin world, we even had Goldman Sachs weird diss webinar to get up in arms about. Then it got crazy. Twitter vs. Trump. Hong Kong’s changing status. The explosion of the most visceral, destructive, widespread and as of this writing incomplete protests in more than a generation.

Derek Chauvin Charged in Death of George Floyd in Minneapolis ...

Let’s somehow make it quickly through the top crypto news and podcast links and then we’ll get in to all that.


This Week’s Top Bitcoin & Crypto News


This week on The Breakdown podcast

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Our Main Themes

1. Goldman tries to cancel bitcoin

Goldman Sachs CIO of Wealth Management held a webinar to talk bitcoin (and gold) this week. Unlike the Paul Tudor Jones excitement, this would not be a major institutional conversion to the BTC space. Instead, it was a full throated endorsement of the status quote. There were a few thing bitcoin Twitter noticed.

First, the arguments presented against bitcoin felt…not convincing.

Second, there was a clear background context of GS being at the epicenter of the financial system that is increasingly in question.

Third, there was an interesting question of “why now,” with at least some positing that this might reflect a growing number of questions about bitcoin and gold from GS clients.

Finally, some evidence for that point of view…


2. The end of a debt supercycle

Of course, going back to Tuur’s point above, it’s impossible to divorce Goldman and the bitcoin question from the macro context. Lyn Alden updated a Dalio chart about monetary expansion at the end of debt supercycles

Raoul Pal published again about how the dollar complicates the global picture...

Although Brent Johnson, a guest on The Breakdown this week, still argues that other currency dominoes fall long before the USD.

There is a growing tone of the conversation recognizing that these are structural issues, and that the prosperity we’ve experienced is more of a mirage than it seems.


3. Twitter vs. Trump

I don’t want to spend too much time on this one, but when you have a sitting US president going to war with a private company over highly contentious questions of censorship, you have to pay attention at least a little. My read on the TL;DR on the intellectual sides (hold aside partisan mapping) is: 1) positing of social media as a public commons that needs free speech; 2) belief in the rights of private companies to set policies without governments interfering.

Whatever the case, this battle is going to get nastier - with potentially big implications - before it gets resolved.


3. Sayonara Hong Kong?

In the wake of a new security law that would China more control over Hong Kong, the US is making moves to distance itself from both HK and the Mainland. I’ll have a number of upcoming episodes on this on The Breakdown, but by way of primer:

Reactions:


4. The protests

They deserve more space than I can possibly give them, but since Substack is telling me I’m running short on room - and since you might be overloaded at this point - I’ll just share a couple worthy notes.

The market disconnect:

And if it feels really, really depressing, you’re not alone.


Stay safe out there and thanks for reading.