First, sorry in advance for all the grammatical errors, English is not my native language. To give my silly username a bit of reputability, I have a masters in marketing and economics and 15+ years business experience.
I've read a few suggestions about the marketing approach on Reddit and here is my take.
"Making videos about NANO and showing its strengths"
I like it in general, but in the end that video will become an AD and ADs always have this fishy scent which users generally don't really like. NANO videos are a cool way to introduce new users to NANO, but I'm not sure if it's cost efficient enough. Myself, I always close ADs because I don't know if it's legit or scam. If I'm an average internet user who isn't into cryptos and I start watching that AD it would most likely sound like Venmo/Paypal to me (especially if this AD was played on the market that has a functioning economy), I don't think I would fully grasp the decentralization advantage of NANO and would end up closing the AD while we as advertisers would end up paying for nothing.
Some say that we need Litecoin type of marketing (UFC octagon sticker + NFL clubs accepting Litecoin). While it would be cool to have any type of marketing, I don't think that this type of marketing is financially efficient and we have to be VERY financially efficient because we do not have a treasury fund and we have to rely on our donations which have already proven to be a problem for us. If you check Litecoin's daily confirmed transaction number you will notice that UFC campaign which was few months ago haven't done much if anything at all when it comes to daily transactions number: https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/litecoin-transactions.html
This type of marketing is expensive and it's not really building the usage of Litecoin since other types of payments work just fine in the USA. Think about going to UFC event and seeing that Litecoin sticker, it has just a subliminal impact (brand awareness building) on people seeing it, but none of those users or a very few will buy Litecoin because of that sticker and even less will use Litecoin in western market after buying it.
With NFL club accepting Litecoin, the same thing, no one or a very few people will buy Litecoin because now you can pay your NFL game ticket with Litecoin. Why making that additional step of buying LTC with fiat to spend it when you can just spend fiat using credit cards which work just fine?!
WHAT I THINK IS WAY MORE EFFICIENT APPROACH AND WHY
My suggestion is that we need to go after daily confirmed transactions numbereal usage of NANO/real world adoption which also means more BUYING PRESSURE on the free market, more demand. Here is how I think we will be the most efficient at it.
First of all I think we need to focus on remittances market in poor country, there is a real usecase for NANO, a real need compared to Litecoin campaign in USA which doesn't really boost usage because no one needs Litecoin at the moment (maybe if USD collapses it will be another story).
Lets use Venezuela for example. The situation there is so bad that people are starving to death. They've literally killed and ate zoo animals a long time ago and now many are eating rotten meat leftovers out of trash cans to survive (yes, it's that bad, check on the Youtube for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MGbyLUCw5k
Average monthly salary is around 10$ while you need 100$ to survive the month. Many Venezuelans depend on their friends and family members outside of Venezuela who are sending them money to survive. From what I read, most money to Venezuela comes from Colombia and Spain (please correct me if I'm wrong) and since most of them cannot use banks the new remittances business model emerged in Venezuela. Users on social networks who have money and bank accounts in two (Venezuela + Colombia for example) or more countries have started their remittances business offering a remittances service for a FEE. Here is where NANO comes into play to skip this fee and to skip the need to meet with a stranger!
To read more about remittances market in Venezuela, here is the recent answer from Venezuelan itself https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/cb7qw1/ama_destroying_myths_about_the_use_of/etdpvza/
OK, REMITTANCES IN VENEZUELA, HOW?
As we already figured out, because of economic disaster life is cheap in Venezuela, with 100$ we can feed a person 1 month meaning that also you can get a cheap marketing
Let's target Venezuelans with big social media reach
(hundreds of thousands of followers or even millions), make deals with them through NANO center and by using our Venezuelan trusted member and pay them out to do a 4 video campaign (as a package) which would include:
- video of them explaining basic stuff about NANO
- video of them explaining why remittances with NANO (no fee, no intermediary)
- video of them showing the whole remittances process (their friend or relative buying NANO with CC and influencers receiving that NANO within seconds to their phone wallet)
- video of them spending the NANO to buy groceries (I'm sure one of the shops accepting DASH/BTC which are mostly used in Venezuela today will be happy to accept NANO as well)
My guess is that with this approach, we would get many users who would contact their friends and relatives outside Venezuela and ask them to start using NANO for remittances simply because it makes sense and it's more efficient than any other way.
WHY INFLUENCERS AND NOT ADS?
- As I've already mentioned above, when I see the AD I simply close it and I guess many of you do the same simply because I don't know if it's a scam or not. Influencers have followers who TRUST them which is really important. Cost efficiency
- I think the ADs are no match to the potential reach we would be getting through influencers for the same amount of money which of course depends on the negotiated price we would be paying for the campaigns.
WHAT'S NEEDED TO START THIS KIND OF CAMPAIGN
1) Reputable intermediary
between the community and groundwork deal executor
- Ideally this campaign would go through NANO center which has the reputability to collect our donations.
2) Person from Venezuela
...who is willing to be our extended hand and make us a deal with the influencers. Once the donations are collected NANO center would connect with a NANO member in Venezuela who could then contact suitable influencers and setup the deal. Ideally we would already have a Venezuelan who is a member of NANO center, do we?!
How much would this cost? Honestly I have no idea, we would have to ask to find out, but as the situation there is so bad I think the price would be really cost effective to us considering we would be getting REAL ADOPTION which is maybe the biggest NANO's problem at the moment. There is quite a lot of work required from an influencer to do, from recording, video editing to going across the town to spend NANO. We need to be aware of that when negotiating the fair price with influencer. Also we need to pay our Venezuelan connection who would be doing deals with influencers.
- We would need to create the script for those 4 videos and outline exactly what we want to happen in those videos
- Research and find potential influencers
- Along with comments/and likes bellow the campaigned videos, confirmed daily transactions on NANO block lattice type of metric to show us if the campaigns are successful or not would be really helpful. Looks like we don't have it at the moment, the closest is https://nano-faucet.org/stats/
which I find too confusing for my average brain. I know this metric is not the most precise one due to spam but spam usually creates spikes and what we would be looking for is a long term trend line something like red line in this Bitcoin example: http://prntscr.com/oe933n
This is not essential for this campaign, but if someone could build this it would be useful for NANO in general as well.
COULD WE GET SCAMMED?
Yes unfortunately, but we can take a careful approach using milestone payments. Having a really trustworthy Venezuelan connection is the key IMO.
When it comes to influencers, to mitigate a risk of getting scammed we can pay the influencers after every video instead of all at once. Also, our Venezuelan connection will have to explain to the influencer that there is a huge community behind this idea and that they can expect many more campaigns to follow if the first one proves itself to be a success which should help with not getting scammed.
WHAT IS THE END GOAL?
Usage of NANO, adoption!
- Every remittances transaction will create a few more transactions
1 - buy NANO with fiat
2 - send it to Venezuelan friend/relative
3 - Venezuelans spends it to buy food
4 - merchant will eventually have to sell NANO to get more supply or IDEALLY he/we could close the whole circle and find a supplier who would accept NANO himself or some merchants (who can) would be start saving money in NANO due to it's deflationary property.
On top of that people would continue to use it on and on in the future simply because it's the most effective way. Remember that with higher transaction numbers you will eventually get more exposure to media and other users and a bigger value of the network itself. Don't forget, NANO foundation lives from NANO and we need a good NANO price for the team to continue making great updates to the protocol. Also bigger NANO price in USD = more campaigns that we will be able to fund in the future while spending the same amount of NANO.
If this method really is the most cost effective for users I really don't see a reason why those first users who came out of watching influencers videos wouldn't recommend their friends to do the same process for remittances!
- If we would be able to get this rolling, many Venezuelans would end up having NANO on their mobile phones, looking where to spend it. They would approach grocery stores and ask to pay with NANO and eventually get us merchants through a simple market demand mechanism. DASH and BTC are mostly used in Venezuela today and we need to thank them for doing the hard work for us introducing merchants to cryptos and having them more likely to accept the more superior payment protocol, NANO.
I put some thoughts and time into writing this (as I should for holding a lot of NANO), I'll leave it here and first and most important if your feedback because if NANO community in general doesn't like this idea, then it makes no sense to proceed with it since it won't be getting enough funding. With your feedback we can also improve this proposal.
2) NANO center approval + Venezuelan groundworker
If the community likes the idea and the feedback is good we can see what folks from NANO center have to say about it, and to see if we even have a trustworthy Venezuelan member who is willing to make this proposal into a reality.
3) Detailed scripts for videos
- I've mentioned 4 important short videos that I think are all needed for 1 successful campaign so that we offer the followers of those influencers the whole package explaining the whole process and answering "Why NANO?" through those videos (of course his can change if you guys give better idea of what we need from the influencer). Scripts need to be detailed with time stamps explaining exactly what we want inside the videos. If we have a green light from first 2 steps I will start this script building process through Google documents and invite you guys to help me build those.
4) Finding and choosing influencers
We can create a topic to find the most suitable influencers in Venezuela, Venezuelan members needs to help us with this!
With the community and NANO center behind this proposal, Venezuelan connection ready to do it and scripts ready for the influencers the next step would be to reach into our wallets and donate enough money to be able to fund out first deal.
6) Negotiations, budget building
Once the donations start dripping into NANO center's wallet our Venezuelan connection can start reaching out to the chosen influencers and see what's doable with our budget and proceed from there.
7) First campaign
Do our first campaign, evaluate it and see if it was cost efficient enough and if yes, improve the whole concept from the experience that we will get from the first campaign and proceed scaling further.
To show that I'm serious about this proposal, I promise to donate the first 100 NANO to this campaign if the NANO center gives us a green light for this proposal. Without NANo center's green light, I think this proposal doesn't have much chances of success.
July was definitely a whirlwind! Over the last month, we hit several milestones — from being Samsung’s first fintech app in its blockchain ecosystem to organizing meetups in five cities across the globe, and so much more in between. Allow us to walk you through the specifics. Product Development Telegram integration and crypto gift feature
We are very excited to announce that X Wallet 2.0 is now available on Android and iOS. Using this version, you can integrate your Telegram contacts and send or receive crypto gifts. To make things easier, we set up an official Telegram chat group (https://t.me/pundixgift
) for users (it’s currently the top Telegram chat according to combot.org
). For more information, check out our feature. Integration support for Verifone X990
US-based Verifone welcomed Pundi X with the integration of its X990 with our XPOS module. Through this partnership, users now have access to a wider network of retailers accepting cryptocurrency payments. Read more about it here. Welcoming Samsung Blockchain Wallet
We’re excited to be part of Samsung’s growing adoption of blockchain technology into their products. The Samsung Blockchain Wallet enables the use of decentralized apps on Samsung smartphones, making it easier for blockchain technology to penetrate the mainstream market. We are definitely privileged to be part of this important initiative.
On top of it all, our platform now supports 12 tokens, including native coins of three public chains, which are BNB, XEM and QTUM. Merchant Adoption and Partnership Kapytal exchange, Mexico
Last July 4, we were at the Blockchain Summit Latam 2019 in Mexico City to seal our partnership with Kapytal, a Mexican digital asset exchange. They will be the first official distributor for Pundi X in Mexico, having launched operations on August 1. Not only do they distribute XPOS and XPass cards, they also provide liquidity for merchants willing to cash out Mexican pesos to their bank accounts. São Paulo, Brazil
Pundi X continues to make waves in Brazil, with five new newsstands adopting the XPOS in the center of São Paulo. Lounge X, Korea
Robot-powered café Lounge X located in Seoul, South Korea, now welcomes crypto payments via XPOS. It’s a highly advanced café with a robot barista and a robot server, and the addition of XPOS to its tech-drive operations is definitely a plus for the café and Pundi X. The restaurant of the future is now here. Event and communities XBlockchain Meetups: Hanoi, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Dubai, and Istanbul
In July, we’ve co-organized a series of XBlockchain meetups to spread the awareness of the blockchain technology, Function X and Pundi X development progress. The purpose is to seek the collaboration opportunities with various blockchain communities and businesses. July 4: Pundi X partnered with Coin 98 and Function X for a XBlockchain Meetup at the VCC Exchange in Hanoi, Vietnam. July 6: Pundi X hosted a XBlockchain Meetup with Function X, Kyber Network and VeChain Japan Community in Tokyo, Japan. July 20: Pundi X together with the Dosh Exchange and the Project Tubu successfully finished a XBlockchain Meetup in Johannesburg, South Africa. July 24: Pundi X met with major partners at the Astrolabs XBlockchain Meetup Dubai. July 30: Last XBlockchain Meetup in July was held in Istanbul, Turkey with Koophub. Thank you for our partners and those who participated the meetups! Mobile 360 Africa
Pundi X CEO and Co-Founder Zac Cheah was at Mobile360 Africa last July 16 to share his insights on the topic, “How Blockchain Steers Technology of The Future” and showcase the blockchain technology that Function X is capable of. Held in Kigali, Rwanda and organized by GSMA, Mobile360 highlighted key initiatives in the mobile landscape and in relation to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Afro Asia Fintech Festival 2019
In the same week of Mobile 360 Africa, the Pundi X team also went to Nairobi with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to join Afro Asia Fintech Festival from July 15–16. We met important ministers, regulators, bankers, and enterprises to discuss collaborations for the development of the fintech landscape in Africa. World Cities Summit
Joao Victor Mendes, LATAM Country Manager of Pundi X shared what our team has been up to at the World Cities Summit | Mayors Forum 2019 in Medellin, Colombia on July 13. Blockcrypto Brazil
Joao was also at Blockcrypto Brazil to share how Function X works. At the conference, we set up a booth where participants experienced how to top up Bitcoin using XPOS. MakerDao, DigiX and Pundi X joint meetup in Seoul
We also held a successful joint meetup between MakerDao and DigiX in Seoul on July 13, as a way to strengthen our community in the city. Binance/Pundi X Meetup in Medellín
Binance met with Pundi X last July 10 in Medellin, Colombia, as a way to further the partnership and conversation between the two companies. Community AMA Q2 Quarterly report
We are grateful to those who joined our AMA Session with Zac Cheah, who was happy to report some of Pundi X’s highlights over the last quarter and announce our upcoming activities. Binance Italian Telegram Group
We’re also joined AMA hosted by the Binance Italian Telegram Group and gave out 3,000,000 NPXSXEM as crypto gifts to those who participated. Pink Care Token Alliance with Binance Charity Foundation
Period poverty is a reality, that’s why Binance Charity Foundation initiated Pink Care Token (PCAT) a stablecoin aimed at sponsoring feminine hygiene products for young women in the underdeveloped world. Pundi X has joined PCAT to help Binance Charity Foundation to achieve the goal. CryptoGift Drop Event
To celebrate NPXSXEM migrating to Binance Chain, we have held five days of CryptoGift Drop Even from July 17–21 by giving out a total of 14,000,000 NPXSXEM to the selected Telegram groups. Q2 Removal of 34 billion of NPXS and NPXSXEM tokens
On July 14, we completed the removal of 5 billion NPXS and 29 billion NPXSXEM tokens for Q2 2019. We’ve included the amount of NPXS and NPXSXEM converted to FX tokens in May. The conversion of NPXS and NPXSXEM was completed on July 15 and will continue removing these converted tokens per scheduled. Below is the overview of the conversion result. Migration to Binance Chain and DEX listing proposal submission
Announced on June 21, the migration of NPXSXEM BEP2 tokens has started in July. The current total supply of NPXSXEM is 67,725,825,819.45 and will be swapped 1:1 to the Binance Chain, becoming BEP2 tokens. Meanwhile, we also submitted NPXSXEM listing on Binance DEX proposal. Thanks to the support of our community, the proposal has received over 3500+upvotes. As the voting also requires Binance Chain Validators, we are awaiting for the listing result at this moment. Full: https://medium.com/pundix/monthly-report-a-recap-of-activities-in-july-2019-7585e1488601
https://outline.com/VM2DEM submitted by
• 5,400 Words •
Today’s world is at war on many fronts. The rules of international law and order put in place toward the end of World War II are being broken by U.S. foreign policy escalating its confrontation with countries that refrain from giving its companies control of their economic surpluses. Countries that do not give the United States control of their oil and financial sectors or privatize their key sectors are being isolated by the United States imposing trade sanctions and unilateral tariffs giving special advantages to U.S. producers in violation of free trade agreements with European, Asian and other countries.
This global fracture has an increasingly military cast. U.S. officials justify tariffs and import quotas illegal under WTO rules on “national security” grounds, claiming that the United States can do whatever it wants as the world’s “exceptional” nation. U.S. officials explain that this means that their nation is not obliged to adhere to international agreements or even to its own treaties and promises. This allegedly sovereign right to ignore on its international agreements was made explicit after Bill Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeline Albright broke the promise by President George Bush and Secretary of State James Baker that NATO would not expand eastward after 1991. (“You didn’t get it in writing,” was the U.S. response to the verbal agreements that were made.)
Likewise, the Trump administration repudiated the multilateral Iranian nuclear agreement signed by the Obama administration, and is escalating warfare with its proxy armies in the Near East. U.S. politicians are waging a New Cold War against Russia, China, Iran, and oil-exporting countries that the United States is seeking to isolate if cannot control their governments, central bank and foreign diplomacy.
The international framework that originally seemed equitable was pro-U.S. from the outset. In 1945 this was seen as a natural result of the fact that the U.S. economy was the least war-damaged and held by far most of the world’s monetary gold. Still, the postwar trade and financial framework was ostensibly set up on fair and equitable international principles. Other countries were expected to recover and grow, creating diplomatic, financial and trade parity with each other.
But the past decade has seen U.S. diplomacy become one-sided in turning the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, SWIFT bank-clearing system and world trade into an asymmetrically exploitative system. This unilateral U.S.-centered array of institutions is coming to be widely seen not only as unfair, but as blocking the progress of other countries whose growth and prosperity is seen by U.S. foreign policy as a threat to unilateral U.S. hegemony. What began as an ostensibly international order to promote peaceful prosperity has turned increasingly into an extension of U.S. nationalism, predatory rent-extraction and a more dangerous military confrontation.
Deterioration of international diplomacy into a more nakedly explicit pro-U.S. financial, trade and military aggression was implicit in the way in which economic diplomacy was shaped when the United Nations, IMF and World Bank were shaped mainly by U.S. economic strategists. Their economic belligerence is driving countries to withdraw from the global financial and trade order that has been turned into a New Cold War vehicle to impose unilateral U.S. hegemony. Nationalistic reactions are consolidating into new economic and political alliances from Europe to Asia.
We are still mired in the Oil War that escalated in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq, which quickly spread to Libya and Syria. American foreign policy has long been based largely on control of oil. This has led the United States to oppose the Paris accords to stem global warming. Its aim is to give U.S. officials the power to impose energy sanctions forcing other countries to “freeze in the dark” if they do not follow U.S. leadership.
To expand its oil monopoly, America is pressuring Europe to oppose the Nordstream II gas pipeline from Russia, claiming that this would make Germany and other countries dependent on Russia instead of on U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG). Likewise, American oil diplomacy has imposed unilateral sanctions against Iranian oil exports, until such time as a regime change opens up that country’s oil reserves to U.S., French, British and other allied oil majors.
U.S. control of dollarized money and credit is critical to this hegemony. As Congressman Brad Sherman of Los Angeles told a House Financial Services Committee hearing on May 9, 2019: “An awful lot of our international power comes from the fact that the U.S. dollar is the standard unit of international finance and transactions. Clearing through the New York Fed is critical for major oil and other transactions. It is the announced purpose of the supporters of cryptocurrency to take that power away from us, to put us in a position where the most significant sanctions we have against Iran, for example, would become irrelevant.”
The U.S. aim is to keep the dollar as the transactions currency for world trade, savings, central bank reserves and international lending. This monopoly status enables the U.S. Treasury and State Department to disrupt the financial payments system and trade for countries with which the United States is at economic or outright military war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly responded by describing how “the degeneration of the universalist globalization model [is] turning into a parody, a caricature of itself, where common international rules are replaced with the laws… of one country.” That is the trajectory on which this deterioration of formerly open international trade and finance is now moving. It has been building up for a decade. On June 5, 2009, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev cited this same disruptive U.S. dynamic at work in the wake of the U.S. junk mortgage and bank fraud crisis.
Those whose job it was to forecast events … were not ready for the depth of the crisis and turned out to be too rigid, unwieldy and slow in their response. The international financial organisations – and I think we need to state this up front and not try to hide it – were not up to their responsibilities, as has been said quite unambiguously at a number of major international events such as the two recent G20 summits of the world’s largest economies.
Furthermore, we have had confirmation that our pre-crisis analysis of global economic trends and the global economic system were correct. The artificially maintained uni-polar system and preservation of monopolies in key global economic sectors are root causes of the crisis. One big centre of consumption, financed by a growing deficit, and thus growing debts, one formerly strong reserve currency, and one dominant system of assessing assets and risks – these are all factors that led to an overall drop in the quality of regulation and the economic justification of assessments made, including assessments of macroeconomic policy. As a result, there was no avoiding a global crisis.
That crisis is what is now causing today’s break in global trade and payments.
Warfare on many fronts, with Dollarization being the main arena
Dissolution of the Soviet Union 1991 did not bring the disarmament that was widely expected. U.S. leadership celebrated the Soviet demise as signaling the end of foreign opposition to U.S.-sponsored neoliberalism and even as the End of History. NATO expanded to encircle Russia and sponsored “color revolutions” from Georgia to Ukraine, while carving up former Yugoslavia into small statelets. American diplomacy created a foreign legion of Wahabi fundamentalists from Afghanistan to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya in support of Saudi Arabian extremism and Israeli expansionism.
The United States is waging war for control of oil against Venezuela, where a military coup failed a few years ago, as did the 2018-19 stunt to recognize an unelected pro-American puppet regime. The Honduran coup under President Obama was more successful in overthrowing an elected president advocating land reform, continuing the tradition dating back to 1954 when the CIA overthrew Guatemala’s Arbenz regime.
U.S. officials bear a special hatred for countries that they have injured, ranging from Guatemala in 1954 to Iran, whose regime it overthrew to install the Shah as military dictator. Claiming to promote “democracy,” U.S. diplomacy has redefined the word to mean pro-American, and opposing land reform, national ownership of raw materials and public subsidy of foreign agriculture or industry as an “undemocratic” attack on “free markets,” meaning markets controlled by U.S. financial interests and absentee owners of land, natural resources and banks.
A major byproduct of warfare has always been refugees, and today’s wave fleeing ISIS, Al Qaeda and other U.S.-backed Near Eastern proxies is flooding Europe. A similar wave is fleeing the dictatorial regimes backed by the United States from Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia and neighboring countries. The refugee crisis has become a major factor leading to the resurgence of nationalist parties throughout Europe and for the white nationalism of Donald Trump in the United States.
Dollarization as the vehicle for U.S. nationalism
The Dollar Standard – U.S. Treasury debt to foreigners held by the world’s central banks – has replaced the gold-exchange standard for the world’s central bank reserves to settle payments imbalances among themselves. This has enabled the United States to uniquely run balance-of-payments deficits for nearly seventy years, despite the fact that these Treasury IOUs have little visible likelihood of being repaid except under arrangements where U.S. rent-seeking and outright financial tribute from other enables it to liquidate its official foreign debt.
The United States is the only nation that can run sustained balance-of-payments deficits without having to sell off its assets or raise interest rates to borrow foreign money. No other national economy in the world can could afford foreign military expenditures on any major scale without losing its exchange value. Without the Treasury-bill standard, the United States would be in this same position along with other nations. That is why Russia, China and other powers that U.S. strategists deem to be strategic rivals and enemies are looking to restore gold’s role as the preferred asset to settle payments imbalances.
The U.S. response is to impose regime change on countries that prefer gold or other foreign currencies to dollars for their exchange reserves. A case in point is the overthrow of Libya’s Omar Kaddafi after he sought to base his nation’s international reserves on gold. His liquidation stands as a military warning to other countries.
Thanks to the fact that payments-surplus economies invest their dollar inflows in U.S. Treasury bonds, the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit finances its domestic budget deficit. This foreign central-bank recycling of U.S. overseas military spending into purchases of U.S. Treasury securities gives the United States a free ride, financing its budget – also mainly military in character – so that it can taxing its own citizens.
Trump is forcing other countries to create an alternative to the Dollar Standard
The fact that Donald Trump’s economic policies are proving ineffective in restoring American manufacturing is creating rising nationalist pressure to exploit foreigners by arbitrary tariffs without regard for international law, and to impose trade sanctions and diplomatic meddling to disrupt regimes that pursue policies that U.S. diplomats do not like.
There is a parallel here with Rome in the late 1st century BC. It stripped its provinces to pay for its military deficit, the grain dole and land redistribution at the expense of Italian cities and Asia Minor. This created foreign opposition to drive Rome out. The U.S. economy is similar to Rome’s: extractive rather than productive, based mainly on land rents and money-interest. As the domestic market is impoverished, U.S. politicians are seeking to take from abroad what no longer is being produced at home.
What is so ironic – and so self-defeating of America’s free global ride – is that Trump’s simplistic aim of lowering the dollar’s exchange rate to make U.S. exports more price-competitive. He imagines commodity trade to be the entire balance of payments, as if there were no military spending, not to mention lending and investment. To lower the dollar’s exchange rate, he is demanding that China’s central bank and those of other countries stop supporting the dollar by recycling the dollars they receive for their exports into holdings of U.S. Treasury securities.
This tunnel vision leaves out of account the fact that the trade balance is not simply a matter of comparative international price levels. The United States has dissipated its supply of spare manufacturing capacity and local suppliers of parts and materials, while much of its industrial engineering and skilled manufacturing labor has retired. An immense shortfall must be filled by new capital investment, education and public infrastructure, whose charges are far above those of other economics.
Trump’s infrastructure ideology is a Public-Private Partnership characterized by high-cost financialization demanding high monopoly rents to cover its interest charges, stock dividends and management fees. This neoliberal policy raises the cost of living for the U.S. labor force, making it uncompetitive. The United States is unable to produce more at any price right now, because its has spent the past half-century dismantling its infrastructure, closing down its part suppliers and outsourcing its industrial technology.
The United States has privatized and financialized infrastructure and basic needs such as public health and medical care, education and transportation that other countries have kept in their public domain to make their economies more cost-efficient by providing essential services at subsidized prices or freely. The United States also has led the practice of debt pyramiding, from housing to corporate finance. This financial engineering and wealth creation by inflating debt-financed real estate and stock market bubbles has made the United States a high-cost economy that cannot compete successfully with well-managed mixed economies.
Unable to recover dominance in manufacturing, the United States is concentrating on rent-extracting sectors that it hopes monopolize, headed by information technology and military production. On the industrial front, it threatens to disrupt China and other mixed economies by imposing trade and financial sanctions.
The great gamble is whether these other countries will defend themselves by joining in alliances enabling them to bypass the U.S. economy. American strategists imagine their country to be the world’s essential economy, without whose market other countries must suffer depression. The Trump Administration thinks that There Is No Alternative (TINA) for other countries except for their own financial systems to rely on U.S. dollar credit.
To protect themselves from U.S. sanctions, countries would have to avoid using the dollar, and hence U.S. banks. This would require creation of a non-dollarized financial system for use among themselves, including their own alternative to the SWIFT bank clearing system. Table 1 lists some possible related defenses against U.S. nationalistic diplomacy.
As noted above, what also is ironic in President Trump’s accusation of China and other countries of artificially manipulating their exchange rate against the dollar (by recycling their trade and payments surpluses into Treasury securities to hold down their currency’s dollar valuation) involves dismantling the Treasury-bill standard. The main way that foreign economies have stabilized their exchange rate since 1971 has indeed been to recycle their dollar inflows into U.S. Treasury securities. Letting their currency’s value rise would threaten their export competitiveness against their rivals, although not necessarily benefit the United States.
Ending this practice leaves countries with the main way to protect their currencies from rising against the dollar is to reduce dollar inflows by blocking U.S. lending to domestic borrowers. They may levy floating tariffs proportioned to the dollar’s declining value. The U.S. has a long history since the 1920s of raising its tariffs against currencies that are depreciating: the American Selling Price (ASP) system. Other countries can impose their own floating tariffs against U.S. goods.
Trade dependency as an aim of the World Bank, IMF and US AID
The world today faces a problem much like what it faced on the eve of World War II. Like Germany then, the United States now poses the main threat of war, and equally destructive neoliberal economic regimes imposing austerity, economic shrinkage and depopulation. U.S. diplomats are threatening to destroy regimes and entire economies that seek to remain independent of this system, by trade and financial sanctions backed by direct military force.
Dedollarization will require creation of multilateral alternatives to U.S. “front” institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and other agencies in which the United States holds veto power to block any alternative policies deemed not to let it “win.” U.S. trade policy through the World Bank and U.S. foreign aid agencies aims at promoting dependency on U.S. food exports and other key commodities, while hiring U.S. engineering firms to build up export infrastructure to subsidize U.S. and other natural-resource investors. The financing is mainly in dollars, providing risk-free bonds to U.S. and other financial institutions. The resulting commercial and financial “interdependency” has led to a situation in which a sudden interruption of supply would disrupt foreign economies by causing a breakdown in their chain of payments and production. The effect is to lock client countries into dependency on the U.S. economy and its diplomacy, euphemized as “promoting growth and development.”
U.S. neoliberal policy via the IMF imposes austerity and opposes debt writedowns. Its economic model pretends that debtor countries can pay any volume of dollar debt simply by reducing wages to squeeze more income out of the labor force to pay foreign creditors. This ignores the fact that solving the domestic “budget problem” by taxing local revenue still faces the “transfer problem” of converting it into dollars or other hard currencies in which most international debt is denominated. The result is that the IMF’s “stabilization” programs actually destabilize and impoverish countries forced into following its advice.
IMF loans support pro-U.S. regimes such as Ukraine, and subsidize capital flight by supporting local currencies long enough to enable U.S. client oligarchies to flee their currencies at a pre-devaluation exchange rate for the dollar. When the local currency finally is allowed to collapse, debtor countries are advised to impose anti-labor austerity. This globalizes the class war of capital against labor while keeping debtor countries on a short U.S. financial leash.
U.S. diplomacy is capped by trade sanctions to disrupt economies that break away from U.S. aims. Sanctions are a form of economic sabotage, as lethal as outright military warfare in establishing U.S. control over foreign economies. The threat is to impoverish civilian populations, in the belief that this will lead them to replace their governments with pro-American regimes promising to restore prosperity by selling off their domestic infrastructure to U.S. and other multinational investors.
There are alternatives, on many fronts
Militarily, today’s leading alternative to NATO expansionism is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), along with Europe following France’s example under Charles de Gaulle and withdrawing. After all, there is no real threat of military invasion today in Europe. No nation can occupy another without an enormous military draft and such heavy personnel losses that domestic protests would unseat the government waging such a war. The U.S. anti-war movement in the 1960s signaled the end of the military draft, not only in the United States but in nearly all democratic countries. (Israel, Switzerland, Brazil and North Korea are exceptions.)
The enormous spending on armaments for a kind of war unlikely to be fought is not really military, but simply to provide profits to the military industrial complex. The arms are not really to be used. They are simply to be bought, and ultimately scrapped. The danger, of course, is that these not-for-use arms actually might be used, if only to create a need for new profitable production.
Likewise, foreign holdings of dollars are not really to be spent on purchases of U.S. exports or investments. They are like fine-wine collectibles, for saving rather than for drinking. The alternative to such dollarized holdings is to create a mutual use of national currencies, and a domestic bank-clearing payments system as an alternative to SWIFT. Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela already are said to be developing a crypto-currency payments to circumvent U.S. sanctions and hence financial control.
In the World Trade Organization, the United States has tried to claim that any industry receiving public infrastructure or credit subsidy deserves tariff retaliation in order to force privatization. In response to WTO rulings that U.S. tariffs are illegally imposed, the United States “has blocked all new appointments to the seven-member appellate body in protest, leaving it in danger of collapse because it may not have enough judges to allow it to hear new cases.” In the U.S. view, only privatized trade financed by private rather than public banks is “fair” trade.
An alternative to the WTO (or removal of its veto privilege given to the U.S. bloc) is needed to cope with U.S. neoliberal ideology and, most recently, the U.S. travesty claiming “national security” exemption to free-trade treaties, impose tariffs on steel, aluminum, and on European countries that circumvent sanctions on Iran or threaten to buy oil from Russia via the Nordstream II pipeline instead of high-cost liquified “freedom gas” from the United States.
In the realm of development lending, China’s bank along with its Belt and Road initiative is an incipient alternative to the World Bank, whose main role has been to promote foreign dependency on U.S. suppliers. The IMF for its part now functions as an extension of the U.S. Department of Defense to subsidize client regimes such as Ukraine while financially isolating countries not subservient to U.S. diplomacy.
To save debt-strapped economies suffering Greek-style austerity, the world needs to replace neoliberal economic theory with an analytic logic for debt writedowns based on the ability to pay. The guiding principle of the needed development-oriented logic of international law should be that no nation should be obliged to pay foreign creditors by having to sell of the public domain and rent-extraction rights to foreign creditors. The defining character of nationhood should be the fiscal right to tax natural resource rents and financial returns, and to create its own monetary system.
The United States refuses to join the International Criminal Court. To be effective, it needs enforcement power for its judgments and penalties, capped by the ability to bring charges of war crimes in the tradition of the Nuremberg tribunal. U.S. to such a court, combined with its military buildup now threatening World War III, suggests a new alignment of countries akin to the Non-Aligned Nations movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Non-aligned in this case means freedom from U.S. diplomatic control or threats.
Such institutions require a more realistic economic theory and philosophy of operations to replace the neoliberal logic for anti-government privatization, anti-labor austerity, and opposition to domestic budget deficits and debt writedowns. Today’s neoliberal doctrine counts financial late fees and rising housing prices as adding to “real output” (GDP), but deems public investment as deadweight spending, not a contribution to output. The aim of such logic is to convince governments to pay their foreign creditors by selling off their public infrastructure and other assets in the public domain.
Just as the “capacity to pay” principle was the foundation stone of the Bank for International Settlements in 1931, a similar basis is needed to measure today’s ability to pay debts and hence to write down bad loans that have been made without a corresponding ability of debtors to pay. Without such an institution and body of analysis, the IMF’s neoliberal principle of imposing economic depression and falling living standards to pay U.S. and other foreign creditors will impose global poverty.
The above proposals provide an alternative to the U.S. “exceptionalist” refusal to join any international organization that has a say over its affairs. Other countries must be willing to turn the tables and isolate U.S. banks, U.S. exporters, and to avoid using U.S. dollars and routing payments via U.S. banks. To protect their ability to create a countervailing power requires an international court and its sponsoring organization.
The first existential objective is to avoid the current threat of war by winding down U.S. military interference in foreign countries and removing U.S. military bases as relics of neocolonialism. Their danger to world peace and prosperity threatens a reversion to the pre-World War II colonialism, ruling by client elites along lines similar to the 2014 Ukrainian coup by neo-Nazi groups sponsored by the U.S. State Department and National Endowment for Democracy. Such control recalls the dictators that U.S. diplomacy established throughout Latin America in the 1950s. Today’s ethnic terrorism by U.S.-sponsored Wahabi-Saudi Islam recalls the behavior of Nazi Germany in the 1940s.
Global warming is the second major existentialist threat. Blocking attempts to reverse it is a bedrock of American foreign policy, because it is based on control of oil. So the military, refugee and global warming threats are interconnected.
The U.S. military poses the greatest immediate danger. Today’s warfare is fundamentally changed from what it used to be. Prior to the 1970s, nations conquering others had to invade and occupy them with armies recruited by a military draft. But no democracy in today’s world can revive such a draft without triggering widespread refusal to fight, voting the government out of power. The only way the United States – or other countries – can fight other nations is to bomb them. And as noted above, economic sanctions have as destructive an effect on civilian populations in countries deemed to be U.S. adversaries as overt warfare. The United States can sponsor political coups (as in Honduras and Pinochet’s Chile), but cannot occupy. It is unwilling to rebuild, to say nothing of taking responsibility for the waves of refugees that our bombing and sanctions are causing from Latin America to the Near East.
U.S. ideologues view their nation’s coercive military expansion and political subversion and neoliberal economic policy of privatization and financialization as an irreversible victory signaling the End of History. To the rest of the world it is a threat to human survival.
The American promise is that the victory of neoliberalism is the End of History, offering prosperity to the entire world. But beneath the rhetoric of free choice and free markets is the reality of corruption, subversion, coercion, debt peonage and neofeudalism. The reality is the creation and subsidy of polarized economies bifurcated between a privileged rentier class and its clients, their debtors and renters. America is to be permitted to monopolize trade in oil and food grains, and high-technology rent-yielding monopolies, living off its dependent customers. Unlike medieval serfdom, people subject to this End of History scenario can choose to live wherever they want. But wherever they live, they must take on a lifetime of debt to obtain access to a home of their own, and rely on U.S.-sponsored control of their basic needs, money and credit by adhering to U.S. financial planning of their economies. This dystopian scenario confirms Rosa Luxemburg’s recognition that the ultimate choice facing nations in today’s world is between socialism and barbarism.
Keynote Paper delivered at the 14th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy, July 21, 2019.
 Billy Bambrough, “Bitcoin Threatens To ‘Take Power’ From The U.S. Federal Reserve,” Forbes, May 15, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/billybambrough/2019/05/15/a-u-s-congressman-is-so-scared-of-bitcoin-and-crypto-he-wants-it-banned/#36b2700b6405
 Vladimir Putin, keynote address to the Economic Forum, June 5-6 2019. Putin went on to warn of “a policy of completely unlimited economic egoism and a forced breakdown.” This fragmenting of the global economic space “is the road to endless conflict, trade wars and maybe not just trade wars. Figuratively, this is the road to the ultimate fight of all against all.”
 Address to St Petersburg International Economic Forum’s Plenary Session, St Petersburg, Kremlin.ru, June 5, 2009, from Johnson’s Russia List, June 8, 2009, #8,
. Already in the late 1950s the Forgash Plan proposed a World Bank for Economic Acceleration. Designed by Terence McCarthy and sponsored by Florida Senator Morris Forgash, the bank would have been a more truly development-oriented institution to guide foreign development to create balanced economies self-sufficient in food and other essentials. The proposal was opposed by U.S. interests on the ground that countries pursuing land reform tended to be anti-American. More to the point, they would have avoided trade and financial dependency on U.S. suppliers and banks, and hence on U.S. trade and financial sanctions to prevent them from following policies at odds with U.S. diplomatic demands.
 Don Weinland, “WTO rules against US in tariff dispute with China,” Financial Times, July 17, 2019. https://xenagoguevicene.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/u-s-economic-warfare-and-likely-foreign-defenses-by-michael-hudson-%e2%80%a2-23-july-2019/
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