2008 was a year to remember for me, not only personally but politically as well, for I had lost my faith and trust in the Republican Party. The Democratic Party was always a joke to me, it’s views never aligned with my beliefs or principles. What made me switch allegiance was the head of the Republican Party at the time, the choices made and policies being passed by the intellectual celibate-of-a man, George W. Bush. It was a year of chaos; that is how I recall it.
The housing market had imploded. The Stock Market -in those days, I had no clue what it was about- had come crashing down, bringing not only the United States but the global economy into a recession. Named later as, The Great Recession, 2008 had an air of uncertainty. In the faces of many, fear lingered, many losing their employment, others, their houses, and even many their pensions. But just around the corner, hope had come cloaked in a black man. The aroma of something new, the belief of hope, being instilled by Barack Obama, led a young, naïve, pynk elephant like me, to vote for him. In my eyes, Obama was a savvy intellectual, a man of the people, and a hell of a ‘speaker’ compared to his predecessor.
Yet, as I look back now, with the knowledge I have obtained and taught myself through the years of ignorance, I have come to understand fully, that the stock market crash of 2008 was the cause of spirited casino-like gamblers led by bankers and the fame enabler of Wall Street. It did not matter who held the highest office of the land, either republican or democrat, Wall Street was secure in their high-stake bets with their associates. Wall Street, bankers, hedge funds, they all were certain, no matter the collapse, the government would bail them out for, if they failed, they would bring the entire economy of the world to ruins. How so my fellow pynk elephant?
The market crash of 2000, the famous dot com bubble,1 had brought the United States into a semi-recession. With the wars raging after 9/11, banks became very lenient in giving out loans to individuals and institutions, as it opened a flood gate towards loans for those desiring to purchase homes.2 This flood gate of easy access to bank loans for home purchases was the jolt needed to boost the domestic economy from its slump. Even President George W. Bush passed a bill to help give quick loans to first-time buyers, as part of their access to the American Dream to own.3
See, people don’t understand that banks function differently than businesses. For banks to obtain profit, the money they have in their vaults must leave out the door through loans.4 Unlike a typical business or corporation, the more cash the bank possesses, the more of a loss it has -oddly, therefore, their way to make a profit is off interest, or what it truly is, usury.5
As banks started to give out loans like hotcakes to ‘approved’ individuals, and institutions, their profits soared from 2003 to 2007,6 before the market crash in 2008. (This is where it gets interesting for me, and perhaps it may be uninteresting for the many, for we in Main Street -the terminology given to us by Wall Street, defined as average Americans or individuals who are not in correlation with Wall Street- find what happened in 2008, perplexing.) Banks like Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, etc., these banks are public banks that accept depositors like you or me, who make less than 400K dollars annually.
Private banks, better known as investment banks -which are unknown to Main Street- are where money makers and hedge funds go and obtain capital for multiple endeavors.7 May it be, a coming IPO (Initial Public Offering) of a company, manage assets or obtain loans, it is where the big fish who make more than 1 million dollars get to play. Thynk of it as a casino, you have the main floor for the simpletons who gamble in the slot machines, and then you have the high roller floor for people desiring to gamble away with serious money. Not a lot of average joes heading towards that floor.
Once these institutions began to obtain these loans in the early 2000s, they began to purchase subprime mortgages from banks to sell them to other institutions- globally.8 A market created in the late 1990s, this market of subprime mortgages took off in the early 2000s. This market was primarily on faulty, bad mortgages meant to default, but, cunning schemers financers are, they put these bad mortgages into swaps, repackaged them, had them approved by trusted insurance institutions (AIG, being one example), and sold them away. I mean, before 2008, never in the history of the United States had the housing market ever crashed!
See, these private institutions borrowed a plethora of loans from investment banks like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns for example, and these investment banks borrowed capital from the Federal Reserve. In return, the FED was also taking a hit. But banks, like casinos, never lose, which made the 2008 market crash as stated earlier, one worthy to study -for those fascinated by the minutiae of the financial game.
As these loans were heading out from banks into the hands of people making less than 50K, these individuals bought houses three times the asking price. Others, obtaining risker loans, bought two, or three houses, condos, etc., and the housing market bubble began to pump. It was created with the aid of bankers, politicians, and the FED. (Hard to nail it on the FED, since they know how to cover their tracks.) These three working in concert, approving these loans, through the conduits of realtor agents, brokers, etc., baited the public, and the public, seeing the opportunity to obtain the American dream, took the bait.9 (Possible, some knew or were oblivious to those obtaining these loans will not ever repay them back.) For who does not desire to ‘own’ one day, a house?
When the market finally crashed, two famous investment banks went belly up -Lehman brothers10 & Bear Sterns.11 These two investment banks gambled by selling swamps of subprime mortgages that they knew were bad for customers. while others placed calls on these swaps. (Again, no one assumed the housing market would crash, except one, but Bankers of Wall Street knew, which I do not doubt.) Financers were certain the US government would not let the economy crash nor let the major banks go bankrupt. My views of politics changed after learning that Barack Obama was no different than his predecessor.
Obama bailed out these gambling addicts with taxpayer money, while millions lost their homes, jobs, and pensions.12 The recession hitting the following three years, it was evident that the hope and change Obama promised was not for the American people but mainly for financers. The bailout helped banks reorganize, buy out their competitors, and begin to do the same things they were doing prior 2008 market crash, as Obama signed off on rebooting the economy.
From this chaos, though, an idea was originated and produced. How financial trade moving forward would be conducted was presented at its genesis. Those who desired to control their purchasing power, their investments, and money away from the corrupt functions of banks and Wall Street, introduced the world to crypto. This new thing called Bitcoin changed how people would view money forever. (Those who are aware of how it works.)
Satoshi Nakamoto -the pseudo name of the creator of bitcoin- was the individual who famously published ‘the whitepaper’ in 2009.13 The purpose of this 9-page paper was to introduce the functioning of the blockchain or digital ledger, designed to one day decentralize banks from the monetary grip it had on people. The founder’s goal was to develop a digital currency, called bitcoin, where the value cannot be manipulated by a minor group of authorities, like fiat currency. Nakamoto’s hope was one day, Bitcoin could move the masses away from the currencies of governments as Bitcoin, one day would become an alternative to the banking system. Just like issued government currencies (on paper), bitcoin was designed to be on a fixed rule.
To understand this fixed rule, you must understand how money works. It is here, in my opinion, where people fail to understand the beauty of crypto-, unfortunately, because they fail to know how fiat currency (paper money) is created or how it works. I will not go into the details, as I will give you, my fellow pynk elephants, the jest:
Governments in total have created 120 trillion dollars to be circulating among the people with that, 230+ trillion of this money is debt.14 This means, for someone in the future, the money you may have in your pocket is not only debt but must be paid back with interest!15 But see, the money that has been printed, or is being printed, 90% of it is already digital, while 10% is physical (paper, coins). Therefore, people are unaware they are already participating in digital ledgers or digital currency even though it is not crypto. How? I doubt these days that people are accepting checks and going straight to the bank to deposit them from their employers. With access to direct deposit, the employer’s check lands on the individual’s bank account (ledger), making it more accessible to purchase products via a swipe. This digital ledger, which people are participating in without being aware of it, is being conducted on a daily basis.
Employer deposits into subject Pynk’s bank account 1000$,
(Digital ledger 1, 1000$)
SUBJECT PYNK pays taxes, 150$
(Digital ledger 2, 1000-150= 850$)
SUBJECT PYNK pays Rent, 500$
(Digital ledger 3, 850-500= 350$)
SUBJECT PYNK purchases necessities, 200$
(Digital ledger 4, 350-200= 150$)
SUBJECT PYNK, purchases personal goods, 100$
(Digital ledger 5, 150-100= 50$)
Understanding where the money goes, what one spends, or how much is left in the account, is important, in my opinion. It keeps your pocketbook under control, away from credit, which often leads to debt. Another topic for another time, back to this ledger- this is a simple form, of course, and these ledgers are personal, making them private. Exactly what banks desire, but with the creation of crypto, its ledger (blockchain) is public. Everyone can see how bitcoin (crypto) moves from one person’s wallet to another.
Put it this way, how I learned was through this analogy of the function of bitcoin and it’s ledger:
Imagine being inside a bank vault, and in there, you see many deposit boxes, as you own one. Inside this vault, you can only access it if you have a key to deposit or obtain your valuable assets, gold coins, for example. In the world of crypto, to access this vault and open your deposit box, you need a unique key- a long digital code, like a long password, perse. Your key gives you access to your private wallet. (No name, no address, or country of residence. Nothing that links this digital key to a physical person or entity.) This wallet of yours unlocks billions of unique bitcoin addresses found in the blockchain. Each address is a virtual safety deposit box, which, if given access, you can open with your virtual key.
Here lies the beauty- these virtual deposit boxes are transparent. You can see what is in them when you send a bitcoin from your wallet to another, making this a bitcoin transaction. These bitcoins only exist in this transparent address box between investor, user, etc., – These coins can never be copied or leave the vault in which the transaction occurred.
These vaults are not owned by a single entity, no one needs permission from a government, a bank, or a corporation to use this technology, making bitcoin and the blockchain glorious. This technology is a threat to governments, banks, and corporations because now, people can cut away the middleman upon transactions. Individuals, through bitcoin, have the power to conduct their affairs by going to the source of all things.
- 1) Bitcoin gives the individual the chance to return to the days of husbandry economics, you can say, as individuals conduct peer-to-peer transactions. It cuts away the middleman who obtains a fee from these transactions, as Bitcoin acts as currency. By trading this digital currency for physical goods, it solidifies bitcoin as a currency for the buyer and seller. The value of bitcoin has an intrinsic value to the users as fiat currency to the populace. And this intrinsic value is trust. (Unlike fiat currency -which is backed by a government, crypto intrinsic value is based on the people believing in its value and potential value growth.)
- 2) Bitcoin avoids the middleman. How you may be asking? Using credit cards as an example, merchants pay a fee of 3% to charge customers. The merchant may get penalized -down the line by a credit card company for an ill occurrence because the customer failed to pay or a discrepancy of an unknown variable. These ‘new’ fees add more middlemen into the mix of the occurring transaction- worse if you are purchasing internationally. (Trust me, I know). This market of “fees,” got Banks to even work with credit card corporations and came to a point they both came into agreement to have a fixed price charge to impose on customers.16
Perhaps you are not using a credit card. Instead, you are utilizing your debit card. Banks tend to close uniformly after 5 pm. Some are close over the weekend, and if you make a transaction or need to make a transaction and your paycheck has not landed in your account, perhaps you will be slapped with a fee. Merchants won’t see the money until the following week, possibly costing them a hidden fee. (Worst if it is internationally.) This makes no sense since we are in the digital age, as technology, being too advanced, is no excuse for banks to function as if we lived before the birth of the internet. This leads to my next point.
- 3) Bitcoin makes you a bank. By using bitcoin, you are cutting out, again, the middleman. (Banks, corporations, governments, etc.) How does one pay another person in bitcoin, you may be asking? Going back to the digital deposit analogy, I use my digital key to open my digital wallet to transfer X amount of bitcoin to the given digital address (wallet). Some applications use QR codes, making it easier as you scan, swipe, and boom, the transaction is complete. How does this transaction happen?
The mining of the bitcoin makes the transaction possible. Bitcoin transaction happens when a miner within let’s say 10-15 minutes, using a tremendous amount of energy, beats other miners who are also hoping to mine this transaction. This miner(s) instructs the information of data towards the destined digital wallet -a long-chain code of data, moved into a block of existing data codes, and for doing this work, the miner is incentivized by obtaining crypto as payment.
Once this code is transferred and placed into a block of the existing chain of data, it becomes part of the famous term, The Blockchain. This blockchain of data is of previous transactions, and transfers conducted of bitcoins, making it impossible to change, alter, without breaking the blockchain. This makes the famous blockchain censorship resistance!
- 4) This leads to banks being unbanked. See, the world’s largest network, economy, and populace is adopting bitcoin: The Internet! As the internet adapts to the coming change through the metaverse, the coming web3 (I will write about this in the coming blogs), it is evident as well, that corrupt ways to purchase products or services on the internet will become easy. Making bitcoin the target of the public ridicule and the desire to not understand its functions out of lack of understanding or fear of change is fathomable. One example we can attest to is the website once known as, The Silk Road.
- 5) Bitcoin should be able to provide privacy/anonymity, but the famous Silk Road brought the government’s attention to the illegal activities that were being conducted. Because the blockchain is public, anyone can see how bitcoin moves from one wallet to another- unlike banks, transactions or transfers are private. The illegal activities conducted online through the Silk Road brought this fabled tale of privacy/ anonymity to question. But I raise the question of privacy conducted by banks.
Banks in the past have laundered money for cartels,17 Participated in funding warlords,18 and they were in scandals with wall street.19 Yet, the public does not bat an eye because mainstream media does not give it the attention as it does to bitcoin when they discover one small drop in crime compared to centuries of crimes conducted by financers found in banks.
I hope this introduction of the financial crash of 2008, bitcoin, has sparked your mynd, fellow pynk elephants as the next blog post, I will provide information on what gives bitcoin intrinsic value, understanding of the mining of bitcoin, and other points to eventually help you grasp bitcoin before dabbling into the depth of blockchain.
- Matrico, Dan. The Dotcom Bubble Explain In 5 Minutes. The Balance, 15 January 2022, https://www.thebalance.com/what-was-the-dotcom-bubble-5209336Accessed 3 April 2022.
- Dunbar, John & Donald, David. The Root of The Financial Crisis: Who Is To Blame? Publicintegrity, 6 May 2009, https://publicintegrity.org/inequality-poverty-opportunity/the-roots-of-the-financial-crisis-who-is-to-blame/Accessed 3 April 2022.
- Becker, Jo; Stolberg, Sheryl Gay; Labaton, Stephen. Bush Drive For Home Ownership Fueled Housing Bubble. The NY Times, 21 December 2008, https://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/business/worldbusiness/21iht-admin.4.18853088.html Accessed 3 April 2022.
- Kagan, Julia. Commercial Bank. Investopedia, 6 October 2022, https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/commercialbank.asp Accessed 3 April 2022.
- Fernando, Jason. Usury Rate. Investopedia, 19 January 2021, https://www.investopedia.com/terms/u/usury-rate.asp Accessed 3 April 2022.
- Wiegand, Robert. A Tale of Two Banking Systems: The Performance of US and European Banks in the 21st Businessperspective, 7 April 2015
https://www.businessperspectives.org/index.php/journals?controller=pdfview&task=download&item_id=6448 Accessed 4 April 2022.
- Thakur, Madhuri. Investment Banking Functions. Wallstreet Mojo, N/A https://www.wallstreetmojo.com/investment-banking-functions/ Accessed 4 April 2022.
- Morgenson, Gretchen & Story, Louise. Banks Bundle Bad Debt, Bet Against it and Won. The NY Times, 23 December 2009, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/24/business/24trading.html Accessed 4 April 2022.
- Greenberg, Richard & Hansen, Chris. If You Had a Pulse, We Gave You a Loan. NBC News, 22 March 2009, https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna29827248 Accessed 4 April 2002.
- Amadeo, Kimberly. Lehman Brother’s Collapse. The Balance. 29 January 2022, https://www.thebalance.com/lehman-brothers-collapse-causes-impact-4842338 Accessed 5 April 2022.
- Amadeo, Kimberly. Bear Sterns: It’s Collapse and Bailout. How a Bank That Survived the Great Depression Started the Great Recession. Investopedia, 30 October 2021, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/07/bear-stearns-collapse.asp Accessed 5 April 2022.
- Ghilarducci, Teresa. The Recession Hurt Americans’ Retirement Account More Than Anybody Knew. The Atlantic, 16 October 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/the-recession-hurt-americans-retirement-accounts-more-than-everyone-thought/410791/ Accessed 5 April 2022.
- Sarkar, Arijit. Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin White Paper is Now 13-Year Old Teenager. Cointelegraph, 31 October 2021, https://cointelegraph.com/news/satoshi-nakamoto-s-bitcoin-white-paper-is-now-a-13-year-old-teenager Accessed 5 April 2022.
- Amoros, Raul. Visualizing The State of Global Debt, By Country. Visualcapitalist, 1 February 2022, https://www.visualcapitalist.com/global-debt-to-gdp-ratio/ Accessed 6 April 2022.
- Adkins, Troy. What The National Debt Means To You. Investopedia, 14 February 2022, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/10/national-debt.asp Accessed 6 April 2022.
- Reuters Staff. Visa, Mastercard Reach 6.2 Billion Settlement Over Card-swipe Fees. Reuters, 18 September 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-creditcards/visa-mastercard-reach-6-2-billion-settlement-over-card-swipe-fees-idUSKCN1LY1PQ Accessed 6 April 2022.
- Vulliamy, Ed. How A Big US Bank Laundered Billions From Mexico Murderous Drug Gang. The Guardian, 2 April 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/apr/03/us-bank-mexico-drug-gangs Accessed 6 April 2022.
- Fontevecchia, Augstino. HSBC Helped Terrorist, Iran, Mexican Drug Cartels, Launder Money, Senate Report Says. Forbes, 16 July 2012, https://www.forbes.com/sites/afontevecchia/2012/07/16/hsbc-helped-terrorists-iran-mexican-drug-cartels-launder-money-senate-report-says/?sh=2337e6485712 Accessed 6 April 2022.
- Benen, Steve. The Big Banks Have Been Caught Red-Handed. MSNBC, 21 May 2015, https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/the-big-banks-have-been-caught-red-handed-msna600671 Accessed 6 April 2022.