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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

In 2020, the world was uniformly “stress-tested”, providing a clear window in which to view and uncover global cause-and-effect relationships that would be otherwise difficult to uncover in more benign times. This was the year where lots of seemingly disparate pieces of knowledge over the years came together — leaving important lessons for millennials in 2021+.

Observation #1: Asset prices are set at the margin, supported by orderbook depth created by increasingly complex and heterogeneous investment rule sets


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Shutterstock

If the build up and popping of the short volatility bubble was “Act 1” revealed by COVID, then “Act 2” is the story of secular imbalances resulting from decades of globalisation and a US-dollar based global financial “operating system”. As calls for de-globalisation, increased supply chain resilience, and re-shoring of production for national security become louder, an underappreciated knock-on effect will be the resultant change in power dynamics of the global financial system built on/around the US dollar. It is crucial for millennials saving for retirement to have a framework for navigating the possible outcomes ahead.


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Writing this article amidst COVID, it’s convenient to blame the virus for the everything that’s happening in the markets. While COVID is a significant catalyst, the seeds leading to this market drawdown were cast long before. It is important to recognize the volatility shock precipitated by COVID and the important lessons left behind for the next generation of investors: in particular, around changes to market structure and new paradigms for diversification.


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Blockchain-based macro narratives don’t exist in a vacuum. Understanding the bigger picture of how crypto / digital assets fit into the global macro narrative requires a nuanced understanding of history. And in particular, an understanding of the mechanics of Modern Money and the roles of the 3 key types of bankers involved.


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Born from the depths of the 2008 Financial Crisis, Bitcoin tries to position itself as an alternative to existing currency and banking systems. Its presence has triggered global soul-searching — especially among younger people — to question what “money” actually is. While too early to judge Bitcoin’s long-term success, this post instead explores narratives driving people’s interest on the topic.


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Blockchain-based innovations are as much about new technology as they are about new concepts of governance. In particular, the continued proliferation of Proof of Work (PoW) consensus has the potential to fundamentally change the structure and incentives of the energy markets. By translating physically trapped energy into global and digitally mobile value, the energy economics of production and distribution may change.


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“Open Finance “ — open-source financial services infrastructure built on public blockchains — may be the next major digitization narrative after Fintech. Driven by the transformation of analog liquidity (deposits in a bank account) to digital liquidity (tokens in digital wallets), the playing field can be leveled for offering financial services. As a result, new profit motives are introduced encouraging innovations not previously feasible.


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Shutterstock: Major national currencies

Investment managers may benefit from studying digital assets. This begins by understanding the difference between Crypto-currencies vs Crypto-assets, the role of the supply-side in setting the risk profiles for these assets, and how all these things combined introduces the concept of non-sovereign assets.


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Since the introduction of Bitcoin, a lot of attention has gravitated towards the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. However, media headlines constantly focus on the price action of cryptocurrencies and miss the bigger picture. The more interesting story to tell centers around the convergence of many macro narratives which has led to blockchains and new digital economies.

“Blockchains allow us to create digital jurisdictions that are not defined by geographic borders.”


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Flickr CC

Scientific economies are globally distributed protocols for transacting in scientific goods and services, powered by the blockchain, and governed through the use of cryptocurrencies that incentivize positive emergent behaviors across the scientific community. A number of exciting projects are incubating on this theme that have the potential to change the landscape for scientific innovation and intellectual property.

A historical perspective of “The Science Stack”

About

Andrew W

Global Macro

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