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A World Where Solar Land is More Valued than Farm Land

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As fossil fuels lose their attractiveness the industrialized world has a fairly big problem. The problem might actually be big enough to threaten various stages of collapse in various region around the world – in other words, the world being forced to transition from fossil fuels could get ugly, and might threaten the investments of a lot of very rich people. The ensuing decrease in services could have a decidedly Dystopian quality. A lot of people could get hurt.

So now I have affirmed that the transition from a Carbon to a post-Carbon would could get viciously ugly, what would happen if it doesn’t get ugly?

There are a limited number of solutions available if we are to keep society more or less recognizable from 20th century developed nation consumerism, pluriform democracies and freedom. All three – consumerism, freedom and multicultural democracies are a recent phenomenon. Their long term succession is by no means guaranteed, even if most people in modern societies prefer all over their alternatives – autocracy, planned economies and nationalist states.  We have tried feudalism and all of its variants for a few thousand years and my guess is most people would not opt for repressive societies. Repressive societies, no matter how well-intentioned and Utopian in ideology always end up favoring ruling elites.

The Problem

energyThe problem is that all trappings of a comfortable civilization cost money. As we have come to understand, money doesn’t really exist and is a fiction cooked up by politicians, ideologues and bankers. The substrate that underlies money is actually energy. Having a society that generates (or somehow succeeds in harvesting) an energy surplus can grow. If there’s no energy surplus, no amount of printing “money” can generate long term economic prosperity. We might have pretended for a while this is the case, but we are now running in to irresolvable limits to growth, and most these limits could be overcome if only we had access to sufficient energy.

The American standard of living by some is regarded as the highest form of life on the planet. A reason for the relative prosperity of typical Americans is the rate at which their directly or indirectly consume energy. Most of this energy is petrochemical. America consumes as a society about one fifth all energy of the world, and the world consumes about 20 terawatt per year in energy, again, most of which is non-renewable and carbon based. Apparently a lot of people world wide still consume energy in the form of burning wood. Or it’s less palatable cousin, cow dung.

Let’s for now assume, despite objections to the contrary, that carbon based fuels are either irreversibly depleting, or are becoming otherwise undesirable to consume at anything approximating current rates. I can think of a few reasons, such as mass extinctions and climate change but opinions tends to vary on these topics.

There is no existing alternative source of energy that can in 2015 replace “burning stuff”. We can’t scale up existing nuclear plants – Uranium nuclear has been operating at a nett loss (taking all costs in to account) for decades. Wind energy is too intermittent, Geothermal and Water turbines too regional, Thorium has not been proven, and most other alternatives too small scale. There is only one source of energy that scales up indefinitely and becomes cheaper as we invest in it, and that is Space Based Solar, but we won’t have launch capability to construct that for the better part of a century. That leaves us with planetary solar.

There are several competing formats  for turning sun in to electricity, and it is pretty certain that in coming years we’ll unearth new ways to do so, with less stuff and with higher outputs.

And there’s a problem there. We’d want to produce solar electricity pretty close to where we’d like consuming it. Transporting electricity over vast distances is costly, subject to sabotage, extortion and vandalism, and it is inefficient. But no matter how much solar electricity we’d eventually come to produce,  our society will always demand more to sustain our ever expanding hunger for consumer goods, cheap food, transportation, computation and whatnot. There is absolutely no cap on how much affordable energy eventually would want to consume on the planet (short of cooking away the oceans in doing so) and that means that as soon as means ti transmute sunlight in to marketable kilowatt-hours, there will be markets demanding more.

Right now our planet is covered with large stretches of forests, desert and agricultural land. Solar electricity would be consumed where most paying consumers would be, and consequently where stable states would exist to allow for permanent solar harvesting farms to operate undisturbed. A solar economy therefore might easily be argued to be more likely to be decentralized (no big monopolies), quite averse to violence (wars break all the solar) and democratic (easily taxable). I might break a lance to argue how more favorable a persistent and robust solar economy might be over a hydrocarbon based one, but I am sure a cavalcade of SUV aficionado’s might vehemently disagree with me.

solar plant

Whatever the outcome – if solar does in fact take off in terms of output, safety, sustainability, return-on-investment, marketability (etc.) then we might see ever more sophisticated types of solar dotting the landscape, especially in place where people live.

The scariest and at the same time most fascinating scenario is a world, maybe half a century from now, where solar forests compete with agricultural or natural land. It might come to a point where we become so efficient capturing sunlight and turning it in to prosperity that demand for solar electricity outstrips other demands.

A century ago most currently developed countries had a lot more horses. There are less horses around now. Likewise in 2015 we have a lot of agricultural land and forests. Along the same lines, assuming we as a society get very lucky with Solar, might see large parts of the world covered with some form of structures that turn sunlight in to prosperity. As indicated, I’d rather see that happen in a near planetary orbit with Space Based Solar, but anything that sustains my (soon to be considerably life-extended) standards of living is welcome, and I am not asking for the sky just yet.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Khannea Suntzu describes herself as cosmist, cosmicist, upwinger, socialist-libertarian, hedonist and abolitionist. Khannea is transgendered, and currently lives in the Netherlands.




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1 Comment

  1. DigitalGalaxy

    September 30, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    One source of power you missed is offshore wind, which is consistent because the wind is almost always blowing out over the ocean. In contrast to onshore wind which is intermittent. That is convenient because most people live near the coast. Also, Japan is developing floating solar panels that can take up ocean space instead of land. So there is hope for clean, non carbon based energy today, here and now, that does not take up all our land.

    (Also we don’t need farmland, we could do vertical farming with hydroponics and do that in skyscrapers, no farm land required, but that is another topic.)

    Thanks for a great post!

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Uber: $120 Billion IPO?

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Uber Technologies Inc., the global ride-hailing giant, is reportedly eyeing an initial public offering (IPO) worth as much as $120 billion. According to The Wall Street Journal, the IPO could take place early next year, giving investors ample time to prepare.

More Valuable than the Auto Giants

The $120 billion value proposal was delivered to Uber last month by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS), two of Wall Street’s largest banks. The banks were presumably advising Uber on how to position stock offerings to potential investors before underwriting the IPO.

The new valuation far exceeds the one Uber received from Toyota Motors Co (TYO), which priced the ride-sharing service at %72 billion.

At $120 billion, Uber would be worth more than the General Motors Co (GM), Ford Motor Co (F) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) combined. The Detroit auto giants have seen their valuations rise in the wake of the financial crisis, buoyed by a prolonged recovery and increased appetite for automobiles. However, their growth has paled in comparison to Uber’s, which was founded in 2009.

Uber’s expansion hasn’t been without growing pains. The company has been mired by regulatory bottlenecks, workplace scandals and the alleged theft of trade secrets from Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), Google’s parent company.

It is not entirely clear what metrics the Wall Street banks used to evaluate Uber’s potential value. The company reportedly told Morgan Stanley it won’t be profitable for at least another three years, though annual revenues are expected to reach up to $11 billion this year. That’s a marked rise over the $7.78 billion generated in 2017.

While there’s no guarantee that Uber will go public in the proposed timeframe, it must issue a public offering by the end of 2019, according to WSJ sources. That’s the agreement it has in place with investor SoftBank Group Corp.

Uber by the Numbers

Uber’s startling growth over the past nine years can be represented by a few statistics. As of May 8, 2018, the company had 19,000 employees. This doesn’t include the more than 3 million drivers who are getting paid through the ride-hailing service. Since inception, Uber drivers have completed some 10 billion rides. This averages out to about 15 million rides each day. Gross bookings in 2016 alone amounted to $20 billion.

As of June, 75 million riders were using the Uber app. In the U.S. alone, adult users are projected to reach 48 million by the end of 2018. The Uber app is installed on 21% of U.S. adult Android devices.

Currently, Uber owns up to 87% of the U.S. ride-hailing market. The growth and widespread adoption of the service has opened the door to other competitors, with Lyft being the biggest. Founded in 2012, Lyft is available in about 220 cities across the U.S. as well as in major cities across Asia.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 647 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Argo Mining as a Means of Diversification

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Buying Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) is something we talk about a lot, but earning crypto is just as interesting. There are many ways to earn crypto that allow for arbitrage-like opportunities, but the focus of this piece is on mining companies.

More specifically, Argo Mining, which is the first cryptocurrency mining company to IPO. That might not sound like a big deal, but it gives Argo a critical competitive advantage over other companies.

The Mining Industry

One thing is clear right now, the mining industry is still very opaque. Users are constantly worried about being scammed, which is very similar to how it was when trading exchanges were popping up left and right. There are numerous options out there for companies that will help you mine cryptocurrency, but it isn’t always clear what the best choice is.

You can go one of two routes: have a mining application operate on your computer, or pay for a rented service. Honeyminer is an example of a native application that works well and pays out cryptocurrency, and Argo is an example of a “shared service”. Argo operates much like Amazon Web Services does. You pay to rent computational capabilities, but your goals end up being slightly different. The business models are sound, but very different.

Where Argo’s Advantage Comes From

Argo is the first mining company to IPO, which adds a level of trust that no other company can currently command. There are so many potential risks for users that they tend to shy away from these companies. They are worried about their payment information being ripped off, withdrawal of the coins, and the costs being greater than the revenues.

By raising $32 million in their June 11th IPO, Argo has alleviated many of these worries, and added a degree of trust to their brand. They started off mostly mining altcoins such as Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Zcash, but have recently announced Bitcoin mining packages as well.

The overall goal of Argo, as stated by their CEO, Jonathan Bixbay, is to democratize mining so everyone can participate. Right now, most of the mining is done by a select few of the elites, and Argo is enabling the wealth to be spread here.

Can Argo Actually Make You Money?

The big question to answer about Argo is whether you can actually make money doing this. The costs per month could potentially be higher than the value of the crypto you mine. Sure, you don’t have to pay trading fees on them, but it is important to calculate exactly how much you are coming out ahead.

It depends on the package, but you could potentially end up paying more for the fees than you earn. The trick is to remember that the crypto market isn’t like other markets – it isn’t perfectly efficient – and there are always arbitrage opportunities if you look hard enough.

An Alternate Route to Being Long Crypto

With much of crypto mining currently being done by elites because of the massive investment involved, it is clear that Argo has tapped a massive market. The company had a waitlist of 50,000 in September, and with the funds from the IPO, they can finally finance the expansion of their operations in a way that will speed up the number of people they can bring online.

If you believe Bitcoin (or cryptocurrencies in general) is coming out of a rut soon, then this is a good way to diversify into the market. Do your own tests and make sure that you are coming out ahead after the fees, but it should be a simple way to make some extra money in what is currently an inefficient market.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Ripple Price Analysis: XRP/USD at Risk of September Bull Run Being Completely Deflated

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  • Ripple’s native token XRP is at large danger of totally giving back the big September bull run gains. 
  • XRP/USD is capped to the upside at $0.6000. Vital near-term support seen tracking from $0.4550-0.4350.

Ripple’s native token XRP price has further been sent down to the burning south. This comes after the chunky and excessive bull run observed at the back end of September. XRP/USD had run higher by some 190%, from lows of around $0.27. Bulls managed to see a spike up, just short of $0.8000, within the early $0.7900 territory. Since this initial big trek to the north, up to mentioned highs, the price has dropped around 40%.

September Recap

There was not one catalyst behind the rocket move of around 195% in September for Ripple’s XRP. A few developments are worth recapping. Fintech heavyweight in Japan, SBI Holdings, announced their plans to launch a Ripple-powered mobile payment application known as MoneyTap. Elsewhere, London-based firm TransferGo announced they are using Ripple’s blockchain. This will be to facilitate digital currency transfer from Europe to India.

Furthermore, the litigation between R3 and Ripple Lab announced that they have reached a settlement of all outstanding litigation between the parties.  To top all the above, there was huge anticipation ahead of the xRapid product launch. This is now live, available for commercial use, allowing both individuals and businesses to access instant liquidity and low fees, using Ripple’s XRP. This trumps the traditional process of a 2-3 day wait. A sense of buy on the rumor sell on the fact was definitely observed here.

Technical Review

XRP/USD is on its journey south, looking to completely give back September’s run higher. Starting off with resistance, as can be seen the price upside has been capped at $0.6000. There hasn’t been enough momentum since the exhausted rally, to clear this chunky supply cap. Firm rejections have been observed at the mentioned resistance block since the bull run. If life kicks back into the bulls, they will need to comfortably settle around $0.7500, before then conquering $0.8000. Ripple’ XRP is still a long way away from of reclaiming the big psychological $1.00, with much supply even seen within the early to mid $0.9000 region.

XRP/USD 4-hour chart

Given current downside momentum, near-term support is now eyed from a range of $0.4550-0.4350. This is a demand zone, having proven to be the case during the fall on 25th September. The price managed to receive a bid within this area, moving back towards the $0.6000 resistance, before again faltering. Should the demand zone fail to hold, there will likely be a very fast move, back down to 0.2700-0.2500 area. XRP/USD had been within consolidation mode, for much of September, it was floating around this territory.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 32 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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