Crypto Bank Silvergate Asked by US Senators to Explain FTX Ties (Where Were The Regulators??)

Always behind the curve, US Senators (Warren, Marshall, Kennedy) want to get to the bottom of Silvergate’s decline and its relationship with Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX. This reminds me of the 2008 financial crisis when The Federal Reserve claimed they never saw it coming. Despite the data.

But back to crypto bank Silvergate.

Crypto bank Silvergate Capital Corp. was asked by three US Senators to release all records about transfers of funds for the collapsed FTX empire of Sam Bankman-Fried. 

“Your bank’s involvement in the transfer of FTX customer funds to Alameda reveals what appears to be an egregious failure of your bank’s responsibility to monitor for and report suspicious financial activity carried out by its clients,” Senators Elizabeth Warren, Roger Marshall and John Kennedy wrote in a letter released Tuesday. “The public is owed a full accounting of the financial activities that may have led to the loss of billions in customer assets, and any role that Silvergate may have played in these losses.”

Shares of the La Jolla, California-based bank fell as much as 8%. The slide extends Silvergate’s losses on the year to more than 84% and has it trading at a fresh 52-week low. Not surprisingly, Silvergates’ stock price is closely linked to cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

The letter cite concerns about the banking services that Silvergate provided to both FTX as well as Bankman-Fried’s trading firm, Alameda Research. It says the arrangement between FTX and Alameda depended on Silvergate’s depository services and puts the bank “at the center of the improper transmission of FTX customer funds.”

“Silvergate’s failure to take adequate notice of this scheme suggests that it may have failed to implement or maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, as required under the Bank Secrecy Act,” the Senators said.

Perhaps Silvergate should be renamed Silverfish. But seriously, no US Senator or DC regulator saw the following chart?? Bitcoin and other cryptos have been clobbered in 2022 as The Fed tightens monetary policy to combat inflation.

Here is our regulator, SEC’s Gary Genslar, keeping an eye on cryto exchanges like FTX.

Maybe US Senators and DC regulators thought Silvergate is a silverfish.

104 Days Later! US 10Y-2Y Yield Curve Remains Inverted For 104 Staight Days, Mortgage Rate Falls As Fed Tightens (Ethereum Rises > 4%)

Yes, The US Treasury 10Y-2Y yield curve remains inverted, for the 104th straight day. And Bankrate’s 30-year mortgage rate has dropped -57 basis points since November 3, 2022.

This comes after a gruesome Pending Home Sales and mortgage applications reports today.

At least Ethereum is up over 4% today!

FTX Chief Hunts for Crypto, Calls Controls ‘a Complete Failure’ (Cryptos Getting Creamed As Fed Tightens) Didn’t SBF See That Coming??

As I have said before, Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX exemplifies loose Fed monetary policy and its unintended consequences: shoddy investment practices by both sides and ridiculous claims that are unverified.

Like Sam Bankman-Fried tweeting that FTX and his team were held as paragons of running an effective company.


I am sure that SBF’s attorneys (like his parents) are telling Spam to stop tweeting ridiculous defenses. As in its all the fault of crypto volatility. We now know that at best SBF had a total lack of corporate controls and thought risk management was the Hasbro board game. And SBF while virtue signaling failed to mention his twisted relationship to Ukraine funding.

(Bloomberg) — Advisers now overseeing the carcass of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX Group are struggling to locate the company’s cash and crypto after finding poor internal controls and record keeping at the now-bankrupt company.

“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information,” John J. Ray III, the group’s new chief executive officer who formerly oversaw the liquidation of Enron Corp., said in a sworn declaration submitted in bankruptcy court. 

“From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented,” he added.

Advisers have located “only a fraction” of the digital assets of the FTX Group that they hope to recover during the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Ray said. They’ve so far secured about $740 million of cryptocurrency in offline cold wallets, a storage method designed to prevent hacks. 

The company’s audited financial statements should not be trusted, Ray said. Advisers are working to rebuild balance sheets for FTX entities from the bottom up, he said.
 

FTX “did not maintain centralized control of its cash” and failed to keep an accurate list of bank accounts and account signatories, or pay sufficient attention to the creditworthiness of banking partners, according to Ray. Advisers don’t yet know how much cash FTX Group had when it filed for bankruptcy, but has found about $560 million attributable to various FTX entities so far. 

Although restructuring advisers have been in control of FTX for less than a week, they’ve seen enough to depict the crypto company as a deeply flawed enterprise. Lasting records of decision making are hard to come by: Bankman-Fried often communicated through applications that auto-deleted in short order and asked employees to do the same, according to Ray. 

Well, this story keeps getting worse and worse and makes Sam The Sham look like a common criminal rather than a Democrat Saint.

Didn’t SBF’s chief economist show this chart to him and his Alameda team? The one where crytpos soars at The Fed and Federal government go wild on stimulus, then back-off? As The Fed tightens, cryptos are getting crushed.

At least Bitcoin rallied a bit today to $16,564.21, but other cryptos are down … again. Litecoin is actually up 4.57% while Solana is down -4.35%.

SBF, like Janet Yellen, will claim he didn’t see it coming.

The Thrill Is Gone … From Cryptos? Bitcoin Resumes Downward Trend As Fed Tightens To Fight Inflation

The Thrill Is Gone … from cryptocurrencies.

The cryptocurrency market is getting hammered thanks mostly to two things: 1) Sam Bankman-Fried’s horrid failure with FTX (fraud, Enron, front-running, stupid investors, Democrat-Ukraine connection) and 2) Fed tightening to combat high inflation.

Bitcoin, the Mac Daddy of cryptos, is down another 2% today.

The rest of the story.

The NEW face of the US Federal government and why they will sweep the Bankman-Fried fiasco under the rug, just like Hunter Biden’s laptop fiasco.

Larry Summers Says FTX Meltdown Has ‘Whiffs’ of Enron-Like Scandal (Or Solyndra, A Democrat Boondoggle) Bitcoin Falls Another -6%

Former Obama economist and Harvard University President Lawrence Summers says that the FTX meltdown whiffs on an Enron-like scandal.

“A lot of people have compared this to Lehman. I would compare it to Enron,” Summers told Bloomberg Television’s “Wall Street Week” with David Westin. “The smartest guys in the room. Not just financial error but — certainly from the reports — whiffs of fraud. Stadium namings very early in a company’s history. Vast explosion of wealth that nobody quite understands where it comes from.”

Lehman, Enron? How about Solyndra, one of the biggest political boondoggles in US history.

About two years after the Obama administration co-signed $535 million loans to Solyndra, the company filed for bankruptcy on September 1, 2011. A 2015 report from the Department of Energy found major flaws in Solyndra’s business practices and claimed the company made “inaccurate and misleading” statements to obtain the loan guarantees, and also found fault with Department of Energy oversight.

Which brings us to FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried (the son of Stanford law professor Barbara Fried and co-founder of the political fundraising organization Mind the Gap, which advocates for progressive political candidates and funds get-out-the-vote groups). Sam Bankman-Fried was a big Biden donor. What are the odds that The Federal government will impartially investigate SBF and the FTX fiasco? ZERO!

Why did FTX run into trouble?

FTX has a native cryptocurrency token called FTT, which traders use for operations like paying transaction fees. Last year, Mr. Zhao sold his stake in FTX back to Mr. Bankman-Fried, who paid for it partially with FTT tokens.

On Nov. 2, the crypto publication CoinDesk reported on a leaked document that appeared to show that Alameda Research, a hedge fund run by Mr. Bankman-Fried, held an unusually large amount of FTT tokens. FTX and Alameda are meant to be separate businesses, but the report claimed that they had close financial ties.

Binance announced on Nov. 6 that it would sell its FTT tokens “due to recent revelations.” In response, FTT’s price plummeted and traders rushed to pull out of FTX, fearful that it would be yet another fallen crypto company.

FTX scrambled to process requests for withdrawals, which amounted to an estimated $6 billion over three days. It seemed to enter a liquidity crunch, meaning it lacked the money to fulfill requests.

How did Binance intervene?

On Tuesday, Binance said it had reached an agreement to bail out FTX by buying the company. But, Mr. Zhao added in the announcement, “Binance has the discretion to pull out from the deal at any time.”

In a concurrent announcement, Mr. Bankman-Fried said the deal would protect customers and allow FTX to finish processing their withdrawals. He attempted to dispel rumors of conflict between FTX and Binance, adding, “we are in the best of hands.”

His last quote made me laugh.

Bitcoin plunged another -6% today as gold (gold line) and the S&P 500 (yellow line) rose. Moral to the story? Nothing has been the same since The Fed started tightening.

All cryptos are down today (except Litecoin). The three biggest, Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance Coin are all down over 5%.

Why does Sam Bankman-Fried remind me of the late John Belushi?

Here is Sam Bankman-Fried defending his actions to his law professor Mom.

M2 Money Growth Slows Further As Assets (Bitcoin, Home Prices) Fall With Slower Growth (Biden Helps Drive College Tuition Even Higher With Student Loan Forgiveness)

Biden is the opposite of the miserly Scrooge McDuck. He gives billions to Ukraine and spends trillions on various Federal projects without batting an eye as to how and who is going to pay for all the spending. And Biden’s latest election pandering is no different.

Speaker Pelosi claims that Biden’s bold action on student loan forgiveness is a strong step in Democrats’ fight to … make college even MORE expensive and lead to colleges hiring even MORE administrators (aka, apparatchiks) making colleges even MORE bogged-down in red tape.

And Speaker Pelosi, the costs of Biden’s midterm election buy of votes is estimated to be $300 BILLION. And a report from the Brookings Institution observed that one-third of student debt is owed by the wealthiest 20% of households, while only 8% is owned by the bottom 20%.

So, Biden is letting AOC write-off $10k of her student loan obligation. Bear in mind that the $10k forgiveness is taxed by The Federal government as income.

It looks like The Fed will have to expand the M2 Money supply to pay for “Billions Biden’s” spending spree.

I wish Biden, Pelosi and Schumer were more like Dwight Schrute from Dunder-Mifflin.

Don’t Panic! NASDAQ Plunges 5% As 10Y T-Note Yield Rises +16.1 BPS (NASDAQ Simply Back To Before Fed Announcement, But Treasury Rates Higher)

The headline screamed “NASDAQ PLUNGES 5%!

True, it did, but it simply lost the gain’s from yesterday’s surprisingly mild Fed announcement.

But the 10-year Treasury yield is rising faster than my blood pressure. The 10-year Treasury yield is up to 3.09%.

Cryptos? Bitcoin is down -7.27% and Dash is down -8.23%.

Watch out mortgage rates!!

Don’t panic … about the NASDAQ. EVERYBODY PANIC about rising mortgage rates.

GameStop: Rage Against The (Financial) Machine? Or Bidenflation? (Meme Stocks, Gold And Cryptos)

2021 has been a very weird year. Inflation has boomed (highest in 40 years) after the election of Joe Biden as President of the USA (call it Bidenflation). Then we have The Federal Reserve barely acting on the booming inflation (keeping rates at 25 basis points while withdrawing the COVID-related monetary stimulus).

Then we have the rise of cryptocurrency Ethereum and the surge meme stocks such game store GameStop, a favorite of the internet site Reddit.

Given the volatility of GameStop (Reddit-inspired), you can see the strange shape of GameStop’s volatility surface.

By contrast, gold is now where it was was at the beginning of 2021 and the surge of Bidenflation.

Here is volatility surface for gold.

So, there are a number of meme stocks (GameStop is just one example), gold, silver, cryptos such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. But gold seems to be placid with respect to inflation, but the meme stocks and cryptos seem to be motoring. Or is it rage against the financial machine? Or rage against Bidenflation??

The US stock and bond markets are closed today and tomorrow, Christmas day.

Have a Merry Christmas! And celebrate the “Santa Pause” as Powell refuses to raise rates to combat inflation until 2022.

Bitcoin Surges To $62,314.75 On SEC Approval Of Bitcoin Futures ETF

SEC approves first Bitcoin Future ETF, opening crypto to wider investor base. First product will track bitcoin futures, rather than price of bitcoin directly. SEC Chair Gensler indicated he believes futures-based products might provide stronger protections.

The reaction? Bitcoin surges to $62,314.75!

Coming next week!

SEC Chief Gary Gensler (or is this Zen Gesner from “Something About Mary”?)

Eurodollar Futures Volume Surge Anticipates Fed Taper Signal (Are You Ready For Feddy?)

The next Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting is next week with an announcement on Wednesday, September 22nd.

(Bloomberg) — Volume in the December 2024 eurodollar futures contract has surged Friday, approaching 200k, highest in the strip. Weekly volume exceeds 800k ahead of next week’s FOMC meeting. The December 2024 contract is a proxy for the Fed’s taper timeline, similar to the belly of the Treasuries curve (aka, the belly of the beast).

As of 2:30pm ET, nearly 197k Dec24 eurodollar contracts had traded, bringing weekly total to 816k, third most in its lifetime; notable flows on the day have included three block trades for 5k each:

The contract also appeared in curve trades including 9.3k Sep24/Dec24 3-month, 18.9k Dec23/Dec24 12-month and 24.8k Dec22/Dec24 24-month

The Dec22/Dec24 eurodollar spread has been in the spotlight since Morgan Stanley recommended the steepener in June as a way to exploit the disconnect between expectations for the pace and timing of Fed rate increases

As of today, we see a kink in the US Dollar Swaps curve at 21m.

With inflation the highest since 2008, and M2 Money still growing at 12.1% YoY, it is time for The Fed to take it foot off the accelerator pedal.

The Fed’s Dots Plot as of the last FOMC meeting indicates a willingness to let the Fed Funds Target rate start rising again after over a decade of rate suppression.

Given the fear of The Fed tapering (eventually), is it any wonders alternative investments such as Bitcoin have risen as The Fed cut rates?

Will Fed Chair Jerome Powell and the gang announce a change on September 22nd? Probably need a fortune teller to answer that question.