The Rise of Space Dollar And The End of Crypto
Some tradable insights in the coming collapse of crypto
Well, is cryptocurrency a Chinese attack on the U.S. dollar? And if it is, how should we treat those who promote it? Are they aiding and abetting an attack on us?
Don’t ask me. Ask Peter Thiel who in April 2021 posited that very same initial question to a room full of national security types at the Nixon Library.
A year later Thiel was spotted encouraging everyone to buy bitcoin in perhaps one of his more manic speeches.
What on earth is going on here?
Those carefully watching will note that Thiel favored dollar hegemony. Note how Thiel’s initial vision of the world once involved the U.S. dollar being dominant. We’ll return to that in a moment because it’s important.
We now know that Thiel sold out of his Bitcoin position right before the crash.
How shall we think about all this?
I thought I might describe a little how and why we’re at the beginnings of a real change in how money moves across the world. This change has been brought about by technology and shifting macroeconomics which threatens to unwind the Chinese-American quiet alliance.
But far from being an end to the U.S. dollar, I believe we are entering a new dominance for the U.S. dollar. Brought about American dominance of space, we are now entering the period of the space dollar.
Those dollars will be beamed down from space thanks to the massive satellite infrastructure we’ve built to win the Ukraine war. The CHIPS Act will build a kind of high end chip that attracts the world’s best technologies, or highest uses for chips. Think of an American software chip being a premium software chip. That’s certainly how our allies will think about it whether they want to or not.
In a way, you think of the CHIPS Act redomesticating American know how. The WASP geniuses who put the silicon in Silicon Valley are no doubt smiling upon us.
Or, if you want to go woo woo on it. We sky people will use the “Eye of Providence” and our dominance of space and the sea to monitor and intercept organized crime and arrest corrupt dictators. We are moving from the world’s policeman to the world’s prosecutor.
But if necessary, we will turn off your ships if you’re illegal fishing. We will spy on your illegal mining or slave labor camps—and we will ban their products from our markets. We will bring you to justice and the world will clamor to hold our currency because you have no alternative.
And, if necessary and if you persist in destabilizing parts of Africa or Latin America, we will kill you from space with our American space lasers which can already disable your vehicles.
— Umbra (@umbraspace) March 21, 2023
If you go and look at a dollar bill you’ll notice this “Eye of Providence.” It pops over and over again throughout history.
We don’t have a choice really. The number of failed states in the world — which has been steadily been growing — will be rolled back — starting with Ukraine. With our satellites and our hacking infrastructure, we will be able to see everything you’re doing. Our past approaches utterly failed.
We all sit and wonder: what happens if Mexico fails?
If it’s true that the United States and China are breaking up we’re going to see one of the more interesting transformations in our economy—and we’re going to see it fast.
This is what breaking up with China really looks like. pic.twitter.com/KWw8zqggGJ
— Charles Johnson's Thoughts & Adventures (@JohnsonThought1) March 27, 2023
We’ve been here before. I’ve written elsewhere about how you need to understand the fall of the Berlin Wall as a kind of fascinating period where information, goods, and especially people flowed perhaps a little too freely.
In much the same way that PayPal was a means of moving money all around the world after the Cold War, so, too, was crypto. Taken seriously, crypto has served as a kind of money laundering/criminal index. When it booms the criminal underworld is moving money.
But I want to share what it was like to experience this change as a kid.
My late grandfather, Colonel Carl Lundquist, was the first person I knew who had PayPal.
He used PayPal mostly to buy and sell coins. He’d take me to his coin club meetings and we’d discuss money, what it is, how it works, and how it doesn’t. He’d show me the coins he wished he could add to his collection. Most were out of reach. He blew them up and put one of them on the wall.
But mostly I’d just hover over him while he perused listings on eBay. I’d pepper him with questions. He’d sign all of his emails or correspondence LTC Carl W. Lundquist and he had a cartoon by his desk where one dog says to another, “Nobody knows you’re a dog on the Internet” — or apparently a septuagenarian. “But won’t these people cheat you grandpa?” “Not if they know what’s good for them!” My grandfather explained to me that trust is earned over time and from trust, you get a reputation.
Money is the greatest psyop. So is trust. The world trusts America.
In a weird way, I got interested in bitcoin because of my grandfather. I’d thought a lot about how money works because I didn’t really have it. My not having it contributed to my obsession with it. Now I have it and realize how little it can buy.
The banking crisis in 2007-2008 had turned me radical. It coincided with my applying to colleges and I was told that all the waitlists I was on would only take me off if I could pay full freight. I couldn’t and that was that.
My mother had cancer at the time and my father’s business wasn’t doing so well so I did what so many people did — I applied for financial aid. My family was too white and too middle class to qualify. The rejection and powerlessness that came from that has never quite left me. My disgust at the banking sector left me enraged.
I couldn’t have known it at the time but my own investing career would ultimately intersect with the PayPal mafia. Ever the classy guy, one of the last things my grandfather ever said to me was to thank the PayPal guys for all the good times he had had buying coins.
Over the years I’ve met a number of Navy SEALs and U.S. Marines.
A few of them have become friends. One of my best friends used to carry sacks of cash around Iraq, essentially bribing chieftains not to kill one another.
The chieftains were supposed to spend that money on their people but we all know that much of that money ended up bank accounts in the Middle East. From there it went around the world.
It didn’t need to happen this way but it did.
PayPal started with the idea of being able to “beam” one another money. (When David Sacks took over it really became about money laundering.) But it started with beaming money to one another. A press release from the time puts it thusly.
PayPal.com introduced James Doohan — widely known for his role as “Scotty” on Star Trek™ — as the company’s official spokesman. “I’ve been beaming people up my whole career,” Doohan quipped, “but this is the first time I’ve ever been able to beam money!”
The beam dream went away but it has newly returned, thanks to America’s satellite dominance.
Ironically the very same Ukraine War that David Sacks and many of the PayPal mafia support has built the infrastructure that makes beaming money possible.
It’s now possible to give every single person on the planet a card with a chip in it — and to send money directly to that card. If the money moves out of a geographic area the cards can be turned off.
For most of us, this isn’t that big a deal but for those of us who live in the margins it’s a very big deal indeed — in East Timor, in parts of Africa, and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean — it’s essential.
This is the rise of the space dollar.
If this really is the future why do so many of the players in it seemingly obsess about luxury real estate?
Because they are experts at moving money, not investing.
Marc Andreessen tells everyone that it’s time to build while luxury real estate with his crypto gains. A16z Alex Rampell had asked for my help with the Treasury Department for his fintech platforms.
Jack Dorsey also wanted to know how Square, now Block, could get access to PPP money too. None of this has gone particularly well with Hiddenburg Research accusing Dorsey’s company of fraud.
You’re not supposed to notice that Dorsey bought Tidal for $297 million and to wonder what that was all about. You’re not supposed to ask if Dorsey was moving money from organized crime to pay off Jay-Z.
No, the space dollar can’t come soon enough.