Exchange Invest Weekend 2892: Brutish Brits?

Patrick L Young
10 min readFeb 17, 2024

Lunar telescopes. Albion’s “Et Tu Brut” moment? Supply chain strain. National security vs free trade. Massive passives revisited…

Exchange Invest is a unique information resource combining the day’s stories in a newsletter for investors in exchanges/financial markets infrastructure.

Exchange Invest was founded by former exchange CEO and author of the first bestselling book of fintech (“Capital Market Revolution!” FT 1999) Patrick L Young. Monday through Friday our daily paid subscriber email discusses the business of bourses of all kinds across the world.

On this day in 1969, Russia and Peru signed their first trade accord.

IN BIGWORLD

From Exchange Invest 2891: Friday, February 16th:

The excellent Rijock blog devoted to AML/KYC and financial fraud (Kenneth Rijock’s Financial Crime Blog) recently highlighted a report by the International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) at the Basel Institute of Governance which assessed the world’s money laundering risks. The table below gives the 10 African nations with the highest money laundering risks:

In case you’re wondering which are the leading nations not in Africa: Haiti is first on 8.25, Myanmar third on 8.13, Venezuela 9th (7.63) and Laos 10th (7.44) (Public Ranking — Basel AML Index).

IPO-VID LIVESTREAM

NEXT WEEK TUESDAY: Season 23: Episode 01

IPO-VID Livestream 133

Guest: Tiaan Bazuin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7iBKbEsx88

Tuesday, February 20th: 1700 UK, 1800 CET, 1200 EST

“Unlocking Namibian Growth”

Tiaan Bazuin is an entrepreneurial qualified lawyer who has been CEO of the Namibian Stock Exchange since 2013 and MD of the Central Securities Depository (Pty) Ltd, and MD of Birdsong Properties (Pty) Ltd, a real estate developer company situated outside of Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. Tiaan is chairman of the CoSSE Legal Sub-committee and serves on the Board of Trustees of NMC (Namibia Medical Care).

Previously Tiaan was the Chief Legal Officer and Company Secretary of LEO, a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom.

Watch the stream on:

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LinkedIn

YouTube

NOW ONLINE: Season 22: Episode 06

IPO-VID Livestream 132

Guest: Rafael Plata

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVQFvZAtO7w

Tuesday, February 13th: 1700 UK, 1800 CET, 1200 EST

“Clearing Europe — with Rafael Plata”

Rafael is the Secretary General of the European Association of CCP Clearing Houses (EACH), the trade body that represents European CCPs. A seasoned professional of capital markets industry for over 20 years, he has in the past represented the interests of regulated market at FESE, contributed to EU policy-making at an MEP office at the EuroParl and advised pension funds as an investment consultant.

He is a member of the ESMA Consultative Working Group for CCP Policy and the ECB’s Market Infrastructures Consultative Group (AMI SeCO). Rafael also acts as an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Securities Operations & Custody and Member of the Board and Chair of Leadership Circle at the European Society for Association Executives. He has lectured on CCP Clearing at the Solvay School of Economics and Management.

Watch the stream on:

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IPO-VID LIVESTREAM PODCAST

https://open.spotify.com/show/7B5wlGWZI6QiaAOsV6kZim

In the IPO-VID podcast episode #129, Patrick L Young was joined by an accomplished executive in Australian equities, an established global innovator, and a widely recognized transformative leader in the financial industry.

Make sure to tune in to this interesting and thought-provoking episode with John Fildes.

Now available from multiple different podcast sources:

EI Website Spotify Google Podcasts Apple Podcast

EI WEEKLY PODCAST

https://www.exchangeinvest.com/podcast/

EU Suicide Move

TMX Goes For Box 2.0?

As DB1 Cries Subsidise Me

There’s A Terrific Trio Of Results At The Top Of Young’s Pyramid

The Exchange Invest Weekly Podcast 232

https://www.nasdaq.com/?utm_source=https%3A%2F%2Fexchangeinvest.com%2F
https://www.bmlltech.com/?ref=exchange-invest.ghost.io
https://www.sinara.com/?exchangeinvest

VICTORY OR DEATH

https://www.amazon.com/Victory-Death-Blockchain-Cryptocurrency-FinTech/dp/8362627050?&_encoding=UTF8&tag=plybooksamzn2-20

20 years on from the first fintech bestseller “Capital Market Revolution!”… “Victory Or Death” is a must-read book for anyone interested in the intersection of Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and FinTech as part of the whole future of finance.

Available worldwide

*Paid link, as an Amazon Associate, Exchange Invest earns from qualifying purchases.

FINANCE BOOK OF THE WEEK

In response to reader’s queries, we have added a book of the week column to the EI weekend edition — interesting books pertaining to exchanges and markets, investment et al.

— Anybody can sign up for EI Weekend for free at ExchangeInvest.com.

This week’s book was written by Frank Partnoy.

https://www.amazon.com/Victory-Death-Blockchain-Cryptocurrency-FinTech/dp/8362627050?&_encoding=UTF8&tag=plybooksamzn2-20 (paid link)

Fiasco: The Inside Story of a Wall Street Trader was a groundbreaking book at the time and remains a shocking story of one man’s education in the jungles of Wall Street. Frank Partnoy behind-the-scenes look at the trading floor of one of the world’s top investment firms recounts the macho attitudes and fiercely competitive ploys of his office mates.

Get the book here.

*Paid link, as an Amazon Associate, Exchange Invest earns from qualifying purchases.

Suggestions welcome if you would like to nominate a book for us to cover!

Our next Book of the week will be unveiled Saturday in the EI Weekend Edition.

& don’t forget if you want all the news on the bourse business sent daily to your Inbox subscribe to Exchange Invest — via Exchange Invest.com — it’s only $375 per annum to join “The Exchange of Information.”

BITCARNAGE

Bakkt Up

https://medium.com/r/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fbitcarnage.substack.com%2F

One of the crypto “brave new world” plays, Bakkt, was brought to life then spun off onto NYSE by ICE, the InterContinental Exchange Group which has been consistently the best run exchange business since the beginning of the century.

This Bakkt announcement contrasted with the news that ICE itself had just produced its 18th year of record profits with a fabulous presentation by its crack management team. The chasm between “oops we’re out of cash” Bakkt (unBakkt?) and the magnificently profitable ICE leviathan only served to demonstrate the void between entrepreneurial dynamism and the blobby corporatist structure which Bakkt has become. Born in huge optimism, with a magnificent CEO (later Senator) Kelly Loeffler, I was convinced ICE had a magnificent opportunity. Where exchanges are fabulously cheap to transact (well not crypto ones, I mean legacy markets but there’s another curious tale we have discussed before and will doubtless address again…), the simple truth is moving money is expensive, clunky, horrible, risky and uncertain for all parties.

Into the void, I thought Bakkt could revolutionise the market. Instead, the whole thing seems to have become becalmed and ‘blobified.’ Bakkt management appears at best careerist and is certainly not entrepreneurial (the worry always remains the core of ICE could turn that way of course but…so far…looking good). The Bakkt ethos seems to have gone from revolutionary workflow to just a lot of workflow in the bro culture where nothing much happens as the money burns. Now there’s a big hole ahead and the money is running out due to frankly, dismal strategy, dumb product and all round failure — presumably the Bakkt management came from the Ivy League like FTX.

This I find fundamentally depressing for several reasons. For one thing, the whole idea of Bakkt was to take crypto and build a way to move money between customers and merchants and make a “win win” for everybody. It was demonstrating the benefits of crypto, improving business and making a better world. In other words — the antithesis of, say, Bitcoin ETFs born of arbitrage for managers and actually usurping the core of the blockchain to hopefully get mug punters to hold pixels alongside their QQQs, SPDRs et al. In other words, Bakkt started as a positive vision for change and is now just another Z-grade distributed money burning bourgeois salary machine doing ‘me too’ product …and not even delivering what it seems.

Let’s face it banking charges fees (see my book “Victory or Death” for instance) ranking in the exosphere for what can be a micropayment world and when it comes to payment fees… charge / credit card companies have a cushy oligopoly that hovers somewhat insouciantly in the HUNDREDS of basis points. ICE just announced spectacular profits and their exchanges charge a fraction of a basis point for every transaction…

The door is open to revolutionise money flow from simply countless angles and a backer like ICE ought to have enabled it but somehow the Bakkt management post-Kelly looked more institutionalised than revolutionary. They have that aura of being the genre who moon at pictures in their cubicles of VPs of Mastercard in the hope of landing some vague fintech VP function as their next job. The simple truth is people who are devoted to the ICE machine don’t think about another job outside the ICE empire… People at Bakkt don’t seem to have that hunger or dedication to deliver, let alone change the world one customer at a time.

Moreover, it’s the egregious money waste which actually really really annoys me. I know, I know, crypto has often been a crazy money pit but with $10 million we can make a serious impact on the future of finance — and I mean a SERIOUSLY significant impact on the future of finance. Whereas here’s Bakkt wanting to keep the coffee machine on and generally trundle forth in a fairly ill-defined fashion without actually seeing the possibility of their opportunity. So Bakkt is seeking another $150 million to pursue crypto custody and trading services — AKA the same thing dozens of others are pursuing and almost none of them will ever make any money. Perhaps unsurprisingly as I share my frustration at this hugely wasted opportunity which is now the moribund Bakkt: #HaveBaseballBat&WillTravelCanRestructure is my hashtag for the day… (Anyway, another few lines for today and I can get back to raising $10 million to try to deliver serious shareholder & market value for the future).

The sad decline of Bakkt is also a tale of the weird world of crypto where everybody is so revolutionary but they all behave so corporate and in between going anywhere to party, all want to be seen at Davos — decentralisation of corporate socialism, anybody? #Weird.

Of course, one key reason why custody and trading services don’t really do a lot for me is that crypto is still a den of iniquity and that’s not floating the boat of major institutions… In any case, either Bakkt needs a mega restructure or it’s going to be RIP for another $150 million is only going to prolong the lifestyles of its blob, not change the world in any meaningful way without a management revolution.

Then there’s the shock/non-shock sting in the tail with Manila being remarkably pragmatic and progressive, their CBDC might just not use DLT: Philippines May Introduce Non-Blockchain CBDC In The Next Two Years (Cointelegraph). And thus I suspect a lot of pragmatism will see digital assets on ledgers but not distributed ones as time / cost pressures weigh on developers.

PS: As we noted in yesterday’s Exchange Invest daily, Bakkt has now received approval for its shelf offering to raise the $150 million it needs to maintain its spendthrift ways. With the share price barely above a buck on the news, delisting is clearly a risk and at the same time it is really difficult to see how the firm delivers value even at this vast discount to its 2021 IPO valuation of $42.

If you enjoyed this excerpt you may be interested to know that you can read Bitcarnage every day in Exchange Invest.

Alternatively, if you want to follow Bitcarnage — the daily update on happenings in the world of crypto and digital assets, then you can find Bitcarnage as a standalone on Substack.

MACRO THOUGHTS

Visualizing 60 Years Of Stock Market Cycles
Visual Capitalist

OF INTEREST

As always, a review of interesting reading to provoke thoughts and consideration… Not sure we agree with much of it….but it’s thought-provoking!

Free Trade VS National Security: Insights From Adam Smith
Institute of Economic Affairs

Supply Chains Are Breaking, They’ll Rebuild Stronger
Deccan Herald

Building Telescopes On The Moon Could Transform Astronomy — And It’s Becoming An Achievable Goal
Singularity Hub

Weight Of US Passive Money Seen As Magnet For Listings
FT

PLY: The dinner party convo killer, especially if you are in London where there’s always a series of varying opinions from the clueless to the more clued up but the reality is, the US has the wall of money and nobody has that elsewhere in the west. Now, of course, as James Fok would eagerly like to remind us from his excellent book “Financial Cold War,” the Chinese could assemble the great wall of money…

How The English Invented Champagne
The Spectator

PLY: Brut-al controversy?

LAST WORD

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You can also check out the “Reflections From Young’s Pyramid”, it illustrates the relative value of exchanges around the world.

Or the “ICE Cost of Borrowing 2020–2022” An Interest Rate Comparison, which illustrates the end of the funny money era of QE and how interest rates have already had a major lurch up from their previous region of zero to, even negative, levels.

At the least can you like this article, or leave us a comment, we welcome your feedback.

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The future continues in the water cooler of the bourse business…

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Patrick L Young

Entrepreneur, Investor, Author. #Exchanges #Fintech #Startups #Motorsport Emerging Markets. CoFounder @Exchange_Invest @HanzaTrade @MissionToRun @YMarkets