China — The Pinnacle Of Subtlety

President-for-Life Xi Jinping issued a clear warning about the state of affairs in Hong Kong while being the first Chinese President to visit India in more than two decades.

The fact that he made these comments while on such a monumental foreign visit adds emphasis to their content.

In a statement at a press availability that incorporates all the subtlety of professional wrestling, Pres Xi said that any attempts to divide China will end in “crushed bodies and shattered bones.”

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Smile Direct Club — No Smiling Allowed

Comes now the curious story of Smile Direct Club — the worst Initial Public Offering of 2019.

IPO prices at $23 and rests comfortably this morning at a bit above $9. Ouch. We are talking a huge loss of value, down 60%.

Here are the Smile Direct Club founders, Jordan Katzman and Alex Fenkel. Does it strike you as odd that neither of these co-founders are smiling? Seems a little creepy as if they are doing it on purpose.

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Crypto — We’re From The IRS And We’re Here To Help

Just when you thought the government of the United States of America had forgotten about you, the Internal Revenue Service sends you a love letter telling you how the cow shall consume the cabbage as it relates to taxes on the use of cryptocurrency.

They had previously opined on the subject last back in 2014 with IRS Notice 2014-21. Five long years and, finally, our pals from the IRS are back with an additional dose of wisdom.

I know what you’re saying, “Wow, this is really going to be great. Oh boy!”

[Pro tip: Hold onto that enthusiasm and, maybe, redeploy it at some future date.]

The guidance (on the specific issue of forks and airdrops) has come in the form of Revenue Ruling 2019-24 which you can find right here.

IRS Revenue Ruling 2019-24 (rr-19-2)

The real assistance is in the form of a series of Frequently Asked Questions on Virtual Currency Transactions.  You can find that gem of wisdom right here.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Several years ago, I was at a funeral with a friend with whom I had served in the Army a million years ago. We had all been lieutenants — me, my friend, and the decedent — full of piss and vinegar, deployed overseas, sure of ourselves, though no logical reason why.

I had gotten a company command before the other two, but they would also get companies. Being a combat engineer company commander is as close to being a feudal Chinese warlord as a man can get in this life.

This was me at that time, just before I got the company. I was inspecting a road we were blasting onto the top of a mountain. That’s North Korea in the background.

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Agritech — The Technology We Don’t See

In the world of technology, there is a lot of technology we see, because we come into constant contact with it, because it impacts all of us. One we don’t see much about is agritech.

Cell phones is a good example of such a field of technology. Every time Apple bakes a little more tech into their offerings, you see it, and you either embrace or reject it, but you don’t fail to see it.

There is a great amount of technology that we do not bump into on a regular basis and yet it is being developed at lightning speed.

One of those areas is in what is called “agritech.”

Last year more than $16.9B was invested in agritech startups, a 43% increase from 2017.

Can you name a single agritech startup? Have you felt a single shock wave of the agritech explosion?

I have not and I am particularly woke to tech. [Haha, no I’m not.]

Let me tell you of a couple of interesting new developments.

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Founding Fathers – China v The United States

The other day China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the “modern” China meaning Communist China.

That made me think about the founding father of China — Mao Zedong.

It also made me think about the founding fathers of the United States. First amongst them was this guy:

Both of these guys were citizen-soldiers who had a hook into agriculture. Our two nations have a different character which I attribute to the difference in our founding stories and our founding fathers.

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Libra Foundation Crack Update

On Friday afternoon, four additional cracks appeared in the Libra Foundation when Visa, MasterCard, eBay, and Stripe joined the earlier refugee from Libra, PayPal, and announced they were going to take a pass on joining and funding the Libra Foundation, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

What was odd was the revelation that Libra had been taking a lot of incoming from governments — United States, Germany, France — including a letter from Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hi).

They had written directly to Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe discouraging their participation as well as warning of a “high level of scrutiny from regulators not only on Libra-related payment activities, but on all payment activities.”

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