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When Market Crash Inevitably Comes...Don't Scream "GUH" and Trade Volatility (Part 2 - DD Inside)

When Market Crash Inevitably Comes...Don't Scream
Greetings my fellow clan of delinquent compatriots. I made a post 3 weeks ago regarding how to avoid IV crush during this recent market rally. The link to that can be found here: Don't Scream "GUH", Avoid IV Crush. That trade worked out well, and I am back.
Today, I am back with a follow-up for navigating the road ahead. This post is not about why the market will potentially retest the lows, but rather how to maximize profit and limit downside risk should the move down occur. Just as the vega-neutral post focused on volatility trades, this one explores vol strategies further. I tried to substitute words with pictures for the illiterate inclined.
For solid DD on where the market is going, view u/Variation-Separate or u/scarvesandsuspenders recent posts. I do believe that sitting at either the 50% or potential near term 61.8% retracement will trigger the next leg down, and this post is about how to capitalize on that through volatility.
At best, you will get a trade idea (other than $SPY puts / $SPY straddles). At worst, you will gain some solid understanding of volatility and how it applies to you. My goal in this post is to take a pretty abstract concept and break it down so that we can all become more profitable. Take 5 minutes, read, challenge my strategy, ask questions, and achieve nirvana. Let's begin.
So You Say I Should Trade Volatility, Aye:
Yes. That is exactly what I am saying. While retail traders and WSBers have been yoloing FD on TSLA and SPCE (Jan 2022 calls will print), smart money has been executing the best trade of the past decade. The trade: Short volatility, hedged with volatility insurance. This is done by shorting $VXX (short vol), and purchasing $VIX calls (long vol) on a rolling basis as a hedge. Depending on the time frame of your $VIX calls (weekly, quarterly, monthly), this trade has performed dramatically well.
The strategy is rooted in the belief that volatility will, over time, mean revert and decrease after spikes caused by a "black swan." It is logical - option premiums on the S&P 500 (for which the $VIX tracks) theoretically will never remain permanently inflated as news becomes digested. Take a look at 2008, 2000, etc - the common theme is volatility starts to slowly recede before the lows of the S&P 500 are registered as the catalyst causes an explosion of volatility, and as the market prices in the "black swan," the market naturally performs price discovery causing volatility to come down. That is not to say volatility does not continue to spike during draw-downs in equities - it does, but typically not as dramatically unless the incoming news is categorized as dramatically more significant.
  • u/stonksgodown made a post regarding this phenomenon, but omitted some key factors and made some bold assumptions that I wanted to counter / elaborate on.
Realized Volatility verse Implied Volatility:
Implied volatility for the broader market can be understood through $VIX. IV is forward looking, and gives us an understanding of how much the market is expecting to move over the next 30-day period (this is a simplification, but applies). Realized volatility is actual variance in price movement over a period in time. To compare the two, solve for the realized volatility over the past 30 day period (21 trading days) by taking the standard deviation, adjusted for an annualized reading. I calculated this to get updated data, and the current output is below:
RV / IV 2020
What we can see is that a pretty stark divergence has occurred, with realized vol moving higher than implied vol. This negative spread relationship is counter-intuitive. Think about it. If IV is forward looking, it should be trading at a premium to where RV is currently trading at because we need to account for the uncertainty in the future variance of the markets.
This is not the first time this has happened. It occurred in 2002, in 2008, and in a few periods of high volatility since the GFC.
RV / IV 2008
RV / IV Collection
The important theme is that, over time, the relationship eventually returns to normalcy. That is, overtime either realized vol decreases, implied vol increases, or a combination of the two occurs. This is where our previous author went astray by saying this divergence requires a spike in IV - there are many ways for this imbalance to revert to normalcy.
When RV is below IV, the market is understating the risk of a large loss. When RV is above IV, the market is clearly in distress, and it is overstating the risk of a large loss. Put simply: RV > IV, the market favors option buyers, RV < IV, the market favors option sellers.
This is huge, because it clearly articulates the opportunity cost of purchasing verse selling options. But as I highlighted before, the return to a positive IV / RV spread can occur with a decrease in RV, an increase in IV, or a combination of the two, and the time frame is murky. So, Master Skywalker, what are we going to do?
Let's take a look at the $VIX futures because they can show us what the market is forecasting for expected future movement of $SPX option implied volatility. The term structure for the $VIX futures is showing mad backwardation - that is, the future settlement dates are trading well below the current spot price. In WSB terms, the futures market is implying $VIX will continue to fall over the next 8 months.
$VIX Futures Term Structure
The Volatility Trade, Applied Right Now:
We are presented with 3 potential outcomes:
  • Realized Vol Decreases (requires $VIX to decrease or trade narrowly)
  • Implied Vol Increases
  • A combination of the two over time (most likely outcome)
The issue is - Realized Vol has already happened, so how do we speculate on this? By using a similar concept to a reverse calendar spread. The hypothetical trade:
Short $VIX Futures with Settlement for Sept 2020 - Bet that RV Decreases Over 5 Month Period
  • Or just short $VXX
Long $VIX calls - Bet that IV Increases Over 2 Month Period
Note: I recognize that most of you do not have access to futures or even shorting for that matter, which is why I will also present a solid hybrid hypothetical trade, but hear me out.
What this does: $VIX futures with further settlement dates, while less liquid, are less sensitive to short-term spikes in the $VIX. This trade is a bet that implied volatility through September will be decreasing in aggregate. The $VIX calls with short-term settlement dates are implemented to hedge my short $VIX futures, and capitalize on any potential increase in IV moving forward should we retest the lows in $SPY. This trade let's me bet on a short-term decrease in $SPY (and related spike in $VIX), while hedging with a longer-term bet that volatility will decrease. It is essentially a volatility strangle with different time frames. This requires margin, and excess cash in case of margin call :)
How a Newb With a Robinhood Account Can Do This:
The simple newb approach would be a reverse calendar spread (sell long dated calls, buy short-date calls) on $VXX, but that caps our gains, and we are not here for capped gains. If you are, jump over to investing.
I recognize that RH does not allow $VIX, let alone $VIX futures. So let's reassess the goal of this trade: We expect $SPY to retest the lows, volatility to spike in the short-term, and I want tendies to print because of this. This movement should work toward restoring a positive relationship between RV and IV. But, maybe you, like me, have cautious conviction about this trade given the Fed, US Gov stimulus, and other erroneous factors. So, with the goal of maximizing gains, and limiting losses, we are going to hedge our exposure.
The Hypothetical Hedged Vol Trade:
  • Long $SVXY (inverse volatility ETP) - inverse vol AKA $VIX go down, profit go up - Short Vol Leg
  • Long $VXX calls, $VIX calls , or even $SVXY puts if you really wanted to - Long Vol Leg
    • Can adjust the weightings to amplify exposure to short-term volatility, i.e. for every 100 shares of $SVXY on the short vol leg, purchase 2 option contracts on the long vol leg. Find a combination that satisfies your risk tolerance. Note: $SVXY tracks -0.5x the performance of short-term $VIX futures ($SPVXSP).
  • You can also just do volatility straddles / strangles, but the issue is decreasing vol tends to move very slowly, which is why avoiding theta option decay on the short vol leg is very important.
  • Hedging is for Pussies! If this is you - fear not, you have some options, but if you're wrong, it is really gonna hurt.
  • $SVXY Puts
  • $VXX Calls / $VIX Calls
  • $SPY Puts
  • $SPY straddle / strangle - risk IV crush, narrow trading range, theta decay etc.
  • Note: These are just trade strategies. These are not recommendations, and many combinations of the aforementioned products can be utilized, but be sure to understand what you are investing in.
In this scenario, we are going long $SVXY (short vol) to capture the pullback in RV overtime, and we are long $VXX calls to capture the short-term increase in IV, and to hedge our short vol exposure. What you just did is capture really good upside opportunity while hedging away downside risk, and eliminate the chance of blowing up your account. The reason we are hedging our long vol is because the RV / IV relationship is imbalanced, but that does not mean we are guaranteed higher IV in the short-term.
tl;dr - I expect the market to move in the direction of retesting the lows, but Fed bailout, Fiscal stimulus, and overall complacency could prevent a retest. Thus, instead of trading $SPY, consider trading volatility as the relationship between realized vol and implied vol is fucked up, and will correct itself over time. Because of this, explore going short volatility while hedging with long volatility call options. Long $SVXY, Long $VXX Calls.
As always, discuss, challenge, ask questions and shitpost!
The purpose of this post is to educate people on volatility plays, not recommendations. I will not recommend strikes, expirations, or anything. Use your noodle. This is Not financial advise, just for educational purposes.
  • 🌈🐶
submitted by bigd0g111 to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

BAT – A Wonderful Company at A Wonderful Price (8x PE, 15% dividend yield, 100% ROE)

In 1987, Buffett famously stated, "I'll tell you why I like the cigarette business. It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It's addictive. And there's fantastic brand loyalty."
“The best business to own is one that over an extended period of time can employ large amounts of incremental capital at very high rates of return.” – Warren Buffett
“Invest at the point of maximum pessimism.” – John Templeton
Warren Buffett’s best winners have always been stocks which were bought during times of maximum pessimism. GEICO was bought on the brink of bankruptcy. AMEX was bought during the Salad Oil Scandal. Goldman Sachs was also bought with bankruptcy looming. Wells Fargo was a bank with a largely residential loan book bought during a housing crisis. Coca-Cola was bought at a time of massive overdiversification. And so on and so forth.
It’s not often that one has the opportunity to put into practice the all-encompassing philosophy of buy low, sell high. But even when that opportunity rears its ugly head, it’s the rare investor who has the aptitude and the stomach to back up the truck. Thankfully, these opportunities do exist, but it takes a keen eye to discern the difference between a falling knife and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
British American Tobacco (BAT) Malaysia is one such example. Currently trading at just 8x PE, sporting a 100% ROE, and giving a 15% dividend yield, it’s hard not to salivate a little at the financial statistics. But why is such a high ROI stock – a cigarette company no less – trading at such awfully low valuations?
First, some history. BAT Malaysia is the largest cigarette company in the country, with a roughly 50% legal market share and 12% total industry market share. If you’re observant, you’ll notice that Malaysia’s illegal cigarette market share takes up a whopping 65% share of the pie. This was largely due to the massive excise duty (i.e. sin tax) hike in 2015, which brought illegal market share from a reasonable 33% before the hike to 65% and rising today.
As a result, BAT Malaysia has suffered massive share price declines, with the share price falling by 85% in the past 5 years (from RM 60 in 2015) and 70% in the past 12 months alone (from RM 37 in early-2019). This was largely due to revenue declines of nearly 20% and earnings decline of 40% over the past 3 years, with a corresponding shortfall in dividends (the company has a 90% dividend policy). ROE has also fallen from approximately 200% to around 100% today.
Thus, it’s not surprising that the stock has taken such a beating. Indeed, over the past two weeks alone the stock price has fallen by about 30%. But is investing in it now simply trying to catch a falling knife?
Business Narrative
The source of the problem can largely be traced back to the sin tax hike in 2015, which brought illegal cigarette market share from 33% to 65% over the past 5 years. The Malaysian government has not been very accommodative to local industry players, rebuffing efforts to reduce the sin tax and dragging its feet when it comes to the enforcement of existing laws and the introduction of new ones. The local Customs department, working together with the police, has had some success in recent years tackling the illegal cigarette cartel – arresting the decline in legal market share from 20%-30% annually to just above 10% in the past year – but efforts are largely seen as too little, too late. On top of that, the illegal vaping scene has blossomed in Malaysia, with nicotine-related products claiming up to 10% of total industry market share.
This backdrop has inspired analysts to impose doomsday scenarios for the legal industry players (i.e. BAT, PMI & JTI), according present values to the companies which reflect a resumption of historical revenue and market share declines. Indeed, when parsing the financial statements of BAT, it’s not impossible to forecast revenues declining to a point where they fall below operating costs (i.e. EBITDA of zero), rendering the equity essentially worthless valuation-wise.
The main reason for the government’s lack of progress is bureaucracy. Different governmental ministries have drawn different interpretations of their legal jurisdiction regarding the matter, and thus shuffle the responsibility of arresting the illegal trade to their peers. For instance, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has stated that it has no authority to enforce legislation against illegal cigarettes, while the Customs department disagrees and says it is the MOH’s prerogative to clamp down on illegal cigarette packets which don’t portray mandatory and unsightly health warnings (illegal cigarette packets tend not to include them). As a result of the red tape, there has been little progress on the front lines, and legal industry players are lesser of for it.
BAT and JTI (the two largest cigarette players) have resorted to shutting down their manufacturing operations and implementing an importation business model, where legal cigarettes are imported from Indonesia into the country to be sold. BAT has also gone through one round of layoffs last year, with a second round expected in 2020.
As alluded to earlier, revenues have declined by 20% over the past 3 years while net profit has declined by 40%. This was surprisingly not due to a contraction of Gross Margin (which you’d expect as costs go up when switching from a manufacturing model to an importation model), but largely as a result of revenues falling while operating costs remain the same. This can be seen in the Operating Margin falling from a high of 24% in 17Q3 to 18% in 19Q3, and net margin contracting from 18% in 17Q3 to 13% in 19Q3.
On the balance sheet side, things look much rosier. Intangibles take up the lion’s share of assets (40%), while Inventories and Receivables have declined slightly in line with the fall in Revenue. Net cash is negative owing to a revolving credit facility which the company has drawn presumably for tax reasons. The debt is current in nature and can be paid back in full with 2 years of Free Cash Flow. The company doesn’t have much fixed assets remaining following the closure of its manufacturing plant, indicating that liquidation value (approximately zero) falls far short of market value. Current ratio is reasonable at 0.8x. Share capital has not changed for at least 3 years.
Receivable days and Inventory days have respectively increased by roughly 50% over the last 3 years – indicating a struggling business which is facing business challenges from its illegal brethren. Payable days have remained static over the same time period. As a result, Cash Conversion Cycle stands at 79 days, up by double from 33 days in 2018.
Cash flow is still stable, with cash receipts approximating revenues. Free Cash Flow is almost equal to Operating Cash Flow, exemplifying the asset-light nature of the current business. The company pays out the entirety of its FCF as dividends (and then some), leading to a dividend yield of 15% at the current share price and a 118% dividend payout ratio.
The risks are apparent. If the government doesn’t do something about the illegal trade and allows it to run rampant, it’s possible that illegal market share increases from here and revenues continue to decline. In the worst-case scenario, it’s not hard to envision revenues falling below operating costs and EBITDA reaching zero, implying the shares are worthless and that dividends will be cut or even stopped entirely.
The current share price of 8x PE (RM 10.00) reflects this doomsday view. The market is basically pricing in declining earnings growth into perpetuity and giving no stock to a potential turnaround. Government intervention to address the illegal trade is widely perceived as sorely lacking and possibly not existing, with analysts imputing revenue declines of up to 30% a year into their models. Share price targets range from RM 11 – RM 15, although the share price has fallen by some 20% since the last revision of analyst reports. All in all, it seems like bad news for BAT.
The opportunities for BAT, while less apparent, do exist. For one, the government could by some miracle successfully enforce existing laws and put the brakes on illegal trade – it has already slowed the latter’s advance by some 50% since the sin tax hike. Alternatively, the government could recognize the disadvantages of the narrowing tax base from legal cigarettes and decide to reverse or reduce the sin tax, leading to a reclaiming of legal market share by industry players to previous highs. By some back-of-the-envelope calculations, if legal market share rises to just half of their historical levels, BAT’s earnings and share price could double from here. PE ratios would also expand in such a scenario.
BAT’s parent company in London could also decide to acquire the Malaysian subsidiary given the depressed prices. A fair market price given the circumstances would be roughly 15x PE, which assuming earnings continue to decline by 30% from today, would put the acquisition price at around 120-130% from current share prices.
BAT has also been experimenting with nicotine-related products, such as the Heat-Not-Burn (HNB) device known as Glo (PMI has a branded competitor known as IQOS). Both have received glowing reviews from former cigarette users and is expected to help the companies transition into the post-smoking era (i.e. 20-30 years from now). So far, Glo has developed a 1% total industry market share in Malaysia despite only being launched 2 years ago, showcasing its popularity and potential success.
Finally, the government is preparing the release of new legislation regarding vaping, which is due to see light by mid-2020. While legalization is still not guaranteed, government officials have publicly admitted the difficulty of enforcing laws if a vaping ban were to be instituted. If vaping is legalized, the legal industry could see a 10% increase in market share overnight as they introduce their own products to supplement the demand for currently illegal products.
Risk : Reward
In my opinion, current share prices have priced in all the risks while discounting all the opportunities. Even assuming earnings decline at an average annual rate of 10% into perpetuity, it would take just ten years to reclaim your initial investment. This is assuming illegal market share continues its rise unabated and legal market share never sees the light of day again. Keep in mind that the company has a 90% dividend payout policy, and has kept this rate despite recent struggles in its business, so you’d get a return of capital regardless of the share price performance.
In this worst-case scenario, the parent company would either push for an acquisition or liquidate the Malaysian operations. An acquisition at fire-sale prices would probably yield at least 5x PE, while a liquidation would yield nothing given the current ratio of 0.8x. The latter is highly unlikely because it would mean that BAT ceases to have a presence in Malaysia completely, a growing South East Asian nation with GDP growth of 4-5% and potentially bright future. Hence, given the probabilities and an estimate of expected value, you’d already come out on top at the current PE of 8x.
What about the alternative? Before we get into the valuation from an opportunity set perspective, let us consider BAT’s business model. As Buffett says, this is a company with unit economics of a penny per cigarette, selling them at a dollar per cigarette, fantastic brand loyalty and a captive audience. Imagine if you could have owned Altria in the USA in the 1970’s. Today, you’d own Altria, Kraft Heinz, PMI and a smattering of profitable businesses around the world. While I don’t mean to draw a direct comparison between BAT Malaysia today and Altria USA of the 70’s, it’s not hard to imagine a similarly wonderful future for a company with such an attractive business model.
As far as economic moats are concerned, the cigarette business is probably one of the few businesses you can say will be around in another 20-30 years. Sure, they’re facing headwinds in the form of a burgeoning illegal cigarette trade today, but who says they will still be facing the same demons 10 years from now, or even 5 years? If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that the business environment is fluid – and chances are good that things won’t remain the same as today, whatever they may be.
A Reasonable Bull-Case Scenario Valuation
Let’s put the humdrums aside for a moment and imagine a brighter future for BAT. What would this future look like? For one, it’s possible that within the next 5 years the government realizes it can’t contain the illegal cigarette problem and decide to reduce the sin tax to previous levels. The wider tax base resulting from such a move would result in the same absolute amount in taxes even at lower tax rates – so there is no financial disincentive not to do so – while at the same time reducing the illegal market share. If legal market share even reclaims half of their former levels, the share price of BAT could double from today.
Furthermore, what’s stopping BAT from resuming earnings growth, assuming the business environment recovers? Even if earnings grow by just equal to GDP growth (i.e. 4-5% a year), it would justify a 15x PE at the minimum considering a long-time horizon of 20-30 years. Combine a doubling of earnings with a 15x PE, and you’re looking at a potential quadrupling (4x) of the current share price.
A Best-Case Scenario Valuation
If BAT reclaims its former glory and returns to its historical market capitalization of RM 18 billion, we’re talking about a 600% increase in share price.
That’s just for the next ten years. What about dividends beyond that? Let’s imagine the best possible scenario for BAT. Assume for awhile that you’re planning to hold BAT for the next 30 years. Assume also that in ten years’ time, BAT’s share price skyrockets to 600% of current levels, and then grows earnings by 4% a year into perpetuity and pays out 90% of earnings at dividends. Account for 3% inflation and zero percent cost of capital (i.e. growth funded from retained earnings). By the end of year 30, you’d end up with 27x your initial investment, or 2700% of your capital. That’s a 12% CAGR.
In other words, a $40,000 investment in BAT today could potentially yield a million dollars in 30 year’s time. And that’s with reasonable assumptions. Tweak the numbers further and you’ll could potentially reach Buffett-like returns.
To sum things up, it appears that current share prices already impute the worst-case scenario, while the best-case scenario is a 600% capital appreciation potential in ten years, or 2700% over 30 years. Giving a margin of safety, let’s dial the ten-year return of 600% down by 50% - we still get a 300% reward scenario. That’s a 12% CAGR over ten years. Not too shabby.
Assuming 50% downside from today’s prices, the upside-to-downside ratio at 300% upside would still be a healthy 1:6. Now that’s a margin of safety.
If you believe that BAT has no future in Malaysia and will ultimately be acquired or liquidated, expect share prices to fall by up to 50% from here. If you expect that the legal industry will recover to former highs and that BAT is well-positioned as the largest cigarette player in an ASEAN country with 4% GDP growth (alongside Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia), you can expect share prices to rise by at least 300% over the next 10 years.
More realistically, share prices will fluctuate by 20% from current levels both to the upside and downside over the next year or so. If you can stomach that kind of volatility, BAT makes for a wonderful risk-reward component of your hopefully diversified emerging market portfolio.
A Value Investor’s Perspective
As mentioned above, Warren Buffett has a history of buying companies for pennies on the dollar when the share price reflects maximum pessimism. This does not mean to dive blindly into freefalling stocks which you do not understand. It does mean that you should do your homework, and when you spot an attractive risk:reward ratio in stocks where others are running for the exits, you should be comfortable holding a large position.
Buying a leading cigarette company in its market while it’s beaten down represents one of the most potentially profitable investments imaginable. For reference, take a look at Altria. If you had bought $1,000 worth of shares in Altria in 1970, and reinvested all the dividends, you would be sitting on a fortune worth $5 million by today. That’s an astounding 18% CAGR over an extraordinarily long period of 50 years. Can BAT Malaysia repeat this tier of performance? Probably not, but you don’t need to in order to make a satisfying profit from it.
Buffett espouses thinking long-term when it comes to investing. Think about the long-term when it comes to BAT Malaysia. Is it likely that illegal cigarette’s share of the market will remain elevated at 65% or above for the next 20 years continually? If I was a betting man, I’d wager that it won’t. More likely than not, some kind of unforeseen development will unfold which will bring market share back into the folds of the legal industry – it could be vaping, HNB products, a newly yet unrevealed form of nicotine-device, or even an evolution in the way smokers think. What can be relied on however is that in 20 years smokers will still continue to view nicotine, and by extension smoking-related products, as a form of entertainment and relaxation.
Then there’s the dividends. The dividend yield on one share of Altria bought in the 1990’s held until today would exceed 30%. This is because the dividends have grown over the years in tandem with earnings growth. Extrapolate that to BAT Malaysia, which currently has a dividend yield of 15%. Assuming an average of 4% earnings growth going forward, that dividend yield would grow to just about 45% in 30 years. That’s the power of compounding.
Buffett also champions the idea of owning companies with fortress economic moats. Some of the companies which he owns have such moats, including Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, GEICO, American Express, etc. It’s hard to argue that BAT Malaysia doesn’t have such a moat. Even in such trying times where revenues have contracted by 20%, it still sports a high-flying ROE of 100%, and stable gross margins of 30%. I would go so far as to compare BAT Malaysia today to a Coca-Cola or American Express when Buffett bought them during times of pessimism.
Think about the future of BAT in 10 years, or 20 years’ time. It’s likely that it will have overcome the temporary hurdles which it faces today by then and resume earning high returns on significant capital invested over a long period of time. This is truly a compounding machine if there ever was one. Or as the title suggests, a wonderful company trading at a wonderful price.
Remember that Buffett’s best buys in the public markets have all been investments made during trying times, such as what BAT is facing today. AMEX could have gone bankrupt over the Salad Oil Scandal. GEICO was literally months away from being unable to service its insurance liabilities. Goldman Sachs was teetering on the brink of financial collapse under the heavy weight of subprime mortgage obligations. Coca-Cola was not the company it is today – it was an overburdened, overdiversified conglomerate with little growth outlook. Wells Fargo was staring at a huge, unserviceable loan book immediately following the Californian earthquakes given its significant residential exposure. It’s definitely nice to pay fair prices for wonderful companies, but it’s even better to be able to pay wonderful prices for wonderful companies.
In times like these, it pays to reflect on some words of wisdom for guidance:
Buy when there’s blood in the streets.
Be greedy when others are fearful.
In the short-term, the market is a voting machine; in the long-term, it is a weighing machine.
Price is what you pay, value is what you get.
It is far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price, than a fair company at a wonderful price.
Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.
May the investing odds be ever in your favor!
Stock code: 4162.KL Stock name: British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Berhad Financial information and financial reports:
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2019 net worth/income & expenses wrap: NW ↑ $534,000 | 88.5% savings rate

2019 net worth/income & expenses wrap: NW ↑ $534,000 | 88.5% savings rate
The following are our Q4 2019 net worth and income and expense posts from our blog, wrapping up the quarter and the year.
TL;DR: Net worth went up $534,000 for the year. Our Q4 savings rate was 80%, and 88.5% for the year. Fell short of our 90% savings rate goal.

Quarter 4 2019 – Net worth update: Up $534,000 for 2019

Wow, I cannot believe the year went by that fast. I hope you’ve all had a safe and happy Christmas and New Year period.
As we said in our New Year birthday post, we had a busy quarter on the work front. It’s been getting really bad. Work stress is a very real concern for both my wife Ellie and I, and it seems only fitting that we want to FIRE.
It’s still very far away, but we started 2018 with a goal of retiring in 10 years, and a year has passed. Given the rapid passage of time, 10% time progress is nothing to be sneezed at.
However, in October I wrote a post on how our progress seems to be accelerating, following the rapid progress we made to a $1 million share portfolio. But the numbers in that post were quickly superseded with some big news.
Financially speaking, the quarter started out with a bang when Ellie received a $100,000 inheritance and the mixed emotions that came with it. It was a huge win for our finances, but it came at the expense of a familial loss.
While that was the headline event this quarter, let’s take a look at the full picture and see how we ended the year.

Our financial goals

Here are our early retirement goals. Essentially we want to retire early before the age of 45, with the following in assets:
  • $2,000,000 in shares
  • $600,000 in two investment properties
  • $700,000 in superannuation
  • $1 million house as our primarily place of residence
  • Total asset goal = $4,300,000.
Between those shares giving us dividends and rent from the investment properties, we want to have a gross passive income of about AU$150,000 per annum (pre-tax), to fund a nice early retirement where money isn’t a concern. You can also track our net worth growth in our previous posts.
So how did we go in October-December to finish up the year? As always, let’s start with shares.

October-December: Shares

After finding out that we were going to receive the inheritance, our thoughts turned to where we could invest it.
That ended up being in a pair of long-term, hopefully safe and stable Listed Investment Companies (LICs). They’ll provide us with around a 6% gross dividend return. With $50,000 thrown into each, they should see our gross passive dividend income increase by around $6,000 annually.
That’s around 4% of our entire FIRE income right there, and we’re incredibly lucky and grateful to have received this.
Otherwise, after that explosive start to the quarter, the remainder was actually very quite on the buying front.
We had a big tax bill to pay, as well as another big expense for 2020 – holidays – that we put a down payment on. But you’ll have to wait for our Q4 income and expense report (coming up next) to hear more about that. However, that did mean that we lost the best part of a month of our salaries to those expenses.
While we bought big, our portfolios were also hit by the (seemingly endless) banking scandals that have hit the sector. Given that we’re heavy in financials, that side underperformed – all the more reason to add extra diversity to our portfolio!
So how did it all go with the value of our shares?
Our share portfolio was started the year on $725,000, was $819,000 at the end of Q1 2019, $931,000 in Q2 2019, and broke the $1 million mark at the end of Q3 at $1,023,000.
The ASX started October on 6688.30 points and ended the year on 6,684.10 – down 0.1% for the quarter.
We ended 2019 with a value of $1,120,000. Given how much many of our stocks were beaten down, we were actually very happy to end up with that – it could have been a lot worse. We’ve noticed that LICs generally show a lot of resilience during downturns, so they could have cushioned the blow for our balances.
Regardless, we ended the quarter up $97,000 (9.5%). In total on 31 December 2019 our share portfolio was up $395,000 compared to 31 December 2018 – an increase of 54.5%, which is just mind-blowing to us. Even without the inheritance, our portfolio would have gone up by around 40%.
What a crazy year on the share front, in so many ways.

October-December: Superannuation

Next up is our superannuation accounts – or compulsory retirement savings.
During the quarter there were all sorts of ruminations about the Australian retirement system.
Someday a future government is going to have to bite hard on the retirement age bullet and raise it, because it’s just not going to end up well for the economy otherwise if they keep it as it is. But that unpopular can of worms will still get kicked down further the road for a few years longer.
Thankfully we plan to avoid a lot of the hoopla around government pensions (or lack thereof) in our old age by being self-funded early retirees.
That said, for as long as we continue working, we receive employer-funded contributions into our retirement funds. We don’t make extra superannuation contributions because we can’t access these under current laws until we’re at least 60 years old (wait for that number to eventually rise as well). We’ll do a post about that in the next few weeks.
So how did things go for our superannuation balances?
As a reminder, we started 2019 with $335,000 in super, $368,000 by 31 March, $393,000 by 30 June, and $409,000 at 30 September.
Three months later we’re now on $428,000 – an increase of $19,000 or 4.6%. It’s also an annual rise of $93,000 or 27.7%, which is a staggering amount.

October-December: Primary place of residence

Last quarter the dial on the value of our house price moved for first time, and there seems to be some corroborating evidence for that.
House prices stagnated here in Brisbane over the last year, while southern Australian house prices took a dive of 10-15%, However, now news comes of a change in sentiment, and house prices are forecast to rebound by as much as 17% in 2020… Unfortunately it’s only meant to be between 3-7% in Brisbane. But we can live with that.
However, despite the change in the national property market’s sentiment, has anything changed with the value of our home in the last three months?
Last quarter in Q3 said it was $710,000 (up from $705,000 in Q2), and ANZ bank said it was worth $720,000 (up from $655,000).
We didn’t trust the actual numbers, but we went with the number ANZ gave back in Q2 – $655,000, a $5,000 increase.
We haven’t seen as much real estate action in our neighbourhood this quarter, so this will be interesting.
At the end of December gave us a valuation of $735,000 – up $25,000. Once again, seems to be a bit too optimistic (but we’d certainly take it!), while ANZ is a bit closer to the mark. That said, compared to Q3 when ANZ it was $720,000, in Q4 it now said it’s worth $668,000.
Huh? ANZ certainly likes to bounce around.
So once again, I’m a bit conflicted with how to value things. While one valuation goes up $25,000, the other plummets by $52,000, and they give different figures.
The ANZ report is certainly closer to the mark in any case in my opinion – and it’s still higher than the valuation we settled on last quarter ($655,000), so hopefully we’re just conservative.
But I’m going to play it slightly safe and hold the valuation at $655,000. If both valuations move in the same direction (either up or down) as they did last quarter, we’ll move things.
Our future retirement home will cost around $1 million to buy, so we’ll have a shortfall that we’ll need to make up once our passive income goals are finalised. However, we’ve paid off the property, so all the capital is ours and counts towards our net wealth.
But our primary place of residence isn’t the only skin we’ve got in the real estate game.

October-December: Investment properties

Righty-o – Last quarter things moved up by $5,000 to a combined value of $605,000, with an extra $3,000 paid off our two investment properties.
This quarter, things only paid themselves off by a barely noticeable $1,000 with a total debt of $374,000.
On the valuation side, this was the state of play in Q4 via and ANZ property reports:
  • – combined value $680,000 ($695,000 in Q3).
  • ANZ – combined value $619,000 ($605,000 in Q3).
So just like with our primary place of residence, it’s conflicting data. However, this time it’s reversed, with dropping a little bit (by $15,000), and ANZ increasing (by $14,000).
Between the two, things have apparently dropped by $500 per property – which is just splitting hairs.
Given they were both pulling in practically opposite directions, we’ll call this flat again at $605,000, and claim the $1,000 mortgage repayment.
ANZ seems to once again be the more accurate measure, and we’ll once again play it conservative and retain their $605,000 total value.
Deducting our debt of $374,000 gives us total equity of $231,000. That’s a tiny increase of 0.4%.
So in total, a very unremarkable quarter on the property front!

Financial state of the union

Looking back to the start of the year, we began with a net worth of $1,900,000, increasing to $2,057,000 in Q1, sitting on $2,196,000 in Q2, and reaching $2,317,000 in Q3.
So here’s how things look at the end of 2019:
Asset Value
Shares $1,120,000
Superannuation $428,000
Investment properties value $605,000
Investment properties debt -$374,000
Primary place of residence $655,000
Total $2,434,000
That’s another nice increase of $117,000 for the quarter – a 5% lift.
For the whole year, it’s a quite extraordinary increase of $534,000, or 28.1%. Taking out the inheritance Ellie received, it’s still a momentous lift of $434,000 – which would have been 10% of our entire net worth goal: a ridiculous number, really.
Given the ~18% market rally in 2019, ridiculous really should be the word of the year.
It would be crazy to expect the same in 2020. But given that much of 2019 was mired by Brexit and the US-China trade war (which is now partially agreed), 2020 might be another year with rocket under it now that Brexit is also almost sorted (did I just jinx it?). That said, Iran, North Korea, and any number of other surprises will await us as well.
Domestically in Australia, talk of further interest rate cuts might drive even more money into shares, and the housing market is apparently rebounding. If it wasn’t for the underlying shaky fundamentals, you’d bet that 2020 will be another solid year… But we’ll see.
In the end all I know is that our net worth has increased – and it’s now 56.6% of our total target – progress towards FIRE of 12.4%. What a year!
Next up is our income and expenses report for Q4 2019, so stay tuned for that and our quest to save 90% for the year. Will we reach it?
Blog link:

2019 income and expenses: We saved $189,718 – 88.5% savings rate

The big question we’ve been asking ourselves is whether we reached our goal of saving 90% of our income over the course of the entire year.
Our running total for the first nine months of 2019 was an income of $151,400, with expenses of just $12,710. That’s a huge running savings rate of 91.6%.
But the first nine months don’t tell the full story by any means.
We still had our eye watering tax bill to include this quarter. Plus a surprise expense: we’re going on holidays in Q1 2020, and in November we pre-paid a decent chunk of it!
So can we keep our heads above the 90% threshold across the whole year as we aim for financial independence and early retirement before age 45? Let’s find out!

October-December: Income and side hustles

Let’s start with our salaried work and effort-related ‘active’ income (aka: side hustles).
For starters, this quarter had a profitable seven pay cycles within it for salaries, giving us $43,314.18 after tax. That’s $6,187.74 more than last quarter which only had six pay days. Wouldn’t it be nice if every quarter had seven pay cycles…
We haven’t had any big wins on the side-hustle front to finish the year. But here are other small income streams.
Our bottle collection numbers were $147.70, compared to $235 last quarter. That brings us up to $1015.20 for the year. Not bad for some tax-free cash. However, this side of things has certainly slowed down for us recently. We just haven’t had the time to go on walks after work like we did earlier in the year, so these numbers are decreasing. And the streets actually seem cleaner as well, which is awesome.
This blog made $119.04, compared to $119.26 last quarter. In total the blog earned us $369.76 for the year. In late 2018 the site cost about $521 to set-up with 6 years of hosting, two years domain registration, and a paid theme. So the way things are going, next quarter things will have more or less paid for themselves, which was the core goal of monetising the site. Thanks everyone for your support here!
Next up, doing online surveys were another tidy earner. This quarter we earned $190. In Q1 we earned $170 from surveys, $100 in Q2, and $285 in Q3. That brings us to $645 for the year. When you get these in the form of e-gift vouchers, they’re tax free. Cha-ching!
We also had $110 in rewards program redemptions for October-December. It’s really not even a blip on the radar, but we’ll take it nevertheless. In total we had $240 of rewards redemptions for the year.
Lastly, it’s not really an ‘active’ income source, but Christmas rolled around, and our parents gave us cash in lieu of physical presents. Good thing they gave us money, too, because we have everything else we need – aside from early retirement! This year we received $1,000 in cash, which is greatly appreciated – thanks mums and dads!
That brings our side hustles to a total of $566.74, plus $1,000 in presents. Added together with our salaries, that gives us a grand total of $44,880.92, compared to $37,765.44 last quarter.

October-December: Dividends

Let’s turn our sights to our ‘passive’ income: share dividends.
We had a nice year of buying and reinvesting shares, so as always – we really want to see our numbers increase. It would be rather disheartening to see a year of progress reveal no progress at all.
So how do our numbers compare to last year:
Q4 2018 Q4 2019
DRP/DSSP reinvested/Direct debit (excluding franking credits) $12,694.50 $15,256.82
The numbers above are ‘somewhat net‘ – for the purposes of calculating our savings rate. It excludes franking credits, which are pre-paid tax.
Looking at the numbers above, our dividend income has increased year-on-year by $2,562.32 or 20.2%, which is quite nice.
For reference, this is the full picture for 2019, versus 2018:

DRP/DSSP reinvested/Direct debit (excluding franking credits) 2018 2019
Q4 $12,694.50 $15,256.82
Q3 $15,465.78 $16,439.23
Q2 $4,488.78 $9,728.34
Q1 $5,611.49 $6,739.82
Total $38,260.55 $48,164.21
In total, that’s an increase of $9,903.66 or 25.9% – which is just terrific.
Short of a market crash, things are looking great to improve once again in 2020, with over a quarter of a million dollars in shares purchased and dividend reinvested across 2019 – plus anything extra we purchase throughout 2020.

October-December: Expenses

Alright, drum-roll time. Let’s look at our expenses for the final quarter of the year:
Important to note: the “TOTAL” columns are for the entire year – this table now includes expenses for the last four years: 2016-2019.
For October-December we had total expenses of $11,983.96. That dwarfs our 2018 expenses for the same period (which were $7,760.86) – so an increase of $4,223.1 or 54.4%. Gimme a O, U, C, H!
That figure is also almost as much as our expenses for quarters 1, 2 and 3 combined. What on earth happened?!?
Well, that blowout is entirely down to two items: our tax bill – which doubled on last year – as well as down-payments on a holiday we’re taking to New Zealand in Q1 2020. Our total holiday cost will come in at around $5,000 so we still have around $3,000 coming our way in Q1 next year, so that’ll be an expensive time. However, we hope our tax bill to drop a little bit in 2020 by maybe $1,500 – so that’ll help.
It was another largely our bills were mostly around the same – but not all.
Firstly, there were some notable savings. The biggest step we took was downgrading one of Ellie’s professional memberships, resulting in a saving of almost $400. Across the whole year this downgrade will save us about $750 each year, which is nothing to be sneezed at. In November 2018 we also had a big expense with setting up the blog, which wasn’t replicated this year.
Compared to last year our grocery bill has gone up a little bit, but not as much as we expected given the severe drought.
If we take out tax from our “living expenses”, across all of 2019 we only spent $18,256 compared to $17,891 in 2018. That’s an increase of 2%, which is pretty much in line with inflation.
All up our goal was to cut spending for the year, which we failed at. But given what some of those increases were, ultimately we’re pretty happy with our expenses. Yeah, some things have gone up, but others have dropped.
We could have saved more if the goal was to save money at any cost, but we’re pretty comfortable with life at the moment and what we spend money on.
We have a holiday to look forward to, while 2021 will be a staycation most likely ahead of another international trip in 2022. And sure, our tax bill went up, but that’s because we had a higher income – so we don’t have any right to complain there.
2019 was another year of managing to dodge big expenses for items like broken appliances or home maintenance, which will eventually bite us. Until that happens though, we’ll keep saving and investing. But speaking of saving, how did we go for the quarter, as well as the whole year?

How are we tracking? Q4 savings rate

Now let’s throw together some numbers and see what comes out. First up we’ll look at the savings rate for the quarter:

Q4 Value
Income $44,880.92
Share dividends $15,256.82
Expenses -$11,983.96
Total savings $48,153.78
Savings rate 80.0%
Oooof! 80% is easily our lowest savings rate of any quarter of the year (Q1 was 89.7%, Q2 was 93.2%, and Q3 was 92.1%), but we always knew and said that Q4 with that big fat tax bill was what would hurt us.
So that’s not really a surprise, and in the grand scheme 80% is still pretty good. But forget Q4. What did all of 2019 look like? It’s a number I’ve been waiting all year to see…

2019 annual savings rate

So, did we reach our goal of a 90% savings rate for all of 2019?

2019 Value
Income $166,249
Share dividends $48,164
Expenses -$24,695
Total savings $189,718
Savings rate 88.5%
Darn. 88.5%. So close, and yet so, so far.
Feeling an instant level of guilt, I ran a calculation to see what would have happened if we we didn’t pre-pay part of our upcoming holiday, and it was 89.3% – still short. That makes me feel a bit better.
The next big savings rate killer was the tax. With the way we do our calculations, having some $4,800 of taxable side-hustle income for 2018-19 meant almost $1,800 in extra tax. The impact of that extra tax and holidays combined would have just about got us over the line to 90%.
We tried and ultimately failed! Sorry, folks!
In any case, saving almost $190,000 between income and reinvested dividends is something we’re really thrilled about. It’s all going into shares now, and will continue to do so until we hit our share income goals. Combined with the increases to our net worth in 2019, our goal of early retirement has never been closer and feels like it’s accelerating.
We’ll be posting our 2020 goals next week, so stay tuned for that.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your income and expense goals for the year ahead!
Blog link:
submitted by HisHerMoneyGuide to fiaustralia [link] [comments]

Bitcoin 11 Years - Achievements, Lies, and Bullshit Claims So Far - Tooootally NOT a SCAM !!!!

That's right folks, it's that time again for the annual review of how Bitcoin is going: all of those claims, predictions, promises .... how many have turned out to be true, and how many are completely bogus ???
Please post / link this on Bitcoin (I am banned there for speaking the truth, so I cannot do it) ... because it'a way past time those poor clueless mushrooms were exposed to the truth.
Anyway, without further ado, I give you the Bitcoin's Achievements, Lies, and Bullshit Claims So Far ...
Bitcoin Achievements so far:
  1. It has spawned a cesspool of scams (2000+ shit coin scams, plus 100's of other scams, frauds, cons).
  2. Many 1,000's of hacks, thefts, losses.
  3. Illegal Use Cases: illegal drugs, illegal weapons, tax fraud, money laundering, sex trafficking, child pornography, hit men / murder-for-hire, ransomware, blackmail, extortion, and various other kinds of fraud and illicit activity.
  4. Legal Use Cases: Steam Games, Reddit, Expedia, Stripe, Starbucks, 1000's of merchants, cryptocurrency conferences, Ummm ????? The few merchants who "accept Bitcoin" immediately convert it into FIAT after the sale, or require you to sell your coins to BitPay or Coinbase for real money, and will then take that money. Some of the few who actually accept bitcoin haven't seen a customer who needed to pay with bitcoin for the last six months, and their cashiers no longer know how to handle that.
  5. Contributing significantly to Global Warming.
  6. Wastes vasts amounts of electricity on useless, do nothing work.
  7. Exponentially raises electricity prices when big miners move into regions where electricity was cheap.
  8. It’s the first "currency" that is not self-sustainable. It operates at a net loss, and requires continuous outside capital to replace the capital removed by miners to pay their costs. It’s literally a "black hole currency."
  9. It created a new way for people living too far from Vegas to gamble all their life savings away.
  10. Spawned "blockchain technology", a powerful technique that lets incompetent programmers who know almost nothing about databases, finance, programming, or blockchain scam millions out of gullible VC investors, banks, and governments.
  11. Increased China's foreign trade balance by a couple billion dollars per year.
  12. Helped the FBI and other law enforcement agents easily track down hundreds of drug traffickers and drug users.
  13. Wasted thousands if not millions of man-hours of government employees and legislators, in mostly fruitless attempts to understand, legitimize, and regulate the "phenomenon", and to investigate and prosecute its scams.
  14. Rekindled the hopes of anarcho-capitalists and libertarians for a global economic collapse, that would finally bring forth their Mad Max "utopia".
  15. Added another character to Unicode (no, no, not the "poo" 💩 character ... that was my first guess as well 🤣)
  16. Provides an easy way for malware and ransomware criminals to ply their trade and extort hospitals, schools, local councils, businesses, utilities, as well as the general population.
Correct Predictions:
  1. 2015-12: "1,000 dollar in 2015", u/Luka_Magnotta, aka time traveler from the future, 31-Aug-2013, (Technically, this prediction is WRONG because the highest price reached in 2015 was $495.56 according to CMC. Yes, Bitcoin reached $1,000 in 2013 and 2014, but that's NOT what the prediction says).
  2. 2017-12: "10,000 in 2017", u/Luka_Magnotta, aka time traveler from the future, 31-Aug-2013,
  3. 2018-04: $10,000 (by April 2018), Mike Novogratz, link #1:, link #2:
  4. 2018-12: $10,000 (by 2018), Tim Draper, link #1:, link #2:
  5. Any others ? (Please tell me).
Bitcoin Promises / Claims / Price Predictions that turned out to be lies and bullshit:
  7. SAFE
  10. NOT A SCAM
  15. Be your own bank
  16. Regulation-proof
  19. Instantaneous transactions
  20. Fast transactions
  21. Zero / No transaction fees
  22. Low transaction fees
  23. A store of value
  24. A deflationary digital asset
  25. "A deflationary digital asset that no single human being can destroy."
  26. "an asset that is equally as dual use as a car, water, or any other traditional element that has existed."
  27. "Digital gold"
  28. Easy to use
  29. Cannot be stolen
  30. Cannot be hacked
  31. Can be mined by anyone
  32. Can be mined by anyone, even with an old computer or laptop
  33. Cannot be centralized
  34. Will return power back to the people.
  35. Not a Ponzi scam
  36. Not a Pyramid scam
  37. Never pay tax again
  38. Your gains cannot be taxed
  39. A currency
  40. An amazing new class of asset
  41. An asset
  42. A means to economic freedom
  43. A store of value
  44. The best investment the word has ever seen
  45. A great investment
  46. Efficient
  47. Scalable
  48. Stable
  49. Resilient
  50. Reliable
  51. Low energy
  52. Low risk
  53. Redistribute wealth to everybody
  54. No more have's and have not's
  55. No more US and THEM
  56. No more disadvantaged people
  57. No more RICH and POOR
  58. No more poor people
  59. Uses amazing new technology
  60. Uses ingenious new technology
  61. Satishi Nakamoto invented ...
  62. Segwit will solve all of Bitcoin's woes
  63. Lightning Network will solve all of Bitcoin's woes
  64. Limited by scarcity
  65. Can only go up in value
  66. Price cannot crash
  67. Has intrinsic value
  68. Value will always be worth more than cost to mine
  69. Adoption by investors is increasing exponentially
  70. Adoption by investors is increasing
  71. Adoption by merchants is increasing exponentially
  72. Adoption by merchants is increasing
  73. You are secure if you keep your coins on an exchange
  74. You are secure if you keep your coins in a hardware wallet
  75. You are secure if you keep your coins in an air-gapped Linux PC
  76. Will change the world
  77. "the next phase in human evolution"
  78. "Blockchain is more encompassing than the internet"
  79. Blockchain can solve previously unsolvable problems.
  80. "The only regulation we need is the blockchain"
  81. "Bank the unbanked"
  82. "To abolish financial slavery and the state's toxic monopoly on money."
  83. "To have better tools in the fight against the state violence and taxation."
  84. "To stamp information on a blockchain forever so we can bypass state censorship, copyrights, patents(informational monopolies) etc."
  85. Will destroy / overthrow FIAT
  86. Will destroy / overthrow the world's governments
  87. Will destroy / overthrow the banking system
  88. Will destroy / overthrow the world economies
  89. Will free people from tyranny
  90. Will give people financial freedom
  91. Will bring world peace
  92. Never going below $19K again
  93. Never going below $18K again
  94. Never going below $17K again
  95. Never going below $16K again
  96. Never going below $15K again
  97. Never going below $14K again
  98. Never going below $13K again
  99. Never going below $12K again
  100. Never going below $11K again
  101. Never going below $10K again
  102. Never going below $9K again
  103. Never going below $8K again
  104. Never going below $7K again
  105. Never going below $6K again
  106. Never going below $5K again
  107. Never going below $4K again
  108. Is NOT a Scam
  109. Hashing Power secures the Bitcoin network
  110. Untraceable, private transactions
  111. Guaranteed privacy
  112. Not created out of thin air
  113. Not created out of thin air by unregulated, unbacked entities
  114. Totally NOT a scam
  115. Is not used primarily by crimonals, drug dealers, or money launderers.
  116. 100% secure
  117. 2010 will be the "Year of Crypto"
  118. 2011 will be the "Year of Crypto"
  119. 2012 will be the "Year of Crypto"
  120. 2013 will be the "Year of Crypto"
  121. 2014 will be the "Year of Crypto"
  122. 2015 will be the "Year of Crypto"
  123. 2016 will be the "Year of Crypto"
  124. 2017 will be the "Year of Crypto"
  125. 2018 will be the "Year of Crypto"
  126. 2019 will be the "Year of Crypto"
  127. 2010: MASS ADOPTION any day now"
  128. 2011: MASS ADOPTION aany day now"
  129. 2012: MASS ADOPTION aaany day now"
  130. 2013: MASS ADOPTION aaaany day now"
  131. 2014: MASS ADOPTION aaaaany day now"
  132. 2015: MASS ADOPTION aaaaaany day now"
  133. 2016: MASS ADOPTION aaaaaaany day now"
  134. 2017: MASS ADOPTION aaaaaaaany day now"
  135. 2018: MASS ADOPTION aaaaaaaaany day now"
  136. 2019: MASS ADOPTION aaaaaaaaany day now"
  137. "Financial Freedom, bro."
  138. no single entity, government or individual, can alter or reverse its transactions
  139. insurance against the tyranny of state
  140. Bitcoin has come to destroy all governments and bring about the libertarian utopia of my dreams.
  141. The major issues in Bicoin's network will be fixed. This is still early days, Bitcoin has only been around for 2+ years.
  142. The major issues in Bicoin's network will be fixed. This is still early days, Bitcoin has only been around for 5+ years.
  143. The major issues in Bicoin's network will be fixed. This is still early days, Bitcoin has only been around for 7+ years.
  144. The major issues in Bicoin's network will be fixed. This is still early days, Bitcoin has only been around for 9+ years.
  145. 1,000's of predictions of skyrocketing and/or never falling prices
  146. Escape the petty rivalries of warring powers and nation states by scattering control among the many. The Bitcoin Cash debacle proves that even the most cryptographically secure plans of mice and men often go awry. Ref:
  147. People will NEVER be able to welch out of bets or deals again. Nov-2018, Ref:
  148. "Everything will be better, faster, and cheaper.", Brock Pierce, shill video.
  149. "Everything will be more connected.", Brock Pierce, shill video.
  150. "Everything will be more trustworthy.", Brock Pierce, shill video.
  151. "Everything will be more secure.", Brock Pierce, shill video.
  152. "Everything that exists is no-longer going to exist in the way that it does today.", Brock Pierce, shill video.
  153. "Everything in this world is about to get better.", Brock Pierce, shill video.
  154. You are a slave to the bankers
  155. The bankers print money and then you pay for it
  156. Bitcoin is The Peoples Money
  157. Bitcoin will set you free
  158. Bitcoin will set you free from the slavery of the banks and the government Ref:
  159. ~~Bitcoin is "striking fear into the hearts of bankers, precisely because Bitcoin eliminates the need for banks. ~~, Mark Yusko, billionaire investor and Founder of Morgan Creek Capital,
  160. "When transactions are verified on a Blockchain, banks become obsolete.", Mark Yusko, billionaire investor and Founder of Morgan Creek Capital,
  161. SnapshillBot quotes from delusional morons:
  162. "A bitcoin miner in every device and in every hand."
  163. "All the indicators are pointing to a huge year and bigger than anything we have seen before."
  164. "Bitcoin is communism and democracy working hand in hand."
  165. "Bitcoin is freedom, and we will soon be free."
  166. "Bitcoin isn't calculated risk, you're right. It's downright and painfully obvious that it will consume global finance."
  167. "Bitcoin most disruptive technology of last 500 years"
  168. "Bitcoin: So easy, your grandma can use it!"
  169. "Creating a 4th Branch of Government - Bitcoin"
  170. "Future generations will cry laughing reading all the negativity and insanity vomited by these permabears."
  171. "Future us will thank us."
  172. "Give Bitcoin two years"
  173. "HODLING is more like being a dutiful guardian of the most powerful economic force this planet has ever seen and getting to have a say about how that force is unleashed."
  174. "Cut out the middleman"
  175. "full control of your own assets"
  176. "reduction in wealth gap"
  177. "no inflation"
  178. "cannot print money out of thin air"
  179. "Why that matters? Because blockchain not only cheaper for them, it'll be cheaper for you and everyone as well."
  180. "If you are in this to get rich in Fiat then no. But if you are in this to protect your wealth once the current monetary system collapse then you are protected and you'll be the new rich."
  181. "Theres the 1% and then theres the 99%. You want to be with the rest thats fine. Being different and brave is far more rewarding. No matter your background or education."
  182. "NO COINERS will believe anything they are fed by fake news and paid media."
  183. "I know that feeling (like people looking at you as in seeing a celebrity and then asking things they don't believe until their impressed)."
  184. "I literally walk round everyday looking at other people wondering why they even bother to live if they don't have Bitcoin in their lives."
  185. "I think bitcoin may very well be the best form of money we’ve ever seen in the history of civilization."
  186. "I think Bitcoin will do for mankind what the sun did for life on earth."
  187. "I think the constant scams and illegal activities only show the viability of bitcoin."
  188. "I think we're sitting on the verge of exponential interest in the currency."
  189. "I'm not using hyperbole when I say Satoshi found the elusive key to World Peace."
  190. "If Jesus ever comes back you know he's gonna be using Bitcoin"
  191. "If this idea was implemented with The Blockchain™, it would be completely flawless! Flawless I tell you!"
  192. "If you're the minimum wage guy type, now is a great time to skip food and go full ramadan in order to buy bitcoin instead."
  193. "In a world slipping more and more into chaos and uncertainty, Bitcoin seems to me like the last solid rock defeating all the attacks."
  194. "In this moment, I am euphoric. Not because of any filthy statist's blessing, but because I am enlightened by own intelligence."
  195. "Is Bitcoin at this point, with all the potential that opens up, the most undervalued asset ever?"
  196. "It won't be long until bitcoin is an everyday household term."
  197. "It's the USD that is volatile. Bitcoin is the real neutral currency."
  198. "Just like the early Internet!"
  199. "Just like the Trojan Horse of old, Bitcoin will reveal its full power and nature"
  200. "Ladies if your man doesnt have some bitcoin then he cant handle anything and has no danger sex appeal. He isnt edgy"
  201. "let me be the first to say if you dont have bitcoin you are a pussy and cant really purchase anything worldwide. You have no global reach"
  202. "My conclusion is that I see this a a very good thing for bitcoin and for users"
  203. "No one would do such a thing; it'd be against their self interests."
  204. "Ooh lala, good job on bashing Bitcoin. How to disrespect a great innovation."
  205. "Realistically I think Bitcoin will replace the dollar in the next 10-15 years."
  206. "Seperation of money and state -> states become obsolete -> world peace."
  207. "Some striking similarities between Bitcoin and God"
  208. "THANK YOU. Better for this child to be strangled in its crib as a true weapon for crypto-anarchists than for it to be wielded by toxic individuals who distort the technology and surrender it to government and corporate powers."
  209. "The Blockchain is more encompassing than the internet and is the next phase in human evolution. To avoid its significance is complete ignorance."
  210. "The bull run should begin any day now."
  211. "The free market doesn't permit fraud and theft."
  212. "The free market will clear away the bad actors."
  213. "The only regulation we need is the blockchain."
  214. "We are not your slaves! We are free bodies who will swallow you and puke you out in disgust. Welcome to liberty land or as that genius called it: Bitcoin."
  215. "We do not need the bankers for Satoshi is our saviour!"
  216. "We have never seen something so perfect"
  217. "We must bring freedom and crypto to the masses, to the common man who does not know how to fight for himself."
  218. "We verified that against the blockchain."
  219. "we will see a Rennaisnce over the next few decades, all thanks to Bitcoin."
  220. "Well, since 2006, there has been a infinite% increase in price, so..."
  221. "What doesn't kill cryptocurrency makes it stronger."
  222. "When Bitcoin awake in normally people (real people) ... you will have this result : No War. No Tax. No QE. No Bank."
  223. "When I see news that the price of bitcoin has tanked (and thus the market, more or less) I actually, for-real, have the gut reaction "oh that’s cool, I’ll be buying cheap this week". I never knew I could be so rational."
  224. "Where is your sense of adventure? Bitcoin is the future. Set aside your fears and leave easier at the doorstep."
  225. "Yes Bitcoin will cause the greatest redistribution of wealth this planet has ever seen. FACT from the future."
  226. "You are the true Bitcoin pioneers and with your help we have imprinted Bitcoin in the Canadian conscience."
  227. "You ever try LSD? Perhaps it would help you break free from the box of state-formed thinking you have limited yourself..."
  228. "Your phone or refrigerator might be on the blockchain one day."
  229. The banks can print money whenever they way, out of thin air, so why can't crypto do the same ???
  230. Central Banks can print money whenever they way, out of thin air, without any consequences or accounting, so why can't crypto do the same ???
  231. It's impossible to hide illegal, unsavory material on the blockchain
  232. It's impossible to hide child pornography on the blockchain
  233. Fungible
  234. All Bitccoins are the same, 100% identical, one Bitcoin cannot be distinguished from any other Bitcoin.
  235. The price of Bitcoin can only go up.
  236. "Bubbles are mathematically impossible in this new paradigm. So are corrections and all else", John McAfee, 7 Dec 2017 @ 5:09 PM,
  237. Scarcity
  238. The price of Bitcoin can only go up because of scarcity / 21 million coin limit. (Bitcoin is open source, anyone can create thir own copy, and there are more than 2,000+ Bitcoin copies / clones out there already).
  239. immune to government regulation
  240. "a world-changing technology"
  241. "a long-term store of value, like gold or silver"
  242. "To Complex to Be Audited."
  243. "Old Auditing rules do not apply to Blockchain."
  244. "Old Auditing rules do not apply to Cryptocurrency."
  245. "Why Bitcoin has Value: SCARCITY.", PlanB, Coin Shill, 22-Mar-2019,
  246. "Bitcoin is the first scarce digital object the world has ever seen, it is scarce like silver & gold, and can be sent over the internet, radio, satellite etc.", PlanB, Coin Shill, 22-Mar-2019,
  247. "Surely this digital scarcity has value.", PlanB, Coin Shill, 22-Mar-2019,
  248. Bitcoin now at $16,600.00. Those of you in the old school who believe this is a bubble simply have not understood the new mathematics of the Blockchain, or you did not cared enough to try. Bubbles are mathematically impossible in this new paradigm. So are corrections and all else", John McAfee, 7 Dec 2017 @ 5:09 PM,
  249. "May 2018 will be the last time we ever see $bitcoin under $10,000", Charlie Shrem, bitcoin advocate and convicted felon, 11:31 AM 3-May-2018,
  250. "Last dip ever.", AngeloBTC, 14 Oct 2018,
  251. "Bitcoin May Have Just Experienced its Final Shakeout Before a Big Rally", Joseph Young, coin shill, October 15, 2018 22:30 CET,
  252. Bitcoin would be a buy if the price fell under $5,000., Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor at Allianz, 29-Jun-2018,
  253. 2013-11-27: ""What is a Citadel?" you might wonder. Well, by the time Bitcoin became worth 1,000 dollar [27-Nov-2013], services began to emerge for the "Bitcoin rich" to protect themselves as well as their wealth. It started with expensive safes, then began to include bodyguards, and today, "earlies" (our term for early adapters), as well as those rich whose wealth survived the "transition" live in isolated gated cities called Citadels, where most work is automated. Most such Citadels are born out of the fortification used to protect places where Bitcoin mining machines are located. The company known as ASICminer to you is known to me as a city where Mr. Friedman rules as a king.", u/Luka_Magnotta, aka time traveler from the future, 31-Aug-2013,
  254. 2018-02: Bitcoin price to hit $27,000 by February 2018, Trace Mayer, host of the Bitcoin Knowledge Podcast, and self-proclaimed entrepreneur, investor, journalist, monetary scientist and ardent defender, Link #1:, Link #2:
  255. 2018-06: "Bitcoin will surpass $15,000 in June [2018]." John McAfee, May 25, 2018,
  256. 2018-07: Bitcoin will be $28,000 by mid-2018, Ronnie Moas, Wall Street analyst and founder of Standpoint Research,
  257. 2018-12: Bitcoin to reach a price of between 40,000 and 110,000 US dollars by the end of the 2017 bull run ... sometime before 2019, Masterluc, 26-May-2017, an anonymous "legendary" Bitcoin trader, Link #1:, Link #2:
  258. 2018-12: "There is no reason why we couldn’t see Bitcoin pushing $50,000 by December [2018]", Thomas Glucksmann, head of APAC business at Gatecoin, Link #1:
  259. 2018-12: Listen up you giggling cunts... who wants some? you want some?...huh? Do ya? Here's the deal you fuckin Nerds - Butts are gonna be at 30 grand or more by next Christmas [2018] - If they aren't I will publicly administer an electronic dick sucking to every shill on this site and disappear forever - Until then, no more bans or shadow bans - Do we have a deal? If Butts are over 50 grand me and Lammy get to be mods. Deal? Your ole pal - "Skully" u/10GDeathBoner, 3-Feb-2018
  260. 2018-12: 1 bitcoin = 1 Lambo. Remind me on Christmas eve [2018] u/10GDeathBoner, 3-Feb-2018,
  261. 2018-12: Been in BTC since 2014 and experienced many "deaths" of BTC... this too shall pass... $10k end of the year. [2018] u/Exxe2502, 30-Jun-2018
  262. 2018-12: "Yale Alumni prediction - 30 Grand by Christmas [2018] - and you my friend... you will be the one eating Mcafee's dick in 2020. :) -:", u/SirNakamoto, 15-Jun-2018,
  263. 2018-12: "Impossible For Bitcoin Not to Hit $10,000 by This Year (2018)", Mike Novogratz, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner, ex-hedge fund manager of the Fortress Investment Group and a longstanding advocate of cryptocurrency, 22-Sep-2018,
  264. 2018-12: "[Bitcoin] between $13,800 and $14,800 [by end of 2018]", Fundstrat's Tom Lee, 13-Dec-2018,
  265. 2018-12: "Bitcoin is going to be $15k-$20k by the end of the year (2018)", Didi Taihuttu, 1-Nov-2018,
  266. 2018-12: 2018 bitcoin price prediction reduced to $15,000 [was $25,000], Fundstrat's Tom Lee, 16-Nov-2018,
  267. 2018-12: "I want to be clear, bitcoin is going to $25,000 by year end (2018)", Fundstrat's Tom Lee, 5-Jul-2018,
  268. 2018-12: "Bitcoin could be at $40,000 by the end of 2018, it really easily could", Mike Novogratz, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner, ex-hedge fund manager of the Fortress Investment Group and a longstanding advocate of cryptocurrency, 21-Sep-2018,
  269. 2018-12: "Bitcoin will be priced around $50,000 by the end of the year (2018)", Bitcoin bull Arthur Hayes, co-founder and CEO of BitMEX, 29-Jun-2018,
  270. 2018-12: "Bitcoin could definitely see $50,000 in 2018", Jeet Singh, cryptocurrency portfolio manager, speaking in January 2018 at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
  271. 2018-12: "Bitcoin will hit $100,000 this year (2018)", Kay Van-Petersen, an analyst at Saxo Bank, 17-Jan-2018,
  272. 2018-12: "Bitcoin price to surpass the $100,000 mark by the end of 2018", Tone Vays, 21-Sep-2017,
  273. 2018-12: "Bitcoin’s Price Will Surpass the $100,000 Mark by the End of 2018", Anonymous ("author" obviously too embarrassed to put his name to such bullshit "articles"), Oct-2018,
  274. 2018-12: "Our [2018] year-end bitcoin target is $7700.", James Stefurak, Founder at Monarch Research. See article: "Experts Forecast Bitcoin will rise by 2019", REF:
  275. 2018-12: "... we’ll see the price rally reaching its all-time of high of around $20K before the end of 2018", Khaled Khorshid, Co-Founder at Treon ICO. See article: "Experts Forecast Bitcoin will rise by 2019", REF:
  276. 2018-12: Bitcoin will end 2018 at the price point of $50,000, Ran Neuner, host of CNBC’s show Cryptotrader and the 28th most influential Blockchain insider according to Richtopia,
  277. Plus a whole host of wrong 2019 predictions (could not be included here because of post character limit issues), so please see my earlier post from 4 days ago: Ummm, remember those "Expert" Bitcoin Price Predictions for 2019 ..... ohhhhh dear .....,
But it's NOT all bad news, some claims and promises are yet to be determined:
  1. Never going below $3K again
  2. Never going below $2K again
  3. Never going below $1K again
  4. Any others ? Please let me know.
submitted by Crypto_To_The_Core to Buttcoin [link] [comments]

The Devil at my Doorstep

A continuation of Something Wicked This Way Comes
In For A Penny, In For A Pound
Next Part
It was always silent in the cockpit. The material construction of the Dawn Bloom made sure that the roaring engines were nothing more a soft purr, and the flight helmet created an environment totally isolated from anything other than pilot-pertinent information. Mirri Jael Gerrem had always savored the feeling. It was like being freed from everything that was real; There was no boundary between her and the sky itself. Even during combat flights, she found a true exhilaration in the act of piloting. There was just something special about it to her, even after hundreds of hours of flight time.
There was none of that feeling to be found today. She could feel her hackles rise just thinking about the choice she’d made. Rationally, it was a mistake. Mirri had created a brand new world of trouble for herself and all of her remaining squad, assuming they still made it out alive. She was certain she could maneuver past the planet’s static orbital defenses and whatever other craft were trying to intercept from the surface, but she had no information about the vessel the Gray Corps had come in on. On top of that, there was the now extremely pressing issue of the planet’s general isolation. They were so far off the beaten path it would take them days to make it back to the stellar trade routes, and Mirri knew for a fact that there was no way they’d be able to outrun Second Solar on that scale.
That left one real option, albeit an extremely unpalatable one: Sending an SOS directly to Central Governance. Under normal circumstances, she would’ve seen it as unthinkable. Most carrier class ships had the capability to send out the Faster-than-lightspeed ping, but use of the line was often restricted to the worst of worst-case scenarios. Most in Mirri’s line of work would rather take a roll of the dice, no matter the odds, against involving the monolithic entity that was the galaxy’s sole governmental body.
They were making their approach into the upper atmosphere now. Her helmet HUD lit up a smattering of anti aircraft mines that had already activated in low orbit. She wouldn’t have the time to make the call once they made it up, and so she was left with yet another now or never decision.
Once again, she grit her teeth and followed through. She quickly flicked through the small-text warning that popped up in an attempt to dissuade the course of action, and before she could convince herself otherwise, the SOS was sent.
The cockpit was still dead silent. Mirri couldn’t even hear the sound of her own breathing.
A shudder ran through she ship, all the way up through the controls and into her suit. No matter how advanced the ship and its shielding, atmospheric exit was never going to be quick and clean. Long range scans had come back with hits on pursuing craft, though the Dawn Bloom had enough of a head start that it would be fully minutes until they hit atmospheric exit as well, if they were even capable of it. Most ships smaller than a carrier tended to forgo the necessary fortifications to shielding systems and frame strength and just taxi up as cargo of larger ships, but that would be heavily dependent on what ship brought them in, and where it was parked. Too many little questions and not nearly enough time to answer them. She’d be entering the minefield in a matter of moments, and then it would be time to put the Dawn Bloom through its paces.
Just before she shut off her communications to focus on the task at hand, she noticed that more blips were slowing up among the minefield. Slowly at first, and then faster and faster. Strange, they all should have shown up at once. There’s either an issue with the sensors, or the mines are...
Mirri started at the realization. There was a reason they weren’t being closely pursued, and it wasn’t just their speed-
“RUWAQ!” she screamed over the ship’s speakers, “GET TO A GUNNER’S CHAIR, THEY’VE GOT SPIKES ALL OVER THE PLACE UP HERE!”
Space warfare naturally calls for a different set of doctrines and strategies than a traditional battlefield. Chief among these is the natural difference in speed and mobility of powered craft in a fully three dimensional space, freed from the constraints of gravity. Weapons with physical projectiles require accurate sensors and tremendous amounts of computational power to fire accurately, and energy weapons have such a high rate of energy consumption that sustained fire is virtually impossible. These are complications that serve to blunt the casualty rates of most small scale conflicts between space-faring vessels, and are thus accepted as part and parcel of conflict. This gentleman's agreement, as it were, only extends to ships engaging in combat. On the stellar battlefield, firepower coupled with mobility leads to an overwhelming offense. These same tactics simply cannot apply to any attempt at a successful static defense, and so Central Governance turns a blind eye to the many ways that mine technology skirts, and oftentimes flagrantly breaks, the laws regarding banned weapons.
Despite this, there are still lines rarely crossed. The creation and proliferation of drone-based weapon technology is a regarded as a felony so severe by Central Governance that it is one of a handful of crimes still punishable by outright execution. While traditional mines use a simple two part sequence of manual activation followed by a per-determined flight pattern toward their intended target, Semi-Autonomous Mine Drones are a far different beast. Activated by proximity to any non-registered craft and loaded with a chasing AI, these weapons known colloquially as “spikes” are the terror of any pilot who finds themselves flying through any contested space. Virtually impossible to disarm, and nearly as hard to evade, a handful would be problem sizable enough to warrant military intervention if discovered in any place with a civilian population.
In a two hundred and fifty kilometer radius around the Dawn Bloom, ninety-seven of them had just activated and recognized the ship as their target.
“System! Dump all auxiliary batteries, power to engines! Full processing to automated defense calculations, unlock total access for all manual gun stations!”
“Actions are pending, Pilot verification required.”
“PIECE OF SHIT- Pilot authorization code is… 9912-55-14?” Mirri’s breath caught in her throat from the instant acceleration as the Dawn Bloom’s main AI systems immediately complied with her commands. The blips on her Pilot’s helmet were steadily closing in, and for every one marked destroyed by the ship’s automated defenses and Ruwaq’s ministrations from the gunnery chair another three took its place. As if trying to juke out the spikes wasn’t bad enough, there was a veritable curtain of standard mines that had been armed at their approach. Even if they had far simpler trajectories and no ability to properly track them, their sheer number was a problem all of its own. The defense calculations gave an intercept time of less than thirty seconds even after acceleration. They could expect to absorb at best three impacts before their shields gave way, and maybe survive a single direct hit to the hull on top of that. With the sheer volume of targets heading their way, Mirri had a difficult choice to make. They simply couldn’t operate shields, engines, and weapons at ideal levels. They were burning through battery reserves at an alarming rate for engine power, their shields couldn’t possibly mitigate enough impacts to be useful, and not nearly enough mines were being shot down en route to justify their weapons power budget. There wasn’t any helping it, she’d have to shunt everything off to engine and hope they had enough juice to outrace whatever fuel reserves the spikes had.
She was just about to authorize the switch over when the interception calculations began to change. First, from just over twenty seconds to twenty-five. Then from twenty-five to thirty, and a moment later to forty-five. The encroaching swarm of mines was slowly but surely falling behind, but they hadn’t picked up that much distance from their acceleration. Likewise, the ship’s AI was far too powerful to slip up something like a simple intercept calculation. Mirri wasn’t planning on looking a gift horse in the mouth though, and she counted whatever had served to sufficiently impede the closing speed of the weapons as a small blessing after being delivered a lifetime’s worth of bad luck in two days.
“Ruwaq! I’m going to route power away from the weapons, we’re starting to outpace the mines, and if we go at full burn we might make it clear of them altogether!” Mirri expected a quick “yes ma’am”, or “sure boss”, but she absolutely wasn’t prepared for her eardrums to be nearly blown out by Ruwaq’s howled reply.
The blips of the pursuing mines hadn’t fallen back from the sensor range, they’d been destroyed? Mirri barked out an order to swap her helmet’s HUD from a real time display to a slower updating long range view. Sure enough, a swathe had been carved out of the approaching wave, with even more winking out every sweep. With the time to intercept still increasing, it was looking like offense was going to be the best defense. A single command was enough to totally depower main shields, shunting the difference equally between the engines and weapons. The increase in firepower would hopefully make sure they could stay a step ahead of the mines, and the engines would be drawing at equilibrium with the ship’s power generation. All she had to do now was fly them out, but that was a task far more easily said than done. As she refocused, a passing thought suddenly gave her pause.
If Ruwaq is the only one in a gunner’s chair, why did he say “we”?
All things considered, Ryan could have been worse. His return through the forest was a bloody, half-remembered haze, and it turns out that god damn gun hadn’t worked after all… but he’d still made it back to the facility. On top of that, his little bet had wound up as a jackpot: A one way ticket off that fucking rock, paid in full. Sure, there were some complications. The fact that he was sitting in a chair meant for an alien two feet shorter than he was with his knees up to his chin, desperately firing away at what he was nearly certain was a wall of missiles with his one good hand wrapped around a control stick never meant for human hands got a strong “take it or leave it” from him. That was a strong contrast to the first aid that had been administered by the alien in the chair directly across from him, which had so far proven extremely effective at getting him back on his feet, at least for the moment.
For once, Ryan had something to be thankful about. Despite the stuff his wounds had been cleaned with stinging like hell, it had dulled the pain and more importantly revealed that the extent of the damage to his left eye was just around the socket. He had an awful shiner and the cut on his eyebrow was positively ghoulish and barely sutured shut, but none of that was even close to the relief of knowing he hadn’t lost the eye. His left arm was still totally useless, and judging by the horrible color it was broken in at least a couple places. The pain had fortunately ebbed to a dull throb, and Ryan had to imagine that whatever was in that shot he’d been administered was some crazy drug cocktail. He’d been on hospital grade painkillers after falling out a tree when he was a child, and he knew for a fact that anything that did this good of a job should just about knock you out too, and the fact that he was able to snap off shots on the approaching targets like they were moving in molasses all but ensured there’d be some special kind of hell to pay on the come down.
Another squeeze of the trigger, another satisfying pop on the display.
Ryan had just been coming out of his stupor when his… co-gunner? Had received a message that got it scrambling over to a side-compartment in the ship into one of three oddly shaped. He’d been curious what all the commotion was and followed the alien once he got his space-legs under him. It had been easy as sitting down, figuring out that basically all of the buttons on the stick did the same thing, and blasting away at everything painted with a slowly expanding violet circle on a black and white display. There had been some difficulty at first coordinating with the knobby-horned alien in the nearby seat. They’d been overlapping targets and wasting time, but having both reticles displayed on each screen allowed them to wordlessly communicate: Ryan would zip between closer rockets, and the alien would take his time with the one that were further out. He’d been afraid when one got through, but it’d been taken care of before impact by the pilot or maybe automatic defenses from the ship itself. Either way, he still judged it a dicey prospect to let any more past, and each minute was a nerve wracking test of reflexes.
He almost jumped out of his chair when the alien positively bellowed a reply to something crackled over the ship’s intercom system. Ryan almost broke his concentration, but still drew a bead on the closest group of missiles, lancing through them with a volley of shots. More were closing in quickly however, and in larger clusters. It felt like they were starting to lose ground despite the wall of flak they were putting up, and just as multiple groups entered close range his stream of fire widened into a torrent.
It was like sliding a knife across the screen. One after another, each group was sliced to ribbons by the deluge of bullets. Just as quickly as they’d lost it, they gained their ground back and then some. With each set of rockets destroyed, the rest of the pack fell further and further behind, until at last their closest targets were displayed as entirely out of range for the guns. The next few minutes passed slowly, with Ryan and the alien slowly but surely taking turns picking off any more that sneaked into range, but eventually the screens displayed only the star-fleckered backdrop of empty space.
Given a moment to breathe, Ryan became very, very aware of the exhaustion creeping up on him. Whatever had been in that shot had dealt with the pain and cleared his head, but it couldn’t make up for the days he’d spent nearly sleepless on the run after escaping the facility, and the months he had been…
Suffice to say, he was tired. A part of him didn’t even properly register it, but he had actually made good on his escape. He could feel his head nodding, and he crawled out of the chair before slumping down against the compartment’s wall. He got a look of what might’ve been concern from the other gunner, but the alien didn’t deign to leave it’s post. Probably for the best. Ryan mused as he slipped into slumber.
“… I trust that you understand the gravity of what you’re testifying to, Jael Gerrem. This is an extremely serious set of accusations if true, and if not, there will likewise be severe repercussions for leveling them. Do I have your word that all events transpired as described without omission on threat of perjury, and acknowledgment that forfeiture of all requested data assets to Central Governance will be required to corroborate your accounts?”
“Yes, I understand and accept.”
Calling it an interrogation room would have been disingenuous. While it certainly lacked creature comforts, Field Judiciary Fongkhe Rhh was not a cruel man and would not tolerate any reflection of such a thing in his work space. What he was, however, was uncompromising. He had been conducting a longform interview of a Ruunon Private Security Force member for nearly a week now, and had forced her to recount her story no less than two dozen times in full in that time. Every retelling would show cracks and flaws in any lies or inaccuracies, and serve as mortar for the truth. He had made certain that Jael Gerrem was well rested before the interviews started and thoroughly briefed as to their rigors. Rhh took his work very seriously, and had tirelessly sorted through the transcribed information from each version of the account, and he was now satisfied that he had pared every uncertainty away from the events as they had transpired. To the Pilot’s credit, there was fairly little revision to the account after he had endeavored to separate confirmed fact from speculation and created two cohesive sets of information: Confirmable truths, and informed inferences that could reasonably drawn from those truths by an individual living moment to moment in a given situation. Rhh had legendary patience even by Portiian standards, but he still very glad to have finalized his work on this matter. There was a lot at stake here for all parties, but he hoped a deserved outcome met each of them.
Across the table, Mirri couldn’t help but fidget a bit. She’d always had problems getting along with Portiians, not because of any bad blood or prejudice, but because they took so damn long to get anything done. Portiian bureaucracy was glacial at best, with a strong tendency to wildly overthink everything and spend ages haggling over the tiniest differences in wording and policy. This made them oftentimes infuriating to work with on time sensitive matters, but if getting to the bottom of everything that happened at that Second Solar facility meant spending a week telling the exact same story, she’d do it and do it again if required. Recounting the events had been gut wrenching the first few times, but with each retelling it stung less and less. She idly wondered if that was a good or bad thing as the Judiciary leisurely tapped away on the ethereal keypad of a body mounted computer system. She could see the telltale electronic flicker of the retina mounted display as it blinked off, and the Portiian folded both sets of his fingers together and hummed out his affirmation.
“Considering the circumstances surrounding this case, I hope you will understand our need to retain you in custody for the time being. Rest assured, I have spent every working hour doing my upmost to deduce the bedrock truth of the events that transpired on Exoplanet 399-Solar-2. With your testimony of the past duly accepted and notarized, I am now at liberty to discuss with you matters of the present. I suspect you have your own share of questions, and I will endeavor to answer you as best as I am legally able. Please think it a courtesy in light of your patience with procedure.” the judiciary, whose body language had been positively stony the past week, relaxed ever so slightly as he gently slid the desk’s magnetically attached thermos across to her. Mirri took the opportunity to pour herself an (unfortunately) mild drink. She would’ve preferred something something with a bite, but at least the stuff was hot and didn’t taste like trash. Savoring the heat, she took a quick moment to sort out her thoughts before launching into her own questions.
It had been almost ten days now since the Dawn Bloom’s SOS ping had brought a Central Governance heavyweight intervention class ship far off the beaten path and deep into Second Solar owned space. Burning a breakneck pace had burned through all of the ship’s power reserves in a matter of hours, and the engines were beginning to run low on fissionable materials when the massive ship had crashed out of its superluminal pocket a few light minutes away. Mirri had gotten shields up in time to prevent any structural damage to the ship, but the electromagnetic pulse was still enough to ruin the majority of unprotected electronics on board. This thankfully included most of the ship’s illegal systems and a handful of its weapons, something she had been actually been counting on when making the initial call for help. It was still a risk of course, but her time with Ruunon’s military served as insight into some of the policies and protocol of Central Governance, and it hadn’t let her down here. They had been plucked from their unguided trajectory shortly thereafter, and whatever opening salvo of questions and procedures that had been prepped for them was stopped cold by the revelation that they were carrying an undocumented sapient with open wounds on board. Mirri, Ruwaq, and the sapient himself were rushed for sterilization and treatment, while Luro’s medical bed was carted off to the heart of the ship’s medical center for immediate surgery.
She’d spent nearly three days in bed, pumped full of antibiotics with periodic visits from the ship’s surgeon to glue all of her ribs back together. It was great to breathe without the “stab wound” feeling, but it was going to be a strange few months dealing with a shaved chest and stomach. Even though she liked to keep her hair short for a variety of reasons, the feeling of clothes directly on her skin was just plain wrong.
She shifted uncomfortably under the baggy unisex jumpsuit she wore; Mirri was on the short side for a Ruunon. Even though both sexes of the race were frequently involved in public and military affairs within the galaxy, she was a full size under average and so anything designed for one of her peers ended up fitting her like a garbage bag. As if being shaved down to the skin wasn’t bad enough. she grumbled inwardly. She finished off her drink, setting the empty cup down and clearing her throat.
“Alright, I have plenty to ask… First, though: How is Luro doing?” Mirri didn’t have high hopes for his prognosis, but she had to imagine that a Central Governance ship outfitted with a medical bay sizable enough to be converted into a field hospital would be the best care he could’ve received. For goodness sake, the gun had gone straight through his suit and gotten stuck in his chest.
“Your Yrarak squadmate has received all the treatment we are capable of rendering at this time. His condition has stabilized, but under constant medical monitoring and will be for the foreseeable future. It is clear to me that you were fully aware of the severity of his condition at the time you departed from the facility, and I will thus inform you that his medical prognosis points to permanent disability at best. Had he been directly sent to a treatment center of the caliber available on this vessel, there is a chance that most of the damage could have been reversed. Considering the amount of time that had passed between the injury and first aid, and then also the delay before reaching us… I believe the medical staff did everything they could do.” Rhh wasn’t one to mince words, but his tone had changed from when he had conducted the interviews. Mirri blew a heavy sigh, the air whistling ever so slightly out of her nose.
“What about Ruwaq, and the-” Mirri almost said “Bastard”. Now that she was out of the moment, she’d had time to start processing what exactly had happened down there. She’d been able to keep her head together, but with more and more distance to everything that had transpired and constant reminders of the sheer brutality of the “sapient’s” rampages from the interviews… She had begun to second guess her thoughts on the matter. He’d been smart enough to not only figure out and successfully employ their own firearms against them, but he’d also hopped right into a second gunner’s chair and scythed through the oncoming barrage of mines with startling efficiency. Ruwaq had patched into the cockpit as soon as the immediate threat to their shit was over, and hurriedly told his version of events. Mirri wondered if he’d embellished or exaggerated, but those were both totally out of character for the extremely straight forward Lorram. She had suspicions that there was a lot more at play here than she’d initially assumed, but thankfully none of that bullshit mattered much anymore. Sooner or later she’d be out of custody, and she had way bigger fish to fry. Namely, Haess. That slimy sonovabitch was going to get what was coming to him, and Mirri couldn’t wait to see it happen.
“-unidentified sapient?” she finished, lamely. The Portiian judiciary looked at her quizzically, and then waggled his head in a soft no.
“Ruwaq Mahr was in perfect health and fine spirits when I spoke to him this morning. His testimony has already been notarized and will be included with your own in the finalized report. On the subject of the unidentified sapient, I hope you will understand that his very existence and retrieval is a crux of all events that occurred on Exoplanet 399 Solar-2. I am simply not at liberty to discuss any new information pertaining to the individual with you Jael Gerrem, with a singular exception: Your medical records have marked you as free from any unknown pathogens, along with Ruwaq Mahr and your Yrarak companion. As your medical examinations were up to Central Governance standards, no additional quarantines will be necessary. Furthermore-” The judiciary was interrupted by a brief electronic chirping. He quickly flicked his retinal display back on before slumping his shoulders to betray the slightest bit of exasperation.
“Please have my apologies Jael Gerrem, but my presence is being demanded elsewhere. Since the interviews have concluded, it is unlikely I will be troubling you for more information in the short term. The vessel is slated to arrive at the nearest core system in the next five days, after which we will begin the process of administering justice to this situation. After initial hearings, it is likely that you will be allowed to return to your place of residence and resume your day-to-day life. I hope the best for your continued recovery, and goodbye.” With a quick half-squat farewell, the Portiian hurried out of the room to attend to whatever other business was demanding his attention.
Mirri was less than enthused about the judiciary’s swift departure, but at least she’d have some time to herself for a change. She took some time to sort out the effects she’d been given for her stay in custody. A blunt toothed comb, an extra change of clothes, a chunky computer pad with a handful of basic programs… It wasn’t a whole lot, but she didn’t need a lot right now. Soon enough she’d be back home, and then she could figure out what to do next. There were plenty of options, of course. She had a sterling resume, fantastic credentials and an entire squad worth of references.
Had a squad worth of them. Mirri had been trying very hard the past week to keep that out of her mind. She’d launched face first into the interviews to keep that thought from creeping up on her, and she was sure it had worked. Each day she’d spent recounting things was another step away from living them. After the third day, it was like rattling off a grocery list. It was totally separate from the smell of blood, the sound of Nashhe’s neck snapping under the hands of beastly being that she’d been forced to work with and had even rescued. She lay down on the room’s narrow bed, lights slowly dimming to match her lack of activity. She didn’t sleep; Battling back her waking thoughts was so much easier than fighting off her dreams.
Arenrett peered through the two-way mirror, still trying to make sense of the wildly conflicting information she had received about this mysterious sapient. Second Solar’s pockets and influence ran deep, enough that she had been given permission to come aboard the Central Governance Interceptor after hailing them for both medical attention and briefing on the situation. They’d done a passable job of fixing her jaw given the scope of their equipment and lack of surgical talent, and she couldn’t fault them for reasonable shortcomings. She could always get further work done by corporate medical down the line, and the patch up was enough to get her back to work. Work that was of absolute importance to the future of her career, given that there was still a chance for her to salvage this situation without further involving high level management. She had already received word back on her initial assessment, urging discretion and advising that in light of the escalating situation her performance in the field would be re-evaluated accordingly. This was all but carte blanche for her to employ whatever methods were necessary to not balloon this into a massive scandal, and so she had requested to sit in on every interaction the on-ship xeno-biologists had with their new specimen. She’d spent days sorting through the testimonies of the surviving Klorrent personnel, and was beginning to piece together a version of events that would both hold up to public scrutiny and allow upper management to sidestep a scandal by offloading responsibility for the incident onto the best kind of scapegoat: A dead one.
Data recovered and decrypted from the on-world genome research facility painted a grim picture. The lead scientist at the facility had been so eager for new samples that she was willing to source specimens from questionable providers to continue her work. The sapient had arrived as part of an undocumented shipment, and had eventually broken free from captivity to slay not only the facility staff, but nearly two full teams of PSF contractors as well. The call for a discreet solution had come from a middle manager (who was virtually guaranteed to commit suicide in the next few days), and by the time the Gray Corps had arrived the problem had spiraled far out of control due breakdowns in communication and negligent local management. It was an understandable, easy to digest version of events that leveled the right amount of scrutiny at Second Solar for letting such a situation fall through the cracks while also absolving them of total wrongdoing. Best of all, it was even sort of true. The data they had recovered was going to be sent under the microscope at corporate, but the narrative she’d spent a week packaging was only sweetened by the results of initial attempts at communication with the sapient.
Despite a limited functional vocabulary, he had given Arenrett a glut of options when it came to spinning the portrayal of events. According to the testimony notarized by Field Judiciary Fongkhe Rhh, the sapient called itself a “Human”, and was from hitherto undiscovered pre-industrialized race. Humans apparently had an understanding of basic agricultural and metallurgical technology and this one was at least aware of the concept of writing, though he was totally illiterate. What was far more important were his additions to the events leading up to this entire disaster. His account included a number of extremely welcome bombshells, not the least of which was that he had been undergoing medical treatment during his time in the facility. He made it clear that he had been suffering from some form of illness prior to his abduction, and he had been cured of it during the time he was present at the facility. After recovering from his treatments on the ship (at an alarming rate, given the extent of his injuries) he was given a clean bill of health, thanks in no small part to the discovery of a pre-installed bacterial regulation implants courtesy of the genome research facility. This revelation not only resulted in an early lift of quarantine for crew that had come into contact with the rescued Klorrent members, but allowed the medical staff to conduct their interviews face-to-face.
In hindsight, that had been a mistake. The human had a number of objections to the proposed tests, most of which had involved him smashing things apart with his bare hands. This had luckily not included any personnel, but as the human had become more forthcoming with information after each session it spent in front of translation hardware, Arenrett too came to a better understanding of what had gone wrong planet-side.
The human had displayed an extreme reluctance to deal with needles or injectors of any kind right out the gate, and it was a minor miracle that he’d already been unconscious prior to the surgeries on his left arm. As his account unfolded word by halting word, it all came down to a handful of deadly mistakes from the staff at the facility: The human had been given an injection that prompted a severe allergic or psychotic reaction without proper restraining procedures in place, and without correct implementation of facility lockdown protocol, he had smashed his way through the staff and out into the woods. By the time the effects of the drugs had worn off, Ourous’ commando squad was already on the hunt. Everything from that point could be chalked up to justifiable self defense, especially considering some of things he’d been taught at the facility during his stay. Whoever thought it would be wise to teach a sapient that had considered bronze the pinnacle of weapons technology how to use a firearm was an imbecile, but she had known enough laboratory types for it to be truly out of character for them.
That still left some minor incongruence between the official account she was looking over and some of events described by the both the Ruunon and the Lorram. Of particular concern was the claim that the human had displayed an understanding of wireless communications when coordinating a way off world. This was easily explained as a quirk of the Ruunon’s memory, especially under the influence of temporarily altered brain chemistry… but even so, Arenrett couldn’t help but feel like she was missing something. Events had slipped into a reasonable timeline, the players had gone into depth about the course of their actions and everything was forecasting a highly favorable outcome for both Second Solar and her own career.
She watched the human for a time. He paced back and forth in front of the mirror, cagey but not on edge. He placed his hand up against the two-way mirror, looking down to his massive hand. His brow furrowed, and the Nerie wondered what exactly was going through that mind of his. She honestly had no idea what Central Governance had planned for the human, and once this case was wrapped up she had no need to know. Arenrett knew trouble when she saw it, and no translator or integration service was going to take the beast out of this one. Thankfully, they’d be back to a hub system in a few more days and she could bid this awful job farewell once and for all. She idly wondered what she ought to do with her bonus once she was back as she tapped idly on her personal computer system.
Between that and her work, it was no surprise she was too engrossed to notice the human’s eyes following her through the mirror.
It was 9 o’clock on a weekday morning, and Mirri Jael Gerrem was already drunk. It had been almost four months since she’d finished the hearings for Central Governance, and just about everything had gone totally tits-up in that time: Second Solar had dodged almost all public outrage in light of the absolutely ridiculous mock-up of events they’d published, Klorrent Private Security Force had fully disbanded leaving her jobless, and all of her friends were still dead.
She took another swig of her drink, and sniffed at her clothes. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d showered, and trash littered her living room. She’d would’ve been absolutely disgusted by all of this half a year ago, but things were different half a year ago. At least she’d had the pleasure of witnessing old man Klorrent hang Haess out to dry. The wily out bastard had scrubbed himself clean of any wrongdoing, and parked not only the responsibility of her team’s deaths squarely on him but also the ownership of the Dawn Bloom. Her ex-boss was now facing years of incarceration, and she’d even taken home a fat severance check.
She took another swig. Yup, still tastes expensive.
Mirri was slowly but surely scheduling out the rest of her day (To be included: more drinking, maybe food) when the front buzzer rang, startling her so badly that she tumbled face first to the floor. She picked herself up unsteadily from the pile of wrappers that littered the front of her couch, and staggered to the door. She hadn’t recalled placing any orders, but sometimes the drunk Mirri from last night bought presents for the drunk Mirri this morning. That’s what people meant when they talked about self-care, right?
The buzzer rang again. Didn’t your parents teach you patience is a virtue? What kinda useless shit did you learn at doorbell school? She scratched under her shirt, double checking to make sure that she was wearing pants before opening the door. She had to reach up to activate the release, and she stepped back as the massive doorway slid open to reveal the hall, and a very nervous looking Berdill woman looking up at her. She fidgeted, looking positively diminutive standing by herself in front of the Lorram sized entryway. The rent on her oversized apartment was a little steep, sure. The extra space more than made up for it though, and Mirri always savored the surprise of catching delivery people off guard.
Curiously, the Berdill wasn’t carrying anything for delivery. In fact, rather than a deliveryman’s attire she was dressed to the nines in full formal wear. What was someone like that doing here and now? Mirri was virtually certain she’d at least paid her rent for the month, and she didn’t recall having any outstanding debts… She was suddenly a bit more self-conscious about her slovenly appearance, but not enough to want to do anything about it.
So she broke the ice.
“Yeah, so whattadya want?” The woman winced at the rasp in Mirri’s voice. Maybe she should’ve gone for some water before starting on the booze this morning. Oh well, too little, too late.
“I’m Geriddyta Bossssk, representing the Phytton branch of the Unified Galactic Central Governance Bureau of Sapient Affairs.” the woman practically squeaked. Mirri had always thought the little fellas were kind of cute, in an awfully ugly way. They were probably a good word for that, but it was sitting on a mental shelf just out of reach. “I need to confirm that you are Mirri Jael Gerrem, and that this is your legal place of residence. Is that correct?”
“Sure am and sure is, unless I’ve been squatting in the wrong apartment for the last four years.”
“Haha, that is very funny! Since you’ve confirmed that, I have someone with me who’s been very eager to meet you! We’ve come along way for this, haven’t we-” The tail end of the Berdill’s statement was cut short by the heavy thump of footsteps approaching. The sound reverberated through the hallway, and Mirri’s breath caught in her throat as a massive shadow fell over her guest at the door. At once, he swung into view, planting a foot on either side of her tiny visitor and dropping directly into a squat. The very thing she’d spent months drinking to forget was now face to face with her, teeth bared in a mirthless grin. Without breaking eye contact, he gave his greeting.
“Hello Mirri, I’m Ryan. It’s so good to see you again.
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i don't like doing this but here we are

this should be 10 thousand words
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Real Naps - YouTube 1X2 Home -- Draw -- Away: Expected Odds Calculation & Setting of Market Prices Betting on horse racing - Working out place odds from win odds The 2020 Mortgage Crisis Explained Forecast an odds movement ? from

A reverse forecast is two straight forecast bets i.e: 1st horse selected to beat 2nd horse selected and 2nd horse selected to beat 1st horse selected. So you choose two selections and it is two separate forecast bets. What is a combination forecast? This is the same as a reverse forecast. A combination forecast is all possible forecasts in all Forecast betting entails making a prediction about which horse, dog or occasionally other participant will finish first, second and sometimes third in any given race or event. In horse and dog racing the odds are usually calculated officially depending on the “to win” odds of the top two and the other runners. Reverse Forecast. If you Example. 1.50 at Newmarket, No. 1x2 Reverse Forecast or RFC £1.00 In effect you want 1x2 for 50p or 2x1 for 50p. To calculate the bet, the race must be completed and a dividend declared for the placed a $55 reverse bet you would be staking a total of $110 – $55 on one if bet and $55 on the other. The following table shows how many if bets are included in a reverse bet based on the number of selections. Note that the number of if bets increases exponentially as the selections increase. It’s worth bearing this in mind when placing Of course you can only work out the forecast returns once the races are run and the dividend is announced, but this is still a very useful tool. In fact it is the only bet calculator I know of that lets you calculate a reverse forecast. There is an option to do a single, double and treble forecast or reverse forecast too.

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Real Naps - YouTube

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