The new economy – ready or not, here it comes

By Morf Morford

Tacoma Daily Index

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m from an era where, ideally at least, goods and services had established prices – and any given currency had a stable, predictable value.

It might have been a gold standard or any other object with a fixed value, but the economy, and the mental health of many of us was premised upon stable and predictable values of everything from fuel to shoes to housing costs.

How would a contractor, in today’s economy, take a bid for a home when building materials flex 10% to 20% over a month? If they are available at all.

Or labor; how should labor be valued? Paying for labor by the hour seems increasingly irrelevant.

College degrees, once inherently valued (perhaps for no particular reason) are currently a financial burden far more than a foundation for a career.

Those once common ideals seem naive, even preposterous to many young people now.

Student debt, for example, at the worst possible time, in a young person’s career trajectory, hijacks investments and entrepreneurial ventures.

Housing costs, almost routinely now, increase by double digits annually on an almost predictable basis.

NFTs and cybercurrencies, like the most alluring of ponzi-schemes beckon investors with promises of fortunes made on the basis of anything except labor or added value of any kind.

Like many in my profession, I read constantly and have a wide range of contacts and sources. Much of what I read falls along fairly predictable lines of economic philosophies, but some baffles me entirely.

Here’s an “explanation” of a cyber-currency “bridge” that eludes any comprehension from me.

But then again, as if any of us needed a reminder, many of us are not their target customer.

Spacewalk will enable Pendulum chain to utilize the multitude of fiat stable tokens on the Stellar blockchain and help build the fiat DeFi future. Spacewalk is the first bridge between the Stellar network and the Polkadot/Kusama ecosystems, which opens up a flow of stable tokens from the Stellar network. Based on XCLAIM and interBTC, it is implemented as a Substrate pallet and allows any Substrate-based blockchain to implement a direct Stellar bridge.

You can see the full article here.

Who among us knew (or even still know) anything about SWIFT? In summary, SWIFT ( exchanges cross-border payment and reporting for nations and world class financial players.

Russia, a major player in cyber-currencies is looking at revisiting the gold standard (with the ruble pegged at 5,000 to a gram of gold).

Increasing interest rates and rising inflation are only a couple pieces of this emerging puzzle of the resetting economy.

Speed and scale

Besides the pace and incoherence, the sheer scope of financial dealings is boggling.

In 2021, for example, scammers took a record $14 billion in cryptocurrency, thanks in large part to the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, according to new data from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

That was an increase of 79% from 2020.

DeFi, by the way, is a rapidly growing sector of the crypto market that aims to cut out middlemen, such as banks, from traditional financial transactions, like securing a loan. In other words, you can say good-bye to standard guidelines, accountability and security.

This is not your father’s FDIC insured bank account.

DeFi transaction volume grew 912% in 2021.

Cryptocurrency theft rose 516% from 2020, to $3.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency. Of this total, 72% of stolen funds were taken from and through DeFi protocols.

The IRS Criminal Investigation agency seized more than $3.5 billion worth of cryptocurrency in 2021 — all from non tax investigations.

More good than bad in the crypto economy

Crypto-related crime may be at an all-time high, but researchers find that the growth of legitimate cryptocurrency usage far outstrips the growth of criminal usage.

Transactions involving illicit addresses represented an all-time low (in 2021) of just 0.15% of the $15.8 trillion in total crypto trade volume.

Even the “traditional” economy looks different

Thanks to inflation (especially wrapped around fuel and food) the average American family is spending over $325 extra each month. That doesn’t count housing – and, even more importantly, no one of us is “average;” some of us will be hit far harder than others.

And some economies, and individuals, as in 2008-09, will not recover at all.

Some strategies to help make it through these difficult and unpredictable times are to be extra diligent when it comes to budgeting and shopping, don’t rely on (or expand your dependence on) credit cards.

And, whatever else you do, do NOT stop contributing to your retirement fund.

Whether inflation increases or not, you will be thankful for every dollar you put aside now.