ARB Letter - Cardano and the Taliban
001 - Afghanistan the Graveyard of Empires, ARKK, and Crypto
Exotic market intelligence.
Friday - August 20th 2021
Bullish social chaos & weary of a broader correction soon, overweight ETH and BTC. I’m hearing a shit ton on twitter, reddit, and broader web about SOL (Solana).
Bitcoin and Ethereum prices have surged in the past week with Ethereum rival Cardano (ADA), a public blockchain platform, making a massive move higher to the $2.40 range (ADA makes up 5% of my crypto portfolio currently). I think is one of the alts you need exposure to. Wish I bought more.
Without a major sell off today, today will mark the 200th session without a drawdown of at least 5% from the S&P 500’s recent top, making the current full stratospheric send the longest duration since 2016
OnlyFans the website where fans and simps pay “creators” for their naughty photos and videos, announced a plan to ban “sexually explicit” content. Seems like you definitely need that piece of the business but who knows.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating TSLA after several cars went full Decepticon and crashed.
Pershing Square Tontine Holdings, the SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) run by Bill Ackman the billionaire hedge-fund size king was sued on Tuesday by Robert Jackson, former S.E.C. commissioner, and John Morley, a law professor at Yale University
Michael Burry's Scion Asset Management showed Monday in a 13-F filing to have purchased 2,355 put contracts on ARKK during the 2Q, a bet against nearly 235,500 shares of the ETF (fat short bet)
ARKK has fallen 3.53% YTD and 4.97% since the second quarter began on April 1. My shit is getting pushed in on ARKK and ARKG (-10%)
Krispy Kreme is raising prices in September because of inflation. Disturbing.
China tech stocks have dipped again as regulators intro new antitrust laws
Treasury inflation-protected securities, known as Tips, have continued to be a winning play (3.9% yield), outperforming junk bonds and corporate bonds.
This week I bought more PLTR calls and shares, BTC, and some SWBI Call Options with December expiry. I personally think there is a chance we are headed back into lockdown this Fall/Winter if the Delta Variant does not calm down or we see a cold weather induced resurgence, so I have moved a bit more into cash (15%) to buy a potential dip or add blue chip crypto at a discount. I’m bullish on general societal decay, unrest/riots, and tension at the moment, hence the SWBI calls. I may play with some VSTO calls in the next month as well.
I am also short airlines, after riding the JBLU March 2020 recovery I have now sold and positioned against airlines with January 2022 Puts. The jury would appear to still be out on a number of excellent Covid performers like SPOT, PTON, ETSY, SQ, and TSLA. It will be interesting to see if they can continue their respective uptrends despite partial re-openings and wavering bullish trajectories. Would love the chance to buy more AMZN, FB, NVIDIA, and MSFT at a juicier level for the long term.
Afghanistan the Graveyard of Empires.
With the recent swift departure of all US Forces from Afghanistan we’ve seen an absolute shit-show unfold in Kabul. This was after Taliban forces retook the whole fucking country on foot with a handful of DSHK dripped out Toyotas and sandy Ak-47s. Osama Bin Laden Killer and former Seal Team 6 member Rob O’neill, said recently on the Nelk Boys Podcast, “September 12th 2001 we could kick the shit out of them, we had B-52s, stealth bombers, SF guys, CIA operatives on the ground killing them… Al Qaeda, we could do it again…. we could crush them”. In the early years in Afghanistan perhaps progress was made with laxxer rules of engagement, calculated Special Forces efforts, and post 9/11 patriotism tailwinds.
While it didn’t come without challenges, a positive impact was made in the early to mid 2000’s on the ground through education, assimilation, and cooperation with the Afghan people. A limited force remained in latter years to keep the Taliban in check and work on advancing the broader country (in theory). Unfortunately it is clear, that even after $89 Billion dollars, untold profits for Defense/Military Industrial firms, and 20 years of blood, the efforts were largely wasted as we watch the Afghan National Army get thirsted, surrendering the country to the Titty Boi Taliban way too quickly.
From what I can see in the veteran/military community online that I follow, it seems the general sentiment is frustration, anger, and a mix of hopelessness at how this current administration executed the pull out. I could be wrong but word on the street is Trump’s plan allowed for a more gradual pullback accompanied by military force. Initially I am reading online Biden may have disregarded warnings by Generals and Military officials against simply hauling ass without any support and yeeting dudes off C-17s.
If you’ve educated yourself on even the high level history of Afghanistan than you’re likely aware it's been the achilles heel of multiple massive empires. Afghanistan murks people. First, the British in 1839, 1878, and 1919 in the storied Anglo Afghan wars. Then against the absolute size unit of a country the Soviet Union in 1979 until nearly 1989. The Soviets fought an aggressive and questionable war against the Mujahideen killing over 2 Million Afghan civilians in the process and STILL couldn’t conquer the country (they left in shame in 1989). Why we thought any prolonged conflict would end well? Anyone’s guess. Fast forward to today and it seems we have repeated the mistakes of Saigon and absolutely botched a pull out (Thad Castle would be disgusted).
The situation is dire. Many saw amateur videos of Afghan civilians falling to their deaths off of departing C-17 planes circulating twitter, a sobering glimpse of true conflict and desperation. Another video showed a man caught in the wheel well, flying back and forth like an inflatable car dealer balloon - rag - doll hybrid. The Taliban have occupied Kabul, killing collaborators, and have begun to sexually enslave tens of thousands of women and children. The president’s only address to the nation was 20 minutes and it’s clear that Biden intends to shrug this one off or simply doesn’t really understand what’s going on? Surprisingly even left leaning media outlets have turned on him a bit in the past few days. How was this so bad?
While it would be inappropriate to put the entirety of the weight of Afghanistan on Biden, it is now obvious that the WAY in which this administration left the country all but ensured absolute disaster. The Taliban made out like absolute bandit size lords seizing weapons caches, hummers, MRAPs, helicopters, sensitive documents, drones, even sensitive biometric data on Afghans working with the US (no bueno, the Taliban are already killing door to door). Approximately 75,000 vehicles and 600,000 weapons captured in total. The Taliban are in complete control, getting ice cream, working out in US base gyms, and trading their AK-47s for kitted out M4s and US Army Machine Guns, despite ongoing bargaining pleas and diplomacy efforts being made by the US. That’s enough on this for now, but this one doesn’t feel good to me. It feels like a serious L for us internationally and at home. Ultimately I do believe we needed to leave but this, this was incredibly sloppy at best, unacceptable and deliberate negligence at worst.
Disclaimer: None of this is to be deemed financial advice I am literally not in any way shape or form qualified to give you any kind of financial advice. All opinions are my own.