Triple Witching Friday
036: Crypto, Odyssey, and Private Military Contractors
Happy Friday everyone, hope your St Patricks Day hangovers have subsided by now if you choose to participate. A choppy week as the Fed commits to a measly 25Bps rate hike, markets see some relief, and crypto separates itself for the time being in a positive way.
We are excited to announce a key partnership for the Arbitrage Andy and Arb Letter brands. We’ve partnered with the community app Odyssey to have a live chat room where we can discuss crypto and stocks in real time as a group. Worth mentioning that the app is still in beta mode and is currently only available on the iPhone app store. Android and desktop versions are set to launch in 2Q22.
Now is the early time to get in before the app sees a massive surge in usage. They have some major partnerships with celebrities and key brands, and we are excited to build out the community on a new platform with less restrictions than legacy social media.
I will be posting investment ideas and updates on how I am thinking about the markets in this group throughout the week but it’s also a great place to learn from others that may have more experience. The other major advantage of Odyssey and one of the key reasons I chose them as a partner is that their platform is focused on less censorship and more on creators. If you’ve ever used Discord, it’s annoying and frequently becomes too cluttered and busy - Odyssey is simple, straight forward, and allows for our entire community to crowdsource investment ideas, themes, and risks.
Remember my commentary on investments and markets is not financial advice, you should always make your own informed decisions.
Odyssey is the place where people come to find the most interesting groups to chat in real time - from investing, fashion, music, eSports, cooking, to even joining group chats of the creators, artists, entrepreneurs and celebrities that you look up to.
Look forward to seeing you on there!!!
MARKETS & CRYPTO
Markets reacted semi positively to a weak rate hike of 25 Bps this week which is the equivalent of a drop of water on a burning house fire. But, I am not complaining as most assets seem to be responding positively including cryptocurrencies. Hopefully we see a meaningful seperation from legacy assets that are struggling with the prospect of future hikes, supply chain issues, and geo political turmoil that seems to be intensifying by the day. I remain bullish on crypto and cautious in adding significantly to any of my equity positions here.
The S&P 500 edged higher early on Friday morning, staying on track for its best week since November 2020, as investors and traders digested the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate increase and continue to monitor developments in Ukraine.
#Bitcoin searches on Google have dropped to a six-month low. Interesting.
In a quarterly event known as triple witching, roughly $3.5 trillion of single-stock and index-level options are set to expire today, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. At the same time, more near-the-money options are maturing than at any time since 2019 -- suggesting a bevy of investors will actively trade around those positions (Yahoo Finance). Stay safe trading today folks!!!! And once again, this triple witching coincides with a rebalancing of benchmark indexes including the S&P 500 -- a combination that tends to spark single-day volumes that rank among the highest of the year.
Crypto app installs grew over 400% in 2021 according to Apptopia
Taiwanese Crypto Exchange MaiCoin Considering Nasdaq IPO, sources Say
Russia’s Central Bank held its monetary policy steady and maintained its key interest rate at 20%, but warned of the possibility of considerable uncertainty as the country’s economy shifts into a “large-scale structural transformation.”
I am optimistic for a nice short to medium term rally across asset classes as an initial rate hike is digested and specific assets prove their worth in the face of increasing macro pressure. Tech is likely due for a small bounce but I wouldn’t put on any serious size now as a black swan event could certainly send us tumbling lower.
Tensions are at an all time as the international community continues to choose sides in the Ukraine Russia conflict. It seems in recent weeks relations between Russia and China have become more amicable with Russian political elites traveling to China over the last week. Putin has confirmed that he has no intention of leaving Ukraine and has used inflammatory language aimed at his own people and his enemies, recently going as far as to say:
"The collective West is attempting to splinter our society," Putin said in a video address shared on Twitter. "Speculating on military losses, on socio-economic effects of sanctions, in order to provoke a people's rebellion in Russia."
"But any people, the Russian people especially, are able to distinguish true patriots from bastards and traitors, and will 'spit them out,'" he said of those who do not back the Kremlin.
"I am certain that this necessary and natural self-cleaning of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, togetherness, and our readiness to answer any calls to action," (Military.com)
A comprehensive report about the ongoing federal probe into Hunter Biden’s tax filings published by the New York Times on Wednesday night confirmed the existence of the first son’s infamous laptop (NY Post)
Crazy that this was actually true huh? lol not really, I always knew it was. The contents of that laptop are FUBAR. The implications of this revelation and his involvement with the Ukrainian Energy company Burisma is nothing short of damning for the situation we are watching unfold in Ukraine. While the rabbit hole is likely deep, you can assume that massive money laundering has been going on between Hunter, potentially the administration, and the Ukrainian Government. Sketch to say the least. Stay based Kings.
Moderna announced on Thursday that it's asked the US Food and Drug Administration for authorization for a second Covid-19 booster shot for everyone 18 and older. Why? Seriously. Why? Because the stock price is down? God I am so over this bullshit that has now been 100% proven it’s bullshit by how quickly we forgot it to promote a foreign war that undoubtedly benefits the elites in some way. Insanity. Stop complying with this.
No casualties have been reported so far after an aircraft repair plant in Lviv near the Polish border, was hit Friday morning by several missiles
Around Twenty-one people were killed and 25 wounded on Thursday morning from Russian artillery fire surrounding Merefa, near Kharkiv’
A Belgian businessman sanctioned by the U.S. over allegations of illicit gold trade in Congo said Friday the action undermines efforts to improve transparency in a region seeing rising official exports of the mineral. The U.S. announced sanctions late Thursday targeting Alain Goetz and African Gold Refinery, a Uganda-based company that has been in business since 2014.
The company is among several linked to Goetz that are “involved in the illicit movement of gold valued at hundreds of millions of dollars per year” from Congo, the Treasury Department said in a statement (US News).
One of the more interesting dynamics of the Ukraine Russia conflict is the use of Mercenary groups on both sides of the fight. The Russians have scaled up aggressive rhetoric towards foreign fighters and mercenary groups who have traveled to Ukraine to fight against he Russian invasion and support Ukrainian forces as best they can.
ABOVE PHOTO - Lots of propoganda out there, so take this update with a grain of salt, but it does seem like FOG took casualties recently
One of those groups, known as Forward Observations Group, started out as an American media/veteran owned company who put out extremely high quality content featuring military operator motifs, night vision, kitted out operators, and top tier weaponry usually reserved for Army Special Operations, Seal Teams, and other Tier 1 operating groups. I was a huge fan of the Instagram page before it was removed without explanation. You can find their Youtube here. Apparently they are a full fledged PMC (Private Military Contractor) Group now, which I didn’t know. Their presence in Ukraine has antagonized invading Russian forces and contractors being employed.
Dmitry Utkin is the founder of the Wagner Group and is himself like a Neo Nazi. Accusations and gaslighting have occurred by Russia, calling out foreign soldiers and specific Ukrainian elements as “Nazis”. As you can see here, Utkin is literally a Nazi lol.
Russian private military contractors have been used by Moscow extensively in recent years, usually deployed to conflicts where the Kremlin benefits from plausible deniability. The Wagner Group has been deployed to, among other places, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Syria, Mali, Mozambique, and Libya—where, according to the United Kingdom, it has been “involved in multiple and repeated breaches of the arms embargo.” The U.S. State Department told Foreign Policy that it believes the Wagner Group has a “destabilizing engagement in numerous regional conflicts.”
More and more back and forth has started to take place in past days between the invading Russian forces and Forward Observations Group on social media.
Social media channels linked to the Wagner Group have been marketing T-shirts featuring a soldier swinging a sledgehammer onto a horned skeleton’s head—the logo of the Forward Observations Group.
The T-shirt logo itself is a macabre nod to the brutal killings of Syrians at the hands of Wagner mercenaries with crude tools in 2017. Videos recorded by the mercenaries show them slaughtering unarmed individuals with hammers, axes, and pickaxes. Users in the Wagner Group-linked Telegram channels have recently taken to sharing those old videos again, even applying the Wagner watermark to them.
More updates on mercenaries to come, and maybe an interview if we can clinch one.
Working hard to get out our first podcast episode, severely underestimated the time it would take to edit so I appreciate the patience. We are launching a limited edition Arbitrage Andy T Shirt Monday that has an absolutely insane design so stay tuned.
Hope everyone has a relaxing weekend, crushes some units, and makes some money. See you all Monday kings.