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Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL)


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In light of the recent fall in oil prices due to the Saudi-Russian dispute and dampening demand for oil due to the lockdowns implemented globally, O&G stocks have taken a severe beating, falling approximately 50% from their highs at the beginning of the year. Not spared from this onslaught is Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (Hibiscus), a listed oil and gas (O&G) exploration and production (E&P) company.
Why invest in O&G stocks in this particularly uncertain period? For one, valuations of these stocks have fallen to multi-year lows, bringing the potential ROI on these stocks to attractive levels. Oil prices are cyclical, and are bound to return to the mean given a sufficiently long time horizon. The trick is to find those companies who can survive through this downturn and emerge into “normal” profitability once oil prices rebound.
In this article, I will explore the upsides and downsides of investing in Hibiscus. I will do my best to cater this report to newcomers to the O&G industry – rather than address exclusively experts and veterans of the O&G sector. As an equity analyst, I aim to provide a view on the company primarily, and will generally refrain from providing macro views on oil or opinions about secular trends of the sector. I hope you enjoy reading it!
Stock code: 5199.KL
Stock name: Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad
Financial information and financial reports: https://www.malaysiastock.biz/Corporate-Infomation.aspx?securityCode=5199
Company website: https://www.hibiscuspetroleum.com/

Company Snapshot

Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL) is an oil and gas (O&G) upstream exploration and production (E&P) company located in Malaysia. As an E&P company, their business can be basically described as:
· looking for oil,
· drawing it out of the ground, and
· selling it on global oil markets.
This means Hibiscus’s profits are particularly exposed to fluctuating oil prices. With oil prices falling to sub-$30 from about $60 at the beginning of the year, Hibiscus’s stock price has also fallen by about 50% YTD – from around RM 1.00 to RM 0.45 (as of 5 April 2020).
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While the company is domiciled in Malaysia, its two main oil producing fields are located in both Malaysia and the UK. The Malaysian oil field is commonly referred to as the North Sabah field, while the UK oil field is commonly referred to as the Anasuria oil field. Hibiscus has licenses to other oil fields in different parts of the world, notably the Marigold/Sunflower oil fields in the UK and the VIC cluster in Australia, but its revenues and profits mainly stem from the former two oil producing fields.
Given that it’s a small player and has only two primary producing oil fields, it’s not surprising that Hibiscus sells its oil to a concentrated pool of customers, with 2 of them representing 80% of its revenues (i.e. Petronas and BP). Fortunately, both these customers are oil supermajors, and are unlikely to default on their obligations despite low oil prices.
At RM 0.45 per share, the market capitalization is RM 714.7m and it has a trailing PE ratio of about 5x. It doesn’t carry any debt, and it hasn’t paid a dividend in its listing history. The MD, Mr. Kenneth Gerard Pereira, owns about 10% of the company’s outstanding shares.

Reserves (Total recoverable oil) & Production (bbl/day)

To begin analyzing the company, it’s necessary to understand a little of the industry jargon. We’ll start with Reserves and Production.
In general, there are three types of categories for a company’s recoverable oil volumes – Reserves, Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources. Reserves are those oil fields which are “commercial”, which is defined as below:
As defined by the SPE PRMS, Reserves are “… quantities of petroleum anticipated to be commercially recoverable by application of development projects to known accumulations from a given date forward under defined conditions.” Therefore, Reserves must be discovered (by drilling, recoverable (with current technology), remaining in the subsurface (at the effective date of the evaluation) and “commercial” based on the development project proposed.)
Note that Reserves are associated with development projects. To be considered as “commercial”, there must be a firm intention to proceed with the project in a reasonable time frame (typically 5 years, and such intention must be based upon all of the following criteria:)
- A reasonable assessment of the future economics of the development project meeting defined investment and operating criteria; - A reasonable expectation that there will be a market for all or at least the expected sales quantities of production required to justify development; - Evidence that the necessary production and transportation facilities are available or can be made available; and - Evidence that legal, contractual, environmental and other social and economic concerns will allow for the actual implementation of the recovery project being evaluated.
Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources are further defined as below:
- Contingent Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets discovered volumes but is not (yet commercial (as defined above); and) - Prospective Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets as yet undiscovered volumes.
In the industry lingo, we generally refer to Reserves as ‘P’ and Contingent Resources as ‘C’. These ‘P’ and ‘C’ resources can be further categorized into 1P/2P/3P resources and 1C/2C/3C resources, each referring to a low/medium/high estimate of the company’s potential recoverable oil volumes:
- Low/1C/1P estimate: there should be reasonable certainty that volumes actually recovered will equal or exceed the estimate; - Best/2C/2P estimate: there should be an equal likelihood of the actual volumes of petroleum being larger or smaller than the estimate; and - High/3C/3P estimate: there is a low probability that the estimate will be exceeded.
Hence in the E&P industry, it is easy to see why most investors and analysts refer to the 2P estimate as the best estimate for a company’s actual recoverable oil volumes. This is because 2P reserves (‘2P’ referring to ‘Proved and Probable’) are a middle estimate of the recoverable oil volumes legally recognized as “commercial”.
However, there’s nothing stopping you from including 2C resources (riskier) or utilizing 1P resources (conservative) as your estimate for total recoverable oil volumes, depending on your risk appetite. In this instance, the company has provided a snapshot of its 2P and 2C resources in its analyst presentation:
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Basically, what the company is saying here is that by 2021, it will have classified as 2P reserves at least 23.7 million bbl from its Anasuria field and 20.5 million bbl from its North Sabah field – for total 2P reserves of 44.2 million bbl (we are ignoring the Australian VIC cluster as it is only estimated to reach first oil by 2022).
Furthermore, the company is stating that they have discovered (but not yet legally classified as “commercial”) a further 71 million bbl of oil from both the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, as well as the Marigold/Sunflower fields. If we include these 2C resources, the total potential recoverable oil volumes could exceed 100 million bbl.
In this report, we shall explore all valuation scenarios giving consideration to both 2P and 2C resources.
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The company further targets a 2021 production rate of 20,000 bbl (LTM: 8,000 bbl), which includes 5,000 bbl from its Anasuria field (LTM: 2,500 bbl) and 7,000 bbl from its North Sabah field (LTM: 5,300 bbl).
This is a substantial increase in forecasted production from both existing and prospective oil fields. If it materializes, annual production rate could be as high as 7,300 mmbbl, and 2021 revenues (given FY20 USD/bbl of $60) could exceed RM 1.5 billion (FY20: RM 988 million).
However, this targeted forecast is quite a stretch from current production levels. Nevertheless, we shall consider all provided information in estimating a valuation for Hibiscus.
To understand Hibiscus’s oil production capacity and forecast its revenues and profits, we need to have a better appreciation of the performance of its two main cash-generating assets – the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field.

North Sabah oil field
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Hibiscus owns a 50% interest in the North Sabah field together with its partner Petronas, and has production rights over the field up to year 2040. The asset contains 4 oil fields, namely the St Joseph field, South Furious field, SF 30 field and Barton field.
For the sake of brevity, we shall not delve deep into the operational aspects of the fields or the contractual nature of its production sharing contract (PSC). We’ll just focus on the factors which relate to its financial performance. These are:
· Average uptime
· Total oil sold
· Average realized oil price
· Average OPEX per bbl
With regards to average uptime, we can see that the company maintains relative high facility availability, exceeding 90% uptime in all quarters of the LTM with exception of Jul-Sep 2019. The dip in average uptime was due to production enhancement projects and maintenance activities undertaken to improve the production capacity of the St Joseph and SF30 oil fields.
Hence, we can conclude that management has a good handle on operational performance. It also implies that there is little room for further improvement in production resulting from increased uptime.
As North Sabah is under a production sharing contract (PSC), there is a distinction between gross oil production and net oil production. The former relates to total oil drawn out of the ground, whereas the latter refers to Hibiscus’s share of oil production after taxes, royalties and expenses are accounted for. In this case, we want to pay attention to net oil production, not gross.
We can arrive at Hibiscus’s total oil sold for the last twelve months (LTM) by adding up the total oil sold for each of the last 4 quarters. Summing up the figures yields total oil sold for the LTM of approximately 2,075,305 bbl.
Then, we can arrive at an average realized oil price over the LTM by averaging the average realized oil price for the last 4 quarters, giving us an average realized oil price over the LTM of USD 68.57/bbl. We can do the same for average OPEX per bbl, giving us an average OPEX per bbl over the LTM of USD 13.23/bbl.
Thus, we can sum up the above financial performance of the North Sabah field with the following figures:
· Total oil sold: 2,075,305 bbl
· Average realized oil price: USD 68.57/bbl
· Average OPEX per bbl: USD 13.23/bbl

Anasuria oil field
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Doing the same exercise as above for the Anasuria field, we arrive at the following financial performance for the Anasuria field:
· Total oil sold: 1,073,304 bbl
· Average realized oil price: USD 63.57/bbl
· Average OPEX per bbl: USD 23.22/bbl
As gas production is relatively immaterial, and to be conservative, we shall only consider the crude oil production from the Anasuria field in forecasting revenues.

Valuation (Method 1)

Putting the figures from both oil fields together, we get the following data:
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Given that we have determined LTM EBITDA of RM 632m, the next step would be to subtract ITDA (interest, tax, depreciation & amortization) from it to obtain estimated LTM Net Profit. Using FY2020’s ITDA of approximately RM 318m as a guideline, we arrive at an estimated LTM Net Profit of RM 314m (FY20: 230m). Given the current market capitalization of RM 714.7m, this implies a trailing LTM PE of 2.3x.
Performing a sensitivity analysis given different oil prices, we arrive at the following net profit table for the company under different oil price scenarios, assuming oil production rate and ITDA remain constant:
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From the above exercise, it becomes apparent that Hibiscus has a breakeven oil price of about USD 41.8863/bbl, and has a lot of operating leverage given the exponential rate of increase in its Net Profit with each consequent increase in oil prices.
Considering that the oil production rate (EBITDA) is likely to increase faster than ITDA’s proportion to revenues (fixed costs), at an implied PE of 4.33x, it seems likely that an investment in Hibiscus will be profitable over the next 10 years (with the assumption that oil prices will revert to the mean in the long-term).

Valuation (Method 2)

Of course, there are a lot of assumptions behind the above method of valuation. Hence, it would be prudent to perform multiple methods of valuation and compare the figures to one another.
As opposed to the profit/loss assessment in Valuation (Method 1), another way of performing a valuation would be to estimate its balance sheet value, i.e. total revenues from 2P Reserves, and assign a reasonable margin to it.
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From the above, we understand that Hibiscus’s 2P reserves from the North Sabah and Anasuria fields alone are approximately 44.2 mmbbl (we ignore contribution from Australia’s VIC cluster as it hasn’t been developed yet).
Doing a similar sensitivity analysis of different oil prices as above, we arrive at the following estimated total revenues and accumulated net profit:
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Let’s assume that the above average of RM 9.68 billion in total realizable revenues from current 2P reserves holds true. If we assign a conservative Net Profit margin of 15% (FY20: 23%; past 5 years average: 16%), we arrive at estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion. Given the current market capitalization of RM 714 million, we might be able to say that the equity is worth about twice the current share price.
However, it is understandable that some readers might feel that the figures used in the above estimate (e.g. net profit margin of 15%) were randomly plucked from the sky. So how do we reconcile them with figures from the financial statements? Fortunately, there appears to be a way to do just that.
Intangible Assets
I refer you to a figure in the financial statements which provides a shortcut to the valuation of 2P Reserves. This is the carrying value of Intangible Assets on the Balance Sheet.
As of 2QFY21, that amount was RM 1,468,860,000 (i.e. RM 1.468 billion).
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Quite coincidentally, one might observe that this figure is dangerously close to the estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion we calculated earlier. But why would this amount matter at all?
To answer that, I refer you to the notes of the Annual Report FY20 (AR20). On page 148 of the AR20, we find the following two paragraphs:
E&E assets comprise of rights and concession and conventional studies. Following the acquisition of a concession right to explore a licensed area, the costs incurred such as geological and geophysical surveys, drilling, commercial appraisal costs and other directly attributable costs of exploration and appraisal including technical and administrative costs, are capitalised as conventional studies, presented as intangible assets.
E&E assets are assessed for impairment when facts and circumstances suggest that the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount. The Group will allocate E&E assets to cash generating unit (“CGU”s or groups of CGUs for the purpose of assessing such assets for impairment. Each CGU or group of units to which an E&E asset is allocated will not be larger than an operating segment as disclosed in Note 39 to the financial statements.)
Hence, we can determine that firstly, the intangible asset value represents capitalized costs of acquisition of the oil fields, including technical exploration costs and costs of acquiring the relevant licenses. Secondly, an impairment review will be carried out when “the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount”, with E&E assets being allocated to “cash generating units” (CGU) for the purposes of assessment.
On page 169 of the AR20, we find the following:
Carrying amounts of the Group’s intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO are reviewed for possible impairment annually including any indicators of impairment. For the purpose of assessing impairment, assets are grouped at the lowest level CGUs for which there is a separately identifiable cash flow available. These CGUs are based on operating areas, represented by the 2011 North Sabah EOR PSC (“North Sabah”, the Anasuria Cluster, the Marigold and Sunflower fields, the VIC/P57 exploration permit (“VIC/P57”) and the VIC/L31 production license (“VIC/L31”).)
So apparently, the CGUs that have been assigned refer to the respective oil producing fields, two of which include the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field. In order to perform the impairment review, estimates of future cash flow will be made by management to assess the “recoverable amount” (as described above), subject to assumptions and an appropriate discount rate.
Hence, what we can gather up to now is that management will estimate future recoverable cash flows from a CGU (i.e. the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields), compare that to their carrying value, and perform an impairment if their future recoverable cash flows are less than their carrying value. In other words, if estimated accumulated profits from the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are less than their carrying value, an impairment is required.
So where do we find the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields? Further down on page 184 in the AR20, we see the following:
Included in rights and concession are the carrying amounts of producing field licenses in the Anasuria Cluster amounting to RM668,211,518 (2018: RM687,664,530, producing field licenses in North Sabah amounting to RM471,031,008 (2018: RM414,333,116))
Hence, we can determine that the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are RM 471m and RM 668m respectively. But where do we find the future recoverable cash flows of the fields as estimated by management, and what are the assumptions used in that calculation?
Fortunately, we find just that on page 185:
17 INTANGIBLE ASSETS (CONTINUED)
(a Anasuria Cluster)
The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for Anasuria Cluster during the current financial year. In the previous financial year, due to uncertainties in crude oil prices, the Group has assessed the recoverable amount of the intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO relating to the Anasuria Cluster. The recoverable amount is determined using the FVLCTS model based on discounted cash flows (“DCF” derived from the expected cash in/outflow pattern over the production lives.)
The key assumptions used to determine the recoverable amount for the Anasuria Cluster were as follows:
(i Discount rate of 10%;)
(ii Future cost inflation factor of 2% per annum;)
(iii Oil price forecast based on the oil price forward curve from independent parties; and,)
(iv Oil production profile based on the assessment by independent oil and gas reserve experts.)
Based on the assessments performed, the Directors concluded that the recoverable amount calculated based on the valuation model is higher than the carrying amount.
(b North Sabah)
The acquisition of the North Sabah assets was completed in the previous financial year. Details of the acquisition are as disclosed in Note 15 to the financial statements.
The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for North Sabah during the current financial year.
Here, we can see that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field was estimated based on a DCF of expected future cash flows over the production life of the asset. The key assumptions used by management all seem appropriate, including a discount rate of 10% and oil price and oil production estimates based on independent assessment. From there, management concludes that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field is higher than its carrying amount (i.e. no impairment required). Likewise, for the North Sabah field.
How do we interpret this? Basically, what management is saying is that given a 10% discount rate and independent oil price and oil production estimates, the accumulated profits (i.e. recoverable amount) from both the North Sabah and the Anasuria fields exceed their carrying amounts of RM 471m and RM 668m respectively.
In other words, according to management’s own estimates, the carrying value of the Intangible Assets of RM 1.468 billion approximates the accumulated Net Profit recoverable from 2P reserves.
To conclude Valuation (Method 2), we arrive at the following:

Our estimates Management estimates
Accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves RM 1.452 billion RM 1.468 billion

Financials

By now, we have established the basic economics of Hibiscus’s business, including its revenues (i.e. oil production and oil price scenarios), costs (OPEX, ITDA), profitability (breakeven, future earnings potential) and balance sheet value (2P reserves, valuation). Moving on, we want to gain a deeper understanding of the 3 statements to anticipate any blind spots and risks. We’ll refer to the financial statements of both the FY20 annual report and the 2Q21 quarterly report in this analysis.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll only point out those line items which need extra attention, and skip over the rest. Feel free to go through the financial statements on your own to gain a better familiarity of the business.
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Income Statement
First, we’ll start with the Income Statement on page 135 of the AR20. Revenues are straightforward, as we’ve discussed above. Cost of Sales and Administrative Expenses fall under the jurisdiction of OPEX, which we’ve also seen earlier. Other Expenses are mostly made up of Depreciation & Amortization of RM 115m.
Finance Costs are where things start to get tricky. Why does a company which carries no debt have such huge amounts of finance costs? The reason can be found in Note 8, where it is revealed that the bulk of finance costs relate to the unwinding of discount of provision for decommissioning costs of RM 25m (Note 32).
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This actually refers to the expected future costs of restoring the Anasuria and North Sabah fields to their original condition once the oil reserves have been depleted. Accounting standards require the company to provide for these decommissioning costs as they are estimable and probable. The way the decommissioning costs are accounted for is the same as an amortized loan, where the initial carrying value is recognized as a liability and the discount rate applied is reversed each year as an expense on the Income Statement. However, these expenses are largely non-cash in nature and do not necessitate a cash outflow every year (FY20: RM 69m).
Unwinding of discount on non-current other payables of RM 12m relate to contractual payments to the North Sabah sellers. We will discuss it later.
Taxation is another tricky subject, and is even more significant than Finance Costs at RM 161m. In gist, Hibiscus is subject to the 38% PITA (Petroleum Income Tax Act) under Malaysian jurisdiction, and the 30% Petroleum tax + 10% Supplementary tax under UK jurisdiction. Of the RM 161m, RM 41m of it relates to deferred tax which originates from the difference between tax treatment and accounting treatment on capitalized assets (accelerated depreciation vs straight-line depreciation). Nonetheless, what you should take away from this is that the tax expense is a tangible expense and material to breakeven analysis.
Fortunately, tax is a variable expense, and should not materially impact the cash flow of Hibiscus in today’s low oil price environment.
Note: Cash outflows for Tax Paid in FY20 was RM 97m, substantially below the RM 161m tax expense.
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Balance Sheet
The balance sheet of Hibiscus is unexciting; I’ll just bring your attention to those line items which need additional scrutiny. I’ll use the figures in the latest 2Q21 quarterly report (2Q21) and refer to the notes in AR20 for clarity.
We’ve already discussed Intangible Assets in the section above, so I won’t dwell on it again.
Moving on, the company has Equipment of RM 582m, largely relating to O&G assets (e.g. the Anasuria FPSO vessel and CAPEX incurred on production enhancement projects). Restricted cash and bank balances represent contractual obligations for decommissioning costs of the Anasuria Cluster, and are inaccessible for use in operations.
Inventories are relatively low, despite Hibiscus being an E&P company, so forex fluctuations on carrying value of inventories are relatively immaterial. Trade receivables largely relate to entitlements from Petronas and BP (both oil supermajors), and are hence quite safe from impairment. Other receivables, deposits and prepayments are significant as they relate to security deposits placed with sellers of the oil fields acquired; these should be ignored for cash flow purposes.
Note: Total cash and bank balances do not include approximately RM 105 m proceeds from the North Sabah December 2019 offtake (which was received in January 2020)
Cash and bank balances of RM 90m do not include RM 105m of proceeds from offtake received in 3Q21 (Jan 2020). Hence, the actual cash and bank balances as of 2Q21 approximate RM 200m.
Liabilities are a little more interesting. First, I’ll draw your attention to the significant Deferred tax liabilities of RM 457m. These largely relate to the amortization of CAPEX (i.e. Equipment and capitalized E&E expenses), which is given an accelerated depreciation treatment for tax purposes.
The way this works is that the government gives Hibiscus a favorable tax treatment on capital expenditures incurred via an accelerated depreciation schedule, so that the taxable income is less than usual. However, this leads to the taxable depreciation being utilized quicker than accounting depreciation, hence the tax payable merely deferred to a later period – when the tax depreciation runs out but accounting depreciation remains. Given the capital intensive nature of the business, it is understandable why Deferred tax liabilities are so large.
We’ve discussed Provision for decommissioning costs under the Finance Costs section earlier. They are also quite significant at RM 266m.
Notably, the Other Payables and Accruals are a hefty RM 431m. What do they relate to? Basically, they are contractual obligations to the sellers of the oil fields which are only payable upon oil prices reaching certain thresholds. Hence, while they are current in nature, they will only become payable when oil prices recover to previous highs, and are hence not an immediate cash outflow concern given today’s low oil prices.
Cash Flow Statement
There is nothing in the cash flow statement which warrants concern.
Notably, the company generated OCF of approximately RM 500m in FY20 and RM 116m in 2Q21. It further incurred RM 330m and RM 234m of CAPEX in FY20 and 2Q21 respectively, largely owing to production enhancement projects to increase the production rate of the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, which according to management estimates are accretive to ROI.
Tax paid was RM 97m in FY20 and RM 61m in 2Q21 (tax expense: RM 161m and RM 62m respectively).

Risks

There are a few obvious and not-so-obvious risks that one should be aware of before investing in Hibiscus. We shall not consider operational risks (e.g. uptime, OPEX) as they are outside the jurisdiction of the equity analyst. Instead, we shall focus on the financial and strategic risks largely outside the control of management. The main ones are:
· Oil prices remaining subdued for long periods of time
· Fluctuation of exchange rates
· Customer concentration risk
· 2P Reserves being less than estimated
· Significant current and non-current liabilities
· Potential issuance of equity
Oil prices remaining subdued
Of topmost concern in the minds of most analysts is whether Hibiscus has the wherewithal to sustain itself through this period of low oil prices (sub-$30). A quick and dirty estimate of annual cash outflow (i.e. burn rate) assuming a $20 oil world and historical production rates is between RM 50m-70m per year, which considering the RM 200m cash balance implies about 3-4 years of sustainability before the company runs out of cash and has to rely on external assistance for financing.
Table 1: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and exchange rates
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The above table shows different EBITDA scenarios (RM ‘m) given different oil prices (left column) and USD:MYR exchange rates (top row). Currently, oil prices are $27 and USD:MYR is 1:4.36.
Given conservative assumptions of average OPEX/bbl of $20 (current: $15), we can safely say that the company will be loss-making as long as oil remains at $20 or below (red). However, we can see that once oil prices hit $25, the company can tank the lower-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 50m (orange), while at RM $27 it can sufficiently muddle through the higher-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 70m (green).
Hence, we can assume that as long as the average oil price over the next 3-4 years remains above $25, Hibiscus should come out of this fine without the need for any external financing.
Customer Concentration Risk
With regards to customer concentration risk, there is not much the analyst or investor can do except to accept the risk. Fortunately, 80% of revenues can be attributed to two oil supermajors (Petronas and BP), hence the risk of default on contractual obligations and trade receivables seems to be quite diminished.
2P Reserves being less than estimated
2P Reserves being less than estimated is another risk that one should keep in mind. Fortunately, the current market cap is merely RM 714m – at half of estimated recoverable amounts of RM 1.468 billion – so there’s a decent margin of safety. In addition, there are other mitigating factors which shall be discussed in the next section (‘Opportunities’).
Significant non-current and current liabilities
The significant non-current and current liabilities have been addressed in the previous section. It has been determined that they pose no threat to immediate cash flow due to them being long-term in nature (e.g. decommissioning costs, deferred tax, etc). Hence, for the purpose of assessing going concern, their amounts should not be a cause for concern.
Potential issuance of equity
Finally, we come to the possibility of external financing being required in this low oil price environment. While the company should last 3-4 years on existing cash reserves, there is always the risk of other black swan events materializing (e.g. coronavirus) or simply oil prices remaining muted for longer than 4 years.
Furthermore, management has hinted that they wish to acquire new oil assets at presently depressed prices to increase daily production rate to a targeted 20,000 bbl by end-2021. They have room to acquire debt, but they may also wish to issue equity for this purpose. Hence, the possibility of dilution to existing shareholders cannot be entirely ruled out.
However, given management’s historical track record of prioritizing ROI and optimal capital allocation, and in consideration of the fact that the MD owns 10% of outstanding shares, there is some assurance that any potential acquisitions will be accretive to EPS and therefore valuations.

Opportunities

As with the existence of risk, the presence of material opportunities also looms over the company. Some of them are discussed below:
· Increased Daily Oil Production Rate
· Inclusion of 2C Resources
· Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating
Increased Daily Oil Production Rate
The first and most obvious opportunity is the potential for increased production rate. We’ve seen in the last quarter (2Q21) that the North Sabah field increased its daily production rate by approximately 20% as a result of production enhancement projects (infill drilling), lowering OPEX/bbl as a result. To vastly oversimplify, infill drilling is the process of maximizing well density by drilling in the spaces between existing wells to improve oil production.
The same improvements are being undertaken at the Anasuria field via infill drilling, subsea debottlenecking, water injection and sidetracking of existing wells. Without boring you with industry jargon, this basically means future production rate is likely to improve going forward.
By how much can the oil production rate be improved by? Management estimates in their analyst presentation that enhancements in the Anasuria field will be able to yield 5,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 2,500 bbl/day).
Similarly, improvements in the North Sabah field is expected to yield 7,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 5,300 bbl/day).
This implies a total 2021 expected daily production rate from the two fields alone of 12,000 bbl/day (current: 8,000 bbl/day). That’s a 50% increase in yields which we haven’t factored into our valuation yet.
Furthermore, we haven’t considered any production from existing 2C resources (e.g. Marigold/Sunflower) or any potential acquisitions which may occur in the future. By management estimates, this can potentially increase production by another 8,000 bbl/day, bringing total production to 20,000 bbl/day.
While this seems like a stretch of the imagination, it pays to keep them in mind when forecasting future revenues and valuations.
Just to play around with the numbers, I’ve come up with a sensitivity analysis of possible annual EBITDA at different oil prices and daily oil production rates:
Table 2: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and daily oil production rates
https://preview.redd.it/jnpfhr5n9br41.png?width=814&format=png&auto=webp&s=bbe4b512bc17f576d87529651140cc74cde3d159
The left column represents different oil prices while the top row represents different daily oil production rates.
The green column represents EBITDA at current daily production rate of 8,000 bbl/day; the orange column represents EBITDA at targeted daily production rate of 12,000 bbl/day; while the purple column represents EBITDA at maximum daily production rate of 20,000 bbl/day.
Even conservatively assuming increased estimated annual ITDA of RM 500m (FY20: RM 318m), and long-term average oil prices of $50 (FY20: $60), the estimated Net Profit and P/E ratio is potentially lucrative at daily oil production rates of 12,000 bbl/day and above.
2C Resources
Since we’re on the topic of improved daily oil production rate, it bears to pay in mind the relatively enormous potential from Hibiscus’s 2C Resources. North Sabah’s 2C Resources alone exceed 30 mmbbl; while those from the yet undiagnosed Marigold/Sunflower fields also reach 30 mmbbl. Altogether, 2C Resources exceed 70 mmbbl, which dwarfs the 44 mmbbl of 2P Reserves we have considered up to this point in our valuation estimates.
To refresh your memory, 2C Resources represents oil volumes which have been discovered but are not yet classified as “commercial”. This means that there is reasonable certainty of the oil being recoverable, as opposed to simply being in the very early stages of exploration. So, to be conservative, we will imagine that only 50% of 2C Resources are eligible for reclassification to 2P reserves, i.e. 35 mmbbl of oil.
https://preview.redd.it/mto11iz7abr41.png?width=375&format=png&auto=webp&s=e9028ab0816b3d3e25067447f2c70acd3ebfc41a
This additional 35 mmbbl of oil represents an 80% increase to existing 2P reserves. Assuming the daily oil production rate increases similarly by 80%, we will arrive at 14,400 bbl/day of oil production. According to Table 2 above, this would yield an EBITDA of roughly RM 630m assuming $50 oil.
Comparing that estimated EBITDA to FY20’s actual EBITDA:
FY20 FY21 (incl. 2C) Difference
Daily oil production (bbl/day) 8,626 14,400 +66%
Average oil price (USD/bbl) $68.57 $50 -27%
Average OPEX/bbl (USD) $16.64 $20 +20%
EBITDA (RM ‘m) 632 630 -
Hence, even conservatively assuming lower oil prices and higher OPEX/bbl (which should decrease in the presence of higher oil volumes) than last year, we get approximately the same EBITDA as FY20.
For the sake of completeness, let’s assume that Hibiscus issues twice the no. of existing shares over the next 10 years, effectively diluting shareholders by 50%. Even without accounting for the possibility of the acquisition of new oil fields, at the current market capitalization of RM 714m, the prospective P/E would be about 10x. Not too shabby.
Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating
Hibiscus shares have recently been hit by a one-two punch from oil prices cratering from $60 to $30, as a result of both the Saudi-Russian dispute and depressed demand for oil due to coronavirus. This has massively increased supply and at the same time hugely depressed demand for oil (due to the globally coordinated lockdowns being implemented).
Given a long enough timeframe, I fully expect OPEC+ to come to an agreement and the economic effects from the coronavirus to dissipate, allowing oil prices to rebound. As we equity investors are aware, oil prices are cyclical and are bound to recover over the next 10 years.
When it does, valuations of O&G stocks (including Hibiscus’s) are likely to improve as investors overshoot expectations and begin to forecast higher oil prices into perpetuity, as they always tend to do in good times. When that time arrives, Hibiscus’s valuations are likely to become overoptimistic as all O&G stocks tend to do during oil upcycles, resulting in valuations far exceeding reasonable estimates of future earnings. If you can hold the shares up until then, it’s likely you will make much more on your investment than what we’ve been estimating.

Conclusion

Wrapping up what we’ve discussed so far, we can conclude that Hibiscus’s market capitalization of RM 714m far undershoots reasonable estimates of fair value even under conservative assumptions of recoverable oil volumes and long-term average oil prices. As a value investor, I hesitate to assign a target share price, but it’s safe to say that this stock is worth at least RM 1.00 (current: RM 0.45). Risk is relatively contained and the upside far exceeds the downside. While I have no opinion on the short-term trajectory of oil prices, I can safely recommend this stock as a long-term Buy based on fundamental research.
submitted by investorinvestor to SecurityAnalysis [link] [comments]

So you wanna trade Forex? - tips and tricks inside

Let me just sum some stuff up for you newbies out there. Ive been trading for years, last couple of years more seriously and i turned my strategies into algorithms and i am currently up to 18 algorithms thats trading for me 24/7. Ive learned alot, listened to hundreds of podcasts and read tons of books + research papers and heres some tips and tricks for any newbie out there.

  1. Strategy - How to... When people say "you need a trading strategy!!" Its because trading is very hard and emotional. You need to stick to your rules at all times. Dont panic and move your stop loss or target unless your rules tell you to. Now how do you make these rules? Well this is the part that takes alot of time. If your rules are very simple (for example: "Buy if Last candles low was the lowest low of the past 10 candles." Lets make this a rule. You can backtest it manually by looking at a chart and going back in time and check every candle. or you can code it using super simple software like prorealtime, MT4 ++ Alot of software is basicly "click and drag" and press a button and it gives you backtest from 10-20-30 years ago in 5 seconds. This is the absolute easiest way to backtest rules and systems. If your trading "pure price action" with your drawn lines and shit, the only way to truly backtest that kind of trading is going in a random forex pair to a random point in time, could be 1 year ago, 1 month ago, 5 years ago.. and then you just trade! Move chart 1 candle at a time, draw your lines and do some "actual trading" and look at your results after moving forward in the chart. If you do not test your strategy your just going in blind, which could be disaster.. Maybe someone told u "this is the correct way to trade" or "this strategy is 90% sure to win every trade!!!" If you think you can do trading without a strategy, then your most likely going to look back at an empty account and wonder why you moved that stop loss or why you didnt take profit etc.. and then your gonna give up. People on youtube, forums, interwebz are not going to give you/sell you a working strategy thats gonna make you rich. If they had a working strategy, they would not give it away/sell it to you.
  2. Money management - How to.... Gonna keep this one short. Risk a small % of your capital on each trade. Dont risk 10%, dont risk 20%. You are going to see loosing trades, your probably gonna see 5-10 loss in a row!! If your trading a 1000$ account and your risking 100$ on each trade (10%) and you loose 5 in a row, your down -50% and probably you cant even trade cus of margin req. Game over.. Now how does one get super rich, super fast, from risking 1-3% of your account on each trade?? Well heres the shocking message: YOU CANT GET RICH FAST FROM TRADING UNLESS YOUR WILLING TO GO ALL IN! You can of course go all in on each trade and if you get em all right, you might get 1000%, then you go all in 1 more time and loose it all... The whole point of trading is NOT going bust. Not loosing everything, cus if you loose it all its game over and no more trading for you.
  3. Find your own trading style.... Everyone is different. You can have an average holding period of 1 month or you could be looking at a 1 min chart and average holding time = 10 minutes. For some, less volatility helps them sleep at night. For others, more volatility gives them a rush and some people crave this. There is no "correct" timeframes, or holding periods, or how much to profit or how much to loose. We are all individuals with different taste in risk. Some dont like risk, others wanna go all in to get rich over night. The smart approach is somewhere in the middle. If you dont risk anything, your not gonna get anything. If you risk everything, your most likely going to loose everything. When people are talking about trading style, this is kinda what that means.
  4. There are mainly 2 ways to trade: Divergence and Convergence. Or in other words: Mean reversion or trend following. Lets talk about them both: Trend following is trying to find a trend and stay with the trend until its over. Mean reversion is the belief that price is too far away from the average XX of price, and sooner or later, price will have to return to its average/mean (hence the name: MEAN reversion). Trend following systems usually see a lower winrate (30-40% winrate with no money management is not uncommon to see when backtesting trend following systems.. You can add good money management to get the winrate % higher. Why is the % winrate so low? Well a market, whatever that market is, tend to get real choppy and nasty right after a huge trend. So your gonna see alot of choppy fake signals that might kill 5-6 trades in a row, until the next huge trend starts which is going to cover all the losses from the small losses before the trend took off. Then you gotta hold that trade until trade is done. How do you define "when trend starts and stops"? Well thats back to point 1, find a strategy. Try defining rules for an entry and exit and see how it goes when you backtest it. For mean reversion the win % is usually high, like 70-90% winrate, but the average winning trade is alot smaller than the average loosing trade. this happens because you are basicly trying to catch a falling knife, or catch a booming rocket. Usually when trading mean reversion, waiting for price to actually reverse can very often leave you with being "too late", so you kinda have to find "the bottom" or "the top" before it actually has bottomed/ topped out and reversed. How can you do this you ask? Well your never going to hit every top or every bottom, but you can find ways to find "the bottom-ish" or "the top-ish", thens ell as soon as price reverts back to the mean. Sometimes your gonna wish you held on to the trade for longer, but again, back to point 1: Backtest your rules and figure that shit out.

Read these 4 points and try to follow them and you are at least 4 steps closer to being a profitable trader. Some might disagree with me on some points but i think for the majority, people are going to agree that these 4 points are pretty much universal. Most traders have done or are doing these things every day, in every trade.
Here is some GREAT material to read: Kevin Davey has won trading championship multiple times and he has written multiple great books, from beginner to advanced level. Recommend these books 100%, for example: Building winning algorithmic trading systems" will give you alot to work with when it comes to all 4 of the above points. Market wizards, Reminiscences of a stock operator are 2 books that are a great read but wont give you much "trading knowledge" that you can directly use for your trading. Books on "The turtles" are great reading. Then you have podcasts and youtube. I would stay away from youtube as much as possible when it comes to "Heres how to use the rsi!!!" or "this strategy will make you rich!!". Most youtube videoes are made by people who wanna sell you a course or a book. Most of this is just pure bullshit. Youtube can very harmfull and i would honestly advice about going there for "strategy adivce" and such. Podcasts tho are amazing, i highly recommend: Better systems trader, Chat with traders, Top traders unplugged, We study billionairs, to name a few :)
Also, on a less funny note.. Please realize that you are, and i am, real fucking stupid and lazy compared to the actual pro's out there. This is why you should not go "all in" on some blind stupid strategy youve heard about. This is why this is indeed VERY FUCKING HARD and most, if not everyone has busted an account or two before realizing just this. Your dumb.. your not going to be super rich within 1 year.. You can not start with 500$ account and make millions! (some might have been able to do this, but know that for every winner, theres 999 loosers behind him that failed... Might work fine first 5 trades, then 1 fuckup tho and ur gone..
And lastly: Try using a backtesting software. Its often FREE!!! (on a demo account) and often so simple a baby could use it. If your trading lines and such there exists web broweser "games" and softwares that lets you go "1 and 1 candle ahead" in random forex pairs and that lets you trade as if its "real" as it goes.
A big backtesting trap however is backtesting "losely" by just drawing lines and looking at chart going "oh i would have taken this trade FOR SURE!! I would have made so much money!!" however this is not actually backtesting, its cherry picking and its biased beyond the grave, and its going to hurt you. Try going 1 candle at a time doing "real and live" trades and see how it goes.

Bonus point!!
many people misunderstands what indicators like the RSI is telling you. Indeed something is "overbought" or "oversold" but only compared to the last average of xx amounts of bars/candles.
It doesn't tell you that RIGHT NOW is a great time to sell or buy. It only tells you that the math formula that is RSI, gives you a number between 1-100, and when its above 70 its telling you that momentum is up compared to the last average 14 candles. This is not a complete buy/sell signal. Its more like a filter if anything. This is true for MOST indicators. They INDICATE stuff. Dont use them as pure buy/sell signals.. At least backtest that shit first! Your probably gonna be shocked at the shitty results if you "buy wehn rsi is undeer 30 and sell when RSI is above 70".

Editedit: Huge post already, why not copy paste my comment with an example showing the difference in trend following vs mean reversion:
The thing about trend following is that we never know when a trade starts and when it ends. So what often happens is that you have to buy every breakout going up, but not every breakout is a new trend. Lets do an example. Check out the photo i included here: https://imageshost.eu/image/image.RcC

THE PHOTO IS JUST AN EXAMPLE THAT SHOWS WHY A TYPICAL TREND FOLLOWING STRATEGY HAVE A "LOW" WINRATE.
THE PHOTO IS NOT SHOWING AN EXAMPLE OF MY STRATEGIES OR TRADING.

  1. We identify the big orange trend up.
  2. We see the big break down (marked with the vertical red line) this is telling us we are not going higher just yet. Our upwards trend is broken. However we might continue going up in a new trend, but when will that trend come?
  3. We can draw the blue trend very earyly using highs and lows, lines up and down. Then we begin to look for breakouts of the upper blue line. So every time price breaks upper blue line we have to buy (cus how else are we going to "catch the next trend going up?)
As you can see we get 5 false breakouts before the real breakout happens!
Now if you could tell fake breakouts from real breakouts, your gonna be rich hehe. For everyone else: Take every signal you can get, put a "tight" stop loss so in case its a fake signal you only loose a little bit. Then when breakout happens as you can clearly see in chart, your going to make back all the small losses.
So in this example we fail 5 times, but get 1 HUGE new trend going further up. This 1 huge trade, unless we fuck it up and take profits too early or shit like that, is going to win back all those small losses + more.
This is why trend following has a low winrate. You get 5 small loss and 1 big win.

Now lets flip this! Imagine if your trading Mean reversion on all the same red arrows! So every time price hits the blue line, we go short back to the bottom (or middle) again! You would have won 5 trades with small profits, but on that last one you would get stopped out so hard. Meaning 5 small wins, 1 big loss (as some have pointed out in comments, if you where trading mean reverting you would wanna buy the lows as well as short the tops - photo was suppose to show why trend following strategies have a lower % winrate.)

Final edit: sorry this looks like a wall of text on ur phones.
submitted by RipRepRop to Forex [link] [comments]

Is Karatbit and Karatbars a scam?

On Tuesday 16th July, just a few weeks ago I was invited to attend a Karatbit, Karatbars/Karatbank presentation. The presentation was touting everything including a blockchain mobile phone. Someone had approached me over the weekend to investigate an investment, they had made with Karatbit/Karatbars. I attended the presentation with some research which, to be honest, was not that favourable to the company but nevertheless still went with an open mind.
KaratBank, a Singapore-based financial organization, has propelled another digital currency that it claims is bound to real physical gold. Is this a progressive thought – or a trick?
KaratBank, an organization located in Singapore, has quite recently declared the dispatch of KaratBank Coins (KBC), another digital currency it said is attached to gold. Be that as it may, not just the cost of gold, as different monetary forms — to real bits of gold: they're embedded in plastic cards or banknotes. In any event, that is the way it appears upon first sight.
KaratBank is a sister company of KaratBars International, located in Germany. KaratBars really sells gold in exceptionally small quantities (like 0.1g to 1g bullions), inserted into plastic cards (Karatbars) or money like notes (CashGold). The notes are famously overpriced: back when 1 gram of gold was $40, the 1g CashGold note cost $65.
As per KaratBank whitepaper, 10,000 KBC can be traded for 0.1g CashGold notes.
The initial coin offering kicked off earlier this year and proceeded until March 21, with the ICO starting March 22 (1 KBC = $0.05), Coin Telegraph reports.
Be that as it may, KaratBars International as an organization is emphatically connected with scams. A basic search for KaratBars on Google returns three connections with the word "scam" in them on the first page. KaratBars was prohibited in Canada in 2014 over an Autorité des marchés agents (AMF) with a Scam warning.
The Canadian government found that KaratBars executes some kind of multi-layered marketing (MLM), or "pyramid" scheme organisation that urged individuals to get new recruits and profit from their sales, promising a return of $15,000 to $136,000 every month.
In any case, Is KaratBank is a different story? All things considered, yes and no. Upon a more intensive look at the organization's whitepaper, one finds the following:
"United States of America citizens, residents (tax or otherwise) or green card holders, as well as residents of Canada, the People's Republic of China or the Republic of Singapore, are not qualified to partake in the KaratBank ICO."
As indicated by the Behind MLM site, the explanation behind this may lie in the way that those nations have actualized strict regulation on ICOs, and KaratBank does not have any desire to have anything to do with them.
"ICOs are not unlawful in the US or Canada. In the US, however, ICOs are ordinarily viewed as securities and require registration with the [Securities and Exchange Commission]," the site reads. "Singapore hasn't prohibited ICOs however it is one of the nations KaratBars International works in through the shell companies KaratPay and KaratBars Singapore. Singapore regulators closing those organizations down would cripple KaratBars International. The board most likely figure it's best not to take any risks."
To work lawfully in any purview, KaratBars International would need to register itself with the proper securities regulator in that jurisdiction, which the organization appears to need to abstain from, raising doubts.
From one's point of view what is disheartening is that blockchain is a great new technology and companies like this seem to mix their existing business with cryptocurrencies. Knowing full well that the general public does not really understand cryptocurrencies, let alone blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). As a blockchain consultant, one feels obligated to pose some questions anyone thinking of getting involved should be asking.
At the presentation, I heard the presenters say “ Karatbars is giving its members the opportunity to buy gold in small quantities. They also encourage you to save in gold instead of paper money. This can easily be done by buying as little as 0.1 gram of gold or 1 gram - 2.5 gram or 5 grams.”
They said members can keep their gold in Karatbars' vault or ask them to send it to you. Cash gold is the most popular form of buying gold as the gold is embedded in a banknote. 24kt gold 99.9% pure makes it easier for anyone to accumulate wealth.
Karatbars is also involved in cryptocurrency and got their own coins, namely KBC and KCB coins. I'm going to get very deep into this, but the main thing to remember is that they say, “these coins are increasing in value and that it is backed by gold”. whereas and another Cryptocurrency is backed by nothing.
As a self-proclaimed proponent of blockchain and a graduate of Digital Forensics, I feel obligated to say a few words about this presentation on Karatbit or at least as a conscious citizen of this global world of technology users. Blockchain is a magnificent emerging technology that can be harnessed to do so many things. But most importantly it is a technology that provides one single source of truth. If groups are using this single source of truth technology to spread untruths, someone concerned must come out to say something. Blockchain is a technology that can put everyone on an even playing field but it seems very few understand it. The individuals with even the fleeting basic understanding can influence the general public perception of cryptocurrencies. This leads me to ask a great quote from a book called Richest Man in Babylon …. “if you want advice on investing in expensive jewels, why would you go to a butcher?”
The following is what the masses are being manipulated to attach their hopes and dreams. It is that “a further drop in the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has recently left investors nursing heavy losses. Many proponents are holding out for a new breakout “if their digital assets can go mainstream.”
The most important part of that statement is “if their digital assets can go mainstream”. This made me ask some questions about Karatbit and this is what I came up with.
Something is fishy!! Can someone clarify the following?
Claim 1: Gold mine worth $900 million provides security.
Can’t find any official source as proof.
Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyKQIckXyIU
Claim 2: Backed by a gold mine in Africa
Can’t find any official source as proof.
Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5Q3ZvR4b04
Claim 3: Audit report by MM Revisors for a gold mine in Madagascar
Can’t find proof that MM Revisors exists. Not sure if this report was published by Karatbars Int (can’t find it on their official website), but this is being circulated by some investors as if it were.
Reference: https://karatbars-me.webnode.es/\_files/200000070-01d6002d18/audit.pdf
Claim 4: Karatcoin Bank is a fully licensed crypto bank and is situated in Miami
Can’t find proof that they are registered as a licensed financial institute in Miami, Florida.
Can’t find Karatcoin Bank as a registered corporation, but found Karat Coin Corp.
Reference: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResults?inquiryType=EntityName&searchNameOrder=KARATBANK&searchTerm=Karatbank
Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXip2Fizz5U&t=152s
Claim 5: Not a pyramid scheme
Karatbit describes this as an affiliate program but clearly is a pyramid scheme at best, see links below;
Canada: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/karatbars-quebec-activities-covered-by-prohibition-orders-514201571.html
Namibia: https://economist.com.na/43874/extra/karatbars-international-is-a-scamsays-central-bank/
Netherlands: https://www.afm.nl/en/nieuws/2014/mei/waarschuwing-karatbars
Claim 6: 100KBC = 1g of Gold at $40 per gram (1 KBC = $0.40) (guaranteed)
Total supply = 12,000,000,000 KBC (can’t find figures of circulating, so using supply instead)
Total gold needed to cover buy back of all coins:
12,000,000,000 / 100 = 120 000 000g = 120 tons (South Africa as a whole produced 139.9 tons of Gold in 2017).
Total money needed to buy back all the coins:
120 000 000g x $40 = $4.8 Billion
Can’t find proof that they have 120 tons of gold in storage (or backed up by the mines as claimed) or that they are at least worth $4.8 Billion to buy the gold?
Taking a more conservative approach:
According to icobench.com, they raised $100 000 000 with their ICO from 60% of the total supply.
Let’s assume the 60% of 12,000,000,000 is in circulation. This equals to 7,200,000,000 KBC.
Total gold needed for the buyback of 7,200,000,000 KBC:
7,200,000,000 / 100 = 72 000 000g = 72 tons
Total money needed to buy back all coins:
72 000 000g x $40 = $2.88 Billion
Loss for buying back the KBC that were sold during the ICO:
$100,000,000 - $2,880,000,000 = - $2,780,000,000
A potential loss of $2,78 Billion!!! Or am I taking crazy pills?
Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgeHjhlMfn0
Reference: https://icobench.com/ico/karatgold-coin
Claim 7: This Forbes.com article gives credibility to the KBC coin
This article was written by a Contributor.
Reference: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joresablount/2019/05/31/10-blockchain-companies-to-watch-in-2019/#308b507e543f
There is no traditional editing of contributors’ copy, at least not prior to publishing. If a story gets hot or makes the homepage, a producer will “check it more carefully,” DVorkin said.
Reference: https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2012/what-the-forbes-model-of-contributed-content-means-for-journalism/
“Blogging for Forbes requires being what is commonly referred to as a "self-starter."
So far, nobody has said, "Um, you can't do that," or, "Oh, my God, no!"
Reference: https://www.forbes.com/sites/susannahbreslin/2011/04/06/how-to-become-a-forbes-blogge#231bb9972862
“Warning over 'scammers paradise' as watchdog reveals victims lost £27m to bitcoin, cryptocurrency and forex frauds last year”
• Some 1,850 cases were reported to Action Fraud, a 250% increase on 2017-18
• Victims lost an average of £14,600 - with fewer than 1 in 20 getting money back
• Investors are often initially told they've made a profit
• They are then encouraged to put in more money - at which point the fraudsters run off with their cash
Potential victims have been warned over bogus online 'get rich quick' schemes as it emerged people lost more than £27million to cryptocurrency and foreign exchange scams last year.
Fraudsters promise high returns to those who invest, according to Action Fraud and the Financial Conduct Authority.
Victims lost an average of £14,600 in 2018-19 and stand little chance of getting their money back.
Reports of cryptocurrency and forex investment scams increased by nearly 250 per cent in 2017-18, from 530 to nearly 1,850.
The scams work by criminals promoting get-rich-quick online trading platforms through social media. Posts often use fake celebrity endorsements and images of luxury items like expensive watches and cars.
Beat the scammers:
These then link to professional-looking websites where consumers are persuaded to invest.
Often investors are led to believe their first investment has successfully returned a profit, and are then enticed to invest more money or introduce friends in return for greater profits.
But the returns stop, the customer account is closed, and the scammer disappears with no further contact.
'Anyone handing over their hard-earned cash should make sure they understand what they're getting into, they've checked it's a legitimate investment, and not rely on hype and excitement from friends or social media.
'Investing isn't a get-rich-quick scheme - and anything that uses fear of missing out or requires you to invest before thinking is best to be avoided.'
Those considering an investment to check the following for tips on how to avoid investment fraud at www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart.
Scammers can be very convincing so always do your own research into any firm you are considering investing with, to make sure that they are the real deal.
'It's vital that people carry out the necessary checks to ensure that an investment they're considering is legitimate.
UK consumers are being increasingly targeted by crypto asset-related investment scams.
Certain crypto assets, like Bitcoin and Ether (also known as cryptocurrencies), are not regulated in the UK. This means that buying, selling or transferring these crypto-assets falls outside FCA remit. The same is true for the operation of a cryptocurrency exchange.
However, some types of crypto-asset products may be or may involve regulated investments depending on their nature and how they are structured. For example, firms that sell regulated investments with an underlying crypto asset element may need to be authorised by the FCA to do so.
In recent months, the FCA claims it has received an increasing number of reports about crypto-asset investment scams. Some of them may involve regulated activities, others don’t, but all use similar tactics.
How crypto-asset investment scams work
Cryptoasset fraudsters tend to advertise on social media – often using the images of celebrities or well-known individuals to promote cryptocurrency investments. In this case, laughably they said KaratBit was endorsed by Barak Obama’s sister. Who is she and what does she know about cryptocurrencies and blockchain? The ads then link to professional-looking websites. Consumers are then persuaded to make investments with the firm using cryptocurrencies or traditional currencies.
The firms operating the scams are usually based outside the UK but will claim to have a UK presence, often a prestigious City of London address.
Scam firms can manipulate software to distort prices and investment returns. They may scam people into buying the non-existent crypto asset. They are also known to suddenly close consumers’ online accounts and refuse to transfer the funds to them or ask for more money before the funds can be transferred.
Action Fraud has also issued a warning on cryptocurrency scams.
How to protect yourself
Be wary of adverts online and on social media promising high returns on investments in a crypto asset or crypto asset-related products.
Most firms advertising and selling investments in crypto-assets are not authorised by the FCA. This means that if you invest in certain crypto assets you will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong.
The FCA doesn’t regulate crypto assets like Bitcoin or Ether which are vastly the most recognized cryptocurrencies, let alone KBC, they do regulate certain crypto-asset derivatives (such as futures contracts, CFDs and options), as well as those crypto assets I would consider securities. A firm must be authorised by FCA to advertise or sell these products in the UK – check FCA Register to make sure the firm is authorised. You can also check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid.
You should do further research on the product you are considering and the firm you are considering investing with. Check with Companies House to see if the firm is registered as a UK company and for directors' names. To see if others have posted any concerns, search online for the firm's name, directors' names and the product you are considering.
If you’ve already decided you want to invest in gold, this might not be a bad company to side with. But if you’re just looking for an opportunity to earn a sustainable income and become financially independent, there are better options out there.
submitted by fourfingaz to u/fourfingaz [link] [comments]

A financial expert's very negative outlook on Bitcoin.

Hello there people of reddit!
I have translated this blog post which I would like to share with you all. The original blog post appeared in a rather famous hungarian financial blog and it posed some interesting questions. It would be really good if the intelligent people of reddit would start a debate on these topics. There is a big learning opportunity here. I personally disagree with many of the points made in the post while I agree with some of them.
I think that it is important to listen to the negative opinions because we can grow from them and we can either strengthen our opinions by disproving the counter-arguments of others or we can formulate and fine-tune our opinions by accepting partial truths from the opposing opinion. (Maybe we can even change our opinions alltogether in some cases) I post this in the hopes of having an intelligent conversation about the topic and it would be a bit sad if this would get downvoted because then the conversation wouldn’t be able to unfold.
I say let's examine the other side, let's look at their arguments, let's try to understand them and let’s try to learn from them so that we may become smarter, better, and more well informed.
Also this can be a very good test if you think about investing in Bitcoin. If this discourages you then your fundamental knowledge of cryptocurrencies or Bitcoin may not be satisfactory yet or you may be thinking about investing with money what you cannot afford to loose
So without further to do here is the actual blog post translated from kiszamolo.hu.
RTT314
I am writing about Bitcoin. I didn’t want to at all but since everybody is talking about it I had to.
Translator's note: There was a previous blog post about Bitcoin which got a massive amount of feedback in the hungarian community.
The general feedback I received about my previous post on Bitcoin wonderfully resembled the the feedback I got when I wrote about Kairos, Emgoldex, Quaestor and Sitetalk. (these were all scams in their times)
In case you don’t have time to read the comments on my previous post I’ll summarize them for you. Its quite simple because people basically write the same thing all over again (Bitcoin or Emgoldex it doesn’t matter.) The comment categories are as follows:
It’s a good idea to look at those people who wrote these comments a few years back. The people of Kairos who came here (to his blog) taunting and showing off their earnings with Kairos. And then all of a sudden it became apparent that it was just another scam and they lost all the money in a heartbeat.
What did I cover in the previous blog post on Bitcoin?
I wrote, that you don’t know anything about Bitcoin, that you don’t know who is behind it or whether there is someone behind it or not. What gives actually Bitcoin’s value? How do we know that its better than the other cryptocurrencies? How do we know if one BTC is expensive for 1000 dollars or cheap? For a long time people bought it for 1 dollar, then for a long time for 100, then 1000 and now 16 thousand. Which price is the realistic one? Or none of it is realistic and its still cheap? How can I find it out?
I have basically nothing at all to which I could compare its price. Just like in the dotcom bubble when it came to evaluating the .com companies. The normal method of evaluation didn’t work when it came to these companies because everybody wanted to think, that these companies can conquer the whole world. And because of that basically no price was too expensive for a share. And then it became apparent, that in fact even a single dollar was too much for 95% of them.
Just because something is revolutionary and new it doesn’t mean that it has value too. Especially when anybody can copy it freely. This happened with the .com companies too. Everybody learned fast, that just because they are innovative and revolutionary they can’t make a profit and most of them didn’t even worth a penny.
And the .com companies were 100 times easier to evaluate than Bitcoin. At least they had expenses, profits, employees, products and patents. You could at least calculate with something.
Why is Bitcoin considered money? Currently it has none of the properties of money - you can’t pay with it everywhere, it’s exchange rate is not stable at all and because of that it is not suitable for accumulating wealth in it (just in the past 12 hours the price of one BTC was between $16.123 and $17.023 and today is one of the calmer days.)
Anybody can invent a newer Bitcoin and people do so too. There’s almost ten times more cryptocurrencies today than normal currencies in the world and almost every day a new one gets listed. This is because anybody can make a cryptocurrency. You don’t have to have a whole country behind it with its total assets, government, and financial traffic. If you have good marketing you will be a millionaire from a new cryptocurrency. Currently there are 1324 cryptocurrencies and there is almost no day when no new ones are added. On the contrary there is only 180 types of traditional currencies in the world.
I also mentioned, that governments can limit the use of cryptocurrencies any time by illegalizing the exchange of cryptocurrencies to real money. And if that happens all cryptocurrencies will be worthless in a blink of an eye.
I don’t want to get into new ideological debates. I just want to place Bitcoin amongst all the hype into the world’s financial traffic. Where does Bitcoin stand compared to the current world’s financial traffic and does it look like a bubble? Will it really change the world’s financial system and will it really change the old technologies?
Bitcoin’s total market cap was 15,49 billion dollars on 2017 January the 1st and what’s at least as important is that the daily traffic volume was 92 million dollars.
https://imgur.com/a/kI0Ru
Bitcoin’s current market cap (17 thousand dollars) is 289 billion dollars and the daily traffic volume is 12.135 million dollars so the daily traffic grew 131-fold since January the 1st.
One of the world’s biggest bank - the Bank of America’s - market cap is also 300 billion dollars and that is accompanied by 2,228 billion dollars worth of assets which gives one of the basis of the actual evaluation. Bitcoin has zero assets. Bank of America every four months (!!!) profits 22,3 billion dollars and one fifth of this is net profit. The profit of Bitcoin is zero and the net profit of Bitcoin is also zero.
Europe’s 16th biggest economy, Finland has a yearly GDP of 236 billion dollars.
If Bitcoin’s market cap doubles again, it’s market cap will be equal to Hungary’s, Ukraine’s, Slovakia’s, Luxemburg’s, Croatia’s, Bulgaria’s and Latvia’s GDP all together. Or at least on paper. (Of course the actual BTC's market cap and the GDP is very different, but i guess you can still feel the nonsense in this)
People make 337 thousand daily transactions with Bitcoin.
Just Visa alone makes 468 million transactions per day and this is just a tiny slice from the total world’s transactions.
The SWIFT system which is used by banks to make international transfers even 12 years ago made 5 thousand billion dollars worth of traffic. Daily.(!) The similiar Fedwire payment system which works in the USA had a daily traffic of 2,1 thousand billion dollars, the CHIPS had 1,4 thousand billion dollars. And these numbers are 12 years old so you can easily double them to get to the present numbers. And this data is only of three clearing houses out of a dozen! All the national clearing houses in total can have multiple hundred times more traffic than these ones.
Even if we would like to use Bitcoin for just one tenth of the traffic of Visa we would soon have to store a few gigabytes then terabytes of data for each Bitcoin. The whole electricity generation and bandwidth of the world wouldn’t be enough if we would want to manage and transmit this much data constantly. (Even now the Bitcoin network uses more power than Bulgaria. The investors who mine Bitcoin spend money mostly on video cards and electricity. The biggest benefitors of Bitcoin are the chinese electricity providers and the video card companies. Even a whole bank system doesn’t use this much electricity and they execute multiple hundred thousand times more transactions than the Bitcoin’s network.)
The technology is unsuitable for microtransactions. There are cryptocurrencies which are suitable for this but what will happen with you investment in Bitcoin when everybody starts to use one of these currencies?
The future of the blockchain technology is completely different from the future price of Bitcoin which currently is just one out of 1324 cryptocurrencies and for which you paid a bunch of money. Somehow the people who kick back and leave their future on the price of Bitcoin don’t want to understand this.
Just so you understand: I don’t argue whether or not blockchain technology (which is used by Bitcoin too) will be used in the future financial system. I argue whether or not one Bitcoin values 17 thousand dollars or even one dollar as a matter of fact.
Do you think there will be a single bank which will choose exactly Bitcoin when it wants to switch to this new technology when Bitcoin is a completely unsuitable candidate? Or do you think that the bank will choose another cryptocurrency? Won’t the bank simply make its own one?
The total value of all the dollar bills in circulation is 1,59 trillion dollars or 1590 billion dollars. If we look at the M3 (unbounded money in bank accounts, bills etc.) instead of only the bills we get 11 trillion dollars. But even this is only a tiny bit compared to the total assets in the american economy which is 220 trillion dollars.
The daily size of the forex market is (!) 5.100.000.000.000 dollars.
So think again when you see numbers which suggest that Bitcoin is the future. I wrote these numbers just so you can get a sense of the big Bitcoin which is about to knock down the world’s banking system. Just so you can understand the big Bitcoin’s place in the financial food chain.
I’d also like to talk about a common misconception. Many people think that the value of Bitcoin comes from the fact that it’s very expensive to maintain. The mining is expensive. This is called an expense and it has no relation to value whatsoever. Things don’t represent value because they are costly to maintain. This is exactly the opposite of value. The more expensive is something to maintain the less valuable it is. Companies which have small costs value more than companies which have big costs with the same profits.
There’s an old trick in the stocks market called pooling. A few scammers organize into a pool, they choose a smaller stock and they start to trade amongst each other with higher and higher prices. They just have to be careful not to catch attention. They have to increase the price gradually and slowly and the pool has to be big enough in order to stay undetected.
When the whole world goes crazy because of the huge gains on the pooled stock and when everybody wants to be a part of the miracle the pool quietly sell the whole stack of stocks and disappear.
The “investors” which are driven by greed don’t even care about the fact that the evaluation of the stock flied far above the actual value of the stock. How much simpler is this whole move when the given thing doesn’t even have a quantifiable value to which you can compare it to? Bitcoin is exactly like this.
I wonder how are Bitcoins divided amongst the wallets? Could you drive up its value by getting into pools? You can’t drive up its value because it doesn’t even have any inherent value. The value of Bitcoin only comes from the people who are willing to pay for it. Bitcoin only has a price because people want to look at it as money even if it cannot function as money.
The american dollar will have value until the United States exists and its government collects taxes in dollars from the world’s biggest economy and it pays its payouts in dollars. And if someone doesn’t want to pay the requested taxes in dollars the government has the power to imprison the person.
The expression of total financial ignorance is when the believers of Bitcoin state that the real currencies are also based on nothing. The real currencies are just paper too without any value. Every real currency is backed by real value: the given country’s economy, assets, government, tax system give real value to the real currency. No cryptocurrency can present anything like this ever because cryptocurrencies are made out of thin air.
Real currencies can function exactly because of this: because they have value too not just a price. This is why they can be a store of value, this is why they can be accepted in trade. Because tomorrow they will be worth just as much as today. They’re not just empty ping pong balls which are moved based on the needs and wants of the buyer. Potentially 10-20% per day.
(Just for the sake of the smartpants: of course after world wars a real currency can lose value too just like how the syrian fiat lost value too when the value was essentially bombed out of it. The country’s economy collapsed and half of the taxpayers died or fled out of the country. But even this shows exactly the fact, that the price of the currency changes if the inherent value changes. And also the the price of the safety fiats (swiss franc) can be pumped up if investors are panicking. But we only know that their price is high compared to what their value is because it has a value.)
Just because I invent the Reddit coin and create a lot but finite real physical coins it won’t be a currency which has value. Not even if the coins are unfalsifiable. Not even if there will be people who are willing to pay real money for my coins. Not even if other people realize that they can make coins just like me any time (that’s why there are already 1324 types of cryptocurrencies on the market) It won’t be real money even if following the current trend I create this Reddit coin as a cryptocurrency. Money doesn’t become money because I say its money. Neither does it become money because other people believe its money.
But let's take a look at the bitcoin wallets amongst the investors:
https://imgur.com/a/WN163
So basically 97,2% of the wallets doesn’t even own a single bitcoin! And 55,5% of the wallets doesn’t even contain 0,001 bitcoin!
Of course a wallet is not necessarily a person but its apparent that there are many small fish in the sea of Bitcoin. It's good to know this when you read all the comments from the people who try to defend Bitcoin no matter what. Most of them don’t even own 700 bucks worth of bitcoin but they will become rich for life from this investment.
0,01% of the investors - 1.677 people own nearly 40% of the total bitcoins available. (Or it may be that these 1.677 wallets are owned by one person or twenty. We can’t even know that) but even 85% of the total bitcoins is in less than 1% of the wallets. In stocks lingo this is called a low free float.
These people are the ones who manipulate the prices however they want it to. But of course they don’t want it to because why would they want such a thing? The prices are rising just because Bitcoin is the future.
If Bitcoin wouldn’t be the Holy Bitcoin it would be simply called a Ponzi scheme. How does a Ponzi scheme look exactly? They build up a system which is new, which is alluring and about which people can believe that it’s the future. From this you’ll become rich. If you pay enough money now then you’ll be the part of the money rain too. Until more people are buying in than out the Ponzi scheme works great. Nobody realizes that there’s nothing behind it. Just the money of the depositors gives it value.
Bitcoin is genial because it never even stated that there is some sort of value behind it so you can’t even expect it in the first place. Until more people want to put money in than out the price of Bitcoin will rise. I’ll say this again Bitcoin is alive because people want to treat it as money. “This is the money of the future, you are lagging behind if you don’t understand this. Why do you try to find the inherent value of it and the evaluation of it? You are an old prick who has no clue. This is a new world. Deal with it. You have to just believe this and don’t ask any questions.” Do you know how many times have I heard this from the faithful “investors” of the kairos, sidetalk, emgoldex ponzi schemes?
A lot of people wait a lot from the december 18th stock appearance of Bitcoin but it can bring more bad than good. If the big speculators start to go hard on it they can double the price or drag it down to 0 within days. It's rather easy for them because there is no value behind it. Just a price tag. If the British Pound was attacked what do you think what will they do with Bitcoin? Here there is no national bank which will change the interest rates or pull other tricks from its sleeves to defend its own currency from falling or from a rising. Also here the investors won’t be able to say that a bitcoin is definitely worth more than this or not because the whole english economy is not behind it so they don’t have a guide for its inherent value. If Bitcoin was volatile so far you can prepare yourself for even bigger storms.
You think whatever you want and you pay money for whatever you want. You know what? Even I’m telling you that knowing the madness, dumbness, and greed of people it is not unimaginable that Bitcoin will rise to 150 thousand dollars within the next year. But not because its value is that much but because there are too many greedy people who feel like they were left out of a great opportunity but it's not too late to jump in.
But also don’t be amazed if its price will be 1 dollar again.
submitted by RTT314 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

10-16 02:23 - 'Hurling Rocks at Caimans: A Cowboy's Tale' (self.Bitcoin) by /u/mine_myownbiz13 removed from /r/Bitcoin within 56-66min

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In 1991, my mother had the foresight to leave Venezuela for the United States. She sacrificed a medical profession, her family, her friends, and the comforts of her own land and culture. It was before Chavez, before communism, before famine, before societal collapse. She didn’t know it at the time (perhaps she felt it), but she was saving our lives. Recently, I was asked by her brother, my uncle, to give some words of advice to his youngest son, whom he sent to live in upstate New York earlier this year in the hopes that he might find some opportunity there. He’s 17 and fascinated by cryptocurrencies, but knows next to nothing about them. I wrote this letter for him.

Hello Cousin,
I write you in the hopes that you will take away something useful from my own experience.
There’s a saying in English that’s always stayed with me, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” In other words, nothing in life is easy, not money, not love, not anything. Nothing worth your time is ever going to be easy. There’s no free lunch!
I first got into trading in 2008. Your dad had heard from a friend that Citigroup stock was going to pop soon and that he should buy it. The US Stock Market can only be traded by U.S. citizens and special types of corporations, so he asked me to act as a proxy for his investment, and I did. I did it because I thought it would be a get-rich quick rich scheme that I could learn to do on my own. At this time I was in graduate school and unsure of what to do with my life. I’ve always been good at school. It’s easy for me. I had professors telling me I’d make a great scholar or a great lawyer, but at the time I was teaching middle-school English in a poor neighborhood of Miami. I had a big decision to make.
Naturally, I decided to get rich quick! I spent 2-3 months reading books on stock trading and executing simulated trades on practice accounts. I learned to work a variety of trading platforms so that I could trade several markets around the world, which I did. I quit my job in the fall of 2008 and took my entire life savings of $20,000 into the market. The broker gave me 3.5 times leverage on my money and I had $70,000 of available trading capital. When your dad made his deposit my account had a trading capacity of over $2,000,000. With that kind of margin, I was able to turn $20,000 into over $160,000 in less than 9 months! I was making over $15,000 a month. As a teacher, at the time, I think I made about $2,700 a month. So, as you can imagine, I thought I was a genius! I was getting rich quick, right?
Wrong. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. When your dad sold his share of stock being held in my account I was also forced to liquidate my own positions. I had bought call options on the future price of Apple stock, and the way that kind of trading works is that your money is locked until the future event you are betting on occurs. If you liquidate before a certain date there may be a penalty to pay. In my case, it was $35,000. After this, I had the good sense to step away for a moment, to cash out my chips and think about what came next. Also, I didn’t have a $2,000,000 trading desk anymore, and without the added margin, there was no way I could continue to trade the way I wanted to. I wanted to make medium to long term trades, because one of the first things I learned along the way is that short term trading (day-trading, scalping) is, for the most part, a scam. There are technical reasons for this, but trust me, short-term trading any market, be it cryptos, stocks, or commodities is a bad idea. You will lose money with an almost 100% guarantee.
I walked away from the stock market in 2009 with $150,000 cash but no market to trade it in. So, I did the next best thing: I bought a nice new car (in cash), took a crazy trip to Europe, and consumed over $25,000 worth of shit I didn’t need, and when it was all said and done, I went back to teaching. I taught at an even poorer neighborhood this time. I had gang members in my class. There were arrests on a monthly basis. Some of the kids had psychological problems, emotional problems, learning disabilities, and many of them were being abused at home in one way or another. This was a middle school. Twelve year-olds. I did that job and others like it because I believe in morality and in helping people. That’s the reason I’m writing you this letter, because I want to help you, and I think it's the moral thing to do. And you’ll see what I mean by that when I tell you about cryptocurrencies and the blockchain later on. Anyway, during that year of teaching I discovered a new market to trade. One that would give me 100 to 1 leverage on my money. One where I could manage a $5,000,000 trading desk with only $50,000! That market is called FOREX, and its the global “fiat” currency market. It’s the opposite of the crypto market, which is the global “digital” currency market. More on what all that means later, but for now just understand that FOREX is the most liquid and highly traded market in the world.
After the school-year ended in May of 2011, I took that summer off to research the FOREX market. I read many new books on trading, which were specific to the currency markets. I watched hundreds of hours of video on technical analysis and even more hours of “financial news,” which is mostly economic propaganda, but I won’t digress here. The point is that by late August of 2011, I was once again ready to dive head-first into trading. This time, I thought, it would be even better, because I’d have even more money to “play” with! This time, I thought, I’m going to get rich!
I’ll stop here and tell you that the journey up until this point had not been the smoothest. While trading stocks there were many days when I lost hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of dollars in hours, sometimes in minutes! You may imagine the added level of stress I had to deal with because I was trading with my entire life’s savings and my wife had just given birth to our son, Sebastian. He was a toddler at the time. I’ll give you a brief example of trading’s unpredictable nature, and the unpredictability of financial markets in general: I had spent several months preparing for my first live trade. I’d read many books and practiced my ass off until I thought I was ready. I had a system, a strategy. I was going to get rich, quick! The first week I traded stocks I lost $10,000 in 3 days. I will never be able to fully articulate what it feels like lose 50% of all the money you’ve ever had in less than 72 hours. All the while knowing that if you fail, it will be your family who suffers the most.
You might be wondering: “Shit, why’d you do it?” or “Why’d you keep doing it?” That’s understandable. After all, my academic background is in history and political science, not finance and economics, not statistics. Well, cousin, I did it because I’m a cowboy. A risk-taker. I’ve always been one. I remember being four or five, at our grandfather’s farm, and lassoing calves in the cattle pen by myself. Men were around, but they let me do it. Although, in retrospect, some of those calves were twice my size and could have easily trampled me, I don’t ever remember feeling scared---I loved that shit! I remember sneaking out and walking down to the pond, then going up to the water’s edge to see if I could spot the caiman that lived there. I would even hurl rocks at it sometimes, just to see it move! Another time, I found myself alone in the dark with a 15-foot anaconda not more than a yard away, and all I could do was stare at it, not out of fear, but wonder. Again, in hindsight, probably not the best of ideas, but I’ve never been scared to follow the path laid out by my own curiosity. I am a natural risk-taker. I tell my city-slicker friends that it's because I come from a land of cowboys, where men are born tough and always ready for a challenge. Cowboys are risk-takers by nature, they have to be, the land demands it of them. There’ll be more on risk-taking and the role it plays a little later, but for now, let’s focus on FOREX and what I learned from it.
After the school-year ended in May of 2011, I took that summer off to research the FOREX market. I read many new books on trading, which were specific to the currency markets. I watched hundreds of hours of video on technical analysis and even more hours of “financial news,” which is mostly economic propaganda, but I won’t digress here. The point is that by late August of 2011, I was once again ready to dive head-first into trading. This time, I thought, it would be even better, because I’d have even more money to “play” with! This time, I thought, I’m going to get rich!
Trading FOREX was not easy. The hardest part was that it had to be done between 3:00 am - 11:00 am, because these are peak trading hours in London and New York, where the majority of the market’s money resides. This means major price moves, the price swings that can be traded, for the most part, happen during this time window. For me, this meant I had to live a type of quasi-vampiric lifestyle, waking up at 8:00 pm and going to sleep at noon, every day. At first, it takes a toll on your social life, and eventually starts to affect you mentally and emotionally. There is a certain degree of isolation that comes with it, too. You are awake when your friends and family are asleep, and asleep when they are awake. It can get lonely. However, my first six months of trading FOREX were OK. I wasn’t making $15,000 a month anymore, but I was making more than I would have been, had I been teaching. However, I had a deep-rooted feeling of uncertainty. Although I’d had some initial success in trading stocks, and now currencies, I’d always felt, at the back of my mind, that I’d just been lucky, and nothing more.
This fear materialized itself in June of 2012 when the strategy I’d been using for some time was no longer profitable. I panicked. I started experimenting with new strategies, which only made matters worse, and lead to even more panic. It is no exaggeration to say that trading is one-third mathematical, and two-thirds psychological. No amount of books, videos, or paid mentorships, which I also consumed, had prepared me for this eventual reality check: I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. I had no clue.
I left FOREX humbled, with barely enough money to buy a decent car, much less trade any time soon. The next two years, 2013-2015, were some of the hardest of my life. Harder even than 1991-1993, which, up to that point, had been the worst couple years I’d ever experienced. Those were my first years in the United States, and they were full of hardship. A type of hardship I’d never experienced before, and never have since. Remember the school I mentioned? The one with the gangs and the troubled kids and all the poverty? Well, I attended schools just like that as a kid, too, until I turned 15. I had many more encounters with caimans and anacondas there, except now they had first names, and for some reason, were always more prone to strike! Anyway, those were tough times, but not as tough as the post-FOREX experience.
Failure at FOREX took a mental toll on me. After all, I had gambled everything, my entire future on the bet that I could earn a living as a professional trader. I realized I had failed because of my own intellectual laziness. I always knew I had been lucky, and instead of using the wonderful gift of leisure-time the universe had granted me through that initial success to fill the knowledge gaps I knew would keep me from true and long-lasting success, I let my ego convince me otherwise, and talked myself into making decisions I knew to be extremely dangerous and outside my expertise. I wanted to wrestle the caiman! Cowboy shit. Irrational, youthful folly. Needless to say, I lost 80% of my account, which was also my family’s savings, in less than four months.
Now, I had a real problem. How was I going to pay the bills? What was I going to do with my life? I was 30 years old, had a five-year old son, very little real-world work experience and a college degree in history and political science. How was I going to make money? Serious money? Enough money to help my mom retire and give my son all the advantages I never had? Enough to deliver on the promises I had made to my wife during all those years she put up with my crazy hours and wild ideas about getting rich quick? What was I going to do now? I tell you, cousin, these are the kinds of questions you will find yourself asking if you do not heed my advice.
I didn’t want to teach anymore. I didn’t want to do anything anymore. I was depressed. I had what we call here in the United States, “a quarter-life crisis.” I abused alcohol and drugs to cope with the pain of my failure. I was weak. I was unprepared for the realities of life. I did not yet understand, even at 30 years old, that there is no such thing as a free lunch. I won’t dwell on the specifics of the hardships I endured during these two years, except to say that I almost lost it all, including my life, but I’m grateful I didn't.
However, it was also during this period, 2013-2015, that I began to fill gaps in my knowledge about markets, economics, and the nature of money itself. Gaps I knew would need to be filled one way or another, if I was ever going to trade or invest in anything again. Luckily, towards the end of my FOREX days, I had come to realize there was something wrong with all the information I had been given by the mainstream media, specifically on the topics of economics and finance. I noticed that nothing they ever said about the markets turned out to be accurate, that mainstream financial “news” could not be trusted for investment purposes. It took tens of thousands of dollars in losses and several years of headaches before I learned that lesson. I’m glad I finally did.
I decided to use the last bit of money I had left to buy some gold and silver (by this time I had begun to understand the definition of sound money) and to open up a brick and mortar business. I did not want to work for anyone else, only for myself. I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The trouble was that the only business I had enough money for was a mobile car wash. So, a friend and I bought a van, some pressure cleaners, a whole bunch of soap and got to work! We were going to hustle hard, work warehouse and shopping center parking lots, save enough to reinvest into our business and go after the luxury car market. We were going to charge rich people $1000s to detail Ferraris and Lamborghinis, and it was only going to take six months, tops! Great plan, no? Easy money, right? Well, we washed cars for exactly one day before we realized what a terrible mistake we had made. It turns out car-washing is a backbreaking, low-paying, and degrading business. There’s no free lunch, remember that.
My friend and I were lucky. We quickly transitioned our business from a mobile car wash to a painting/pressure cleaning company, and had immediate success. In less than two months we were hired as subcontractors by a much larger company and I was more or less making what I had made teaching, but working for myself. After a couple of months, my partner and I were already envisioning the hiring of our first employees. Cool, right? No. About a year after we started the business, my partner, a high-school friend of mine, a guy I’d known for more than ten years, decided he didn’t want to do it anymore. That he was too tired of the hardships that come with that kind of work. Tired of making the constant sacrifices required to be successful in business. So, he quit. I lost everything I had invested, because without him, I could not operate the business on my own, and our corporate partner dropped us. I begged him not to quit. I told him that business takes time, that there’s no free lunch, and that we would be rewarded at some point for our hustle and hard work; that we would be able to hire laborers to do the work in less than 6 months, and that we would then focus on sales, and start to make some real money. He did not care. He had his own demons, and chose to steal from me and end our friendship instead of facing the hardship head-on. By this time, however, I was already used to failure, and although I was still coping with the mental stress of having failed at something I once had thought would be my profession, it still did not stop me from following my curiosity, as I always have.
It was during these years that I first learned about Bitcoin. About blockchain. About the nature of money, economic history, the effects of monetary policy on financial markets. I’d wake up at 6:00 am every day, paint houses, pressure clean dirty sidewalks and walls, spend over 2 hours commuting back home every night, and then stay up for as long as my body would allow learning about macroeconomics and the history of markets. I researched the nature of debt and gold a medium of exchange. I read about counter and Austrian economics. I became a libertarian, later, an anarchist, and, after almost two years study, I began to discover legitimate sources of financial news and information, intelligent voices that I could trust. I had acquired enough knowledge and experience to discern the truth from the propaganda, and it was during these same years, these terrible times of hardship, that I finally learned a most valuable lesson on money and markets: capital preservation is the key.
Remember, when I said we’d come back to risk-taking? Well, the trick is not to take it, but to manage it. The secret is education, knowledge. Knowledge truly is, power. Traders are only as successful as the depth of their own knowledge, because it's the only way to keep in check that inherent, paralyzing fear which “playing” with money eventually engenders. As a trader, you must have complete confidence in your “playing” abilities, and this is something only achieved through much study and practice. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, ever.
I want you to know that Bitcoin, the blockchain, and cryptocurrencies are NOT get-rich-quick schemes. They are NOT Ponzi schemes either. They are cutting-edge financial technology, and an emerging asset class. The blockchain has been compared to the agricultural revolution of the Neolithic age and the invention of writing by ancient Mesopotamians, in terms of its importance and potential impact on human civilization. It is a technology which will eventually affect and reshape almost every single industry in the global economy. In the next two decades, all types of industries will be impacted and disrupted by this technology--banking, real estate, healthcare, the legal industry, politics, education, venture capital, just to name a few! This technology allows for something called “decentralized store of value.” Basically, it allows for the creation of an alternative financial system, one where power resides in the hands of the people, instead of corrupt governments and corporations, so that currency crises like the one Venezuela has recently experienced, may one day be completely eradicated, like polio, or bubonic plague.
I will tell you that, at 17 years old, you have an amazing opportunity to set yourself up for incredible success in this brand new industry called the blockchain. There are entire professions that will be birthed into existence in the next 5, 10, and 20 years, in the same way the internet made possible millions of people around the world to work from home, wearing their pajamas, doing a million different things--things which were unimaginable to those who knew the world before the advent of the internet. Of course, it will require a great deal of work and effort on your part, but I assure you, it will be totally worth it!
Today, I am 35 years old. I run a successful ghostwriting business that I manage from the comfort of my own home. I invest exclusively in Bitcoin and precious metals, and hope to retire by the time I’m 40. Well, not really retire, but start on a much-anticipated new phase of my life, one in which I don’t have to worry about financial independence anymore.
To that end, cousin, here is my advice:
  1. Forget about getting rich quick. There’s no free lunch!
  2. Learn the English language, it is one of the tools you'll need for success.
  3. Work or go to school. Either way, dedicate yourself to learning about this new technology as much as you can, and begin to save, as much as you can, in Bitcoin.
I reviewed the website you told me about, [[link]3 , and while I respect, and to a certain extent admire what those gentlemen are doing, I can tell you, unequivocally, that taking those courses won’t turn you into a trader. It won’t make you rich quick. Far from it. In fact, there is nothing that these "warriors" will teach you, that you could not teach yourself for free at [[link]4 .
I’ll end it here. Hopefully, you made it to the end and took away a nugget or two. Please feel free to ask me anything you want about any of it, cousin. I’m always here to help.
'''
Hurling Rocks at Caimans: A Cowboy's Tale
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Author: mine_myownbiz13
1: ww*.cri*toguerre*os*c**/ 2: w*w***bypips.com/ 3: www.criptoguerreros.com]^^1 4: www.babypips.com]^^2
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Forex Basics for Beginners Part Two. Introduction to MT4 ...

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