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From bitcoin to marijuana. A new madness.

My inbox is bleating marijuana stocks.

With bated breath, my favorite broker whispers “Buy MJX.” It’s an ETF that until December 25, 2017 was called the Tierra XP Latin America Real Estate ETF (ticker symbol: LARE).

That name gave boredom a whole meaning. Now it’s called the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF. Its top ten holdings include Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth, Supreme Cannabis and Cannimed Therapeutics.

Here’s what happens when you change the name of your dreary ETF to something sexy. It jumps 30%.


Meantime Seeking Alpha publishes a piece “259 Marijuana Stocks, Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF, And Jeff Sessions.” Summary of the article:

+ Late this last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared to “stall” the rally in marijuana stocks.again. (He said the Feds would go after marijuana crooks.)

+ Unlike the 2017 market reaction, this time is different — the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF continues to advance. (There actually is such an index ETF. Learn more here.)

+ I continue to like Canadian marijuana and cannabis stocks, but also examine the universe of N=259 marijuana and cannabis stocks. (That “I” refers to the Seeking Alpha author, not Harry Newton. I have no interest in cannabis stocks.)

Read this Seeking Alpha article here.

Now, please keep reading:

Harry Newton’s Two immutable Rules of investing

+ Understand what you’re investing in.

+ When in doubt stay, out.

Pretty obvious. Not new. But it’s getting harder. Technology is making it much harder,  producing “opportunities” to get rich much faster and producing more and more noise on bubblevision, etc.

So back to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. I’m not going to tell you that I’ve found the magic way to make money with this stuff. My first and ONLY venture into cryptocurrencies (namely bitcoin) cost me $475.

But the reality is everyone is fascinated with them. Here’s an illustration from the intellectual New York Review of Books.


The article it illustrates is Bitcoin Mania by Sue Halpern. It’s in the January 18, 2018 issue and it reviews two books:
+ Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
+ Attack of the Fifty Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum and Smart Contracts
by David Gerard

Sue Halpern’s article begins:

The first time I bought virtual money, in October 2017, bitcoins, the cryptocurrency everyone by now has heard of, were trading at $5,919.20. A month later, as I started writing this, a single coin sold for $2,000 more. “Coin” is a metaphor. A cryptocurrency such as bitcoin is purely digital: it is a piece of code-a string of numbers and letters-that uses encryption techniques and a decentralized computer network to process transactions and generate new units. Its value derives entirely from people’s perception of what it is worth. The same might be said of paper money, now divorced from gold and silver, or of gold and silver for that matter. Money is a human invention. It has value because we say it does.

In 2008, when a person or persons going by the name Satoshi Nakamoto published the whitepaper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” bitcoins were worth nothing because they didn’t exist. Three months later, when the first version of bitcoin software was released by Nakamoto and the inaugural bitcoins were traded, they were essentially free. By September 2010, a single bitcoin cost about six cents. By June 2011, it was $22.59. And while the price had its ups and downs, the overall trend was up, up, up. By the end of 2013, as the idea of a currency controlled exclusively by computers running cryptographic algorithms created and traded without the intercession of a central bank, a nation-state, a taxation authority, or any kind of regulation began to take hold, especially among libertarians and those unsettled by the financial crisis, as well as among black-market criminals and terrorists, it was nearly $1,000.* The higher the price, the greater the interest of investors and speculators, which propelled the price even higher.

Her piece is the best I’ve ever read on bitcoin and crytocurrencies. Please read it. It’s engrossing. Click here. 

Fortune magazine has also chimed in with “stuff”. Bitcoin is its cover story:


You can read some of Fortune’s words here. 

Fortune ends its piece with this silly quote:

To Jerry Brito of Coin Center, the future of Bitcoin isn’t about just the potential for limitless returns, but the promise that his daughter will grow up in a better world. “It’s a world where you can keep your money safe?.?where you can trade with anybody else in the world,” he says. Bitcoin’s allure, in this view, is not about the money, per se, but about technology. Maybe that’s why Brito insists there’s no fiscal significance in the name he and his wife eventually chose for the baby. They call her Penny — but it’s short for Penelope.

As I wrote above, when in doubt stay out. And you will be in doubt, once you’ve read Sue Halpern’s brilliant piece.  Do it today. Click here.


This ad popped up wherever I surfed this weekend.

Nice shoes, I thought. When I finally clicked on it, this is what I got:


CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. Good motto.

It’s been snowing heavily up here in the east.

This snow plow sports the words “South Carolina Department of Transportation.”


As I look at this image, I cannot stop laughing.

Harry Newton. All hail stop losses. They work. … If you’ve had money stolen from your bank account electronically, please send me an email as to how it happened and what you  learned. Hacking is getting scary. For now, at least change your password.