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The beginners’ guide to trading: support and resistance

Buy low, sell high. Easy, right?

 

Trading isn’t as simple as it seems, otherwise everyone would be doing it and winning all the time. Which is impossible, of course, because for every buyer there’s a seller and for every winner there’s a loser. So, if you’re starting out in this space: be warned. It’s not easy. According to the disclaimers on forex and other trading sites, around 90% of daytraders lose money.

 

So, how do you learn what you need to without getting burned?

 

Firstly, we would strongly recommend the site BabyPips, which teaches forex trading strategies and techniques – equally relevant to crypto. You’ll find all you need here about all the major indicators and approaches.

 

Support and resistance

We’re going to start with one of the simplest and most important ideas, though: support and resistance. As you can see from this link, it’s not hard to understand. When the market heads higher and then pulls back, it has hit resistance. When it drops and bounces, that’s support.

 

Once an area has proven to be support or resistance in the past, it will very likely do so again – either bouncing or pausing at that level. That gives traders a piece of information that can lower their risk.

 

If price is approaching support, then it might be a good time to buy – certainly a better time than if it is approaching resistance (which might be a better time to sell). And if price does break through support, then there’s a good chance it will continue lower, potentially to the next support level. The same is true of resistance.

 

None of this gives any guarantees: there are no guarantees with markets. But it reduces your likelihood of placing a losing trade, and shows you which areas should be of most interest.

 

One concrete example. If bitcoin breaks down below the $5k zone, there is a good chance it will continue to the next support level. There’s some support in the mid–$4k range, but the real opportunity would be at $4,200, where bitcoin paused many times before finally breaking up at the beginning of April.

 

In any case, take a look at BabyPips, talk to other traders, learn other strategies – but, most of all, keep your emotions out of it. That’s about the surest way there is to lose on a trade.

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Margin trading the dollar-dollar pair. Really.

We know it’s silly season, but seriously?! Bitfinex recently added USDT/USD margin trading.

 

It’s a well-known fact in the crypto world that the ‘pegged’ dollar crypto Tether (USDT) sometimes comes untethered. Sometimes badly. Back in October, for example, when the markets briefly went wild, you could pick up Tethers for less than $0.90, profiting when they gravitated back to their long-term price, which is more like $0.99. (The friction of using a dollar-pegged crypto is such that they’re not actually worth a dollar at the best of times.)

 

The risk, of course, is that such weird behaviour is the early signs of something more terminal: Tether imploding because it doesn’t have the cash reserves to cover all its issued USDT. You pays your money, you takes your choice.

 

But in this blog post, Bitfinex have not only openly admitted the utter failure of their pegged dollar crypto against the actual dollar, but they encourage their customers to trade the difference. The exchange – which is also effectively the issuer of Tethers – has launched USDT/USD margin trading. Really.

 

At Bitfinex we work tirelessly to ensure our platform reflects the needs of professional traders, offering market differentiating order types for unique trading strategies. Today, adding margin trading on USDT/USD pair will not only allow for more efficient price discovery, but in an important move for risk management, unlock the ability to hedge the exposure taken on stablecoins. Along with a dedicated lending market, USDT will be available as collateral for margin positions.

 

Erm, ‘hedge the exposure taken on stablecoins’?! The whole point is that stablecoins are a hedge. Not like crypto, so volatile that they need hedging themselves. Guys. SERIOUSLY?

 

If this was 1 April, we would dismiss this as a self-deprecating April Fool’s joke. But it’s not. They’re actually doing this. Which. Is. Nuts.

 

We at Inferno have never liked Tether much, thanks to the fact they’re about as clean and transparent as a sewer. But with this move, they take their tacit disdain of their customers and raise it to an art form.

 

What they’re doing here is asking their customers to gamble on the likelihood of the failure of their own product and exchange. The fact that USDT is sometimes worth more or less than a dollar should be an utter embarrassment to Bitfinex. Instead, they’re making it a feature.

 

We’d facepalm, but the sheer magnitude of the gesture necessary to convey our feelings on this would probably induce brain damage.

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Crypto cashout plan

A bear market is the time to prepare your strategy and plan for the future.

It might seem odd, discussing a strategy to cash out your crypto (at a profit) in the middle of a bear market. But now is the time to make plans for the next cycle – which will surely come, sooner or later.

This does not constitute investment advice. It is a suggested strategy for consideration, no more.

The strategy outlined below is not for expert traders who are experienced in calling the market, jumping in at the bottom and exiting with massive profits at the top. This is for regular investors, who are smart enough to buy crypto and hold until prices are significantly higher.

The emotional rollercoaster of the market

Markets have an unsettling effect on investor psychology. In a bull run, it’s tempting to keep holding, because it feels like the price will never drop – it could do another 5x, 10x, 100x even. At the peak of 2017’s bitcoin rally, analysts were calling for $50,000 and $100,000 BTC within a few months. We know how that ended. Similarly, in a bear market, it feels like prices will never turn around, that everything is going to zero. As you’ll appreciate, neither are true. The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent, sure. But trends do not last forever.

So what do you do when the market finally turns around and – having spent months fighting the urge to panic sell (maybe unsuccessfully) – you just can’t bring yourself to sell? Even when a little bit of you knows the party won’t go on forever.

Answer: take emotion out of the equation. Make a plan now. Fix a strategy, commit to it, follow it like a bot. Buy and sell algorithmically, when the price hits points you’ve pre-determined. Here’s an example.

You buy BTC throughout the downtrend, a little every week or month, and probably past capitulation and trend reversal, until BTC is well on its way up again. By the time you’re done buying, your cost basis (the average price you’ve paid) is $5,000 per BTC and you have 3 BTC. Total expenditure: $15k.

You know BTC could rise a lot – A LOT – this bullrun, given its past behaviour. That $100k figure is possible, sure. Equally, you know that nothing is for certain, especially in this sector. So when the price hits $15k, you cash out one of your BTC. You have effectively zeroed your costs (this ignores any capital gains taxes owed), regaining your original investment and still holding two thirds of your BTC. Nice.

What next? BTC continues to head up, correcting here and there, but you have no idea where it will top out. So you decide to sell a percentage every time BTC rises by a given amount. For example, sell 20% of your holdings every time BTC doubles in price. That way, you never sell everything. You don’t get the best price, sure – but not many people call the top and act on it. You do ensure you’re in profit.

At $30k, you sell 20% of your remaining 2 BTC (0.4 BTC) for a total of $12,000.

At $60k, you sell another 20% of what you have left (0.2 x 1.6 = 0.32 BTC) for a total of $19,200.

At $120k, you sell 0.256 BTC for $30,720.

Maybe you also decide this is life-changing capital moment, and you sell another 1 BTC for $120,000, while keeping the rest safe in case the price rises further. Your call. Just don’t act impulsively, and don’t try to jump in and out of the market if you can avoid it. That almost always leads to losses.

BTC tops out at $150,000, and you don’t make any more sells. On the way down, you may like to buy back in at a lower price – but given the dynamics of previous bear markets, you’d be well advised to wait and see where things go, because the price can fall to a fraction of its high.

You can tweak these figures however you want. Sell 10% on a 50% rise, for example. The idea is to ensure you’re never second-guessing the market, and to make sure you’re always in profit. If you have the funds, the foresight and the guts to have bought a long time ago and held, or at a very beneficial price, then taking significant profits using a small percentage of your holdings can be a very smart move.

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Our Five Favourite non-technical indicators

You might be used to staring at charts, but there are other ways to approach crypto investing, gauging sentiment and fundamentals.

 

If you hold crypto then the chances are you know a bit about charting and have read various analyses of the bitcoin markets. These take technical factors into account – price action, supply and demand – which is fine as far as it goes. But if you want a more rounded picture, and to gain information that many traders and investors simply won’t be using, there are other indicators you should occasionally watch. Here are five of our favourite.

 

  1. Google Trends. It won’t come as a surprise that search activity for the term bitcoin correlates well with price. Importantly, and as you might expect, changes in search activity slightly precedes a price move. Google Trends is therefore a good overall indicator of the degree of public interest in bitcoin.
  2. Bitcoin dominance, or the percentage of the total crypto market cap occupied by bitcoin. Maximalists want to see this number going up. But dominance tends to rise during a bear market as traders de-risk and hold funds in BTC. So this is a contrarian indicator: when you see dominance falling, money is flowing back into the broader crypto sector, which inevitably has a bigger impact on the (more thinly-traded and illiquid) alts.
  3. NVT, Network Value to Transactions. This is the ratio of the market cap of bitcoin to the daily dollar value of transactions on the network. When a crypto is in bubble mode, NVT is high – because its market cap isn’t reflected in the level on on-chain transactions. It’s a little like the P/E ratio used to value traditional stocks. It’s not a perfect metric by any stretch, and there are more complex ones available, but this is a good (and simple) starting point. It’s also a way to compare different cryptos and looked for those that are underpriced.
  4. Pending txs. When the network sees periods of higher activity, there’s less free space in blocks and more transactions are left unconfirmed for longer. Assuming that no spam attack is underway, checking pending txs or the size of the mempool offers another metric for gauging the popularity of bitcoin, including how many people are sending BTC to and from exchanges
  5. Active addresses. Once again, the more active addresses there are on a network, the more we can infer people are using buying and selling. A rising number of active addresses correlates with higher prices, as more ‘regular Joe’ investors buy; a falling number correlates with selling and consolidation as a smaller number of larger traders and believers accumulate coins.

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Inferno Tuesday market report

A leg down, and the rally is back in question. These are uncertain times.

After an encouraging weekend, bitcoin is back in the red, taking many alts with it. Friday’s rally fizzled on Saturday, topping out at the $6,800 resistance zone.

You’ll remember that the upswing only started on Wednesday, when bitcoin crashed — apparently on the SEC’s news of another ETF delay — only to spike upwards immediately afterwards, covering a space of $450 in a single 4h candle. Things change very fast in Bitcoinland.

This time, though, the change has been in the bears’ favour. Having faltered yesterday, bitcoin tumbled another $200 this morning, wiping out much of its earlier gains.

On the one-day chart, price is now below the 50 MA, indicating renewed downside momentum. We’ll see where the day closes but right now, with a price below $6,400, it’s looking more bearish. The key level to watch right now is the $6,150 zone. A close below that would be a lower low, after a succession of higher lows on the daily (most recently $6,100), indicating the nascent rally is off for for the time being.

There is some encouragement, as the 61.8% fib level (~$6,383) has provided support for now. On the 4h, BTC is oversold on the RSI and has come off the 30 line, just as it fell from the 70 line when overbought last week. Should the situation change and the immediate trend reverse, the area to watch is the $6,800 resistance level bitcoin failed to breach convincingly last time. After that it’s the $7,000 psychological level, a zone which also marks the top of the descending resistance line. Closing above $7,200 would be a confidence boost. Meanwhile 200 daily MA stands at $7,400, which represents another barrier.

Fundamentally, of course, nothing has changed. Bakkt launches in November, likely bringing the beginnings of the influx of institutional money we know is standing on the sidelines. An ETF will be approved sooner or later, but as things stand it may not even be necessary.

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Get your hot Goxcoins now!

Back in 2014 the last bear market was kicked off in style by the collapse of MtGox, the largest bitcoin exchange around at the time. Having topped out in a classic bubble at the end of 2013, the market was just looking for a reason to confirm its hunch that BTC was still badly overvalued. Gox closing its doors and taking 850,000 BTC with it did the job.

 

Since then Gox has continued to cast a long shadow. The recovery of 200,000 ‘mislaid’ coins held out some hope that users would one day get some money back, and indeed that has now – apparently against all odds – come to pass. (Under Japanese law typically everything would be sold to repay creditors rather than assets being distributed directly, but a special ruling has been made in this case after the crypto world reacted with dismay after the trustee cashed out a tranche and ostensibly crashed the market. Gox will now be dealt with as a civil rehabilitation case rather than a bankruptcy.)

 

Around $1 billion of funds are at stake – the balance of the 200k BTC left. These will now be distributed pro-rata to Gox holders who sign up with the online claim filing system that has been set up (see https://claims.mtgox.com/assets/index.html). The deadline for submissions is 22 October.

 

160k BTC incoming

The reason this is now featuring again in the crypto news is because, after the price drop that took place a couple of weeks, the crypto world is hyper-attuned to the impact of whales cashing out.

 

What will be the impact of 160,000 BTC being distributed to old holders? In BTC terms, they will receive just a sixth of what they lost, but the massive bull market of 2017 means they will probably break even in fiat terms.

 

Dire warnings have been given that these coins will flood and crash the market, and that is certainly possible. Many people may just want to pull out their capital and walk away. Others, naturally, with continue to hold. At this point in the market cycle, bitcoin is a gift – whatever the short-term fluctuations, the medium term looks good as BTC builds a solid base around $6k.

 

As ever, the most likely scenario lies between the extremes. There may be some impact on the market of sellers who just want their cash. But you also have to factor in a large number of bitcoiners who have stuck around since 2014, albeit with burned fingers, and are pleased to get this windfall. True believers will put it in cold storage and carry on hodling.

 

Inferno’s opinion: this event will be priced in long before the distribution takes place. With everything going on in the crypto world right now, old Goxers selling coins here and there will just be background noise against the broader signal.

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Ten Ways to be an Emotional, Unsuccessful Crypto Trader

Want to lose your money, pride, reputation, friends, family and home? Just follow these simple rules.

 

In a Bull Market, everyone’s happy. There was a time last year when no one who had bought and held bitcoin had lost money. When the price makes ATHs on a weekly basis, it’s all good.

 

Then came the Bear. Nine months into the crypto winter, holders and traders are feeling the pinch. Many have bailed already, nursing burned fingers and wounded pride. Others are wary of further falls, terrified the market might plummet and wipe them out.

 

These are the times that test a person. Fortunes and futures are forged in a bear market like this one. But it’s almost impossible to hold your nerve and make good decisions. The markets are driven by emotion, and it’s human nature to get caught up in that. Staying objective can feel almost impossible.

 

What not to do

Rather than give you advice about how to act under this pressure, we thought it would be easier to describe the behaviours that will lead to loss of funds, pride, reputation, and possibly – if you really take them to heart – your friends, family and home.

 

So if you really want to look back in five years and know that things could have been very, very different, follow these ten easy rules:

 

  1. Trust your instincts. Your feelings never lie, right? That creaking noise downstairs really was an axe murderer; that brief eye contact with the girl at the coffee shop definitely means she loves you; and if it just kind of feels like time to sell, it is.
  2. Follow the herd. There’s safety in numbers. If you’re uncertain which way the market’s going, just do what everyone else is doing.
  3. Listen to the experts – people like Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon and Agustin Carstens. These guys have extensive experience in investment and banking in the conventional financial sector, so they are ideally placed to comment on completely new technological and economic paradigms that lie far outside of their comfort zones and threaten their vested interests.
  4. Learn to read charts properly. If it’s going up, that logically means it’s going to continue going up. If it’s going down, it’s going to keep going down. Just like when you look out of the window and it’s raining, it means it’s going to keep raining for ever.
  5. CNBC is a better source of informed opinion about the crypto markets than anyone else. They’ve been doing this for literally months.
  6. Some guy you’ve never met on Twitter has your best interests at heart. If he tells you now is the time to buy a coin, it’s because he wants you to be rich. If he speaks with authority, it’s because he’s getting his information from reliable crypto insiders.
  7. Margin trading is an excellent way for newcomers to make enormous gains. Leveraging your position also amplifies your emotional attunement to the crypto markets, making them easier to read – kind of like tightrope walking without a safety net heightens your sense of balance.
  8. Forget HODLing. Those who can, trade. Look at it this way: if you have 10 BTC and you HODL, in ten years you’ll have 10 BTC. But if you trade, it could be 1,000 BTC. Only fools HODL.
  9. Bear markets are NOT an opportunity. No one ever succeeded by buying low, selling high.
  10. You don’t have time for due diligence, and it will be fine anyway. ICO issuers are by nature competent, honest and hardworking people who have a robust and unique business plan to disrupt billion-dollar markets. Invest or miss out.

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Friday Inferno market report

Just as two weeks ago the market’s confidence turned to dismay, this week its pessimism was steamrollered with a $400 leap in price. What can we expect from the week ahead?

The main purpose of the market, said American investor Bernard Baruch, is to make fools of as many people as possible. That happened last week with traders’ near-universal confidence that the rally to $7,400 would continue, and it apparently happened again as sentiment turned bearish across the board with the drop to $6,100.

It’s a tough time to be a bitcoiner, especially a new one, given the mixture of hope, dashed expectation and market manipulation we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks. Whether you were long or short, there were surprises, and there can’t be many traders who called both the top and the bottom profitably.

At this point, we’ll zoom out to the daily, where the larger pattern becomes clear.

Since mid-January, when a large proportion of the froth had come off the bitcoin market, BTC has been trading in a tightening wedge. The bottom of that wedge has been the $6,000 zone and just below. Bitcoin has descended to and come off that area no fewer than five times now.

The upper bound of the wedge has fallen from $12,000 down to around $7,000. Bitcoin has risen to this level and then fallen four times.

 

Tightening range

With each oscillation, the swings in price get smaller. If the pattern continues, it will run out of time in the last week of October, when the top and bottom lines cross at around the $6,500 mark. At that point, the price has to cross one or other line. Thus we have just five weeks before this stage in the market cycle finally resolves, one way or the other.

 

 

But of course, it won’t take five weeks. These things rarely go all the way to the end. Traders see the writing on the wall and collectively make a decision before that. What we’re looking for is a convincing movement above or below the bounds of that triangle (currently $7,300 and $6,300, respectively), with volume. Price may rise or dip outside of it briefly — if so, be cautious, because that doesn’t mean it won’t reverse and end up going the other direction. These ‘fake-outs’ are common. We’ll only know for sure with hindsight, but look for the volume as well as the magnitude of the movement: together they indicate how committed traders are to the move.

At the time of writing, RSI on the 4h reads almost 70, heading into overbought territory, but appears to be taking a pause and is possibly levelling off. On the daily, momentum is gaining upward pace but is not yet over the 50 mark, so there’s plenty of room to go.

 

ETH capitulation by ICOs?

The same returning optimism is not true of ETH, which has seen very heavy selling in recent days. Almost 300,000 ETH has been sold in the last month by ICOs dumping their holdings. Trustnodes reports that 160,000 ETH were sold in just 10 days. This has always been a risk for the Ethereum ecosystem, as critics have warned: it’s one thing to collect tens of millions of dollars worth of ETH in your ICO, but at some point, you’re going to have to cash out to pay bills. And if the market is crashing, you need to sell fast to make sure you have enough fiat to continue work. Then it just becomes a huge competition between ICOs to see who can cash out fastest and get the least-worst prices for their ETH. Right now it looks pretty bleak for ETH, though it saw a strong bounce from its recent low just yesterday.

So the picture — at least for bitcoin — is looking up. Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital, just tweeted his opinion that the bottom is in. The next decision by the SEC on the SolidX-VanEck ETF is due at the end of September, which will prove significant one way or the other.

But one last warning. That big Silk Road wallet that just sent a big chunk of coins to Bitfinex and likely sparked the last crash? There’s plenty more where that came from.

Breathe.

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Tuesday Inferno Analysis

The picture for BTC and the alts is looking good. As traders come back from their summer holidays, it looks like the bull is also back in town and growing stronger with each passing day.

 

On a technical level, it’s been a great couple of weeks for BTC, as traders have pushed up through multiple layers of resistance. Regular pull-backs have ensured the market doesn’t get ahead of itself too fast, making this a strong and sustainable rally. The most immediate support levels at $6,800 and $7,000 held on tests. At the time of writing, BTC is bumping against the ceiling of downward-sloping support, with the next target to break around the $7,500 zone.

 

On the daily chart, we’re sat between the 50 and 200 moving averages, and RSI is heading north – though not yet into overbought territory. A look at the daily RSI over the last several months shows that it has been an excellent indicator for buying and (particularly) selling. We would advise caution, though: in the last bull market, there were periods when the daily RSI spent significant periods of time over 70, and selling there would have meant missing out. When BTC goes into bull mode it’s a raging bull, and the rules change.

 

The technical picture is broadly positive for now, then, though breaking $7,500 and then $8,000 would consolidate that impression. Pushing above the 200 MA would give traders a confidence boost, and likely when $10k is breached there will be another wave of media interest and speculation (of both kinds).

 

Right now, volumes are still lower than they were earlier in the year or at the end of 2017. Nevertheless, the mood has changed over the last month. More longs are opening on the futures markets, with CME reporting both a reduction in shorts and an increase in longs. On top of that, another 100 million USDT have recently been printed, suggesting incoming demand. Big money (which usually equals smart money) is signposting its expectations.

 

On the other side of the coin, one other factor that has attracted interest in recent days is the movement of large quantities of bitcoins from a wallet that has been dormant since 2014. Around $100 million has apparently been moved to Bitfinex and Binance, presumably to sell for USD and altcoins, respectively. We’ll take a closer look at this tomorrow, but that could indicate considerable sell pressure in the short term. Right now, though, the market doesn’t seem to care.

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Review: Carstens ‘simply superb’ in comic role as Central Bankers’ Central Banker

Europe’s finest up-and-coming comedian is worthy of Ali G in his satirical creation as the head of the fictional ‘Bank of International Settlements’.

 

It’s not often that a comedian is brave enough to take on a subject as dry as global banking, but Agustin Carstens – a previously little-known performance artist from Mexico – has successfully done just that. For the last several months, Carstens has been touring Europe, remaining in-character at all times, delivering weighty speeches about the perils facing the global economy from an irresponsible younger generation obsessed with digital cash. We were recently able to take in one of his gigs – and were absolutely blown away by his act.

 

The genius of Carstens is not in his deadpan delivery – a style long employed by comedians, perhaps most notably the UK’s Jack Dee. It is the sheer perfection with which he walks the unlikely line he has chosen. Watching him perform, unsuspecting audiences are left with the distinct impression that Carstens genuinely believes his own message, and are uncertain whether they should be laughing with him or at him: an unsettling but simultaneously riotously hilarious experience. Just as Sacha Baron Cohen immersed himself in his comic creation Ali G – the ‘gangster from Staines’ who mocked his guests and their desperation to come across well to the public by inducing them to agree to his own shocking or ridiculous views – so Carstens takes the role of Head of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) to a new level of post-ironic satire.

 

Carstens is simply superb as the “Head of the BIS”… His figure is larger-than-life, his demeanour entitled, his message strident, his tone increasingly desperate – his comic creation faultless.’

– Cassius (writer and entertainment critic)

 

During the course of his ‘presentations’ – delivered to journalists and groups of notable figures from the world of finance and economics – Carstens never once slips out of character, as he harangues the world beyond the cameras about the dangers of digital money and the new economic paradigms it represents. In doing so, he poses the wickedly funny question to the nascent industry he addresses: ‘How dare you try to muscle in on the profits of injustice the banks have monopolised for a hundred years?’

 

Take this excerpt of one of his most recent interviews, given to the journalist of a major Basel news outlet (the journalist, naturally, is unaware of the comedic nature of Carstens’ endeavour, tacitly accepting the existence of the fictional BIS and thereby flaunting his ignorance of the global economics it is his job to cover). ‘My message to young people would be: Stop trying to create money! … Young people should use their many talents and skills for innovation, not reinventing money. It’s a fallacy to think money can be created from nothing.’

 

With a nod to South Park’s Mr Mackey (‘Crypto is bad, mkay?’), Carstens pleads with the youth of today to give up their naive ways of creating money from nothing. And, like Mr Mackey, who ignores his own classroom diatribe and plunges himself into a lifestyle of drug-taking, Carstens smoothly glosses over the hypocrisy of the world’s central banks, for whom he is the central figure. With the effects of the Global Financial Crisis still undermining the prosperity of ordinary people – and precisely the younger generation he lectures bearing the brunt of the pain they are innocent of causing – the head of the BIS knows better than anyone that central banks have hardly acquitted themselves well. But ‘Central banks are trusted,’ he comments – his composure never once faltering with so much as a smirk at the irony.

 

It is this incisive, biting wit framed by his utterly convincing delivery that makes Carstens the rising star he is and the comedy great he is destined to become. From his evident depth of knowledge of economics (from which he naturally cherry-picks only the most convenient facts for his message) to his imposing physical presence and image as the stereotypical bankster, his commitment to his character is absolute.

 

Agustin, we salute you!

 

You can read more about Europe’s #1 financial comedian on Carstens’ website, at https://www.bis.org/author/agustin_carstens.htm.

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