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Market Lab Report - Premarket Pulse 4/30/18 + Dr. K's Crypto-Corner - A Lesson on Press Releases

This year has brought a zig-zag non-committal stock market that looks as if its about to blow apart then finds its footing. Likewise, it shoots toward new highs then sharply corrects. Rinse and repeat. Part of the issue has been the QE situation as we have discussed. Global central banks cant reduce levels of QE by meaningful amounts while the US fed runs counter to this by hiking rates. This has caused the 10 year treasury bond to rise above 3% as the fed is planning at least a few more rate hikes. The question is whether they will be able to do so before the yield curve inverts and recession begins. So far, the yield curve has flattened and is as flat as it was back in 2007.

The Fed funds rate stands at 1.75% and the fed has hiked rates 6 times since they began raising rates off near-zero in December 2015. The Fed has forecast two more rate hikes for this year, but some market participants believe there could be more. It is a matter of when the languishing global economy brings down the US economy forcing the Fed's hand to launch a new QE program. Meanwhile, other central banks will continue to print at or near record levels as they have no choice. The economy remains weak in the UK and in Europe. It was reported last week that the UK first-quarter economic growth was the weakest since 4th quarter 2012, well below expectations, while ECB chief Mario Draghi suggested the central bank is concerned about slowing in the eurozone economy.

Dr. K's Crypto-Corner - A Lesson on Press Releases

Riot Blockchain (RIOT) came out with what looks an impressive press release:

• For the month of March 2018, Riot generated approximately 69 Bitcoins and 44 Bitcoin Cash
• Approximately 3,500 Bitmain S9 miners deployed as of March 31, 2018
• Riot's mining expansion plans remain on track to have approximately 8,000 Bitmain S9 miners deployed by the end of May 2018
• When fully deployed, Riot expects its presently owned hashing power to be over 110 Petahash, which would rank the Company among the largest publicly listed cryptocurrency mining operations
• Riot maintains ownership of approximately 12.9% of goNumerical Ltd (dba "Coinsquare") as of March 31, 2018. Coinsquare received a CAD $430 million valuation in its February 2018 financing
• Approximately 13.5 million common shares outstanding

It is just about the only publicly traded company to focus entirely on cryptotechnology. But it seems focused in areas such as mining which are not low hanging fruit. Most of the inefficiencies have been bled out of mining. Plus it seems they are overpaying for much of their mining gear. Further, as far as getting involved with cryptocurrency exchanges, they are late to the party. Coinbase and other exchanges such as Binance have clear advantages.

One of their major investors, Barry Honig, who turned RIOT from a biotech into a blockchain company has a questionable track record in terms of getting involved with the wrong companies. And now it seems even he has sold most of his position in RIOT.

Riot Blockchain’s current portfolio:
Coinsquare (12.9%) - normal cryptocurrency exchange
TessPay(52%) - blockchain-based solutions for telecom companies
Verady - accounting for blockchain-based assets
Logical Brokerage (92.5%) - futures cryptocurrency exchange
Kairos Global Tech and Bitmain - mining companies

None of these companies are particularly impressive. Until a proper publicly traded company becomes available with most of its assets focused on blockchain technology, it is generally better to avoid companies such as RIOT. One could also google to learn how to set up an account on one of the larger and safer cryptocurrency exchanges so one can buy specific blockchain-based companies that have shown impressive results and massive potential. But that is up to each investor in terms of how much time they are willing to commit to understanding the world of cryptocurrencies with all its huge risks and, up to now, even greater rewards.

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