Even stranger things afoot at the Circle K
Friday, 21 June 2019
By Bernd Struben
‘Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.’
Keanu Reeves, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Before we look at the latest strangeness afoot at the Circle K, a nod to our solar system.
Today (tonight really) marks the shortest day of the year. Assuming, of course, you’re reading this in Australia. That means we get four and half fewer hours of daylight today than we do during the Summer Solstice, on 21 December.
If you’re like me — a fan of the great outdoors — this is a day to celebrate. Not because it’s short, mind you. But because tomorrow, and every day for the next six months, is going to offer up that little bit more daylight.
And if you’re a fan of the dark? Well, go out and enjoy the longest night of the year this evening!
Getting back to the Circle K (which are much like 7-Eleven stores), you probably remember the 1989 cult film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It starred Alex Winter as Bill, Keanu Reeves as Ted and George Carlin as the time traveling Rufus.
Rufus and his time travelling telephone booth were the ‘strange things […] afoot at the Circle K’ that Ted refers to. Or rather, it was a second phonebooth arriving in the parking lot with another Bill and Ted that spurred Reeves’ now famous line.
That movie’s now 30 years old. But strange things are still happening at the Circle K. Things no one could have imagined back in 1989.
This headline comes from a CoinDesk article, ‘Bitcoin ATMs Go Live at 20 Circle K Convenience Stores’. The article continues:
‘DigitalMint, a Chicago-based over-the-counter cryptocurrency trading platform, has installed bitcoin kiosks at 20 Circle K convenience stores as part of a pilot program across Arizona and Nevada…
‘“We are thrilled to be partnering with a respected organization like Circle K,” said Marc Grens, DigitMint’s president, in the release. “This partnership opens the door for massive expansion of bitcoin access to new markets around the globe.”
‘DigitalMint ATMs allow consumer access to buy and trade up to $20,000 bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin per day.’
Now, the service isn’t cheap.
Apparently DigitalMint charges 12% of your transaction. But that’s likely to come down over time. And the company website already mentions reduced fees are available. Particularly if you’re looking to buy or trade in larger volumes.
Speaking of larger volumes, the article notes that DigitalMint’s approved customers can have their transaction limits — via bank wire — ‘pushed above $1 million’.
That may be more than you’re looking to invest in the likes of bitcoin, litecoin or ether. Though if the next six months are anything like the last six months, you might look back and wish you had.
We’ll get back to that right after a look at the markets…
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 249.17 points, or 0.94%.
The S&P 500 closed up 27.72 points, or 0.95%. That’s a new record high close for the index, edging out the previous record high from 3 May this year. Hats off to the US Fed and expectations for ever cheaper money.
In Europe the Euro Stoxx 50 index finished up 13.38 points, or 0.39%. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 gained 0.28%, and Germany’s DAX closed up 46.86 points, or 0.38%.
In Asian markets Japan’s Nikkei 225 is down 208.96 points, or 0.97%. China’s CSI 300 is down 0.048%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 is down 43.30 points, or 0.65%.
On the commodities markets, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is US$56.65 per barrel. Brent crude is US$64.81 per barrel.
Turning to gold, the yellow metal is trading for US$1,397.17 (AU$2,014.86) per troy ounce. Silver is US$15.38 (AU$22.20) per troy ounce.
Yes, you read that right. Gold cracked the AU$2,000 mark for the first time…and kept right on going.
Here’s what I wrote about gold in yesterday’s Port Phillip Insider:
‘With the Australian dollar likely to remain weak if the RBA follows through on its own expected rate cuts, we could be in for a new series of record highs in Aussie dollar terms.
‘That would be most welcome news to Australia’s gold miners and producers. Not to mention investors who hold their stock.’
And welcome news it has been.
At time of writing, for example, Newcrest Mining Limited [ASX:NCM] is up 4.4% since yesterday’s open. Resolute Mining Limited [ASX:RSG] has gained 8.6%.
With global interest rates heading down as global uncertainties head up, bullion and the companies that mine it are worth careful consideration.
In the world of cryptocurrencies, one bitcoin is worth US$9,748.50.
The Aussie dollar is worth 69.26 US cents.
The next best thing to a time machine
Now let’s get back to 2019’s meteoric returns from the world’s leading cryptocurrencies.
Have a look at the year-to-date performance of litecoin, ether and bitcoin to see what I mean.
First up, litecoin. A market cap of US$8.5 billion makes it the fourth largest crypto today.
Click to enlarge
On 1 January litecoin was trading for US$30.35. Today it’s at US$136.81. That’s a gain of 358% so far in 2019.
If we wanted to cherry pick our entry with the benefit of hindsight we would have bought on 15 December (not shown on the above chart). That’s when litecoin dipped to US$23.81. It’s up 475% since that low.
Next up is ether, the second largest crypto by market cap (US$29.9 billion). Here’s the year-to-date chart:
Click to enlarge
Ether hasn’t done quite as well this year. It’s ‘only’ up 109.6% since 1 January.
And at a current price of US$279.61 it’s still a long, long way from its high of US$1,389.18, hit on 15 January 2018. That gives you some idea of just how far it could still run.
Finally there’s bitcoin. With a market cap of US$172.6 billion, it’s the one cryptocurrency everyone’s heard of…though few understand.
Here’s bitcoin’s price chart for 2019 so far:
Click to enlarge
At a current price of US$9,766.26, bitcoin is up 160.3% since 1 January.
It’s also up 5.2% since I wrote to you yesterday.
You may be wishing you had access to Rufus’s time travelling phonebooth about now.
Unfortunately those won’t be developed until 2688…at least according to the movie.
But when it comes to cryptocurrencies we do have the next best thing.
His name is Sam Volkering. And he’s been on top of the crypto story since bitcoin’s earliest days.
He’s also the editor of our entry level crypto investment advisory, Secret Crypto Network. And while Sam can’t take you through time, he has a phenomenal track record of predicting the next big investment trends…like cryptocurrencies.