This past week saw dangerous new developments and old threats alike emerge around the globe. Even as world leading crypto-currency Bitcoin proponents were celebrating two new all-time high achievements this week, the BTC became an unwitting pawn in the hands of an international cyber attack plot. The Wanna Cry Ransom Cyber attack took 200,000 computers in at least 150 countries of the world hostage.
The cyber hijackers who had encrypted computer files from Britain’s National Health Service, to Russia’s Ministry of the Interior, to the United States’ global shipping and logistics giant FedEx were demanding ransoms amounting to $300 in Bitcoin in order to unlock the frozen files before the hackers destroy them after six days. All this took place the same week that BTC smashed through its prior highs and reached over $1,800 apiece.
Meanwhile even as the Japanese, South Koreans, and Taiwanese were reeling from attacks on their corporate computer systems, North Korea was test firing its most powerful and dangerous long-range missile ever. Analysts have privately concurred that it is likely capable of reaching both Alaska and Hawaii, potentially even carrying nuclear-armed payloads.
The Chinese meanwhile reached a trade arrangement with the United States to begin importing U.S. beef and financial services as part of an effort to allay the Trump administration’s outrage over the U.S. trade imbalance with China. This coincides with the apparent end of the Chinese overseas investment boom.
The geopolitical affairs of the world today strongly suggest that you buy gold. Everywhere you look, the signs are obvious that the world order is under the greatest attack since World War II. Consider how to invest in gold, the precious metal that offers insurance and protection during market turbulence when everything changes and all else fails.
Bitcoin Makes All Time Highs and Becomes A Tool of the Wanna Cry Ransom Cyber Hackers All In One Week
Last Friday, the planet became acutely aware of the perilous threat that cyber hackers now pose to the worldwide governments’ and corporate computer systems. An anonymous and as of yet unknown international cyber criminal ring launched an all-out assault on over 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries on every continent, per the EU law enforcement agency Europol. Security experts including Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre were convinced more attacks on computers were imminent “at a significant scale.”
By the end of the weekend, a second version of the Wanna Cry Ransom worm had already been detected. Over 10,000 computers had been affected by it according to UAE-headquartered cyber security company Comae Technologies’ founder Matt Suiche. A Europol spokesman warned about the continuing danger of the threat:
“For now, it does not look like the number of infected computers is increasing. We will get a decryption tool eventually, but for the moment, it’s still a live threat and we’re still in disaster recovery mode.”
Examples of the damage continued to be evident. German national railroad Deutsche Bahn had its employees working at “high pressure” to fix continuing glitches to the electronic departure boards in the train stations throughout Germany. Over the weekend, many hospitals around London and the South of England were turning away patients there for non-emergency services.
Companies ranging from Renault and Nissan Motors Co., PetroChina, FedEx, Telefonica, and agencies of the Russian, Ukrainian, British, and Chinese governments were all impacted to one degree or another. The threats spread from Eastern and Western Europe through Great Britain, the U.S., and Canada, and on to China, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, and throughout the Middle East.
Hackers were demanding $300 in Bitcoin payment ransom in order to decrypt the locked up files. They promised the price would double to $600 after three days, and the files would all be destroyed after six days if the ransom demands are not met. As it so happened, Bitcoin made new highs this same week, passing first $1,700 then $1,800 per BTC by Thursday.
North Korea Test Fires Most Dangerous Missile Yet in Defiance of the International Order
North Korea is no stranger to over-bragging about the successes and technical accomplishments of its various internationally banned missile launches and nuclear tests. This weekend they proved that there are serious verifiable threats in their missile test progress and claims. Their latest missile test launch on Sunday was the most powerful the nation ever test fired. Some analysts have concluded that the missile is capable of reaching both Alaska and Hawaii, possibly carrying a nuclear payload as the outlaw regime claimed.
The successful test was a huge moral and pride victory for the North Korean government. Maniacal dictator Kim Jong Un successfully demonstrated that he is standing up against both South Korea and the United States. The North’s scientists also gained a boost to morale as they are desperately trying to appease their weapons of mass destruction crazed leader with an array of nuclear warheads and missiles that are U.S. mainland reaching capable. This is the picture of the new missile, the Hwasong-12, as provided by the North Korean government to the world media:
Experts around Asia took note of the impressive trajectory of this missile. Tokyo radar observed the missile obtaining a significant height of 1,240 miles (2,000 kilometers) at a distance of 500 miles (800 kilometers) in its half hour test flight.
If they had launched the missile at a normal altitude, it would have traveled the distance to either Alaska or Hawaii, per South Korean analysts. They claimed that this was the greatest altitude and longest time of flight for any North Korean missile yet. Estimates of how far it would have reliably traveled range from 2,500 to 4,350 miles (4,000 to 7,000 kilometers) in distance.
Seoul, South Korean commentator of military issues Lee Illwoo summed it up best with:
“This is a very uncomfortable development for the United States.”
Over the last several years, the North Korean regime and military has managed to launch two satellites into orbit around the earth on its longer-range rockets. The United Nations has called this a clandestine means of testing its longer-distance missile technology. Yet Sunday represented the first time ever the North Koreans had tested military versions of these rockets.
What is more alarming for the United States and its regional allies Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore is that the Defense Ministry in Pyongyang claims that this missile is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. They boast that the military has finally perfected the difficult to master detonation and homing systems in the complex reentry stages and conditions. No one has yet been able to independently verify this because of the highly secretive nature of the North’s atomic weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Yet North Korean weapons experts have long held that all the rogue state needed to do to complete the nuclear missile cycle was to come up with a more compact atomic warhead in order to be able to hit the United States’ outlying states and even the mainland. Some of these weapons analysts assert that the claims of the North Korean government to be able to carry heavier weighing warheads would give them the capability of deploying bigger bombs or even several warheads that could be made to strike various American or allied targets at once. Add this to your list of 5 reasons not to sell your gold now.
China and The United States Strike A Trade Deal for U.S. Beef Imports
After the fiery rhetoric from U.S. President Donald Trump translated into a meaningful meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Chinese have apparently made good on their pledge to the American administration to carry out trade reforms. They will increase their trade in both chicken and beef and also build in more access for American financial firms to China. This is supposed to decrease the enormous American trade deficit with China, according to United States Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross who declared:
“This will help us to bring down the deficit for sure. You watch and you’ll see. “
These are the first concrete results from the initial trade talks that started following the heads of state meeting between American President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China. The deal is not only a one-sided street for America though. By July 16th, China is to permit U.S. beef to be imported into China, while the U.S. will rule that Chinese cooked chicken can come into the United States, per Ross.
Perhaps more importantly, the Chinese have agreed to permit credit card payment and processing services which are American-based and -owned to start processing licenses and compete against the Chinese Union Pay system which currently enjoys a near total monopoly. American and other foreign-owned companies working in China will similarly be allowed to offer credit rating services there. Ross promised that this will create a noticeable impact on the Chinese trade surplus with the U.S. by the end of 2017.
This deal comes exactly at a time when the Chinese are pulling back on their largest of all-time frenzy for acquiring foreign companies and assets. The Chinese government has decided to impose capital controls in order to slow down the outpouring of currency and resources into buying foreign targets. The chart below shows how dramatic is the slowdown:
The world offers no shortage of geopolitical instability and change these days, all of which argues for why you should own gold in times of financial crisis. Be sure your retirement portfolio is protected against all of it by learning how to win over your financial advisor on gold in your portfolio.