Secure Direct Messages

Here is a secure way of exchanging instant messages.

XMPP is an (open standard) instant messaging protocol that runs on multiple servers without any central authority. OMEMO is an extension of XMPP that implements the “Signal Protocol” as an open standard. The Signal Protocol (advertized by Ed Snowden around 2015) provides fully end-to-end encrypted instant messages between two or more parties.


  • no central authority such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp involved that has access to all meta-data, can censor content, can lock out participants, or maintain back-door keys
  • fully end-to-end encrypted messages between two or more participants
  • every user can have several client programs (mobile app and desktop program, say), the encryption keys remain on the individual devices, and the protocol keeps messages synchronized between devices even if some devices are off-line some of the time

What you need to do:

  • obtain a mobile app such as Conversations (Android) or ChatSecure (iOS) or a desktop programm such as Gajim or Dino
  • register an XMPP account with a public XMPP server that implements the OMEMO standard – usually you can create new accounts from within the app (see the first reference below for how to find a server).
  • add my temporary account,, as a contact and identify youself through another channel (email, etc.). I’ll then tell you my real XMPP account. Don’t use for your account. Find another server using the first link below.


Hope to see some of you soon.



Tweets on International Clearing using Gold





















































































































































Twitter: London Gold Clearing and the Role of the Bank of England

This is just to organize a recent discussion regarding the clearing procedure in the London bullion market and the role played by the Bank of England. Warning: Lots of embedded tweets make this page rather slow.

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Snippets on Euro, Gold, Dollar and International Trade

Taking the twitter functions of WordPress to the limit … Warning: Loading this page may be a little slow due to all the embedded tweets.

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Central Bank Gold Leasing

The salespeople of the gold investment industry publish a lot of bold claims about central bank activities in the gold market (for example, here) along the lines of “All central banks want to suppress the gold price.“, “The central banks have secretly leased and sold most of their gold.” The present article is an attempt to summarize the facts that we know and to offer a rather different interpretation.
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Before the Thoughts! and Before the Trail

Jeff at FOFOA’s blog has discovered a partial copy of the old Kitco mailing list. The following is a compilation of what I hope are the relevant messages by The Writer, Big Trader, GFD and SimpleMan (as far as they relate to contact with Big Trader), and ANOTHER.

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How Credit Suppresses the Gold Price (with Alice and Bob)

Alternative title: How Credit Creates Inflation
Alternative title: How Gresham’s Law Destroys the Gold Standard

Our small closed economy has five main protagonists, Alice the Automobile Saleswoman, Bob the Banker, Charlie the Capitalist, Dave the Debtor, and Steve the Saver. This small economy is on a gold coin standard, i.e. gold coins circulate as cash. In order to see how the real price of gold (measured in Ferrari sports cars) depends on the creation of credit, we consider the following scenarios.

  • A cash based economy without any lending and without any banks.
  • An economy with banks, but without lending.
  • An economy with banks and with fractional reserve lending.
  • An economy without banks, but with private-to-private lending.
  • An economy without banks, but with commercial Real Bills.

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Currency Wars: Why The United States Cannot Return To A Gold Standard

The book Currency Wars by James G. Rickards (Penguin, 2011) quickly became a bestseller not only in goldbug circles. One of the main theses presented by Rickards is that the United States ought to return to a Gold Standard.

Have you ever wondered whether this would be possible? The answer is No. But why not? The reason we give might strike you as rather unexpected, but it leads you right into the question of what will be the future international monetary system. The answer is that it is the existence of the Euro that prevents the United States from returning to a gold standard.

The Euro zone is set up in such a way that it values gold at its free market price. Since the Euro zone is a major global trade hub, they are in fact in a strong position to block any attempt by the United States at returning to a gold standard. They can rather force the US to value gold at its free market price, too. Any attempt at linking the US dollar to a fixed weight of gold is futile in the long run because this would eventually lead to an under-valuation of gold in US$ and thereby irreversibly drain gold reserves from the United States. In the present article, we explain these ideas in greater detail.
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The Many Values Of Gold

The present article gives an overview of various ideas on how much an ounce of gold might be worth.

We know the price of an ounce of gold. Last week, on 3 February 2012, the price of gold was US$ 1734.00 per ounce (London pm fixing). So much about the price. But what is its value?
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Backwardation in the Case of a Monetary Metal

Silver has been in backwardation at the LBMA according to the published SIFO (Silver Forward Offered Rates) since January 19, 2011. It has also been in backwardation at the COMEX (New York Commodity Exchange) since around February 7, 2011. Figure 1 shows the LBMA Silver Forward Offered Rate from November 22, 2010, to May 19, 2011.

LBMA Silver Forward Offered Rate (SIFO) 2010-2011

Figure 1: LBMA Silver Forward Offered Rate (SIFO) 2010-2011

I was dissatisfied with much of what has been written on this topic. This is an attempt of a better explanation.


I explain that silver should not be viewed as an industrial commodity that is consumed, but that one should rather view US$ and silver as a currency pair. If one takes this point of view, backwardation is not a market inefficiency due to a supply shortage, but rather indicates counterparty risk.

Update (27 February 2012): Backwardation is also possible if US$ deposits are subject to carrying charges or if nominal interest rates are negative, see Red Alert Update.

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