How to Prepare for Economic War

These days, almost every major news story offers more evidence the world is moving to a new monetary system based on gold.

On its face, the latest example comes from an unlikely place: last week’s firing of White House adviser Steve Bannon.

Bannon’s sudden departure came on the heels of his remarkably incautious interview with Robert Kuttner in the liberal political journal The American Prospect.

Part of the interview highlighted Bannon’s hard-line view of China.

“We’re at economic war with China … We have to be maniacally focused on that,” Bannon observed.

“If we continue to lose it … we’re five years away, I think 10 years at most, from hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover,” he concluded.

Whatever you think of Bannon, he’s on the right track about China. But he’s gotten the time frame wrong.

It won’t take five years to reach that inflection point. In fact, we’re actually going through such an inflection point.

And China’s continued ascendancy will inevitably lead to a gold-centered reserve system.

Indeed, this change may be closer at hand than most realize. That’s because of the exponential rise in the use of cryptocurrencies around the world, especially bitcoin.

The rapid adoption of bitcoin, including in the U.S., could pave the way for a new bitcoin/gold-based monetary system that easily gains wide acceptance.

Near-Total Control

China has been extremely shrewd in dealing with the cryptocurrency phenomenon.

A year ago, China absolutely dominated trading in the bitcoin market, with an 80% share. However, now that bitcoin has gone global, China’s share of trading has fallen to just 16%.

But China continues to monopolize an area that’s far more important than trading: the so-called mining, or creation, of bitcoin.

According to Jordan Tuwiner, a leading bitcoin trader, China controls more than 70% of bitcoin mining. By contrast, the U.S. controls only about 1%.

Bitcoin mining is essentially an incredibly intensive form of code-cracking. And it requires running powerful computers around the clock to crack the code.

Naturally, this effort consumes enormous amounts of electricity.

But China has a huge edge on other countries thanks to its outsize hydropower capacity. This makes it one of the world’s lowest-cost producers of electricity.

Once you build hydropower infrastructure, the electricity it generates is virtually free. Simply by situating massive computer centers close to hydropower sources, China can run them at almost no cost.

With its dominance of bitcoin, China is well positioned to initiate a new reserve currency.

And if China backs the cryptocurrency with gold, which the country has been amassing, then you’ll have a monetary system the world will be more than willing to accept.

Black Gold

What might compel China to make such moves? The country’s insatiable demand for oil.

All the evidence suggests global demand for oil is on the verge of outstripping supply. In addition to record demand in the East, U.S. demand for oil this summer has been the greatest of any summer since the early part of the century.

Right now, oil trading around the world is still priced in U.S. dollars. But if China were to establish and control an Eastern oil benchmark, then that could prompt a shift away from the greenback.

For now, we don’t expect China to do anything until after its national party congress concludes this fall.

The country might even wait until after the start of 2018.

But change is coming.

I don’t expect gold to break out just yet—traders are probably waiting for more clarity on some of the events I’ve just described.

But if gold does not decisively penetrate $1,300 per ounce here, don’t feel bad. Just buy more.