- AR technology is improving many lives…
- Should we keep some cash under the mattress?
- “It’s the best decision I have made in a while”…
Welcome to our weekly mailbag edition of The Bleeding Edge. All week, you submitted your questions about the biggest trends in technology.
Today, I’ll do my best to answer them.
If you have a question you’d like answered next week, be sure you submit it right here.
Before we get to today’s questions, I’d like to point out a recent breakthrough in COVID-19 therapies.
Yesterday, we looked at some recent research that has been completely ignored. It showed us how low the actual infection fatality rate (IFR) is for COVID-19 on a global level. The research demonstrated that over 25% of the global population has already contracted and recovered from COVID-19.
This is important because it shows us that we are much closer to herd immunity than most think.
And when such a large population has already been infected and developed natural immunity – combined with the majority of a population that has been vaccinated – there is simply no logical, rational, or scientific basis for any restrictions whatsoever.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that a coronavirus will disappear forever. The pandemic will quickly be downgraded as hospitalizations and any related deaths continue to plummet.
Which brings me to some more great news with regards to COVID-19 therapies. After all, many people in low-risk categories will choose not to take a vaccine. This is a very personal decision, and it’s one that I believe can only be made by each individual adult about their own health.
So we will still need therapeutic options for the small number of people who contract COVID-19 in the future.
And Regeneron Pharmaceuticals put out some fantastic data a few days ago. Its monoclonal antibody cocktail reduced the risk of a person developing COVID-19 when exposed to someone with the disease by 81%.
Even better, for those that were exposed and did develop symptoms, their symptoms were resolved after one week compared to three weeks for those on the placebo.
Both Eli Lilly and Regeneron already had success with their antibody cocktails given intravenously. In this study, Regeneron used a formulation that could be delivered via a simple injection.
This is a game changer. If there were ever an outbreak at a location, these antibodies could be easily administered via a shot. And they would start working immediately. Avoiding an IV altogether greatly simplifies therapeutic support.
Yet this breakthrough has received almost no media coverage at all. Not enough fear and panic, I guess. Not a mention at all from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) either, which seems hell-bent on trying to prolong and extend the panic as long as possible.
News like this should be celebrated. The fact that our ability to treat COVID-19 is dramatically improving gives us reason for calm and the removal of restrictions that are not based on scientific evidence – quite the opposite, in fact.
Regeneron will soon take this therapy to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization, which I expect will come soon given the results of the trial.
With that good news, I wish everyone a great weekend.
And now let’s turn to our mailbag questions. If you have a question you’d like answered next week, be sure you submit it right here.
AR for the visually impaired…
Let’s begin with a question on augmented reality (AR) contact lenses:
I was wondering if the contacts made by this company (Mojo Vision AR) will be useful for people with macular degeneration. My mother had it bad and has been declared legally blind. She can read with a computer-sized magnified reader. It didn’t help her with facial recognition or anything mobile where she can’t use the reader. I would appreciate any additional information you can provide.
– Joann W.
Hi, Joann, and thanks for writing in. I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s difficulties.
My grandfather had the same condition. It’s great that you are thinking about the technology in this way.
While the headlines for augmented reality, robotics, or brain computer interfaces tend to be more focused on mass-market applications, the reality is that the first applications are often for those who are impaired or handicapped in one way or another.
To get new readers up to speed, I recently wrote about Mojo Vision’s incredible AR-enabled contact lens technology. This early stage company is developing a micro-LED display at millimeter scale. It can then display images directly in the wearer’s field of vision.
This technology truly is the stuff of science fiction. The company developed a tiny image processor that works in real time.
And this device has some exciting potential applications…
Imagine walking into a room and seeing everyone’s name displayed… Or looking at an engine and having the different parts highlighted.
I’m incredibly excited to see where this technology leads.
And Mojo Vision is starting with the goal of helping those with low vision.
As I shared recently, the World Health Organization reports that there are as many as 2.2 billion people with some form of vision impairment worldwide. So there’s a huge need to be addressed.
While I can’t speak to your mother’s particular situation, Mojo Vision has been working with the FDA through its Breakthrough Devices Program. This program works to develop medical devices to treat debilitating conditions.
And in a 2020 interview, Mojo Vision’s vice president said the company is aiming to help those with macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa. It has also partnered with Palo Alto’s Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired to work toward that goal.
And Mojo Vision designed the image processor so the lenses can zoom, enhance contrast, and improve edge detection. These are all especially helpful features for those with vision impairments.
The company is also planning to offer its contact lenses with prescriptions.
So we’ll be keeping a close eye on Mojo Vision as it works toward FDA approval. This technology is certain to improve many of our lives once it becomes available.
What to do about paper money…
Next, a reader wants to know more about the future of cash:
My question: With the deflating dollar and the government going into digital currency, what will happen to paper money?? Should we keep some under the mattress? Should we keep any in the bank? And if so, what should we keep, and then what should we do with the rest of our cash? Gold? Crypto? What else?
– Michael B.
Hello, Michael, and thanks for the great question. I’m certain you’re not the only reader wondering about the best way to position yourself for the changes occurring in our financial systems.
First, let me address your question about how a central bank digital currency (CBDC) would affect cash. As I’ve written about before, a U.S. CBDC – colloquially known as a “Fed Coin” – is on the way.
The Federal Reserve is actively investigating a digital currency, and an early draft of the first COVID-19 stimulus bill last year actually included a proposal for a digital dollar.
Though it was scrapped in the final version, this demonstrates that the idea is certainly gaining traction.
That’s because the incentives for the government to create a CBDC are simply too compelling. A CBDC would allow the government to track and tax every transaction we ever make. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would have a field day.
And, of course, the government could “print” more digital dollars whenever it wanted. What government wouldn’t want that sort of control?
In this scenario, physical cash would disappear. Once a “Fed Coin” is issued, the government would certainly begin the process of removing all paper bills and coinage from the system.
For starters, there’d be no need for them anymore. And the government wouldn’t want bills and coins to be used for any transaction.
In time, I believe paper currency will be entirely removed from society. There would be a multiyear window within which one could “return” their bills in exchange for digital dollars. But eventually paper and coins will no longer be counted as legal tender.
Assuming an announcement like that is made, I wouldn’t recommend hiding cash under the mattress. Once a Fed Coin is official, it will be the beginning of the end of paper bills and coins.
Where’s a good place to put our money then?
Here are a few ideas:
We can finance or refinance our primary residence with a fixed 30-year loan at the lowest possible rate. We’ll be paying back the loan over time with inflated dollars, and we can invest the money that we didn’t put into the house to make higher returns. Real assets, like property, are always a good store of value in inflationary times.
We can finance income-producing properties using fixed interest rate loans. These could be rental properties or timberland. It’s the same reason as above, and the benefit is that land is a real asset.
We could invest in digital assets like cryptocurrencies, digital tokens, and digital securities. There are important distinctions here, however.
Well-designed digital assets like bitcoin are an interesting alternative. But they do not come without risk. And if governments see them as too much of a threat, they can make it very difficult to transact with cryptocurrencies. This is a market that investors would have to stay on top of to avoid losing their hard-earned capital.
There will also be digital assets that are backed by real assets, cash flows, dividends, or equity that will serve as smart places to allocate capital.
Precious metals like gold and silver might be interesting, but after watching what happened between 2008 and 2016, I’m not convinced at all. More than $10 trillion were printed during that eight-year window. That amounted to more than all of the past presidential administrations combined in the history of the U.S.
Did gold go to the moon? Not even close. And now, even with all of the trillions of dollars of new stimulus spending, gold is still only around $1,785 an ounce.
Collectibles actually present one of the more interesting asset classes in an environment like this. Artwork, rare wine, vintage automobiles, rare watches, numismatics, and other collectibles have historically been excellent stores of value.
The problem, however, is that these asset classes have been mostly off-limits to normal investors. They have been only accessible to high-net-worth individuals.
But this is changing. A perfect example is a new company called Masterworks. It acquires artwork, securitizes that artwork, and allows fractionalized ownership of the art. We’re going to see a lot more of these types of investment alternatives in the near future.
And the collectibles market is now racing into the digital age with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which will eventually become a mature market and an asset class all its own.
These are just a few general suggestions for readers to consider.
Of course, I’ll be tracking and recommending investment opportunities that will benefit in an inflationary environment here at Brownstone Research.
I will continue to add new investment research products that will serve my subscribers well in any investment environment.
And whether I like it or not, we are going to be in for some serious inflation in the years to come. No country can employ the kind of current fiscal policy we’re seeing without serious and ultimately devastating consequences.
For now, though, we’re going to make the most out of the current market environment so that we’ll have lots of options when the inflation kicks in.
And if you want to learn about the specific investments I recommend in the face of the coming reset of our financial systems, I recently put together a presentation on this very topic. You can go right here for the details.
“Looking forward to the ride”…
Let’s conclude with some thoughtful feedback from a reader:
Dear Jeff, I just started with you with a lifetime membership. I can say now it’s the best decision I have made in a while… Love your energy. Will be with you until I turn toes up and am looking forward to the ride… Good luck to you, and may the good Lord take a liking to you.
– Larry K.
Hey, Larry – thank you for joining us as a lifetime member! And thanks for the kind words as well.
I always want to help my subscribers succeed, and knowing my research has made a difference really does motivate me to keep putting in the long hours.
I believe that there is a universal sense of justice that has guided me well over the years.
The actions that we take, especially those that aren’t visible to others, are the ones that define our character.
Hard work, humility, doing things that aren’t asked of us, making positive contributions, paying it forward, and doing our best to meet the obligations that we have agreed to will result in a life of fulfillment and great reward.
Even when I’m tired, these things put a smile on my face. They let me sleep well at night and tackle every day with enthusiasm.
There is so much happening right now in the world of technology and biotechnology…
Even with 30 years under my belt in the high-tech industry, I’m constantly amazed by the ways technology is changing the world. The pace of development we’re seeing is truly incredible.
And I can tell you that my team and I work countless hours to make sure that we are putting out high-quality investment research in this space. I regularly put in 70–80 hours every week researching, writing, traveling, and filming.
All that effort is to make sure that my subscribers have the opportunity to beat the markets and hedge funds every year. And I’m confident we’ll do this once again in 2021.
If any other readers would like to learn more about joining us with a lifetime membership, you can go right here for the details.
That’s all we have time for this week. If you have a question for a future mailbag, you can send it to me right here.
Have a good weekend.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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