Posts by Simon Black

Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter Notes from the Field is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom, make more money, keep more of it, and protect it all from bankrupt governments.

  • First post: 16/06/2009
  • Posts written: 1841

Latest Articles

084: Important Update: Why you should want a second passport

My colleague, Sean Goldsmith, just returned from a tour of the Caribbean.

He met with several local governments about their ‘citizenship by investment’ programs – a way to receive a passport by donating money or investing in local businesses or real estate.

If you have the means, this is probably the quickest and easiest way to obtain a second citizenship.

We’re exploring ways for Sovereign Man readers to get a special deal[...] Click here to continue reading

Saxo Bank predicts Bitcoin collapse to $1,000 in 2018

It’s that time of year again-- the time when everyone seems to be channeling his or her inner Nostradamus, peering into the crystal ball, and making predictions about what we’re going to see next year.

There’s a great quote that’s often mis-attributed to Mark Twain: “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.”

(The source of the quote is actually an old Danish proverb… though like a number of witty sayings, Twain somehow manages[...] Click here to continue reading

A young foreigner’s first impressions of America

Last weekend while I was in Denver, I had the opportunity to speak with a young man from the Netherlands who was attending our charity event.

It was his first trip to the United States, and I’m always interested to hear people’s first impressions.

He told me he was really overwhelmed with the size and scale of everything. China is about the only other country in the world that does everything as big[...] Click here to continue reading

A second passport is much cheaper than ever before

While I was off at an annual charity event over the last several days, a few members of my team were dispatched through the Caribbean to meet with government officials at various island nations about their passport programs.

These programs are known as economic citizenship programs, and they allow a person to obtain official citizenship, along with a passport, by donating money or making a financial investment in the country.

One of my[...] Click here to continue reading

In case you missed Bitcoin’s epic rise…

Over the weekend in Denver, my friends and I hosted an annual charity event-- a sort of business and investment bootcamp that ended with around $100,000 worth of toys being donated to kids in low-income families.

It was a lot of fun, and I really want to thank the dozens and dozens of our Total Access members who came and participated.

At the bootcamp portion on Friday, we covered a number of different[...] Click here to continue reading

The government is coming for your Bitcoin

The same day Bitcoin cracked its all-time high above $11,000, the government dealt its first blow to the crypto world…

On Wednesday, a federal judge in San Francisco ordered the popular Bitcoin exchange, Coinbase, to provide the IRS with information on over 14,000 account holders.

The taxman noticed that only 800-900 people reported gains related to Bitcoin in each of the years between 2013-2015. It seemed unusual given Bitcoin’s meteoric rise.

So[...] Click here to continue reading

How to gain permanent residency in Mexico without leaving home

As a world traveler and investor, I always try to find markets where there’s a huge difference between the ACTUAL risk and the PERCEIVED risk.
And this risk assessment applies not only to investing, but also to entire countries.

Mexico is a great example.

Sure, Mexico has some serious problems. Crime. Gangs. Drugs. Corruption. Tensions with the US over illegal immigration and American jobs.

But did you know that more Americans applied[...] Click here to continue reading

Is it Tuesday? Time for another banking scandal

Another day, another major banking scandal. It’s getting to the point where you can practically set your watch to these things.

The latest involves our old friend Wells Fargo. The Wall Street Journal reported last night that Wells has been screwing its customers on foreign currency exchange rates.

According to the Journal, Wells Fargo conducted an internal review of its fee arrangements and found that they had massively overcharged 88% of the sampled[...] Click here to continue reading

There’s something important you should know about Bitcoin

After spending the last few days in the Philippines scouting new factory locations for one of my businesses, I flew back to Singapore this morning to conclude negotiations with a large, publicly-listed conglomerate that’s made an offer to buy one of our assets.

It’s been a hectic trip so far. But while in town, I had a chance to see my friend Gregor again-- the entrepreneur I interviewed in last week’s podcast discussion about[...] Click here to continue reading

Elon Musk thinks we’re all going to die– here’s his Plan B

251 million years ago, the Great Permian Extinction wiped out around 96% of Earth’s species.

Scientists call it “the great dying.” And they believe it occurred because of an eruption in Siberia that released more than 200 billion gallons of molten lava.

The lava released large amounts of Sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing the Earth to warm by about 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Acid rain followed.

Almost nothing survived.[...] Click here to continue reading

083: An insider’s view on the gold versus cryptocurrency debate

In today’s podcast, I chatted with Silver Bullion’s founder Gregor Gregersen.

Silver Bullion is a precious metals storage company based in Singapore.

While here in Singapore, Gregor and I discussed why the gold versus Bitcoin debate is misguided. It’s not an either-or proposition.

Instead, with systemic risks in the financial system, the case for holding both precious metals and cryptocurrency makes sense.

And Silver Bullion offers solutions for both asset classes.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Taxes: here’s what’s going to stay the SAME

On October 3, 1913, US President Woodrow Wilson signed the Underwood-Simmons Act into law, creating what would become the first modern US income tax.

The legislation (at least, the income tax portion) was only 16 pages and imposed a base tax rate of just 1%.

The highest tax rate was set at 7%-- and it only applied to individuals earning more than $500,000 per year, which is about $12.6 million today according to[...] Click here to continue reading

100 billion reasons to have non-reportable assets

In early March 1938 in a dusty corner of the Arabian desert, Max Steineke finally had the breakthrough he was hoping for.

Steineke was the chief geologist for the California Arabian Standard Oil Company (CASOC), a venture owned by what we know today as Chevron.

And he hadn’t had a lot of success despite years of effort.

Steinke was convinced that massive oil reserves were beneath the sands. He just couldn’t find[...] Click here to continue reading

082: The two things that can pop the ICO bubble

In today’s podcast, I tackle the subject of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Regular readers know I’m skeptical of cryptocurrencies. And I think many ICOs are outright frauds.

We’ve seen celebrities like Paris Hilton, Jamie Fox and Floyd Mayweather all endorse ICOs. A friend of mine who’s raising money in an ICO even told me these things are a bubble.

Still, we see more and more companies raising capital from a rabid public.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Meet the Republic Of Georgia – The world’s easiest country to open an (offshore) bank account

This was the one of the easiest offshore bank account experiences I’ve ever had.

It only took me 20 minutes to open this offshore bank account in Georgia. Read on to learn how and at which bank you can easily begin offshore banking in Georgia.

In 1991, the country of Georgia gained its independence from the Soviet Union.

But, despite the communist regime’s fall, deep-state apparatchiks (ex-members of the Soviet Communist Party)[...] Click here to continue reading

Millennials: Read this

Every year the Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse publishes a detailed report about Global Wealth.

And while drawing conclusions about ‘wealth’ (i.e. ‘net worth’) for the world’s 7.6 billion people is far from an exact science, the report routinely offers some interesting insights and trends.

This year’s report was just released this morning.

As an interesting finding, researchers noted that at the early part of this millennium, between 2000 and 2008, the[...] Click here to continue reading

Welcome to the Sue-nited States of America

On the morning of February 27, 1992, 79-year old Stella Liebeck and her grandson Chris pulled up to a McDonald’s drive-through in Albuquerque, New Mexico and ordered a $0.49 cup of coffee.

Chris pulled the car over and parked momentarily so that his grandmother could add cream and sugar.

While doing so, she accidentally spilled the entire cup onto her lap, instantly scalding her.

Liebeck was hospitalized for eight days with third[...] Click here to continue reading

The Ponzi scheme that’s more than 100x the size of Bernie Madoff

By January 1920, much of Europe was in total chaos following the end of the first World War.

Unemployment soared and steep inflation was setting in across Spain, Italy, Germany, etc.

But an Italian-American businessman who was living in Boston noticed a unique opportunity amid all of that devastation.

He realized that he could buy pre-paid international postage coupons in Europe at dirt-cheap prices, and then resell them in the United States[...] Click here to continue reading

081: Why you should be very worried about the Paradise Papers

In today’s podcast, I discuss the recent Paradise Papers fiasco – the massive leak of sensitive, offshore financial information held by the Bermudan law firm Appleby.

This thing has been a complete witch hunt in the media…

The whiny journalists paint the wealthy and famous who parked money offshore as criminals… Though they begrudgingly admit their actions are completely legal.

We explain why the wealthy, gasp, actually do some good for society[...] Click here to continue reading

Investors now value a $20 billion company based on its “energy and spirituality”

About twelve years ago, at the height of the real estate boom in the United States, banks began issuing what became known as NINJA loans.

You’ve probably heard the term before-- NINJA stood for No Income, Job, or Assets.

These were the famed ‘no money down’ loans at low, teaser interest rates given to borrowers with pitiful credit and little hope of being able to make the payments.

One of the best[...] Click here to continue reading

Class Warfare: people are out for blood

Roughly two thousand years ago, the government of ancient Rome was facing a serious problem.

The tributium capitus, or poll tax, they had imposed across their provinces was becoming unpopular.

And there was a growing minority of Roman subjects who felt they were being forced to pay an overly burdensome and disproportionately high tax bill.

Things got so bad that there were small revolts, especially in one of Rome’s critical eastern provinces[...] Click here to continue reading

Thousands of Americans renounced their citizenship. Again

Every quarter the United States government publishes a list of individuals who have chosen to renounce their US citizenship.

The latest list came out yesterday, and 1,376 people are on it.

That might sound like a small number, but the total for 2017 is projected to be more than 20% higher than 2016… and 2016 was 26% higher than the total number from 2015.

In fact the number of Americans renouncing[...] Click here to continue reading

080: Why you’ll probably lose money in bitcoin, regardless of the price

Bitcoin hit another all-time high today on the back of two, major announcements.

Dedicated Sovereign Man readers know I don’t pay much attention to Bitcoin’s price. Instead, I focus on the market cap and demand fundamentals.

In today’s Podcast, I explain my thoughts on the future demand of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and what these two announcements mean for the sector.

And I share the role of investor psychology in cryptocurrency speculation…[...] Click here to continue reading

500 years later, the revolution is just beginning

500 years ago to the day, on October 31, 1517, a German monk of the Augustinian order named Martin Luther sent a letter to his Archbishop expressing concern about certain practices of Church officials.

In Luther’s era it had become typical for clergymen to sell ‘indulgences’ to anyone who wanted to be pardoned for sins.

Martin Luther felt this practice was a terrible affront to Christian doctrine, so he sent a letter up[...] Click here to continue reading

The US government quietly added $200+ billion to the debt this month alone.

There’s been something happening this month that very few people have noticed.

It’s been lost beneath all the other headline-dominating news, from the Las Vegas shooting to Harvey Weinstein to the Mueller investigation.

But very quietly behind the scenes there’s been an extremely rapid uptick in the US national debt.

In the month of October alone, the US national debt has soared by nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars.

This[...] Click here to continue reading

How a trip to Shenzhen, China tripled our money

Last year, I attended the Benjamin Graham Conference in New York City – this annual event brings together the best value investors in the world.

A speech by billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman stood out to me. He discussed why the hedge fund industry was on the ropes.

“[O]ur industry is in turmoil. It’s very ironic because you’ve got Clinton and Sanders crapping all over us and they don’t realize Wall Street[...] Click here to continue reading

Why the next stock market crash will be faster and bigger than ever before

US stock markets hit another all-time high on Friday.

The S&P 500 is nearing 2,600 and the Dow is over 23,300.

In fact, US stocks have only been more expensive two times since 1881.

According to Yale economist Robert Shiller’s Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earnings (CAPE) ratio – which is the market price divided by ten years’ average earnings – the S&P 500 is above 31. The last two times the[...] Click here to continue reading

079: How we could see Facebook, Apple and Amazon fall 20% in a single day

In today’s podcast, Sovereign Man’s Chief Investment Strategist Tim Staermose joins me to talk about the risks in today’s market…

We cover the rise of passive investing, and why we think it could cause chaos when the market turns – with some of the biggest and most popular stocks (like Apple and Amazon) falling 10% or 20% in a day.

We also discuss the massive amount of debt in the system today[...] Click here to continue reading

This billionaire’s “$5 million test” will make you a way better investor

In 1982, a man named Jim Tisch bought seven supertankers for $42 million. He found them by cold calling companies he found in the Yellow Pages.

Yes, $42 million is a lot of money… but these tankers were each four football fields long. That’s a lot of steel. And they could carry between 2-3 million barrels of oil.

And these ships were built just eight years earlier at a cost of $50 million[...] Click here to continue reading

Own this currency [no, it’s not a cryptocurrency]

With the nearly daily moves to record highs among the hundreds of cryptocurrencies that currently exist, talking about ‘regular’ currencies seems about as out-of-fashion as that hideous shoulder pad trend from the 1980s.

[Millennial readers: see here if you’re confused.]

But there are actually a few currencies out there worth talking about right now.

And top among them, especially for anyone holding US dollars, is the Hong Kong dollar.

The Hong[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s how people get fooled into buying bankrupt companies

In 1906, American entrepreneur William T. Grant opened his very first “W.T. Grant Co 25 cent store” in a small town outside of Boston.

The store became popular and fairly profitable. So Grant opened another. And another.

Three decades later, Grant’s retail empire was generating $100 million in sales (an enormous sum back then). And by the time of Grant’s death in 1972, there were over 1,000 stores bearing his name.

[...] Click here to continue reading

The one way governments could actually kill Bitcoin

Something pretty miraculous happened recently.

It appears that Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, went nearly TWO WEEKS without bashing Bitcoin.

This must be a record for Mr. Dimon, who seems to have barely been able to last an hour without calling out Bitcoin as a “fraud”, or a refuge for criminals and North Koreans.

Mr. Dimon finally broke his Zen-like meditative silence late last week, once again returning to[...] Click here to continue reading

078: Eating used coffee grounds for breakfast and black-market cash deals with taxi drivers

Today’s Notes is a bit different…

I recorded a conversation I had with my colleague Sean Goldsmith about my recent travels to Venezuela. I explain how I exchanged my US dollars on the black market for Bolivar (with a taxi driver I’d never met before)… and how the situation in Venezuela will get worse before it gets better. Plus, I share observations and stories of things I saw on the ground in one[...] Click here to continue reading

This is the craziest mortgage scheme I’ve ever seen

The Great Financial Crisis happened because Wall Street was financing homes for people who couldn’t afford them.

Leading up to the GFC, there was a voracious appetite from investors for “AAA”-rated mortgage debt. So lenders would make lots of loans to subprime borrowers and sell them to Wall Street. Wall Street would pool them together and one of the major ratings agencies (like Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s) would stamp the steaming pile of[...] Click here to continue reading

Strangely enough, Vanuatu proves why Bitcoin can never be banned

In the late 1500s, an Englishman named William Lee invented a revolutionary knitting machine that could efficiently do the work of dozens of men.

Given how important the garment industry was at the time in English, Lee’s invention was truly disruptive.

But Queen Elizabeth wasn’t so excited.

When Lee came to visit her to demonstrate the power of his new technology, the Queen grimaced, lamenting that the machine would put too many[...] Click here to continue reading