Ten31 Timestamp 815,266
Legacy markets got some much-needed relief this week as benchmark government bond yields fell precipitously, the Fed maintained its rate-hiking “pause,” and softer updates on some key macro indicators gave investors reason to believe the worldwide central bank tightening cycle may be close to over. However, lost in the shuffle for many in the stonk casino was the latest quarterly report from the Treasury Department’s Borrowing Advisory Committee, which – surprisingly for a government agency – said the quiet part out loud by explicitly calling out declining organic demand for US Treasuries as institutions and nations around the world reckon with charts like the one above. Growing fault lines were apparent overseas too, as the Bank of Japan softened its yield curve control policy for the third time in under a year while the Japanese government passed a $110 billion stimulus bill to *checks notes* fight inflation. Finally, Swiss regulators and lenders met to discuss new capital controls that might be (read: probably will be) necessary to respond to bank runs in the future. It was an especially appropriate week, then, for the 15th anniversary of Satoshi Nakamoto’s publication of the bitcoin whitepaper, a zero-to-one moment for humanity and the foundation of a solution to the pitfalls of fiat currency. We fully expect the excesses and fragilities of late-stage fiat to compound further over the coming decade, but Satoshi’s innovation and the developers and entrepreneurs that continue building on it every day give us confidence that – in the words of Ten31 Managing Partner Marty Bent – we’re going to win.
Portfolio Company Spotlight
Primal is a first of its kind platform for the Nostr protocol that combines a client, caching service, and analytics tools to address several unmet needs in the nascent Nostr ecosystem. Through the combination of its sleek client application and its caching service, Primal seeks to offer an end-user experience as smooth and easy as that of legacy social media applications like Twitter (and eventually many other types of applications as well), unlocking the vast potential of Nostr for the next billion people. Primal CEO Miljan Braticevic will join Ten31 for our next Tribe event at Bitcoin Park this Wednesday, November 8th, and will serve as a featured speaker at Nostrville later in the week.
Selected Portfolio News
Strike announced a variety of new product updates, including unlimited wire transfers with instant withdrawals, new payment methods, and more:
Fold relaunched its in-app bitcoin buying feature, which now includes instant withdrawals:
Unchained lowered its minimum IRA contributions to only $2,000:
Zaprite launched a new integration with Alby:
Unchained published a piece delving into the company’s new multi-institution collaborative custody network.
Primal Founder and CEO Miljan Braticevic gave a presentation at the Nostrasia conference in Tokyo on how the company is building their industry-leading Nostr client.
Miljan also joined a Nostrasia conference panel with Coinkite Co-Founder and CEO Rodolfo Novak.
Mutiny CEO Tony Giorgio and River CEO Alex Leishman joined ARK Invest’s Bitcoin Brainstorm podcast to discuss underexplored bitcoin use cases.
Start9 Co-Founder and CEO Matt Hill appeared on the Simply Bitcoin show, where he highlighted that StartOS is now fully open source under the MIT license.
Samourai released the latest episode of its series on bitcoin privacy.
The Federal Reserve held its benchmark federal funds rate steady at 5.25-5.5% for a second consecutive meeting this week, helping to spur a rally in stocks and bonds including a substantial W/W decline in 10 year Treasury yields. The 10 year closed the week at ~4.55%, down more than 30bps over just the last few days.
Treasury yields got some additional relief this week after non-farm payrolls data for October increased less than expected and unemployment unexpectedly ticked up, the latest iteration of the “bad news is good news” trade.
Despite the substantial relief in Treasury yields and concomitant boost to stocks, the US Treasury’s latest borrowing estimates released this week pointed to an ongoing flood of supply, as the agency plans to borrow an additional $1.6 trillion over the course of this quarter and next after adding over $2 trillion since June.
Notably, the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee’s latest quarterly report to Janet Yellen explicitly flagged that “demand for US Treasuries may have softened among several traditional buyers”.
Meanwhile, the ISM manufacturing PMI for the month came in at 46.7, dramatically below consensus expectations of 49 (where readings of <50 indicate contraction), with new orders coming in particularly weak. In line with this set of directionally bearish readings, the 30yr / 2yr yield spread un-inverted for the first time since July 2022, historically a strong indicator of impending recession.
US bank deposit outflows appeared to re-accelerate in the past week, with US commercial banks seeing their largest total withdrawals since this spring’s banking panics.
WeWork, which fetched a valuation of nearly $50 billion only 4 years ago as one of the consummate poster children for ZIRP investing, reportedly plans to file for bankruptcy in the coming days.
It was a busy week in overseas bond markets as well thanks to the Bank of Japan adjusting its yield curve control policy upward again for the third time in less than a year. The BOJ also raised its inflation outlook for the rest of the year and the next two years.
The yield on 10-year Japanese government bonds quickly spiked almost 1% before retracing slightly later in the week. The Japanese government also announced it would engage in the time-tested strategy of passing a $110+ billion stimulus package to “fight inflation.”
Swiss regulators and banks reportedly met this week to discuss measures to prevent bank runs, with potential new rules including delayed and staggered withdrawals, as well as exit fees for depositors.
Argentine presidential candidate Sergio Massa – the opponent of vociferously pro-bitcoin Javier Milei – introduced a proposal to mine bitcoin with waste gas from the country’s Vaca Muerta shale formation.
The Federal Reserve sent a cease and desist letter to Bitcoin Magazine regarding the publication’s sale of merchandise parodying the FedNow system.
Several notable voices from the traditional finance sphere made positive public comments on bitcoin this week, with famed billionaire investor Stan Druckenmiller conceding that he should own some, while Fidelity’s Director of Global Macro Jurrien Timmer called it “exponential gold.”
The Wall Street Journal ran a feature on the potential benefits and challenges of mining bitcoin in conjunction with natural gas production.